Review: A Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney

A Marriage of LiesA Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

A Marriage of Lies is a tense Psychological Thriller from Amanda McKinney. I was seeing a lot of early buzz for this release and needed to find out what it was all about.

After reading it, in a day (!!!), I am so happy that I took a chance on a new-to-me author and have officially joined the Hype Train. I was left with whiplash after finishing this twisted tale of love, devious deception and lies.

I don’t want to say anything about the plot. I knew nothing going in and that’s what I would recommend.

I will say that I loved one of the main characters, Rowan, and her trusty companion, Banjo. Rowan is a Detective and I was pleasantly surprised to have an MC with that career leading the show here.

This also went pretty dark, as far as the crimes are concerned, and I definitely wasn’t expecting that either!

As mentioned above, this is the first time I have read from Amanda McKinney, but I’m absolutely ready to pick up some more of her Thrillers. If they’re anything like this, I know I’m in for a good time.

While I did find some aspects slightly predictable, particularly towards the end, that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. Overall, I found it to be extremely engaging, as well as highly-readable and incredibly entertaining!

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

This was a delightful surprise!

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Review: Kill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanaugh

Kill for Me, Kill for YouKill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanagh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kill for Me, Kill for You is a fast-paced Psychological Thriller that follows a few different perspectives. I would say the stars of our show are Ruth and Amanda, two women struggling to overcome personal tragedies.

We also get the perspective of Detective Farrow, familiar to both women, as well as Ruth’s husband, Scott.

Ruth was attacked in her home by a man stalking New York City, the Blue-Eyed Killer. Ruth survived, but was left with lasting injuries. Will she ever be able to feel safe again?

We follow Ruth and Scott as they try to navigate the aftermath of this attack. It’s a lot for the couple to try to work through. It has truly shattered their lives.

Amanda lost a child, and within a week, her husband. She’s been living with the pain for a while. It never gets easier.

She has recently joined a support group and it’s there that she meets Wendy. The two women bond over their shared feelings and end up hanging out outside of group.

As they talk over drinks one night, they come up with a plan for revenge, straight out of Strangers on a Train.

I don’t want to say anything more about this. You should be able to judge whether you want to read it or not. It’s a tough one to talk about without revealing too much.

Just know, I had fun with it. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters. The build-up of learning about their lives and situations that led them to where they were, I found it fascinating. I was glued to the pages.

I was actually surprised about getting the Detective’s perspective. I wasn’t sure where he was going to come out in the overall narrative, but I always enjoy an investigator’s perspective, so it was a happy surprise.

I was so curious how this was all going to come together, as any connections amongst the characters were initially blurry. I loved watching it play out.

With this being said, I will admit that, even though this was an enjoyable ride, it was slightly uneven for me. Once the biggest reveal occurred, when those pieces fell in place, I felt satisfied, but there was still quite a bit of book left.

I feel like I lost a little interest after that reveal. However, it did pick back up for me again in the final moments.

At the end of the day though, this was highly entertaining. Did I want to grab popcorn? Hell yes, and let it be known, this is absolutely a compliment from me.

I’m excited to pick up more of Cavanagh’s work.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me a copy to read and review. This was a definite win for me!!

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Review: I’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

I’m Not Done with You YetI’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Jesse Q. Sutanto has rapidly become one of my favorite authors in the last few years. I’ve read 9-novels from her and IMO, she has excelled in all three major genre spaces: Middle Grade, YA and Adult. That’s impressive.

She’s a freaking unicorn!

I’m Not Done with You Yet is an Adult Psychological Suspense novel. At it’s heart, it’s an intense story of a toxic friendship.

I thought it was fun and incredibly well-plotted. I flew through it so quickly. I just couldn’t put it down!

In this story we mainly follow, Jane, a midlist writer, who is presently not exactly stoked with her life. Her marriage is passing, at best. Her career is essentially nonexistent and she feels like she is living a life she doesn’t want.

