ALONE IN THE WILD by Kelley Armstrong

In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that’s what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.

While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off where she is.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.


Title : Alone in the Wild
Author : Kelley Armstrong
Series : Rockton (book five)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : mystery/thriller
Publisher : Doubleday Canada
Release Date : February 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m sad about this “low” rating because I had hoped book four was a fluke and this new book would recapture the magic of the first three installments. This is such a unique premise, with interesting characters, who have plenty of unlikeable and challenging personalities to bounce off of, along with the complicated situation of their living conditions, and it all just makes for fun and exciting and thrilling stories. But these last two..

This series is about an off-the-grid town in the Yukon, called Rockton. Rockton being a town populated by people who have escaped horrors, are on the run from something in their pasts, and have found a place where they can disappear for a few years. Sometimes, too, they are the ones who caused the horrors and just paid enough to a particular group in order to be admitted in order to lay low. Our lead protagonist is Casey Duncan, who arrived to this town to help her friend escape her ex, and has become one of the three detectives who help to police the outlaw-esque locals and keep the peace.

In this particular story, Casey discovers a baby in the woods, along with the body of a dead woman.. and discovers she was not the baby’s mother. It’s through communicating with the two local settlements, plus in speaking with a recluse, and a former hostile (someone who was once part of one of the nomad-esque tribes of.. well, hostile people), to track down who this woman is, where the baby’s parents are, and.. well, lots of that, really. There’s the politics of dealing with the settlements, trade negotiations, and just general complexities in navigating all that plus the wildlife and plus the harsh weather.

What I like about this series continues to be the characters, though some are forever a frustration, and again the setting is just so different. It’s great to read a contemporary where detectives can’t just google shit, there’s no conveniences of the kind we’re used to living with, and it’s a very hard life but not without lots of positive things, too. This particular mystery forced Casey and her Sheriff pseudo-husband to talk about the possibility of children, and the complications therein, and it got a little emotional there at the end. But while I also appreciate that Armstrong uses her cast of characters, most who have never lived within a modern society or any place other than the wilderness, to explore particular discussions, ie, bias, prejudice, toxic masculinity, etc, this one felt really.. preachy. I don’t know. Sometimes people who are too self-aware just get side eye from me.

So, yeah. Not my favourite. But the series itself is still one I enjoy. I do wonder if the particulars of some of what was brought up in this one means there’s an end date coming for the series but who knows. This is the same author who had a thirteen book series, so. Anything goes.

I’ll definitely read on! But this was not a favourite.

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

WHEN YOU SEE ME by Lisa Gardner

Bestselling author Lisa Gardner unites three of her most loved characters -Detective D.D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy – in a twisty new thriller, as they investigate a mysterious murder from the past that points to a dangerous and chilling present-day crime.

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective DD Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. And when a disturbing piece of evidence comes to light, they decide to bring in Flora Dane who has personal experience of being imprisoned by Ness.

Their investigations take them to a small town deep in the hills of Georgia where something seems to be deeply wrong.

What at first seems like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister as they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed.

Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers – and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.


Title : When You See Me
Author : Lisa Gardner
Series : Detective D. D. Warren (book eleven)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : mystery/thriller
Publisher : Dutton
Release Date : January 28, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m writing this review before my review for book ten of this series has even gone live on the blog. In that other post, I was effusive and bubbly after rediscovering my love for this series, as the installments before had been good, but not great. Well, we’ve returned to the good. But that’s not a bad thing.

Book eleven feels like almost a direct continuation of the story in book ten. We have DD, Kimberly, and Flora all partnered up, along with Keith, a civilian crime enthusiast, expert in his own way, and on their way to Georgia when it appears they may have found one of the first of Jacob Ness’ victims. However, things are not quite what they appeared.. and yet also more.

I’ll admit the victim-ish POV story wasn’t really doing much for me. I felt something but not enough to really keep me totally focused, and interested, in what appeared to be a subplot to the main event. Except.. things shifted around the 40% mark and that’s when a) things took off and b) things got interesting. But overall there were definitely chapters where I just wasn’t as dialed in as I was in the book before it.

This feels like a huge turning point for Flora, not quite closure but the most she’ll probably ever have, and the way Gardner pivoted that moment into something bigger, connecting to the discovery in book ten, was well done. Again, big picture wise, this was huge for the series and for this trio of women, Flora in particular. And while the conspiracy that’s discovered is kind of mind boggling, and crazy clever, overall I just wasn’t super into it.

With the way things have resolved, I’ll be curious to see how much page time we get from Flora and Kimberly in future books. Because we also have a new element introduced to DD’s life, one I’m both super soft about and also a wee bit perplexed, but hey. I’m still very curious as to what comes next.

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

JANE ANONYMOUS by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz’s thrilling novel Jane Anonymous is a revelatory confessional of a seventeen-year-old girl’s fight to escape a kidnapper—and her struggles to connect with loved ones and a life that no longer exists.

Seven months.

That’s how long I was kept captive.

Locked in a room with a bed, refrigerator, and adjoining bathroom, I was instructed to eat, bathe, and behave. I received meals, laundered clothes, and toiletries through a cat door, never knowing if it was day or night. The last time I saw the face of my abductor was when he dragged me fighting from the trunk of his car. And when I finally escaped, I prayed I’d never see him again.

Now that I’m home, my parents and friends want everything to be like it was before I left. But they don’t understand that dining out and shopping trips can’t heal what’s broken inside me. I barely leave my bedroom. Therapists are clueless and condescending. So I start my own form of therapy—but writing about my experience awakens uncomfortable memories, ones that should’ve stayed buried. How far will I have to go to uncover the truth of what happened—and will it break me forever?


Title : Jane Anonymous
Author : Laurie Faria Stolarz
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA thriller/suspense
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : January 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

I loved the idea of this book from the blurb and I think that YA thrillers and suspense are in shorter supply, so I was all anticipation over reading it. This was a story of a 17 year old teen, Jane who was kidnapped and held by a mysterious young monster of a man. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye.

JANE ANONYMOUS was a fast-paced and tense read. My heart was beating and in my mouth at various junctures. Jane’s capture and imprisonment were told in the ‘then’ time frame but much of the story was also told in the ‘now’ post-escape and her difficulties to return to life. The kidnapper was not at all what I expected, which led to unfurling of later events with her captor. I did see some of the twists that came before they were revealed.

I was engaged throughout this book, I read quickly and avidly. I felt anger, sadness and frustration, often all at once. I felt such sorrow for Jane obviously around her time in captivity, but even more for her time afterwards, I think. I really appreciated the parental perspective, those small insights were heartbreaking and felt so tangible.

I would have loved to have rated this book higher but as more was revealed about her kidnapper and certain events that were hazy, there was a lack of clarity that was frustrating. Even more so, being left with unanswered questions in the end left me unsatisfied overall. This book had masses of potential but it didn’t quite realise all of the possibility. All that said, this author wrote in a very engaging style and I would definitely read her work again.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and netgalley for the early review copy.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris 🎧

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie? 


Title : Behind Closed Doors
Author : BA Paris
Format : Audio
Length : 8 hours, 46 minutes
Genre : Domestic Thriller
Publisher : Macmillan Audio
Release Date : August 9, 2016

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 -4 star review

I don’t read many thrillers these days when once, thrillers were the only thing on my book menu! Anyway, I was in the middle of a book slump and fancied something totally different. Plus, I’m all about reading the backlog. This domestic thriller was told in past and present with a slowly unfurling and creepy story.

The focus of this story was Grace and her meeting, relationship and marriage to Jack. Grace had a sister with Down’s Syndrome and this meant a vulnerability from an exploitation perspective. Jack was the ‘perfect’ man but insidious psychopath; no one on the exterior would guess the depravity to his needs or behaviours. What was interesting to me was the lack of a physical element to the behaviours and therefore the author excelled at being able to convey the cruelty of mental and emotional torture.

It took time to build up to the true picture of what was going on behind the doors of the perfect house and perfect couple. The sceptical part of me remains amazed at any women who will give up their job and own identity for the love of any man. On the one hand, I felt Grace was a bit of a sap before the abuse but once that was in play, she was clearly purely a victim. There were times in this story that leaned towards the incredulous but the author seemed able to pull this back before it became too extreme.

I was surprised where the eventual plot of this book went, having felt a predictability at times, so colour me surprised at the twists. The audio kept me wrapped up in the story and I always wanted to get back to it on my commute and made excuses to myself to finish the audio. The narration was generally good. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and I will defintely read more by BA Paris.

NEVER TELL by Lisa Gardner

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun. 

D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many. 

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder. 

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?


Title : Never Tell
Author : Lisa Gardner
Series : Detective D.D. Warren (book ten)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 414
Genre : mystery/thriller
Publisher : Dutton
Release Date : February 19, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I’ll be the first to admit that while it was Gardner, and her three cross-over series, that kicked off my renewed fascination with the thriller/mystery/detective genre back in 2016, the last few installments of this main series (correction, sorry, it’s been one book and one novella) just haven’t wowed me. For various reasons. But NEVER TELL? Hi hello, we’re back again.

This story slots in under the main Detective D.D. Warren series but, like most of Gardner’s books, there’s crossover. Recently, since book eight, the survivor of that story has become a supporting character as she transitioned into a vigilante slash confidential informant, aka CI, for DD. And she’s not the only familiar face.

I really couldn’t recommend this book to people who hadn’t read at least the last three, starting from FIND HER, but honestly this whole series is worth investing in. Are they all great? No. But there’s been such an evolution, including the books in the companion/spin-offs, and those are even relevant for a certain guest-star in this book, both in character and how some of the stories weave together, that even the stories that don’t rate as high still feel worth the effort (also, for some perspective, I’ve only rated one book below three stars and while that was the first book.. let’s just say the opening books were a different vibe). Basically what I’m saying is block out some reading time over the holidays, put the whole backlist on hold at your local library, and get ready to rock and roll. And by rock and roll I mean experience some dark twisty additive af procedurals.

This review has become less about the book and more about the series as a whole but honestly there’s not much you can put in a review for a thriller that the summary doesn’t already.. summarize. There are twists, death, and surprises. Rinse and repeat. This mystery definitely had a tighter pacing than the last, unfurled in a great way, and also had me tearing up. So I guess we can throw ’emotions’ into that list, too.

I can’t wait for the next one.

THE TENTH GIRL by Sara Faring

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.


Title : The Tenth Girl
Author : Sara Faring
Format : ARC
Page Count : 460
Genre : YA historical horror/thriller
Publisher : Imprint
Release Date : September 24, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

So here’s my problem with THE TENTH GIRL. If this was a more straight-forward, yet twisty, gothic horror, I think it would’ve been amazing. Parts of this were really good. The atmosphere, the creepy factor, the isolated strangeness of the setting, the eerie encroaching darkness of it all.. it was great.

But instead this book is a lot more than meets the eye. Infact in hindsight you see a lot of the clues, or at least I do, but even had I noticed, even if they had got me wondering, nothing could have prepared me for that this book actually is. It’s a very.. risky choice. Bold, even. Particularly for a debut.

The good thing is you get a sense early on that things aren’t quite as the appear. But the problem is just how not as the appear things really are. It didn’t work for me. My mind is trying to make it work but I had certain expectations about this book and the story as a whole didn’t meet them. So maybe that’s on me.

This is a spoiler free zone. This is the only kind of review you will, get the vaguest of vague, which will either intrigue or scare you off. Either choice is valid.

I might read this author again but unfortunately I can’t say this book gave me what I wanted.

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

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