Review: The Loyal Friend by A.A. Chaudhuri

Description (from cover): “She has your back. And may stab you in it.

Wealthy, pampered Susan is living the perfect life in leafy Kingston. She’ll never let anyone see the darkness she’s concealing behind the diamonds and rose.

Grace is new to the group, seemingly the perfect wife and mum. Yet no one knows the truth of what’s happening behind closed doors.

Loner Natalie hides the pain of her childhood behind a carefully ordered life. But how long can the past stay hidden?

Three unlikely friends, brought together for a weekly class run by beautiful, friendly instructor Jade.

But when Jade goes missing in mysterious circumstances, the group starts to unravel. And as their darkest secrets come to light, it seems that no one can be trusted. Even their closest friends…

A heart-in-your-mouth thriller that builds twist after twist, culminating in an unforgettable ending. This shocking, tense and gripping read will delight fans of T.M. Logan, B.A. Paris and Big Little Lies.”

My Thoughts:

It seems that I have been on a more psychological thriller kick here lately with my reading choices. I picked this up for review on NetGalley because it looked so good and I love a good mystery with a lot of suspects and this one seemed a perfect fit. In this book, we follow four friends, Natalie, Susan and Grace who all attend Jade’s fitness class. When Jade suddenly goes missing under mysterious circumstances, Natalie, Susan and Grace who all have secrets of their own come under suspicion during the investigation. It seems that Natalie, Grace, Susan and Jade all have secrets from their pasts that could come back to haunt them and put them under the direct spotlight of the police.

I liked this book. It kept my attention and even though I felt I predicted some of the plot twists in advance, it was still a good read. This story is told from each of the characters’ points of view, including Jade who is missing. We see glimpses of their pasts and their current lives come through, however there is not enough information to put everything together. It seemed that just when I felt like I had a handle on who might be the culprit, something would make me suspect another character and switch the storyline in a completely opposite direction. The ending was totally unexpected and fantastically well-done from a mystery standpoint.

This is the type of book where you don’t immediately connect with any of the characters. They all seem to be unlikeable in their own ways, but you spend the majority of the book trying to piece together their pasts and whether it plays into the current situation. It seems everyone has their own secrets and the author toys with the reader because you really don’t want to like them, but you can’t help but feel for them at the same time. If you like a good story told from several points of view with a lot of twists and turns, then this is one you should put on your reading list.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: A.A. Chaudhuri

Series: N/A

Publisher: Hera

Publication Date: June 23, 2022

Pages: 341

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Bridesmaids by Victoria Jenkins

Description (from cover): “Holly is getting married, but not before a celebration weekend with her closest friends. After a night of arguments, a body is found floating in the swimming pool of their secluded cottage. Holly must fact up to the truth–one of her bridesmaids is a killer, but which one?

New beginnings. Old rivalries.

Best friends. Bad blood.

Five bridesmaids. One body.

Fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and The Wife Between Us will love this pulse-racing psychological thriller. Once you start reading, you will not be able to stop!”

My Thoughts:

Holly is going on her “hen” weekend for her upcoming wedding. Five of her friends will be joining her at a secluded cottage with all of the latest amenities to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. Holly is excited to be spending some time away from wedding planning to catch up with her friends. What she doesn’t realize is that every single one of her friends has a secret and it appears that all the secrets will come out this weekend. Friends will become enemies, lies that have been covered for years will make their way to the surface and at the end of the weekend someone will be dead. So much for a relaxing and fun weekend.

This book is told through the narratives of the different characters involved in the story. I really enjoyed how the author used each of the characters and their own secrets to evolve this story. It seems everyone is not who they would appear to be and there were a lot of exciting revelations throughout this book. This was a fun read and while a little overwhelming at times trying to keep up with everyone and their secrets, I found it to be a quick and enjoyable mystery read. I was left wondering who was going to end up dead until the very end and it was a little shocking as I totally did not see that coming.

