Review: Locust Lane by Stephen Amidon

Locust LaneLocust Lane by Stephen Amidon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The suburban town of Emerson, Massachusetts, seems like the ideal place to live and raise a family, but we all know that a lot drama goes on in such towns. It may hide below the surface, but trust, it’s there.

In Stephen Amidon’s Locust Lane, the death of a young woman, Eden, opens up a crack through which the more unsavory sides of this town can be viewed.

After her body is discovered, it is clear that Eden was a victim of foul play. The police investigation into her death includes three local teens discovered to have been partying with Eden that night, Jack, Hannah and Christopher.

This narrative follows multiple perspectives of the adults in the town tied to Eden’s death. These include Jack’s Mom, Celia, Hannah’s Step-Mom, Alice and Christopher’s Father, Michel, as well as Patrick, a man who inadvertently ended up near the crime scene on the night in question. We also get the perspective of Eden’s Mom, Danielle.

This might sound like a lot, but it wasn’t difficult to follow. I think Amidon did a really great job of presenting all of these different perspectives in a distinct and important way.

Each one added to the building-out of this story. Sometimes I feel like, when there are this many perspectives, some are not as important, or interesting as the others, but that wasn’t the case here at all. In fact, I can’t imagine this story being told any other way.

I found the connections amongst the adults so interesting. Their relationships, whether mere acquaintance, friendship, or something more, had a very tight-web feel. Emerson is a small, wealthy town, and Eden was an unwealthy outsider. She didn’t grow up there like the rest of the kids. This definitely had an impact.

How could the truth ever come to light with the parents involved to the extent that they were?

The kids felt more like pawns in a game the adults were playing, as the parents scrambled trying to make sure their kids came out of this incident okay. Very little thought was given to the dead girl. Honestly, this felt real as heck.

I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed the narration. It was so well-done, truly bringing the story to life. I definitely recommend it. The story itself is super intriguing, but I felt the quality of the narration really took it to the next level for me.

The tone and feel of this story reminded me of a gorgeous blend of some of my favorite Crime Thrillers and Domestic Dramas. I’m thinking, for example, of books such as Take It Back by Kia Abdullah, A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson and Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda, to name a few.

If you enjoyed any of those novels, you should absolutely have this one on your TBR!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Celadon Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I was hooked by this story, beginning-to-end. This was my first Amidon novel and I’m looking forward to many more!!

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Review: The Kind to Kill (Shana Merchant #4) by Tessa Wegert

The Kind to Kill (Shana Merchant #4)The Kind to Kill by Tessa Wegert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Kind to Kill is the 4th-book in Tessa Wegert’s Crime Fiction/Police Procedural series, Shana Merchant.

If you are unfamiliar with these books, they follow Senior Investigator, Shana Merchant, who, at the start of the series, transferred from the NYPD to the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York. She does this after having a horrendous run-in with a serial killer.

Initially, Shana is looking for a slower pace then her NYPD position. Alas, it seems murder and mayhem follow her everywhere she goes.

I definitely recommend starting at the beginning of this series and working your way through. Although, like many Adult Mystery, or Police Procedural series, you can read any of the books as standalones, or start anywhere along the line, I feel like this series has the greatest impact if you begin with book one, Death in the Family.

In this installment, it’s mid-summer and Alexandria Bay is gearing up for their popular Pirate Days event. The town floods with tourists eagerly anticipating the fun-filled annual festival.

Shana is still reeling from the events at the conclusion of book three, but she is hoping things will settle down soon enough. Maybe the Pirate Days are just what the community needs to distract their attention away from her and the high profile Blake Bram case for a bit.

Unfortunately, when a tourist named Rebecca, visiting the area with her husband, mysteriously disappears, Shana and her team realize this isn’t going to be a normal, relaxed community event.

Their resulting investigation could put a dark cloud directly over Pirate Days, a fact members of the local government aren’t too happy about. Shana refuses to back down though. Time is of the essence here and they need to find Rebecca; community reputation be damned.

As the investigation digs in, Shana begins to realize a lot of the evidence is reminiscent of the serial killer murders in New York she was involved in. Is it mere coincidence, or has someone targeted the area, targeted Shana, on purpose?

Does A-Bay have a full-fledged copy-cat on their hands?

As with the earlier books, I really enjoyed this one. Wegert has done a great job building out Shana’s character and backstory. In fact, it is a central theme throughout all the books in the series.

