#TopBooksList Briar’s Crime, Mystery & Thriller Reads

It’s that time again! I have created another master list of some epic reads that kept me busy throughout the past couple of years. This time around I decided to do a little crime, mystery, suspense and thrilling reads! I have a fondness for crime novels and suspense always get me hooked! This is only part one of this list since there are SO many good books out there. Let me know if you’ve read these novels, you’ve found a new book or if you have a recommendation for me! Now, time to get started!

 

1. The Darby Shaw Chronicles by Liberty Speidel
The Darby Shaw Chronicles are an excellent start to this suspenseful collection. Murder, mystery, thrills and suspense are all splashed across the pages of this NCIS/Bones inspired book. I highly recommend picking this book up if you want a bit of crime and mystery in your life, especially fictional! This series was a real joy and there’s even more books out that I haven’t picked up yet!
Goodreads – Darby Shaw
Amazon.ca – Darby Shaw #1-3
Amazon.com – Darby Shaw #1-3

 

2. Crime Seen by Kate Lines
This real life Patrol Offier and Profiler paints one epic picture of her life in this non-fiction book. If you loved Bones and Temperance Brennan, you’ll find this book so intriguing! I could barely put this book down – the realism, the insanity of real life crime and the beautiful prose all make for one great book. Kate Lines’s story is one to read! I’d definitely recommend it if you like non-fiction novels about crime.
Goodreads – Crime Seen
Amazon.ca – Crime Seen
Amazon.com – Crime Seen

 

3. The Trap by Melanie Raabe
This book was translated into English, so on top of being truly epic in English – it’s truly epic in other languages too! This book was a pinnacle read for me. This crazy, crime thriller reminded me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s so compelling reading about a writer who had someone close to her murdered, and now she’s out for revenge. Yet, she’s a recluse… It’s a real gem and it sits on top of my FAVOURITE book pile. Seriously, it’s that good. Will Linda solve the murder of her little sister?! Read to find out!
Goodreads – The Trap
Amazon.ca – The Trap
Amazon.com – The Trap

 

4. The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
I’m somewhat cheating with this book, because it’s honestly the whole series that had me hooked. Gary Corbin’s Mountain Man series is pure excellence! It’s thrilling and suspenseful but also lots of fun too! It’s not crazy seriously, but is epic all the same. Lehigh Carter has a dog, as the title suggests, but he gets himself into a thrilling situation full of crime, suspense and mystery. Add in a splash of romance, multiple pinches of humour and an epic trilogy and you’ve got yourself a real winner! Make sure you read all three books, because it’s absolutely worth it! The Mountain Man’s Badge and the Mountain Man’s Bride are also excellent!
Goodreads – The Mountain Man’s Dog
Amazon.ca – The Mountain Man’s Dog
Amazon.com – The Mountain Man’s Dog

 

5. Twisted Reasons by Geza Tetrallyay
This book is twisted, in a good way (of course!). This R rated series is full of insane crime, blood and gore, and intense scenes. It’s not for the light hearted! That being said, it’s a real treat if you love the more brutal side of crime and suspense in your books. Human Trafficking, Russians, crazy gangs and lots of action are all packed in this book. Be sure to pick up the sequels to finish this series off! It’s well worth the read!
Goodreads – Twisted Reasons
Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.com
Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.ca

 

6. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
No thrilling list is complete without a classic, so why not list THE classic? Murder on the Orient Express is a truly marvelous novel, and if you haven’t picked it up – are you crazy?! I read it because I watched the Johnny Depp movie, and I absolutely loved both! It’s a real crazy mystery where everything is connected and Agatha Christie drops lots of hints along the way. If you love piecing a story together as you go, pick this book up! It’s literary genius!
Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express
Amazon.ca – Murder on the Orient Express
Amazon.com – Murder on the Orient Express

 

7. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a dark spin on the typical crime novel. Dexter Morgan is a blood scene analyst, oh, and he’s a serial killer too! He kills only those who are bad, but he’s still a murderer. This book is really interesting to read, mostly because you’re seeing the other side of the story. You question Dexter’s morals yet you also agree with him as a reader, it’s a really mind boggling read. There’s also a television show (Dexter) but it’s not perfectly matched. Either way, I recommend both! It’s an R rated, wild ride! This book is also apart of a series, so if you want a new series to binge – read this!
Goodreads – Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Amazon.ca – Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Amazon.com – Darkly Dreaming Dexter

