“The Sun Down Motel”

By Simone St. James

Since it is October, I thought I would share one of my fav ‘a bit scary’ stories!

4+ Should have given 5 Stars!

I went into this novel not only much about it. I like psychological thrillers and this came up as a must read from readers I follow who have similar taste in books.

Immediately the cover had me. The Sun Down Hotel certainly reminds me of the 1960 “Bates Motel” ~ I know you remember from the horror movie “Psycho”!

Story is told in 2 POVs Then and Now

Then 1982 ~ 20 year old Vivian Delaney is running away from family’s home in Illinois to New York City. She ends up in New York but not NYC. Figured she earn some money and then move on. She gets a night clerk job at “The Sun Down Motel’ and soon finds strange things are happening…. ‘Twilight Zone’ type of things happening. …light on and off, doors opening and closing and the smell of smoke. I kept waiting for “Talky Tina” to appear. 

 This small Upstate New York town seems to have more than the average deaths.  After doing her own investigating 3 months after arriving at “THE” motel; she goes missing.

Now 2017 ~ 35 years later, Viv’s 20 year old niece Carly Kirk and has always wondered about her aunt’s disappearance.  After her mother’s death, Carly set out from nice comfortable Illinois home to Fell, New York. She rents a room in a boarding house ~ actually rents the same room her aunt did in 1982, additionally gets a night clerk job at “THE” motel. Twilight Zone things are still happening.

This is my first author: Simone St. James novel. She certainly is my kind of a story teller. 

Aww I want to thank her for a great dark spine tingling suspense novel.

 I am looking to her next creepy story!  Perhaps “Talky Tina’ will make an appearance in that one.

Autumn Dreams at Mermaids Point

by Sarah Bennett

4 +Stars!

Aww such a great fall read! Released September 23, 2021.

This is Book #2 in the Mermaid Point series  

 The name Nerissa ~ means sea nymph ~ so it is perfect that Nerissa Morgan lives on Mermaids Point.

Things are comfortable but not perfect for Nerissa Morgan. This story starts when she is remembering her high school sweetheart, Gareth; who upon high school graduation joined the Army. Unfortunately he was killed in road accident in a peacekeeping mission. Today would have been his birthday and Nerissa is taking a bouquet of daffodils for his grave site. 

Sylvia a longtime friend and been playing matchmaker for years but Nerissa never connected with anyone other than Gareth.

She is now forty-three years old, a medical receptionist and a live-in housekeeper for a Doc Malcolm who will soon be retiring. She is concerned and fearful that once he decides to retire he is going to sell to developers. She will not only be out of job but a home as well!

Dr. Tom Nelson is a General Practice Physician in London and is trying to keep busy after the death of his wife, Anna. His two juvenile children Emily and Max are grieving and struggling with the loss of their mother. In fact, there has been some trouble at school. Twelve-year old Max was defending the honor of his older sister and gets in a fight over pictures circulating of her and some of her girlfriends.

 It appears Emily and friends were dared to take selfies in their underwear and post. Needless to say the posts were all over campus in no time.   Tom is upset but after taking to the teacher at school, realizes that he hasn’t taken nearly the time with the children that his wife had. If Anna were still alive this would not have happened.

Tom sees the offer of the position at Mermaids Point and is invited to visit before making any decision.

Yep it appears Old Doc Malcolm has decided to look for a replacement and not sell to developers.

When Tom and the kids go to meet Doc at the local bar/hang out ~ Guess who is there?

Yep Nerissa!

The visit to Mermaids Point goes great. Tom and kids take a vote if he should or shouldn’t accept the position.

Okay the first part is Tom & Nerissa getting together but there it is sooo much more to this story. We get to know the friends and neighbors (unless you read Book #1 and have a head-up on these characters).

There is family drama and family connections that I loved and I am sure you will as well!

I totally love the quote: ~ “The words we give to the sea are heard only by the waves”

It seems most of us would be happier if we took a trip to the shore and scream like a banshee to rid ourselves of frustrations!!

I am now looking forward to reading next in this series “Christmas Surprises at Mermaids Point”.

Want to thank NetGalley and Boldwood Books for this early release granted to me for my honest professional opinion.  

Her Deadly Touch

by Lisa Regan ~ Happy Pub Day August 12, 2021

This is Josie Quinn #12. I have not read all the books in this series but did read “Breathe Your Last” and I was hooked!

Chapter one starts with school children Wallace, Bianca, and Frankie on the wall outside of school. They really don’t want to get on the school bus. The Principal comes and tells them to hurry along and get on the bus.

                             One student states..  But we were supposed to… 

       (Hmm… what?)

Josie has been out on suspension as well as bereavement. Her grandmother Lisette who basically raised Josie was murdered. Josie takes some non-police measures to find the murderer and thus gets herself suspended.  

