ARC REVIEW: The Shadow Man – by Helen Fields

Title: The Shadow Man
Author: Helen Fields
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 4th 2021
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 25th 2020
Pages: 400

“Time stood still here, the same ritual repeated, until the grave was little more than a revolving door between one world and the next.”

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

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I’ve been meaning to start the D.I. Callanach series for ages now, so when I saw Helen Fields was having a new stand-alone coming out in 2021 I just couldn’t resist the temptation to finally try her work. I have to say that I’m most definitely a fan now! Thriller fans: make sure to add The Shadow Man to your 2021 wishlist, as you will be in for an absolutely thrilling as well as shocking ride.

I’ll keep things short to avoid spoilers, but what I can say is that in The Shadow Man you will find yourself an extremely fascinating and terrifying serial killer in the spotlight. Being able to get a glimpse inside his head and learn more about the reasons behind the way he is and why he does what he does is absolutely intriguing. Definitely kuddos for originality here! The other character in the spotlight, forensic psychologist Connie Woolwine, makes for an excellent counter character too and I loved both her kick-ass personality and personal background with the achromat details. The cast of characters overall makes for a very interesting mix and with the help of different POVs we get a full perspective of the different angles in play.

The plot and building up of suspense was solid, and I really liked the focus on the psychological angle suplementing the police investigation. Connie and DI Baarda make for a great team and I liked how some of the bantering made for a great balance in between the more shocking scenes. There is also plenty of action in The Shadow Man, and the writing makes it really easy to just keep turning those pages. Fast, suspenseful, disturbing and action-packed: you won’t find a boring minute as you sit on the edge of your seat and keep your fingers crossed they will able to stop him before it’s too late.

All in all, The Shadow Man is an excellent crime thriller featuring an unique and shocking serial killer I won’t forget any time soon. Highly recommended if you enjoy the genre!


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ARC REVIEW: Deadly Betrayal – by OMJ Ryan

Title: Deadly Betrayal
(Detective Jane Phillips #4)
Author: OMJ Ryan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: November 22nd 2020
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Finished reading: November 15th 2020
Pages: ?

“Now she wondered if she had been spared each of those times because her fate was to die in the place where she had been born: Hong Kong.”

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

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I’ve been following this series ever since the first book came out last year, and Deadly Betrayal is already Detective Jane Phillips book number four… And without doubt another action-packed and entertaining ride! Technically you might be able to read this one as a stand-alone, but I don’t recommend it as you will be missing out on character background that might make it harder to understand the dynamics between the different characters. The case itself stands on its own though, and Jane Phillips and her team without doubt have another intriguing case on their hands.

The first thing that stands out in Deadly Betrayal is that this time around we don’t just stay in Manchester and its surroundings. Oh no, we get to travel all the way to Hong Kong for a few chapters as well! I really liked how this aspect of the investigation was incorporated into the plot and the descriptions and personal connection to Jane Phillips really made that setting come alive for me. And such shocking scenes too! The whole possible Triad connection in general managed to raise this story to the next level for me, and really gave the story an original touch.

These books always read superfast and Deadly Betrayal is no exception. This is one of those detective series where it’s best to clear your schedule, as you won’t even notice hours have passed until you reach that final page and stare at the clock. You won’t find a boring minute in Deadly Betrayal as it is packed with suspense, danger as well as your typical murder investigation. I had a brilliant time following Jane and her team as they try to get to the bottom of what is going on… And there is no doubt that this story ends with a bang too.

As for the characters… I’m still a fan of both Jane and her team. They are easy to like and their banter is a nice contrast with some of the heavier and action-packed moments of the story. Fox is still enormously frustrating though, and the story ends with a hint a different irritating character is going to be coming back in the next book… Overall, the plot and writing made up for those minor frustations though.

In short, if you enjoy the detective thriller genre and like your stories fast, suspenseful and action-packed, this series will always provide you with an entertaining ride.