 

8. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Kathy Reichs is one of my all time favourite authors. She crafts magnificent crime stories from an anthropologist’s point of view (it helps that she was/is one!). Temperance Brennan ended up getting her own television show (Bones), but they are not totally alike. The plot line and back stories are different, but the television show is loosely based on the books. It’s a great, giant series to hop into that is more PG-13 rated (due to the deaths, but not much else). It’s knowledgeable, well written and really cool! I am still working my way through this series, but eventually I will finish! It’s a real gem that I’d highly recommend.
Goodreads – Deja Dead
Amazon.ca – Deja Dead
Amazon.com – Deja Dead

 

9. If We Had Known by Elise Juska
This book isn’t necessarily a crime book, but a suspenseful thriller. A mass shooting occurs and everyone’s lives change. This book follows the characters through survival and aftermath, and it honestly gave me chills. It’s the type of book I needed to read despite the harsh content. It’s a PG-13 rated novel, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The tough material is taken on so well, but it might be a bit of a trigger for some individuals. If you want a unique book that takes on serious content, this book is for you.
Goodreads – If We Had Known
Amazon.ca – If We Had Known
Amazon.com – If We Had Known

 

10. And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee
International spies, out of retirement, political thriller, and great suspense – all of these can be used to describe the final book on my life! Joni Dee crafts an epic story that reminds me of James Bond, The Man from UNCLE and Mission Impossible. It’s a truly epic read that’s fast paced, full of spies and insanity, and totally thrilling. It’s a great standalone to add to your TBR if you want lots of thrills in a PG-13 setting.
Goodreads – And The Wolf Shall Dwell
Amazon.ca – And The Wolf Shall Dwell
Amazon.com – And The Wolf Shall Dwell
Amazon.co.uk – And The Wolf Shall Dwell

 

So, how’d you make out with that list? Some new books to add to the TBR? Some old favourites? Give me a shout out and let me know what you think! Did I miss any books? There will be a part 2 coming in the future, because MAN do I love a good thrill ride!

 

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#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

If you’re looking for a book full of mystery, thrills and deceit then The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith might be for you!

This book was action packed, fast paced and full of intriguing characters (all of which seem to meet at the final climax of the book). Not only that, but Timothy Jay Smith had such a way with words that it was hard to put down! To just quote the opening lines of the book, “their steel girders boomed thunderously” had me hooked, and his way with his prose continued to be spotless and marvelous!

In this book, we follow Jay Porter the FBI agent while he is in Poland. Dead men are popping up everywhere and they all have very specific pieces of evidence about them suggesting there’s a murderer on the loose. Throw in the 90s setting with Russia, Poland and nuclear weapons, and you’ve got yourself a great start to a thrilling mystery novel. Along the way we meet characters who seem to belong to the mafia, a lovely lady named Basia who feels like a Bond girl, and lots and lots of deceit.

This book gave me Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and James Bond vibes. It’s really intriguing and dark yet still made me feel totally hooked on the book. I read it all in one sitting because I NEEDED to know how it ended. To top it off, having the incredible writing style of Timothy was just amazing! It was enchanting to read the story and see it happening in front of my eyes so well! He’s so descriptive!

If I had to give this book a rating, it would be R. There’s blood, guns and sex (lots of sex, among different genders too!).

If I had to list some of the “cons” of this book, it would be as followed:
1. There’s a lot of small side plot/comments that may throw some readers off. For example, Jay’s trouble with his ex-wife and son pop up briefly a few times. It’s not totally necessary to know all of that information to know about Jay, but it’s there. I could see that being a distraction for some readers.
2. Jay and Lilka had more chemistry than Jay had murder-solving capabilities, in my humble opinion. I would have liked to see him work a little harder on his crime solving abilities or flesh out the romance full out. But that’s just me – I like romance novels and I like mystery novels and I find them hard to mix together.