Overall, this was a great psychological murder mystery where the reader is trying to figure out the mystery when every single character has the motive and opportunity for murder. The ending wasn’t wrapped up in a tidy little bow, but such is life and the author did a great job of making the ending realistic based on the story. I really connected with a few of characters while reading this book, but by the end I really didn’t like any of them, but that was the clear intention of the author. This book really makes you think about whether you really know the people you are friends with and what secrets are they keeping in the dark?

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: Victoria Jenkins

Series: N/A

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: May 23, 2022

Pages: 275

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Description (from cover): “In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning–it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.”

My Thoughts:

The first thoughts that come to my mind as I write the review for this novel, is “WOW! What a great read!” I was utterly shocked at how much this book grabbed my attention and did not let go until the very end. I read this book in one day because I simply could not put it down. The twists and turns had me literally gasping aloud and on the edge of my seat. This book is a murder mystery with many winding plot twists. All the reader knows is that one of the main characters is a murderer and they all have their own reasons for committing the crime. The reader is left guessing literally until the very last pages of this book. Let me say that I did not see the ending coming even though the author tells us at the very beginning that one of the main characters is the murderer.

This book will stay with me for a while. I read a lot of mysteries. Pretty much every book I read is a mystery, so for me to say that this book took me by surprise, it is a big deal. Gentill is a remarkable writer who engages her readers from the very first page until the very last page. The setup of this book is a little different and it is hard to describe for me in words, but I would suggest that the reader just roll with it and take it for what it is. You will not be disappointed. Basically, there are two different stories in this novel that overlap slightly but together create a mystery masterpiece.

Typically in my reviews, I outline the storyline of the book, but with this one it just wouldn’t feel right for me to detail the story on this blog. I feel like I would be doing the book an injustice and might give away some of the twists and turns that really make this book truly unique. All I can say is when this book is released in June of this year, run and get your hands on this one as it was phenomenal in every single way. I have a feeling this book will be a huge hit and everyone will be talking about it. I am absolutely honored I had the chance to preview it and read it early. From a chronic mystery reader, I give this book a huge standing ovation and cannot wait to see what the author writes next.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Sulari Gentill

Series: N/A

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Pages: 292

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Countdown to a Killing by Tom Vaughan MacAulay

Description (from cover): “London, Sicily, Huddersfield 2016-2017: Wen Li is a deeply kind and sensitive twenty-nine-year old British-Chinese woman who suffers from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which manifests itself in an incessant, overwhelming fear that she might have murderous impulses. Unlucky in love and emotionally scarred, Wen falls for colleague, Lomax Clipper, a tremendously frustrated and delusional Englishman. He’s in love with a Sicilian young woman he met while working in Italy, but he and Wen do share a mutual loathing of their boss, Julian Ponsonby. Julian’s struggling too–with a toxic relationship and his father’s refusal to accept his sexuality. On his return to Sicily, via a sabbatical, Lomax befriends Fifi de Angelis, a vulnerable Sicilian man with restricted growth who has been ostracised by his family.

An original concept, this is an innovative novel in literary fiction told through interwoven correspondence, emails and WhatsApp messages, with the suspense around an impending murder steadily building. Countdown to a Killing is a deep exploration of multiple perspectives and points of view of individuals who are inextricably bound. The key themes of love, sexuality, ethnicity, mental health and acceptance are sensitively explored in a unique linear year multi-layered and metafictional narrative. Packed with humour, heartache and a cast of expertly-crafted characters, this contemporary take on the epistolary novel will have you laughing and crying in equal measure.”

My Thoughts:

Epistolary novels are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I think it is a unique way to tell a story and have the readers make their own determination about the events taking place in the story and about the characters themselves. In this book, the main characters are Wen Li and Lomax Clipper. They are both obsessive about things in their own ways. Wen has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Lomax is obsessed with writing his novel at any cost. They are coworkers and friends and the story mainly covers their correspondence to each other and to other people. There are some other minor characters that show up in this book and we get to learn about them through their own correspondence, but mostly the story is focused on Wen and Lomax’s lives.

