#BookReview Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith

Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith is an addicting, fun and thrilling ride around a small Greek village.

In this thriller, an FBI agent finds his way to a Greek island where fires keep happening. He is investigating why they are happening and who could have caused him. Along the way, he comes across local islanders and business owners trying their best to succeed and living their lives. He meets himself a fancy man who he begins to fall for, and who might not be who he says he is. Many other islanders face the same fate: there’s a priest who isn’t so saintly, a family struggling to keep their business afloat, an Albanian waiter who has lots of drama going on, and his new lover’s sister is trying to get with every man no matter the relationships she ruins for them along the way.

This book is WILD. I was instantly stuck to it and truly intrigued about the ending. It took a bit for the entire story to piece itself together, but when it does it’s absolutely marvelous. I can easily say this is one of my top 2020 reads. I couldn’t put the book down!

There are some difficult topics in this book, like suicide and rape. Reader beware – this book doesn’t go too crazy into these topics, but they are still there. The mystery and romance is much more in the fore front.

On another note: This book is LGBT friendly! Huzzah!

Overall, this book was excellent! I’d highly recommend picking this book up if you love mystery and suspense with a dash of romance.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Timothy Jay Smith and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

You can find Timothy Jay Smith on:
Goodreads Author Page
http://www.timothyjaysmith.com/
Twitter – @timothyjaysmith|

Tim on Santorini

Here’s another Timothy Jay Smith book recently featured on my blog:
The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith – Briar’s Reviews

Check out more mystery and suspense novels to fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
#BookReview The Extra Cadaver Murder by Roy Innes
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby

The Champagne Conspiracy is now one of my top 2020 reads!

I love a good cozy mystery to snuggle under the covers and read some tea with. This book fit the bill and was a wonderful distraction from the bad weather in my town.

This is the seventh book in the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby, but don’t be discouraged by that number. I found this book super easy to jump into. It would have been nice having all of the background relationships and mysteries to fall back on, but I had zero issue becoming instantly addicted to this book and feeling for these characters.

Lucie and Quinn make wine and are good buddies! At their Vineyard one day, Gino Tomassi (an older gentleman who also likes and makes wine) strolls in and presents an old mystery about his family. Lucie and Quinn decide to help out after a pinch of blackmail and tragedy are brought up. One of Lucie’s friends also has some mystery and intrigue occurring in her life, for which Lucie must help out with. Will both be solved? Will there be any closure for these families? Also, flapper dresses!

This book easily became my guilty pleasure and I truly want to grab the rest of the books in this series. It’s a bit more than a cozy mystery, but still fit the bill quite well. There’s a pinch of romance, lots of drama, a mystery that you can see coming if you pay attention and lots of humour. Also, alcohol and wine! The descriptions of wine… Ellen Crosby has a way with words, let me tell ya! There was also a splash of history, which I always like hearing about! Ellen made the history far more interesting than any of my history teachers ever did.

I found the ending to be a little bit predictable, but only if you really paid attention. I was thoroughly addicted to this book so I saw the signs, but I don’t think every reader will. Books like this deserve all the hype! It’s well written and well thought out!

Overall, this fast paced, cozy mystery is a must read! It’s delightful, full of character development and likeable characters. Also, I love the representation of a physical disability in a main character. It’s shown in such a real and respectable way to – it doesn’t slow her down but it’s there. Much respect!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you love cozy mysteries, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Poison by Punctuation by Kelley Kaye
#BookReview Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
#BookReview A Study for Love by Ruth Miranda

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview The Extra Cadaver Murder by Roy Innes

The Extra Cadaver Murder by Roy Innes is honestly one of my new fave mystery books!

Canadian book? Check! Murder mystery? Check! Female lead who is realistic? Check! What more can a Canadian book lover, like myself, ask for?!

Roy Innes has crafted one amazing book that had me hooked to every word. I almost binged this book (you can blame all of my homework for that one) and I could barely put it down! Seriously, it was a real struggle walking away from this book!

James and Coswell work on identifying the murderer of a university professor, all the while dealing with gender biases. Throw in the RCMP, some very complicated relationships and twists and turns you won’t see coming, and you’ve got yourself a real hit!

