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FINLAY DONOVAN JUMPS THE GUN by Elle Cosimano

Author and single mom Finlay Donovan has been in messes before―after all, she’s a pro at removing bloodstains for various unexpected reasons―but none quite like this. When Finlay and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they had “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob did her a favor and bought the car for her. And now Finlay owes them. 

Mob boss Feliks is still running the show from behind bars, and he has a task for Finlay: find and identify a contract killer before the cops do. The problem is, the killer might be an officer themself.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has just been tasked with starting up a citizen’s police academy, and combined pressure from Finlay’s looming book deadline and Feliks is enough to convince Finlay and Vero to get involved. Through firearm training and forensic classes (and some hands-on research with a tempting detective), Finlay and Vero use their time in police academy to sleuth out the real contract killer to free themselves from the mob’s clutches―all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

From USA Today bestseller and Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun—the highly anticipated, hilarious, and heart-pounding next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series…


Title : Finlay Donovan Jumps The Gun
Author : Elle Cosimano
Series : Finlay Donovan (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : mystery / thriller
Publisher : Minotaur Books
Release Date : January 31, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

Pretty sure in my review for book two I said something about my suspension of disbelief button getting a workout but hoo boy. That’s nothing compared the third installment in this series. Poor pointer finger is exhausted.

That aside, I have to say, I found it extremely hard to get back into this world; or, maybe more accurately, the writing. I cared nothing for the characters, the nonsense they had once more gotten themselves twisted up in, and certainly not the romance. Can I blame all that on the writing or am I just over this concept? I’ll admit the red herrings for the mystery were well done but it sorta feels like everything was made more convoluted and dramatic, as opposed to less, because of Finlay and Vero’s involvement. And that did not make for a great experience.

I am all for a plucky heroine stumbling into bigger things and having to navigate but like.. it’s just not working anymore. Things are either too big for her to be emerging unscathed or things just aren’t being taken seriously enough and therefore the stakes aren’t high. Or both, sometimes at the same time. It’s a weird feeling. The vibes are off.

Also, that big near-final scene happening surrounded by all those cops? Yeah bloody right. The eyerolls.

Also also, the very meta writing bit about Finlay and her characters is getting tired, too.

While Vero had definitely saved some of the bits that I had previously given side-eye, she did not fare so well in this one. I worried her subplot would add to the OTT and ruin her and yeah, I think it did. Honestly, the only character I really enjoyed in this one was Wade, a firearms instructor, because his lack of fucks really spoke to me. Nick, one of the many (!) love interests, wasn’t too bad, either. I am just bewildered by all these menfolk panting after Finlay because I do not get the appeal.

But what do I know; the same could be said about my feelings for this series vs the many many readers who are having a blast. So.

While I had hoped to find a spark of love for this series, I think I’ll stick this on the back burner until the end is in sight.

ps, still wishing Steven was dead.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

A FAMILIAR STRANGER by AR Torre

Such a quiet and ordinary wife and mother. Who will even notice what she’s done?

Lillian Smith leads an unexceptional life, writing obituaries and killing time with her inattentive husband and disconnected son. Then she meets David, a handsome stranger, in a coffee shop. Lured into an affair, she invents a new persona, one without strings, deadlines, or brooding husbands.

Lillian has never felt so reckless, unpredictable, or wanted. But as her affair with David intensifies, she withdraws from everything that’s real, even her closest friend. When evidence of her life as a secret lover finds its way onto her son’s social media, she risks ruining much more than her marriage or reputation.

As lies beget lies, Lillian’s two worlds spiral dangerously out of control. And betrayals run deeper than she imagines. Because Lillian isn’t the only one leading a double life.


Title : A Familiar Stranger
Author : AR Torre
Format : eARC
Page Count : 275
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer Books
Release Date : September 27, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Double lives
Stale relationships
Who dunnit?

A Familiar Stranger was a joy of an easy thriller. AR Torre serves up unlikeable characters as ever and as a reader, you suck it up like a delicious feast. This dysfunctional family at the centre, their cold connection but reluctance to make change made for early investment. As things got wilder, I couldn’t put it down.