Lisette’s death is extremely hard on Josie. She only cases about her husband Noah and their little Boston terrier Trout. She has been in therapy and she knows she needs to get back to work.

The news is full of Krystal Duncan a young mother who is missing.

Krystal is found dead at the grave site of her little daughter Bianca. Yes! The apprehensive children plus two others in Chapter One died that evening in a bus crash driven by bus driver Virgil Lesko.

In addition to Krystal’s death another mom goes missing from the ‘West Denton Five’ and is found dead in almost the same circumstances.

At first I had a hard time keeping everyone clear in my mind – Here is a list of characters;

West Denton Five Families:

            Bianca ~ Krystal Duncan

            Wallace & Frankie ~ Nathan and Gloria Cammack

            Gail ~ Dee and Miles Tenney ~

            Nevin ~ Sebastian and Faye Palazzos’

Heidi Byrne survived the crash; she lives with her Dad, Corey. Heidi is adorable also a wealth of information to Josie

Another character is Ted Lesko son of Virgil.

These characters are all interesting character. But who did it?

Lisa Regan does not disappoint.

I always enjoy the author’s note! In this case the author’s note is “A Letter from Lisa”. She thanks us for reading her novel and then tells us that she tried to bring us a page-turner that will be nailing-biting entertainment.

Yep she did that! Looking forward to Josie and her next nail-biting case!

Author, Lisa Regan also states that Josie’s grief is really her own. While writing this story her father passed suddenly. He was her rock!

 Her ‘Acknowledgements are a story in itself!

Want to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for my professional opinion. 

Publishing Release Date scheduled for August 12, 2021.

Little Girl Taken by Wendy Dranfield

Happy Pub Day Wendy Dranfield  July 20, 2021

5 STARS

This is Book #3 in the Madison Harper series. Although it is helpful to have read the earlier stories in this series; you will not be in the dark as the past information is presented.

I read the first book in the series “ Shadow Falls. It was great and I gave it 5 Stars ~ I give very few perfect 5 star ratings!

In that story, Madison is a former police officer and private investigator. Nate Monroe is a PI. Both have something in common in that they both were framed for crimes they didn’t commit and sent to prison. After 17 years, Nate was found innocent as there was no proof that he killed his fiancée, Stacy ~ Father Jack Connor’s niece.

             (Author, Wendy Dranfield does a great job in giving us information that occurred in the other stories but doesn’t go into long details but enough that a first time reader isn’t lost!)

This story starts when Detective Madison Harper is returning to working for the Lost Creek Police Dept. Her first day in seven years after serving six years in prison for killing her co-worker, a crime she didn’t commit. It was proven that she was innocent and was framed.

 As she is drive to the Police Station she sees an abandoned car. She finds a baby girl wrapped in pink and a lot of blood. However, no one else; where is the mother and whose blood?

Nate and Brody are now a big part of Madison’s life and YES Nasty Father Jack Connor is back and truth is revealed!

Story kept me turning pages.

                                    Another Wendy Dranfield WOW story!

I always enjoy reading the author’s notes and acknowledgements.

In the “A Letter from Wendy” she thanks us readers for spending some time with Madison, Nate and Brody. Also hints that we are going to hear more from evil Father Connor and Vince Radar just may make an appearance as well.

In her ‘Acknowledgements’, she thanks many including her husband who is not only a beta reader for her stories but also did some research. She then jokes if we find any errors ~ it is his fault!

Want to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for my professional opinion.  

Just Married

by  Kiersten Modglin ~ Pub Day July 5, 2021

WOW! WOW! WOW!

My first novel by author, Kiersten Modglin|!

 One reviewer described her as “the Queen of Twists”.

WHAT?

I call myself an avid psychological thriller fan and I have not read this author.

How have I missed her?????

 I guarantee that will change!!

 Story is about Grace and Ryan who are newlyweds and have been married for 6 mos. They did not go on a honeymoon as they were saving their money to do a one year anniversary honeymoon celebration.

Ryan decided that perhaps they should take their honeymoon now and get away from daily responsibilities. Although Grace is apprehensive about travel she likes that Ryan picked a secluded cabin deep in the woods. They can be together with no work responsibilities.

Their first night they are enjoying the outdoor hot tub on the patio but when they return to the house, they discovered they are locked out. They spend the night on the patio however, in the morning when the try the door it is no longer locked. Hmmm

The next day while on a hike they find a homeless man; later Grace sees this same homeless man in their yard. Grace is now a nervous wreck but the library book on the front porch with a note 

                 “Janie’s dead, you’re next”.

This totally has her nearly off the edge!

We find out that both Grace and Ryan have secrets ~

I am ~

Oh Hum ~Piece of cake ~ got it!