There were times in this book where the speed slowed down and it dragged on. Despite the small pacing issue, I had no problems with this book. It felt like a standalone, it didn’t have a cliffhanger and it felt really smart. I’d absolutely read another book by Roy Innes any day of the week! I just have to get my hands on one of those suckers…

In general, the book doesn’t stand out or do anything that other mystery novels haven’t already. We have a female lead dealing with gender bias, an aging officer dealing with all the joys of getting old and the obvious “who dunnit?’ storyline that leads you one way then takes you another. You wouldn’t be able to see the ending coming since not all characters are introduced right away, but I still think it’s a fun ride. I absolutely enjoyed this book and want more!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free via Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you like murder mystery novels, you might enjoy some of these other books:
#BookReview And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
#BookReview Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis

Man, oh man. I did NOT see that ending coming! Like… wow! What in the world just happened?!

The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer takes some wild twists and turns in this rather short story. K. Kris Loomis does an absolutely marvelous job at allowing us a peek at Claire’s life and the brains of a few musical geniuses.

When the best musical genius comes to town, everyone needs to see his brilliance! Many piano players take a trip to a historic plantation site. Claire is one of the many musicians ready to learn from the always brilliant, but slightly insane, Leopold Beckenbauer. Along the way, many musicians learn their abilities and figure out who the real Leopold Beckenbauer is. Oh, and as the title suggests, he dies.

Claire’s troubled marriage, her tragic past, Leopold’s wacky behaviour and the kooky cast of characters all make this story really engaging. I was honestly so pulled into this story that I could hardly believe it was over! K. Kris Loomis can tell a really good story in such a small amount of space! I’m kinda annoyed that it wasn’t longer and that I couldn’t spend some more time with these characters. I was truly enchanted by the descriptions of Beethoven’s music (and the other composers too!).

I didn’t see half of this story coming from a mile away, which was super awesome! I hate when I can guess the ending by the first few pages. It took me about half the book to figure out the big twist, but I’m glad it took me that long! It’s a ‘fun’ yet tragic twist that most readers won’t catch onto unless they are paying attention. So many hints were dropped along the way that it’s “easy” to catch onto the twist, but you have to be paying attention to really grasp what’s going on. I felt like Sherlock Holmes trying to solve these mysteries!

My biggest negative is this: I want to see more of Danny. I felt like I needed a little bit more of him in this book or to see what happens with Claire and Danny. What can I say? I like a happy ending.

Overall, this book was epic! I want more mysteries like this that really pull you in and drag you along. It was such a treat! If you like Murder on the Orient Express styled books, this story will be right up your alley!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, K. Kris Loomis, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

If you liked this book (or review!) check out some other reads you might enjoy:
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview Murder on Safari by Peter Riva

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Murder on Safari is a unique mystery read with in depth descriptions.

I didn’t find this book matched well with me as a reader, but the book is still incredible. Peter Riva creates an amazing tale woven in this novel that is full of mystery in Africa.

For me, I couldn’t get into the writing style. Peter Riva paints the story well with his words, but we just didn’t mash well. I’d highly recommend this novel if you love a good mystery or tales surrounding another country, but I don’t think I’ll be rereading this novel.

The pacing builds as the story goes on, becoming more and more intriguing as each page passes. Slowly, the details and mystery unravels to create an epic ending that will leave you breathless. If you pay attention well, you can connect the clues by the end of the story. But, if you’d rather just follow along and have fun, it’s easy to get lost in this story that way as well.

Pero and Mbuno are well developed characters who work well together. Some of the best comedic lines come from this duo! You’ll find yourself growing to love these characters as each page passes by. Also, the introduction of the other characters felt like it flowed well with the story as well. I didn’t find any of these characters were forced into the narrative.

The setting of Africa was truly breathtaking. I’m not sure how accurate it is (since I haven’t been there) but it felt real. Other authors could easily learn from Peter Riva’s talents in description of a location. At times, I felt it was almost TOO descriptive, but if you like that sort of writing this book might be for you!

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I think it is an incredible read that should find it’s way onto more shelves. I would recommend this book if you are a fan of mysteries, love good quality in descriptions, or are looking for a book that is out of the ordinary (in a good way, of course!).

Two out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find out more about this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22750225-murder-on-safari

 

Find out more about the author, Peter Riva on:

His website:  http://www.peterriva.com/

On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/peterrivaauthor

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Murder on Safari

Amazon.ca: Amazon.ca – Murder on Safari

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews on Twitter and start a conversation! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below – have you read any thrillers later?

