Bob Riggs invokes the Wild West on the sex traffickers who kidnapped his daughter in Sinaloa, Mexico. He seemingly returns from the dead seeking revenge disguised as justice. Dear Reader follows his frustrated efforts through multiple warnings that only spur him on to greater depths of determination. Nothing will dissuade him from rescuing his daughter and making the kidnappers pay. Holm paints a graphic picture of human trafficking in Sinaloa and a gritty portrait of a father’s love. I received a digital copy of this well-written, tension-filled story from the publisher Great West Pub through NetGalley.
In a small town of apparently apathetic citizenry, 30-something Walter Mitchell, whose wife divorced him and moved to another state with their daughter, somehow ends up taking in the teenage daughter of his neighbor, a horridly neglectful mother. Maher carefully lays out Walter’s slippery slope of determining what he feels is best for this child on the cusp of womanhood. As young Amanda expresses her burgeoning awakening of sexuality, Walter supresses the natural physical response in himself, carefully talking himself and Amanda through the gauntlet to which he has inadvertently led them. In the end, he insists on the punishment he believes he deserves. Though not an ideal execution, the torment of the main character, his self-enforced isolation from support, and the self-control he exhibits, brilliantly portrays the dichotomy of nature versus civilization, the social mores that separate us from animals and their natural instinct. The only comparison to Lolita would have to consider this a retelling, but that would still belie the fact that the main characters are on opposite ends of the morality spectrum. I received this intriguing, controversial story from the publisher RedDoor publishing through NetGalley.
Pernilla contacts private detective Kouplan, a political refugee from Iran hiding in the shadows until he can seek legal asylum, to find her daughter. Kouplan gathers information from various underground sources in his investigation, eventually concluding that Pernilla’s mental instability may actually be the mystery. His compassion for another human living in the shadows encourages Pernilla to seek the truth along with him. I received this wonderful story of humanity and those living delicately on the fringes of society from the publisher Minotaur Books through NetGalley.
This is a classic tale of vulnerability leading an everyman to sell his soul for riches, until he reaches a point that he can no longer deny the evil to which he contributes. Of course the good-hearted girlfriend does her best to turn him around, and somehow her story intersects with his in a “small world” kind of way. Mitzner does a nice job of imbuing a modern take on this story, with graphic details of the unearned hedonistic life, and an interesting resolution for the everyman. I was fortunate to receive a copy of this well-written book from the publisher Thomas & Mercer through NetGalley.
Maggie feels something imminently dangerous coming to her daughter Emma, who just headed off on her first year of college. When police come to her door one evening, she knows her premonition has come to fruition. The widow of a police detective, Maggie conducts her own investigation into her daughter’s disappearance, with all new information obscuring who she believed her daughter to be. Simmons writes a good mystery, replete with complex family dynamics, secrets spilling out all over, and a storyline that builds until it bursts and everything makes sense. Fans of Liane Moriarty, Diane Chamberlain, and Kerry Anne King will appreciate Simmons’ writing style and storytelling brilliance. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of the book by one of my favorite authors from the publisher Sourcebook Landmark through NetGalley.
The stories get better as you go deeper into this collection. The graphic depictions of sex and violence are just enough to give Dear Readers with active imaginations speculative ammo for tremors and terrors. Run, don’t walk, through these stories. Something always goes awry in the everyday worlds of Jack Rollins. A woman seeking sexual release exacts supernatural revenge on the shady service professional she hired for this purpose. An elderly couple become fungi. The ghost ship’s captain shows a very human sense of integrity. A young man cheating on his boyfriend discovers that not all legendary villains are fiction. A family man finds what appears to be evidence of a serial killer in the garage of their newly acquired home. Oh, and the lost god Mammon trips lightly through many of these tales—don’t turn around; keep running. Jack’s work is unique and his style feels personal, almost as though the characters are sharing too much, which works into a creepy crawly feeling under your skin. The only thing that popped me out of his stories is the common description of any man as tall, strong, and muscular. There are no wimps in Jack’s worlds. Despite that niggle, his work is solid and entertaining. I highly recommend this collection; really, anything by him. He’s so open and frank that his introductions to each story are nearly stories themselves; I thought the first one was the story!
The FBI visits Mrs. Ford, a middle-aged widow in a tony coastal neighborhood, to question her connection to a Chaldean gun-runner who happened to have her name and address on his person. Their story began with two young women—troubled Annie and her straight-laced friend Susan—working in a Detroit discotheque as cocktail waitresses in the late 70s. Naivete inadvertently placed them amidst the territory negotiations between the Chaldeans and the Italian brothers who owned the discotheque. Royce brilliantly juxtaposed their young lives upon the questionable atmosphere of the discotheque and the shady men who ran it and frequented it, the flashbacks graphically detailed and relevant to Mrs. Ford’s current incarnation as the widow of Jack Ford. I graciously received this intriguing thriller from the publisher Post Hill Press through NetGalley for an honest review.
Betsy’s sister, the good sister, her parents’ favorite, died last year, and her mother has spiraled down into a deep depression, refusing help and alienating Betsy and her father. They struggle along until a revelation rips into the family. Rouda carefully extracts truth from underneath appearances and flays expectations. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain will appreciate this story and Rouda’s style. I was fortunate to receive a copy of this wonderful story from Graydon House through NetGalley.
Sarah’s superior, a securely ensconced tenured professor who’s brought in great funding for the university, is a serial harasser offering her a (well-deserved) promotion in exchange for her “cooperation.” While picking up her child from school, she foils the kidnapping of a little girl, whose quietly powerful father then offers her a favor—choose a name and that person will cease to be a problem for her. Sarah struggles with the moral morass of resolving not only her own situation, but ending the reign of a decades-perpetrating, multi-victim offender against becoming someone she doesn’t want to be. A 29-second phone call changes the course of her life. Logan brilliantly portrays the frustrating inner battle of desire to set things right versus not wanting to stoop to the same level for resolution. I received this well-written story from the publisher twenty7 through NetGalley.
Eddie Flynn reluctantly takes on a celebrity client on trial for murder based on his belief in the man’s innocence, while a murderer sits on the jury, gleefully watching the process. Cavanagh cleverly plays the murderer’s presence against the brilliance of the conman lawyer. I received a copy of this crime thriller from the publisher Orion through NetGalley, and although it’s a decent standalone, I wish the publisher would include on NetGalley the fact that a book is part of a series.