Brigid Quinn is an fifty-nine year old ex-FBI agent, forced into early retirement. She now lives with her husband, Carlo, a former Roman Catholic priest and philosophy professor, who knows literally nothing about Brigid’s violent past. Brigid lost one love due to her obsession with hunting killers and she wasn’t going to let that happen again.
She’s called into a case by FBI Agent Laura Coleman, a young agent familiar with Brigid’s past. The case involves a serial killer that stalked Route 66, a case that Brigid was never able to close. An agent Brigid trained was abducted by this elusive killer, her body never found. They have a man in custody who has confessed to the crime but Coleman is reluctant to accept his confession. She calls in Brigid without permission from her supervisors knowing full well that Brigid’s obsession with this case will force her to get answers that Coleman is prevented from obtaining.
Rash decisions put Quinn at odds with the agency, the very behavior that put her in danger and forced her into retirement. This behavior threatens her quiet, sheltered marriage and puts it, along with her very life, at risk.
Brigid Quinn is a wholly unique character. Not many thriller authors dare to write a novel featuring an “older” protagonist yet Masterman truly exceeds expectations with this one. Brigid is a hardened former FBI agent who tries so desperately to accept a quiet, routine retired life, yet her past involvement (and guilt) surrounding this case won’t allow it. Brigid is a wholly sympathetic character, the reader understanding more than she how much of a victim she is to her own fate and behavior. She is a feisty, cocky, and smart-witted character, one that readers can’t help but root for. This reader can’t wait for more! Highly, highly recommended.
Click here to listen to a sample of the audiobook from Macmillan Audio.
Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Today’s featured book is Safe House by Chris Ewan:
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (December 11, 2012)
Rob Hale awakens in a hospital room after barely surviving a motorcycle accident. Instead of being concerned about his own well-being he asks about Lena, the beautiful blond passenger riding with him. The doctors and police insist he was the only victim found at the scene. Having lost his sister, Laura, to suicide in the last year, his family believes he is projecting memories and feelings about Laura into this fictional individual, Lena. Desperate to discover the truth on his own, he is soon joined by a private investigator, Rebecca Lewis, hired by his family to investigate his sister’s suicide. Rebecca has some secret connection to his sister, and in turn, the mysterious Lena.
Set on Isle of Man, Safe House is an extremely dynamic and well-plotted thriller. The setting, a small island in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, plays an integral role in the storyline. With a population of near 80,000, its remote location allows residents to feel isolated, but soon Rebecca and Rob learn that even even the most close-knit locations can be overflowing with secrets.Much like the Tourist Trophy (locally referred to as the “TT”) motorcycle race the island is known for, Ewan takes readers on a full-throttle, intense ride throughout the entirety of this novel.
One of the most redeeming things (and there are many) about this book is the main character, Rob Hale. He’s your average Joe, just trying to get on with his life after the devastating loss of his sister. He doesn’t have a lucrative job (he works in heating and cooling) his passion, like many residents of the island, is motorcycle racing. It all started with a nice motorcycle ride with a beautiful blonde…and then Rob is forced to become embroiled in a truly terrifying series of events.
This is my first taste of Ewan’s writing and I must say it will not be my last. A truly heart-pounding thriller, I cannot wait for more. Highly recommended.
Author Chris Ewan on how he writes:
A sample of the audio book production from AudioGo:
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
In the small town of Acker’s Gap, Virgina, three elderly man are shot and killed as they drink their morning coffee in the town diner. Although most of the town was there to witness the act, no one saw the shooter. Or so they say, at least. One of the individuals in the diner at the time was Carla Elkins, daughter of Bell Elkins, the county’s prosecuting attorney. She and her mother don’t have the best of relationships. Carla is desperate to get out of the small town and doesn’t understand her mother’s reason for return after so many years of a seemingly happy life living in Washington D.C. The majority of her mother’s time and attention is now devoted to her job, making Carla feel neglected. This, and the usual conflict that arises between a mother and a teenage daughter causes a rift between Carla and her mother. Despite this, days after the shooting Carla believes she may know the identity of the shooter and embarks upon her own investigation.
