Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE NAMES OF DEAD GIRLS by Eric Rickstad with GIVEAWAY!

So excited to read this follow up to the mystery THE SILENT GIRLS by Eric Rickstad. This novel continues where the first one left off. Suspense and mystery, along with solidly created characters, made for a fast and fun read! Thank you for my review e-copy via Edelweiss!

Here’s the scoop from Partners in Crime Tours:

The Names of Dead Girls

by Eric Rickstad

on Tour from September 18 – October 2, 2017

Synopsis:

The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad

William Morrow is thrilled to present the sequel to the New York Times and USA Today mega-bestseller The Silent Girls, which went on to sell more than 300,000 copies. The Names of Dead Girls is a dark, twisty thriller that once again features detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test as they track a perverse killer through rural Vermont. By popular demand, the story picks up after the shocking cliffhanger on the last page of The Silent Girls and reveals what exactly happens between Rath and his nemesis, Ned Preacher. Although The Names of Dead Girls is a sequel, it reads perfectly as a standalone – new readers can dive in seamlessly.

After years spent retired as a private investigator, Frank Rath is lured back into his role as lead detective in a case that hits far too close to home. Sixteen years ago, depraved serial rapist and killer Ned Preacher brutally murdered Rath’s sister and brother-in-law while their baby daughter, Rachel, slept upstairs. In the aftermath, Rath quit his job as a state police detective and abandoned his drinking and womanizing to adopt Rachel and devote his life to raising her alone.

Now, unthinkably, Preacher has been paroled early and is watching—and plotting cruelties for—Rachel, who has just learned the truth about her parents’ murders after years of Rath trying to protect her from it. The danger intensifies when local girls begin to go missing, in crimes that echo the past. Is the fact that girls are showing up dead right when Preacher was released a coincidence? Or is he taunting Frank Rath, circling his prey until he comes closer and closer to the one he left behind—Rachel? Rath’s investigation takes him from the wilds of Vermont to the strip clubs of Montreal, but it seems that some evil force is always one step ahead of him.

Eric Rickstad is a master of the bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing thriller, and The Names of Dead Girls is one you won’t want to miss.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: September 12th 2017

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062672819 (ISBN13: 9780062672810)

Series: The Silent Girls #2

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Rath drove the Scout as fast as he could without crashing into the cedars along the desolate stretch of road known as Moose Alley that wound through thirty miles of remote bog and boreal forest. The rain was not as violent here, the fog just starting to crawl out of the ditch.

Rath hoped the police were at Rachel’s and had prevented whatever cruelty Preacher had in store; but hope was as useful as an unloaded gun.

The Scout’s temperature gauge climbed perilously into the red. If the engine overheated, Rath would be stuck out here, miles from nowhere, cut off from contact. In this remote country, cell service was like the eastern mountain lion: its existence rumored, but never proven.

Finally, Rath reached the bridge that spanned the Lamoille River into the town of Johnson. His relief to be near Rachel crushed by fear of what he might find.

At the red light where Route 15 met Main Street, he waited, stuck behind a school bus full of kids likely coming from a sporting event.

He needed to get around the bus, run the light, but a Winnebago swayed through the intersection.

The light turned green.

Rath tromped on the gas pedal. The Scout lurched through the light. On the other side of the intersection, Rath jammed the brake pedal to avoid ramming into the back of the braking bus, the bus’s red lights flashing.

A woman on the sidewalk glared at Rath as she cupped the back of the head of a boy who jumped off the bus. She fixed the boy’s knit cap and flashed Rath a last scalding look as she hustled the boy into a liquor store.

The bus crept forward.

No vehicles approached from the opposing lane.

Rath passed the bus and ran the next two red lights.

The rain was a mist here, and the low afternoon sun broke briefly through western clouds, a silvery brilliance mirroring off the damp asphalt, nearly blinding Rath.

Rachel’s road lay just ahead.

Rath swerved onto it and sped up the steep hill.

A state police cruiser and a sheriff’s sedan were parked at hurried angles in front of Felix and Rachel’s place.

He feared what was inside that apartment. Feared what Preacher had done to Rachel.

Sixteen years ago, standing at the feet of his sister’s body, Rath had heard a whine, like that of a wet finger traced on the rim of a crystal glass, piercing his brain. He’d charged upstairs into the bedroom, to the crib. There she’d lain, tiny legs and arms pumping as if she’d been set afire, that shrill escape of air rising from the back of her throat.

Rachel.

In the moment Rath had picked Rachel up, he’d felt a permanent upheaval, like one plate of the earth’s lithosphere slipping beneath another; his selfish past life subducting beneath a selfless future life; a niece transformed into a daughter by acts of violent cruelty.