Reflecting back on her best times, her happiest times, Jane always thinks about the start of her Creative Writing program at Oxford, and of Thalia. So much Thalia.

The girls were growing very close that first year. Thalia’s friendship had a huge effect on Jane, but eventually other people started to get in between them.

Then on one particular night, tragedy struck and Thalia and Jane were there for one another. Jane assumed surviving this trauma would draw them closer together, but it actually had the opposite effect.

Thalia abruptly left school and Jane never heard from her again. Years have passed and Jane has never been able to track Thalia down. She’s like a ghost.

That is until the day Jane spots Thalia’s name at the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. And that’s the only breadcrumb she needs.

From there, Jane easily discovers Thalia will soon be attending a Book Con in NYC. Jane will stop at nothing to get herself into that Con.

Even if it means selling her worldly-possessions in order to get funds enough to make the trip. Even if it means making up a fake story to sell her husband on the idea. Even if it means dragging along said husband, who she can barely stand most days. She’s going.

Jane is excited about her mission. She’s going to find Thalia again and once she does, she’s never letting go.

Y’all, this is such a wild ride. There are a few different layers, including past and present timelines. The present, described above, provides the impetus for the main events. The past perspective follows the friendship, from their first meeting, until that final fateful night at Oxford.

The back and forth between the two timelines, beautifully builds out the bigger picture of this relationship. I was absolutely hooked. It’s so intriguing.

Sutanto writes obsession incredibly well. In a way that makes you uncomfortable, yet you can’t look away. Even though her thoughts were messed up, I was drawn to Jane. I was so willing to go on this journey with her.

The twists kept coming and as Part III began, I was floored. There was a reveal that I didn’t see coming, not from a mile away. I think Sutanto had completely lured me into thinking everything was a steadfast, linear course to a particular ending, but life is rarely that way, is it?

These characters were really well done. Not just Jane and Thalia, but also the side characters, including Jane’s husband. They felt believable.

This story kept me on my toes and engaged the entire way through. I thought it was fun that we got to follow two writers, who were at different levels of their career. This does discuss publishing a bit and I was curious how much of Sutanto’s own experiences she brought to the page here.

I do feel like I enjoyed the present timeline a little more than the past, but everything included in the past perspective was necessary in understanding what was happening in the present. Obviously, Sutanto knows what she’s doing.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a twisted and intense story of toxic friendship. Bonus points if you enjoy stories with a college setting, or stories that include insight into the publishing industry.

If you follow my reviews at all, it’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jesse Q. Sutanto. I will continue to pick up every single thing she writes. Keep ’em coming, Jesse!!

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am really enjoying Sutanto in the Adult space. There’s nothing she can’t write!

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Review: You Know What You Did by K.T. Nguyen

You Know What You DidYou Know What You Did by K.T. Nguyen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

You Know What You Did is an intensely-suspenseful Mystery/Thriller debut from a hot up-and-coming author, K.T. Nguyen. And what a crackling debut it is!!

This story follows a fascinating-MC, Anh Le, who goes by Annie. She’s married, and the mother of a teenaged daughter. Annie is also an artist, although she’s feeling unsatisfied with her career lately.

In fact, a few aspects of Annie’s life are beginning to derail after the passing of her Mom, a Vietnam War refugee, who Annie had a contentious relationship with.

Annie’s mother had been residing in an out-building on their family property, so she had been a fairly constant presence in Annie’s life.

The loss impacted Annie in a lot of unexpected ways. Her severe-OCD comes roaring back and the dark fixations of her mind seem to be morphing into her reality.

When Annie’s most wealthy patron goes missing, shortly after Annie visited her home, the police come knocking.

The disappearance is shocking and it has Annie questioning everything, even herself. She can’t seem to keep current events straight in her mind.

She’s confused about many things and it’s scary. She begins to distance herself from her family and friends.

