The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White

The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White
The Lullaby Girl (Angie Pallorino, #2) 
by Loreth Anne White (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “It affected us all, you know, finding that bleeding and mute toddler inside. She was a beautiful child – that pale complexion, the long dark-red hair, and that tattered little pink dress with frayed lace.” A pause. “We all thought someone would come forward to claim her instantly – that she had to have some family who was missing her. But no one did – not a soul. No mother presented at Saint Peter’s with injuries later. The other hospitals in this health-care region reported nothing suspicious either. It was a mystery. An absolute mystery.”
“Tell…tell me more about the child,” Angie said, her voice husky.
“Her mouth had been slashed open by a sharp weapon – it had sliced through both the upper and lower lips on the left side of her face. She was bleeding copiously from the wound. Blood saturated her dress, the bassinet. She was clutching the Teddy we’d placed inside, like a lifeline. Blood soaked the Teddy as well. She was in shock, grey eyes like saucers. And she made no sound at all. As though she was beyond crying and had perhaps been that way for a long time before.”

THE BLURB: Detective Angie Pallorino took down a serial killer permanently and, according to her superiors, with excessive force. Benched on a desk assignment for twelve months, Angie struggles to maintain her sense of identity—if she’s not a detective, who is she? Then a decades-old cold case washes ashore, pulling her into an investigation she recognizes as deeply personal.

Angie’s lover and partner, James Maddocks, sees it, too. But spearheading an ongoing probe into a sex-trafficking ring and keeping Angie’s increasing obsession with her case in check is taking its toll. However, as startling connections between the parallel investigations emerge, Maddocks realizes he has more than Angie’s emotional state to worry about.

Driven and desperate to solve her case, Angie goes rogue, risking her relationship, career, and very life in pursuit of answers. She’ll learn that some truths are too painful to bear, and some sacrifices include collateral damage.

But Angie Pallorino won’t let it go. She can’t. It’s not in her blood.

MY THOUGHTS: The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White is a fast paced, action packed read. The storyline is complex, without being complicated, the writing punchy, the characters interesting. There is romantic content and reasonably explicit sexual content, both of which are handled well and integral to the plot.

This is the second book in a series, the first of which, The Drowned Girls, I have not yet read. I probably should have as there are references to the content of that book throughout The Lullaby Girl. But at no point when I was reading did I feel lost or out of the loop, there was enough explanation of past events given to make everything clear.

The Angie Pallorino series is one I am going to follow with interest, including going back to read the first book. And at the end of The Lullaby Girl, is a teaser for the third book in the series, which has whet my appetite for more.

A good solid ☆☆☆☆ read.

Thank you to Montlake Romance via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2144674593?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Two Nights 
by Kathy Reichs (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT:

My right-­hand neighbor thinks I’m crazy, so she brings me cheese.

I heard the one-­two crunch of her boots on the path. A pause, then the oyster shells crunched again.

I lifted a corner of the towel covering my kitchen window. She was already five yards off, a shadow-­laced smudge among the live oaks.

Six years, and I still didn’t know her name. Didn’t want to. Had no desire to exchange recipes or comments on the tides.

I cracked the door, snagged the plastic-­wrapped package, and shoved it into the fridge.

Truth is, I don’t mind the cheese. What I hate are the sharp little eyes plumbing my soul. That and the pity.

And the goats. When the wind is right, the bleating bullies into my dreams and I’m back in Helmand with the blood and the dust.

Or maybe I’m reading the old gal wrong. Maybe the cheese is a bribe so I don’t murder Billie or Nanny.

My left-­hand neighbor hanged himself from the end of his pier. His dog curled up and died by his head. Double suicide. Maggot jamboree by the time the bodies were found.

Arthur was a wood-­carver, Prince a collie. I prefer their silent company. Fits my two-­pronged plan for life. Need no one. Feel nothing.

THE BLURB: Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

MY THOUGHTS: I kind of went off Kathy Reichs when they corrupted her Tempe Brennan series into the TV show Bones. That was a seriously bad idea.

So I was kind of wary of reading Two Nights, but my reluctance was unnecessary. This is a seriously good read/ listen.

