Book Review: The Girl from Silent Lake by Leslie Wolfe @LWNovels @bookouture @SDSXXTours

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The Girl From Silent Lake
Detective Kay Sharp Book 1
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
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Wow!!!! It simply took my breath away so much that I
finished this book in one go! Literally took my breath away!
I simply couldn’t put the book down. Unputdownable.”
Tropical Girl Reads Books, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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The Girl from Silent Lake
Detective Kay Sharp Book 1
Leslie Wolfe
Bookouture, February 2021
ISBN 978-1-83888-985-2
Trade Paperback
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From the publisher—
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Her daughter, with emerald eyes and the sweetest smile, is everything to her. Her whole world. “Mommy,” the little girl says, touching her mother’s face with trembling fingers before she’s torn away. “Don’t cry.” Will she ever see her again?
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When single mother Alison Nolan sets off with her six-year-old daughter, Hazel, she can’t wait to spend precious time with her girl. A vacation in Silent Lake, where snow-topped mountains are surrounded by the colors of fall, is just what they need. But hours later, Alison and Hazel vanish into thin air.
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Detective Kay Sharp rushes to the scene. The only evidence that they were ever there is an abandoned rental car with a suitcase in the back, gummy bears in the open glove compartment and a teddy bear on the floor.
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Kay’s mind spins. A week before, the body of another woman from out of town was found wrapped in a blanket, her hair braided and tied with feathers. Instinct tells her that the cases are connected––and it won’t be long until more innocent lives are lost.
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As Kay leads a frenzied search, time is against her, but she vows that Alison and little Hazel will be found alive. She works around the clock, even though the small town is up in arms, saying she’s asking too many questions. Then she uncovers a vital clue – a photograph of the blanket that the first victim was buried in.
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Just when Kay thinks she’s found the missing piece, she realises she’s being watched. Is she getting too close, or is her own past catching up with her?
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With a little girl’s life on the line, Kay will stop at nothing. But will it be enough to get inside the mind of the most twisted killer she has ever encountered, or will another blameless child be taken?
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A totally gripping and utterly pulse-pounding crime thriller series for readers who love Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Kendra Elliot. This twist-packed page-turner gives “unputdownable” a whole new meaning!
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There’s a certain predictability in The Girl from Silent Lake because the essential elements are much like so many police procedurals—unattached woman detective returns to the place where she has a troubled past, small town atmosphere, a dead body, missing women and children, has an expertise that can help the local police, kickass attitude, covering a secret, etc., etc. This sense of familiarity is not necessarily a bad thing, though, because there’s comfort to be found in that very familiarity and deep surprises are not always needed or wanted by the reader. In this case, I appreciated knowing pretty much how things were going to play out because it’s the story I was looking for at this time.
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One thing I never could get a handle on was why an accomplished forensic FBI agent would leave her job, even temporarily, to housesit for her incarcerated brother. He’s onlly in for six months, for heaven’s sake, and it would/should be easy to find someone local to occasionally check on the house. In fact, I imagine the local cops would be willing to help out a fellow law officer so that reason for Kay’s return to the place she swore never to return to doesn’t hold water. Still, once I put that aside, the tale became quite enjoyable with an engaging troop of characters and a tension-filled investigation. This is a promising beginning to what will probably be a very good series.
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Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2021.
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Goodreads * Barnes & Noble * Amazon

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About the Author

Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.
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Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
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A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at https://lesliewolfe.com/books/.
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Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.
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Book Review: Death Grip by Elaine Viets @evmysterywriter @severnhouse

Death Grip
An Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery (Book 4)
Elaine Viets
Severn House Publishers, March 2021
ISBN 978-0-7278-9018-4
Hardcover

This is the 4th book in the Death Investigator Series.  It is set in Chouteau County, Missouri. The heroine, Angela Richman, is a Death Investigator who is called out to examine and gather evidence when a death has occurred.

At the outset of the story Angela is called to a densely wooded area of the County. There, Detective Jace Budewitz leads her to the body found by a hiker, and suggests that the isolated area might well be a  ‘body dump’.

Angela is joined by another colleague, a CSI tech, and together they begin to gather evidence. Angela photographs the victim and collects and identifies anything that might offer a clue to the identity of the deceased or the perpetrator.

Her colleague, after studying the body, believes it belongs to Terri Gibbons, a high school track and field athlete who went missing eight months ago.

Two more bodies are also found in the area and arrangements are made to transport the victims for examination by a forensic anthropologist.  It isn’t long before a rather damaging clue is discovered, a clue that points to a rich, powerful, well-known local bachelor who already has some questionable history with the police.

A search-warrant is issued which seemed somewhat premature, and when nothing incriminating is found, the investigation is temporarily derailed.

While I initially liked the set up and start of the book, it quickly veered off course and settled on Angela’s personal life;  her love for her dead husband, a possible new love interest, and her own lack of interest in moving on with her life.

Her struggle with not being ready for a new romance felt more like filler, passing the time until another line of inquiry brought the reader back to the mystery of the murders of the three women.