The local authorities quickly launch their own investigation. Were the three men targeted or is the shooting somehow tied to the drug trade that has taken over the small town? Bell, already working on another murder case, has to divide her time between learning more about the motive for the shooting and the case of a young boy found dead in a neighbor’s basement, their mentally disabled son arrested for the crime. Adding to the stress already on Bell is the knowledge that someone is out to harm her. It starts with a reckless driver who attempts to force her vehicle off a treacherous mountain road and slowly hits closer to home, dealing Bell a blow that forces her to completely rethink her relationships with townspeople she thought were her friends.
A Killing in the Hills is truly an atmospheric thriller. Keller so expertly describes the setting: the lush mountains of West Virginia and the changing colors of fall. Growing up in West Virginia myself, I was instantly transported back to a part of the country that will always have a place in my heart. Her clear and accurate portrayal of the setting instantly takes the reader into a completely unique part of the country, an area that is devastated due to the decline of the economy and shortage of jobs. As Keller so eloquently explains, natives of the state already have one point against them as society at large seems to have preconceived notions about West Virginians. This commentary just adds to the overall atmosphere of the novel: a brutal, heartless killing that takes place one one of the most gorgeous parts of the country.
Additionally, the characters are so well fleshed out and developed that it is not difficult to bond and sympathize with them. They are truly genuine characters and readers will find it easy to recognize traits of their own friends and acquaintances in them. Without a doubt the character who stands out the most for me is Bell, a strong-willed, hard-headed woman who will stop at nothing, risk everything, to bring justice to this small town. Her own history comes in to play, a truly dynamic character that has risen above the fate that was dealt to her. The multiple story lines may sound complex and unwieldy, but Keller so expertly executes them that they flow together naturally, further accelerating the pacing of the novel.
I found myself immersed in the novel and the characters from the start, transported to a place I recognize from my own childhood. A truly remarkable debut to a new series, I can’t wait for more! Highly recommended!
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
Gretchen Lowell, the serial killer who has been tormenting Portland for years, is finally locked away in a psych ward, the medication to treat her transforming her into just a shell of the beauty she was before. Finally, Portland detective Archie Sheridan can start to heal from the emotional and physical devastation Gretchen inflicted on him.
In true Archie form, he throws himself in the next case that crosses his desk. A body is found by a cyclist, tortured, skinned and found hanging from a tree. The killer was bold; the crime committed out in the open. Soon after, Archie receives a message from Gretchen’s doctor: Gretchen claims to have information about the killing. Knowing Gretchen’s history of manipulating those around her just to satisfy her own needs, Archie ignores Gretchen’s demands that he visit her.
As the Portland police are called out on similarly brutal crimes, Archie can’t help but wonder if Gretchen is involved somehow in these killings, despite being locked up in a secure medical facility. He visits her, and as always, Gretchen treats the visit and their interaction as a game, only revealing just enough information to whet Archie’s attention. It obviously isn’t Gretchen committing these brutal murders, but someone with ties directly to her. Is there a serial killer more brutal to the Beauty Killer stalking the streets of Portland? Only Archie Sheridan can get inside the evil mind of Gretchen and discover the identity of the killer.
Let me start off by saying that Chelsea Cain, by far, is my all time favorite female thriller writer. I’ve followed Archie & Gretchen’s sick and twisted relationship from the beginning, engulfing each of the books in this series as soon as I can get my hands on them. Admittedly, I always set my standards high when it comes to Cain’s writing and, to date, I have yet to be disappointed.
Kill You Twice once again lives up to these standards and may very well be my favorite. While Gretchen doesn’t play quite the involved role as she has in previous books, readers learn more about her past and how she came to be the Beauty Killer. But, by far my favorite part of this book is the amount of growth, and healing, Archie experiences. While Gretchen continues to have a hold on him, he’s finally learned how to break the chains she holds on his heart, his emotions, his body. To say the relationship this extremely odd-couple has is twisted is an understatement. Gretchen has performed incredibly brutal and tortuous things to Archie yet, despite it all, there is a level of respect and, yes, love between the two. Yet, Archie is able to put these strong…feelings aside and use his control and influence on Gretchen to get the information he needs.