With Annie’s husband traveling for work, and her daughter off to summer camp, Annie is left to her own devices. As you can imagine, that doesn’t go well.

Waking up in a hotel, with a lifeless body beside her, Annie has officially hit rock bottom. The police are back and she doesn’t have answers that make sense, not even to herself.

Y’all, I loved this. I found it completely engaging, creepy and thought-provoking. K.T. Nguyen delivered all the tense, claustrophobic, desperate, unreliable narrator vibes that I could ever hope for.

I found it so easy to connect with Annie. I felt everything she was feeling. It made me incredibly anxious, but in a good, entertaining way, if that’s possible. There were times that I was crawling out of my skin of anticipation.

I was sympathetic to Annie’s character from the start, particularly since I couldn’t stand her husband, or her daughter. It often felt like they were ganging up on Annie and were just not giving her any slack.

I was happy when they both left, so Annie could be alone. Although it definitely didn’t help her mental state.

It’s funny, I was Buddy Reading this with a friend and she mentioned, like how much is what Annie is relaying to us about her husband and daughter true? Could it be her paranoia? Part of her mental spiral? Or were they really being that rotten to her?

It’s so funny, I didn’t even consider that before she said it, but yeah, Annie’s mental state definitely added so much to the suspense of this story. It was an exceptionally well-executed unreliable narrator situation.

I absolutely loved Nguyen’s writing. The character work in particular, I was so impressed. I enjoyed not only the suspense and mystery of this story, but Nguyen also chose to tackle some difficult topics, such as the immigrant experience and mental health.

I enjoyed the levels of depth that these topics added to the story. This is more than just your standard Popcorn Thriller. This story has meat and I enjoyed every bite.

I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a taut, engaging and emotional Mystery/Thriller. Particularly, if you enjoy an unreliable narrator.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review. If this is her debut, I cannot wait to see what Nguyen delivers next!!!

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Review: The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The ObsessionThe Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Obsession is an intense YA-Thriller from one of my go-to authors, Jesse Q. Sutanto. This novel was released in 2021, and I’m so happy I dipped into my backlist for it.

Totally worth it!

In The Obsession we follow two teens, Delilah and Logan. Logan falls in love with Delilah on sight. She’s perfect. Everything he has ever wanted and he will have her.

He learns everything he can about her by doing things such as watching her at school, studying her social media, and aiming a hidden camera at her house.

You know, all totally normal things.

For her part, Delilah is attracted to Logan, but then they go out on a date and he’s way too intense. Like over-the-top intense. She’s had enough of controlling men in her life. She has no room for one more.

Delilah distances herself, thinking he’ll get the point.

Logan is desperate. He feels Delilah slipping away from him, but wait, she can’t exactly get away from him. He knows what she did. The worse thing she has ever done in her life. He knows. In fact, he has it on video.

He’ll just let her know, she rethink distancing herself from him real quick. But Delilah is not going to be as easily swayed as Logan anticipates. Who will end up the cat, and who will end up the mouse?

I listened to the audiobook for this and definitely recommend that format. The dual narration provided the perfect back-and-forth for Delilah and Logan’s perspectives.

I loved how in your face both of these characters were. There’s not a lot of apologizing for their thoughts or actions. It is what it is with these two.

I flew through this story. It takes turns alternating between the two MCs and at the end of each chapter, I wanted to know more. I had to keep going. How was this possibly going to be resolved? It felt impossible.

Initially, I was so disgusted with Logan. That kept me going, but then I see Delilah come in and I’m like, eyebrows raised, okay, you’re not as sweet and innocent as you first appear. It’s hard not to root for Delilah once you hear her story.

Logan on the other hand, my feelings never changed for him, but he was an interesting antagonist for Delilah’s overall story arc.

I’ll admit, I didn’t read the full synopsis before starting and I recommend you don’t either. Reading it over now, there are some things revealed that surprised me when I came to them in the story. I feel like I would have been bummed if I had gone in knowing those things ahead of time.