Overall, this is one great addition to your mystery and thriller shelf! I would 100% recommend this book if you like a good mystery novel or want something to spice of your reading! And, it’s relatively short! The copy I received was under 300 pages which made it nice and quick for me!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Timothy Jay Smith, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Nobles
Indigo
Kobo
timothyjaysmith.com
Skyhorse Publishing

 

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#BookReview Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming was a truly marvelous classic.

I can totally understand why this book is considered one of the classic and first spy novels. It felt exactly like what I would expect a James Bond book to be – full of thrills, surprise twists and turns, double agents, alcohol, gambling and pretty women.

My favourite part of this book is that it wasn’t exactly like a James Bond film – this James Bond made errors along the way and wasn’t the perfect spy. He was headstrong and did what he thought was best (even if it wasn’t the best plan). It made Bond feel like a real person.

I also really enjoyed the writing style. Mr. Fleming’s writing felt elegant and perfectly placed for a spy thriller. I was enchanted along the ride and loved the word choice. It felt more royal, like the English Secret Service should be. On top of that, the heroes, heroine and villain all feel like actual people instead of characters. It was the way and tone of Ian Fleming’s words that made it feel so real instead of just written words.

That being said, it was a lovely read. I would highly recommend these books to those who love thrillers and want to see the history of the genre. I found the book really intriguing. I might not continue reading the series but I did really like it book. It was a nice change from my normal read.

Three out of five stars.

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books and content you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
#BookReview Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee
#AuthorInterview Elaine Williams Crockett, author of the Warren Alexander series
#BooKReview Drug Gang by Neil Walker
Quick Book Review: The Darby Shaw Chronicles (Books 1-3) by Liberty Speidel

 

And 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

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#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 The Rainbow Vintner by Geza Tatrallyay

 

Geza Tatrallyay has made another fantastic and thrilling novel!

The Rainbow Vintner follows Morgan and Alex on one wild ride in Bordeaux, France. The story of this novel is influenced heavily by recent terror events and puts a brand new lens on these incidences. When Morgan and Alex get caught up in a giant plot against France, will they be able to alive and together?

There’s also a lot of politics in this book. It’s a political thriller, so it was a given (in my opinion). I like how Geza approach politics and political commentary in his book. I feel like I learn a different view of the world every time I grab one of his novels.

This book felt like Geza wrote it for me – I seriously loved it that much. Combine the fact that Geza always puts something knowledgeable and new in the books (and that lets me learn!), he also has amazing references. The reference to his own book, Twisted Reasons, had me giggling. The world views about terrorism had me intrigued. And, of course, throw in a Beatles reference and I’m an instant fan.

If I had to pick one thing I liked about this book it would be the paranoia. Somehow, Geza makes the paranoia real in this book. Who can be trusted? Should everyone be trusted? Going with my own gut, I ended up having a pretty good guess for what was going to happen (I wasn’t entirely accurate though). Watching Morgan question if she should answer any phone calls and if she should change her look made it painstakingly obvious that this book was high stakes. The entire book grew progressively more exciting and built it’s way up to the ultimate thrill ride.

If I had to pick one thing I didn’t like it would be that it took a while for the book to really get into the action. The initial explanations were needed for this book to move and flow as good as it did, but that was a little con for me.

Side note: There seemed to be a lot of reference to read wine in this book. Like, a clear obsession…

I believe this book would be a solid read for the New Adult or older audience. We followed teenagers in this book, but it felt a little darker than purely YA. A teenager could read it no problem, but it felt like a book written for adults. There are some really rough and unsettling scenes in the book, so reader beware – if you have a light heart or stomach, maybe do a little research into the book first. That being said, it’s not as R rated as Twisted Reasons. It felt like a couple steps lower on the rating steps, if you know what I mean.

Overall, I think this book was marvelous! There’s lots of thrills, twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat, a splash of romance, and lots of paranoia. It was a really fun ride and I can’t wait for Geza to throw more books my way!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Geza Tetrallyay, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

 

Check out more books by Geza on his website: www.gezatatrallyay.com

Check out some more of Geza’s Books  on Amazon:

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.com

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.ca

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.com

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.ca

Twisted Fates (#3) on Amazon.com

Twisted Fates (#3) on Amazon.ca

 

And check out Geza’s Goodreads Page for more information!