Ha-ha Yep! I was soooo wrong!

4 + STARS!

Want to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for my honest professional opinion. 

Publishing Release Date scheduled for July 5, 2021

The Marriage

by K.L. Slater

Pub Day ~ May 20, 2021

5 Stars and I give very few 5 star ratings!

                            The novel is on the TOP of my 2021 ‘Fav’ list!

I read and loved Ms. Slater’s dark and creep “The Apartment” and was anxious I read another of her stories.

          This story is describes by a reader I like ~ as genius, provocative and one of the most daring plot line she has ever read.

Story starts out Mavis, a retired school teacher has found that night time walking her dog Harry seems helps with her insomnia and she is able to sleep when she returns. One evening as she and Harry are near “Movers” the local nightclub, she hears loud music as the door is flung open and two men are fighting. . When her eyes adjust she sees they aren’t men but high school seniors and former students Tom Billinghurst and Jesse Wilson. Tom is a bright young man from a good family. Jesse a bit on the wild side and his single mother Bridget has her hands full. As a teacher has dealt with school yard fights but since these two have been drinking, she decided it best to call the police. When they arrive they find Jesse down and injured. He later dies in the hospital. Tom a professional middleweight boxer is arrested for murder. His fists are considered a lethal weapon and he is sent to prison. The family has been close friends. While in prison Bridget Jesse’s mother vests Tom and tells him she has forgiven him.

Now Bridget is preparing for her upcoming wedding.  Yep Tom is her soon to be husband and is 20 years younger. He is about to be released from prison now 10 years after the incident with her son.                    ~ I know you knew this as it is on the book jacket! This had me worried, it seems Bridget profited from her son’s death. The GoFundMe brought in $$ that she invested ~ Hmm!

I read enough psychological thrillers so I know three things: 

      be suspicious of everyone

      expect twists and twist and turns

      and expect a secret or two.

These three points ran through my mind plus these characters~

      Bridget ~ Hmmm she had my ‘Spidey’ concerns on high alert but she is too obvious.

      Jill’s friend Aubrey ~ Yep there is a secret or two going on there.

      Tom ~ Aww Tom I certainly didn’t want him to disappoint me!

I always love reading the ‘Author’s Note’ and acknowledgements’. In this case ‘A Letter from K.L. Slater’ was great reading the inside scoop on where she got her idea for this story. I certain am looking forward to reading another of her stories!!!!!

Want to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for an honest professional review. 

The Last Thing He Told Me

By Laura Dove May 5, 2021

Selected for Reese’s May 2021 Selection

Hannah Hall is absentminded and is teased by her husband for losing almost everything. She just cannot remember where she puts simple things: her cell phone even the ticket from the parking garage which costed her $100 fine.  Now she has also lost her husband!

The last thing Owen Michaels said in a note to his wife before he disappeared was “Protect her”.

Hannah receives this note from a young girl she didn’t know as she was given $20 by Owen to deliver the note.

Hannah is an artist who was raised by her grandfather. (Note: I love her relationship with her grandfather. She really never missed her parents as her grandfather was so good and so loved her. He was a craftsman who did beautiful woodwork~ which he taught her and she continued to do wood design as a career.)

She marries Owen who is a widower, works in a tech company and has a 16year old daughter Bailey. 

After Hannah reads the note, she immediately call Owen’s cell. No answer ~ she continues to call; she cannot imagine why he disappeared.

Own typically drives Bailey to and from school functions as she doesn’t yet have her driver’s license.

Hannah tells Bailey she will pick her up. Hannah knows that Bailey hates for her to be late so she arrives early and is listening to the news on her radio’s radio. She hears that Owen’s boss has been involved in a tech scheme and has arrested by the FBI.

Hannah fears Owen may have been involved ~ is that why he disappeared?

Hannah and Bailey set out to find the truth. They find out that he is not who he says he is … but who is he?

They become amazing investigators and find out the truth.

This story seemed like it was going to be an okay ~ predictable story … as the plot is so simple. Wrong! It was so much better than what I expected. Plus author Laura Dove’s writing is great it kept me interested and turning pages.⭐⭐⭐⭐

Looking forward to the next Laura Dove story!!

Want to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for professional review purposes only. 

Publishing Release Date scheduled for May 4, 2021

Ruby Falls

by Deborah Goodrich Royce

4++++ Stars

Then ~ 1968 Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain: Is where and when Ruby’s Father disappears.  Eleanor Ruby Russell was six years old when she and her family were on vacation. She and dad went on a tour of nearby caves. Tourists remember a little girl with a man they assumed was her father but now she is by herself.  He has disappeared. Aww but the press loved this

                        Little Ruby Left in Ruby Falls!