This had such a satisfying conclusion for me and it actually really made me think about what makes a villain.

Sutanto never fails to surprise me. Whether it’s by jaw-dropping twists, witty banter, or thoughtful character work, I keep on coming back and will continue to do so.

I’m so glad that I finally took the time to pick this one up. It was a lot of fun. I need more YA-Thrillers from Sutanto!

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Review: Good Girls Don’t Die by Christina Henry

Good Girls Don’t DieGood Girls Don’t Die by Christina Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good Girls Don’t Die was quite unique in both its construction and content. I had fun going on this journey and trying to figure out what in the hell was going on.

This was a 5-star read for me for the majority of the book. Unfortunately, the last portion lost me a little bit. Honestly, I found it to be a bit anti-climactic after the exciting build.

Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed it, and ended up only dropping a star due to my discontent with the ending. A 4-star read is still highly enjoyable and I would recommend it to fans of Christina Henry’s quirky and creative writing.

Three women. Three stories. Only one way out. This pitch from the publisher’s synopsis is a great way to sell this story and it’s accurate. We love to see that.

This story is told in four parts, the first three each follow a different character: Celia, Allie and Maggie. The fourth, ties everything together.

The three women’s perspectives were captivating. They each find themselves in a bit of a personal nightmare, but it’s clear that they’re awake. They’re confused, they don’t know what’s going on, and are desperate to figure it out.

I found it so easy to empathize with these women. To feel their fear and desperation. In fact, I started to feel it myself. I was intrigued by the goings-on; so creepy. There seemed to be a relation to stories, as each perspective felt like a perilous journey through a different genre.

When you think about it, it was such a great example of Henry’s skill as a writer. To be able to capture these different genre-feels in such a short space of time. It was really cool.

The fourth section, again, was a bit of let down for me, but it was eye-opening and interesting as to how these women were ultimately connected.

Sadly, I just felt the villain was a bit of a joke; cookie cutter. They felt like an animated movie baddie, or something of that ilk. Also, the messaging around the who and the why was a bit heavy-handed for my tastes.

Overall though, this is well worth the read. A lot of fun. A unique twist of a Thriller, impressive in its creativity. I’m glad I finally got around to picking it up.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’ll continue to look forward to any book wit Henry’s name on the cover!

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Review: The Clinic by Cate Quinn

The ClinicThe Clinic by Cate Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Cate Quinn’s recent Thriller, The Clinic, the Reader is transported to the Pacific Northwest coast, where a remote Addictions Treatment Center caters to the rich and famous.

One of the perspectives we follow is Meg, whose estranged sister, Haley, a famous actress, has been receiving in-patient care there. When Meg hears the news that her sister has overdosed while in treatment, and rumors swirl it was possibly suicide, Meg doesn’t believe it.

As in, she really thinks there is no way in heck her sister would have overdosed, let alone on purpose. Meg suspects foul play and decides to go undercover at the Clinic to try to figure out what really happened to Haley.

We also follow a woman employed at the Clinic, Cara. She’s relatively new and as she begins to settle in and get to know everyone around her, she too suspects something may be off.

As the narrative shifts back and forth, it offers the Reader an inside glimpse into the Clinic from both a worker’s and a patient’s perspective. It’s through that dual view that the truth is able to come to light.

Y’all, this is a very basic way of summing up all that is going on in this story, but I don’t want to risk giving anything else away. It’s best to go into this knowing as little as possible.

I enjoyed the set-up of this one a lot, as well as the setting. It hooked me from the very start. I felt like the opening scene really set the stage for all that was about to play out.

I really loved Meg as a main character. Her perspective just fit my tastes so well. She’s tough, smart and no-nonsense, but also flawed and struggling with a lot of things in her life; including her own addiction to painkillers and alcohol.

I liked learning about her, the events in her past that had propelled her to her current state. I felt like Quinn did an incredible job of bringing Meg to life, breathing humanity into her and making her actions and motivations understandable. Honestly, I became very attached to her.