There were a number of POVs but they weren’t overused, nor were they confusing. Mostly this was told from Lillian’s seemingly (but not) mundane perspective with the occasional Mike thrown in. Mike was a character who seemed without feeling, calculating and unfathomable in ways. Jacob was the sad victim of circumstances.

I didn’t like David but I did like the life Lillian found in the marina. I have no words for Sam. The mental illness exploitation was uncomfortable but not unrealistic in this plot; that element saddened me. I didn’t like how Lillian’s POVs turned out but I guess it kept a train of events in a way that would have otherwise been difficult.

Overall, I find AR Torre’s thrillers to be her sweet spot and they almost always work for me.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer for the eARC.

FIVE SURVIVE by Holly Jackson

Eight hours. Six friends. Five survive. A road trip turns deadly in this addictive YA thriller from the bestselling author of the worldwide phenomenon A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER.

Red Kenny is on a road trip for spring break with five friends: Her best friend – the older brother – his perfect girlfriend – a secret crush – a classmate – and a killer. 

When their RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, they soon realize this is no accident. They have been trapped by someone out there in the dark, someone who clearly wants one of them dead.

With eight hours until dawn, the six friends must escape, or figure out which of them is the target. But is there a liar among them? Buried secrets will be forced to light and tensions inside the RV will reach deadly levels. Not all of them will survive the night. . . . 


Title : Five Survive
Author : Holly Jackson
Format : physical
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA mystery / thriller
Publisher : Delacorte
Release Date : November 29, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

Alright, let’s get the good out of the way first.

The setting. 97% of this story takes place within the confines of a broken down RV that has six people crammed inside. That would be hellish without the whole murder mystery intensity element but at night? Stuck in a dark wooded area, with the threat of harm coming at them from both inside and out? Hoo boy. I’m sweating just thinking about it. Jackson gets mega points for this unique and creative version of a locked room mystery. Also, related, I’m not sure what would’ve enticed me to get into an RV in the first place but this has definitely ensured I never will.

The actual reveals. Obviously I can’t get into this but while the plot of the mystery is actually.. well, pretty far fetched, really, I enjoyed the unveiling of it all. I’m still a little side-eye about the reality of it but, hey, I’m suspending the disbelief.

But everything else? I don’t know.

I realize Oliver was a character no one was supposed to like but he exhausted me. Half the reason I blitzed through this so fast was because I wanted to stop reading about him. I’m sure there could’ve been a way to recreate his influence without it being done this way but what do I know. Maybe we needed his hateful self to push things forward. But I still hated it. Him. And I need a nap now.

The other characters I mostly did enjoy, though. I liked that we had secrets from all, some red herrings, some adjacent to the main mystery, and how each seemed valid and likely. Again, it was the main plot itself that I felt less likely but we already went over that. I’ll allow it. Being in Red’s head, though, was very.. meandering. Disjointed. And maybe that makes sense once we understand what she’s been going through, and doing, over the last little while but you’d almost think all that would make her hyper focused and detail oriented, not completely spaced out and lost. But she definitely rose to the occasion near the end so she didn’t disappoint completely.

And as for the ending, well. I’m glad we were left in suspense for so long after the big climax but I didn’t love how the final bits of the story were told. Except for the check boxes (if you know you know). That was cute.

Overall, though, this will be great for those of you who love locked room mysteries with high stakes. But I definitely preferred the author’s debut series, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. That being said, it’s a sure thing that I will pick up this author again.

** I received a finished copy from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NAKED IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

THE FIRST NOVEL IN THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING IN DEATH SERIES

It is 2058, New York City. Technology now completely rules the world, but for New York Detective Eve Dallas, one irresistible impulse still rules the heart: passion…

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all – and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire – and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about – except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.


Title : Naked In Death
Author : J.D. Robb
Narrator : Susan Ericksen
Series : In Death #1
Format : Audio
Page Count : 10 hours, 17 minutes
Genre : Thriller/Romantic Suspense
Publisher : Brilliance Audio
Release Date : 1995

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

I thought it was about time I gave this series a go as I’ve been meaning to dip my toe in for years and I was reasonably content with the experience.

