January 2023 Wrap Up

January was a busy reading month for me. Because of that, I could complete all my reading challenges for the month!! Woot!!

It was also a busy month, personally, for me. The highlights of this month are:

  • Miss B left her dual high school and college credits program.
  • Snickers going to the emergency vet with a bloody eye. She came home with a torn tear duct and a torn lower lid.
  • BK going back to traveling each week
  • And my not-so-great, horrible week last week.

BK and I have been watching Game of Thrones (we’re on season 7), and we started watching The Last of Us.

I have been experimenting with new cooking recipes. I made a Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo soup with Miss R last week.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

KU Purchase—No Review
From Author
Kindle PurchaseNo Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Publisher—Review coming February 17th
From Publisher
From Publisher
From Publisher
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
From Publisher
From Author
From Publisher
From Publisher
From PublisherReview coming July 11th, 2023
KU Purchase—No Review
Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Author
Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Publisher
From Publisher
From Publisher
KU purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Author
From Publisher
Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Publisher—Review Coming February 2nd
From Publisher—Review coming February 3rd
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Author—Review coming February 3rd

Books I got from NetGalley:

Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Bantam
Limited Time Read Now from SMP
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from John Hunt Publishing
Invite from SMP
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
From SMPG
Invite from SMP
Read now from Crooked Lane Books
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Del Rey
Limited Time Read Now from St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin
Invite from Saint Martin’s Press

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

From Author
From Author
From Novel Cause
From Author
From Author
From Author

A Paroxysm of Fear by Chad Miller

From Author

Giveaway Winners

Paperback—Won from a giveaway. Not sure which one….lol
Kindle—Won from Goodreads Giveaway
Kindle—Won from Goodreads Giveaway

Books Reviewed:

Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano (review here)

Misfire by Tammy Euliano (review here)

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff (review here)

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman (review coming February 17th)

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham (review here)

The Nightmare Man by J.H. Markert (review here)

The Rom-Com Agenda by Jayne Denker (review here)

Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry (review here)

Emily Wilde’s Encylopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett (review here)

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes (review here)

Shadowed Visions by Reily Garrett (review here)

The Things We do to Our Friends by Heather Darwent (review coming February 27th)

The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy (review here)

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center (review coming July 11th)

A Body Washes Ashore by Bradley Pay (review here)

All Hallows by Christopher Golden (review here)

A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan (review here)

One Duke Down by Anna Bennett (review here)

Murder Up to Bat by Elizabeth McKenna (review here)

Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire (review here)


Reading Challenges

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (for Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023—a bird)Finished 1-1-2023

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (for The StoryGraph Onboarding Challenge—-Read a book with more pages than the longest book you read in 2022)—Finished 1-17-2023

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (for The StoryGraph Read the World—Argentina)—Finished 1-17-2023

The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill (for The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge—a contemporary or literary fiction novel with disability rep)—Finished 1-24-2023

The Reader by M.K. Harkins (for Beat the Backlist 2023—a backlist book)—Finished 1-24-2023

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga (for Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge—Read the most recently added book to your TBR)—Finished 1-3-2023

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (for Scavenger Hunt—a book written by a woman using a male perspective)—Finished 1-19-2023

The Nightmare Man by J.H. Markert (for Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023—a book you meant to read in 2022)—Finished 1-5-2023

Lost Soul by Adam J. Wright (for 2023 TBR Toppler—a TBR vet)—Finished 1-3-2023

In Our Blood by William J. Goyette (for 2023 Monthly Themes—books that make you feel cold)—Finished 1-10-2023

Before the Coffee Get Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (for 2023 Reading challenge—a translated work)Finished 1-11-2023

All Hallows by Christopher Golden (for 2023 ABC Challenge—A)—Finished 1-19-2023

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman (for Romanceopoly 2023!—read a thriller or mystery where one of the main characters are a detective or private investigator)—Finished 1-3-2023

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center (for 2023 TBR Prompts—a 5-star prediction)—Finished 1-16-23

A Body Washes Ashore (Spectrum Series: Book 3) by Bradley Pay

Publisher: Bradley Pay

Date of publication: October 30th, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Romance

Series: Spectrum Series

The Killings Begin—Book 1 (review here)

Death in a Dark Alley—Book 2 (review here)

A Body Washes Ashore—Book 3

Purchase Links: Kindle | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

A Body Washes Ashore is the heart-racing sequel to The Killings Begin and Death in a Dark Alley that you’ve been waiting for. Bradley Pay’s signature blend of contemporary romance and psychological suspense will sweep you off your feet and into the thick of mortal danger. Tour Europe with Tracey’s new friend, Remy Martin, as she risks everything for the rush of true love.

