REVIEW – Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

Thick as Thieves wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I still enjoyed my reading experience! Arden Maxwell is back in her hometown after years away (her father disappeared after his assumed involvement in a notorious heist and murder). What Arden doesn’t know is that two of the men who were involved with that crime two decades ago are watching her every move.

The crime and mystery in this book is complex and interesting – we eventually get chapters from the perspective of each person who was involved on that night, and slowly piece together what actually happened.

This can be classified as “romantic suspense” which isn’t a genre i’m really familiar with – I didn’t know this about the book going in, so the accelerated romantic plotline threw me for a loop. I didn’t dislike that aspect of the story, but it did feel a little forced (and almost inappropriate?) at times. However, since romantic suspense isn’t something I typically read, this could be typical for the genre.

Thank you Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy of this book.

REVIEW – Win by Harlan Coben

Win was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I’ve only read a handful of Harlan Coben’s books so far, but he quickly became one of my favorite writers.

If you’ve read any of his Myron Bolitar series, you know (and probably love) Win. I was excited for the opportunity to read a book that had Win at its center, and this didn’t disappoint. For those who don’t know, Windsor Horne Lockwood III, better known as just Win, is rich. No, not like…rich like someone you know in real life. Not rich like a celebrity. But RICH. Seriously, disgustingly, unimaginably so. He’s also handsome, cunning, manipulative and…lethal. Win is a little bit like Bruce Wayne, minus the bat costume.

Win’s suitcase and a priceless family painting (lost some 20 years ago) are found in the home of a recluse who has been murdered. Win has no idea how it got there but he has an inkling that it might be related to the kidnapping (and eventual escape) of his cousin Patricia.

As always, Coben manages to write a twisty, fun thriller that keeps readers on their toes. I’d recommend giving one or two of my Myron Bolitar books a try first, so you’re already acquainted with Win before reading his story.

Thank you Novel Suspects for the ARC!

REVIEW – Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano

I haven’t read a lot of medical thrillers, but when presented with the opportunity to read Fatal Intent, I couldn’t pass it up. This book gave me SO MUCH anxiety! I had a great time reading this and had a lot of “OMG” and “holy shit!” moments. The pace is a bit slower at first, but when this picks up it doesn’t stop until the very end. This book is incredibly sad and tense and unpredictable.

If you’re super squeamish or bothered by medical events, hospitalization, etc., I’d proceed with caution.

Content warnings: miscarriage, infant death, suicide, death of a spouse

Thank you FSB Associates for the ARC!

REVIEW – Black Widows by Cate Quinn

The unreliable narrator is still a very popular trope in mysteries and thrillers. Well, Black Widows has THREE. Three women who are suspects in the death of their (yes, their) husband. This book takes the standard thriller and adds a sister wives/XX kids and counting element. It’s grittier than I expected (which isn’t a bad thing) but this ended up being a fun read “for the moment” and won’t be something I remember much years from now.

Content warnings: religious fanaticism, cults, sexual assault, child abuse, sexual assault of children, drug use, self-harm, brief mention of suicide, miscarriage.

Thank you BiblioLifestyle and Sourcebooks for the ARC!

REVIEW – Deep State by Chris Hauty

I don’t typically read political thrillers, but I couldn’t ignore the reviews for this one. Deep State follows Hayley Chill, an Army veteran who has moved to DC and landed an internship in the White House. Hayley quickly uncovers a plot to assassinate the newly elected POTUS, and this discovery leads her down a dangerous path.

I’m echoing a lot of reviewers, but I will say that this book would probably be better as a movie – but that does not make it an unenjoyable read. A screen adaptation of this would undoubtedly be a blockbuster action movie perfect for summer (picture it: a cool theater, a heart-pounding movie, a giant tub of popcorn and some overpriced candy. Damn you, COVID!)

The twist is really the draw here, and it’s worth it. I’m excited to read the next book in the series now that Hauty has laid a great foundation for what’s sure to be a fun sequel.

Thank you Atria Books for the NetGalley ARC of Deep State!

REVIEW – Watch Her by Edwin Hill

Okay, i’m convinced. I need to go back and read the first two Hester Thursby novels because I am hooked! Watch Her is a sleepier contemporary mystery that really picks up after 1. A character is murdered and 2. Some family secrets all come to light in a heart-pounding final few chapters.

