Book Review: They Did Bad Things by Lauren A. Forry

They Did Bad Things by Lauren A. Forry

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BOOK INFO

Title: They Did Bad Things
Author: Lauren A. Forry
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
Publish Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 3/5


BOOK BLURB

And Then There Were None meets The Last Time I Lied in this dark and twisty psychological thriller.

In 1995, six university students moved into the house at 215 Caldwell Street. Months later, one of them was found dead on the sofa the morning after their end-of-year party. His death was ruled an accident by the police. The remaining five all knew it wasn’t, and though they went on with their lives, the truth of what happened to their sixth housemate couldn’t stay buried forever.

Twenty years later, all five of them arrive—lured separately under various pretenses—at Wolfheather House, a crumbling, secluded mansion on the Scottish isle of Doon. Trapped inside with no way out and no signal to the outside world, the now forty-somethings fight each other—and the unknown mastermind behind their gathering—as they confront the role they played in their housemate’s death. They are given one choice: confess to their crimes or die.

They Did Bad Things is a deviously clever psychological thriller about the banality of evil and the human capacity for committing horror.

They Did Bad Things by Lauren A. Forry
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Five former college housemates are reunited 20 years later at a secluded mansion. They are lured to the house under various pretenses, and are confronted with their past. When they were in college, they shared a house with another person who died. The death was ruled accidental, but the housemates know it was murder. Now, someone has lured them together to learn what really happened years earlier.

Told using various points of view. It has been many years since the characters have been together, and they have all moved on with their lives. Different jobs and relationships. They have tried to forget what happened in college, and don’t really want anything to do with one another. It’s soon clear they were brought together for sinister reasons. They have to work together to stay alive and figure out who lured them to the secluded location.

An entertaining mystery. The character development was a little weak, so I wasn’t as drawn into the story as I was hoping. Still, a fun read for fans of thrillers. Dark and twisty.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

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BOOK INFO

Title: Unfollow Me
Author: Charlotte Duckworth
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: March 10, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 5/5


BOOK BLURB

A gripping domestic thriller examining the terrifying depths of our social media obsessions.

You can’t stop watching her.

Violet Young is a hugely popular journalist-turned-mummy-influencer, with three children, a successful husband and a million subscribers on YouTube who tune in daily to watch her everyday life unfold.

Until the day she’s no longer there.

But one day she disappears from the online world – her entire social media presence deleted overnight, with no explanation. Has she simply decided that baring her life to all online is no longer a good idea, or has something more sinister happened to Violet?

But do you really know who Violet is?

Her fans are obsessed with finding out the truth, but their search quickly reveals a web of lies, betrayal, and shocking consequences…

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Violet is a popular social media influencer and “mom” vlogger with over a million followers. When all of her social media accounts are suddenly deleted, fans start to question what happened. Some think Violet simply decided to quit it all, while others believe something more sinister has happened.

Told from multiple points of view – Lily, Yvonne, and Henry. Lily and Yvonne are fans that have unhealthy obsessions with Violet. Henry is Violet’s husband. Everyone has secrets.

A witty psychological thriller. Unreliable narrators in a story about social media and obsession. Clever, engaging, and highly entertaining.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

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BOOK INFO

Title: Follow Me
Author: Kathleen Barber
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: February 25, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

From the author of Truth Be Told (formerly titled Are You Sleeping)—now an Apple TV series of the same name—comes a cautionary tale of oversharing in the social media age for fans of Jessica Knoll and Caroline Kepnes’s You.

Everyone wants new followers…until they follow you home.

Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all. Having just moved to Washington, DC, Audrey busies herself impressing her new boss, interacting with her online fan base, and staving off a creepy upstairs neighbor with the help of the only two people she knows in town: an ex-boyfriend she can’t stay away from and a sorority sister with a high-powered job and a mysterious past.