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ARC REVIEW: Breathe Your Last – by Lisa Regan @bookouture

Title: Breathe Your Last
(Detective Josie Quinn #10)

Author: Lisa Regan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: December 9th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 6th 2020
Pages: 350

“If they knew what I’d done, I’d probably go to prison. If I went to prison, I wouldn’t be able to play my little game. Where would be the fun in that?”

*** 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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We all have our series we cannot wait to get back to, those characters and settings that feel like old friends every time you have the pleasure to return to when you pick up a new installment. The Detective Josie Quinn series is exactly that for me. I’ve been a fan of this detective series ever since I read the first book back in 2018, and I’ve devoured every single sequel since then. This series is known for its lightning fast and action-packed plots, and I can definitely recommend clearing your schedule as it will be really hard to stop reading once you’ve read the first chapters. These books are highly addictive and simply exhilarating!

While technically you could read Breathe Your Last as a stand-alone, I would suggest reading the books in order as you will be missing out on significant character background otherwise. And trust me, you will be missing out on hours and hours of detective thriller entertainment in the first place! Breathe Your Last has once again a very interesting plot as well as developments on a personal level for Josie Quinn. It might not be all too credible to have that many criminals and serial killers running around in the small town of Denton, but I’m not complaining as it means more Josie Quinn adventures to enjoy! Things can be said about the credibility in general, but I personally don’t mind as I’m always too busy turning those pages and having fun.

We get to see the story unfold both through the eyes of Josie and the killer. The chapters with the killer’s POV were particularly interesting, as I always appreciate an opportunity to get a glimpse inside the head of a serial killer. The plot was another interesting one, and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat as the case starts to develop. It definitely won’t be easy to guess the identity of the killer early either! You will also find a healthy dose of action and suspense, and I confess at one point towards the ending my heart nearly stopped and I suddenly wanted to throw my kindle at the wall… Trust me, you will know exactly what I’m talking about as soon as you reach that point in the story. I really liked how everything was wrapped up though, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. What a read!

If you enjoy a well written, fast and action-packed detective thriller series that just keeps delivering, you should definitely find the time to schedule a meeting with Josie Quinn. This is without doubt one of my favorite detective series, and Breathe Your Last is another winner!


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BLOG TOUR EXTRACT: The Coral Bride – by Roxanne Bouchard #extract #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Coral Bride Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Today, I will be sharing an extract of the second Detective Morales book set in Canada. Originally written in French and expertly translated by David Warriner, in The Coral Bride Roxanne Bouchard returns to main character DS Joaquin Moralès as he once again struggles to conduct a proper investigation without interference. Curious already? Let’s look at the summary before we continue to the extract itself…

What an introduction! It sounds like our main character will have his hands full once again… The sea theme seems to be a trademark of this series, and will again play an all important role in the plot. Are you ready for more? Below an extract to entice you further…

EXTRACT Continue reading

ARC REVIEW: Black Coral – by Andrew Mayne

Title: Black Coral
(Underwater Investigation Unit #2)
Author: Andrew Mayne
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 16th 2021
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: October 24th 2020
Pages: 317

“My point is that we like to shove things into convenient boxes, even when we know they won’t fit.”

*** 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’m always in for a solid detective thriller and after highly enjoying my time with the first book of the Underwater Investigation Unit series earlier this year I just couldn’t say no to reading the sequel. The Florida police diver angle had me immediately intrigued, and after an intense and action-packed first book, I had high hopes for an entertaining second round… And Black Coral turned out to be exactly the exhilarating dose of action and detective thriller I was desperately craving!

One of the things that makes this series stand out is the fact that it isn’t just your average detective thriller. The main character Sloan McPherson is a police diver and not your typical detective, and on top of this she has a very colorful family background. She is a strong, stubborn and resourceful woman and she is definitely one of the reasons this story works so well! Especially with her not being afraid to think outside the box and follow her instinct even if it means stepping on important toes or facing danger. Following Sloan is a guarantee for hours of entertainment and action-packed reading!