That’s unsurprising though, as I love flawed characters. If characters are too perfect, I don’t like ’em. No one is perfect, why would I want my fictional characters to be?

I was excited to go undercover with Meg and investigate the Clinic. It seemed shady as all get out from the start and I liked meeting all the various players within that setting.

It also felt very claustrophobic; like once Meg was in there, it felt like there was seriously no turning back. The fact that she was also grappling with her own addictions issues, and that her mind wasn’t in top form through that, added to the sense of being trapped and desperate.

I feel like Quinn really succeeded in that regard.

I wasn’t as sold on the other perspective, Cara, but I do understand and appreciate why it was necessary for the overall story. For things to ultimately play out the way they did, both women were needed.

This definitely went in an unexpected direction for me and I thought it was so much fun. It gets pretty wild and I loved being with Meg as she tried to navigate through all the chaos. Some of her choices, oh baby, were they intense.

I would definitely recommend this to Readers who enjoy tense, suspenseful Thrillers with flawed MCs and questionable organizations. This had a lot of action and a full cast of unlikable side characters as well. It’s engaging and a bit OTT. Overall, a great read!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I cannot wait to read more from Cate Quinn!!!

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Review: No One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall

No One Can KnowNo One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


No One Can Know is the most recent Adult release from beloved author, Kate Alice Marshall, who made her Adult Debut last January with What Lies in the Woods. I enjoyed that quite a bit, so have been anxiously awaiting this release.

Happily, it didn’t disappoint for a moment. I listened to the audiobook and yet again, Karissa Vacker’s stellar narration knocked it out of the park.

In this story we meet Emma, who after her husband, Nathan, loses his job, and essentially their housing, has to come clean to him about that fact that she actually already owns a home. It has the potential to save them.

As you can imagine, he’s surprised, but the truth is, Emma hasn’t told him much about her past. He knows her parents are dead and that she’s estranged from her two sisters, other than that, he knows nothing of the bloody and tragic events that shaped Emma’s life.

The situation is that Emma owns her parent’s home jointly with her sisters. They can’t sell it, but they can live in it.

Without having much of a choice, and trust, Emma would do anything else if she could, they move in.

Unfortunately, moving back to her hometown and into her family home means that Emma’s going to have to come clean with Nathan about a few more things…

For example, like the fact that her parents were actually murdered in the home and many in the town believed that Emma was the one responsible.

Emma’s sudden presence comes as a shock to the town and yet again, rumors and speculations begin to swirl. She sort of figured that would happen though, that’s why she stayed away for so long.

Her being back has another, more unexpected consequence. It lures her sisters back too. The three have never actually talked about what happened. Each of them has their own thoughts and secrets regarding that fateful night.

But are their secrets continuing to put them in more danger? If Emma didn’t do it, then who did? And will they ever be able to rekindle their once loving relationships?

I found this set-up so interesting. I liked Emma as a character from the start, but I hated her husband.

Those feelings continued throughout and only helped to solidify my connection to the story. My ire towards Nathan alone, kept me glued to the pages.

I felt bad for Emma, having lost her parents and then her sisters. It seemed unfair to me, as she seemed genuinely distraught by the events that had led to the family demise.

We eventually get the perspectives of Emma’s sisters, Juliette, now going by J.J., and Daphne. While I didn’t have the same level of feelings for them that I felt for Emma, I did find them interesting; messy, but interesting.

I loved getting the back-and-forth between the past and present. I always enjoy that, as the puzzle pieces are set in place. I love just sitting back and enjoying the ride as everything becomes clear.

I will say, this one kept me guessing for way longer than I expected. I think Marshall did a great job of keeping enough possibilities in play to keep the Reader engaged and guessing. It wasn’t quite clear until almost the very end.

