Review: The Chain by Adrian McKinty

The ChainThe Chain by Adrian McKinty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As Rachel drives to Boston for an early morning appointment with her oncologist, she thinks her daughter, 13-year old Kiley, is safe, getting on the bus and heading off to school. Then she gets a chilling phone call that rocks her world to its core.

The caller says Kiley has been kidnapped and in order to get her back Rachel needs to pay a hefty ransom and kidnap another child to take her place.

An entity known as ‘The Chain’ is on the other end of the line and they make their money by fusing traditional kidnappings together with the horrifying chain letter concept of the 1980s. They are very detailed in their directions to Rachel. She is not the first and she won’t be last.

Whatever you do, do not break the chain.

Rachel already knows she will do anything they say. Kiley is her whole world and she will stop at nothing to get her back! We follow along with Rachel and her brother-in-law, Pete, as they work around the clock to ensure Kiley’s release.

This dark, crime thriller is highly entertaining! It starts off with a bang and you instantly feel a part of the action. The premise is super creative and I love how intense the majority of the story was. Rachel has to almost immediately transform herself in order to play ‘The Chain’s’ game. She goes from meek, defeated suburban housewife to a criminal mastermind.

I can get behind that.

For me, the pacing was a little off. I did enjoy the first half of the book a lot more than the second half but overall, it’s a solid story. You have to be able to just roll with a few implausible details and have fun with it. That’s what it is meant to be, a fun, wild ride.

McKinty’s writing is engaging and I liked the different perspectives he offered us throughout. It provided a nice wide scope for taking in The Chain’s reach. I particularly liked learning about the villain’s background and early life. Seeing where they were coming from added to the darkness of the story and that’s basically what I am here for.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Mulholland Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and I know a lot of Thriller Readers will enjoy this one!

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Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape RoomThe Escape Room by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being summoned last minute to participate in a ‘team building exercise’ is not how Vincent, Jules, Sylvie or Sam saw their Friday night going. Unfortunately, participation is mandatory so they all dutifully arrive on time at a remote office building in a shady part of town. Greeting in the lobby, they enter the elevator together for the ride up to one of the top floors.

The express elevator ascends quickly and then abruptly stops. The lights go out and the heat cranks up. Suddenly, the team comes to the realization that this is their exercise. An Escape Room challenge where the competitive coworkers will have to put petty rivalries aside and work together in order to solve the clues needed for them to be released.

As dark secrets of the team are revealed, viciously pitting them against one another, they find themselves removed from their normal boardroom backstabbing and thrust into a definitive game of survival.

Megan Goldin’s thrilling debut, set in the world of high stakes Wall Street finance is incredibly ruthless, and that’s sort of my brand. I absolutely flew through this story. I could not put it down!

Following dual perspectives between our cast of characters in the elevator and flashbacks to a mysterious former team member, Sara Hall, the plotting of this is absolutely brilliant. It kept me engaged and guessing the entire way.

At its heart, a complex revenge thriller, this stoked my Slytherin heart, as I stan a character with the dedication to strategize a long game. If you don’t know what I mean by this, pick up this book. This is the epitome of a painstakingly planned ‘long game’.

I had so much fun reading this and it is now definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I recommend it to anyone who likes a solid, unique thriller. If this is what Goldin puts out for her debut, I cannot wait to what she comes up with next. You know I will be buying it and devouring it as soon as its released!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and of course, love discovering ambitious new authors to obsess over.

This one is out now, my friends, be sure to pick up your copy and see if you can solve The Escape Room!!!

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Review: A Stranger On The Beach by Michele Campbell

A Stranger on the BeachA Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Caroline and Jason Stark have been married for 20-years. Like most couples, their relationship has had its ups-and-downs. Lately, more down than up.

With their only child, Hannah, recently off to college, and Jason traveling a lot more for work, Caroline focuses most of her energy on building her dream house in the Hamptons.