The beginning of this had a bit of a slow start for me. There was quite a bit of exploration of the community outlook and others opinions of Shana, her connection to Blake Bram and whether or not she had a culpability in his crimes.

For me, we sort of dug into that side of the story a bit too much at the beginning of this, when I would have preferred the focus to be more on the investigation into Rebecca’s disappearance.

With this being said, once the investigation does really get underway, I was hooked. I’m hooked into Shana’s personal story as well, don’t get me wrong, it just felt a little uneven there in the beginning.

The intensity of the case continues to build throughout the book, as more people get involved, including the complicated family of one of Shana’s team members. There were some clever red herrings placed throughout and I enjoyed guessing at what the final outcome would be.

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t guess correctly!

I’m so excited by the ending of this one. Nice set-up, Wegert! I cannot wait for the next book. Already! It’s true, I’m totally invested in this series.

Thank you to the publisher, Severn House, for providing me with a copy to read and review. The Kind to Kill releases in early-December 2022, so you have plenty of time to catch-up with, or start the series, before its release.

Don’t miss out!!

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Review: Found Object by Anne Frasier

Found ObjectFound Object by Anne Frasier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Jupiter Bellarose is an investigative journalist whose last project ended in tragedy. She feels responsible for the way things turned out and struggles to move past it.

She spends some time in a mental health hospital during her recovery and upon her release, her boss, Bennett, suggests that she take a break from her life in Minneapolis. He further suggests that perhaps it would be a good time to go home to Savannah, visit her father and work on an easy story.

Jupiter has avoided Savannah for a long time. As a place, it holds a lot of dark memories for her. Her mother, Marie Nova, a world-famous actress was actually murdered there when Jupiter was a teenager.

Jupiter, unfortunately, along with her father, stumbled upon the very gruesome crime scene, including her mother’s decapitated head, shortly after the police did. It was a scene that continues to haunt her.

It’s a real testament to how shaken up she was by the last assignment that she actually agrees to go back. Her new project is a fluff piece regarding the Lumet family and their cosmetics empire, Luminescent.

Jupiter’s mother was once the face of Luminescent cosmetics, so Jupiter already has a bit of knowledge, including first-hand experiences, with the family. She can get this done.

In Savannah, Jupiter is hit in the face with her past. The sudden overflow of memories makes her curious. Some things about that tragic night long ago don’t add up.

Jupiter begins to do what she does best, she digs and she digs, coming ever closer to the answers she seeks. Will she be able to find the truth, or will she be taken out before she can? There’s only one way to find out…

Found Object definitely surprised me with its ability to draw me in. I wasn’t sure if I would end up liking this or not, truth be told, but oh my word, once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Some aspects of it were a bit ridiculous, but I didn’t even care. I was so intrigued by the horrifying story of Jupiter’s mother. I had to know what the truth was.

Jupiter was a great main character. She was well fleshed out and I felt like over the course of the story, I really came to understand her. She had a complicated history and her personality definitely matched that.

There were also some great side characters, Ian, a local police officer, and Poppy, his sweet and smart little niece, definitely stick out in my mind.

For me, the mystery was fun. I love the examination of long ago cases and this one didn’t disappoint.

Additionally, I liked watching Jupiter go about her investigation. Being an investigative reporter, it made sense that she would be as resourceful as she was. Having Ian as a friend during her time in Savannah definitely helped as well.

This concluded in a place that definitely left it open for a continuation of Jupiter and Ian’s story. I would absolutely, one hundred percent, no doubt in my mind pick up a second book if one were published.

No pressure, Anne Frasier, but when can I get it?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Thomas Mercer, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I truly had fun with this story.

Found Object releases this Tuesday, October 18th!!!

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Review: Shed No Tears (Cat Kinsella #3) by Caz Frear

Shed No Tears (Cat Kinsella, #3)Shed No Tears by Caz Frear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first two books in this series. I’m not sure why, maybe because I rarely hear anyone talking about it.

I love the detective duo featured in this series, Cat Kinsella and Luigi Parnell. Basically, sign me up for any case they’re ever on. Thus, I knew when I had a long road-trip coming up, this would be the perfect book to listen to as I drove.

And it absolutely was. In fact, this has been my highest rated book in the series thus far!

In this installment, we follow Cat and Luigi as they work a case related to infamous local serial killer, Christopher Masters, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering several women in 2012.

When human remains are discovered, they are positively identified as Holly Kemp, Masters alleged final victim. Holly was the only one whose body hadn’t been found and the only one that Masters never owned up to killing.