The author did a great job of weaving everything together. There were only two issues I had with this book. The first was the “editor’s” comments throughout the book to remind the reader that a murder was going to take place during the story. It felt repetitive and a little unnecessary to be overly reminded throughout the story. Having this happen once would have been sufficient enough to get the point across, but for some reason the author felt it wasn’t enough. The second issue that I had with this book is that it suddenly ends after the “murder” occurs. The murder happens and then the story ends. Not much is resolved afterwards and I felt like there could have been a little more of a conclusion as there was so much build up to the actual murder.

Overall, this book was fun to read and it did keep me guessing as how everything would play out with the impending murder. I really enjoyed learning about Lomax and Wen’s lives and how they handled everything with their relationships, work and families. I highly recommend this book to others and encourage others to seek this one out if you are looking for a different take on a murder mystery. This is MacAulay’s second novel and for it being only the second book he has written, this was a good read and one that I had a lot of fun reading.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Author: Tom Vaughan MacAulay

Series: N/A

Publisher: RedDoor Press

Publication Date: May 26, 2022

Pages: 352

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: One of Us is Dead by Jeneva Rose

Description (from cover): “Opulence. Sex. Betrayal…Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead–a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge…

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against…

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book…

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead–and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.”

My Thoughts:

Wow! What a read! I really enjoyed this book. Think Real Housewives meets Big Little Lies. I couldn’t put this book down. Shannon, Crystal, Karen, Olivia and Jenny are part of the elite squad of Buckhead. Shannon has just gone through a divorce with politician Bryce. Crystal is his new young wife, who is struggling to fit into the high-stakes of society in Buckhead. Karen is a realtor with a highly successful business who is married to an equally successful plastic surgeon, Mark. Olivia is married to Dean and is known as the mean one of the group. She is determined to be on top at no matter what cost. She is manipulative and snarky and the others just put up with her to save face. Jenny is the owner of Glow, the salon that is the hangout for all of the ladies. She has put her salon and her clients first and she is now eager to carve out a personal life of her own.

This story is told through the characters’ own voices. Each chapter is told through a different character and it was fun to see how their own personal lives and secrets affected each other and the story overall. It seems in Buckhead everyone is out to get ahead and they simply don’t care if they step on each other toes to get to the top. The drama that filled these pages was so intense and engaging, that it made it impossible to want to stop reading. I read this book in one day as it was so good. The author did a great job of entwining everyone’s stories and the conclusion was simply shocking. You know going into it someone is going to die clearly from the title of this book, but you have no idea of who is the victim and the circumstances surrounding the murder until the very end.

Thoroughly captivating and engaging, this story was one that left me reeling at the end with all the twists and turns. I cannot say enough good things about this read and I encourage anyone who enjoys a complex mystery to pick this one up. I have previously never heard of this author or any of her books, but after reading this one, I am going to check out her other books and I encourage other readers to do the same. If you pick this one up, you will not be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Jeneva Rose

Series: N/A

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Pages: 354

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Appeal by Janice Hallett

Description (from cover): “Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this international bestseller and “dazzlingly clever” (The Sunday Times, London) murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child–but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect.

The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.

But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy–nor of the good intentions of those involved. As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head at the explosive dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the materials–emails, messages, letters–with a growing suspicion that the killer may be hiding in plain sight. The evidence is all there, between the lines, waiting to be uncovered.

A wholly modern and gripping take on the epistolary novel, The Appeal is a “daring…clever, and funny” (The Times, London) debut for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley.”

My Thoughts:

This book is written in emails, letters, text messages and articles which is a nice departure from the normal writing style of books. Using this method, the author makes the reader figure out the story on their own and use the evidence to make their own determinations. I am a paralegal by day and a mystery reader by night, so the opportunity to be able to use my legal training while reading for my own entertainment was a nice change of pace. Two young attorneys have been asked by a senior attorney in their firm to review the evidence in a murder trial. They scour through the many pages of emails and messages to make their own determinations, but the reader is doing this along with them throughout the book. Using the epistolary method, the reader comes to learn about the characters through their own words.

