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Thursday, November 23, 2017

She's Not There by Joy Fielding

Setting: Southern California
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Zaffre
Release Date: December 14, 2017

It's a romantic Mexican getaway to celebrate 10 years together. Caroline Shipley is thrilled to find friends and family there to celebrate with them. On their last night in Mexico, their hotel babysitter never shows. Rather than disappoint everyone, Caroline and her husband decide to lock the sleeping children in the room and head to dinner downstairs. They'll check on the kids every 30 minutes.

Everything goes smoothly. The kids sleep soundly, and nothing seems to be amiss. When they return to their room at 10 p.m., their two-year-old daughter is missing. Caroline's world shatters.

Fifteen years have passed. Caroline's lived under the shame of being the mom who left her children alone. Most people believe she killed her youngest. She's dodged reporters and angry strangers for years.

One phone call changes her life. A 17-year-old Canadian woman calls to say she thinks she might be Caroline's missing daughter. It could be another scam. Caroline's not sure she has it in her to go through another round of fraud, hatred, and media attention.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The plot of She's Not There is pretty similar to the real disappearance of Madeleine McCann. If you know that story, you'll see similarities. The parents went to dinner leaving the sleeping kids alone. One child disappeared while the other/s slept. The parents returned at 10 p.m. to find their blonde, angelic daughter missing. Many have wondered what happened to Madeleine. This story takes a fictional look at a possibility.

RTR's Bottom Line

I caught on to the truth before the halfway mark. I didn't find it that hard to deduce, but then I do read a lot of mysteries. Because I was pretty sure I'd figured it out, I found myself rushing to reach the end. It's a solid story that definitely put a tear in my eye.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: December 12, 2017

If you didn't read the first book, stop here. This review will spoil some of the first book. I highly recommend reading the books in order. While they could be stand-alone novels, I don't think they should be.

In the sequel to Stillhouse Lake, Gwen's ex-husband, a cunning serial killer, is still out there. His escape from prison went well, and he's making it clear that he's coming for Gwen. She's determined to find him first.

Handing her kids to the only couple she really trusts, Gwen and the brother of one of her husband's victims head off to find Melvin and put an end to his, and his large network of follower's, threats. They're staying a step ahead of her, however, and will do everything they can to end her before she ends Melvin.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Killman Creek is maddening, addicting, and satisfying. Paired with the first novel, the group that Gwen is up against are clearly a bunch of sadistic and smart jerks. I often found myself outraged by the things they manage to pull. This book is no different. The author does a spectacular job at making you completely hate people.

Like the first novel, I found this book hard to put down. I didn't want to walk away and leave Gwen hanging. She's often in tough situations with life hanging in the balance. Waking up at 3 a.m., I decided to give up on sleep and finish reading the book instead. It will be a long day, but it was worth it.

RTR's Bottom Line

I want to hope that this is it now. I have this feeling, however, that this series will continue. It's a mix of really disturbing characters, truly likable ones, and a pace that never lets up until you read the final sentence. If you want creepy, intense, and gripping, Killman Creek is a must!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Release Date: July 2017

After her husband calls and asks her to pick up their kids from school, Gina Royal has no clue that her loving family is about to be torn to shreds. She and the kids arrive home to find their house surrounded. A drunk driver crashed into their garage, which is her husband's private workshop that's always kept locked. There, the body of a young woman is found hanging from the rafters. Her husband's acts as a serial killer and revealed, and no one believes Gina couldn't have known.

After spending a year in jail awaiting trial as an accomplice, Gina is finally exonerated. She honestly never had a clue, but few believe her. Since then, she and her children have been on the run. The threats are numerous, and she'll do anything to keep her son and daughter safe.

In a cottage on the shores of Stillhouse Lake, Gina, now Gwen, finally thinks they will be able to start anew. That is until a body is found. Gwen knows she's no longer safe, and she has no idea who she can trust to help her.

Strengths and Weaknesses

I never found it hard to determine the bad guy's identity. That said, the creep factor in this book always had me on the edge of my seat. There's no guessing when something bad is about to happen.

The author's pace never slowed. From the start, the story moves swiftly from start to finish. If you're looking for a book that's high on suspense and tension, don't miss Stillhouse Lake.

RTR's Bottom Line

I'm so glad the second book is out next month. I was addicted to the story in Stillhouse Lake, even if I'd pegged the bad guy from the start. This book is intense and definitely won't be forgotten soon.