It was only due to solid eye-witness testimony that she was considered as one of his victims. Six-years have now passed and it seems like with Holly’s remains found, they will finally be able to put closure on the case.

As they examine the evidence however, there appears to be some glaring discrepancies with the case. Cat and Luigi can’t put it to bed until they know it’s the truth; not our heroes.

Thus, they begin digging in, turning over rocks that have long been settled. As they inch closer and closer to the truth, the dangers escalate to heights even they couldn’t have guessed.

As mentioned in my reviews for the first two books of this series, Sweet Little Lies and Stone Cold Heart, this is a fantastic Police Procedural series with a lot of depth in addition to the mysteries.

The characters are well-fleshed out and believable. I love how there are storylines in the background that continue on throughout the books, as far as Cat’s personal life goes. I feel like I am getting to know her, like a new friend, and I’m loving every minute of it.

One of my favorite aspects of these books has been the exploration of Cat’s complicated family situation. In this one, I felt like the interactions weren’t quite as in your face as in the earlier books, but we do get to see more of the internal struggle Cat is going through in regards to her family.

There are things she has done to protect the ones she loves that are ethically an issue for her. She plays her cards close to her chest, but I like that she is the type of character who these choices would weigh on.

She’s a good egg, our Cat. Regardless of how she feels about herself sometimes.

This mystery gets quite intense and just as complex as the earlier cases. Some people can really bring the drama. You’ll find it all on display here.

In my opinion, this series just keeps getting better and more twisted. We love to see it; character growth on point!

The conclusion to this…oh my word! I really need a book 4 and I need it ASAP!!

If you have yet to start this series, and you love a solid Police Procedural with strong, intelligent characters, you absolutely need to check it out.

Don’t delay, start today!!!

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Review: Stone Cold Heart (Cat Kinsella #2) by Caz Frear

Stone Cold Heart (Cat Kinsella, #2)Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


After picking up the first book in this series, Sweet Little Lies, in early-September as part of my TBR-Haul Project, I could not stop thinking about DC Cat Kinsella.

That’s a great sign when it comes to a mystery series. I knew I needed to go on another case with her ASAP. Luckily for me, there are currently 3-novels released in this series.

In this installment, a young Australian woman, Naomi Lockhart, is found dead after attending a party. As the investigation begins, Cat discovers that one of the other attendees was Joseph Madden, a man she tangentially knows.

Joseph, in all honestly, sort of gives Cat the creeps. He runs a coffee shop by the station and she’s had a few run-ins with him. Including a time that he cornered her to ask for advice regarding his allegedly abusive wife.

It really wasn’t that he was accusing his wife of abuse, it was just the whole way he went about it. The way he phrased it. The way his body language was towards Cat while doing so.

The whole interaction, and others before it, have stuck in her mind. That’s why when Joseph’s name comes up during the course of the investigation, she’s intrigued and digs further.

It turns out the party was hosted by Joseph’s sister-in-law, who is also Naomi’s new boss.

Upon questioning, Joseph vows that his wife, Rachel, can attest to his whereabouts for that night at the time in question; he was home with her.

Rachel, however, disagrees, claiming she was home alone. The couple’s behavior doubles Cat’s earlier suspicions. Someone is lying and she’s going to find out who.

As Cat and her partner, Luigi Parnell, get closer to the truth, they uncover layer upon layer of lies and deceit amongst the cast of people who were part of Naomi’s life. With associates like these, this girl didn’t stand a chance.

I really enjoyed my time with this one. In addition to the overriding mystery, we also got more backstory and insight into Cat’s life. She’s a super interesting main character, so I appreciate the content Frear included here in that regard.

Cat has a fairly new relationship with a man named, Aidan. Unbeknownst to him, it’s slightly complicated. I had fun watching that evolve as well and can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.

There’s also Cat’s complicated relationship with her family, particularly her Dad. I have enjoyed how Frear is keeping her family in the midst of these tales as an overarching storyline amongst the books.

Finally, I really enjoy Cat and Luigi’s work life. As a Police Procedural, the team that the main characters are involved with can really change how engaging a story turns out to be. I love the banter between these two, and with their other colleagues. It’s really well done.

I think it’s safe to say at this point that I will pick up any book that is released in this series. I’m hooked!

If you love Police Procedurals and are sleeping on this series like I was, until very recently, stop what you’re doing and pick them up now!!

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Review: Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Stay AwakeStay Awake by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After waking disoriented in a city cab, with disturbing messages inked on her hands and arms, Liv Reese asks the driver to drop her at her brownstone. Once there, Liv realizes she doesn’t have her keys. What a night.