For months, Rath had kept Rachel’s crib beside his bed and lain sleepless as he’d listened to her every frayed breath at night. He’d panicked when she’d fallen quiet, shaken her lightly to make certain she was alive, been flooded with relief when she’d wriggled. He’d picked her up and cradled her, promised to keep her safe. Thinking, If we just get through this phase, I won’t ever have to worry like this again.

But peril pressed in at the edges of a girl’s life, and worry planted roots in Rath’s heart and bloomed wild and reckless. As Rachel had grown, Rath’s worry had grown, and he’d kept vigilant for the lone man who stood with his hands jammed in his trouser pockets behind the playground fence. In public, he’d gripped Rachel’s hand, his love ferocious and animal. If anyone ever harmed her.

Rath yanked the Scout over a bank of plowed snow onto a spit of dead lawn.

He jumped out, tucked his .22 revolver into the back waistband of his jeans, and ran for the stairs that led up the side of the old house to the attic apartment.

He hoped he wasn’t too late.

***

Excerpt from The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad. Copyright © 2017 by Eric Rickstad. Reproduced with permission from Eric Rickstad. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Eric Rickstad

Eric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Canaan Crime Series—Lie in Wait, The Silent Girls, and The Names of Dead Girls, psychological thrillers set in northern Vermont and heralded as intelligent, profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. His first novel Reap was a New York Times Noteworthy Novel. Rickstad lives in his home state of Vermont with his wife, daughter, and son.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Eric Rickstad and HarperCollins Publishers. There will be 3 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 16 and runs through October 4, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

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FATAL OPTION by Chris Beakey

My friends at Smith Publicity sent me an e-copy of FATAL OPTION (thank you!) so that I could be part of the blog tour on this title.

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This story follows a father, who has already had a lot of pain and distress, as he deals with a life-changing decision he makes one snowy night. He will do anything to protect his two teens, but will he do the right thing?

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

A tragic accident. A family in crisis. And a killer watching every move.

Five months after the mysterious death of his wife, Stephen Porter is pulled from a dreamless sleep by a midnight phone call. His 17-year-old daughter Sara is stranded in a blizzard near the top of a mountain beyond their suburban home. She’s terrified and unable to stop crying as she begs him to come to her rescue.

Unfortunately Stephen went to bed just an hour before after a night of binge drinking. With his blurred vision and unsteady balance he knows it’s dangerously irresponsible to get behind the wheel. But he heads out into the snowstorm to bring Sara home.

High school teacher Kieran O’Shea is also behind the wheel, searching for his autistic younger brother Aidan, who is wandering aimlessly through the storm on that same mountain. Kieran is terrified—of the voices in his mind, that Aidan will be taken from him, and that he may soon be arrested for murdering three women.

In a matter of minutes Stephen will encounter Kieran and drive headlong into a collision that will force him to unlock the secret of his wife’s death, avoid prosecution, and protect his children from violence that hits all too close to home.

***************************************************

I read this book quickly as I wanted to see what would happen. I did find it pretty heavy, though. This story had, among other things, rape, murder, suicide, incest, child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional), and a serial killer. Just mentioning these things as I know they can be triggers for readers. I did read it to the end, and I liked the ending as I felt it was positive.  I felt for the main character as he was just an average joe who was in some bad situations and trying to make the best of it while he was trying to keep his life and his kids’ lives together. I will look for Mr. Beakey’s other titles!

Here’s a bit of info on the novel from Smith and a book trailer:

Fatal Option [February 21, Post Hill Press] is a nail-biting thriller that explores the devastating moral consequences of a dangerous choice. It’s garnered the following praise:
“A sharp, intelligent thriller. Really top-notch.”
– Neely Tucker, Washington Post staff writer & author of Only The Hunted Run
“A wintery tale of violence and redemption, artfully balanced by a touching portrayal of a family in crisis.”
– Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing
“Fatal Option grabs you from the first page. Plan to stay up.”
– Kathleen Antrim, former Co-President of International Thriller Writers & author of Capital Offense
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Quick Review: POP GOES THE WEASEL by M. J. Arlidge

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I really enjoyed the first Detective Helen Grace mystery I read – EENY MEENY – so I was excited to find POP GOES THE WEASEL on Net Galley. DI Helen Grace is a multi-layered character with a dark past and a dark side to her personality. In this installment, she is chasing a serial killer — one who mutilates his/her victims and then sends a body part home. But as Helen is seeking a killer, she is also watching over a young man for a very specific reason that relates to her shadowed past.

Apparently there are two more Helen Grace mysteries that escaped my attention (I wish Net Galley had a “notify” feature). This is a gritty series, but I like it. I really like uncovering the layers that make up Helen and figuring out the mystery, too. Thank you for my review e-copy!

If you like crime novels, give this one a try!