The story is over two timelines, now while Sunday and her brother Gus (August Night as in Neil Diamond’s Hot…..) are trying to track down the bombers and the missing girl, with flashbacks to Sunday’s own traumatic experience.

This is a fast paced and engaging read. There is plenty of action, plenty of twists. Strongly recommended ☆☆☆☆ read.

I listened to Two Nights by Kathy Reichs narrated by Colleen Marlo and Kim Mai Guest via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2184734795?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Private Patient by P. D. James

The Private Patient by P.D. James
The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh #14) 
by P.D. James

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: On November the 21st, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon, and there in a consulting room designed, so it appeared, to inspire confidence and allay apprehension, made the decision which would lead inexorably to her death. Later that day she was to lunch at the Ivy. The timing of the two appointments was fortuitous. Mr Chandler-Powell had no earlier date to offer and the luncheon later with Robin Boyton, booked for twelve forty-five, had been arranged two months previously; one did not expect to get a table at the Ivy on impulse. She regarded neither appointment as a birthday celebration. This detail of her private life, like much else, was never mentioned. She doubted whether Robin had discovered her date of birth or would much care if he had. She knew herself to be a respected, even distinguished journalist, but she hardly expected her name to appear in the Times list of VIP birthdays.

THE BLURB: When the notorious investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, books into Mr. Chandler-Powell’s private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring, long-standing facial scar, she has every prospect of a successful operation by a distinguished surgeon, a week’s peaceful convalescence in one of Dorset’s most beautiful manor houses and the beginning of a new life. She will never leave Cheverell Manor alive. When Adam Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate the murder – and a second death occurs – even more complicated problems than the question of innocence or guilt arise.

MY THOUGHTS: I failed to become excited by, or engaged in The Private Patient by P. D. James, #14 in the Adam Dalgleish series. Although this was a BBC Radio adaptation, and a very good one, the story fell flat for me.

I enjoyed the final revelations, but not enough to make up for the tedium of getting there.

2.5 stars for The Private Patient by P. D. James, the audiobook of which was beautifully narrated by Richard Derrington and Deborah McAndrew. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Just because I didn’t enjoy this book doesn’t mean that you won’t. If you enjoyed the extract and the blurb piques your interest, you may well be one of the many people who enjoy Private Patient. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2184691149

Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride

Close to the Bone (Logan McRae, #8) 
by Stuart MacBride

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: She holds up the book of matches, licks her lips. She’s practised the words a dozen times until they’re perfect.
‘Do you have anything to say before I carry out sentence?’
The man kneeling on the floor of the warehouse stares up at her. He’s trembling, moaning behind the mask hiding his face. ‘Oh God. Oh Jesus. Oh God. Oh Jesus.’
The chains around his wrists and ankles rattle against the metal stake.
A waft of accelerant curls through the air from the tyre wedged over his head and shoulders. Black rubber and paraffin.

THE BLURB: The first body is chained to a stake: strangled, and stabbed, with a burning tyre around its neck. But is this a gangland execution or something much darker?

Someone’s leaving little knots of bones outside Detective Inspector Logan McRae’s house, but he’s got more pressing things to worry about. Rival drug gangs are fighting over product and territory; two teenage lovers are missing; someone’s crippling Asian immigrants; and Logan’s been lumbered with an ambitious new Detective Sergeant, a mountain of paperwork, and the unwelcome attention of his superiors and the local crime boss.

When another body turns up, it looks as if the similarities between these murders and the plot of a bestselling novel are more than just a coincidence. And perhaps those little knots of bones are more important than they look…

MY THOUGHTS: The blurb doesn’t do Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride justice, anywhere near justice. Reading this book is a nail-biting, roller-coaster ride of an experience. MacBride has long been a favorite author of mine, but with Close to the Bone, he has taken his writing to a whole new level. This is the best book by this author that I have read.

I have a strong stomach, there isn’t much in the written word that makes me cringe, yet MacBride managed it. Amongst all the horrific descriptions of what the characters in this book are doing to one another, the graphic descriptions of the crime scenes and the decomposing bodies, there is a girl who picks the scabs off her knees AND EATS THEM! That brought me to my knees.