She’s going to have to wake her roommate, Amy, to let her in. It’s not ideal, but can’t be helped. Liv is exhausted. She just wants to sleep off the rest of whatever this is.

Making matters even more confusing, she doesn’t recognize the couple who come to the door of her apartment. Could they possibly be guests of Amy’s?

The woman, in particular, is especially curt and hostile towards Liv. She claims they live there, have for quite some time and have no idea who Liv is, or where Amy could be.

Ejected from the place she considers home, Liv doesn’t know where to turn. Then she finds the bloody knife. Every move Liv makes only seems to lead to more questions.

The next day, she heads to work. The last thing she remembers is answering the phone at her desk. Maybe she can find some answers there.

In the office, things are just as confusing. It looks different and she doesn’t recognize anyone, but somehow they seem to know her.

Stumbling around the city, trying to piece together how she ended up in this state, Liv catches a news report that shows a murder scene with the same message written on a window as is written on her hands.

She pieces together that the last memories she has are from two years ago. What has she been doing all this time, and more importantly, what did she do last night? Is Liv capable of murder?

Through past and present perspectives, the Reader is clued in to the truths surrounding Liv’s memory issues and murky past. The question is, will Liv be able to piece it all together before it’s too late?

She’s on the run, but she doesn’t even realize from what. I’ll admit, her story had me panicking at times. It’s uncomfortable, but in the best ways.

Stay Awake was one of my absolute most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint for a second. I enjoy Goldin’s work so much and this is certainly no exception.

This was an insanely-intense, jaw-dropping, mortifyingly-wild ride. Goldin took me on a freaking journey with this main character. Oh my goodness.

In my opinion, this is a perfect Summer Thriller. Megan Goldin delivers again!!!

I was so confused towards the beginning on this story. It really played on my own anxieties, but in a way that was enjoyable. I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of Liv and wonder how I would handle these circumstances.

It’s hard to even imagine!

This definitely had me at the edge of my seat and I loved how it all played out. We also get the perspective of the police investigation to the initial murder.

The way the two eventually blended together was so well done. Goldin nailed it.

An extra-special thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

I did listen to the audiobook and it was fantastic, including narration from one of my all-time favorite narrators, Imogen Church. I highly recommend that format for soaking in this highly engaging Thriller.

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Review: Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

Things We Do in the DarkThings We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paris Peralta is in trouble. After being discovered in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor, with a straight razor in her hand, her celebrity-husband, Jimmy, dead in the bathtub behind her, she’s promptly arrested for his murder.

Not a great way to start a day, following a night she can hardly remember. It appears Paris suffered a head injury at some point during the night. This must be why she can’t remember what happened.

A flurry of media activity immediately flocks to the action. Jimmy Peralta was a well-loved comedic actor, who had recently made a giant comeback. His death is big news.

Paris is devastated and swears that she is innocent. In spite of everything happening around her, Paris actually has bigger worries.

When Paris and Jimmy met, she was a yoga instructor and he attended her classes. He was smitten fairly quickly and she was as well, but she was never truly honest with Jimmy.

She never told him about her past. A past she has been hiding from for years.

Twenty-five years ago, Ruby Reyes, dubbed the ‘Ice Queen’ by the media, was convicted for the murder of a man in Canada. It was a very high profile case, with people still discussing it to this day.

Ruby feels like she knows who Paris really is and she spends the final days of her prison stay writing Paris threatening letters. Apparently, blackmail is a hobby you can participate in from anywhere.

Drew Malcolm is an investigative journalist turned podcaster. His specialty happens to be my favorite: true crime. When he hears that Ruby Reyes is going to be released from prison, he can hardly believe it.

Drew grew up in the same area where Ruby lived and committed her infamous crime. He feels personally connected to the case and decides to make it the next hot topic for his podcast.

Using alternating perspectives, as well as both past and present timelines, the Reader gets taken on a real journey in Things We Do in the Dark.

I didn’t pay much attention to the synopsis before I started this, Jennifer Hillier’s name on the cover was enough to get me to read it, and I’m happy I went into this pretty much blind. I was so surprised each time the direction and perspective of this story shifted.

Unsurprisingly, Hillier’s writing drew me in from the very start. I loved Paris as a character and her relationship with Jimmy. I found it completely fascinating.