Tracey’s new group of friends seems perfect. For as long as he could remember, he felt like an outsider, struggling to make connections, and living as an unknown serial killer certainly didn’t help. Now he and his new wife have discovered a circle of friends that begins to fill his need for close relationships. He’s one step closer to living a “normal” life despite the persistent cold-case investigators who refuse to ignore his murderous past in the US.

Remy Martin, a renowned professor of art history and one of Tracey’s new friends, also bears scars on her damaged heart. She has vowed to only sleep with married men to protect herself from heartbreak. However, the stakes rise when she breaks her biggest rule and takes things too far. But how can she resist? She never meant to fall in love or hurt anyone. Just like Tracey, though, she can’t erase her past. She must deal with the consequences of her affair, whatever the cost.

Don’t miss this landmark installation in the Spectrum Series saga, complete with the complex characters you love and a new romance you’ll never forget.


First Line:

Edgar pushed his new rimless glasses up on his nose.

A Body Washes Ashore by Bradley Pay

I know I have previously mentioned that I don’t read enough mysteries. Well, after I had made that statement, I went on a mystery reading binge. I didn’t plan it like that; it just happened that the following three books on my reading schedule were mysteries. Go figure. A Body Washes Ashore was the second book in that three books stretch. I am glad that I read it. Not only did I get to travel to different countries, but I got to know the main characters better. Plus, the authors introduced a couple of fantastic new characters.

A Body Washes Ashore is the third book in the Spectrum Series. While you could read this as a standalone book, I recommend reading the first two books in the series. That way, you can get a better feel for the main characters and why they do the things they do in this book.

A Body Washes Ashore is a fast-paced book that takes place mainly in Italy, with travels to Hungary, France, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, and the Raleigh area of North Carolina.

The storyline for A Body Washes Ashore is a combination of continuing the main storyline in The Killings Begin and a brand new storyline. In the main storyline, Tracy tries to suppress his serial killer mentality. He is married and starting a life with Charlotte in Italy. But that is easier said than done. He starts to become comfortable with killing and starts to leave clues, such as his DNA. But, the police are still hot on his heels, gathering evidence and figuring out that he is killing in Europe instead of the States.

As I said above, the other storyline involved almost everyone from the previous books but centered on Lee, Fong, and Remy, a new character. Remy is an art professor who meets Lee and Fong on a Spectrum cruise (as well as Gia, Sasha, and Tracy). With an instant connection to the group, Remy has finally found friends who accept her and her unconventional lifestyle. But friendships are tested when Remy breaks the number one rule she has always abided by. What happened to strain the friendship? Can Remy make amends? Will Tracy make more mistakes?

I was expecting some of the characters in A Body Washes Ashore to be stale and start to stagnate. But I was pleasantly surprised. The characters that I thought would grow stale didn’t. They expanded beyond what I thought they would be. It made the book so much better for me to read.

  • Remy—I wasn’t sure what I thought about her at first. I did like that she was honest and upfront about her lifestyle. I also liked that she had rules. But I knew they were going to be broken. The author didn’t exactly hide that. But, as the book went on, I began to like her. She fought hard and went to therapy to distance herself from that person. When everything exploded, I wasn’t surprised by people’s reactions. Frannie’s was the worst, but I expected it with her being so young (in her 20s). I did not expect what happened to her or who the person was that did it. Talk about a surprise.
  • Tracy—I liked the arc the author took with him. I was hoping it was a redemption arc and he would stop killing for good. But it didn’t. I did like that; he psychoanalyzed himself at one point in the book and realized what was triggering him. His friendship with Gia, Remy, Frannie, Lee, Fong, Sal, and Sasha was terrific, and I didn’t blame him for being angry when everything fell apart. But still, it didn’t excuse what happened next. I was so disappointed in him.