But Audrey’s faulty door may be the least of her security concerns. Unbeknownst to her, her move has brought her within striking distance of someone who’s obsessively followed her social media presence for years—from her first WordPress blog to her most recent Instagram Story. No longer content to simply follow her carefully curated life from a distance, he consults the dark web for advice on how to make Audrey his and his alone. In his quest to win her heart, nothing is off-limits—and nothing is private.

With “compelling, suspenseful” (Liz Nugent) prose, Kathleen Barber’s electrifying new thriller will have you scrambling to cover your webcam and digital footprints.

Follow Me by Kathleen Barber
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Audrey is an influencer with over a million Instagram followers. She moves to Washington, DC, for a new job, and attracts the attention of an obsessed fan. Now, she’s faced with figuring out who is her friend and who is her stalker.

Told from multiple points of view – Audrey, Cat (Audrey’s best friend), and Him (the stalker). Audrey is insecure and anxious, but she’s also somewhat shallow. Having so many followers makes her feel good about herself, and she enjoys sharing things online. Cat values Audrey’s friendship more than Audrey does. They’ve been friends since college, but are opposite in many ways. Cat stays away from social media and has something dark in her past she doesn’t want getting out. Him is an obsessed fan who follows Audrey’s every move online and in real life.

A twisty psychological thriller with plenty of suspects. Audrey seems to attract some creepy guys in her life – the neighbor, the ex-boyfriend, the co-worker, the new beau, and Cat’s crush. With alternating POVs and plenty of suspects, this is a fun read. Clever, suspenseful, and chilling.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

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BOOK INFO

Title: Pretty as a Picture
Author: Elizabeth Little
Publisher: Viking
Publish Date: February 25, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

An egomaniacal movie director, an isolated island, and a decades-old murder–the addictive new novel from the bestselling author of Dear Daughter

Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary–and legendarily demanding–director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline.

Some girl dies.

It’s not much to go on, but the specifics don’t concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She’ll spend her days in the editing room, doing what she does best: turning pictures into stories.

But she soon discovers that on this set, nothing is as it’s supposed to be–or as it seems. There are rumors of accidents and indiscretions, of burgeoning scandals and perilous schemes. Half the crew has been fired. The other half wants to quit. Even the actors have figured out something is wrong. And no one seems to know what happened to the editor she was hired to replace.

Then she meets the intrepid and incorrigible teenage girls who are determined to solve the real-life murder that is the movie’s central subject, and before long, Marissa is drawn into the investigation herself.

The only problem is, the killer may still be on the loose. And he might not be finished.

A wickedly funny exploration of our cultural addiction to tales of murder and mayhem and a thrilling, behind-the-scenes whodunit, Pretty as a Picture is a captivating page-turner from one of the most distinctive voices in crime fiction.

Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Marissa is a skilled film editor who gets sucked into a real life mystery on her latest job. The job is working with a demanding director on a set in an isolated location. The film is based on the unsolved murder of a girl that happened 20 years prior. When Marissa arrives to work, she soon learns that something is wrong on set, and everyone is on edge.

The unsolved murder had a big impact on the locals. Everyone believes they know who did it, and the director sets out to solve the case in his film. It’s not as clear as everyone would like to believe though. Marissa gets involved with a couple of teens looking to find the real killer, and things get more complicated.

A slow-burning mystery. I enjoyed Marissa, a socially awkward woman wanting to prove herself in the film industry. The teen podcasters she helps to solve the mystery are entertaining and on point. The isolated setting adds to the intriguing atmosphere. Suspenseful, clever, and witty.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Sun Down Motel
Author: Simone St. James
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: February 18, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 5/5


BOOK BLURB

Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

In Fell, New York, the Sun Down Motel is a rundown motel where strange things happen. In 1982, Viv was the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel. One night she simply disappeared. In 2017, Carly is curious what happened to her aunt Viv in 1982, so she goes to Fell to retrace Viv’s steps. Not much has changed since 1982, and Carly is faced with the same mysteries as her aunt.

