Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

Ritual – Mo Hayder

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Goodreads synopsis: Nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there’s no body attached is disturbing enough—until the discovery of the matching appendage a day later. Both hands have been freshly amputated, and there are indications that the victim was still alive when they were removed.

Newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol, DI Jack Caffery soon establishes that the hands belong to a young man who has recently disappeared. As Caffery and Marley search for the rest of the victim—and for his abductor—they journey into the darkest recesses of Bristol’s underworld, where drug addiction is rife, street kids sell themselves for a hit, and a disturbing occult ritual may be making an unexpected appearance.

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My thoughts:

“… you have lost the touch with Caffery. He is a numb and stiff character, I no longer feel the love toward.”

I’m sorry to say that this is not what you would expect after reading the two home runs before this one. I expected more and not start off with the feeling that I have missed something. The third book about Caffery, did not pick up where the second book ended and that was quite confusing because I did not understand what was going on. And it does take some time before you get to the part which explained it all. Specially since Caffery is the main character but he is written like a sidekick and you follow Flea more or less the whole book.

It is supposed to be a series about Jack Caffery, haunted detective, who tries not to break the rules but still find out the answer on a 30 year old “mystery” while still trying to solve the more fresh today “whodunit” cases. But in reality we are following Flea, a socially awkward, grieving woman who is depressed and keeps focusing on the wrong things which has nothing to do with the main plot. The main story and plot is pretty bland and boring. There is no excitement or the need to find out who did it and why. It started of pretty good with the introduction of Flea, but it never delivered in the end.

What happened, Mo? The pace is slow and in comparison to the two other books, you have lost the touch with Caffery. He is a numb and stiff character, I no longer feel the love toward. I feel disconnected, sad and I missed the page turning feeling.

Contemporary · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense

Fire and ice – Julie Garwood

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Goodreads synopsis: Sophie Rose, a tough and determined newspaper reporter, is the daughter of Bobby Rose, a suave, charming, and handsome gentleman who also happens to be a notorious big-time thief sought by every law-enforcement agency in the country. When the major Chicago daily where she works insists she write an expose about her roguish father, Sophie refuses, quits her job, and goes to work at a small newspaper. Far from her onetime high-powered crime beat, she now covers local personalities such as the quirky winner of several area 5K runs whose trademark is goofy red socks.
Those red socks-with Sophie’s business card neatly tucked inside-are practically all that’s found after runner William Harrington is killed near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, seemingly the victim of a brutal death by polar bear. The Alaska cops want to know why Harrington carried Sophie’s card. With an unerring nose for a good story, she heads north.
What Sophie doesn’t realize is that on her journey from Chicago to Prudhoe Bay, danger follows in her wake. After one attempt on her life, she’s been assigned brash but sexy Jack MacAlister as a bodyguard by the cautious FBI. Amid great peril and deadly intrigue in the unforgiving Alaskan terrain, she and Jack form an uneasy alliance sparked with sensual attraction. But they will soon be fighting more than their growing passion for each other. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack are about to uncover.

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My thoughts: What I really like with Garwood is that she is such a strong character writer. Especially when it comes to the females. I’m a huge critic when it comes to females and often finds them dumb, childish, meek and excessive. But never with Garwood. I receive pretty much what I expect and it never disappoint me. This one was just as good as always when it comes to the writing, character and such. The plot however I found a little weak. I really liked Sophie’s history and enigmatic father but Jack could have used a little more work and the story a little more depth. I missed that … umpf… in lack of better words.

Nothing bad really, just didn’t earn the last star but certainly not a bad book in any means. This is the 7 book in the series about Buchanan-Renard family and it is safe to say, I will continue it.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

The seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

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Goodreads synopsis: How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

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My thoughts: Oh, so many feelings. I was looking forward to be reading this. It intrigued me and when I started, it felt like a mix between a classic Agatha Christie, dinner murder mystery and the movies like groundhog day and the cube. This is one of those books that seem to be impossible to give a deserving rating to. It all depends on what I’m focusing on.

If I would rate the concept, writing skill and character build-up it would be a solid 5 stars. It is just perfect and such a joy reading. Even though we are talking about a lot of characters and a lot of details, it was still fully possible to keep track of them all. At some points I was a little confused to be honest, but Turton skillfully included small details here and there to remind us readers where we were and what it was about.

