Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley Review

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Synopsis:

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in the Memphis Cold Case series and the second book I’ve read in the series. Although the stories are slightly connected, the books work fine as standalone novels. One thing that stood out in both books I’ve read by Patricia Bradley were the first chapters…they both started out with a bang and let me know that I was in for a wild and adventurous ride.

This story is a murder mystery that involves Elvis impersonators and takes place in Memphis Tennessee. The book is Christian fiction but is still gritty and disturbing, which I strangely enjoy.

I liked that this story was light on the romance…it’s there but it’s subtle.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of, which became a bit confusing at times and I was able to guess the culprit pretty early on but I still found the story to be a lot of fun.

Overall, this was another winner from Patricia Bradley. I now consider her one of my favorite Christian Fiction author.

My Rating:

4.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn Review

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Synopsis:

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much that I enjoyed about this book. It started into the story rather abruptly, and almost felt as if it was a continuation of a series (at one point I even double checked to see if it was a continuation, but it’s book 1 of a series) because a lot of past events are referred to and the characters are introduced as if the reader already should know them.

A major plot of the book is the romance between the two main characters and to me it felt very immature, almost as if I was reading a YA book about Junior High or middle school aged characters who had crushes on each other. (At one point, the female character, Leigh is upset that Ryan hasn’t called her, when he was busy investigating a murder…) I am not a fan of romance unless it is done very well and this romance was definitely not my favorite and took up too much of the story for my liking.

I did find the serial killer plot point interesting and was surprised by who the culprit was but I wished the focus would have been more on the investigation and less on the romance.

I think some people would enjoy this story if they enjoy romance with mystery thrown in but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea.

My Rating: 1.5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris Review

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Synopsis: During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

My Thoughts: This is book 4 in the Nikki Boyd Files Series but it definitely works as a standalone. This story was gripping from beginning to the end. It is a clean police-procedural that follows Garrett and Jordan, who are working tirelessly over a period of many years to track down a serial killer who is targeting young girls.

Garrett and Jordan were great characters…both smart but not robotic or heartless, they gave the reader a glimpse of the emotional toll that one goes through when searching for a murderer. Their relationship was also sweet, although frustrating at times.

Lisa Harris is very gifted as an author and definitely has a way with words. It was always easy for me to get lost in the story and the pacing was fast.

There are some sad moments but I appreciated that the age-old question of “why does God allow bad things to happen to people?” is addressed, and addressed well.

Overall, this was a great thrill-ride. I was never bored and would definitely pick up another book from this author!

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review. All opinions are my own.

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble Review

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Synopsis: Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

My Thoughts: This book kept me guessing. The story was fast paced and intense. It follows Dana, who has just left an abusive relationship and returns to her hometown for refuge. A series of murders of women are occurring that are all similar in nature and the suspense continues throughout the book until the final boiling point at the end.

I enjoy Colleen Coble’s writing style, it’s very descriptive and always keeps me turning the pages. The twist of the story was slightly unexpected and surprising but a bit far-fetched. I enjoyed the character of Bree, who trains search and rescue dogs. I also loved the small town feel of the setting. The author did a good job at building suspense throughout the story.

Unfortunately, it felt very over-dramatic at times. These characters had experienced a lot of drama in their lives (so much so that it gave me a soap opera feel at times). It made the book feel a bit unrealistic to read all the things one character had experienced. I also felt that the way murders were handled didn’t seem accurate, given the fact that they were possibly committed by a serial killer (the small town sheriff probably wouldn’t be the one in charge of these murders).

Overall, I was very entertained by this book but I wasn’t extremely impressed with it. I would recommend it for anyone who likes a fun murder mystery with a little bit of grit and some twists.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

 

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks Review

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Synopsis: Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a sepent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity-a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth-and convince anyone to believe her-before she becomes a victim herself?

My Thoughts: This book provided some very interesting insight into some unusual practices involving snakes in church. I had never heard of this practice and was fascinated and kind of horrified to read about this. I despise snakes, they are my least favorite animal and the thought of them makes me cringe, so this book was difficult to read at parts. There are many scenes that are gruesome and creepy but also kept me on the edge of my seat.

Throughout the book you are with Gwen, a forensic artist, who was called in to help with finding a serial rapist. When she arrives, she is rebuffed by the sheriff and begins to receive threats. She then is presented with an opportunity to look into a mystery involving a church that uses snakes and drinks poisons as well as refuse medical treatment.

There was a lot going on in the book and it became a bit confusing at times. I did find the story to be very unique and liked the main characters profession…as a forensic artist (which the author also is), Gwen is skilled at interview skills as well as knowing when people are lying.

When I finished the book, I still felt like some things were left open…a few things didn’t seem to be addressed to the point that I expected them to.

I didn’t expect the culprit at all! I loved this part of the story, it was very clever and unexpected but also a little bit far fetched.

I requested this without realizing that it is the 3rd book in a series but it still can be read as a standalone as the author explains some of the characters’ backstories.

Overall, this was an enjoyable Christian mystery.

My Rating:

3 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Missing by Lisa Harris Review

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Plot according to Goodreads: Nikki Boyd Enters the Deadly World of Counterfeit Drugs to Find a Missing Woman.
Nikki Boyd isn’t usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she’s ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant–and another dead body–Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business–including Nikki.
Christy Award-winning and bestselling author Lisa Harris puts readers right into the action in this fast-paced thriller that will have them turning pages long into the night.

My Thoughts: The cover of this book really intrigued me so I was excited to read it. This was an enjoyable thriller/ police procedural story with some big surprises. The story read like a movie, it was very easy to picture and kept me turning pages to see what would happen next. I had a few problems with the story though…there were a lot of characters and it was difficult to keep everyone straight. I also didn’t like that there is the story line of the main character’s missing sister that ran parallel to the main plot. I hadn’t read the first book so I was a bit in the dark when it came to that story line. I also didn’t find that story line particularly interesting. The author gave a bit of new information as far as that part of the plot went but it was left open for the next book.

Overall, this was an average thriller worth reading but it didn’t stand out.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.

My Thoughts: At first I was a bit wary of this book because of the writing style but after about 20 pages, I was hooked. This book kept me guessing until the very end.

Nora, the main character, is definitely an interesting person. Because she is telling the story, you never really know if she’s reliable or not. The author is very good at showing her emotional decline after he sister’s murder. Nora reminded me a lot of Libby Day from Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places…damaged and unlikable.

There are many twists and turns, which I love, and most were unpredictable.

The book is fairly short at 219 pages but it is very dense…there were no moments when I felt like it dragged. I would much rather read a shorter book that packs a big punch than a long book that drags on and on.

I would definitely recommend this one to all of the thriller lovers. It was a great story!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Penguin Publishing company in exchange for an honest review.