Book Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Suspect
Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publish Date: January 22, 2019
Genre: Mystery – Crime
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.87

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…


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MY REVIEW
Two eighteen-year-old girls, Alex and Rosie, go missing in Bangkok, Thailand. Kate Waters, a reporter, is working on the story of the missing girls. While Kate makes connections to stay ahead of the story, she is reminded of her son, Jake. He left home and went to Phuket two years earlier, and Kate rarely hears from him.

Told from alternating points of view – the reporter, the detective, one of the girls, and one of the missing girls’ mothers. The missing girl, the mother, and the detective all have quite a few chapters, but most of the book is from Kate’s POV.

Alex and Rosie are young and looking for adventure on their gap year. Unfortunately for Alex, Rosie has no desire to follow Alex’s well thought-out itinerary. Rosie would rather party than visit the places Alex had in mind for the trip. This causes conflict between the girls. Alex and Rosie also have very different relationships with their parents, as is shown after the girls go missing. The characters are from the UK, so the parents are in the international spotlight when the story breaks.

The reporter, Kate, and the detective, Bob Sparkes, were in the previous books in this series. The Suspect is the third book in the Kate Waters series by Fiona Barton. Kate Waters is a journalist who works hard to stay on top of headline stories. Bob Sparkes is a detective who works the cases Kate reports on. I’ve read the previous two books, The Widow and The Child, and enjoyed them. The books can all be read as standalone novels.

The Suspect is a slow-moving mystery with intriguing characters and a compelling story. This reads more as a police procedural rather than a thriller. I enjoy Barton’s writing style, and found this be an interesting and entertaining read. This one is good for fans of Fiona Barton’s other books and British police procedurals.

I received a free ARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: As Long as We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

As Long as We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

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BOOK INFO
Title: As Long as We Both Shall Live
Author: JoAnn Chaney
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 4.21

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?


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MY REVIEW
Matt and his wife Marie may have some issues, but they’ve been together for over 20 years. When they go for a hike, and Marie goes over the cliff, Matt is the first suspect in her death. In questioning if Marie’s death was an accident or something more sinister, the detectives discover Matt’s first wife was murdered. Either Matt’s a terribly unlucky guy, or he’s hiding something.

A twisty psychological thriller full of secrets. It seems everyone has something to hide. The main story of Matt and Marie is very engaging. In addition to their story, there is a subplot with an investigation into one of the police officers. This part of the book was not as interesting, and probably could have been left out.

The mystery seemed fairly straightforward, but then it got more and more twisted. This is not an obvious story, and I love that it kept me guessing. A page-turner for sure. Dark, intriguing, and clever. A good read for fans of domestic thrillers.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Perfect Liar
Author: Thomas Christopher Greene
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.00 / Community 3.79

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Susannah, a young widow and single mother, has remarried well: to Max, a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career took her and her fifteen-year-old son out of New York City and to a quiet Vermont university town. Strong-willed and attractive, Susannah expects that her life is perfectly in place again. Then one quiet morning she finds a note on her door: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Max dismisses the note as a prank. But days after a neighborhood couple comes to dinner, the husband mysteriously dies in a tragic accident while on a run with Max. Soon thereafter, a second note appears on their door: DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT?

Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets from the world and from each other—secrets that could destroy their family and everything they have built. Thomas Christopher Greene’s The Perfect Liar is a thrilling novel told through the alternating perspectives of Susannah and Max with a shocking climax that no one will expect, from the bestselling author of The Headmaster’s Wife.


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MY REVIEW
Max and Susannah seem to have a great life. When a mysterious note shows up on their door, they want to ignore it, but then a second note appears.

Told from alternating points of view, Max and Susannah both have secrets they don’t want getting out. When Susannah met Max, they seemed to fit together perfectly. They met in New York City, but with the success of Max’s career have moved to Vermont. Everything is going well for them, until the mysterious notes start to arrive.

The plot was interesting. The two main characters are both hiding dark secrets. Someone is leaving creepy notes on their door. It seems like a great read, but I never really connected with the story or the characters.

I’ve seen some great reviews for this one, and I imagine it will be a hit with some fans of psychological thrillers. For me, it was good, but not great. Best for fans of dark domestic thrillers with unlikable characters.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Looker by Laura Sims

Looker by Laura Sims

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BOOK INFO
Title: Looker
Author: Laura Sims
Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: January 8, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.53

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I’m grateful they’ve never thought to install blinds. That’s how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they’re probably right: except for me.

In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor—the beautiful, famous actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, they are separated by a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.

When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Darkly witty and searingly sharp, Looker is enormously entertaining—part tightly coiled Hitchcockian thriller and part send-up of life in the Instagram-ready city. Driven by a fresh and fearlessly original voice, this slender novel packs a powerful punch.