If I would rate the general plot and ending I would give it a two star. The build-up of the story was so big and thrilling that the ending was just an anticlimactic balloon, losing all its air. Not at all what I had expected and quite frankly a little tame when compared to the rest of the book. And in the middle I found myself stagnant due to that the story didn’t progressed forward. And I didn’t find myself that into it to be honest. Specially since you never really get to know the whole truth outside of Blackheath. I would have liked that.

Then that I also had such problem focusing can also be a reason for my conflicted feelings and low rating. I have had a couple of bad weeks but that is not unusual for me and if a book is good it will keep me captured either way. Anyway, after a lot of thinking and sorting my feelings I land on a solid 3 stars. If possible I would give it 3.5. I did like it overall, but I didn’t love it and it certainly was not amazing in my opinion.

Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

The kind worth killing – Peter Swanson

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Goodreads synopsis: On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

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My thoughts: Wow what a great book. Captivating, exciting, emotionally unstable, unpredictable and mayhem. It brought up the same feelings that YOU also did. Where you know you should not root for the killer/s but in the same time, in your heart, you kind of are. It totally messes with your mind and makes you question your own moral compass. And I LOVED IT. What a ride. Never read anything by Peter Swanson before and now after this, I certainly need to look into some of his other books.

The story is fascinating, the plot engrossing and that ending was excellent. This is one of those books that deserves to be discussed, broken down and discussed so more. There is four main characters and it gives the story several point of views which will be interpreted on so many different levels that it would be pure fun to debate it.

I loved the characters and the settings. The writing is high class and it truly was a great read.

“Truthfully, I don’t think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing.”

Contemporary · Mystery/Crime · Romance

Mallicks: Back to the Beginning – Jessica Gadziala

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Goodreads synopsis: A girl raised by monsters.
A man who helped get her free.
A love that spans decades.
Let’s go back to the 80s to see how Charlie and Helen Mallick fell in love.

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My thoughts: Fantastic! Pure perfection. Perfect ending (maybe) on a perfect series. The story about how the Mallicks family started. This is seriously the best one I have ever read by Gadziala. Utter flawlessness! And I loved it all. I loved the history, how they met, follow their life and how they build their company. Follow the growth of their five sons, Ryan, Shane, Hunter, Mark and Eli. I already knew them from their own books but it was satisfying to get all the history. And we did get some deeper explanations on some stuff that just wraps the whole series in a big nice bow. It all makes sense now. There is no words to explain how perfect and wonderful this was. It certainly played on all my strings and emotions. And it left me with a major hangover and wonderful feelings of feel good.

I have nothing bad to say. I wish I could erase everything I read, just so that I had the ability to read it again, for the first time.

Contemporary · Everyday things · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense

Shadow dance – Julie Garwood

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Goodreads synopsis: Jordan Buchanan is thrilled that her brother and best friend are tying the knot. The wedding is a lavish affair–for the marriage of Dylan Buchanan and Kate MacKenna is no ordinary occasion. It represents the joining of two family dynasties. The ceremony and reception proceed without a hitch–until a crasher appears claiming to be a MacKenna guest. The disheveled and eccentric professor of medieval history warns that there’s “bad blood” between the couple’s clans, stemming from an ancient feud that originated in Scotland, and involving the Buchanan theft of a coveted MacKenna treasure.

Jordan has always led a cautious life and has used her intelligence and reason to become a successful businesswoman. So she is intrigued but skeptical of the professor’s claims that the feud has been kept alive by the grave injustices the Buchanans have perpetrated over the centuries. But when Noah Clayborne, a close family friend and a man who has never let a good time or a pretty girl pass him by, accuses Jordan of being trapped in her comfort zone, she determines to prove him wrong and sets out on a spontaneous adventure to the small, dusty town of Serenity, Texas, to judge the professor’s research for herself.

Maneuvering through a close-knit community in which everyone knows everyone else’s business, Jordan never anticipates the danger and intrigue that lie in her path, nor the threat that will shadow her back to Boston, where even in familiar surroundings, her life is at risk.