Why not give Geza and myself a shout-out on Twitter if you read this review? @GezaTatrallyay & Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview Reclaiming Raven by Mary Holt

 

 

Reclaiming Raven is an intense thriller by Mary Holt.

If you’re looking for a book that will blow your mind, Reclaiming Raven fits the bill. I was truly blown away by the intensity of this book, since I really wasn’t expecting it to be so wild. Raven is trying to escape her abusive husband, and she will do anything to keep herself safe. Cole, on the other hand, is doing everything in his power to try to get Raven back (hence the title, Reclaiming Raven). Our lead character has disabilities, but that doesn’t disable her from being one epic female lead in this novel.

This book felt like the intensity of Jaws and Terminator mixed with the thrills of a James Bonds or Mission Impossible movie. You feel like the story is going one way, only for the book to flip it on it’s head and take you in another direction. The fast pace and thrills make this book a really interesting read. The book is violent and rough around it’s edges though, so it might not be the best book for every thrill seeking reader. I would definitely five it an R rating for it’s abusive relationship. The abuse and violence is described, not just suggested, so this book would not be a good fit for younger readers.

My biggest pet peeve of the novel was Raven being naive. This tough female leader can kick some serious behind and keeps herself safe, yet she still gets herself into some really stupid situations. Just leave the man and get away! Don’t trust an abusive man! My gosh, that annoyed me. It somehow works within the story, but it’s a general peeve of mine in general. This entire peeve could be a potential trigger for some readers, so readers beware! Always research a book before you read it.

On a side note, I loved that there was a dog in it – Millie! The dog didn’t feel forced and fit super well within the book.

Overall, I think this book is a unique, dramatic, thrilling ride. The story is written in an easy to read and follow style, and it moves fast enough to keep the reader interested. It’s rough, tough and violent, but if you’re into that sort of thing this book will fit perfectly on your shelf!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Mary Holt, in exchange for an honest review.

Check out this book on
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Amazon.com

 

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

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#BookReview The Gift by Stephanie M. Matthews

The Gift by Stephanie M. Matthews was a horrific, thrilling treat!

This psychological, thrill ride of a novel showcases a unique take on religion. If Fae crazy? She’s hearing voices and a Gift from her grandmother has led her into some tempting and daunting situations. Will she get out alive? Will her friends survive? You’ll have to read to find out…

I was honestly surprised by this book – it had so many layers to it that I had to re-read a lot of chapters to really get the point (in a good way, of course). When you look at all of the aspects of this book, you get a real good idea of how talented Stephanie is. Christmas Day, German roots, bountiful landscapes, religious views and arts, and a dark yet intriguing writing style all creates a dark yet vibrant story. I kept getting pulled back into the book as I left it since I really had to know what was going to happen. This is one of the few books that I didn’t see the ending coming, which was nice.

Throw in a Frankie Valli reference, and I’m always game. On top of that, Stephanie is from Canada! It’s like this review was meant to be.

The genre of this book is hard to pick. It had a mixture of horror and thriller in there. I would recommend this book for at least 13+ if not an adult audience. There’s no crazy gore or R rated scenes, but the religion debate has a big influence on this novel.

If I had to summarize this book in one quote from the novel, it would be, “Sin is just what religious people call personal choices the church doesn’t like.” Seriously, that line gave me SHIVERS.

I don’t really have any negatives for this book, but I will say it’s a bit of a niche novel. It’s written beautifully, but some people might not like the themes. So, buyer beware (as always…) – research your books before you read them.

Overall, I liked this book. You could easily binge or set this book down, depending on your mood. I loved the prose and writing style Stephanie uses because it was absolutely perfect for the tone of this book. I’d love to read more from Stephanie in the future, because she’s clearly one talented author.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

 

Find out more about Stephanie M. Matthews:
Goodreads
www.stephaniemmatthews.com
Facebook
Instagram

 

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

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*Photo courtesy of the author, Stephanie M. Matthews