A small town theatre group has been close-knit for many years putting on amateur versions of plays. When a new couple, Sam and Kel Greenwood join the group, the other members are wary of the newcomers, but try to welcome them to the group with open arms. When the director of the play, Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, announce to the group that their two-year-old granddaughter has a rare form of brain cancer, the group rallies around them and they start a campaign to raise the funds needed for her expensive experimental treatment. Everyone pitches in and donates funds and their time to ensure that the funds are raised for the little girl’s treatment. Of course, nothing is as it appears things start to not match up. When a member of the group is murdered, everything comes to light and it seems everyone involved may have a motive for the murder.

This book was phenomenal. I couldn’t put it down and having to use my own deductions to try to solve the mystery was something that I really enjoyed. The evidence is only partly provided to the reader, and having to make deductions based on the facts presented was a different experience for this accomplished reader. The characters were well developed and had their own issues and everyone is not who they seem to be. There were many twists, turns and shocks during the reading of this book, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to see if the author is going to write another book in this format. Even if she doesn’t, she has proven herself to be an author to watch in the future.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Janice Hallett

Series: N/A

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Pages: 431

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

Description (from cover): “The first in a thrilling new series from Emmy Award-winning TV Host and Journalist Tamron Hall, As the Wicked Watch follows a reporter as she unravels the disturbing mystery around the deaths of two young Black women, the work of a serial killer terrorizing Chicago.

When crime reporter Jordan Manning leaves her hometown in Texas to take a job at a television station in Chicago, she’s one step closer to her dream; a coveted anchor chair on a national network.

Jordan is smart and aggressive, with unabashed star-power, and often the only woman of color in the newsroom. Her signature? Arriving first on the scene–in impractical designer stilettos. Armed with a master’s degree in forensic science and impeccable instincts, Jordan has been able to balance her dueling motivations: breaking every big story–and giving a voice to the voiceless.

From her time in Texas, she’s covered the vilest of human behaviors but nothing has prepared her for Chicago. Jordan is that rare breed of a journalist who can navigate a crime scene as well as she can a newsroom–often noticing what others tend to miss. Again and again, she is called to cover the murders of Black women, many of them sexually assaulted, most brutalized, and all of them quickly forgotten.

All until Masey James–the story that Jordan just can’t shake, despite all efforts. A 15-year-old girl whose body was found in an abandoned lot, Masey has come to represent for Jordan all of the frustration and anger that her job often forces her to repress. Putting the rest of her work and her fraying personal life aside, Jordan does everything she can to give the story the coverage it desperately requires, and that a missing Black child would so rarely get.

There’s a serial killer on the loose, Jordan believes, and he’s hiding in plain sight.”

My Thoughts:

Let me just start this by saying “Oh MY GOD!!” This book was amazing. I simply couldn’t put it down and could not stop thinking about it when I wasn’t able to read it. Tamron Hall, is well known as a television anchor and journalist, but she really brought her “A” game to this book. She uses her own personal experiences to shape her main character, Jordan Manning, who is also a reporter. Jordan is a crime beat reporter for a local television station in Chicago who is a little out of her element as she comes from a smaller city in Texas. She is a woman of color and is frequently overlooked for career advancement due to her skin color and her gender. She is a phenomenal reporter and even better investigator.

The author really does a great job of showcasing what Black women have to face daily in their lives from racial bias to career bias and to just being overlooked by society in whole. When it comes to criminal investigations it appears that the Black community is often overlooked and misjudged and the author does a great job of highlighting the inconsistencies in the system . As we all know, Chicago is a city that is rife with racial injustice and the author uses this as her starting point in this book. Fifteen-year-old Masey James has been missing for several weeks and the police keep claiming she is a runaway, much to her mother’s frustration. But when her body is found brutally murdered in a rundown park, the police start their investigation into her death and it seems race and mistakes within the system play a big part in trying to sweep her murder under the rug. Jordan sees this as her chance to make sure Masey’s story stays in the limelight and shines the light on social and racial injustice.