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MY REVIEW
A woman is obsessed with a neighbor. The obsessed woman’s life is slowly unraveling, and the neighbor is a beautiful actress who appears to have the perfect life.

This novel is narrated by an unnamed woman who is going through a divorce, infertility, and a failing career. While struggling with various areas of her life, she becomes entranced with her neighbor’s perfect life. As the narrator’s life continues to unravel, she becomes more and more obsessed with her neighbor.

A dark tale of one woman’s descent into madness. This is a slow-paced story, but one that kept my interest. If you’re looking for a twisty thriller, then pass on this one. If you’re looking for a dark character study, pick this book up. Dark, complex, and disturbing.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Au Pair by Emma Rous

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Au Pair
Author: Emma Rous
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: January 8, 2019
Genre: Crime Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.93

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.

Who is the child, and what really happened that day?


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MY REVIEW
Shortly after Seraphine and her twin brother were born, their mother killed herself. In addition to her mother’s death, the au pair also quietly left that summer. Now Seraphine and her brother are adults, and their father has recently passed away. After going through his things, Seraphine starts to question the past and what she has always been told happened the summer they were born.

Told with the alternating points of Seraphine and Laura, the au pair. Seraphine’s story is told in present day as she attempts to piece together what happened in the past. Laura’s story takes place in the past, the summer the twins were born. With both narrators, I was sometimes questioning how reliable they were, which made for an intriguing read.

A suspenseful story about secrets from the past. This novel offers plenty of twistiness. In the end, I felt all the twists led to an ending that was a bit ridiculous. A fun and entertaining read if you don’t require a realistic storyline. Family secrets and mystery.

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

Book Review: The Three Beths by Jeff Abbott

The Three Beths by Jeff Abbott

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Three Beths
Author: Jeff Abbott
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: October 23, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.56

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
My mom would never leave me.
This has been Mariah Dunning’s motto. Her compass. Her belief. So when she glimpses her mother — who’s been missing for the past year — on the other side of a crowded food court, Mariah’s conviction becomes stronger than ever. Or is she losing her mind?

An unlikely coincidence?
When Beth Dunning disappeared without a trace, suspicion for her murder-despite the lack of a body or any physical evidence – immediately fell upon Mariah’s father. Until Mariah stumbles upon two other recent disappearances from Lakehaven. And all three women had the same name: Beth.

Or a sinister connection?
Mariah would give anything to find out what happened to her mother, and clear her father’s name. But the truth may be more devastating than she could have imagined…


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MY REVIEW
Mariah doesn’t believe her mother, Beth, would ever just leave, but Beth has been missing for a year. Mariah hasn’t given up on finding her mother, and while searching for her, she discovers there are two other missing women, also named Beth. Mariah believes the missing women must be somehow connected.

The community suspects Mariah’s father of killing her mother, despite there having been no body found. Mariah continues to stick up for her dad, but there does seem to be some suspicious behavior on the part of her father. In her search for her mother and the other Beths, Mariah’s behavior sometimes borders on unstable. She clearly cares about her parents, but she is also desperate to find her mother.

Fast-paced with a lot happening. An enjoyable read, but I did have a few issues with it. For one, Mariah isn’t exactly stealthy with her search, which is annoying. However, my biggest complaint is the ending. I’m not a fan of the villain explaining their whole evil plot. This is a twisty novel, so the explanations went on for far too long. That’s a personal pet peeve though, so the overall story lost a little something for me in the end.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Book Review: A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

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BOOK INFO
Title: A Simple Favor
Author: Darcey Bell
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.22

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.

That’s why she’s so dangerous.

A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together — just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong — Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.


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MY REVIEW
Stephanie and Emily are best friends. Emily asks a favor of Stephanie – to watch her son one afternoon and she’ll pick him up that evening… but Emily never comes back.

Stephanie is a widow and mommy blogger with a young son. Emily is a working mom with a young son. They don’t seem to have much in common, other than their sons are friends, but soon they also become friends. They also both have secrets in their past that they don’t want to get out.

Told with alternating points of view – Stephanie, Emily, and Sean. Plus, some of the story is told using posts from Stephanie’s blog. Stephanie is naive, creepy, and fake. Emily is arty, manipulative, and awful. Sean is Emily’s dopey husband.

A twisted psychological thriller. I enjoyed the writing style, but the story itself was not that great. Stephanie and Emily are both unlikable, and not in a “they’re morally corrupt, but interesting” way. Even with unlikable characters, I want to root for someone, and this book didn’t have that. There were some interesting happenings and twists. It’s just unfortunate that I never connected with any characters.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Book Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: An Anonymous Girl
Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: January 8, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.28

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?