You can technically read this as a stand-alone, although you won’t be able to understand the character background and dynamics fully… So I would personally advice reading these in order. That said, I loved the diving angle in Black Coral, which is an element that really makes this series stand out for me. On top of this, we have a serial killer hunt and lots of action, danger and suspense involved… What more to wish for?! I did enjoy the first book a tiny bit more, but as a whole there is no denying that this was a very satisfying thriller read. If you like your thrillers fast, action-packed and exhilarating, this is definitely a series to put on your radar!


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ARC REVIEW: Dead Perfect – by Noelle Holten

Title: Dead Perfect
(DC Maggie Jamieson #3)

Author: Noelle Holten
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: October 16th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter
Finished reading: October 1st 2020
Pages: 448

“The overcast sky and spittle of rain hitting her face on the way into work that morning almost seemed to perfectly reflect Maggie’s mood that day.”

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

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I’ve been a fan of this series and its main character ever since I read the first book last year, and I’ve been looking forward to meet up with DC Maggie Jamieson and the others again. Dead Perfect is already book number three of the series, and while it technically can be read as a stand-alone, it would be easier to properly connect with the characters in play if you have the background information provided by the previous two books. Both are excellent and absolutely worth your time in the first place!

Dead Wrong ended with cliffhanger of atomic bomb proportion, and book three continues right where the second story left off. This surge of adrenaline sets the tone for the rest of the story, and Dead Perfect will definitely have some disturbing scenes for you in store. The story is told with the help of a multiple POV structure, which is used to learn more about (among others) Maggie and Kate as well as the killer and the motives behind the crimes. There will be personal developments as well as a new case to investigate, and it will definitely hit close to home this time around… The pressure to solve the case seems even higher with one of their own at stake, and it shows in the level of suspense. We have the Living Doll element, the stalker case, kidnapping, murder; things will get hot and dangerious along the way, and the clock never stops ticking.

I do have to say that I felt a bit bummed that I guessed the identity of the killer almost immediately. I kept hoping I was wrong, but that didn’t turn out to be the case and I ended up feeling quite disappointed because of it. There definitely seems to be a bit of a lack in other viable suspects this time around… I also wondered about how credible it would be for Maggie to keep investigating a case when someone she has such strong feelings for is involved. Even if she says she can keep her feelings under control, I feel it would be a conflict of interest to do so? Anyway, while I still think Dead Perfect is a solid crime thriller, it’s not my favorite of the series so far. The ending left me wanting for more though! Oh yes, this one ends once again with a cliffhanger… You’ve been warned.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #180 – Dead Wrong & A Heart So Fierce And Broken

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two sequels, albeit two completely different genres. Dead Wrong turned out to be just the dose of crime thriller I was craving and A Heart So Fierce And Broken made me realize I really need to dive into the high fantasy genre more often again.


Title: Dead Wrong
(DC Maggie Jamieson #2)
Author: Noelle Holten

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 14th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter
Finished reading: September 27th 2020
Pages: 432

“She was always in awe of the landscape around some prisons and secure units. Beautiful on the outside, but housing evil behind the walls.”


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I really enjoyed my time with the first book Dead Inside last year, and I have been looking forward to continue the series ever since… I’m not sure why it took me this long to actually do so, but I guess that in a way I’m kind of glad I did now because that cliffhanger ending is nuclear!! Oh yes, Dead Wrong has the most shocking ending and I will definitely be diving into book three ASAP to find out what happened there. The ending isn’t the only exciting thing happening in this sequel though. While Dead Wrong has a slightly different feel than the first book due to the focus on the murder investigation this time around, both the psychology angle with criminal psychologist Kate and the probation angle with probation officer Lucy will make its appearance along the way. Both women give this crime thriller series a refreshing touch and I really liked the balance with the rest of the murder investigation team. We get to know main character Maggie a little better this time around too, and she is a great character to follow while you are trying to uncover the truth about it all. Dead Wrong will definitely have some twists and surprises for you in store! The writing reads like a train too, and if you are looking for a well written and suspenseful crime thriller, this series in general is an excellent choice.