And interspersed with all this, are little gems of MacBride’s black humor. An example – ‘You told me he was dead.’ ‘He got better.’

I loved this book. MacBride had me running the gamut of my emotions. He shocked me, he had me worried, he made me sad, he made me laugh, he broke my heart.

I listened to Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride, narrated by Steve Worley who did a magnificent job, on audio via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1020255342

Broken Bones (D. I. Kim Stone series)

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons
Broken Bones (D.I. Kim Stone, #7) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It is lucky for you that I have a way for you to pay me back. You’re not the first, you see. You craved your independence, sought a way to speed your journey to adulthood and you have succeeded. This is your debt and your responsibility. You got exactly what you wanted.’
(She) could not deny that there was some truth in his words.
‘You have been successful in escaping the clutches of your mother. She is no longer in charge of your decisions and this next one you will make yourself.’
(She) held her breath. There was a mesmerizing quality to his voice that, although it filled her with fear, she felt compelled to listen to.
‘You are here, alone, with no money, no friends and no safety net yet you have the one thing that will set you free.’
(She) frowned.
He raised one eyebrow and looked her up and down. ‘You have your body.’
For a few seconds, (she) was confused. She thought about her hands, arms, legs, feet and as she thought about the bits in between her fear turned to abject horror.

THE BLURB: They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

MY THOUGHTS: Angela Marsons just keeps on writing absolutely compelling, gripping thrillers. Broken Bones is #7 in the DI Stone series, and mostly by now, with a few notable exceptions, the author has either run out of steam and is rehashing tired old story lines, or I have become bored with the series. Not so with Marsons. I made the mistake of beginning Broken Bones when I went to bed. At 1.30 am I was still reading.

Marsons character development is crucial to her success. With every book in this series we learn a little more about Kim, about what makes her tick, and we see progression in her relationships with her team, and of those between the team members.

I haven’t always liked Kim. I understood why she was like she was, but I didn’t like her. Admired, but not liked. However, over the series, Kim has grown and in Broken Bones we see a side of Kim that we never previously knew existed. And I wanted to hug this prickly, independent woman.

This is a story of human greed, greed for money, for position, for power. But it is also a wonderfully touching story of mothers, and just how far they will go to protect their children. But beware, there is also an extremely evil mother in evidence, one who sees in her daughter the way to escape her own sordid life.

5 very bright stars. 💓☆☆☆☆☆💓

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Broken Bones by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2171468915

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
Kisscut (Grant County, #2) 
by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: At twenty-eight weeks old, Jenny Weaver’s child might have been viable outside the womb had its mother not tried to flush it down the toilet. The foetus was well developed and well nourished. The brain stem was intact and, with medical intervention, the lungs would have matured over time. The hands would have learned to grasp, the feet to flex, the eyes to blink. Eventually, the mouth would have learned to speak of something other than the horrors it spoke to Sara of now. The lungs had taken breath, the mouth gasped for life. And then it had been killed.
For the past three-and-a-half hours, Sara had tried to reassemble the baby from the parts Jenny Weaver had left in the bathroom and in the red book bag they found in the trash by the video game room. Using tiny sutures instead of the usual baseball stitches, Sara had sewn the paper thin flesh back together into the semblance of a child. Her hands shook, and Sara had redone some of the knots because her fingers were not nimble enough on the first try.
Still, it was not enough. Working on the child, tying the tiny sutures, was like pulling a thread on a sweater. For every area repaired, there was another that could not be concealed. There was no disguising the trauma the child had been through. In the end, Sara had finally accepted that her self-appointed task was an exercise in futility. The baby would go to the grave looking much the way it had looked the last time her mother had seen her.

