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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BOOK REVIEW: The Kind Worth Killing – by Peter Swanson

Title: The Kind Worth Killing
Author: Peter Swanson

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: William Morrow
Finished reading: August 20th 2017
Pages: 312

“Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing.”

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The Kind Worth Killing is one of those books that has been on my TBR for ages and somehow never picked up despite the fact I was really looking forward it. Apparently my TBR jar thought it was about time to change that… I admit I was very happy when I learned what my latest TBR jar pick was going to be. And all those raving reviews were absolutely right. The Kind Worth Killing is one heck of a thrilling rollercoaster ride! From the brilliant writing style to the suspense, plot twists, character development and the plot itself… This story will have you in its claws as soon as you start reading it and trust me, you will find yourself unable to stop until you figure out how things end. I really liked the idea behind this story and it was both disturbing, twisted and refreshing at the same time. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but the quote above gives you an idea of how the mind of one of the main characters works… The characters and their development are very well done and it was interesting to see how things played out as the plot twist bombs were dropped on you. Some are pretty shocking! The Kind Worth Killing is suspense at its best and I can definitely highly recommend this title to any fan of the genre. You won’t regret reading this one!

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Ted Severson and Lily Kintner meet waiting for a flight from London and Boston, and after a few martinis they seem to start a very revealing game of truth. Ted talks about his marriage and how he is sure that his wife Miranda his cheating on him. They weren’t exactly a perfect match to begin with, but still… Then the game takes a different turn when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda and Lily takes him seriously. After all, as Lily believes some people are just worth killing… Back in Boston the two keep in touch and their bond grows stronger as they start talking about the how and when. But can they really get away with it? And why does Lily, a total stranger, want to help Ted in the first place?

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If you like fast-paced and twisty thrillers that read like a train, you will love The Kind Worth Killing. This story is packed with plot twists that will both surprise you and keep you guessing about what will happen next until the very end. The writing is excellent and only helps enjoying the story even more. The flashbacks to the past of Lily don’t distract from the main plot at all and only help to develop her character further. In short, definitely read this title if you haven’t already and like the genre. It’s just as good as everybody keeps promising in their raving reviews!


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ARC REVIEW: Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore – by Matthew Sullivan @arrowpublishing

Title: Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore
Author: Matthew Sullivan

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: August 24th 2017
Publisher: Cornerstone
Finished reading: August 15th 2017
Pages: 336

“I’ve begun to think of it as more graveyard than library. End of the line, you know. Where book-of-the-month club comes to die.”

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

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I always have a weak spot for any book with bookish references or a story that is at least partially set in a bookstore. So as you can imagine, basically Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore had me at the title. This book has been on my list of most anticipated releases ever since I first heard about for it and I’ve been looking forward to read it for ages now. And I can tell you one thing: this novel by Matthew Sullivan doesn’t disappoint. Or more accurately, I enjoyed every single page of this ‘contemporary puzzle and murder mystery in one’. Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore isn’t just another bookish book and actually presents two different mysteries to solve. The first is related to the suicide of one of the bookshop patrons and the other to what happened to one of the clerks twenty years ago. The plot is intriguing and well developed; the plot twists and revelations well balanced and I enjoyed solving the puzzles along with the characters. This book definitely has some surprises in store! The writing style had me hooked from the very first page and was both highly enjoyable, engaging and made it very hard to stop reading before reaching the final page. The bookish references are a true delight for any booklover and I love the role books play in this story in general. The mystery is also well done and there were definitely things I didn’t see coming. You might start wondering about coincidences and some things seem pretty ‘convenient’, but I personally didn’t care. Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore will go straight to my list of favorites!

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Lydia Smith works as a clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore and tries to live a quiet life among her books and the BookFrogs; the regulars who spend their days in the bookstore browsing its shelves. But then one of the BookFrogs, Joey Molina, kills himself in the bookstore. Lydia was Joey’s favorite bookseller and she inherited his meager possessions… And when Lydia flips through his books, she discovers he has destroyed them in a way that is both intriguing and disturbing. Why did Joey do this and what does it mean? Did he want to leave her a message?