For me, Jimmy was that quintessential stand-up comedian turned actor, who suffers from depression and substance abuse issues. He found this beautiful young lady who truly seemed to make him happy and he started to turn his life around. I loved that aspect.

I felt like I knew him, even though he really didn’t play a role in this story.

As far as Paris was concerned, I just got her. I liked her. Learning about her past, I truly felt for all she had been through in her life, all she had overcome and achieved in spite of it.

Additionally, Drew was a fantastic character. I liked how much his investigative journalist background contributed to the story. This man was on a mission.

I had so much fun with the reveals in this, as the three threads begin to weave together. I felt this was expertly-plotted and a great way to escape the world for a while.

I did listen to the audiobook and felt that is was super well done. I was enchanted by the narration. Once I started, it was really hard to put it down for anything.

Dinner, that can wait. Sleep, who needs it? Work, it will be there tomorrow.

In short, I loved this. Fast-paced, compelling and with so many elements that I tend to enjoy, Hillier won big for me with this one!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. It’s clear I am a huge fan of Hillier’s work and this one is no exception.

I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!!

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Review: Little Sister (DCI Jonah Sheens #4) by Gytha Lodge

Little Sister (Jonah Sheens #4)Little Sister by Gytha Lodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Little Sister is the 4th-book in Gytha Lodge’s DCI Jonah Sheens series, which is a Crime Thriller series with strong police procedural aspects.

This installment kicks off with a bang. While Jonah is relaxing, having a rare moment of free time at a local pub, a disheveled teenage girl wanders out of the woods.

She is a vision, with striking red hair and fair skin. She also happens to be covered in blood. Jonah approaches the young lady in order to help and that’s when the games begin.

The girl, Keely, assures him she is fine. It’s not her blood. It’s her younger sister Nina he needs to be concerned about.

After bringing Keely to the station house, Jonah begins the tedious work of unraveling her twisted story. He learns quickly that they do in fact need to be worried about Nina.

Their story is horribly sad. The two girls became wards of the state after the tragic death of their mother. Since that time, they’ve been bouncing around within the system. Recently the two girls went missing from their care home.

The story is built out in a very compelling way. As the Reader you get entire chapters of Keely telling their story from the beginning.

Jonah and team try to push her for answers more quickly, they have a missing and possibly injured girl to find, but Keely has a plan and she is going to tell this story her way. As frustrating as that is, it could be their only chance of finding Nina in time.

We get Keely’s recollections, we get the present perspective investigation, as well as a bit into Jonah and his team’s personal lives.

One thing I have always loved about this series is the detective team. They work so well together and each of them is interesting, bringing something unique to the table. I love the dynamic among them. It works so well.

In all honesty though, out of the four books in the series, I actually enjoyed this one the least. Initially, I was not going to round up to 4-stars, but after having time to reflect on it, this book really made me think and I appreciate that.

From the start I was loving this, but then there was one big twist that completely turned me off from it. I was so unhappy it went the way it did. It was like someone I really liked and enjoyed and was meshing with was stripped of their identity; was stripped of what drew me to them.

I know this won’t make much sense if you haven’t read this, but it is the best way I can think to explain why the narrative took such a nose dive for me.

With this being said, it’s clear I still really enjoyed this story. The aspects that disappointed me were more to do with my personal taste than with anything else.

I did enjoy getting more background progression on our regular characters, Jonah and Hanson in particular. I’m really looking forward to seeing where their personal stories go from here.

Thank you to the publisher, Random House, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was certainly one of my most anticipated series continuations and it was a lot of fun. I am looking forward to many more investigations with Jonah and the team!

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Review: Beneath Cruel Waters by Jon Bassoff

Beneath Cruel WatersBeneath Cruel Waters by Jon Bassoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holt Davidson essentially fled his hometown of Thompsonville, Colorado, as soon as he was old enough.

After he receives news that his estranged mother has committed suicide, he decides it has to be done; he has to go back for the first time in over twenty-years.

The dread he is feeling about returning is substantial, but he’s also hoping to maybe fill in some pieces of his murky childhood memories. He wants to finally be able to make peace with it all and put it behind him.

Until this point, Holt has been haunted by his past, but it’s actually unclear as to why.

Once he returns to Thompsonville, he even stays at his mother’s home in his old bedroom. Alone in the house, he begins exploring, searching for clues from the past.

Instead of your typical nostalgic childhood items, however, Holt discovers a gun, a mysterious love letter and a picture of a dead man lying in his own blood.

These aren’t the type of things you can ignore, so Holt begins an investigation. He’s determined to discover the secrets of his past, whether he’s going to like it or not.