A Body Washes Ashore fit perfectly into the mystery genre. While I knew who the killer was, it was fun to watch the police and reporters in Raleigh try to piece everything together. As I said above, Tracy got sloppy in the last half of the book, and I can’t wait to see if the police will piece everything together.

The storyline with Tracy, the killings, the group of friends, and his wife was interesting. I liked seeing Tracy on an even keel for most of the book. I liked even more that he felt comfortable enough to tell Charlotte about the sexual abuse that occurred when he was younger. I believe that alone could let go of some of his anger towards his mother (but not enough for him to stop killing her lookalikes). He was himself with his friends. But when he started killing again, I was horrified by who he killed and how close he was to being caught. If Frannie weren’t deaf, she would have caught him.

The storyline with Remy, Lee, and Fong broke my heart reading it. I was disappointed by how this storyline turned out. Through the first two books, Lee and Fong were a power couple, and I wasn’t expecting things to go sideways with them. But the author did show that their relationship wasn’t as good as it was presented. I wish that Remy hadn’t been caught up in it. I also hated seeing Lee break the way she did. It was painful to read and even more painful when Fong realized how much he had messed up. But you know what, he didn’t even seem that sorry. His conversations with Sasha and his obsession with Remy highlighted that. This is a storyline that I am going to watch because I have a feeling it will be huge in the next book.

There are trigger warnings in A Body Washes Ashore. They would be cheating, alcohol, murder, and a person being told of a partner’s past sexual abuse (it was not graphic). If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading this book.

The end of A Body Washes Ashore was interesting. The author did not wrap up any of the storylines. Instead, they were left wide open. But I was able to see the police closing in on Tracy. I can’t wait to see what the next (and last) book will bring!!!

I recommend A Body Washes Ashore to anyone over 21. There is language, moderate sexual situations, and violence. Also, see my trigger warnings.

I want to thank Bradley Pay for allowing me to read and review A Body Washes Ashore. All opinions stated in this review are mine.


If you enjoyed reading A Body Washes Ashore, you will enjoy reading these books:

WWW Wednesday: January 18th, 2023

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

I hope you all had a wonderful week last week.

Mine was alright, super rainy, but alright until Saturday. What happened Saturday? Well, for one, BK was away on business but was coming home that morning. Second, I ended up in a veterinary ER for almost 4 hours. Settle in, and let me tell you what happened.

I was in the kitchen with my girls and 3 out of the 5 cats. Miss R decided she wanted to make sunny-side-up eggs with toast for breakfast, Miss B was going to make scrambled, and I was supervising Miss R. Vinnie, Tony, and Jesper were sitting on our chest freezer watching the girls crack eggs (I think they thought they would get some??). Meanwhile, Loki and Snickers were going between the living room, Miss R’s bedroom, and the dining room.

I heard a commotion, though nothing of it because Snickers and Loki have a love/hate relationship, and figured she was chasing him again. Then Miss B noticed the blood on the floor. We checked our feet (to ensure no one was cut), wiped up the blood, and then checked Vinnie, Tony, and Jesper. I hunted down Loki while Miss R walked toward Snickers, who was lying in her room. Miss R screamed, and I came running. Snickers’s left eye was full of blood. So, I called my regular vet (who wasn’t in), grabbed the big cat carrier, and took her to the emergency vet. Thankfully, that was only 5 mins away. To make a long story short, after 4 hours, the vet saw her and told us that the tear duct and a spot on her lower eyelid got lacerated. She didn’t need stitches, but I have to give her a medicated eye ointment every 8 hours. I’m also taking her to her regular vet on Friday to see if any other damage was done. I am beyond thankful that this emergency vet opened up during Covid. Because I have a feeling her eye would have gotten infected if we had to wait until Monday.

So that was the extent of my exciting weekend/week. I was so stressed out on Saturday that it ruined the rest of the day. And ever try giving a cat eye meds? Thankfully, she’s good about letting me do it, but I have gotten scratched.

Reading:

I got a lot of reading down until Saturday. Then that happened, and I couldn’t bring myself to read. I was too upset to concentrate. So, it set me back a little but not much. I picked up my Kindle on Monday, finished reading one book, and started another (see below).

