Tag: thriller and suspense

Blog Tour: Hunting Angels Diaries

Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for the Hunting Angels Diaries series.  Today I will be providing the Prologue. The covers of these two novels are simply creepy, and though I wasn’t able to read these books for this blog tour, I hope to one day.

Description:

When an author is asked to help the police with the investigation into a double murder by identifying occult symbols, which had been carved into the victims, he is plunged into nightmare and forced to go on the run. Hunted by law and a powerful cult, he has to stay one step ahead to survive.

Buy the Hunting Angels Diaries series now:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Prologue:

At twenty-six, he’d climbed the ladder of success quickly and he was fiercely proud of his achievements thus far. His Facebook page sported a scanned picture of his Young Journalist of the Year award, instead of a picture of himself. He knew that he wasn’t good-looking; in fact he was overweight, his sweat glands caused him endless embarrassment and his ginger hair was thinning fast. Although he spent a fortune on cologne and designer clothing, women found him arrogant and physically repellent. His infrequent sexual encounters usually cost him money and they didn’t last very long. Still, he knew that his success at work and financial status would attract a woman one day. Probably a gold-digger, but as long as she was compliant in the bedroom, it was all good. He was in no rush.

The whispering became louder and snapped him back to reality. Malcolm blinked and tried to focus on the room. Candlelight flickered in the darkness, casting shadows and distorting the faces around him. He wasn’t in the nightclub, of that he was certain. He blinked again as his fragmented memories of the night before returned to him. A woman had invited him to a party. She was black and she was hot. He could remember that much. As he focused on the people around him, he recognised her face, but it was distorted by the flickering yellow glow. He had no idea who the others were.

About the Author:

Conrad is the author of seventeen novels, eight author guides and two biographies. He has three series:

  1. The Detective Alec Ramsay Series; seven books Gritty Crime Thrillers
  2. The Soft Target Series; Gritty Thrillers six books (Reacher Style)
  3. The Hunting Angels Diaries; three books Horror Thrillers

I am Conrad Jones, a fifty-year-old author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
On March 20th, 1993, I was managing the restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank` and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’; You can see them here.

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an eleven-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine McCann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my fifteenth novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

You can find out more at www.conradjonesauthor.com

One Perfect Lie

Author:  Lisa Scottoline
368 pages in Hardback

Published: April 11, 2017
Dates Read: June 14-28, 2017

My Rating: 4 stars

Description from Amazon:

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Jordan’s baseball games. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

My Review:

From the first line of One Perfect Lie you know that Chris Brennan is a liar.  And because of that first line you know you are in for a roller coaster of a ride.  You won’t know who or what to believe:

Chris Brennan was applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he was a fraud.

Chris Brennan is the main focus of One Perfect Lie, but also involved in the novel are a few of his students and their families.  You know that it will all come together in some way, but you don’t know when or how. I don’t want to really say much about the plot other than the book description, as I don’t want to spoil the novel.  It would be best to go into the novel not knowing much about it.

The chapters are short, with many being just a few pages. This makes One Perfect Lie very hard to put down as you experience that “Just one more chapter!” feeling. I personally enjoy books like that as I am not the fastest reader and short chapters make me feel like I am reading the book quicker. In addition to the short chapters, there are three parts in the novel which are referred to as ‘steps’.  You will have to read it to find out why.  I went from thinking one thing about Chris in the first step then go in a full 180 in step two!

One Perfect Lie is a character driven novel and as Chris gets to know everyone you do as well and we are drawn into their lives and what might happen to them as the novel progresses. This is despite all the lies and secrets that everyone seems to have.

Everything leads up to a fast paced yet somewhat unbelievable conclusion.  For me, after the slow build up for the entire novel the conclusion seemed to come very quickly.  I did enjoy the novel and the many twists and turns that occurred throughout it.

One Perfect Lie was difficult to review without giving spoilers, but I have tried to do the best I think I can.  Lisa Scottoline is becoming an author I enjoy and I plan to read more of her novels.

One Perfect Lie is recommended.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy to review!

**And I just found out that today is Lisa Scottoline’s birthday! This review came in perfect timing! Happy Birthday Lisa!

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The Couple Next Door

Author: Shari Lapena
Audiobook

Published: August 23, 2016
Dates Read: June 11-20, 2017

My Rating:  5 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My Review:

I loved The Couple Next Door!  I listened to the audio book version. It was intriguing, there were twists, and I never wanted to stop listening to it!  You really get a sense of human greed, selfishness, and self-centeredness all while dealing with a parent’s worst nightmare: something happening to their child.

The basic premise is this: Anne and Marco Conti go next door to a ‘party’ and leave their child home alone.  They do check on the baby often, but once they get home for the night the baby is gone.  Baby Cora is just six months old, so it isn’t like she got up and walked away; something happened to her. The rest of the book centers around the police and the parents trying to figure out what happened to Cora.  There are many twists and you don’t really know what is going to happen next.  Once everything is revealed you are left with a ‘OMG’ feeling as everything comes together and makes sense.

I did have some issues with the parents and feeling sympathetic towards them.  It was their fault for leaving the baby alone. What parent leaves their baby alone to go to a party? Also, the novel kept referring to it as a ‘party’.  For me it wasn’t really a party; it was two couples having dinner and hanging out into the late hours of the night.  I did not understand why the neighbor would not let them bring the baby with them after finding out the baby was left alone.  To me that is not a friend if they won’t let you bring your child. This comes back to the greed and self-centeredness shown throughout the novel.

You could feel Anne’s anguish as the novel progresses. She was really suffering at the loss of her daughter. Once I was over my initial dislike for her over leaving Cora alone, I felt sympathetic towards her.

I had suspicions early on with one character’s involvement in the disappearance, I just was not sure what the motivation was. I was never sure what direction the novel was going to go in and what the conclusion was going to be. I had no idea if Cora was going to be found or not. And if she was to be found would she be ok or not?

I listened to the audiobook version of The Couple Next Door and really enjoyed the narrator.  To me she sounded like Diane Sawyer, so it was like I was listening to an episode of a true crime story on 20/20 or Primetime Live.  For me, that enhanced my experience of the novel and almost gave me an ‘after the fact’ feeling to the novel. The only thing was when the ‘F’ word was said I giggled because to me it was like it was Diane Sawyer saying that which wouldn’t be professional for a reporter. I found it entertaining.   The ‘F’ word was said maybe a handful of times in the novel.

My interest was held for the entire novel up through the final twist at the end.  I had to listen to that final track again once the book was over, as my mouth dropped at the unexpected ending.

The Couple Next Door is recommended, and I would also recommend the audiobook version.

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