ARC REVIEW: Deadly Secrets – by Robert Bryndza @bookouture @RobertBryndza

Title: Deadly Secrets
(DCI Erika Foster #6)
Author: Robert Bryndza
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 13th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 23rd 2018
Pages: 270

“Are you kidding me? How many times have you put yourself in danger? You’ve been beaten up more times that Jackie Chan. You’re like the bionic woman!”

*** 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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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the DCI Erika Foster series and I have been following her adventures closely ever since I read the first book back in 2016. Of course I had this newest book Deadly Secrets on my list of most-anticipated releases and I’m pretty sure I squeeled when my request was approved. Talk about a perfect (late) birthday present! I literally dropped everything as soon as my copy appeared on my kindle just so I could start reading Deadly Secrets straight away. And this newest installment has exactly the same high quality of writing, plot development, twists and the healthy dose of suspense and action I have become used to with this series. I found myself hooked right from the very first page as there is just something about the writing that draws you right in. And what a way to start this thriller! Deadly Secrets can be read as a standalone since the case itself is easy to follow on its own, but you do miss background information about the main characters. And the other books are so good, you will definitely be missing out by not reading them in the first place! Erika Foster is a character I’ve come to love and her investigations are always intense with lots of twists and turns. In Deadly Secrets, she is not as present as in previous books due to circumstances I can’t reveal because of spoilers, but I like the direction the story takes. The case itself seems to be rather straightforward at first glance, and I even thought I had it all figured out at some points, but trust me, you will be wrong. Misleading plot twists to the win! The ending was definitely a surprise and rather intense… And I’m definitely curious about what will happen in the future. Fast-paced, suspenseful, intense and highly entertaining: Deadly Secrets and the DCI Erika Foster series in general is a must-read for detective thriller fans!

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

After a mother wakes up to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen on her doorstep, DCI Erika Foster stumbles upon the murder scene on her way to a Christmas lunch. She quickly steps in and takes over the lead of the case, determined to find out who is behind the murder. They have a lot of suspects, but not so many solid leads. And what looks like a pretty straightforward case, soon becomes more complicated as they uncover more and more secrets and lies…

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I had high expectations for this newest DCI Erika Foster story and I’m happy to say those expectations were more than met. I enjoyed every single minute of Deadly Secrets! Book number six takes a bit of a different direction and Erika Foster is not as present as normal, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of action and a very interesting police investigation to follow. This case is another disturbing one that will lead to many misleading twists as the team is trying to untangle the lies and secrets that surround the life of the victim. Very much recommended for fans of the genre!


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ARC REVIEW: Cold Blood – by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @bookouture

Title: Cold Blood
(Detective Erika Foster #5)
Author: Robert Bryndza

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 20th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 1st 2017
Pages: 300

“We’re all a few pieces of bad luck away from having to make horrible choices to survive.”

*** 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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Those who follow my blog are probably already aware of the fact that I have become a big fan of the Erika Foster series ever since I finished reading the first book last year. Now book number five is already about to come out, and my feelings haven’t changed. In fact, Cold Blood has only reconfirmed my love for this series. Because this story yet again blew me away… There is no doubt that every new Erika Foster adventure simply delivers and will have you on the edge of your seat for the duration of the ride. Cold Blood is another serial killer thriller with a twist; it has a great plot, lots of action and twists that will keep you invested until the very end. It has been very interesting to see the main characters develop over time and it almost feels like you know them personally. Erika Foster is without doubt a very powerful character and is an important part of why this series is such a success. The case in Cold Blood is another fascinating one; you find out the who quite early on but the character development is spot on and intriguing. Also, the final scene is GOOD! I definitely can’t wait for the next installment and Cold Blood hasn’t even been published yet. If you enjoy reading crime thrillers, I can highly suggest picking up this series. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! The books are highly entertaining, well written, suspenseful, have the right amount of creepy, lots of twists and a kickass main character. What more to ask?

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

A battered suitcase washed up on the shore of the Thames, and what is inside shocks everyone. The suitcase contains the dismembered body of a young man… They are not able to identify him immediately, but as Erika and her team start working on the case, they make the link with another victim that was found under similar circumstances two weeks ago. Could it really be that another serial killer is on the move? Why were the two victims killed? Things will spin out of control fast and Erika and her team will have to do everything it takes to stop the killer. And they might be in for a surprise or two…

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I’m a big fan of the Erika Foster series and book number 5 was definitely one of my most anticipated releases. The wait was worth it, because Cold Blood was definitely everything I  hoped for and more. Suspenseful, fast-paced, a kickass character, thrilling plot, another serial killer thriller and entertaining read in general. This book has only reconfirmed my love for this series and I’m already waiting impatiently for the next one! Oh yes, I’m seriously addicted to Erika Foster adventures. They simply read like a train.