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MY REVIEW
Jessica, a makeup artist in New York City, finds out about an ethics study that pays the participants well. At first, Jessica believes it a way to get some quick, easy money. However, the researcher, Dr. Shields, takes an interest in Jessica and decides to use her as a subject in a personal project. As the project continues, Jessica becomes suspicious of Dr. Shields and her research project.

This novel is told with alternating points of view – Jessica and Dr. Shields. Jessica Farris is in her late twenties, single, and working to make ends meet. Dr. Lydia Shields is accomplished and well-respected in her field of study. Both women have secrets in their lives.

An Anonymous Girl is written by the same authors who wrote The Wife Between Us. When I find authors that I enjoy, I tend to jump at the chance to read more by them. This newest novel by the duo delivers just as well as their first book.

An intriguing domestic suspense. Full of betrayal and obsession. Captivating, clever, and suspenseful.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Publish Date: July 17, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.69

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Afflicted with a chronic debilitating condition, Suzette Jensen knew having children would wreak havoc on her already fragile body. Nevertheless, she brought Hanna into the world, pleased and proud to start a family with her husband Alex. Estranged from her own mother, Suzette is determined to raise her beautiful daughter with the love, care, and support she was denied.

But Hanna proves to be a difficult child. Now seven-years-old, she has yet to utter a word, despite being able to read and write. Defiant and anti-social, she refuses to behave in kindergarten classes, forcing Suzette to homeschool her. Resentful of her mother’s rules and attentions, Hanna lashes out in anger, becoming more aggressive every day. The only time Hanna is truly happy is when she’s with her father. To Alex, she’s willful and precocious but otherwise the perfect little girl, doing what she’s told.

Suzette knows her clever and manipulative daughter doesn’t love her. She can see the hatred and jealousy in her eyes. And as Hanna’s subtle acts of cruelty threaten to tear her and Alex apart, Suzette fears her very life may be in grave danger…


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MY REVIEW
Suzette and Alex’s daughter, Hanna, is a difficult child. They want to raise her in a loving environment, but it is proving more and more difficult as Hanna’s behavior becomes worse.

Told from alternating points of view – Suzette and Hanna. Suzette is not only dealing with her difficult child, but also suffers from chronic illness. This combination has created a lot of stress and unhappiness in her life. She notices how devious Hanna is, but Alex doesn’t want to believe anything bad about his little girl. Hanna is seven-years-old, but doesn’t speak and displays anti-social behavior. Hannah is super creepy and diabolical. Suzette is to the point where she can no longer handle Hanna’s behavior, and Hanna is only becoming more cruel toward her mother.

I read a lot of mixed reviews on this one, and had originally decided to pass on reading it. I ended up borrowing it from my local library. I found it to be an entertaining and quick read. Some parts were compelling, and I was curious what would happen, but other parts fell flat. Good for fans of psychological thrillers featuring creepy kids.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic

The Liar's Room by Simon Lelic

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Liar’s Room
Author: Simon Lelic
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.75

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
A new spine-tingling thriller from the author of The New Neighbors that takes place over the course of a therapy session, in which neither patient nor therapist are who they claim to be.

Two liars. One room. No way out.

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a therapist and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But when a young man, Adam Geraghty, walks into her office, claiming he needs Susanna’s help but asking unsettling questions, she begins to fear that her secret has been discovered.

Who is Adam, really? What does he intend to do to Susanna?

And what has he done to her daughter?


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MY REVIEW
Susanna’s new patient, Adam, starts to ask her questions during his therapy session. Questions that indicate he knows the secrets in her past and what she has been running from for years. As the questions continue, Susanna’s world starts to unravel.

This story unfolds during the course of a day. When Adam arrives to Susanna’s office, she begins the session as she normally would with a new patient, but things soon change. It is clear Adam has another reason for being in Susanna’s office, and his twisted game involves Susanna and her teen daughter Emily. Susanna is a little overprotective of Emily, but they have a close relationship. However, Susanna has been keeping secrets about her past from her daughter. Those secrets have now put Emily in danger.

Susanna’s past is slowly revealed in flashbacks during her time with Adam. He questions, provokes, and threatens her into revealing the truth that led her to run from her old life. I enjoyed that the bulk of the story takes place in one setting and in one day. That provided another layer of suspense and intensity, since everything is happening over the course of hours rather than days or weeks. There are some other things going on too, but the focus is on Susanna and Adam.

I enjoyed this book, but the ending fell flat for me. It didn’t have the impact that I was hoping for in such an intense story. Maybe I’m being overly picky though. Overall, it’s a gripping read. Great for readers who enjoy dark psychological thrillers with slow reveals.

I received a free digital copy of this book via First to Read in exchange for an honest review.