ARC REVIEW: Find You In The Dark – by Nathan Ripley @text_publishing

Title: Find You In The Dark
Author: Nathan Ripley
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 6th 2018
Publisher: Text Publishing
Finished reading: April 21st 2018
Pages: 336

“There’s always sense in it, somewhere, just as there is always sense in the patterns and impulses of the guys whose work I follow.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Text Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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It was the blurb that made me add this one straight to my must-read list. Multiple serial killers? A main character digging up murder victims? A comparison to Dexter? Heck yes! I’ve been looking forward to pick up Find You In The Dark and find out just how twisted this story was going to be… And trust me, I wasn’t disappointed. This isn’t your typical serial killer thriller and the main character Martin Reese definitely isn’t a typical guy. I mean, buying stolen police files to find the bodies of missing serial killer victims, digging them up and bragging in anonymous phone calls to the police about his finds doesn’t actually sound squeaky clean or normal to me. Call it weird, call it disturbing, call it illegal, call it a crime, but there is one thing for sure: you will be absolutely and completely hooked by this this character and his actions. Martin Reese is one hell of personality to build your story around and he definitely has a lot to do with the success of this thriller. The writing supports this crazy and twisted ride and will have you on the edge of your seat while you try to figure out just how far things will go. Out of control, or calculated? Plot and plot twists are well developed and will keep you guessing…. And the graphic scenes will chill many seasoned thriller reader to the bone. This multiple serial killer thriller with a twist definitely isn’t for the weakhearted, but oh so good if you are able to stomach the heavy parts. While not perfect, this was an outstanding debut thriller and I can’t wait to find out what Nathan Ripley will have in store for us in the future!

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Rich and retired Martin Reese has a strange hobby: he digs up the missing bodies of serial killer victims. He gets the information he needs to discover the locations by buying stolen police files on serial killers… And he has been able to outsmart the cops for a long time by discovering the bodies and then taunting them in an anonymous call by claiming he is doing the job they failed to do. But his calls have left their mark, and there is one detective in particular who is not so sure the mysterious ‘Finder’ is only doing a good deed for the community. Who says he isn’t the one to leave the bodies in the first place? And who knows, he might escalate soon enough as well? But it seems like the detective isn’t the only one zooming in on Martin’s activities…

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Multiple twisted serial killers, a main character with a murky past and hobby, the whole digging up bodies angle in general… Oh yes, serial killer fans will have a lot to look forward to in this debut Find You In The Dark. From a well developed plot to interesting characters and a lot of disturbing and twisted facts: you will get a triple dose of suspense and terror with this one! The rather original ‘digging up bodies’ angle added a little something extra to the mix… And while not perfect, it is without doubt one of my favorite thrillers I’ve read so far this year for the original angle alone.


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ARC REVIEW: Blood Runs Cold – by Dylan Young @bookouture

Title: Blood Runs Cold
(Detective Anna Gwynne #2)
Author: Dylan Young
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 16th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: April 18th 2018
Pages: 331