Kill You Twice is the fifth book in this series and while readers could probably get by with picking up the series at any point, I highly, highly recommend you start at the beginning with Heartsick to truly understand the history of Gretchen & Archie’s relationship, to see it evolve.
Cain excels at developing these incredibly rich characters. In my opinion, she is the queen of psychological thrillers, never failing to take her reader on a twisted journey inside the mind of an incredibly demented character. Like author Gillian Flynn, Cain creates a demented world that you can’t bear to tear yourself away from.
Now is the perfect time to start this series if you have not yet, for FX is developing the series for television! Looking for a incredibly twisted psychological thriller? This is the series for you! Highly, highly recommended.
For you audiobook fans, this title is also available in audiobook format from Macmillan Audio. Click here to listen to a sample.
As Carter Ross is reading the obituaries (“some of the happiest news we print”) he comes across the entry for Nancy Marino, just 42 years old. As Carter scans the rest of the entry, he sees that Nancy was a carrier for the Eagle-Examiner, the very paper he writes for as an investigative reporter. Wanting to do a special piece for one of their own, Carter attends Nancy’s wake. After speaking with her family members, Carter learns that Nancy’s death, a hit-and-run, may not have been an accident.
Further investigation indicates that Ms. Marino was involved in a heated union battle with the newspaper. Could the head of the Eagle-Examiner be responsible for Nancy’s death? Carter Ross becomes obsessed with seeking resolution for Nancy’s family, even if that means putting his job, and life, at risk.
Fans of this series will be thrilled to see Carter Ross back in action. An investigative reporter, he always seems to get involved in some pretty dangerous assignments. His witty humor and me laughing out loud. The relationship with his editor, Tina Thompson, is just as steamy and full of sexual tension as before. In this book, however, things are taken to a completely different level (not that level, much to the dismay of Carter Ross).
One of the perks to Parks’ books are his secondary characters. Carter Ross always has the most…interesting entourage of individuals surrounding him. I was happy to see many of the characters from the previous books return (i.e. Tommy, the gay Cuban intern) as well as the introduction of some new “side kicks,” including Lunky, the intern better suited as Literature professor than a newspaper reporter. One particular scene in which Lunky admitted to reading The DaVinci Code and liking it had me in stitches.
Parks’ talent is his ability to add just enough humor to his mysteries to get the reader laughing, but not so much that you are distracted from the solving of the case. As with the previous two books, Parks inserts the perfect dose of social commentary. This is where his skill at breaking up the serious bits with humor comes into play. His timing in his humor was perfect: just as Carter started getting too serious, Parks’ would insert some bit of humor to return him to the status of a cute and witty investigative reporter.
While this is the third book in a series, I believe readers can pick up any book along the way and be able to become quickly immersed in the series. All in all, Parks books are ones that I have quickly grown to adore and will continue to look forward to each and every one. Highly recommended.
On the same night the nation was watching Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon, ten-year-old Charlie Olmstead disappeared. He took off on his bike, never to be seen again. His bike was found in a in the water of Sunset Falls, one of his favorite places to visit. The Perry Hollow Police Chief Jim Campbell discovered the bike and he, among many others, assumed Charlie had fallen into the falls and drowned. His mother refused to believe this, spending the rest of her life investigating her son’s disappearance.
Decades later, Charlie’s younger brother Eric, a mere infant when his brother disappeared, has returned to Perry Hollow to bury his mother and to fulfill her deathbed request: Find Charlie. He requests the help of Nick Donnelly, a former state police officer, for help. After being fired for assaulting an employee at the county hospital, Nick formed a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving cold-case files. Nick drags Kat Campbell, police chief and daughter of Jim Campbell into the case. Kat has lived in Perry Hollow all her life and could provide valuable resources in his investigation.