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ARC REVIEW: Last Breath – by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @bookouture

Title: Last Breath
(DCI Erika Foster #4)
Author: Robert Bryndza

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 12th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 16th 2017
Pages: 281

“ ‘You know, Sparks, you might have been handed your superior rank by brown nosing, but you have to earn authority,’ said Erika, holding his gaze.”

*** 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 became a fan of Robert Bryndza‘s detective series right after I read the first book The Girl In The Ice last year and I have been looking forward to another Erika Foster adventure ever since I finished the third book. Last Breath was on my list of most anticipated releases this year: I literally requested a copy the minute it appeared on Netgalley and put all my other reads on hold. It looks like Erika Foster came back stronger than ever! Last Breath is without doubt my new favorite novel of the series… And not just because of the excellent plot and disturbingly creepy killer. I also really liked the interaction between Erika and the other main characters in this one and it is great to see her character evolve over time. The case had me hooked right from the start and the plot and plot twists had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I literally couldn’t put Last Breath down until the final page! In short, this fourth Erika Foster book is fast-paced, full of twists, well written, has an interesting plot, disturbing killer and just the right amount of creepy; what more to ask? I’m already looking forward to book five and this one hasn’t even been published yet.

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

The body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, and Detective Erika Foster is one of the first on the scene. One problem though: it’s not her case… But after one look at the tortured remains of the woman Erika knows she needs to have this case. She is fighting to be put on the investigation team, and even though she is told not to, she starts investigating the crime. Soon she becomes involved as she finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Erika is determined to find the killer before he strikes again, but he seems to be a ghost. Will she be able to stop him on time? The life of another girl might be on the line…

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Like I said before, I have been following this series ever since I finished the first book. I always enjoy a good fast-paced crime thriller and these books simply deliver. Last Breath might just be the best one yet with a chillingly creepy serial killer on the loose and some very shocking plot twists… The prose is just as good as ever and I had a blast reading this fourth book even though my heart almost stopped once or twice. Excellent plot! If you haven’t read the series yet and like the genre, this one should be on your wishlist.


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ARC REVIEW: Dark Water – by Robert Bryndza

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Title: Dark Water
(DCI Erika Foster #3)
Author: Robert Bryndza

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 20th 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 17th 2016
Pages: 341

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“Erika, even cats run out of lives. Use the ones you have left wisely.”

*** 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 have been a fan of this series ever since I first read The Girl In The Ice back in April, and I’m still in awe with the fact that Robert Bryndza is able to write and publish so many quality crime thrillers in such a short time. Dark Water is already the third book in the DCI Erika Foster series, and as we have grown used to it involves yet another gruesome and complex murder mystery. The main character sure has her fair share of difficult cases! I don’t like the development in Erika’s character though. She seemed a lot less likeable in this third book, which is a shame after the improvement in The Night Stalker. The change to a different unit came as a surprise as well… I liked the dynamics she had with Peterson and Moss! Dark Water is without doubt still a fast-paced and entertaining read, although I would have liked to see less romance in the plot and I essentially thought the ‘spark’ of especially the second book was missing. The ending was a little disappointing as well: I kind of already saw the final plot twist coming…I can’t deny it was still a solid thriller read though. This third book is yet again packed with mayor plot twists and quite a few action scenes; perfect for fans of the genre and highly entertaining.

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

After a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case is stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, Detective Erika Foster orders for it to be searched. They end up finding more than they had hoped for… The drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child. They are able to identify the remains quite quickly: they belong to the seven-year-old Jessica Collins, who went messing twenty-six years ago. Erika is determined to get the case and find the person who harmed the little girl all those years ago. But it isn’t easy… Erika and her team will have to try and piece together new evidence with the old, and she soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

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While I found Dark Water to be not as good as the first two books in this series, it doesn’t take away that this third book is still an excellent crime thriller on its own. It might have a few more flaws and I would have liked to see less romance, but it is without doubt fast-paced and full of action. The prose is easy to read and overall Dark Water is without doubt an entertaining read. I’ll be looking forward to the next book for sure!

ARC REVIEW: The Night Stalker – by Robert Bryndza

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Title: The Night Stalker
(DCI Erika Foster #2)
Author: Robert Bryndza
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 2nd 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: July 8th 2016
Pages: 384
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“The world is filled with good, but it’s equally overwhelmed with bad. People who commit horror and evil. You have to concentrate on what you can do, what you can influence. The ones who you can hunt down.”

