‘The Oracle Year’ by Charles Soule: What If?

 

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Like any good mystery — suspense novel, Charles Soule’s “The Oracle Year” is filled with thrills and chills, twists and surprises. But Soule’s work here takes us far beyond those classic characteristics.  Its science-fiction elements raise, once again, the “big questions” that have fascinated and frustrated many of us virtually since the birth of our species. Is my destiny pre-decided or do I truly have free will? What would I do and how would I act if I could accurately predict the future? Are human beings fundamentally good or evil? How and why might we eventually cause our own extinction? Are there gods or is there a God or have beings from other worlds created and formed us?

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‘What Doesn’t Kill Her’ by Christina Dodd is a combination mystery/thriller/romance that does all three genres proud

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While “What Doesn’t Kill Her” is the sequel to “Dead Girl Running,” author Christina Dodd completely fills in the reader in a manner so natural that this book could be the first in the series. Former US Army Captain Kellen Adams is living at the winery where her daughter lives with the man who was Kellen’s boyfriend before her accident, her coma, and the missing year of her life.

In both books, Dodd gives the reader three statements narrated by the main character, Kellen Adams. In this book, the statements are:
-I’ve got the scar of a gunshot on my forehead
-I have willfully misrepresented my identity to the US military
-I’m the new mother of a seven-year-old girl

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‘Dead Girl Running’ by Christina Dodd is thrilling action from the start

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“Dead Girl Running” by Christina Dodd is an action-packed mystery novel in more ways than one. Not only is there the mystery of who, at the fancy Washington State resort, is the head of a smuggling ring, there are also mysteries aplenty about the main character. Her name is Kellen Adams, or that is what those around her believe. In reality, the truth is much different.

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‘Caught in Time’ by Julie McElwain is the third novel in the Kendra Donovan mystery series

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“Caught in Time” by Julie McElwain is a thrilling action mystery featuring Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent who was thrown into the past, to 1815 Regency England. It’s a far cry from the 21st century and her life as a profiler for the FBI, but in each of the three Kendra Donovan mystery novels, Donovan manages to get embroiled in a murder, and she’s the best chance at getting the real culprit found.

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‘The Perfect Candidate’ by Peter Stone

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In “The Perfect Candidate,” debut author Peter Stone uses Washington, DC as the perfect backdrop for a young high school graduate from rural California who becomes enmeshed in a murder mystery. The story is actually a thriller as Cameron Carter, the small town Congressional intern to charismatic Congressman Billy Beck, discovers that the Congressman he admires might be guilty of murder to keep a scandal from ruining his career.

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‘A Borrowing of Bones’ by Paula Munier Is an Action-Filled Murder Mystery

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Who can resist a mystery with charismatic working dogs galore and even a cat rescue? With “A Borrowing of Bones,” author Paula Munier delivers a perfect paean to those who work to keep our wilderness safe (our forest rangers), our military veterans, and both dogs and cats who come into our lives and calm us down, give us unconditional love, and keep us warm on cold nights. Some, like the incredible dogs in this story, protect us.

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‘Pieces of Her’ by Karin Slaughter: Fascinating Study of Human Strength and Fragility

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Karin Slaughter writes thrillers with compelling characters and engrossing plots, and with “Pieces of Her,” she continues that tradition. In this book, Slaughter introduces two women main characters who are both deeply flawed, yet both discover incredible inner strength and the story plots that growth through flashbacks and the nonstop action.

The story begins with Andrea, out to lunch with her mother Laura. Andrea lives over her mother’s garage in their small, quiet town on the coast. She has little ambition, no ascertainable skills, and has pretty much made a mess of her life to this point.

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‘The Other Woman’ by Sandie Jones: A Psychological Thriller that Will Keep You Wondering

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“The Other Woman” by Sandie Jones is the story of Emily Havistock and her new boyfriend, Adam Banks. Emily has had one devastating past relationship, and now has a small group of steadfast friends, but she wants more, and she thinks Adam might be “the one.” When he finally suggests introducing her to his mother, she’s thrilled.

But things don’t go as planned, and while his mother, Pammie, seems like a wonderful woman to the rest of the world, Emily gets the feeling that Pammie wants her gone. The clues are subtle and only noticed by Emily, but she’s positive that they are real. As her relationship with Adam grows deeper, the warning signs get stronger — Pammie does not want her in the family.

In the meantime, things are not all rosy with Adam. He doesn’t care for Emily’s close friend Seb, who happens to be gay. He likes to go out on his regular Thursday night with his chums and often comes back drunk. In fact, he drinks a lot. While the reader may notice these things, Emily does not seem to care much or be bothered by the questionable things Adam does. All of Emily’s wrath and emotion is centered on Pammie.

When Pammie reveals (thanks to Emily’s clumsy questions) that she has cancer just days before Emily and Adam are to be married, Adam calls the wedding off. Emily has her doubts about whether or not Pammie even really has cancer. Is this merely another ploy in her efforts to keep Emily out of the family?

Another complication is Adam’s brother, James, who seems to be everything Adam is, but kinder, calmer, and more sincere. Yet Emily is torn because while she is attracted to James, she also is suspicious of his attentions.

Jones keeps the focus on Emily and Pammie, and the pages keep turning as the reader endeavors to find out who will win — the evil Pammie, soon-to-be-evil-mother-in-law, or Emily. Perhaps, like this reviewer, readers will be expecting a surprise reveal about Emily. The actual ending is not easy to predict and will probably surprise most readers.

This is perfect for a quick vacation or weekend read. It’s a carefully crafted psychological thriller with a suspenseful plot and realistic characters. Enjoy.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Minotaur, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Surface Tension’ by Mike Mullin Is that Book You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

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I’ve realized how to know when I’m reading a book I’m just not that into. When I find myself playing Words With Friends for 30 minutes instead of reading, I know that the book I’m reading has just not enthralled me. That’s how I knew that I was loving “Surface Tension” by Mike Mullin; I couldn’t put it down. I started the book in the morning and had finished it by evening. I read every spare minute because I was dying to know what was going to happen next.

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‘This Fallen Prey’ by Kelley Armstrong Is the Third in the Rockton Series

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“This Fallen Prey” by Kelley Armstrong is the third entry in the novel series about Rockton, a place in the far North Canadian Yukon where the permafrost never melts and a hidden settlement protects people who need to disappear for almost any reason.

Casey (not her real name) arrived at Rockton in the first book to be the detective. She was fleeing her old life and embraced the chance to start over in Rockton. What she didn’t expect was the plethora of killings that she then needed to solve.

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