The trio soon learns that Charlie wasn’t the only boy that went missing in this time frame. A handful of children disappeared in Pennsyylvania within years of one another, all taking place at the same time as Apollo missions in space. Instead of one disappearance they begin to investigate several, on the hunt for an elusive serial killer roaming the quiet towns of Pennsylvania. In their investigation, they uncover a host of small-town secrets kept hidden and a multitude of residents who would prefer to allow the dead to lie and for the decades-old secrets remain…
Bad Moon is Ritter’s follow-up to his debut, Death Notice, and what a stunning follow-up it is! Both take place in the small town of Perry Hollow, PA, a small town in which everyone knows one another. Kat’s involvement as both the police chief and daughter of the man who discovered Charlie’s bicycle and the high-school love interest of Eric Olmstead adds a bit of intrigue to the storyline. Additionally, several times throughout the book, I was certain I knew who the abductor was, but without fail I was proved wrong each time. When the truth was ultimately revealed, I was floored; I quite literally shouted “No way!”
Ritter has quite the talent; he develops a compelling storyline as well as deep and complex characters. Each of the main characters have skeletons in their closet and Ritter does a tremendous job of relating this to the storyline. Bad Moon is an absorbing, addictive thriller!Ritter is an author to watch; I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
I’d be remiss not to add a bit of a soundtrack to this book…for this was the song playing in my head as I read the book:
At a very young age, Michael witnessed a horrendous crime. Since then, he’s been unable to speak. Nearly a decade later, Michael learns he has a special skill: he can pick the most difficult of locks, including padlocks, combination locks, even safes.
As punishment for a prank he and a few other teens participate in, Michael is forced to provide manual labor for the family of the victim. It is here that Michael’s trade is discovered. This knowledge falls into the wrong hands and Michael becomes quite a commodity for the wrong kind of people.
Michael also meets Amelia here. She’s the one bright spot in his life, the one person who understands him. The both share a love of drawing that brings them closer together, allows them to communicate without words. She gives him hope for a better life, a future. Their relationship becomes one similar to Romeo & Juliet: two individuals who love one another but cannot due to circumstances beyond their control.
While Michael is bright & extremely intelligent, the fact he does not speak separates him from the outside world. Because of these circumstances, he’s forced to choose a vocation that puts him in danger. Michael is an extremely courageous man, forced to deal with the mistakes of the past and see forward to his future. Despite his line of work, he is an man with a conscious, one that prevents him from doing much darker & deadlier things in order to get paid.
This is my first experience with this author and it will not be my last. Hamilton is extremely talented, weaving the story of a innocent child and the effect that trauma has on his future with a story of crime & corruption. Ultimately it is also a story of love, and how it can help one overcome any obstacle.
I cannot say enough about the narrator, MacLeod Andrews. He does an outstanding job of portraying Michael, both as a child and as an adult. I plan to actively look for and listen to more of his work!
I must thank Jen Forbus from Jen’s Book Thoughts for recommending this book to me. I really shouldn’t be suprised at how much I enjoyed this book, Jen’s recommendations have never steered me wrong. Here is Jen’s review of The Lock Artist, a book she calls “one of the most unique books I have read in a long time.”
If you’re looking for a thriller with a unique storyline then The Lock Artist is the book for you. If you are partial to audiobooks, read it in this format; you won’t regret it.
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
Source: Get Red PR
It’s been six months since the case in the previous book The Brutal Telling was solved. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is still recovering, both physically & mentally, from this case, in which he arrested a his good friend & citizen of Three Pines for this heinous crime. The guilt, the feelings of doubt, weighs more heavily than the physical.
While on leave, visiting his mentor in Quebec City, Gamache becomes involved in a case in which a man is found dead in the Literary and Historical Society. The victim, Augustin Renaud, was known to be on an obsessive hunt for the burial ground of Quebec’s founder, Champlain.
The new investigation doesn’t cut Gamache free of his ties to Three Pines, however. He continues to receive pleas to reopen the case. Gamache relives his feelings of guilt & doubt through flashbacks to this crime.