 

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Quick Review: EENY MEENY by M. J. Arlidge

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I picked up EENY MEENY through Net Galley as I can’t resist a good British mystery! This is the first book in the DI Helen Grace series.

A bizarre serial killer is on the loose and it’s one that doesn’t fit the typical profile. She is female and abducts two victims, letting them decide who will live and who will die. DI Helen Grace is determined to discover just who this is and how the victims are all connected. However, she begins to realize that the connection they all share is one to her.

I enjoyed this first installment in this series. If you read me you know I have a thing for British mysteries. Helen is a strong character, a loner, a woman with a dark past. The mystery was well-plotted and kept me guessing up to the end.

It’s a keeper!

Thank you, Net Galley and Penguin, for my review copy!

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

Eeny Meeny (A Detective Helen Grace Thriller)

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Audiobook Review: RIPPER by Isabel Allende

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First let me begin by saying: I love Isabel Allende’s books. THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS is one of favorite books ever. EVA LUNA, OF LOVE AND SHADOWS, DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE, PORTRAIT IN SEPIA. You get the idea. So I was thrilled to see she had written a mystery novel – described as “fast-paced” – that takes place in San Francisco (near my old stomping grounds). I got it as an audiobook from my public library.

Wow — what a disappointment. Isabel Allende is an incredible writer. Her attraction for me has always been in the beauty of her language. Her characters are so real and human. Her stories are enthralling.

Not this one. This story had me puzzled right from the beginning. There was WAY TOO MUCH character description and background given. The story is about a serial killer in San Francisco and I felt like I was at about CD 6 before we got a murder (covered in what felt like a few paragraphs). Instead we had this lush, detailed history of our main character (soon to become victim-in-danger-of-being-murdered-by-serial-killer) Indiana Jackson – a woman who was so beautiful, so gifted, so extraordinary, and so not aware of her power over men that she seemed totally unbelievable as she went about her work as a homeopath. Her daughter is the shy and reclusive, but brilliant, Amanda, who spends her time playing an online game called “Ripper” with other teens where they solve murders. Amanda’s father – Indiana’s ex – is luckily a SF homicide cop so that gives everybody access to detailed police information. Amanda’s grandfather is her best friend and plays Ripper, too. When Indiana is finally abducted in about disk 10, Amanda makes it her job to figure out who the killer is and save her mother in time.

THIS PART CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Now, someone who has read this book please tell me: who WAS that killer?? He had like five different names and aliases and he was someone I didn’t even remember from earlier in the novel when we were getting the back story to birth of all those other characters. What??? And all those other people he killed were related to him and his crazy, feral, abused, neglected youth, but why did he want to kill Indiana?? Did she maybe reject him? (I have to say I do struggle with following books while driving sometimes and I can’t really rewind). Also, this was looooong. I just looked it up on Amazon and saw it has over 500 pages. I believe it.

So – in a nutshell – if you want great character descriptions and Allende’s writing, you might like this. If you want a fast-paced thriller, skip this one. My expectations were really high, so that didn’t help.

But Isabel, I still absolutely love your (other) books!

PS – forgot to mention the narrator, Edoardo Ballerini — LOVED his smooth voice!

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Review: The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

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I’m a huge fan of Nordic crime novels and when I saw this one come up on Net Galley, I was excited to get it.

THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS starts with a young woman being found, dead, in a forest in Denmark. She looks unkempt – almost feral – but she has no identification on her. Investigator Louise Rick gets a tip that the girl is a twin that used to live in a nearby institution, only thing is, that girl is officially deceased. Other murders and attacks on local women get Louise to thinking that the crimes may all be related and go back for years. However, until she can figure out who this first girl is, and what she was doing in the woods, the key to whole mystery will remain hidden.

I really enjoyed this fast-paced, well-plotted novel. This is my first Sara Blaedel book, but apparently the Louise Rick series is quite popular and there are several other books. This story does have passages of graphic violence and the overall premise, once it’s all figured out, is fairly disturbing; however, I did like it and look forward to reading more books by Blaedel. Rick is a multi-layered character – far from perfect – and I rooted for her as the protagonist.

Thank you, Net Galley and Grand Central Publishing, for my review copy!

You can see it on Amazon – where I am an Associate:

The Forgotten Girls

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Audiobook Review: THE SNOWMAN by Jo Nesbo

I knew Jo Nesbo from his well-written and hilarious children’s books featuring Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder. I had heard that he also wrote Scandinavian crime fiction, so I grabbed THE SNOWMAN on audio when I was at the library. All I can say is that this a very different kettle of fish from his children’s books!

THE SNOWMAN starts with a young boy waiting for his mother as she is visiting her lover. It is cold and wintry and there is a snowman. Flash forward and he is now a serial killer. His calling card is a snowman at the scene. The killings are brutal and bloody and not something I could listen to when the kids were in the car! Harry Hole, Nesbo’s detective protagonist from a number of his novels, needs to get to the bottom of the killing spree. Harry has his own issues and demons, though, but along with a new partner works tirelessly to solve the crimes. Several times they think they have the killer, but they are wrong. Soon Harry finds himself in the killer’s sights.