A powerful thug who rules by fear, a man who harbors a simmering secret, and an unexpected romance that pierces all defenses–beloved author Julie Garwood weaves these dazzling elements into a brilliant novel of romantic suspense. Shadow Dance is a searing tango of passion and peril.

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My thoughts: This was so good. So, so good! I absolutely love Noah and Jordan. I love how different they are and even though their long history as friends, they never were any romantically inclined to each other. Their feelings never just appeared but slowly grew, together with their personality and everyday life, is just such a great line to follow. It is a deep, connectable story with an interesting side plot that to be quite frank, I never really needed. It was the cherry on the ice cream but oh, what a ice cream.

The whole book is just so warm, fuzzy, exciting with a lot of suspense, hilarious characters, deep connections and just wonderful romantic suspense. This is what I want and hell, you did it again Garwood. You freaking did it again.

Unfortunately it do end on a cliffhanger. Not one of those bad ones but still a cliffhanger. It may be quite interesting to get to know all the answers someday, but still, at this point, I don’t feel the need for it. So on that note, I do really recommend this series and even though there is cliffhangers, there is no bad ones. And it is just so worth it.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

If looks could kill – Heather Graham

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Goodreads synopsis: Madison Adair didn’t witness her famous mother’s brutal murder. But she saw it. Saw the gloved hand…felt the knife strike…knew her mother’s terror.

That was a lifetime ago. But the nightmares have returned; only, this time they’re of a faceless serial killer stalking women in south Florida. A killer she can’t see but who knows she is watching. Surrounded by her family, Madison knows she should feel safe, but she doesn’t.

And how much can FBI agent Kyle Montgomery protect her, when he can’t let go of the past they’ve shared? Madison is Kyle’s only link to the killer, but can they find the truth before the killer strikes again? Because sometimes, it’s what–or who–you can’t see that holds the greatest danger….

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My thoughts: Nah! Nothing for me. Quite the same as always. Horrible history, broken hearts, murder mystery, stalker, new killings, FBI, macho man, irritating female protagonist and a situation that just feels dumb. Come on, they hardly talk but they do argue a lot. About the same thing over and over. If they actually had talked early in the beginning, the arguing would probably not have been as bad. And I probably would have liked the book a lot more.

It was a fast read without any real depth. The murder mystery was quite interesting, but you didn’t receive any clues to who the killer are so the whole guessing game for me fell flat. Oh Graham certainly tried to make other characters seem guilty but it was too obvious so I actually dismissed them from my “who the killer is” list early on.

Not overly fawn over the characters either. There is some stuff happening that just make you lose the respect for that character and creates a situation that is just awkward. To be quite frank, Kaila and Dan (two side characters) relationship and short chapters about them, are the one thing I actually liked and felt had the most depth. And the book was not even about them.

It is probably time to realize that Graham is not an author for me. I have read five of her books but not one of them have received a higher rating than 3 star. Average rating is 2.8. It is time to spell the flowers and confess to myself that it doesn’t matter how much the synopsis appeal to me, she is just not an author that I like to read. Unfortunately.

Mystery/Crime · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

Brimstone – Preston & Child

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Goodreads synopsis: Behind the gates of a fabulous Hamptons estate, FBI Special Agent Pendergast comes upon the carnage of a gruesome crime: one that recalls the legendary horrors that befall those who make a Faustian pact with the devil. Surrounded by the choking stench of brimstone, the smoldering remains of art critic Jeremy Grove are found in a locked, barricaded attic next to a hoofprint singed into the floorboards.

Unable to resist a case that defies all but supernatural logic, Pendergast reunites with police officers Vincent D’Agosta (Relic) and Laura Hayward (Reliquary) to search for a more earthly explanation. But their investigation soon takes them from the luxury estates of Long Island and penthouses of New York City to the crumbling, legend-shrouded castles of the Italian countryside, where thirty years ago four men conjured up something unspeakable. . .

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My thoughts: I had such problems connecting with this book. It felt like it took me forever to read it. In reality it only took me 12 days but for someone like me, it does feel like an eternity. I did like the beginning and the end, but there is all that in the middle that didn’t do it for me. It was slow, cold and to detailed to be honest. But the story is yet really interesting. The murder case is quite mysterious and the urge to get all the answers was the only thing that kept me going. I did like the ending but at the same time I did not. There is some things that you do not get the answer to and I really do not like “cliffhangers”.