Title: A Heart So Fierce And Broken
(Cursebreakers #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Finished reading: September 29th 2020
Pages: 464

“Choices are never easy. There are good and bad options, but the most dangerous is to not make any choice at all.”


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I really enjoyed A Curse So Dark And Lonely when I read it last year, so I have been looking forward to read the sequel ever since… It took me longer than expected to finally do so, but I ended up really enjoying my time with A Heart So Fierce And Broken too despite the slower pace in points. There is a shift in focus on the main characters in this sequel, but I actually liked spending more time with Grey instead of Rhen. While I did miss Harper, most of the other interesting characters of the first book take the spotlight along with Grey and a couple of new characters; some might be disappointed by this, but I personally didn’t mind. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I love Grey’s character, and I really liked new character Lia Mara and what she added to the plot. A bonus: no clear love triangle and instead a slowburn romance between two interesting and easy to like characters. I call that a win! On top of this, we have more magic, a fascinating creature (scraver) and a whole new complicated situation in Emberfall… And that ending!! I definitely can’t wait for book three now to see how things will develop next.


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ARC REVIEW: The Coast-To-Coast Murders – by James Patterson & J.D. Barker

Title: The Coast-To-Coast Murders
Author: James Patterson & J.D. Barker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 21st 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Finished reading: September 22nd 2020
Pages: 560

“Fire is one of the few things in life that can truly cleanse. Anything else is no better than slapping a coat of paint on a rusty car.”

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

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I actually received an invitation to read this title a few months back… I’m a big fan of J.D. Barker‘s writing, so there was just no way I was going to be able to say no to this one. I’m glad I didn’t now, because I ended up having an excellent time reading The Coast-To-Coast Murders! This story is part action thriller, part crime thriller and part multi-state serial killer hunt, all doused with a psychology angle, lots of violence and a huge pile of plot twists. An extremely intense thriller with a high voltage entertainment factor!

I’m going to keep this short to avoid spoilers, as it is the plot development and the plot twists reveals that make this story pop. The Coast-To-Coast Murders uses a multiple POV structure where we keep switching back and forth between the main characters in play. Most are set in the present and correlate with the plot development, but we also have a little something different with Megan’s statement written after the facts and some flashbacks to the past to add more dept to certain characters. The multiple POV structure keeps you on your toes and definitely adds that high level of intensity and movement to the story. It also gives us multiple angles on what is happening and definitely gave the story more dept.

As for the plot… I do have to say that the plot might be a bit over the top in points, and things can be said about the credibility of certain events. BUT. The Coast-To-Coast Murders has a very high entertainment factor if you are willing to overlook that, and it definitely almost reads like a Hollywood action movie. The multi-state serial killer hunt, the psychology angle, the fact that nothing is as it seems, the constant sense of danger and violent acts… There is a lot going on and it will most definitely keep you busy. This thriller might not be for everyone, but if you like your thrillers intense, fast and action-packed as well as gruesome, The Coast-To-Coast Murders is a great choice. It might be a bit long, but it’s all worth it in the end. The story definitely ends with a bang too!


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ARC REVIEW: Flowers For The Dead – by Barbara Copperthwaite

Title: Flowers For The Dead
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 2nd 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 17th 2020
Pages: 353

“It is the aftermath that normally catches people out, of course. They get too caught up in the moment, the build-up, and don’t bother giving a thought to what will happen after they have killed someone.”