Jordan’s character is immensely likeable and it’s hard not to feel for her. She is struggling to make a name for herself in her career, she is very empathetic to the people she covers in her stories and it affect her on a daily basis. This book provides an interesting view on reporters and what they have to face in their daily lives and careers. They put on a brave face in front of the camera, but no one really thinks about how the gruesome stories that they cover may really affect them emotionally. I really enjoyed this book and have told several of my friends that they must read this book. It appears that Hall plans to write more in this series and as soon as the next book is released, I will be reading it. This was a fantastic read that stays with you even after you have finished it.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Tamron Hall

Series: Jordan Manning #1

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: October 26, 2021

Pages: 396

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Maid by Nita Prose

Description (from cover): “Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter–she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black–but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different–and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.”

My Thoughts:

There has been great acclaim and hype associated with this book and I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this new release at my local library. In this book, Molly is a young maid at a fancy hotel. She prides herself on her job and obsession with cleanliness and order. She was made for this job and she is very good at it. Her employers have no complaints about her work and she is shocked while doing her job she stumbles across the dead body of a wealthy man, Charles Black. Charles Black was not well liked and the hotel staff avoided him due to his temper. When the police start investigating the crime and Molly becomes the prime suspect, she is in a state of shock. She is not the most articulate person and she doesn’t know how to get herself out of the mess she finds herself in. She struggles to learn who is out to help her and who is out to make sure she lands in jail as the murderer.

This is not your average mystery. Usually the main characters who are investigating the crime are witty, smart, and on top of their game. Molly is not like other protagonists. She has been sheltered all of her life, she doesn’t understand how the world works, and how people will use other people to further their own desires. Overall, Molly doesn’t know who to trust and she finds herself repeatedly trusting the wrong people. I struggled with this while reading the book. Some of these things were just blatantly obviously and it was a little frustrating. I applaud the author for portraying the main character in a different light and trying something different. Even though I spent half of the time frustrated by Molly and her antics, the book overall was a good read and one that I found hard to put down.

There were several places in this book where there were nice little twists that I didn’t see coming. I was literally shocked with my mouth open at these times. I really did enjoy this book and would love to see the author do more with Molly, but I am not sure if she intends to turn this into a series or leave it as a stand alone. While this is not your average mystery, I find that Prose did a great job in creating her own mystery with your not-so-average protagonist. That alone is a feat in itself and the author should congratulate herself on creating such a unique mystery read. I think that if you are on the fence about reading this book, you should give it a chance and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: Nita Prose

Series: N/A

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Pages: 280

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Murder at the Book Club by Betsy Reavley

Description (from cover): “Imagine nine women meeting. Tea and cake are on the coffee table. They’ve come together to share their love of books. They are friends. They trust each other. It’s a happy gathering. What could be more harmless?

Then scratch the surface and look closer. One is lonely. One is desperate. And one of them is a killer. When the body of a woman is discovered on a Cambridge common, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called in to investigate. But the motive behind the crime isn’t clear–and it all leads back to a book club. As the lies, volatile friendships, and tension among the group rise to the surface, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer must work out the motive and track down a cold-blooded killer. But just when they think they’re on the right track, a twist in the plot throws them off course…”

My Thoughts:

I very rarely check out book reviews from other readers prior to reading a book myself. It is a rule that I have set for myself to keep my reviews and thoughts unbiased. However, for some reason, I read the reviews of this book before reading it. The reviews overwhelmingly were a mixed bag. It seemed readers either loved this book or hated it and there really wasn’t a middle ground. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I read this book anyways and decided to give it an honest shake. While this book wasn’t a horrible read, it wasn’t fantastic either. I initially picked up this book because I thought it would centered around a book club, and as a lover of books myself, I felt I would be able to relate. It was centered on the members of a book club, but books really weren’t all that big of a part in this story.

Nine women are meeting for their book club meeting. When the members arrive, before they can even get started discussing the book, the ladies erupt into a large argument amongst themselves. The book club members are pitted against each other and soon the members are storming out angrily just minutes after getting started with their meeting. It seems that the book club is finally over as none of the members can seem to get along with each other. The next day, one of the members is found murdered on the common and the group is in shock. How could this happen to one of them and who is responsible? The police begin investigating the book club members and it seems every one has a secret.