After the lavish beach house is completed, Caroline decides to throw a house warming party, inviting all of their rich and influential friends. Unfortunately, Jason tells Caroline he is stuck at a ‘work thing’ and will be unable to attend.

She’s saddened by this news, as she was really hoping to reconnect with him and show off the beautiful home, no small accomplishment. Then in a jaw-dropping turn of events, Jason does arrive at the house…(view spoiler)!!!

As you can imagine, the proverbial shit hits the fan.

Days after wallowing in it, Caroline gets herself up, out of the house and straight to a popular local watering hole. Once there, she recognizes the guy behind the bar. He was actually the bartender provided by the catering company on the night of her ill-fated house warming.

Instead of cowering in embarrassment, she decides to embrace it and proceeds to flirt with him all night whilst getting elbows deep in some vodka sodas.

Enter Aidan Callahan. Young and handsome with a troubled past. What could go wrong?

For his part, Aidan seems to like Caroline a little too much. Before she knows it, he is everywhere. She can’t get rid of him but is this your typical stalker behavior or is it more?

Alternating between Caroline and Aidan’s perspectives, this book is so full of twists and turns, you won’t know who to believe. The truth is hidden in here somewhere but you’d be hard-pressed to discover it! This story is so gripping, so chilling; a true tale of suspense.

I loved the format of this. I think Campbell’s choices in the development of this story were close to perfection. For the first 3/4 of the book, you are getting that twisted back-and-forth perspective and then suddenly…the main event.

The the final 1/4 follows new perspectives of the investigators called in to discover the truth. I thought this was unique and really well played.

In the end, I was satisfied with the conclusion. The one small criticism I had was that once you got to the investigation portion of the story, with the evidence put forth early on, it’s pretty clear what actually happened. I am not sure too many people will be fooled at that point but regardless, really well written, great characters, fast-paced, gripping; I really, really liked it!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. Michele Campbell is definitely one of my go-to authors. I love her storytelling. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, this is definitely a great one to start with and perfect for summer fun!!

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Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After losing her job and her live-in boyfriend in one day, Jules feels like a lost soul. Crashing on her best friend’s couch, she can’t believe she has come so low so quickly.

She is determined to get back on her feet, whatever it takes, and just like that an opportunity falls in her lap. Well, not literally, she actually finds opportunity in the classifieds section. Apartment Sitter Wanted.

The Bartholomew is one of the most prestigious apartment buildings in New York City and Jules cannot believe they actually want to interview her for the appointment. Upon seeing the apartment, she absolutely cannot believe her luck. Pristine living quarters, breathtaking views and a handsome next-door neighbor.

$12,000 to live in the apartment for 3-months. Other requirements? Really none besides the fact that she isn’t allowed any visitors, she cannot spend a night away and she absolutely cannot hassle the other tenants.

Her best friend, Chloe, tries to warn her off. If it seems too good to be true it probably is but as Jules sees it, what option does she have?

So, she moves in.

Guys, I freaking loved this book so much! I cannot even describe to you how much fun this was for me to read. It basically has everything I love. Sager’s writing draws you in and the atmosphere is always intense. The setting of the Bartholomew was absolutely brilliant. The history surrounding the building, the other tenants, the odd rules…

There were scenes, reading late into the night, when I was legit terrified. Ultimately, it went in a direction I never would have predicted and it is bizarre and so flipping good. Let’s just say, Hitchcock would be impressed.

Thank you so much, PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot even express my level of gratitude. This was my most anticipated thriller of 2019 and it did not disappoint for a moment. I loved every minute of reading this and will pick up anything Sager ever chooses to have published!

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Review: Those People by Louise Candlish

Those PeopleThose People by Louise Candlish
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s get the main grit out of the way:
I am trash for domestic drama from Louise Candlish.

She has such a knack for examining the dark side of an otherwise mundane domestic landscape. Additionally, I am really into how she formats her stories.

She incorporates the use of mixed media, such as police interviews, newspaper articles, texts and/or emails, and I absolutely love that.