                        Did Ruby’s daddy fall in Ruby Falls?

                        Poor Ruby took the fall in Ruby Falls!

Now~1987, Los Angeles:  Eleanor AKA Ruby is almost 26, an actress (actually a daytime soap opera actress but yes an actress!), she is married and living in the Hollywood Hills. Additionally just got the role in a ‘new’ gothic version of Rebecca! Living a fairy tale dream come true

This was a wow read. I am a big psychological thriller fan. Love Dark & Twisted! ~ when I say I didn’t see THAT coming ~ I love it more.

I had to stay up and finish this; I thought I am going to reread tomorrow to make sure I read what I think I read!

This isn’t much of a review ~ if you are a psychological thriller fan, you will total enjoy the ride you are about to take!

BTW: I seldom give a 5 star rating ~ but this is close!!!

This is my first Deborah Goodrich Royce ~ I certainly am looking forward to another!

 Want to thank NetGalley and Post Hill Press for this early release granted to me for a honest professional review.  Opinions expressed are my own.

Publishing Release Date scheduled for May 4, 2021

Gone too Far by Debra Webb

Gone too Far” Devlin & Falco #2 Reviewed submitted April 27, 2021 4 ++ Stars

This is second in the series. I didn’t read [book: Trust No one] which was the first in this series but read some reviews to catch up

Detective Kerri Devlin and her partner Detective Luke Falco members of the Birmingham Alabama Police Department assigned to the Major Investigations Division are investigating a double homicide of Leo Kurta a shop owner and ‘hot shot’ Deputy DA Asher Walsh  (Hmmm what was he doing there?).

While just getting started on this investigation, Kerri Devlin gets call from Brighton Academy that her daughter Tori is involved in an incident at school that left another student in critical condition. The student Brendal Meyer is a bully and while Tori, Sarah and Alice on the staircase hurrying as they were late to class, Brendal mouthed off to them. The next thing, Brendal has fallen backwards down the stairs ~ or was she pushed?   The girls all claim they cannot remember what happened.

Later Tori mentions to her mother that she has had other situations where she has had memory loss and it seems to follow after Alice has served her and her friends cookies. Alice is new to the school. She is living with relatives as both her parents recently died. She was at another school but it didn’t work out.

While this is going on Devlin and Falco need to focus on the double homicide.

Former detective Sadie Cross a character from the first book has made an appearance and we are learning more her loss of memory after she went undercover in a Mexican drug cartel.

 Hmmm does that loss of memory have a connection?

What seems like isolated situation might be related. Story is packed with so many characters. (I was grateful for the high light feature with Kindle, as I was trying to piece together what was going on with these cases I kept highlighting and then when I reviewed my notes, I said ~ “Ah Ha!”

The pages had me reading at record speed that I was getting whiplash. (I can read fast but sometime miss important details and go~ wait a minute and have to reread.) I liked Kerry’s comment when she was finding out the whole story and said she had to remind herself to breathe! Yikes that was me! Reading the end of this story!

It was a WOW read for me ~ I should give 5 starts as I save 5 stars for amazing reads. Hmm this was sure close to an amazing read for me!!!

I am looking forward to the next in the series but my hearts states ~ Best for you to …WAIT a bit!!

 Enjoyed reading the ‘Acknowledgements’ but still amazed that author Debra Webb is such a creative writer!!

Want to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for this eGalley granted to me early for a honest professional review.  Publishing Release Date scheduled for April 27, 2021

Turn A blind Eye by Jeffrey Archer

Review submitted April 10, 2021  4 Stars!

 I have read other Archer novels but “Hidden in Plain View” was my first William Warwick.

 I really enjoyed it and was looking forward to this Book #3 in the Detective William Warwick series

In the last story William advanced to Detective Sergeant. He and his team are out to track down London’s top drug baron. Additionally, Miles Faulkner ~William’s nemesis returns from the first novel. Faulkner is trying to avoid a jail sentence for crimes in the art world. He was sentences to 8 years in prison and returns!

Now William has advanced to Detective Inspector and in this story the notorious drug baron Ahmed Rashida goes on trial and is defended by Booth Watson ~ sound familiar? Yep the same person who defended Faulkner and he is determined not to lose this case!!

One again Williams father Sir Julian and sister Grace lead the prosecution case.

Additionally he and wife Beth now have twins. A bit of a surprise is that she and Faulkner’s ex-wife are now friends… Hmmm

Jeffrey Archer does have some tricks, and twist I did not suspect!!

I am a big fan of courtroom drama so this did not disappoint!

However, this went beyond the courtroom and yep did NOT disappoint! 

Another Great ~ Great story!!!

 Now I have to wait for Book #4!

Want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for professional review purposes only.  

Publishing Release Date scheduled for April 13, 2021