The longest book I read this week: Hello, Stranger. I started reading it on Friday and expected to finish it on Saturday. Then…..well, Snickersapocolypse happened. It took me three days to finish.

The shortest book I read this week: The Things We Do To Our Friends. I finished it within a day of starting.

How was your week? Read anything good? Did you do anything exciting?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Sadie Montogmery has had good breaks and bad breaks in her life, but as a struggling artist, all she needs is one lucky break. Things seem to be going her way when she lands one of the coveted finalist spots in a portrait competition. It happens to coincide with a surgery she needs to have. Minor, they say. Less than a week in the hospital they say. Nothing about you will change, they say. Upon recovery, it begins to dawn on Sadie that she can see everything around her, but she can no longer see faces.

Temporary, they say. Lots of people deal with this, they say. As she struggles to cope―and hang onto her artistic dreams―she finds solace in her fourteen-year-old dog, Peanut. Thankfully, she can still see animal faces. When Peanut gets sick, she rushes him to the emergency vet nearby. That’s when she meets veterinarian Dr. Addison. And she’s pleasantly surprised when he asks her on a date. But she doesn’t want anyone to know about her face blindness. Least of all Joe, her obnoxious neighbor who always wears a bowling jacket and seems to know everyone in the building. He’s always there at the most embarrassing but convenient times, and soon, they develop a sort of friendship. But could it be something more?

As Sadie tries to save her career, confront her haunting past, and handle falling in love with two different guys she realizes that happiness can be found in the places―and people― you least expect.


What I am currently reading:

Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find—through love or through exacting maternal appraisal—a suitable boy for Lata to marry. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.


What books I think I’ll read next:

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.

A Body Washes Ashore is the heart-racing sequel to The Killings Begin and Death in a Dark Alley that you’ve been waiting for. Bradley Pay’s signature blend of contemporary romance and psychological suspense will sweep you off your feet and into the thick of mortal danger. Tour Europe with Tracey’s new friend, Remy Martin, as she risks everything for the rush of true love.

Tracey’s new group of friends seems perfect. For as long as he could remember, he felt like an outsider, struggling to make connections, and living as an unknown serial killer certainly didn’t help. Now he and his new wife have discovered a circle of friends that begins to fill his need for close relationships. He’s one step closer to living a “normal” life despite the persistent cold-case investigators who refuse to ignore his murderous past in the US.

Remy Martin, a renowned professor of art history and one of Tracey’s new friends, also bears scars on her damaged heart. She has vowed to only sleep with married men to protect herself from heartbreak. However, the stakes rise when she breaks her biggest rule and takes things too far. But how can she resist? She never meant to fall in love or hurt anyone. Just like Tracey, though, she can’t erase her past. She must deal with the consequences of her affair, whatever the cost.

Don’t miss this landmark installation in the Spectrum Series saga, complete with the complex characters you love and a new romance you’ll never forget.

With the 80’s nostalgia of Stranger Things, this horror drama from NYT bestselling author Christopher Golden follows neighborhood families and a mysterious, lurking evil on one Halloween day.

It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, horrifying secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man. There’s a small clearing in the woods now that was never there before, and a blackthorn tree that doesn’t belong at all. These odd children claim that The Cunning Man is coming for them…and they want the local kids to protect them. But with families falling apart and the neighborhood splintered by bitterness, who will save the children of Parmenter Road?

New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author Christopher Golden is best known for his supernatural thrillers set in deadly, distant locales…but in this suburban Halloween drama, Golden brings the horror home.

All Hallows. The one night when everything is a mask…

A playful and emotional romantic comedy from the author of Ten Rules for Faking It

Hailey Sharp has a one-track mind. Get By the Cup salad shop off the ground. Do literally everything possible to make it a success. Repeat. With a head full of entrepreneurial ideas and a bad ex in her rearview, her one and only focus is living life the way she wants to. No distractions.

Wes Jansen never did understand the fuss about relationships. With a string of lackluster first dates and the pain from his parents’ angry divorce following him around, he’d much rather find someone who he likes, but won’t love. Companionship, not passion, is the name of the game.