Told with alternating points of view (Viv and Carly) and alternating timelines (1982 and 2017). Viv is a young woman wanting to get away from her family in 1982. She makes it as far as Fell, and ends up with a job as a motel night clerk. While there, she is intrigued with several local murders, and starts to investigate. Carly has always wondered what happened to her aunt Viv. While looking for answers, Carly’s steps are eerily similar to her aunt’s.

An absorbing and atmospheric paranormal mystery. The characters are captivating. The setting is haunting. The story is gripping. An excellent read that I highly recommend

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Last Day by Luanne Rice

Last Day by Luanne Rice

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BOOK INFO

Title: Last Day
Author: Luanne Rice
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: February 1, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 3/5


BOOK BLURB

From celebrated New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a riveting story of a seaside community shaken by a violent crime and a tragic loss.

Years ago, Beth Lathrop and her sister Kate suffered what they thought would be the worst tragedy of their lives the night both the famous painting Moonlight and their mother were taken. The detective assigned to the case, Conor Reid, swore to protect the sisters from then on.

Beth moved on, throwing herself fully into the art world, running the family gallery, and raising a beautiful daughter with her husband Pete. Kate, instead, retreated into herself and took to the skies as a pilot, always on the run. When Beth is found strangled in her home, and Moonlight goes missing again, Detective Reid can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

Reid immediately suspects Beth’s husband, whose affair is a poorly kept secret. He has an airtight alibi—but he also has a motive, and the evidence seems to point to him. Kate and Reid, along with the sisters’ closest childhood friends, struggle to make sense of Beth’s death, but they only find more questions: Who else would have wanted Beth dead? What’s the significance of Moonlight?

Twenty years ago, Reid vowed to protect Beth and Kate—and he’s failed. Now solving the case is turning into an obsession…

Last Day by Luanne Rice
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

When Beth and Kate Lathrop were teenagers, they suffered a tragedy that left their mother dead and a valuable painting stolen. Now, Beth and Kate are grown, and it seems life is repeating itself when Beth is found murdered and the same painting is once again missing.

A lot of characters and points of view, though the story is primarily from Kate’s POV. Kate discovers her sister Beth has been murdered. Conor is the detective working the case, and he has a link to the sister’s past. Pete is Beth’s husband and a primary suspect in her death. Nicola is Pete’s mistress. Sam is Beth and Pete’s daughter. There are also a lot of friends mentioned throughout the book.

This book hooked me at the start, but disappointed me in the end. It’s a good mystery, and I imagine a lot of readers will enjoy it. For me, the number of characters and their various stories bogged down the novel. While some tangents were entertaining, the primary mystery was the only thing I was interested in. Disturbing and mysterious.

Book Review: The Other People by C.J. Tudor

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Other People
Author: C.J. Tudor
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: January 28, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

A gripping thriller about a man’s quest for the daughter no one else believes is still alive, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man and The Hiding Place.

Q: Why are you called the Other People?
A: We are people just like you. People to whom terrible things have happened. We’ve found solace not in forgiveness or forgetting. But in helping each other find justice.

Driving home one night, Gabe is stuck behind a rusty old car. He sees a little girl’s face appear in its rear window. She mouths one word: Daddy. It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights traveling up and down the highway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe she’s dead.

When the car that he saw escape with his little girl is found abandoned with a body inside, Gabe must confront not just the day Izzy disappeared but the painful events from his past now dredged to the surface.

Q: What sort of justice?
A: That depends on the individual. But our ethos is a punishment that fits the crime.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the road. Not searching. Running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them—because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter.

She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up to her and Alice.

Q: Can I request to have someone killed?
A: If your Request is acceptable, and unless there are exceptional circumstances, we fulfill all Requests.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

On his drive home one night, Gabe seems a little girl in the back of another car. When he looks closer, he sees that the girl is his daughter. He tries to catch up to the car, but they get away. He never sees his daughter again.