This is a futuristic world (circa 2050 I think) but it still shows it’s age in terms of tech because this book was originally published in 1995. I did like the world depicted, it made it a bit more interesting in terms of a romantic suspense/thriller vibe. The main selling point of this book and I believe of the series as a whole, is the couple – Eve and Rourke. Their whole developing romance was more interesting to me than the murders. As to the crime/murders, they were pretty gritty and vile. Please see my content warnings at the bottom.

I do want to make a huge note of kudos to the author regarding her mention a few times of the importance of trans rights, especially considering the date of publication. Nicely done Robb/Roberts.

I’ll definitely be carrying on with the series.

**Content warnings: rape, sexual crime, incest. There were a few later graphic depictions of incestual rape that I found hard to read and I would have preferred less detail.**

FINLAY DONOVAN KNOCKS ‘EM DEAD by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes… and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it…

From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead―the hilarious and heart-pounding follow-up to Finlay Donovan is Killing It.


Title : Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead
Author : Elle Cosimano
Series : Finlay Donovan (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 353
Genre : contemporary / mystery thriller
Publisher : Minotaur Books
Release Date : February 1, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

This story would’ve been a whole lot simpler if Finlay had just let someone off her shitbag of an ex-husband. It would’ve been a whole lot more enjoyable, too, no matter how happily things seem now at the end (not saying how or why and what makes things happier, or if it even relates to said ex-husband, though). But I digress..

Honestly, while I’m awarding this the same rating, overall it wasn’t quite on par with book one. Mostly the success comes from the big reveal at the end that.. yeah, I did not see that one coming. Brava. I loved it.

But the romance takes a turn in the direction I didn’t want, leaving me feeling a bit letdown (even though it’s still early in the series and I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in any one basket in book one, what a noob). And once again we have so many coincidences and conveniences that I’m just constantly having to hit refresh on my suspension-of-disbelief button and I think I pointer finger was getting tired.

Book three is lining up to be very Vero-centric and I’m both looking forward to it and nervous because I kind of wanted her role as bestie and ride or die to be drama-free and less OTT than some of the circumstances these two find themselves in. So I’m a wee bit concerned. But we’ll see how it all plays out.

Having said that, these are quick action-y reads with the single-mom-trying-to-do-it-all, matched up with spying and thrills and the banality of book deadlines, all alongside the absolute belief that a wig and a dress can convince anyone you’re someone else. Apparently.

I wouldn’t push these on anyone as a recommendation but you could totally do worse.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT by Elle Cosimano

“Getting the job done” for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

Finlay Donovan is killing it…except, she’s really not. A stressed-out single mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written; her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her; and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet. She soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moments, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from award-winning Elle Cosimano. 


Title : Finlay Donovan is Killing It
Author : Elle Cosimano
Series : Finlay Donovan (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 355
Genre : contemporary / mystery thriller
Publisher : Minotaur Books
Release Date : February 2, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

While much of this story is the depiction of a woman stumbling through a situation (or two) that requires her to suddenly dispose of another human when she’s mistaken for a contract killer, it might be more accurate to say this is a domestic mystery/thriller. Because so much of who Finlay is.. is a stressed out, barely making ends meet, mother and writer. Both tasks demand much of her and she’s rather spectacularly failing at both, all while navigating interactions with her ex and the woman, now fiancé, he cheated on her with. It’s the threat of bills, of losing her kids, that convinces Finlay to do it. Or rather, like any good writer, to do her research. Who is this man she’s been asked to kill? Is he actually terrible? And thus sets in motion a series of events that Finlay can’t come back from, which spins out into connections she never could’ve seen coming and, also, the mob?

I’ll admit those same connections sort’ve had me side-eyeing the plot because it’s all just a little (lot) too convenient. But it does make for an interesting quandary or two that Finlay has to reconcile with and maybe that was the main point of it all.

While I did enjoy Finlay, most of the time, I think I enjoyed her side-kick, Vero, more. Or maybe I just really enjoyed their dynamic together? Because every Vero scene was great and I was a fan of their completely inept duo (the cling wrap scene, I cannot even..) and very much look forward to more of that.

