‘The Last Time I Saw You’ by Liv Constantine keeps readers guessing until the end

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“The Last Time I Saw You” by Liv Constantine is a fabulous mystery. Like their first novel (Liv Constantine is actually two sisters),  “The Last Mrs. Parrish,” which was a bestseller, this one has twists aplenty and keeps the reader glued to the story until the wonderful ending.

While some mysteries keep the reader guessing and then spring a surprise at the end, the Constantine sisters present many, many suspects, yet the ending isn’t really a total surprise. They’ve cleverly and carefully planted clues all along the way — clues that don’t seem to be clues unless viewed in retrospect — and the reader might begin to suspect toward the end, but won’t truly understand what has happened until the final reveal.

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‘The Better Sister’ by Alafair Burke is a gripping story of love, sisterhood, and the lengths we go to when protecting those we love

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“The Better Sister” by Alafair Burke is the story of two sisters; one is — to all appearances — perfect. Chloe might be the younger sister, but she has achieved what few do, fame, wealth, a very important job, accolades, and even the perfect husband and son. In reality, the son is her nephew and her husband is her sister’s ex-husband.

Her sister, Nicky, is the screw-up. Nicky never went to college, partied too much, worked low paying jobs, lost low paying jobs, and eventually lost custody of her son. Years later, Chloe and Adam married, raising Ethan as their son. But lately, things in Chloe’s life are not going so perfectly.

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‘They All Fall Down’ by Rachel Howzell Hall thrills readers to the end

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“They All Fall Down” by Rachel Howzell Hall keeps some secrets closely hidden, while others — like the title — are out there for everyone to see. And when Miriam Macy sails to the luxurious mansion on Mictlan, an isolated island in Mexico, she keeps her secrets hidden almost to the end. But what about the other six people on the island? And what about the fact that the pretense for luring her to the island was just that, a pretense?

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‘Crucible’ by James Rollins is a rollercoaster ride of thrills and thoughts of a frightening future

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“Crucible” by James Rollins is a thrilling story about the Sigma Force characters fans have grown to know and appreciate, Gray Pierce and Monk Kokkalis and their families, and what happens when a young woman creates an artificial intelligence (AI) being whose intelligence and ability far surpass anything created previously.

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‘Freefall’ by Jessica Barry is a thriller about the hidden strength in a mother and daughter

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“Freefall” by Jessica Barry is an action-filled thriller that is about a daughter who has left home, lost her job, lost her compass, and in the process of becoming a hero is also in huge danger. While Ally is literally running for her life, her mother, halfway across the country, is mourning her daughter’s supposed death and also investigating who her estranged daughter had somehow become.

Between Ally and Maggie’s alternating first-person narratives, the reader learns the story of the past and what happened to estrange the mother and daughter, and the present. The present is that Ally is supposedly dead in a plane crash that killed her and her fiancé, but the reader knows Ally is really on the run after surviving the plane crash. Through Ally’s narrative, the reader learns about Ally’s inner strength and her determination to survive.

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‘Outwalkers’ by Fiona Shaw is a powerful book about the love of a boy for his dog in a bleak dystopian future

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“The Outwalkers” by Fiona Shaw is a tough read, but not because it’s not a fabulous story. In fact, the book is intriguing from the first page and emotionally heartrending to the last. It’s dark and depressing, but at the same time it’s filled with hope and the promise of a better world. My heart beat a bit faster from the beginning to the end of the book — I was that worried about the main character, Jake, and his incredibly loyal and wonderful dog Jet.

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‘Killer Thriller’ by Lee Goldberg is an entertaining maze of laughter and suspense

thrillerStory within a story, play within a play, movie within a movie. Authors, playwrights, and screenwriters — usually clever ones — do it often. But Lee Goldberg takes the concept several crazy steps beyond that relatively simple technique in his latest novel, “Killer Thriller.” Here, the stories wind around and through the main narrative like a long river running and twisting through a countryside. Novels inside novels, movies inside novels, movies inside movies — it’s downright dizzying — but incredibly entertaining.

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‘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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