#BookReview Cursed Vines by Suzanne Ferreira

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Cursed Vines by Suzanne Ferreira is a unique mix of suspense, thrills and fantasy!

This book surprised me with how fantastic it was – not often do I pick up a book with no reviews on Goodreads and it be absolutely magical in all the best ways! I feel like a really lucky reader who gets to yell “First!” in the comment section since I’ve found such a truly unique and addicting read!

Now, to the review:

This story is full of incredible descriptions that paint this story onto your eyes. The descriptions of the characters, their wardrobe, the food and the history of Portugal and it’s culture were just breathtaking! As someone with little experience or knowledge of the Portuguese culture, I felt like I connected and understood so much more from just this book! The portrayal of the culture and locations were respectful and made me feel like I truly dove into this world. Suzanne just has a way with words that makes you connect so well with the story and it’s characters. If anything, I’d suggest this book alone for the way Suzanne paints the narrative for the reader.

Some of the little quirks of this novel was the different aspects of the culture – burning ears means someone is gossiping about you, and black cats being good luck because they will absorb all of the evil. I really liked the little tidbits of information that were sprinkled around the plot development. I felt like those really enhanced this book up a notch on the review spectrum.

Now onto the plot! This book, at first glance, seems like a typical thriller set in an exotic land to the average fiction reader. But alas, good reader, this book mixes in so many genres in a truly unbelievable way that it should be in it’s own subgenre. First of all, our lead Talia is a journalist who is seeking out murderers of twin girls – check off that crime and thriller box on your checklist. Next, there’s a healthy helping of the black arts, a cult, some voodoo and omens to check off the fantasy or supernatural check box. There’s a teaspoon of romance (just barely a teaspoon), some murder and drama to mix all of the plot line together into an epic journey.

Talia goes off to Portugal with her boyfriend Jared and her friend Caryn after a family member dies. There’s a little romance and a little conflict that sends all three characters on their separate ways – Caryn chasing a man & Jared and Talia breaking up. Talia meets the super sexy Nuno and sets off on her journalistic adventure. The family drama left behind after the funeral ignites this journey for Talia, since she also wants to discover some of her family’s secrets. Once she goes off with Nuno though, her world unravels and the plot travels like a B&M roller coaster (lots of flips, turns and crazy speeds).

The plot itself sounds like a mess, but it’s just because this book is so hard to summarize! There is so much going on, but it all works so well together! Suzanne has crafted this excellent epic that I really loved! There’s so much drama and suspense throughout the book, I couldn’t even put it down!

If I’m tearing apart the speed of the novel, I felt like it was pretty even paced until 3/4ths through the book. Suddenly, it picks up speed and the action goes nuts! I really liked that aspect of it, because I do tend to get bored near the end if nothing exciting happens. Alongside that point, I feel that Suzanne made the story slowly unfold at a good pace. Each little important plot tidbit is thrown in to make the reader catch up to what is really happening, and I thought it was perfection! As I slowly began to piece together what was happening, a little tidbit was thrown in that made me go “Yes! I was right” and then the plot continued to bounce along.

But, dear reader, you may be asking if there were negatives – and of course there were! No book is ever perfect. Here’s my list.

1.For a journalist, Talia is really trusting of people! That does set of the plot, but to me she was a little too trusting…
2. Jared/Talia’s relationship was SO GOOD. I wanted more! This isn’t a bad part of the book because there wasn’t really room in the narrative to expand about their relationship and relationship issues, but I would have loved to see more of them! Their dynamic was so intriguing! Ugh!
3. The ending just seems to stop suddenly! Just like a snap of the fingers and it’s over! I really wanted to know what happened – who survives, who doesn’t, what was the point of the dreams/omens and what was a dream/omen, the fallout of all the action, etc. I liked this book to the point I wanted more (which is a rarity).
4. Evil villain explaining all the evil plans – it worked really well within this book, but I feel like it’s a cliche some readers might not like. Was it a negative for me? No, not at all! I actually liked it, but I know a lot of readers cringe at that thought so I threw it down here.