THE BLURB: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton–the town’s pediatrician and medical examiner–finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister’s death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Grant County is a series that needs to be read in order, from the beginning, to get the full benefit from the storyline.
Kisscut by Karin Slaughter is not a pretty story. It is not a pleasant read. It contains references to child abuse, and while it doesn’t go into specific detail, we all know enough to fill in the blanks. But Kisscut is compelling reading. Even though this is a reread for me, I found myself totally embroiled in the plot and the fates of the characters.
This is Slaughter at her best, and I still love the Grant County series best of all.
I listened to Kisscut by Karin Slaughter,narrated by Kathleen Early, on audiobook via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2177382184

Friday Favorite – Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I am currently reading Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, #7 in the DI. Stone series, and newly published just this week. It is not often that an author can maintain their focus and momentum through a series of seven books, but Marsons has done just that.

So while I am up in the middle of the New Zealand night devouring Marsons latest offering, I thought I would introduce you to the first in the series, Silent Scream.

WARNING: Unless you are planning on a sleepless night, don’t start this when you are going to bed, otherwise you will find yourself doing as I am, sitting up all night reading because you are going to read just one more chapter before you turn out the light. ..

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT:
PROLOGUE
Rowley Regis, Black Country, 2004
Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound.
Only they knew it was a grave.
Digging the frozen earth beneath the layers of ice and snow had been like trying to carve stone but they’d taken turns.
All of them.
An adult-sized hole would have taken longer.
The shovel had passed from grip to grip. Some were hesitant, tentative. Others more assured. No one resisted and no one spoke.
The innocence of the life taken was known to them all but the pact had been made.
Their secrets would be buried.
Five heads bowed towards the dirt, visualising the body beneath soil that already glistened with fresh ice. As the first flakes dusted the top of the grave, a shudder threaded through the group. The five figures dispersed, their footprints treading the trail of a star into the fresh, crisp snow.
It was done.

THE BLURB: Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in British crime fiction.

Watch out for more from D.I. Kim Stone
A Detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. Silent Scream is the first book in the series – watch out for EVIL GAMES coming soon.

MY THOUGHTS: The cover states that this is an edge of the seat serial killer thriller – and yes, it does deliver what it promises!
A headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
Then human remains are discovered buried in the grounds of a former children’s home, threatening to bring to light a legacy of disturbing secrets.
How far will the killer go to protect these secrets?
The characters, some of whom are quite horrifying, are all well portrayed and well rounded.
This book had me gasping in shock, then shedding tears at moments of extreme compassion and tenderness.
Strongly recommended. But beware – this book is almost impossible to put down.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1180418128

Bloodline by Mark Billingham

Bloodline by Mark Billingham
Bloodline (Tom Thorne, #8) 
by Mark Billingham

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The woman was face down, arms by her sides. Her shirt had been lifted, or had ridden up, showing purplish patches on her skin just above her waist where the liver mortis had started and revealing that her bra had not been removed.

“Something, I suppose,” said a female CSI as she walked past.

Thorne raised his eyes from the body and looked towards the single window. There were plates and mugs on the draining board next to the sink. A light was flashing on the front of the washing machine to let somebody know that the cycle had finished.

There was still a trace of normality.

THE BLURB: DI Tom Thorne is back…

It seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of X-ray is found clutched in the dead woman’s fist – and it quickly becomes clear that this case is anything but ordinary.

Thorne discovers that the victim’s mother had herself been murdered fifteen years before by infamous serial killer Raymond Garvey. The hunt to catch Garvey was one of the biggest in the history of the Met, and ended with seven women dead.

When more bodies and more fragments of X-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together until the horrifying picture finally emerges. A killer is targeting the children of Raymond Garvey’s victims.

Thorne must move quickly to protect those still on the murderer’s list, but nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunted…

A chilling, relentlessly paced thriller, Bloodline is the most gripping Tom Thorne novel yet.

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely agree with the final sentence in the blurb. Bloodline is chilling. The pace is relentless. And this is the most gripping of the Tom Thorne series yet.

The killer is twisted, and very clever. He has laid his plans and prepared his ground meticulously. He leaves a trail for the police to follow, and he sits back and waits…

Meanwhile, Thorne is dealing with a personal crisis, or perhaps not dealing with it might be more accurate.

Billingham’s characters are ordinary people. They have likes and dislikes, bills to pay, meals to plan, children to get to school. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy Billingham’s books so much. These people could be your neighbors, your friends, could even be you.