But in any case, I freaking LOVE Pendergast. He is such an interesting character. After “The Cabinet of Curiosities”, where you got to know him better, he is one of the best characters I know of. He is interesting, mystic, funny, so freaking smart and with a moral compass going haywire but still points in the right direction. In this one you also get to meet D’Agosta again and some other characters you briefly meet in the earlier books. And I love it. I love how the story is weave together with the earlier books and still lay ground for the future ones. I feel that there is some details not explained or released and I do hope the answer to it will be released in the next book.

In comparison I did like the “Still Life With Crows” more than this one even though I gave that one a three star rating to. The books are so different form each other and should not really be compared. But it is hard not to.

So to summery it up, I’m happy that I finished it, even though it was not a favorite. I still love the series as an whole and I do need to read the next book in the future to see what will happen. There is some other details released in this book that I’m really looking forward to dive deeper in to.

Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

Lazarus – Lars Kepler

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Goodreads synopsis: A dead man is found in an apartment in Oslo. The victim transpires to be an unknown grave defiler and trophy collector, and when the police open his kitchen freezer, they make a terrible discovery. A few days later, Joona Linna is contacted by a German police detective who asks for his help with a murder outside Rostock. Joona understands that the pattern he’s starting to see is insane, but at the same time it’s impossible to ignore.

Some would call it a miracle if someone returned from the dead – others would call it a nightmare.

The master of thrillers, Lars Kepler, is back with the seventh installment in the Joona Linna series.

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My thoughts: Lazarus has not yet been translated to English but Lars Kepler and the series about Joona Linna is highly popular. That’s why I do not think it will be long before it have been translated. Just be patience. 🙂

The 7th book about the Swedish/Finish cop Joona Linna is finally here. I have been waiting for this one since June. Joona is finally back and trying to take control over his life. There is finally some good things happening when it all comes crashing down and burns. Surprised? No. Did I foresee it? Yes. Was it in the way I though? Well, pretty much. It is bloody and violent, certainly not a book for sensitive readers and highly predictable. At least in my opinion. I feel that Kepler did not take the story where it should have gone. Just chewed on what they already have and spit it out. The same but in a new form. Highly disappointing.

I found it quite boring that Kepler still going on with the same plot-line. It’s mediocre, overrated and even flamboyant at times. The Ahndorils aka Keplers need to learn when to stop. And that time was two books ago. Don’t do what I’m thinking you will do with that end you left us with. It is not interesting and I do not want it. Try something new. We are soon in 2019 you know. Not 2011.

Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

The Devil’s star – Jo Nesbø

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Goodreads synopsis: A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work.

A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands, and the five-pointed devil’s star is key to solving the riddle.

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My thoughts: Another excellent, complex thriller from the Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. As I probably said before, I was not a big fan of his two first books about Harry Hole. I absolutely loved the third and the fourth was a little mediocre. Now this. This is the book I would refer to when talking about Jo finding his “sound”, his writing style. I found it meticulously and selective in its plot, yet exciting and full of suspense. The alcoholism story is a lot bigger than in the earlier books. A lot more raw, emotional and there is sometimes you wonder if Jo is writing from a personal experience. That is how vivid and sentimental I found it.

Harry Hole is an character I can’t decide if I love or hate. He’s a loner, he’s prickly, he drinks. He does not like authority, yet he is a cop. He’s a broken man who for some reason never gives up even though he certainly tries. He can’t keep a normal relationship with anyone, he has almost no friends and he is down in the deep, trying to drink his sorrows away that you can’t help but wonder, where is this going to end.

Besides all that, it is a good book. I do love a good serial-killer plot even though I did find it was more of a side plot to the story than the actual main story-line. In fact in the mist of it all, there is dark secrets finally surfacing to the light. Even though I did not find the end as satisfying as I would like, it is certainly the perfect end if the series would stop here. I do however know that there is 6 more books about Harry Hole and the great thing is that you do not know where Jo will take us. It is impossible to foresee and he is that unpredictable.