Overall, this book was really good! It really surprised me that more people aren’t picking it up because it is so good! It’s the perfect mix of action and suspense! I’d highly recommend it, especially if you love thrillers, mysteries and action!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from Suzanne Ferreira in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find out more about Suzanne Ferreira on:

Goodreads – Author Page

http://www.suzanneferreira.com/

Twitter – @sferreiradixon

Facebook – @sferreiradixon

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads – Cursed Vines

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles – Canadian Book Seller

 

If you enjoyed this review, leave me a comment below or give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay

#BookReview Poison by Punctuation by Kelley Kaye

This sequel is another thrilling yet cozy mystery that is set in the halls of a high school!

We continue on in this book with Emma and Leslie in yet another pickle. This time around, a student was murdered! The suspense is excellent in this story – I felt myself being pulled in even farther into the story as each page went by. It really hooks the reader and makes them feel committed! Throw in some A grade comedy, fantastic character development and lots of education allusions and you’ve got one epic book!

These two sleuths are basically the adult versions of Nancy Drew! The wittiness and cuteness of this book makes it the perfect relaxation novel. I also found it to be the perfect binging novel (although you could easily put this book down and jump back into it). It’s also a G to PG rated book – there’s nothing graphic or overly worrisome. Teens and adults alike will easily be able to read and enjoy this book!

It was a real delight seeing Emma and Leslie and their fantastic chemistry together again! The two of them make the perfect best friends for a fun, cozy story! I can almost feel them radiating their positivity off the pages! And on top of that, they are hilarious! I also have a strong love for the secondary characters as well! The other teachers are all interesting and truly characters.

Hunter was a real breakout character for me. I loved seeing more of him in this novel and I hope in any future books he’s hanging around more!

I loved all the quotations between the chapters – that’s one major part of this series that raises it above all the others! The Shakespeare quotes always get me! I love it!

My final comment – I loved that adoption became a big part of this book. The awareness of adoption, while out there, isn’t spoken about enough (in my honest opinion). Thank you Kelley for expanding the conversation!

Kelley Kaye is the Queen of cozy, comedic mysteries! I will definitely be looking for more books by her and I highly recommend picking up this must read novel!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author Kelley Kaye in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Poison by Punctuation

Youtube – Book Trailer – Poison by Punctuation

Amazon.com – Poison by Punctuation

Amazon.ca – Poison by Punctuation

 

Check out the first book in this series, Death by Diploma, on:

Goodreads – Death by Diploma

Youtube – Book Trailer – Death by Diploma

Amazon.com – Death by Diploma

Amazon.ca – Death by Diploma

Find out more about Kelley Kaye on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye or Goodreads – Kelley Kaye #2

YouTube – Kelley Kaye

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @KelKay1202

Facebook – Kelley Kaye

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Death by Diploma by Kelley Kaye

Death by Diploma by Kelley Kaye is a fun, cozy mystery that is perfect for binging!

I’ve gotta say, I have been yearning for some teacher centered reads lately (ironically, since school is getting out around now for the elementary school kids in my area). And what is my luck that Kelley Kaye has an awesome mystery series that’s full of teachers, silly antics and loads of thrills!

Our lead Emma working at a new school and meets Leslie, the current head of the English department. While being introduced to her new life as the high school English teacher, she discovers a murder! Leslie, Emma and a band of jolly characters must work together to find out who killed a beloved janitor and all of the secrets he held behind the scenes in his life.

The book is FULL of quotes – Star Wars and Shakespeare just to name a couple! I loved all of the silly references that I understood, and the ones I didn’t I got to look up and find MORE books to add to my never ending to-be-read pile! Add in the comedy that Kelley Kaye is clearly an expert at providing, and you’ve got yourself a fun time! Work your way through this book and try to solve the mystery, or just enjoy the giggles you’ll get from the wacky one liners!

For me as a reader, I couldn’t find much wrong with this book. It was short enough to binge it but long enough to feel fulfilling. It was also packed with everything I love – silly comments, epic quotes and fun characters. There’s drama, a splash of flirtiness and romance, gossip, thrills and chills. It hits all the notes I want in a sweet novel!

I would say this book is for 16+, due to some of the adult comments used in the book. That being said, if you’ve got a mature teen they will have no problem reading this book! It’s not R rated, it just has adult comments that you might not want to read to your children.