“I don’t know if that’s normal, but when you’re caught up in it, trying to understand, you read and research and watch. Sometimes until your blood runs cold.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I stumbled upon this new detective series earlier this year and I admit I was sold as soon as I heard the word ‘serial killer’. But Detective Anna Gwynne has proven to deliver so much more than that. With a mix of a cold case and a current investigation, a kickass detective to lead the investigation and some very disturbing and twisted plots and suspects, this series is a treat for every true detective thriller fan. I myself am completely hooked, and found Blood Runs Cold to be even better than the first book. The fact that the lead detective in this series isn’t the typical ‘disastrous past/personal life’ character and instead has a very unique personality that helps get things done is truly refreshing. And the same thing goes for the cold case angle and the fact that the investigation of Anna and her team start with reinvestigating a cold case. But not only that, on top of the refreshing lead character and investigation angle there is also an extra subplot with a very twisted and dangerous captured serial killer in the spotlight… Mix it all together, add another creeper of a suspect and a jumbo-pack of plot twists and you will find yourself a recipe for one hell of a ride. Like in the first book, Blood Runs Cold managed to convince me right from the start and I was unable to funcion normally until I reached the final page and found out the truth. This both has to do with the engaging writing style, pace, plot and plot twists and of course with the fact it’s really easy to like Anna and her team (I’m not talking about the new member though!). In short, I can highly recommend this sequel! Detective Anna Gwynne is worth introducing into your lives.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Detective Anna Gwynne is back at work and investigating a cold case involving the kidnapping and murder of the young Rosie Dawson. They reopened the case after new evidence showed up years later, and they are determined to find out who is behind her death this time. The new evidence isn’t a lot; an old photo of Rosie posted on a chat room on the Dark Web… But enough to start looking, and when they find a possible connection to an active kidnapping case, they are desperate to solve the puzzle before it’s too late.

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I really enjoyed my first meeting with Detective Anna Gwynne back in January, and this sequel has only reaffirmed my love for this series. From the engaging writing style to the characters, plot and plot twists… Blood Runs Cold is action-packed, suspenseful and will chill you to the bone. You will not have dealt with one, but TWO serial killers by the end of this book! And on top of that, the whole cold case angle is fascinating as well as the cybercrime element. There is a lot to love in Blood Runs Cold and while I couldn’t stand a certain new member of the team, this is all forgotten with everything else that is going on. Anna Gwynne to the win! I will definitely be waiting impatiently for the next one.


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ARC REVIEW: The Chosen Ones – by Carol Wyer @bookouture @carolewyer

Title: The Chosen Ones
(DI Robyn Carter #5)
Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 24th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: April 16th 2018
Pages: 393

“That was the trouble with people; they often weren’t what they seemed.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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There is no better feeling than being able to revisit an old favorite and that is what it feels like every time I get to meet DI Robyn Carter for another adventure. I’ve been looking forward to book five ever since I finished the previous book and was left wanting for more. Because trust me, this series is worth following from the start as there will be a very intriguing personal twist around the main character’s life! And The Chosen Ones will bring more of this intrigue. And while the main focus, like always, is on the main case they are investigating, little snippets of the mystery around Robyn Carter’s past are revealed that will make you burn with curiosity and a desire to learn more. And that ending! The Chosen Ones is not even published yet and I’m already craving for the next book. But enough of this element, because I don’t want to spoil things… Let’s talk about the rest of the book. The first thing that stands out is the writing style and pace, which are of the same high quality as always, engaging and make it a true pleasure to follow DI Robyn Carter and her team around as they investigate. The main character herself is easy to like and like I said before, meeting up with her again in a new story is like meeting up with an old friend. I also really like the PI angle with Ross, although he doesn’t play that big of a role in the fifth book. As for the plot: WOW, Carol Wyer was able to create another creeper of a killer in this one! And quite shocking murder scenes as well… Including lots of twists that will manage to mislead you. I couldn’t put The Chosen Ones down and I think this might just be the best DI Robyn Carter book yet. I can highly recommend this series to any detective thriller fan!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first four books yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

When two farmers stumble upon the body of a man in a cornfield, detective Robyn Carter and her team are called in to investigate. They are shocked by the brutality of the murder, and wonder who would do such a thing… Especially since the victim doesn’t seem to have clear enemies. But just as Robyn starts to investigate, more bodies start showing up and she is struggling to find a link between the victims. The killer seems to have a message though, and it’s a race against the clock to unravel it before the killer strikes again…

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DI Robyn Carter is one of my favorite detective thriller series and I always find myself looking forward to a new installment. Not only have the books a consistently strong writing, plot and plot twist development and interesting cases to lose yourself in, but there is also the mystery around Robyn Carter’s past that won’t let you go. The Chosen Ones has another shocking case and the final reveals will leave you wanting for more… And I think this fifth book might just be my new favorite. Recommended!