Bury Your Deadmay very well be my favorite of the sixc-books in the Inspector Gamahe series. Whereas the citizens of Three Pines were the focus of the previous books in this series, Gamache himself is clearly the center of attention in this book. Readers see a different side of Gamache, one full of emotion, both positive & negative.
Penny did an outstanding job of juggling/mixing the two storylines together. While other reviews have stated the storyline was so slow-paced, I believe this pacing actually allowed the reader to become more engaged & invested in the characters & storyline.
Fans of intense, character-driven literary suspense will be enamored by Penny’s writing. As this is a series, I do strongly recommend starting at the beginning & reading the series in order to fully appreciate the depth of Penny’s characters. Highly recommended.
Kat Campbell is a single mom & chief of police for the small town of Perry Hollow, PA. Other than a few minor crimes, Perry Hollow is a pretty quiet town. Until one frigidly cold day when a coffin is found on the side of the road. Inside the coffin is the body of a local farmer. Two shiny pennies lay over his eyes; his mouth sewn shut. On his neck was another wound, stitched closed with the same black thread that sealed his mouth.
Henry Goll works for the local newspaper as an obituary writer. It’s his job to makes sure every obituary printed contains a death sentence-the line that details who died, how & when. Henry has quite the history; after surviving a horrible crash he’s left with a severe scar and burns covering a large portion of his face. Henry’s a loner, keeps to himself, never smiles. He’s known as Henry Ghoul by other reporters.
It is normal for Henry to receive faxes from funeral homes, announcing the deaths of citizens of the small town. However one fax he receives is very different. It is the death notice for George Winnick, the farmer found in the coffin, sent before his body was found.
Chief Campbell knows she’s in over her head and seeks the assistance of Nick Donnelly, a state police officer with special knowledge about serial killers. When Goll continues to receive death notices for the killer’s victims, he becomes an integral part of the investigation.
Death Notice is a chilling & suspenseful debut novel. Readers will become instantly invested in the well-developed characters. I felt for Goll’s character, in particular. In a hell of his own already due to the horrific accident that scared him, he faces his own fears to help save the citizens of the small town.
What really impressed me about this book was the fact that it isn’t one of those formulaic, cookie cutter crime novels. It was well-paced, not rushed at all. The killer was kept a secret til the very end, despite several false leads. All in all, I can’t say enough just how much I recommend Death Notice. It’s one of those one-sitting thrillers; you won’t be able to pull yourself away til you turn the last page.
I’m not sure if Ritter plans a follow-up to this novel. In any case, I look forward to reading what he writes next.
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
The book I’m eagerly awaiting is THE NIGHT SEASON by Chelsea Cain. It’s the fourth book in Chelsea’s Beauty Killer series. I literally yelled with excitement yesterday when I read about it on Twitter. Here is a synopsis from the publisher:
Chelsea Cain launches the next stage of her bestselling series as Archie Sheridan works to regain his life and Susan Ward steps in to share the spotlight in this electric thriller from one of today’s most talented suspense writers.
With Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Portland detective Archie Sheridan can finally rest. Meanwhile, the city of Portland is in crisis. Several people have drowned in heavy rains that have flooded the Willamette River. But the medical examiner discovers that in fact the latest victim was poisoned before she went into the water—she didn’t drown. A little detective work shows that so far three of those previously thought to be accidental drownings have actually been murdered. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case. Meanwhile reporter Susan Ward is following up on an entirely separate mystery: the dramatic flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died during catastrophic flooding more than sixty years ago that washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least 15 people.
As Archie follows the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch his killer, he has to battle the rising waters of the Willamette first.
I’m literally aching to get my hands on a copy of this book! I’ve been a Chelsea Cain fan from the beginning! As a matter of fact, during Dectectives Around the World, hosted by Jen’s Book Thoughts, I did a spotlight on Chelsea Cain’s Portland.
THE NIGHT SEASON is scheduled for release by Minotaur Books on March 1, 2011. Over seven months to wait…however will I do it!?