Five out of five stars! It was a fun ride that I definitely want more of! I’ll be searching for Kelley Kaye’s books on every bookshelf I can!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kelley Kaye in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

 

Check out the first bo on:

Goodreads – Death by Diploma

Youtube – Book Trailer – Death by Diploma

Amazon.com – Death by Diploma

Amazon.ca – Death by Diploma

Find out more about Kelley Kaye on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye or Goodreads – Kelley Kaye #2

YouTube – Kelley Kaye

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @KelKay1202

Facebook – Kelley Kaye

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below! What books do you find “cozy”?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview A Study for Love by Ruth Miranda

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A Study for Love by Ruth Miranda is one of the best books I’ve ever read!

This novel is a mixture of murder mystery, drama, suspense, thriller and romance. Camilla and Sebastian, our main characters for this novel, are a truly intriguing pair that will resonate with you! The roller coaster of emotions these characters go through, mixed with the epic murder mystery, makes one epic story that is an absolute must read!

This book started off fast and had me hooked instantly. Normally it takes me a while to get into a book, but Ruth Miranda did an excellent job at grabbing my attention and keeping it. Sebastian, who used to be a famous photographer and has since fallen out of grace, is grieving over the loss of his wife and daughter. Camila, a disgraced woman whose life is filled with scandal, literally runs into Sebastian and suddenly their lives are entangled. Was Sebastian’s family murdered? Can the two of them ever come back into good graces?

This story is a unique spin on the murder mystery meets celebrity aspect of this genre. I really liked the pacing, the character growth and development, and the plot itself. I truly hope Ruth makes a sequel to this book, because I am in love with these characters and I need more! It leaves off in a way that makes me yearn for more, or at least have Ruth tell me what happened because it’s oh so good!

As for the ending, it’s an epic conclusion of twists and turns. I had my suspicions of what was going to occur, but it still came as quite the surprise!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves an epic drama, suspense and murder mysteries, or a little splash of romance in this book. It’s definitely an adult novel, but mature teenagers could easily love this book just as much as the adults. There are some sexy scenes, but no brutal gore.

Overall, I loved it! I would give it six out of five if that was a possible score! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Ruth Miranda in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon.com – A Study for Love / Amazon.ca – A Study for Love

 

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews and give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Cutter by Thomas Laird

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To say I’m now obsessed with Thomas Laird and this series is an understatement. This book is just WOW.

I’ve always had a fondness for a good crime novel/television show/film. My love of Bones, Kathy Reich’s novels, 19-2, Chicago Fire/PD/etc, NCIS, Hawaii Five-O, and so many others are all stapled on my book shelf and DVD collection. What’s always hard though, is finding a REALLY good book – and Thomas Laird made one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am desperate to get more of these novels. I don’t know how Thomas Laird did it, but for me he made a hit. Yes, there were some slower parts of this book that dragged on, but when the book gets moving, it moves FAST. I love our lead and his romantic interest Natalie, and their little family side plots. I love the relationship between the department, and I love the side chapters of the killer. It’s all fantastic!!

The chapters involving the killer show how sadistic this killer is, and it was a very interesting twist. Most of the novels or shows I’ve seen don’t give much insight into the killer until the end! Yet this book does it just perfectly – a little hint of what the person is doing, but nothing to give away who it is.

This book is definitely close to R rated. There are some gruesome descriptions and some explicit sex/rape scenes – so this book isn’t for the light-hearted. But it is an excellent crime story!! These brutal scenes fit in with the narrative and help tell the story – they aren’t just in there for shock factor or to make the book seem “sexy” like some crime novels have done. These aren’t passionate sex scenes, they are brutal and show how horrible the killer is.

Our lead character is a bit…interesting. He’s a tough guy and uses some rough language, but it doesn’t take away from the story. It seems to be more of a character development issue if anything. Reading other reviews people didn’t like that part of the story, but for me it just highlighted what type of character he is. Not everyone is sunshine and roses in police departments, unfortunately. Just like everything other job in this world – no one is perfect and uses G-rated language all the time.

One thing I’m furious about – the ending. It was on a cliff hanger and MY GOODNESS DO I HATE CLIFFHANGERS. Knowing that I probably won’t be able to find the second book in this series anytime soon makes it worse… Even with that cliffhanger though, the book was a definite recommended read from me. It’s a spectacular crime drama that hits all the notes it needs to.

Overall – this dark, twisted crime novel is everything I wanted it to be and more. What a great fast paced thriller!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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