J.A. Konrath writes a lot under the Konrath name and even has at least one pseudonym. That much is revealed on an Amazon author page. I resisted the temptation to count how many novels he has written. I am sure the total number of published works is revealed somewhere but the information would just settle in my pile of never reviewed facts next to my books TBR pile. In the Jack Daniels thriller series, there are eleven novels with catchy names like Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, and Rusty Nail. You get the idea. In all novels of this series Jack (for Jacqueline), Daniels appears as a clever, witty, and super smart detective. You can pause now and think of all the clever play on words that the detective’s name might give rise to. When finished, think about this novel, Shot of Tequila. It seems another clever title in the series. Not true. Jack Daniels is a very busy detective. She wandered outside the boundaries of a series devoted to her and appears in this stand-alone novel, as well as in nine others. Jack also appears in approximately fourteen novellas. All figures are plus or minus one or two. As you might note, I could construct a supplementary TBR shelf for JA Konrath novels alone. Then I could begin with novels that he has written in collaboration with others.
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.
The Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer by Demeza Carlton are truly scary because they are so horrible as fragments. Caitlin’s nightmares always end with an abrupt and screaming waking call to a rescuer she barely knows, Nathan. Caitlin remembers one thing clearly. Nathan, her rescuer, has promised he would never leave her side; he would always be there when she woke up, even in the several surgery rooms where doctors worked to restore her body to a semblance of what she was before her abduction and torture. Each sleep session, four or five per night, brings a few more memories about what happened to her, who tortured her, how many participated in the abduction, and how she was rescued (not escaped) from her captors.
Hide and Seek by Jack Ketchum is an emotional, action, horror story. That is in reverse order. The horror part of the story is based on a tried and true element, an ancient almost one-hundred-year-old abandoned house. Its original owners, Ben and Mary Crouch, had simply abandoned it. The brother and sister couple, both of whom were considered mentally feeble, had gotten behind on mortgage or tax payments. Warned of imminent foreclosure, they had simply disappeared. Perhaps they had taken some of their dogs with them, but twenty-three were left behind. Confined and hungry, they presented a challenge to the police officers who responded to a call based on neighbor complaints. After throwing food, some possibly tainted with drugs, into the house, the officers waited for the noise of dogs fighting for food to abate before entering the house. They found heaps of garbage, old newspapers, items that could only be considered junk, and general filth. The house remained empty until a doctor bought it, tried to renovate at least parts of it, but eventually gave up either out of frustration or perhaps due to a sinister implied threat from the disappeared Ben and Mary Crouch. Abandoned again, the house fascinated the curious, usually young, inhabitants of Dead River.