When Hailey and Wes find each other in a disastrous meet cute that wasn’t even intended for them, they embarrassingly go their separate ways. But when Wes finds Hailey to apologize for his behavior, they strike a friendship. Because that’s all this can be. Hailey doesn’t want any distractions. Wes doesn’t want to fall in love.

What could possibly go wrong? 

January 2023 TBR

December has flown by for me (I don’t know about you guys). I was stretched thin between my kids’ Christmas events, last-minute shopping, and the actual holiday. I hope January is less hectic and I can breathe again.


Indie Authors/Publishers

Novel Cause
Novel Cause
From Author
From Author

NetGalley


December 2022 Wrap Up

Here is what I read/posted in December.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

Review Coming January 3rd
Review coming January 13th
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review

Books I got from NetGalley:

Random House—Ballantine Books Widget
Saint Martin’s Press Widget
SMPG Influencer Widget
SMPG Widget
Random House Ballantine Widget
SMPG Widget
SMP Widget
SMP Widget
Wish Granted From Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Blackstone Publishing Widget

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

From AME Publicist
From AME Publicist
From Author
From Authors
From Author
From Author

Goodreads Giveaway Winners

Won Kindle edition

Books Reviewed:

All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon—review here

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris—review here

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz—review here

Little Eve by Catriona Ward—review here

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins—review coming January 3rd

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham–review coming January 10th

The Sylvan Horn by Robert Redinger—review here

The Split by Sharon Bolton—review here

The Catch by Jenna Miles—review here

The Bodyguard by Katherine Coulter—review here

Cathedral of Time by Stephen Austin Thorpe—review here

Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker—review here

Souk Daddy by Antony Curtis—review here

Affinity for Pain by R.E. Johnson—review here

A Wicked Game by Kate Bateman—review here

Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry—review coming January 13th

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff—review coming January 6th

November 2022 Wrap UP

Here is what I read/posted in November.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

No review
No review
No Review
No Review
Review coming December 1st
Review coming December 27th, 2022
No Review
Review coming January 3rd, 2023
Review coming January 10th
Review coming December 9th
No Review
No Review
No Review
Review coming December 2nd
Review coming December 10th
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
Review Coming December 3rd
Review Coming December 4th

Books I got from NetGalley:

Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
It was a limited-time Read Now book
It was a limited-time Read Now book
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
SMP/Minotaur Influencer Program
SMP Widget invite
SMP Widget Invite

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

From Author
From Novel Cause
Author Request
Author Request
Author Request
From Novel Cause
From Novel Cause

Goodreads Giveaway

Paperback

Books Reviewed:

The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja (review here)

Alias Emma by Ava Glass (review here)

A Broken Clock Never Boils by C.J. Weiss (review here)

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu (review here)

A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor (review here)

Shadowed Intent by Reily Garrett (review here)

Death in a Dark Alley by Bradley Pay (review here)

Conviction by Michael Cordell (review here)

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang (review here)

Wicked Bleu by E. Denise Billups (review here)

A Maiden of Snakes by Jane McGarry (review here)

Mostly Human 2 by D.I. Jolly (review here)

Shampoo & Condition by M.L. Ortega (review here)

Spies Never Lose by M. Taylor Christensen (review here)

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (review here)

Bookish Travels—November 2022 Destinations

I saw this meme on It’s All About Books and thought, I like this!! So, I decided to do it once a month also. Many thanks to Yvonne for originally posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are wonderful and take you to places you would never get a chance to go. That includes places of fantasy too!!

So….enjoy!! Please let me know if you have read these books or traveled to these areas (other than the fantasy….lol).