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I have been looking forward to this title for a while now and it was without doubt just as good or even better than hoped. I had such a great time reading Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore and the two mysteries/puzzles that are included are both fascinating and well executed. The bookish elements are a true delight and I had a great time discovering more about Joey and Lydia, their past and their development. The writing is wonderful as well and made me fly through the pages… All in all I can highly recommend this title.


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ARC REVIEW: Stillhouse Lake – by Rachel Caine @rachelcaine @ThomasMercerUK

Title: Stillhouse Lake
(Stillhouse Lake #1)
Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 1st 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: July 18th 2017
Pages: 302

“There are no limits for the hate. It’s free-floating, a toxic cloud of moral outrage and mob mentality, and it doesn’t care who it hurts. Only that it does.”

*** 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 heard a lot of excellent things about Stillhouse Lake so far, so you can imagine my happy dance when I saw the message in my inbox that my Netgalley wish was granted. It took me less than a week to pick up my copy and I still kind of wish I would have done so earlier. Because wow. Just WOW. It’s been over a day since I finished reading Stillhouse Lake and I am still lost for words. I should probably have taken more time to cool off before writing my review, because this thriller has been one hell of a ride…But let’s see if I can say something somewhat coherent about it. First of all Stillhouse Lake is hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and just so damn intense! Make sure to clear your schedule before starting this one, because you will want to sit down and read it in one go. The story had me hooked from page one and didn’t let me go until the very end… Why? Here are some bulletpoints to give you an idea. Highly creepy serial killer: CHECK. Intriguing plot and plot twists:CHECK. Constant suspense and feeling something is off: CHECK. Brilliant writing style that keeps you on the edge of your seat: CHECK. Inability to trust any character: CHECK. Being sure you figured it all out and finding out you’re wrong over and over again: CHECK. Very realistic character development: CHECK. Do I have to go on? Dark, twisted, messed up and oh so good…As you can imagine, I can highly recommend Stillhouse Lake. Where can I sign up for the sequel?!

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The life of Gina Royal seemed to be nothing but average: a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two children. But that is until a car crashes into their garage and her husband’s secret life as a serial killer is revealed. People can’t believe she never knew about it and blame her just as much as her husband… After one too many death threat, stalkers and internet trolls, Gina is forced to run and create a new identity to keep both her and her kids safe. Her ex is now in prison, but that doesn’t mean danger isn’t out there… Not only has her husband connections and seems to find her wherever she hides, but there are many others who wish her harm. Gina, now called Gwen, thinks she is finally safe in their new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. But just as the three are starting to feel at ease in their new identities, a body turns up in the lake…

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Like I said before, Stillhouse Lake is hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read so far this year. This story is dark, disturbing and intense right from the very first page and will have you hooked until you reach the end. I love my serial killer thrillers and this focus on the relatives and the consequences of being linked to a serial killer is such an original perspective! I loved every single moment of this disturbing ride and I can highly recommend it to fans of the genre. SO good!


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ARC REVIEW: The Serial Killer’s Daughter – by Lesley Welsh @bookouture

Title: The Serial Killer’s Daughter
Author: Lesley Welsh

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 14th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: May 29th 2017
Pages: 335

“She remembered her mother telling her that discerning the truth in Don’s lies was like unravelling knotted string.”