I suspected everyone at one time or another. I also enjoyed how the pace steadily increased the further you got along, until it was pedal to the floor, full throttle, full speed ahead!

I’m really enjoying KAM in this Adult space. I also love her YA work, so it’s clear to me, she’ll be successful with whatever she chooses to write. She’s just that good.

If you haven’t yet read Kate Alice Marshall, I feel like this could be a fun place to start. I definitely recommend this audiobook too, if that is an option for you. Karissa Vacker is one of my all-time favorite narrators and she definitely helped to bring this story to life.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was fantastic and certainly delivered on the tense family drama and deep dark secrets I was expecting. I can’t wait to see what Marshall gives us next!

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Review: The Woman on the Ledge by Ruth Mancini

The Woman on the LedgeThe Woman on the Ledge by Ruth Mancini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Prior to receiving a copy of this book, I had been hearing so much buzz about it, almost entirely favorable.

I definitely wanted to get on board the hype-train, because in my life FOMO is a very real thing. If I see friends reading and enjoying something, I want it.

I was super excited to check it out and see if I would love it as much as everyone else seemed to.

Y’all, I’m so happy to report, the hype is real with this one. I found it absolutely gripping from the very first pages. It was so intriguing and it actually felt different to me than other recent Psychological Thrillers.

I’m not knocking other Psychological Thrillers, it’s one of my favorite subgenres, but this one just had a unique feel to it that’s hard for me to explain.

In this story, we meet Tate, who at the very beginning of the story is arrested for murder after a woman plunged to her death from the rooftop of the building Tate works in.

We have police interviews, attorney-client consultations, flashbacks, all of these different components weaving together beautifully to build-out this narrative.

I loved watching the truth be revealed. As a Reader, you initially have no idea what is going on. You’re getting a lot of the presentation of events from Tate, but how trustworthy is she? What is her motive and what is she hiding?

I’ve said it a million times, I am such a sucker for an unreliable narrator and Tate definitely fits the bill. Additionally, the pace with which Mancini reveals the truth at the heart of this story is exceptional.

There was a little bit of a lull for me somewhere around the 60% point, where some of the explorations of the issue this story mainly tackles got a bit, for my taste, repetitive and heavy-handed, but that is purely personal taste.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the structure of this story, the character development and the constantly compelling story arc.

This is the first that I have read from Ruth Mancini, but I cannot wait to read more. I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys an intense, twisted, thought-provoking and engaging Psychological Thriller.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Harper Paperbacks, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had such a fun time reading this and have been thinking about it ever since. This was a great way to kick off a new year of reading!

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Review: Notes on a Murder by B.P. Walter

Notes on a MurderNotes on a Murder by B.P. Walter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

This was wild. It’s like The Talented Mr. Ripley meets Hostel and in all the most sinister of ways…

This book first came onto my radar when I started seeing trusted book friends reviewing it favorably. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I see a friend reading and liking a book, I want to be reading and liking that book!

FOMO is real, so I scurried out and was luckily able to acquire a copy fairly quickly.

I don’t want to say anything about the plot or characters. The publisher’s synopsis is equally as vague, so you may as well just suck it up and jump in.

Notes on a Murder pulled me in from the start. I read the first 1/3 in one sitting. I was so captivated by the narrator of the audiobook, and the way that Walter formatted the story.

There are past and present sections, some cleverly incorporated 2nd-person narrative, and plenty of provocative intrigue to keep you turning pages.

I loved the Greek setting and felt like that was really well played out. That backdrop set the perfect tone for this OTT-tale that definitely went places I wasn’t expecting.

This got dark. These characters, wow, they surprised me with the lengths they went to in this story.

The sinister feel got deeper and faster as it went. It was like a snowball rolling down hill, building momentum, before it finally took out everything in its way at the bottom.

This is the first of Walter’s works I’ve read, but if they are all this disquieting, I will definitely be reading more.

Thank you to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I recommend this one to Readers who enjoy dark, twisted Thrillers.

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