For romance fans, or readers who like a little romance spliced into their novels, regardless of genre, there’s something here for you, too! Perhaps even more than one option? I won’t say more. Except to say I am very pleased with where we ended by the final chapter of this first book. Though.. I also did a little side-eye of a certain visit to a certain bar near the end. Honestly, proving this isn’t some smooth and slick murder mystery, there was a lot of side-eyeing of a lot of decisions, really. But it does give it some amateur hour realness, I guess.

So, yes, maybe some of the hype took some of the shine off this one, and that’s why I’m not quite as effusive about this as I expected to be, but I have hopes that book two might be even better. And yes, I’m about to find out right.. now.

EVERY WORD by Ellie Marney

Sparks fly when Watts follows Mycroft to London in this second steamy thriller about the teen crime-fighting duo.

James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents without saying good-bye to his partner in crime, Rachel Watts.

Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behavior—not that Mycroft’s ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. Unable to resist, Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator and the deaths of Mycroft’s parents…Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events—or will she lose him forever?


Title : Every Word
Author : Ellie Marney
Series : Every (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 340
Genre : YA mystery / contemporary / retellings
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Release Date : June 1, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

As much as I had loved these characters in book one, book two is where Wattscroft took it upon themselves to m u r d e r me. Also, yes, I’m going to thief from my original review a bit, which I didn’t do for the first instalment, because it pretty much sums up my feels to this day.

Every Word is everything that Every Breath was but turned up to eleven. The stakes, the action, the mystery, the scorching heat, the violence, the heartbreak.. everything.

Swoony hearts in eyes expression aside, this book definitely went a bit dark and my stomach fell to my feet multiple times. Not just because of Rachel and Mycroft but because Marney does not pull any punches. The vividness of the autopsy scene, the startling savagery of torture, the isolation; it was just as awful and as real as when our two heroes are stumbling along to understand each other, navigating both their relationship and the horror of Mycroft’s past. And how Marney handled this was just.. fantastic. There were so many things I think I appreciated more this second time around with how she unravelled Mycroft and his processing — or lack thereof. That turning point, once we finally get it, was just (chefs kiss). And the strangeness of how Rachel feels, knowing he has something new, and scarier, to fixate is just.. yeah, really well done.

Knowing what extremes and dangers these two faced, and that not having been the ultimate confrontation, I can only imagine what’s to come next.

UPGRADE by Blake Crouch

‘You are the next step in human evolution . . .’

What if you were capable of more?

Your concentration was better, you could multitask quicker, read faster, memorize more, sleep deeper.

For Logan Ramsay, it’s happening. He’s beginning to see the world around him, even those he loves the most, in whole new ways.

He knows that it’s not natural, that his genes have been hacked. He has been targeted for an upgrade.

Logan’s family legacy is one he has been trying to escape for decades and it has left him vulnerable to attack. But with a terrifying plan in place to replicate his upgrade throughout the world’s population, he may be the only person capable of stopping what has already been set in motion.

To win this war against humanity Logan will now have to become something other than himself . . .

Intricately plotted and epic in scope, Upgrade asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity – and our boundless potential. Are you ready for the impossible?


Title : Upgrade
Author : Blake Crouch
Format : eARC
Page Count : 341
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Pan Macmillan
Release Date : July 7, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Headlines:
The arrogance of humanity
Futuristic thriller with a shade of dystopia (or reality)
All the science goodness

We don’t have an intelligence problem. We have a compassion problem.”

I could not put this book down and for 24 hours, the themes of this book have truly invaded my thoughts. The subjects of environmental demise, political and international inertia to make change and the break neck speed of scientific and genomic progress felt close to where we are in 2022. So, this story set in a future felt utterly believable.

This story started and ended with the arrogance of individuals, thinking they knew best and being sure their intelligence superseded others. The sacrifice of some outweighing the many was part of this arrogant belief. Imagine if you could upgrade the intelligence and strength of humans…would that be the answer to all our problems? Logan the protagonist was the epicentre of this conundrum and this whole problem was through his eyes over a number of years.