*** 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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Call me weird, but mention a serial killer and I instantly want to read your thriller. So mention one in the title and I’m sold as soon as I first hear about it… And that is exactly what happened when I saw The Serial Killer’s Daughter mentioned. One of my absolute all time favorites (hint: Jasper Dent) features the son of a serial killer, so having another story focus on the child of a ‘monster’ had me hooked instantly. Now I’ve read The Serial Killer’s Daughter, I do have to say that it’s the first time that the title is actually a spoiler for me. Why? As much as it was what first peaked my interest, I would have liked not knowing the dad was a serial killer beforehand and it takes away some of the suspense around Don’s character. The character development in this psychological thriller is sublime though and this is without doubt one of the most twisted serial killers I’ve encountered with. I liked that it’s not just about the killer and both the daughter and other characters play an important role in the story. There are some very dark and gruesome details in certain parts of the story, so beware if you are sensitive to those. They fit remarkably well in the story though and it only adds to the description and characterization of an extremely violent, arrogant sociopath and manipulator. The pace is a tad slow and there is less action that I would have expected, but the focus in The Serial Killer’s Daughter is on the characters instead and the plot is without doubt very twisty.

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Suzanne has never been close to her father Don and hasn’t been in contact for years… But still her life changes forever the day she receives a visit from Rose Anderson, the woman who has been living with him. She tells Suzanne that her father died she wants Suzanne to have his possessions; including a series of notebooks and a mysterious collection of photographs of various women. One of the women is actually her friend Sophie, who died ten years ago in a mysterious fire, and she wonders why her father would have a photo of her. Suzanne’s mother warns her to stay away, but Suzanne cannot let the past rest and decided to read the journals to find out more about her father’s life. But she might end up finding a lot more than she had signed up for…

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Although the title The Serial Killer’s Daughter is actually sort of a spoiler of what is to come, there is no doubt that this story is a well written character-driven psychological thriller with a sublime character development. The pace is a bit slow and there might not be as much action as you would suspect there to be in a serial killer thriller, but the story is full of twists and the characters more than make up for it. You will be able to meet one for the most twisted and creepy serial killers I’ve encountered with to this date and get to know him (almost too) intimately; definitely the stuff nightmares are made from.


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BOOK REVIEW: Heartsick – by Chelsea Cain

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Title: Heartsick
(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1)
Author: Chelsea Cain
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
First published: 2007
Finished reading: May 29th 2016 
Pages: 421
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“Even the most blatant assholes seemed to function in a state of grace when confronted with the brutal loss of a loved one. ”

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I have been having a lot of back luck with my mystery/thriller reads lately, but I decided to give Heartsick by Chelsea Cain a go anyway since various people have recommended this series to me in the past. And now I’ve read it I totally agree with them; this is definitely one of my favorite newly discovered whodunit reads! I will definitely be continuing this series soon, because this first book of the Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell series was fast-paced, entertaining and had just the right amount of plot twists and gruesome details. It is true that some of the scenes might not be for those with a weak stomach, but the descriptions are really well done and add to the character development and general plot. My only small point of criticism would be that the main character Archie is quite the stereotype for the typical detective story: he has a really messed up personal life and that seems to be the norm for just about every succesful detective in these kind of series. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing and it works rather well in this book, but it is not exactly original either. Still, the rest of the story is definitely good enough to make up for it. Recommended!

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Archie Sheridan had been hunting down the beautiful serial killer Gretchen Lowell for a long time before she decided to capture him as her latest victim. Somehow Archie survived the ten days of horrifying physical and mental torture, and what is even more remarkable is that Gretchen actually ended up saving his life and handing herself in. And even two years after the fact, nobody understands why she did what she did. Archie has been so traumatized by the events that he has been on medical leave ever since and no longer lives with his wife, but with a new killer on the loose he is asked to return to his job. He is not sure he is fit to return, but he seems to be the only person qualified to understand the mind of this new psychopath. Will Archie be able to finally confront his demons of the past and catch this killer before any more teenage girls are being kidnapped and killed?

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Heartsick turned out to be one of the best whodunit reads I’ve read in a while. I will definitely be reading more of this series! While Archie might be a bit of a stereotype and not exactly original, there is no doubt that Gretchen is one of the creepiest and most messed up serial killers I’ve read about in a long time. Actually, some of the scenes might be a bit gruesome if you have a weak stomach… But they do add something to the story. If you are looking for a good whodunit, definitely consider reading this series.

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.