This story is set on Lowland Way, a quiet residential street in a posh-suburban neighborhood. The envy of other neighborhoods, this one seems the perfect place to be and raise a family.

Everyone gets along so smoothly, they have even organized ‘play-out Sunday‘, where the street literally gets blocked off to cars and the kids just play in the street all day while the parents relax and socialize. Everyone cooperates. Everyone participates. It’s perfect.

That is until Darren and Jodie move into #1 after Darren inherits the property. They bring with them loud music, inappropriate language, a dodgy renovation project, not to mention many cars that he actively works on and sells from his driveway.

The icing on the cake being that they refuse to follow the rules of play-out Sunday and continue driving cars on the street!!!

As you can imagine, neighbors are not impressed. In fact, their presence causes so much stress that several people discuss selling and moving on. Long-term owners on the street refuse to be cowed by the newcomers however and the plotting and diabolical scheming begins.

Y’all, these neighbors are savage!
They take their domestic peace VERY SERIOUSLY!!!
I can’t say I blame them but, damn, the stuff they come up with!

I had a really great time reading this. As with Our House, you know from the very beginning that a crime has occurred but you aren’t quite sure who the victim is. Overtime, through interviews and the perspectives of multiple characters the true story gets revealed. This style, for me, makes the plot move along very quickly and I love starting a new chapter in order to see someone else’s POV.

At this point, I am a fangirl for Candlish and will definitely continue to pick up any domestic drama she puts out! Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it!

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Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You GoI Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And just like that, Mackintosh is redeemed in my eyes!

Artist, Jenna Gray, arrives in a small town on the Welsh Coast and hastily rents a remote cottage there. Like many unreliable narrators before her, she is clearly running from something, but what?

Chances are it is connected with the hit-and-run death of a child that the book opens with but as a reader, you aren’t sure of the connection.

We then follow Jenna as she settles into her new life and begins to find happiness in her newly discovered independence. We also follow intrepid police detectives continuing to work the hit-and-run case.

Slowly, the two storylines begin to merge and what is revealed projects the narrative into the stratosphere. A new perspective is introduced and things rapidly start to come together.

I had a lot of fun with this one although some of the subject matter was hard to read. Trigger Warnings for: (view spoiler)

Overall, I loved the atmosphere, the mystery was strong, as well as the police procedural aspects of the story. Jenna really grew on me over the course of the book and all in all, I did appreciate her character growth.

I would recommend this to the few thriller readers out there who have yet to pick this one up. I feel like I was the last one but there you go.

A quick read with a satisfying ending — what more could you ask for this summer? Pick it up!

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Review: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

Saving MeghanSaving Meghan by D.J. Palmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

15-year old, Meghan Gerard, is a very sick girl.
Or is she?

Her mother, Becky, insists there is something really wrong with her but after numerous specialists, and countless tests, there is no definitive diagnosis. In fact, Becky’s track record on dragging Meghan to a million different doctors has started to attract attention.

One doctor in particular, calls her out on it. Dr. Nash, a GI specialist, suspects Munchausen syndrome by Proxy as a cause for Meghan’s mysterious symptoms and she is not going to sit by while Meghan is further harmed.

Dr. Nash sets up a series of events that forces the removal of Meghan from her parent’s home. While this may seem brash, Dr. Nash feels that based on the totality of events, it could also be the best thing to ever happen to Meghan.

The premise behind this book is super intriguing and I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, overall, I was underwhelmed.

It just seemed to drag on and on. I couldn’t stand Becky, or Meghan really, and while I am not one who has to love my book characters, I honestly couldn’t have cared less what was wrong with Meghan.

There were also some fairly far-fetched plot points toward the end that definitely had me rolling my eyes. This being said, the writing itself was strong so I wouldn’t be opposed to reading future books by this author. This one just didn’t seem to stand out for me.

As we all know, there’s a reader for every book and a book for every reader.

Maybe this will work for you.
Pick it up. See if you can figure out who to believe.
It will definitely have you guessing.