I like the matter of fact way Billingham writes, and his little injections of black humor.

An exciting and thrilling read. Although these are best read in order of the series to gain the most out of the character development, Bloodline will work as a stand alone book. 4.5☆

Bloodline was narrated by Paul Thornley and I listened to the audio version via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/942705195

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
In the Midst of Winter 
by Isabel Allende (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Richard Bowmaster was Lucia’s boss at New York University where she had a one year contract as a visiting professor. Once the semester was over, her life was a blank slate: she would need another job and somewhere else to live while she decided on her long term future. Sooner or later she would return to end her days in Chile, but that was still quite a way off. And since her daughter, Daniela, had moved to Miami to study marine biology, and was possibly in love and planning to stay, there was nothing to draw Lucia back to her home country. She intended to enjoy her remaining years of good health before she was defeated by decreptitude. She wanted to live abroad, where the daily challenges kept her mind occupied and her heart in relative calm, because in Chile she was crushed by the weight of the familiar, its routines and limitations. Back there she felt she was condemned to be a lonely old woman besieged by pointless memories; in another country, there could be surprises and opportunities.

THE BLURB: In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.

MY THOUGHTS: What happened to Allende’s beautiful lyrical writing? It is MIA in In the Midst of Winter. I think I only stopped twice to roll a passage of the text around my mind and my mouth. The writing felt flat, unlike the previous books by this author which I really enjoyed.

I found this story quite depressing, both in its characters and the plot, both of which frequently left me feeling annoyed.

The story is mainly told about the three central characters, Lucia, Evelyn and Richard and over several different timelines, past and present. This doesn’t flow seamlessly and I found myself getting irritated by the constant tooing and froing. It was like a film that has been badly spliced. Disjointed.

I was disappointed. But perhaps she was just having a bad year. I may just reread The Japanese Lover to banish this from my mind. Definitely not what I have come to love and expect from this usually brilliant author.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2172368567

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
Reviewed by
Nov 02, 2017  
EXCERPT: I haven’t seen or heard from Joseph King in twenty years, but I heard the stories. Not only from the Amish, but from law enforcement as well. Evidently, King was a troubled man with a marriage on the rocks, a litter of kids he didn’t want, and a loose interpretation of his marital vows.

I vividly recall the day I learned his wife had been found dead—and Joseph was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. I couldn’t believe the kid I’d known—the one with the toothy grin and big laugh—could do something so horrific. But no one knows better than me how profoundly life can change people—and that too often those changes are not for the best.

I’d wanted to talk to him, ask him myself if he’d done it. But I knew it was only that tiny part of my heart that remembered what it was like to be thirteen years old and in the throes of my first crush. The part of me that was loyal to a fault and still believed people were fundamentally good. I never went to see him.

I did, however, follow the investigation and trial. Joseph King, his wife, and their five children lived on a small farm near Middlefield, Ohio, which is about two hours northeast of Painters Mill. The night of the murder, King claimed to have gone fishing on Lake Erie. Since his destination was too far to travel via buggy, he’d paid a local Yoder toter to drive him to a cabin. During the night, someone walked into his unlocked home, picked up his shotgun, and shot his wife in her bed while their five children slept across the hall. Come morning, the children discovered their mother’s body. Two days later, Joseph was arrested and charged with murder.

THE BLURB: In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I hadn’t read a Linda Castillo book in a while, so I was excited to find Down a Dark Road in the audio section of my library service. Her books, and I admit to only having read some of her Kate Burkholder series and out of order at that, are fast paced, gripping and realistic.

There is a great blend of police procedure with Kate’s personal life. I particularly like the way she still has respect for the Amish way of life, although she has left it behind, and the conflict she feels about the lack of relationship with her brother and sister and their families, who have remained in the Amish community.

In Down A Dark Road, Kate follows her heart rather than her head, putting her position as Chief of Police in jeopardy. We get to take a look at her childhood through flashbacks, and we learn a lot more about what makes Kate the woman she is.

An extremely satisfying reading/listening experience.

I listened to the audio version of Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1997736515