Stranger in the Lake

Author: Kimberly Belle
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Source: Emer at Harper Collins

Goodreads: “Spellbinding. Another outstanding novel by Kimberly Belle, masterfully written to lure you in and never let go.” – Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

Look for these other pulse-pounding thrillers by Kimberly Belle:

Three Days Missing
The Marriage Lie
Dear Wife 

Ope’s Opinion: Kimberly Belle can write the perfect amount of character build up and suspense for me.  The more of her books I read, the more of them I want to read.

This one started out as what “seemed” to be a simple who done it mystery.  All the characters were introduced, there was already one murder in the past and another one just happened.  So who did it?  Who is hiding secrets? Or should I say who isn’t hiding secrets?

About half way through the pace starts picking up and the tension starts to really build… oh, the fun of reading this part – at this point make sure you have time to finish it!  You will not want to put it down.

The ending told you all you wanted to know.  And made me want her next book!

 

This is How I Lied

Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Mystery
Source: Emer at Harper Collins

 

Goodreads: Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Ope’s Opinion: Heather Gudenkauf is one of my authors that I automatically say, yes, I want to read her books.  She draws me in from the beginning with characters that are real and you want to follow their stories.  

There was more creepiness in this book then I usually read or care for, but it really did have to do with the story – it wasn’t just thrown in there to give you chills.  This was not as intense as some Gudenkauf’s books, but still kept my attention and drew me to the end.

I thought I knew who did it, then I changed my mind – should have stuck with my first guess, but wasn’t sure until the end.

Last Day

Author: LuAnne Rice
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Brittany Russell at Amazon

 

Goodreads:  From celebrated New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a riveting story of a seaside community shaken by a violent crime and a tragic loss.

Years ago, Beth Lathrop and her sister Kate suffered what they thought would be the worst tragedy of their lives the night both the famous painting Moonlight and their mother were taken. The detective assigned to the case, Conor Reid, swore to protect the sisters from then on.

Beth moved on, throwing herself fully into the art world, running the family gallery, and raising a beautiful daughter with her husband Pete. Kate, instead, retreated into herself and took to the skies as a pilot, always on the run. When Beth is found strangled in her home, and Moonlight goes missing again, Detective Reid can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

Reid immediately suspects Beth’s husband, whose affair is a poorly kept secret. He has an airtight alibi—but he also has a motive, and the evidence seems to point to him. Kate and Reid, along with the sisters’ closest childhood friends, struggle to make sense of Beth’s death, but they only find more questions: Who else would have wanted Beth dead? What’s the significance of Moonlight?

Twenty years ago, Reid vowed to protect Beth and Kate—and he’s failed. Now solving the case is turning into an obsession . . .

Ope’s Opinion:  The story was good, if you could get through all details and the wandering off the who did it part.  Every time I thought we were getting closer to who committed the murder, the author wandered down another memory lane.  There was also a lot of repeating of facts and reminders of the first murder that happened years earlier.    

So if you are the kind of reader that reads fast or can skim past the unnecessary parts, this would be a good read for you.  The detective goes down a long road to find his answers.

The ending was strange – there were plenty of answers.  The  last few chapter were peculiar.

An Equal Justice

Author: Chad Zunker
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Claire at Little Bird Publicity

 

Goodreads:  Inside a prestigious law firm, a rookie lawyer is pulled into a dark maze of lies and violence.

An ambitious Stanford graduate, David Adams has begun a fast-track career at Austin’s most prestigious law firm. It’s a personal victory for the rising superstar—a satisfying reversal from his impoverished and despairing childhood. Now he has the life he’s always wanted: an extravagant salary, a high-rise condo, a luxury SUV, and no limit to how far he can go in the eyes of the top partners.

But after the shocking suicide of a fellow associate—one who, in his final hours, offered David an ominous warning—he feels the pull of powerful forces behind the corporation’s enviable trappings. The suicide leads unexpectedly to David’s discovery of a secret enclave of the city’s homeless, where he can’t help but feel an affinity to these outcast souls. Nor can he ignore the feeling that they hold the key to the truth behind a dark conspiracy.

When one of his new street friends is murdered, David’s clear doubts about his employer start shifting into a dark reality. Now torn between two worlds, David must surrender all that he’s achieved to fight for a larger cause of justice—and become his firm’s most dangerous acquisition.

Ope’s Opinion:  This book felt very simply written.  The short chapters made me think – I’ll read just one more chapter, so it went fast.  I was surprised to find out this wasn’t his first book.

I did enjoy how we were introduced to a few different people in the first few chapters.  You knew they were eventually going to cross paths, but it was interesting to see where each one started out.

The whole theme of good viruses evil was throughout this book.  You could see where it was going to end and it did end where I thought it was going to.

Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina Lamanna
Publisher: Sourcebook Landmark
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  Four Women. Four Confessions. One Murder.

Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime — alone.

Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated.

Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything.

Emily can’t shake her reputation or her memories, and she’s planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle.

Lulu’s got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way — as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back.

Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know — and they’re not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore.