I really enjoyed Hester as a protagonist – she’s feisty and smart, but she doesn’t feel like a stereotype or charicature.

We get multiple perspectives in this book and that really worked to push the story along. Each character was different enough that I felt like I was getting a relatively comprehensive overview of the events of the book.

Content warnings: sexual harassment, death of a child, brief use of ableist language

Thank you Kensington Books and Books Forward PR for the ARC!

REVIEW – Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I like Riley Sager. I look forward to a new Riley Sager book each year. However, none have lived up to Final Girls in my opinion. Home Before Dark just continues that trend…

This book suffers a bit from too-much-ism. The reader wonders if the house is really haunted (and if the house isn’t haunted, who was doing the “haunting”)? Is Maggie’s dad telling the truth in his book? And if not, why lie? There are also two murder mysteries woven throughout…

I liked this enough to finish it, and I liked it enough to want to know how it ended. But the final few chapters threw so many twists, it was just…too much. The ending had me rolling my eyes and my final verdict? Meh.

It’s worth reading if you’re a Sager fan, but don’t expect anything more than a run-of-the-mill thriller that tries a little too hard to shock the reader. I think my expectations were a bit too high.

REVIEW – The Residence by Andrew Pyper

“It was the dead who did it. The house was full of them.”

Something terrifying is happening in the White House (I mean, the jokes just write themselves at this point…) But seriously. Not long after Franklin Pierce is elected president, his son dies in a horrific train accident. When Franklin and his wife, Jane, move into the White House, that’s when the real terror begins.

PHEW. This book is a doozy. It’s definitely creepy but, more importantly, it’s incredibly sad. It’s hard enough reading about grieving parents, but when you add some really terrifying, demonic elements to that, it’s gut-wrenching. The opening especially is just chilling and heartbreakingly sad.

You see, Jane accidentally summoned some sort of malevolent presence when she was a young girl, and this presence has been tormenting and influencing her ever since. Is it responsible for the tragedy in her life? Probably. This presence seems to feed off of terror and grief and sadness. The book does seem a little repetitive at times (especially the scenes in the boy’s staged bedroom) but there are some parts that will stick with readers long after they’ve left the White House.

Also I would HIGHLY recommend reading the Author’s Note at the end! It’s absolutely terrifying and makes the book that much better. I mean, is it really hard to imagine that the White House is actually haunted?

Content warning: death of a child, suicidal thoughts

Thank you Gallery Books / Skybound Books for the finished copy!

REVIEW – Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

It’s been a little while since I read a good whodunit kind of mystery/thriller, and this was a great way to get back into the genre! Do Not Disturb is set in the Welsh mountains and the guesthouse (and town) are equal parts charming and sinister.

Kirsty moves her family out of London after a traumatic event. They decide to start fresh by purchasing a guesthouse (in America we’d call this a “bed and breakfast”) and going into business with Kirsty’s somewhat overbearing (but well-meaning) mother.

When Kirsty’s estranged cousin Selena shows up, some interesting things start happening (dead flowers left at the doorstep? No thank you). Kirsty is skeptical of Serena’s arrival, and the cousins haven’t spoken in years ever since they had a falling out when they were 18.

I was basically suspicious of EVERYONE at some point or another in this book, which made for a fun reading experience. Do Not Disturb is a twisty, spooky read, ideal for thriller lovers looking to get something just a tad bit different.

Content warning: sexual abuse/rape, attempted suicide, child abuse

Thank you Harper Perennial for the ARC!

REVIEW – They’re Gone by E.A. Barres

Deb and Cessy come from different backgrounds, different marriages and have different experiences. And yet when the unthinkable happens, it causes them to connect in an effort to save their lives.

They’re Gone focuses on two very different women who have one thing in common – both of their husbands were murdered on the same night. As you can probably imagine, these murders uncover long-buried secrets that lead to some very dangerous people.

Overall, this is a solid thriller. It’s twisty and exciting. The “big” twist is relatively easy to guess, but I found myself just wondering when and how the reveal would happen, which made it fun to read.

Thank you Books Forward PR for the digital ARC!