I was also surprised to learn that while Angela was a Death Investigator she was not a qualified Detective and was told not to interfere with the ongoing investigation.  She is, in fact, reprimanded for doing so and warned off.

This, however, doesn’t deter Angela from continuing to pursue the case, determined to uncover evidence against the wealthy bachelor. But once again the narrative moves between interviewing women who had previously worked for the suspect, and the budding romance with the newest member of the force.

The climax, although a touch contrived, is exciting, bringing the mystery to a satisfying conclusion.

While the book was a relatively fast read, my interest lagged at times. If you are a fan of this well known author you will no doubt enjoy Angela’s latest entry.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, July 2021.

Book Reviews: Last Call by Elon Green and Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton @elongreen @CeladonBooks @DaveShelton @DFB_storyhouse

Last Call
A True Story of Love, Lust and Murder in Queer New York
Elon Green
Celadon Books, March 2021
ISBN 978-1-250-22435-4
Hardcover

The world was not warm or welcoming for gay men in the 1980s. Discrimination, bias and inexplicable hate made for an uncomfortable existence, at best. Not only was homosexuality grossly misunderstood; but AIDS was becoming a familiar fear for everyone.

Repercussions could be very real for any openly-gay man. Life turned from unpleasant to terrifying with the discovery of a dismembered male body. And later, another grisly, heart-wrenching find. More would follow.

Law enforcement was not convinced that the scarily-similar manner of disposal connected the crimes. Faint lines leading to New York City piano bars— where gay men felt somewhat safe—seemed more than a stretch.  Prejudices towards the victims’ “life-styles” and the lack of a crime scene, coupled with “dump sites” in different jurisdictions, meant that these crimes were not priorities.

Family members, friends, Lesbian and Gay Advocate Groups would not allow these deaths to be ignored, though. Patrons, pianists, and bartenders all mentioned one man, in particular. The suspect was a nurse at a NYC hospital, but no one knew more than that.

In the same way that stellar wait-staff are inconspicuous when their service is spot-on, Mr. Green simply sets everything up, almost allowing each man to tell his own story.

This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books, with a huge “Thank You!” to Celadon Books for the Advance Review Copy, which I will donate to my favorite high-school classroom library.

Reviewed by jv poore, February 2021.

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Thirteen Chairs
Dave Shelton
David Fickling Books, September 2015
ISBN 978-1-910-20044-5
Trade Paperback

Inside of a dilapidated, abandoned home— that is most assuredly haunted, per the neighborhood children—one room appears to be in use. A long table is set with flickering candles, casting strange rays on the oddly assembled group gathered around.

Jack had heard the wicked rumors; but standing outside and seeing a soft light within, his curiosity has passed piqued. Compelled, he enters the house and follows the glow. He is welcomed to the table, where there is, uncannily, one empty chair.

Each person has a story to share and every one of the scary shorts could stand alone. Some of the narrators appear to know one another quite well, while others seem less comfortable with the eclectic individuals sharing their space. Jack is clearly the freshest face to the table, and perhaps, he has the most to fear.

Reviewed by jv poore, July 2019.

Book Review: Eventide by R.L. Ryker

Eventide
A Chief Mattson Mystery #1
R.L. Ryker
R.L. Ryker, April 2021
ISBN 979-8723281097
Trade Paperback

A well-written, carefully plotted novel of murder and solution by confident organized small-town cops. The story line follows returning home-town boy, Brandon Mattson, who goes up the west coast from Seattle, where he became an experienced homicide investigator, back to Forks, Washington, as the new Chief of Police.

Brandon’s younger brother, also a cop, was murdered there. Now Brandon as the newly hired Chief of Police, faces old friends, lovers and the usual suspicions. He’s cleverly faced with an array of other difficulties as a former-new resident.

An old lover and a new possibility vie for his attention, as does the problem of his teen daughter who is fighting with Brandon’s ex. Although he’s been hired as the new Chief, forces in the town of Forks and among members of local law enforcement rise and fall, creating additional concerns. Layered on his personal concerns is the murder on the beach of a young woman. Mattson faces serious pressure to solve the crime quickly to avoid disrupting important civic plans.

The novel is nicely written, logical, clean and very realistic. From the very beginning the book feels small-town-comfortable with the tension from civic leaders who are watching his performance to the resistance and support of the cadre of local cops. Eventide is a competent, well-designed logical story with just the right elements of description, tension and resolution.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, May 2021.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: A Slaying Song Tonight by Fran Stewart

A Slaying Song Tonight
Fran Stewart
My Own Ship Press, September 2019
ISBN 978-1-9513680-1-2
Trade Paperback

Set in 1932, Susannah Lou Packard is on trial for the murder of a state representative, the son of a state senator who she murdered several years previously for which she is now serving a life sentence.  Nancy Lou Remington, a young reporter for a local newspaper,  having talked her editor into letting her interview Packard, visits her in the prison where she is being held to try and uncover the details of Packard’s vicious crimes.  The woman Nancy finds is not at all what she expected but after a few opening skirmishes, driven by Packard’s need to establish who is in charge, they begin talking.  The first thing Packard does is set some ground rules including that she will tell Nancy her whole story uninterrupted and Nancy can ask her questions only after she is done.  She also extracts Nancy’s promise not to talk to any of her family until the story is complete.  Reluctantly, Nancy agrees because she really wants the story and she feels that if she can get to Packard’s motives, a potential Pulitzer Prize may be in her future.