United States:

New York (Brooklyn), Louisiana (New Orleans)
New York (New York City), Texas (College Station, Bryan), North Carolina (Raleigh), Washington D.C.,
California (Los Angeles)
Colorado
California (Orange County)
Georgia (Atlanta), Alabama (Birmingham)
Utah (Salt Lake City, Hill AFB), New York (Long Island, Manhattan, New York City), New Jersey (Glenn Rock), California (San Francisco, Lake Tahoe), Washington (Seattle), Missouri (Branson), Michigan (Detroit, Ann Arbor), Florida (Tampa), Ohio (Columbus), New Mexico (Albuquerque)
Alabama, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pittsburg), New York (New York City), Washington (Seattle)
New York
New York (Long Island, Lake Ronkonkoma), New Mexico (Los Alamos)
North Carolina (Asheville)
California (Los Angeles), Georgia (Atlanta, Isle of Hope, Savannah, Beaufort)
New York (New York City, Manhattan)
California (Berkeley)
Vermont (Lake Salem), New Hampshire, Connecticut (Hartford, Mercy Hills)
Nevada (Las Vegas)
New York City, New York
New York (New York City), Wisconsin

The Netherlands

Rotterdam

France

Strasbourg, Southern France, Paris
Paris

Brazil

Brasília

Switzerland

Geneva, Zürich

Ireland

Dublin

Belgium

Brussels

Russia

St. Petersburg
Vladimir, Murimstevo Castle
Lake Chebarkul

Italy

Monferrato, Naples
Orvieto, Rome
Naples and Capri
Venice

Norway

Bergen, Borgefjell

Poland

Krakow

Canada

Syn Island
Prince Edward Island (Georgetown), Quebec

Japan

Tokyo, Mako Island, Tomo Island

Australia

Australian Coast, Lord Howe Island
Cairns
Melbourne

Uganda


Ignisia

Forest of Ghosts (Flamehaven),

Germany

Lindenmuhle

Spain

Granada, Carboneras, Barcelona, Cantabrian Mountains (Torre Cerredo), City of Lights (fictional)

England

Regency London
1970’s London
Cambridge
London, Reading
Little Hanting, Cumbria (Carlisle)

Outer Space

Mars (Carson), Eden

Khazinth


Rynne


Avenlor

Dagor, Gammod-Dhol

Mor


Antarctic

South Georgia Island

New Zealand

Akaroa
Christchurch

Ilarius

Capital

Belarus

Minsk

Death in a Dark Alley (Spectrum Series: Book 2) by Bradley Pay

Publisher:

Date of publication: April 30th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Suspense

Series: Spectrum Series

The Killings Begin—Book 1 (review here)

Death in a Dark Alley—Book 2

A Body Washes Ashore—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bradley Pay is back with a jaw-dropping sequel to The Killings Begin! Travel across the world and dive into the complex hearts and minds of Tracey Lauch and a cast of unsuspecting new characters in Death in a Dark Alley. Boasting the Spectrum Series’ iconic fusion of contemporary romance and psychological suspense, Bradley Pay has created another tangled web of love, loss, and an insatiable desire to kill.

Tracey Lauch may be a murderer, but he is still a man. Although his childhood abandonment trauma began decades ago, now his compulsion to strangle women who resemble his mother has begun to evolve. Outrunning his past, embracing love in the present, and creating a future free of investigation proves increasingly complicated.

Isabelle’s life in Brazil is burdened with mistakes and abandonment, too – but not in the same way. She falls in love with all the wrong men at all the wrong times, and her best friend Frank shows his true colors when, over and over again, he is not there for her when she needs him most. Aside from the stark difference that Isabelle is not a murderer, she and Tracey both desire love, a life partner, and the warmth of a family. 

But what does Isabelle’s story have to do with Tracey? How can an innocent trip to Strasbourg, France, become a heart-stopping event that changes their lives forever?

Peek behind the curtains of this cold-case investigation and catch an intimate glimpse inside the characters’ lives.


First Line:

“Alone time with you is always nice,” he replied as he look down at her leg and ran his fingers suggestively along her silky thigh and under the edge of her skirt.

Death in a Dark Alley by Bradley Pay

When I got the paperback for Death in a Dark Alley, I expected this book to pick up after the murder of Mari. Instead, the authors did something interesting. They backtracked the story to the late 1980s (when Tracey killed his mother) and introduced two new characters, Isabelle and Frank, while giving more detail about Tracey’s previous murders in Raleigh. At first, I was a little confused and wondered why these two characters were so special. But, the authors did tie Isabelle and Frank to Gia (and her friends) and Tracey. Once I figured that out, it made reading the rest of the book much more enjoyable.