*** 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 read and enjoyed the first book in the series, The Girl In The Ice, earlier this year, so when I had the chance to get a Netgalley copy of the sequel I grabbed it with both hands. And I have to say, The Night Stalker by no means suffers from the ‘weak-second-book’ syndrome. In fact, I actually grew to like the main character Erika better since the sequel doesn’t have the constant bitching between the characters that made me enjoy the first book less. Erika is without doubt a strong character and like many detective stories out there ‘damaged goods’, but really good at her job. The case she is investigating in The Night Stalker is quite different from the last one, but in a good way. I actually found the plot and plot twists to be slightly more credible this time, and the identity of the killer was definitely a surprise. The story is well written with detailed descriptions that really set the right atmosphere; the fast pace and intriguing murder case make it hard to stop reading before you reach the last page. All in all The Night Stalker is without doubt a very entertaining read for everyone who enjoys reading a good whodunit. Recommended!

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

Detective Erika Foster is called to another murder scene, and what she finds isn’t pretty. The victim is a doctor and found naked in bed with his wrists bound and a plastic bag tied tight over his head. They first suspected his death might have something to do with the gay magazines they found, but that changes when a second victim is found dead in exactly the same circumstances. Erika and her team start digging deeper, but as they discover new facts about the seemingly calculated serial killer, her superiors don’t seem to like what they found. The serial killer, stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike, might be someone completely different than they originally had profiled… What links the victims to the killer? And will Erika be able to discover the truth and capture the killer when her superiors seem to ignore her findings?

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The Night Stalker turned out to be even better than the first book! Like The Girl In The Ice, this sequel is well written, full of detailed descriptions and has an intriguing plot and plot twists. It’s fast-paced and without doubt a pageturner, and even better: the bitchy characters that seemed to bother me in the first book sure seem to have calmed down a lot. I actually liked Erika a lot better in the sequel, and the plot was more credible as well. I’m hoping that there will be a third book, because I’m really enjoying this series so far!

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl In The Ice – by Robert Bryndza

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Title: The Girl In The Ice
(DCI Erika Foster #1)
Author: Robert Bryndza
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 12th 2016
Finished reading: April 20th 2016
Pages: 396
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“The secret of blending in, is don’t try to. Everyone is so fucking self-obsessed.”

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I have been wanting to read The Girl In The Ice ever since I first heard about it and found out it was a mystery/thriller read… The cover is slighly misleading (when I first saw it I thought it would be a fantasy read until I investigated further), but the excellent plot more than makes up this initial confusion. In fact, I think the plot, plot twists and descriptions are probably the best aspect of this first book in the DCI Erika Foster series. The detailed descriptions set the right atmosphere right from the first page and the fast pace and intriguing murder case made it hard to stop reading this story. I admit some of the plot twists might be a bit farfetched, but the story is interesting enough that it doesn’t really matter. What did bother me and lowered the rating quite a bit is the ‘bitchiness’ of the characters and the slight lack of character development or other elements that maybe would have made me like the characters better. I understand Robert Bryndza was trying to create a strong female character with Erika Foster and I’m not saying she comes over as a bad detective, but why do all successful (female) detectives have to have a complicated personal life? And what is with all the bitchiness between the main characters? The fact that the characters were not likeable made it harder to connect to the story, although I have to say it is the only serious problem I had with The Girl In The Ice. So if you are looking for a good whodunit with a well written plot, a surprising ending and don’t mind unlikeable characters, make sure to add this book to your wishlist.

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When the body of a woman is discovered beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to investigate the murder. The case is delicate since the victim turns out to be the daughter of a very influential family and Erika Foster is told she cannot ask any painful questions or do anything that might damage their reputation. Erika doesn’t trust the family though and decides to dig deeper anyway… And she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes whose deaths look suspiciously similar. Her boss is furious that she doesn’t leave the family alone and wants to release information that can damage both their reputation and that of the victim… Erika feels she is close to discovering information that will help her to solve the case, but after her last investigation went terribly wrong her career is hanging by a thread and she doesn’t find the support she needs to continue. Will she be able to find a way to fight her own personal demons as well as to hunt the new killer before he kills again?

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Like I said above, I would have given The Girl In The Ice an even higher rating if it wouldn’t have been for the ‘bitchy’ characters. I don’t mind strong characters or a bit of swearing if it’s used in the right way, but the constant bitching between the main characters became quite annoying after a while. The plot and plot twists are more than excellent though and I have to say I didn’t see the ending coming at all. Combine this with detailed descriptions that set the right atmosphere and a fast pace and you have a really entertaining whodunit that is definitely worth reading if you like the genre.