*** 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’ve read and enjoyed various of Barbara Copperthwaite‘s psychological thrillers in the past, but somehow this earlier title had slipped between the cracks of mount TBR until now. Thanks to Bookouture republishing Flowers For The Dead and putting it on my radar again, I’ve now finally had the chance to meet Adam! And boy, he must be one of the most interesting serial killers I’ve gotten the chance to meet to this date, and probably the first that won over my heart and I felt really sorry for. Wait, feeling sorry for a serial killer?! Trust me, once you read Flowers For The Dead and get to know Adam, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Flowers For The Dead uses a multiple POV structure, although the two main POVs can be seen as Adam and Laura. Detective Sergeant Michael Bishop plays a smaller, but still important role too, but his perspective isn’t as developed and pales next to the other two. Adam’s POV is further divided into the present and flashbacks to his past and childhood where we get to know him better and the flashbacks also help to understand how he became the person he is today. Reading about his childhood is both shocking and heartbreaking; like I said before, this might just be the very first time my heart went out to a serial killer character. Laura’s POV is an interesting contrast to Adam, and we also get some glimpses to the past as she relives the car crash that killed the rest of her family. The main focus is on the present though, with what is happening to her. It was fascinating to see the two POVs collide and complement each other; slowly working toward that big finale.

This story incorporates quite a few difficult topics, including (child)abuse, stalking, grief, mental health issues and of course the crimes themselves. Each element is well incorporated into the plot, and plays its role perfectly. An element that also really stands out in Flowers For The Dead is the use of flowers as symbols and messages. I really liked how it was incorporated into the plot throughout and not only had a special meaning for the main character, but also had a mention at the start of each chapter. This element really made this story stand out for me.

The writing itself is engaging, and makes it really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. In combination with the building suspense and escalation of events, you will have a hard time letting go of this story! And I most definitely didn’t see those final developments coming. Flowers For The Dead is an excellent serial killer thriller where the focus is on the serial killer and the victim rather than the detective angle for once. Perfect for fans of darker thrillers with an excellent character development!


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ARC REVIEW: Who’s Next – by Chris Merritt

Title: Who’s Next?
(Detectives Lockhart & Green #2)

Author: Chris Merritt
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: September 11th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 13th 2020
Pages: 449

“Lockhart wasn’t a believer in eye-for-an-eye justice. He subscribed to the rule of law, and the judicial process – flawed as it was.”

*** 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 always have a weak spot for a good detective and serial killer thriller, so I’ve been curious about the Detectives Lockhart & Green series ever since I first saw the reviews of book one Knock Knock back in March. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of the sequel Who’s Next? on Netgalley as a way to make sure I was reading both sooner than later… I guess it worked, as I’ve now read both books and I’m definitely a fan.

My strange obsession with serial killer thrillers is no secret, and Who’s Next? definitely gives us another twisted as well as intriguing take on the genre. While this sequel technically could be read as a stand-alone, you will be missing out on background information as well as the changing dynamics between the main characters in play… So I would personally suggest reading the books in order. Both are more than solid reads in the first place anyway! Who’s Next? once again focuses on both a new police investigation and developments in the personal lives of both Lockhart and Green. This gives us an interesting fluctuation in intensity and suspense, although things will get pretty intense on both sides as things start to escalate along the way.

The story uses a multiple POV structure, where we not only follow main characters Dan Lockhart and Lexi Green, but also other members of Lockhart’s team as well as the killer and more than one victim. Despite the many changes, it was quite easy to keep track of the different angles… Especially since we already know Lockhart and his team as well as Green. I always like being able to get a glimpse inside the head of a serial killer, and Chris Merritt once again as created a very intriguing individual to follow. On top of the murder investigation, Who’s Next? also focuses on a serial sexual assault case once of Lockhart’s team members is helping to solve… Basically a two for one in crime investigations!

I particularly liked how we don’t just have the typical detective angle with Lockhart, but also have a focus on the psychological aspect of the crimes which is analyzed with the help of Lexi Green’s POV. It definitely enhanced the plot; the many different angles in play make for a rich and dynamic plot that is both suspenseful and packs a punch. On top of this, multiple suspects are presented along the way, keeping you in the dark about the real identity and the final reveals definitely came as a surprise. I was totally wrong with my suspicions! This ride will get intense, exhilarating and pretty twisted along the way… It’s perfect if you have a taste for dark and disturbing serial killers hunts like me. I’ll be looking forward to more Lockhart and Green next year!


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