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ARC REVIEW: The Summer Children – by Dot Hutchison @DotHutchison @amazonpub

Title: The Summer Children
(The Collector #3)
Author: Dot Hutchison
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 22nd 2018
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: April 14th 2018
Pages: 302

“Scars mean we survived something, even when the wounds still hurt.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have been following this series ever since I read the first book back in 2016. The Butterfly Garden blew me away with one of the most disturbing and twisted serial killer cases I’ve encountered to this date. And somehow, I think The Summer Children is my new favorite of the series. Because while I remember having some doubts about the pace in the middle of the first book, it was literally hook, line and sinker with The Summer Children. I practically devoured this third book of The Collector series and couldn’t let go until the final page. Dot Hutchison has created another intense, disturbing and painful case, and this time things are getting really personal for Mercedes Ramirez. The Summer Children is intense until the very last page and despite the heavy subject I loved every single minute of the ride. Why? First of all, the writing style is just as strong as ever, engaging, gritty and with a perfect mix of suspense, shocking moments and a healthy dose of bantering and a dash of humor. I also loved the mix of normal chapters with the thoughts in cursive! The characters are both well developed and very easy to like and I just love the dynamics between Mercedes and the rest of her team. And no, I’m not just biased by the fact she consistantly uses Spanish phrases and words in her dialogue (don’t worry, non-Spanish speakers will still be able to understand the dialogue perfectly!) The characters in general feel very realistic and all have their flaws and history, making them that much more human and very easy to warm up to. The serial killer in this case has an underlying message that will make you think… A trigger warning is in place for graphic scenes and child abuse for those who can’t stomach these elements in stories. But not without a note that these elements are very well incorporated into the story and not abused in any way. There are also lots of twists and turns included as they try to figure out who is behind it all. The Summer Children was strong from start to finish and this is the main reason this third book is now my new favorite of the series. And I just can’t wait to find out what the next book has in store for us next year.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

FBI agent Mercedes Ramirez has no idea what she has just gotten into when she finds an abused little boy on her porch, both covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear. He tells her an angel killed his parents and then brought him to Mercedes’ house so she can keep him safe. But it wasn’t just murder, it was a complete bloodbath; and the poor boy was forced to watch as the crime was committed. They have never seen something like this before… And things become even worse when more children start arriving on her doorstep.

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I thought it was going to be hard to outshine The Butterfly Garden, since it’s one of the best/most disturbed serial killer characterizations I’ve come across. But somehow, I think The Summer Children is the best book yet. From a consistant and superfast pace to likeable and realistic characters, a well developed plot and another intriguing and disturbing case… This third book just ticked all the boxed for me. Add the joy of revisiting old favorite characters and their bantering, and you have a new favorite The Collector book. Can you guess already I can recommend this one if you can stomach the graphic scenes and child abuse triggers?


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ARC REVIEW: The Air Raid Killer – by Frank Goldammer

Title: The Air Raid Killer
(Max Heller, Dresden Detective #1)
Author: Frank Goldammer
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 23rd 2016
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Finished reading: April 12th 2018
Pages: 292
(Originally written in German: ‘Der Angstmann’)