As the story unfolds, Nancy is drawn more and more into Packard’s life as Packard tells her that the two murders Packard admitted to committing are not her only crimes.  Nancy soon fills several notebooks with details of Packard’s crimes but is left to wonder at some discrepancies that creep into the stories.  But whenever Nancy tries to explore those, Packard insists that Nancy keep to the deal she made – no questions until she is finished.  Eventually Packard’s trial and her stories come to an end at which point Nancy visits Packard’s sister who helps clear up some of the discrepancies with information that astonishes Nancy.

In A Slaying Song Tonight, Stewart has painted a detailed portrait of a woman obsessed with killing and with making sure that the details of her chilling crimes are told.  For those who are not completely freaked out by serial killer stories I think you will find this book and the mind of a murderer fascinating.

Reviewed by Melinda Drew, January 2021.

Book Review: The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK

The Puppet Show
Washington Poe #1

M.W. Craven
Constable/Little, Brown Book Group, January 2019
ISBN 978-1-4721-2745-7
Trade Paperback

Winner of the 2019 CWA Gold Dagger Award

As mentioned above this book is already a winner and after reading it I’m not at all surprised.

Set in the Lake District, someone is burning people alive and leaving the bodies amid one of the many prehistoric stone circles found in the area.  On the third charred body a name has been carved.  That name is Washington Poe.  Poe is  a member of a special group of investigators known as The National Crime Agency.  Poe is meantime on suspension due to conduct in a previous investigation, but the powers that be are anxious to stop this killer and Poe is called back in, and quickly brought up to speed.  The murders are obviously the work of a serial killer.

When a fourth body is discovered,  Poe, together with who the book jacket describes as  “the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw head out to where the newest victim has been found.  Poe’s method of investigating is somewhat unorthodox and often reactionary, and with Tilly’s help they uncover a number of leads that take them slowly but surely closer to identifying this killer.

Poe and Tilly work together well and this working relationship is an interesting aspect of this story.  But Poe is beginning to question whether  the clues he and Tilly find are specifically meant for him.   Is the Killer deliberately enticing Poe into a trap?  Is he somehow connected to the killings?

This is a terrific read.  Unputdownable!  The graphic descriptions of the murders might not be for everyone, but the writing is compelling, as is the twisted plot.  I devoured this book over the course of a couple of days and can hardly wait to catch up with the next in the series, Black Summer.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, November 2020.

Book Review: Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith @RGalbraith @mulhollandbooks

Troubled Blood
A Cormoran Strike Novel #5
Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books, September 2020
ISBN 978-0-316-49898-2
Hardcover

For those familiar with this series by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K.Rowling, this is Book #5. While I would suggest reading them in order I believe that this 944 page hardcover book can be read on its own.

Cormoran Strike is a Private Detective and his Partner in the Detective Agency is Robin Ellacott. Due to their success in solving previous cases, Strike and Robin have gained something of a reputation. They now have a receptionist Pat, and two investigators, Morris and Hutchins. At the outset of the series Robin had been the sole employee, but having helped Strike in all the previous cases he offered her a partnership in the business.

They are asked to take on a Cold Case, the disappearance forty years ago of a young mother and doctor. Margot Bamborough disappeared without a trace one evening on her way to meet a friend for a drink. At the time Margot’s daughter Anna was a toddler, but she has always wondered if the speculation that her mother was just another victim of a serial killer named Dennis Creed was true. Creed is in jail for the kidnapping and murder of a number of young women, and has neither acknowledged nor denied any connection with Margot’s disappearance.

Intrigued, they decide to accept the challenge, but tracking down the people in Margot’s life from 40 years ago, two doctors, a nurse and a receptionist, a gardener and an office cleaner, not to mention friends and a few patients she had seen on that fateful day, is a daunting task.

Troubling, however, is the fact that Strike is dealing with some personal issues. His Aunt Joan, who lives in Cornwall and was like a mother to him when he was a child, is fighting a battle with cancer. She means a great deal to him and he is torn between his work in London and spending as much time as he can with her. And Strike’s father, a famous Rock Musician who has barely acknowledged Strike’s existence wants to meet and talk to him.

Robin does her best to pick up the slack, but she is caught emotionally drained trying to finalize her divorce, as well as some tension in the office.

As you may have gathered there is a lot going on in this 944 page novel, nonetheless the reader is in good hands, and quickly gets caught up in the various cases as they unfold.

With slow and painstaking work Strike and Robin make a little headway with the Cold Case, locating and meeting with some of the staff who worked at the Medical Practice all those years ago. But with each interview they hear conflicting stories about Dr, Margot Bamborough, and the events leading up to her disappearance, which frustratingly results in more questions. But nothing deters these investigators in their pursuit of the truth.

A remarkable story, hard to put down. Check it out… You won’t regret it.

RespectfulIy submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, October 2020.