Thank you so much to the publisher, one of my favorites, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As always, I appreciate the opportunity to share my opinion.

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Review: The Last by Hanna Jameson

The LastThe Last by Hanna Jameson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Jon Keller is attending an academic conference at the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland on the day the bombs fall. Nuclear war has broken out and cities all over the world have been decimated. Through early news alerts he learns hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

Jon’s wife and two children are home in San Francisco but he can’t really worry about that now, he needs to focus on his own survival. Jon and twenty other survivors hunker down in the relative safety of the hotel and that’s truly where our story begins.

A historian by trade, Jon takes it upon himself to begin writing the account of the survivors and that is how the narrative is told. For me, this worked so well as a way to tell this story. I loved the feel of it and how we were able to learn not just what was going on currently but also a bit of the survivor’s back stories, as well as some of the history of the hotel itself.

While opening up the top of some water tanks in an effort to start catching rain water, they find the body of a dead girl. It is clear she ended up in the tank by nefarious circumstances and Jon becomes obsessed with finding out who killed her. He starts a legit investigation and that is how he focuses most of his energy.

Tensions are running high and the survivors begin to form alliances and develop a social system unto themselves. When supplies begin to dwindle and winter is approaching the survivors start to send out mini-expeditions in search of food and other supplies. As you can imagine, these are dangerous undertakings and add quite a bit of tension to the plot.

I had a great time reading this book. I was absolutely entertained the whole time. I felt there was just the right level of tension the whole way through to keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved the exploration of people pushed to their limits and how they would organize themselves in order to function with some baseline of decency.

The last little bit seemed a little rushed to me but I wasn’t disappointed with how it ultimately turned out. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stories. This is nice and modern and fitting for our times. Very well done!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more by Jameson in the future!

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Review: The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

The Lies We ToldThe Lies We Told by Camilla Way
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, doesn’t return home one night, she prays there is some sort of logical explanation. He had too much to drink and slept it off at a mate’s flat, or he worked too hard prepping for an interview and fell asleep at the office. But as the hours tick by, she begins to suspect something much darker may have happened to him.

Increasingly concerned about his whereabouts, she ends up contacting their old friend, Mac, as well as Luke’s parents. No one has seen or heard from him. After some prodding, she notifies the authorities and he is formally listed as a missing person.

After the police find CCTV footage of Luke getting into a mysterious van, Clara knows for sure, something sinister has happened to him but what?

Along with her good friend, Mac, Clara begins an investigation of her own and discovers Luke may not be the person she thought he was.

I had so much fun with this book. I flew through it, I couldn’t put it down!

There’s no boring domestic drama prattle here. This is a right and proper Adult Thriller.

The dual narrative kept the story flowing at such a sensational pace with reveals coming just when you needed them. I trusted no one. Everyone was a suspect in my eyes and that made it so exciting. The ending — chills. LOVED IT.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am only sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner.

If you are an Adult Thriller fan, and you have been sleeping on this one like I had been, just stop. Pick this up. I would be shocked if you were disappointed!

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Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent PatientThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She tied her husband to a chair.
She shot him multiple times in the head.
She slit her own wrists.
She stood there and waited for the police to arrive.

…at least, that’s what THEY say she did.
Alicia Berenson isn’t SAYING anything.

When Theo Faber, criminal psychotherapist, takes a new job at The Grove, he is well aware of their most famous patient, Alicia Berenson. In fact, Theo’s goal is to work with her, to see if he can get her to reveal what really happened on the night her husband was killed.

Through Theo’s perspective, his investigation, and Alicia’s own diary entries, the reader is brought along on a hair-raising mystery that is not for the faint of heart.

Guys, I absolutely loved this book. This is the type of thriller that I really enjoy sinking my teeth into. The use of the diary entries, paired with Theo’s investigations, made for a perfectly paced reveal!

Michaelides is definitely an author to watch. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. Highly recommend!

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