The story was fast-paced, immediately gripping and it kept the reader’s attention throughout. The science was fascinating, not beyond my grip and I’m no geneticist. Nevertheless, this kind of science dominance of the story was right up my street, I could see how much research and expertise was sought to make this story work so well.

This story provoked the reader to consider individual morals and societal ethics and yet, this was not a heavy read. The pacing, the plot and characters kept the reader moving through the story as fast as their normal-speed mind could manage.

The triumph of this book was in how it ended, basically as well as it started. When a book tackles such a big plot and dilemma as this storyline presented, there’s always the risk that it’ll disappoint as it culminates. Crouch finished this superbly, with some bittersweet-ness and a bang.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Black Crow PR for the review copy.

DEAD SILENCE by S. A. Barnes

Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.

A GHOST SHIP.
A SALVAGE CREW.
UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS.

Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.


Title : Dead Silence
Author : S. A. Barnes
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 343
Genre : sci-fi horror
Publisher : Tor Nightfire
Release Date : February 8, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Hoo boy, fam, if you enjoy the thrilling sensation of feeling like you’ve seen something out of the corner of your eye, the certainty that something is hiding underneath your bed, combined by the terror and unpredictability (not to mention darkness) of space, you will love this book. Conversely, if you loved Serenity or The Illuminae Files, there are elements in here you might appreciate.

I will admit, there was a scene or two that really got me going. I had to set the book down and take a breath.

But beyond the suspense and gruesome parts, the beauty of this story is in the narrator’s uncertainty of what is real and what isn’t. Which adds to the scary. For reasons you’ll learn about, Claire is already an unreliable narrator. And it only gets worse as she tries to piece together what happened after she and her crew dock with a decades-long missing ship.

I had such a good time reading this, both because of the thrills and for following along to figure out the what of it all. The ending did surprise me, and I can see some people maybe not enjoy it for a few different reasons, but it landed fine for me.

Obviously, due to the horror — gore, violence, all that jazz — this isn’t one I can recommend to just anyone, but if the themes and synopsis seem to be in your wheelhouse, I would definitely give it a try. This is Barnes’ debut, under this penname at least, and I will definitely pick her up again.

NEVER COMING HOME by Hannah Mary McKinnon

First comes love. Then comes murder.
Lucas Forester didn’t hate his wife. Michelle was brilliant, sophisticated and beautiful. Sure, she had extravagant spending habits and that petty attitude, a total disregard for anyone below her status. But she also had a lot to offer. Most notably, wealth that only the one percent could comprehend.

For years, Lucas had been honing a flawless plan to inherit Michelle’s fortune. Unfortunately, it involved taking a hit out on her.

Every track was covered, no trace left behind, and now Lucas plays the grieving husband so well he deserves an award. But when a shocking photo and cryptic note show up on his doorstep, Lucas goes from hunter to prey. 

Someone is onto him. And they’re closing in.

Told with dark wit and a sharply feminist sensibility, Never Coming Home is a terrifying tale of duplicity that will have you side-eyeing your spouse as you dash to the breathtaking end.


Title : Never Coming Home
Author : Hannah Mary McKinnon
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : mystery thriller
Publisher : MIRA
Release Date : May 24, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

I’m a little disappointed I didn’t love this more but I think this’ll satisfy readers a little less grumpy and picky than moi.

The most interesting thing about this story was the fact that we know who did the deed. And, in fact, we spend the entire time in the head of the one who has committed the crime. I quite liked that. But I found Lucas.. kind of insufferable? It wasn’t even the fact that he was a con-man mastermind responsible for his wife’s death, that he’d been orchestrating a particular end result for the entirety of their relationship. It was maybe moreso the narrative voice. And perhaps the pacing.

I never fully engaged in this story, I was completely uninterested in all of Lucas’ backstory, and while I enjoyed the ending, I’ll admit I did see part of it coming. It was still a good gotcha moment but it didn’t quite redeem the journey to where we finally get there. I’m not quite sure this had the dark wit that was promised in the pitch, either.

This was my first read by McKinnon, and while she’s got a good few books out and seems to be well loved, I’ll admit I had never even heard of her. I’ll likely peek through her backlist to find another that might work better, though, because I have’t quite given up yet.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **