Plastic Kills

For me, author Willow Rose signals a guaranteed entertaining thriller novel, and this is true with Girl Next Door. She seems to specialize in serial killer tales. Even though I know this in advance, each of her novels catches me unawares with a surprise ending. Again, that is true with this novel but with a twist that I did not like. It had nothing to do with the mystery. That was good. Rose jumped back and forth in time to show the development of a splintered mind that would result in a serial killer. To find out who the killer was and discover motivation was like peeling an onion. Each layer had surprises; the novel was good and typical Willow Rose.

Stalkers and Stumblers

Wayfair Lane by Randi Zeff is an interesting story of three dysfunctional to semi-dysfunctional families. Greg Hosmer used to be the husband of Elizabeth Hosmer. Now divorced, why did he buy a house very near the house he had once lived in with Elizabeth? True, it still took binoculars to see her daily activities clearly, binoculars he had to hide along with the log books in which he recorded her daily activities. Was he a stalker? Elizabeth thought so but for years Greg claimed he only wanted to remain close to his daughter, Kaylee. But she had moved out years ago and was now married and pregnant. Greg kept observing and kept recording.

Hannah Hits The Mark

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse is a novel I purchased on Amazon in December 2018 for USD 0.99. As of the date of this review, the price is US 9.49 and it has just over 300 reviews, 33% of which are five-star reviews. I think the author is good but is writing for a tough audience. Psychological thriller readers want something “never-been-done-before.” Philosophers will argue that is not possible so the author must come up with a different twist on familiar themes. I liked the story and gave it five Amazon stars. Because it had parts where the action was slow, I can see some readers knocking it down to four Amazon stars, but I was willing to give the story a chance. When it picks up the pace is good and is worth waiting (reading) for.

Settling With A Stalker

Splintered Courage by J. E. Sawyer is billed as a new adult contemporary romance according to a statement on its cover. I could not get into the story at all. I cannot think of an audience that this would appeal to. The writing is mechanically good; there are no embarrassing grammar goofs, typos, or formatting problems. The story is good, but it just never takes off. It is as bland as an everyday conversation between two interested parties because more than those two would not be interested.

… But You Can Never Leave

The House of Twelve by Sean Davies will deceive the reader many times. The idea seems familiar. Twelve people wake up in a house but can’t remember how they got there. They don’t know each other and can’t figure out a connection that will tie them together. It is almost as if they had been drugged, kidnapped, and imprisoned in one house. That they were imprisoned is obvious from many indicators. Doors are steel, reinforced, and locked. Where there should be windows, the glass has been replaced by thick constructions of brick. And on a coffee table in the living room, there is a document with House Rules. The first one says they will never be allowed to escape, the second rations the food and water, and the third relates to their imminent deaths. There is constant background music; think elevator music. Each evening at 2300 the music will stop, and one person must die. The victim can die by suicide or be killed by others. If no selection or volunteer happens before 2400, gas will kill all of them.

Erasing the Epilogue

Dying for Justice by Pauline Lynne Isaksen is a crime thriller set in England. Crime thrillers inevitably involve the police. Police procedures in England come complete with their own vocabulary strange to an American ear. A lot of other vocabulary was quite strange and new for me, much of it has to do with food and fashion. Because I learned new things, I really felt rewarded for reading the novel. The plot seemed to be a straightforward murder mystery but there were so many twists along the way, not to mention a surprising “pre-ending” that I was thoroughly entertained by this 244-page novel. It was a fast read of just under four hours and because of all the twists, it was a page-turner.

A Ruined Weekend

Death of a Saturday by Janice Croom is published to introduce readers to her writing style. Interested readers then will read further stories in the Kadence MacBride series: Death of an Idiot Boss and Death of an Island Tart both available on Amazon. I received this short story for free through Prolific Works (formerly Instafreebie) and joined the authors mailing list.

Kadence and husband Terrence were having a quiet weekend until Kadence’s mom called. Her good friend Hattie McBride was in jail for murdering her husband, Blind Willie. Mom knew Hattie hadn’t done it and demanded that daughter Kadence take husband Terrence with her to the jail and bring Hattie from the jail to Mom’s house. Of course, Mom said, Hattie was innocent.

Don’t Believe the Video, Believe What I Say

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Shot to Pieces by Michael O’Keefe is a 414-page police procedural fiction novel I purchased on Amazon after I received an author alert about its availability. As a former law enforcement type, I like novels written by former cops such as O’Keefe. His career was much longer than mine and covered many parts of the job that I only heard about. That was only one difference. My experience was in California, he was in New York. Unless making observations at the federal level, which O’Keefe does, there is not a standardized set of terminology and procedures throughout the United States. There is a standard of training, known as POST (Police Officer’s Standards and Training) that is a goal of police academies but upon graduation, rookies are assigned to training officers where academy training is tweaked to the demands of municipalities and regions. All of this is to note that I learned things from this book.

Lawyers as Criminals

Lethal Lawyers is described by author Dale E. Manolakas as a legal thriller and that is a true claim but much more so for aspiring lawyers and paralegals than for the general public. The story bogs down early because of the great number of characters introduced. It takes reading through a few subplots to get the relationships of the characters straight. With the word “lethal” in the title, a reader can expect a few killings. Several deaths occur so we have a built-in mystery as readers look for the identity of the killer. I knew very early in the novel that it was one of two possible characters, so I felt a need to read through the slow-moving novel to find out if it was one of my two suspects. I was not surprised. For me, this was an “OK” novel, three Amazon stars. Perhaps those with a strong interest in adventures involving lawyers would give this novel a higher rating.

Simone is Ahead

Photo by Wes Powers on Unsplash

Tagged, You’re It is a novelette by Jamie Lee Scott which she labels as A Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery. I felt this was a novel written to a perceived niche market and therefore had an element of unreality. This very diverse group of people could have come together in their business and social relationships, but I believe it unlikely. The setting is a New Year’s Eve party. There will be several minor mysteries throughout the story as to who invited whom and for what purpose (other than to celebrate the holiday.