“How does anyone really know what someone’s capable of?”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and AmazonCrossing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I stumbled upon this title during my hunt for more international authors/translations and I was immediately intrigued both by the cover and the blurb. I admit I had forgotten about the exact content of the story when I started reading it and went in blind thinking it was going to be a historical fiction read. And while there is no doubt that The Air Raid Killer is a proper historical fiction read set in Dresden, Germany during the final part of WWII, I was pleasantly surprised to find out especially the first part reads more like a historical detective thriller. Two of my favorite genres combined? Definitely a bonus! The Air Raid Killer starts out strong and will be able to draw you in straight away. Historical descriptions are mixed with a most brutal murder scene that will definitely chill you to the bone. The main character of this German detective series Max Heller has the almost impossible task to try and find out what happened when nobody seems to care about one more body in a war with so many casualties. But detective Max Heller is determined to find out even when he meets resistance everywhere. Both the actual murders and the general situation in Dresden are not suited for the weak-hearted; combined they form a very explosive and sometimes shocking plot. The serial killer on the loose is without doubt brutal, and combined with the air raid attacks and the chaos during the end of the war you have a recipe for a very disturbing read. While the first part focuses on the thriller aspect of the plot, the second half of the story is more historical fiction focused. I think I would have preferred to have it just one way or the other and not both, although I do understand why the author made the choice to swap and include more historical details in the second half. The final reveals of the murder case do feel a bit rushed though, and I’m also wondering up to what point the methods of investigation used were actually available in that time period. Still, The Air Raid Killer was without doubt a very good historical thriller set during the end of WWII, and both detective thriller and historical fiction fans will be able to enjoy this one.

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In the final months of WWII, the inhabitants of the city of Dresden not only have to fear the air raid bombs that might destroy the city at any time. There are also rumors about the Fright Man, a twisted killer who uses the nighttime air raid siren to hunt the streets unseen and kill… Only to disappear into thin air afterwards. Detective Max Heller begins to investigate, but is is harder to ever to start a proper investigation. And soon after the Fright Man kills again… Will Max Heller be able to find any clues with his resources non-existent and a new boss who doesn’t want him to investigate further?

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Historical fiction is mixed with a classic detective thriller, as a serial killer and air raid bombs fight for the title of ‘most feared’ by the inhabitants of the city of Dresden. The writing style and initial plot make it really easy to get a proper feel for the story, and the first half of the story is without doubt the strongest part of the book. I would have preferred a continued focus on the detective thriller side of the story, which felt a bit rushed in the second half. But I also understand the switch and need for a focus on what happened in Dresden during those final days and after. While not perfect, The Air Raid Killer is without doubt a great read for anyone who wants to read a WWII story with a slightly different focus and angle.


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ARC REVIEW: A Secondhand Life – by Pamela Crane

Title: A Secondhand Life
(Killer Thriller #1)
Author: Pamela Crane
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Tabella House
Finished reading: April 11th 2018
Pages: 314

“How could anyone determine one person”s value over another based on where they lived and how much money they had?”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Tabella House in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I like the way Pamela Crane writes, and I admit I was sold as soon as I hit that blurb. A serial killer AND the promise of ‘organ memory’ as one of the key elements in solving the case? How can I say no to that?! I had high hopes for A Secondhand Life and I found myself hooked as soon as I started reading. Honestly, I would have finished this killer thriller in one sitting if I would have had more time… It is without doubt a suspenseful and intriguing pageturner. The plot itself is an interesting one and both past and present play a role in putting together the story. I’m not sure I actually liked the main character Mia, but her development is interestingly done. And then I’m not even talking about the ‘organ memory’… I loved how this element was incorporated into the story and it was also interesting to find out how the author first came across this topic. This phenomenon of changes in personality and having memories of the donors after an organ transplant is simply fascinating. These memories and dreams are key in the plot of A Secondhand Life and definitely give this thriller an unique touch. The crime/investigation part is mix of cold case with new murders and has some graphic details, but nothing too gory. There are quite a few twists and turns as well, although I did had a hunch quite early on that turned out to be right. I didn’t guess the full truth though and the final reveals were definitely a surprise. I had a great time reading this one and I will be looking forward to read the companion novella A Secondhand Lie soon.

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When she was twelve, Mia Germaine lost her father and almost her own life as well in a car accident. She survived, but only after a heart transplant from a young murder victim… Or so she found out after twenty years, when suddenly Mia started having horrifying nightmares about an unsolved murder, triggered by the recent death of a teenager. She discovers that the dreams she is having are actually memories… Due to a scientific phenomenon called ‘organ memory’, she somehow has the memories of the girl that was killed on the night of Mia’s accident, the girl that saved her life by donating her heart. Mia is determined to find out the identity of both the girl and her murderer… But by doing that she might be putting herself on the radar of the serial killer that is currently on the loose.