This was a well crafted book (ably executed by reader Robin Sachs) that kept me guessing and guessing. It was much “rougher” than I was expecting and I couldn’t play it around my kids or at school while waiting for them (explicit sexual content, language, violence, gore). At some points I was even a bit “grossed out” (remember – I’m kind of a cozy mystery gal). I would read more by Nesbo, though, as I think he’s a talented writer. (And my apologies to him that my keyboard won’t allow me the Nordic slash that his last name requires).

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Review: THIS IS THE WATER by Yannick Murphy

I had heard some chatter about this book while I was at BEA this spring, but I couldn’t find an ARC around, thus I pre-ordered it for my kindle. It downloaded last week when it was published and I started it on the plane ride home from California.

Wow! What a read this was!

THIS IS THE WATER focuses on a New England swim team and the parents of the girls on the team. One of the parents is struggling in her lackluster marriage. Another parent is sure her husband is having an affair. A third parent is an annoying and interfering mother. Along with the daily intricacies of life, a serial killer is stalking one of the girls and when he strikes, their whole swim team world is temporarily turned upside down.

This was the type of book that once I started, I could not put it down. Not only was there a lot of information on the main characters and their trials and tribulations, but the focus on the murder and the killers’ motives and actions served as a subplot. I wanted to see if he would be caught. I wanted to see if Annie’s marriage could be saved. Was Paul having an affair? Would the killer strike again? Would annoying Dinah ever stop being annoying?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how this book is written in a unique and innovative style. The entire book is written in the present tense (hence, “this is the water”). The style is almost that of a children’s book: “This is the water” etc. While some may find this different (or even annoying), I found it almost lulling, similar to a gentle lapping of (wait for it!) water. And while we are onlookers throughout,  at times we are Annie, and the story switches to second person:”You go the pool.” etc. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel written in second person. Somehow, reading it that way made me identify very closely with Annie. It was almost uncomfortably creepy. While I’m sure this style wouldn’t work for some readers, I absolutely loved it and found it quite brilliant.

So – I highly recommend this book (one of fave summer reads so far!) for those who want the suspense and intrigue and the distinct writing style of Ms. Murphy.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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YA Review: MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER by Katie Alender

I saw MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER at the YA session at BEA but quite frankly, I walked past it. Marie Antoinette – serial killer?? It sounded rather absurd, plus the cover had a costumed girl with blood on her – ick (just a note here: looks like the blood didn’t make it to the final cover). However, when they were doing the session, they mentioned it as a good example of the “mash up” genre: part mystery, part historical fiction, part horror, part supernatural, part contemporary. The speaker recommended it, so I immediately slipped back to the table and grabbed a (free) copy. I have to say – I really enjoyed reading it!

MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER starts with high schooler Colette Iselin preparing for a class trip to France. She is struggling with her parents recent break up and the family’s new, strained, financial situation. She can’t wait to get away with her (rather mindless and not very nice) friends, to explore the place where her family has its roots. Colette’s school group has barely gotten their feet on terra firma when they hear about a serial killer running loose – beheading victims, all of whom are from long-standing French/Parisian families. Colette sees a costumed young woman and realizes she is seeing Marie Antoinette’s ghost. As you might guess, Colette realizes she may be the next victim and needs to figure out the how and why of the murders in order to stop them. Along the way she is helped by their friendly teen tour guide (insert romance!), and she comes to realize that perhaps she has been spending too much time focusing on the things that don’t matter and less time on the things that do.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read and cleverly plotted. I’m a big fan of all things French, so I love reading about people strolling through Paris and seeing the places I love.

Highly entertaining!

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Review: She Can Run by Melinda Leigh

         For my beach reading, I downloaded (on Amazon Prime’s read-for-free) “She Can Run”. (Just a note- it looks like this book is currently $1.99 on Kindle). This novel is a thriller of romantic suspense, telling the story of Beth Baker and her two young children as she is running and hiding from her pretty much insane congressman husband (another note- she is formerly widowed and the children are from her first happy marriage). Beth comes to work on a friend of her uncle’s horse farm; however, the friend has died unexpectedly and the farm is now the property of his attractive, young nephew, Jack (who is on leave from the police force after an injury). What follows is a lot of suspense and romance as Beth tries to get her life together and stay alive while her estranged husband seeks her out and a serial killer takes an interest in her.

     I enjoyed this light read and found it perfect beach reading in Hawaii! I always like a character that shares my name, though the book’s Beth was far more svelte/attractive/in danger than I am! 🙂

     See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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