Book Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

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BOOK INFO
Title: Beautiful Bad
Author: Annie Ward
Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.83

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In the tradition of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train comes the psychological thriller everyone is talking about, a twisted novel about a devoted wife, a loving husband, and a chilling crime that will stun even the cleverest readers.

There are two sides to every story… And every person.

Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian; her concerns for the safety of their young son; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.


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MY REVIEW
Maddie and Ian appear to have a wonderful life. After a camping accident leaves Maddie disfigured, she begins going to therapy. Maddie and Ian’s past is slowly revealed, along with their current situation – the day of the killing.

Told using flashbacks, this suspenseful novel covers two decades and a variety of locations. Maddie and Ian met when they were both living in the Balkans. Maddie was working as a travel writer and Ian was a soldier working as a bodyguard. They had a brief flirtation, but as their work took them elsewhere, their relationship was complicated. In the present day story, they are married and have a son, but their relationship still has difficulties.

A complex and intriguing psychological thriller. The novel opens with a frantic 911 call, which leads to the responding officer finding a bloody scene. The story then alternates between the events of Maddie and Ian’s past and the present day investigation.

A captivating read for fans of slow-burning domestic thrillers. Compelling characters. Complicated relationships. Unreliable narrator. Murder investigation.

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

Book Review: Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

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: Between the Lies
Author: Michelle Adams
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.07

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In the vein of Allison Brennan, Michelle Adams’s Between the Lies is an addictive psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until the last page, in which a woman who’s lost her memory is back home with a family she doesn’t know—who are keeping secrets of their own.

The truth is hiding between the lies.

~~~

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets—and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able to trust are lying to you?


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MY REVIEW
Chloe awakens in the hospital after a terrible car accident. Not only does she not remember the accident, but she doesn’t remember who she is or anything about her life and family. Her parents and sister attempt to help her remember her life, but Chloe feels they are also keeping secrets.

It took me a little while to get into this story. Once I did, it was a thrilling ride. Complex and twisty story. Intriguing characters, with everyone seemingly hiding something. Chloe is a bit of an unreliable narrator. Her memory loss is clearly an issue, and her regaining of memories is, let’s say, suspicious. As Chloe starts to learn more about who she is, she questions everything about the accident and what really happened.

Good for fans of psychological thrillers, especially ones where the protagonist has memory loss. Dark, intense, and suspenseful.

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

Book Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

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BOOK INFO
Title: Before She Knew Him
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 5.0 / Community 4.14

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Catching a killer is dangerous — especially if he lives next door.

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder…

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder — an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape…


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MY REVIEW
Henrietta, Hen for short, and her husband Lloyd have moved into a new home and are adjusting to their quiet suburban life. While visiting with new neighbors, Matthew and Mira, Hen sees something in Matthews’s home office that leads her to believe he is a killer. Hen’s past makes it difficult for her to be a reliable source, so she struggles with knowing the truth and finding someone to believe her.

Told with alternating points of view, both Hen and Matthew’s stories are told. Hen is bipolar and has had difficult times in her past. She seems to have things under control, but her past does lead her to be an unreliable source. However, Matthew is hiding dark secrets from his own past.

Hen has played armchair detective in the past, but that has never worked out to her favor. When she spots something in Matthew’s office that she believes connects him with a cold case she was once obsessed with, she gets a bit obsessed again. Matthew isn’t the innocent man he pretends to be, which leads to an interesting relationship between him and Hen.

An intriguing psychological thriller with flawed characters, dark pasts, obsession, and murder. Clever, suspenseful, and twisted.

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

Book Review: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

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: Pieces of Her
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: August 21, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.81

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
The #1 internationally bestselling author returns with a new novel in the vein of her New York Times bestsellers Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter—a story even more electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful than anything she’s written before.

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all…?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them…


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MY REVIEW
Andrea (Andy) and her mother Laura are having lunch at a mall, when a man shows up and starts shooting. Andy sees a very different side of her mother during the attack. Andy soon learns her mother wasn’t always Laura. In fact, Laura has been hiding from her past for thirty years. Andy starts on a journey to find who her mother really is.

Told using multiple timelines, this novel flips between 2018 and 1986. The present day story opens with Andy realizing there is more to her mother than she ever thought. This revelation leads Andy on a search into her mother’s past. The past (1986) is Laura’s story about who she was and how she became the woman she is in the present timeline.

Laura has maintained a low-key lifestyle, but that changes when she and her daughter are under attack. It turns out, she’s pretty badass. On the flip side, Andy is insecure, dependent, and timid.

This story has plenty of mystery and action, but it also examines a mother-daughter relationship. The mystery is who is Laura, and what is she hiding. The action is bouts of violence and mayhem in both timelines. The mother-daughter relationship shows that Laura had a life before becoming a mother.

I enjoyed this book by Karin Slaughter, but it was different than others I’ve read by her. I loved The Good Daughter and Pretty Girls, but both of those novels are darker and more graphic than Pieces of Her.

An intense story that involves secrets and lies. Intriguing, suspenseful, and twisty.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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

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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.