Ope’s Opinion: I picked this book up on a whim at the  Book Expo 2019.  I had not read this author before and didn’t know much about the book.  The synopsis sounded cute and thought it would be a fun read. 

The introduction to each character at the beginning of the book was clever.  It gave you insight to each person, their relationship to the wedding and a little background, so you could understand them.

There wasn’t a reliable narrator – which was frustrating.  Who was really telling the truth? The murder seemed to be a side story.  The relationships are at the center of this book.

The ending and epilogue left me with more questions then it answered – not really satisfying.

The Birthday Girl

Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Mystery
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  In the thrilling, suspenseful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, all of Ellie de Florent-Stinson’s secrets come to light in one eventful evening full of twists, turns, and surprises.

Before she became a glamorous fashion designer, Ellie de Florent-Stinson was a trailer-park teen about to turn sixteen. But a night of birthday celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned and descends into a night she’ll never be able to forget.

Now, on the cusp of her fortieth birthday, it appears Ellie has everything she ever wanted: a handsome husband; an accomplished, college-age stepdaughter; a beautiful ten-year-old girl; adorable and rambunctious six-year-old twin boys; lush, well-appointed homes in Los Angeles, Park City, and Palm Springs; a thriving career; and a dazzling circle of friends.

Except everything is not quite as perfect as it looks on the outside–Ellie is keeping many secrets. And hiding those skeletons has a cost, and it all comes to a head the night of her fabulous birthday party in the desert–where everyone who matters in her life shows up, invited or not. Old and new friends and frenemies, stepdaughters and business partners, ex-wives and ex-husbands congregate, and the glittering facade of Ellie’s life begins to crumble.

Beautifully paced and full of surprises, The Birthday Girl is an enthralling tale of a life lived in shadow and its unavoidable consequences.

Ope’s Opinion:  This might have been a 3.5, but you would have to take the “f” word out and put in more creative descriptions.  I almost quit reading this book a couple of times.  I read a couple of reviews and they encouraged me to keep reading.  I was glad I finished it in the long run.

It took a long time to get involved in the story.  Some of the background was needed to understand how everyone ended up where they did, but I wanted it get there faster.  Switching from past to present felt like two different stories until closed to the end when they collided and it was brought to a nice clean end.

Only Ever Her

Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Claire at Little Bird Publicity

 

Goodreads:  It was to be the perfect wedding—until the bride disappeared.

Annie Taft’s wedding is four days away, and it will be one of the grandest anyone can remember in her small South Carolina town. Preparations are in order. Friends and family are gathering in anticipation. Everything is going according to plan. Except that Annie herself has vanished. Did she have second thoughts? Or has something much worse happened to the bride-to-be?

While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves.

Ope’s Opinion: I thought this was going to be an intense read about a missing person.  Instead it was a slow moving story about a small town with characters I had a hard time caring about and it was not intense at all.   Some of these characters were really strange. 

My biggest frustration in mystery books is when I can’t figure out who the guilty party is because they are not in the book until  the end.  If the guilty person isn’t someone you care about or doesn’t effects the other characters, it makes it hard to care. The ending of this story was not very satisfying.

 

Out Now

Do you enjoy reading a family drama
with a mystery at the core of it?
Then pick this one up today!

Goodreads:  Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new page-turner about that trickiest of relationships.

Thank you Kristin of Kritters Ramblings  for sharing this book with me.

 

Out Now

Do you want to read a mystery / thriller?
Do you like Heather Gudenkauf?
Then buy this today!

Goodreads:  A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence .

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover–movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora–and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted–not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe–even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

Thank you Emer for sending this one to me. 

 

 

Girl Most Likely

Author: Max Allen Collins
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Katie at Little Bird Publicity

 

Goodreads:  t’s never too late for revenge in this thrilling novel by New York Times bestselling and award-winning crime master Max Allan Collins.

In a small Midwest town, twenty-eight-year-old Krista Larson has made her mark as the youngest female police chief in the country. She’s learned from the best: her father, Keith, a decorated former detective. But as accustomed as they are to the relative quiet of their idyllic tourist town, things quickly turn with Krista’s ten-year high school reunion.

With the out-of-towners holed up in a lakefront lodge, it doesn’t take long to stir up old grudges and resentments. Now a successful TV host, Astrid Lund, voted the “Girl Most Likely to Succeed”—and then some—is back in town. Her reputation as a dogged reporter has made the stunning blonde famous. Her reputation among her former classmates and rivals has made her infamous. Astrid’s list of enemies is a long one. And as the reunion begins, so does a triple murder investigation.

Krista and her father are following leads and opening long-locked doors from their hometown to the Florida suburbs to Chicago’s underworld. They just never imagined what would be revealed: the secrets and scandals of Krista’s own past.

Ope’s Opinion: I feel like this was the beginning of a series for police chief Krista Larson.  Max All Collins introduced us to the town and a whole host of people who could show up in later books. 

At times I felt like there were a lot of things thrown in just to make you question who you thought did it.  I am not sure the author made that work, it was just kind of distracting.

The ending felt like the end of a CSI show.  It didn’t feel real, but it felt like it was setting us up for the next book.