I don’t think that there was one character in this book that I actually liked. None of the characters are likeable and they all seem to be self-centered and focused on their own selves. The constant fighting between the characters is very petty at times and just seemed unnecessary. I did like that each character could be a viable suspect and the plot had me guessing until the end. While this book didn’t quite blow me away, I didn’t think it was as bad as some of the other reviews I had come across prior to reading this book. I would just say it was an okay and average read. Nothing too exciting, but nothing too boring at the same time.

Overall Rating: 3

Author: Betsy Reavley

Series: Barrett & Palmer Mystery #1

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Pages: 218

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Hounded by David Rosenfelt

Description (from cover): “Andy Carpenter isn’t sure what to think when he gets a mysterious phone call from a good friend, policeman Pete Stanton, asking him to drop everything, drive to an unfamiliar address, and bring his girlfriend, Laurie Collins. He certainly isn’t expecting to show up at a crime scene. But that’s exactly where he arrives–at the house where Pete has just discovered the body of ex-convict Danny Diaz. Upstairs are Danny’s now orphaned eight-year-old son and basset hound. And that, Andy discovers, is why he and Laurie were called to the scene–Pete wants them to take care of the boy and the dog so they won’t get thrown into the “system.” This is already asking a lot, but soon Pete needs another big favor from Andy. Pete himself has come under suspicion for Danny’s murder, and he needs defense attorney Andy to represent him…and to find out what really happened in Danny’s house that day.

David Rosenfelt has done it again. Told with his characteristic humor and wit, Hounded is at once a heartfelt story about family and a page-turning legal thriller.”

My Thoughts:

I found the first book in this series quite by accident. I was scrolling through books that were available at my library and came across this series. This series is a little different from what I normally read, but give me a book with twists and turns, courtroom drama and dogs and I will be all over it. I am a paralegal by day and a book blogger by night, so combining my knowledge of the legal system and my love of mysteries in a book was sure to catch my interest. Andy Carpenter is a small town criminal attorney in Patterson, New Jersey. He is sarcastic, he is smart, he is conniving and best of all, he loves dogs. All of the books in this series are full of surprises and you never know what to expect next. Andy must use his legal training and his smarts to help solve impossible cases where the Defendant appears to be nothing but guilty. Somehow, some way, Andy Carpenter always saves the day, but he is constantly going up against the clock to prove his clients’ innocence.

This book is the twelfth book in this series. As you can tell, I have stuck with this one with no complaints. I always know that when I read one of Rosenfelt’s books, I will not be disappointed. I literally read this book in one day as I could not put it down. Andy is a character who I have come to love throughout the series. In this book, Andy’s friend policeman Pete Stanton, who has long been a character in this series, calls him one night and requests that Andy and his girlfriend, Laurie, meet him at a murder scene. When they get there, Pete tells Andy that he must take the murder victim’s eight-year-old son and dog in for safety reasons. Andy reluctantly does so but does so for his friend Pete. Andy comes to find out later that Pete is the number one suspect in the victim’s murder and is arrested for the crime. This time the case is personal when it is one of Andy’s friends who faces life in prison. Andy knows his friend is not guilty of the crime he is charged with, yet all the evidence is stacked high against him.

Sometimes I like to switch it up a little bit and read something a little different. While this is still a mystery, it is a little different from what I normally read as it is not historical or cozy. Nevertheless, this is still one of my favorite series. I love how the author uses Andy’s sarcasm and connections with criminals, the mafia, and somewhat seedy characters to prove his clients’ cases in the courtroom. Nothing is too big or too small for Andy Carpenter. I have waitlisted the next book in this series, Who Let the Dog Out?, from the library and cannot wait to read it to see what Andy does next as there is no telling what trouble he will find himself in next. Another fantastic read by David Rosenfelt in what is coming to be one of my favorite mystery series.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: David Rosenfelt

Series: Andy Carpenter Mystery #12

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: July 22, 2014

Pages: 320

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.