He enlists the help of his mother’s oldest, dearest friend and gains a lot of useful information from her, including insight into his sister who has been institutionalized since she was a teen. It’s not long before Holt’s own traumatic memories begin to resurface.

One of my favorite tropes in a Thriller is when a main character returns to their hometown after an extended absence, so in theory this was the perfect set-up for me.

Luckily, the theory was proven correct in this case. I enjoyed this one a lot. Once I started I didn’t want to put it down.

I found Bassoff’s writing to be highly readable. It was fast-paced and smooth, with just the right amount of details. I love the POVs coming from both past and present to help to piece the truth together.

I thought the reveals were well handled. Although predictable, it still managed to keep me fully captivated so it didn’t really influence my opinion of the overall story.

I was really surprised by this one and definitely recommend it to fans of Crime Thrillers, especially if you enjoy the use of both past and present perspectives together.

Thank you to the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m looking forward to reading more from Bassoff!

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Review: Hideout (Alice Vega #3) by Louisa Luna

Hideout (Alice Vega #3)Hideout by Louisa Luna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Alice Vega, still kicking butt and taking names.

Hideout is the third book in Louisa Luna’s gritty Crime Thriller series, Alice Vega, featuring the badass people-finder of the same name.

In my opinion, the books in this series do not necessarily need to be read in order. In fact, I would argue they can also be read as standalones, however, you will be missing out on the gorgeous build-up of the relationship between Alice and her partner-from-afar, disgraced former cop, Max Caplan.

So, while they can be read any way you like, I would highly recommend starting at the beginning and proceeding from there. They’re all really good, so you should have a fantastic time catching up, at any rate.

After the conclusion of The Janes, which was set on the West Coast of the U.S., Max returns home to the East Coast battered and bruised. That was an extremely dangerous case for him and Vega both.

The two of them begin to settle back into their regular lives, Alice working missing persons cases and Max, most importantly fathering his daughter Nell, as well as performing his private investigative work.

Vega gets bored easy though, so when she is propositioned with an unusual case, finding a missing college football player last seen 30-years ago, she jumps on it.

Normally, Vega’s cases are very current and she’s battling a ticking clock, so this one is quite unusual. She begins her search where the man in question, Zeb Williams, was last seen. A small town in Oregon called Ilona.

As she begins to get to know some of the locals, Vega starts to understand this town may not be as sweet and pristine as it first appears. There’s a lot of dirty secrets and vicious inclinations hiding just under the surface; including an active branch of a white supremacist group.

Vega knows people are not being honest with her. She believes someone, maybe multiple someones, know what happened to Zeb. Additionally, she has a feeling the most powerful players in town may be involved.

Naturally, she calls Cap to bounce some ideas off of him. Well, really she wants his help, but Cap isn’t ready.

He has a lot going on in his own life, particularly struggling with the fact that his baby girl is almost a grown-up. He can’t drop everything and risk his life again just because Vega called.

I was really anticipating this release and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t vibe with this one quite as much as I did with the earlier books.

If you have read this, you may be able to predict what I am going to say, but for me, part of the magic of this series is the partnership between Alice and Max. Their personalities, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, compliment each other very well. It’s a solid investigative duo.

In this book, the vast majority of their interactions are long distance. This one is much more, Alice living her life on the West Coast and Max, living his life on the East.

Max is helping her only in minor ways. The case turns out to be extremely dangerous, and Alice, seemingly uncaring to risks, puts herself in incredibly nerve-wrenching circumstances. This woman seriously has a gut of steel. She’s not afraid of anything.

I do love Alice as a character for that very reason. She is extremely confident, but it’s because she works hard at it. She trains herself in body and mind and she knows she is prepared for anything. She knows she can perform even with her life on the line.

I also love Max. He has so many incredible qualities. I actually did really enjoy reading about his relationship with his daughter, Nell, in this one. She is a lot like him, which I think makes him really nervous!

My one hope is that in the next book of the series, which I am assuming there will be more, Max and Alice actually physically work the case together.

I feel like I am well and fully attached to these characters now. I definitely want to read more in this series. This one is really interesting. It’s a lot, but it’s intriguing.

I did like the backdrop of having the college football element. As a huge football fan, that was really fun. Something I don’t think I have ever read before in an Adult Mystery/Thriller.

Thank you to the publisher, Doubleday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I really appreciate it and will be keeping my fingers crossed that we get more of Vega and Cap!!!

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