Told from multiple viewpoints – Gabe, Fran, and Katie. The night Gabe saw his daughter, was the same night someone entered his home and killed his wife and daughter. Gabe is convinved he saw his daughter that night, and that she is still alive. Gabe spends the next few years driving up and down the highway in search of the car that last held his daughter. The police don’t believe him, but he’s convinced she’s out there somewhere. Fran and her daughter are on the run. It’s not clear exactly who is after them and why, but there is someone trying to track them down and kill them. Katie works the night shift as waitress near the highway. As the story progresses, the points of view come together.

An intriguing thriller that combines suspense, paranormal, and vigilantism. I enjoyed the suspenseful mystery, but I wasn’t interested in the paranormal parts. For me, it didn’t really work, but I get how it was used to connect some of the characters. The idea of a vigilante group using the dark web was interesting, and my favorite aspect of the novel.

A good read, and one fans of C.J. Tudor will surely enjoy. Dark, eerie, and mysterious.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine

Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: Bitter Falls
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: January 21, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: Stillhouse Lake #4
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

The fourth book in the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine. Gwen Proctor and her family are back, and they are finding it harder and harder to fit into their local community. Gwen’s trying to keep her family safe and also keep herself busy. She takes on the cold case of a missing young man. Gwen’s investigation leads to her discovering other victims, and wanting to discover who is behind the disappearances.

This is an action-packed and exciting series. Gwen and her kids are not well-liked, and it is extremely difficult on the kids. Things are becoming more serious in their community, and the entire family is uncertain of their futures. I like the different viewpoints, and that each family member’s take on what is happening is represented. The characters in this book are likable and easy to root for. Gwen is still a badass, and she’s raising her kids to be strong, smart, and independent.

A fast-paced thriller that kept me wanting to read more. Interesting mystery with plenty of bad guys, in both Gwen’s personal and professional lives. Intriguing, dark, and intense.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: How Quickly She Disappears
Author: Raymond Fleischmann
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: January 14, 2020
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 3/5


BOOK BLURB

The Dry meets The Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense, set in the relentless Alaskan landscape, about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family….

My proposition is very simple: I am going to ask you for three gifts, and for each gift you deliver, I will take you one step closer to Jacqueline.

It’s been twenty years since Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister.

But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister’s voice saying, Come and find me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger.

How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Elisabeth Pfautz lives in a small Alaskan town with her husband and daughter. While her husband is away on business, a stranger, Alfred Seidel, arrives in town and needs somewhere to stay. The Pfautz home is the place where locals direct someone in need of a room for a night or two, and Elisabeth reluctantly agrees that the man can stay there. Shortly after his arrival, he kills a local man. While in jail, Alfred wants to speak with Elisabeth, and only Elisabeth. To convince her to help him, he says he knows what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, Jacqueline. Twenty years earlier, Jacqueline disappeared, and Elisabeth is consumed by her need to find out what happened to her sister.

The remote setting is fantastic. It really sets the tone for a moody and somewhat depressing read. The characters are intriguing. Elisabeth is lonely, and has never gotten over her sister’s disappearance. Even putting herself and her family in danger doesn’t hold her back from learning about what happened.

A slow burning and atmospheric mystery. While there were some compelling parts to the novel, I was never fully drawn into the story.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: The Dead Girls Club
Author: Damien Angelica Walters
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: December 10, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Series: na
My Rating: 3/5


BOOK BLURB

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic–and terrifying–consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real–and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

When Heather was twelve, she and three friends were members of The Dead Girls Club. They talked about true crime, bizzare deaths, and the supernatural. One of their supernatural stories was about the Red Lady, a vengeful witch. It’s all fun and games until one of Heather’s friends ends up dead. Nearly thirty years later someone wants the truth of that night to be revealed.

Told with alternating timelines – then and now. Heather has worked to forget her past, but she is forced to remember what happened when she receives a necklace in the mail. The necklace her friend was wearing on the night she died.

A coming of age story and suspenseful mystery. This novel has been listed as horror by some, but it reads much more like a mystery thriller. Dark, dramatic, and creepy.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.