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If you like your thrillers fast, well written, suspenseful and with an unique touch, A Secondhand Life is the one for you. I personally loved the incorporation of ‘organ memory’ in the plot and how this element played such an important role in the investigation. I admit I didn’t really warm up to the main character, but her development is well done and my feelings for her didn’t influence my general feelings for the story. I was just too intrigued by the plot and twists to pay attention to minor details and possible flaws. A highly entertaining and addictive serial killer thriller with a twist, and without doubt worth reading.


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ARC REVIEW: Scared To Death – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Scared To Death
(Detective Kay Hunter #1)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 3rd 2016
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: April 5th 2018
Pages: 380

“She’d never baulked at the horrors her job entailed, but it was this, this human element that kicked her in the gut and kept her focused.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I know, I know, I’m kind of late to the Kay Hunter party, but better late than never right? I’ve been meaning to pick up this detective series for a long time now, and winning wonderful Meggy‘s giveaway turned out to be the perfect excuse to do so. A huge thank you to Rachel Amphlett for not only sending me the giveaway prize of the fifth Detective Kay Hunter book, but also giving me access to the previous books!

Ever had that feeling you have a million books you should get to first, but a different title keeps calling your name and you just HAVE to drop everything and read that one instead? That is exactly what happened with Scared To Death. True, I have been meaning to start this series for ages after numerous glowing reviews, and somehow seeing the first book near the top of my kindle library just made it impossible to resist any longer. About time as well, because I am now kicking myself for waiting this long. Say hello to another new favorite detective series! Oh yes, it didn’t take long for me to figure out my feelings for the Detective Kay Hunter series and consider me completely and entirely hooked. Why? First of all, Scared To Death has everything I look for in a detective thriller. Well written, fast-paced, an interesting plot with lots of twists, a healthy dose of suspense, a creepy suspect/killer and a strong investigation… This first Detective Kay Hunter book ticked all those boxes and more. Another thing that stood out for me was the main character Kay Hunter. Not only is she very easy to like, but she has a very strong personality and lacks the overly dramatic and disaster personal life a lot of (female) lead detective seem to suffer from. Sure, she has her background and problems (some details I am really curious to learn more about), but overal she has an almost ‘ordinary’ life and I can’t stress enough how refreshing that is. Furthermore, the case her team has to investigate is without doubt an interesting one, and soon turns out to be more complicated than they imagined. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse and violent/graphic scenes, but nothing too extreme and the elements helped set the right atmosphere. The title of this first book is spot on! What a way to start a story… I can highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys detective thrillers. I myself can’t wait to pick up the next one!

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Detective Kay Hunter and her team are called in after the body of a teenager is found in an abandoned building. It turns out she was abducted days ago, the parents only finding out later when they came home from vacation… And out of fear for the life of their daughter, they never contacted the police before it was too late. The general opinion seems to be to treat the case as a kidnapping gone wrong, but Detective Kay Hunter isn’t so sure. What really happened to the teenager and who is behind the kidnapping?

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Every once in a while you come across a series and/or a main character that manages to convince you from the very first chapter. Scared To Death and Kay Hunter are a perfect example of this feeling. I knew I was going to love this detective thriller almost right away, and not just because I knew fellow bloggers with a similar taste did. There is just something about the writing style and perfect use of suspense that will manage to hook you straight away. And I’m so glad I finally got to meet Kay Hunter! She is hands down one of my new favorite female detectives and the fact that she is both a strong female lead and doesn’t have a completely destroyed personal life was truly refreshing. The case itself was intense, slightly disturbing and had just the right amount of twists to keep things exciting. Without doubt a worthy crime thriller!


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