Death in a Dark Alley is the story of Frank and Isabelle. Isabelle is a woman who dreams of being the captain of a steamboat or cruise ship. Frank is her best friend who has the reputation of a playboy. While close growing up and throughout college, they drift apart after Frank discovers Isabelle’s relationship with his uncle, Victor. Frank is also going down the wrong path, and Isabelle and Victor want nothing to do with it.

Intertwined in this story is Tracey’s. Once he kills his mother, he is careful with who he kills. Wanting to stop, Tracey starts taking cruises with Spectrum Cruise lines…where Isabelle is a captain. How do Isabelle and Tracey’s paths meet? What will happen when they do? How does Frank figure into this?

Death in a Dark Alley is the second book in the Spectrum Series. While this could technically be read as a standalone book, I highly suggest reading The Killings Begin first. It gives more background into some of the relationships mentioned in the book and Tracey’s reasons for killing his mother.

This book takes place all over the world. Besides taking place in the United States (mainly NYC but some scenes in Texas, Washington DC, and North Carolina), it takes place all over Europe and in Brazil. I loved seeing the different locals! Some people might find it busy, but I didn’t. I loved that each chapter (or a couple of chapters) was in various settings.

The main characters (Isabelle, Frank, Tracey) were well-written and well-fleshed out. The secondary characters (Victor and Lydia) added depth to the story. I particularly liked Lydia’s character because she dealt with everything life had thrown at her.

  • Isabelle—She was my favorite character in the book. While she had terrible taste in men, she did have a good head on her shoulders. She worked hard to get to where she was. I loved reading her chapters because while they could be sad, they were also joyful (like when she found out she was pregnant with Frankie).
  • Frank—While I felt terrible for him at first (very domineering father, permissive mother), I started not to like him when he brought Isabelle to New York City when they were 18. The more I read about him, the more I disliked him. He was selfish and thought of no one but himself. Instead of being happy for Isabelle and Victor, he flipped out. And he took advantage (at first) of Lydia. I wasn’t surprised when things started to go south for him, but I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen.
  • Tracey—I liked a brief look into Tracey’s earlier life (after he was adopted). For a serial killer, he was a pretty nice guy. I also liked the look into the cold cases that went along with his storyline. Honestly, I was rooting for him not to kill the entire book and was disappointed when he started back up in Russia.

Death in a Dark Alley fits perfectly in the mystery/thriller/suspense genres. While it wasn’t a mystery about Tracey being a killer, I did wonder what Tracey and Isabelle had to do with each other. That led to the suspense angle. I was kept on the edge of my seat, wondering when it would be revealed and why. Also suspenseful for me was watching Tracey fight his demons. The thriller angle came into play at the end. Because of spoilers, I won’t say what it was, but it was a good one!!

I love Isabelle’s storyline. I liked seeing her growing up. Her storyline was so rich and detailed that I felt like I was there and wasn’t expecting the ending. There were parts of that storyline that didn’t make sense (her abortion and its aftermath) at the time but made perfect sense once she and Victor got together.

While I didn’t like Frank (see above), I did like his storyline. I saw how he grew (or didn’t grow) as a character. I didn’t understand why the authors wrote him the way they did at first (spoiled man baby), but it made sense as the book continued. I wish the author talked about more of his criminal exploits (I was very interested), but I get why they weren’t.

Tracey’s storyline was the most interesting to me. As I mentioned above, I was rooting for him not to kill (while understanding that he had to). I also was on pins and needles, trying to figure out the connection between Isabelle, Tracey, and Frank.

The end of Death in a Dark Alley was explosive. I was not expecting what happened to happen. I had to take a break and process it for a minute before continuing with the book. It was that good. The authors did not wrap up any storylines (instead added to them). I cannot wait to read book three because I want to see where everything is going.

Three things I liked about Death in a Dark Alley

  • The characters (they were well fleshed out)
  • The storylines (were amazingly detailed)
  • The ending (took me by surprise)

Three things I disliked about Death in a Dark Alley

  • Frank. I thought he was a waste of space for most of the book (well, until the end)
  • Tracey gave into killing when in Russia. I was so upset about that.
  • What happened at the ending.

I would recommend Death in a Dark Alley to anyone over 21. There are sexual situations (not graphic), language, and some mild violence.


If you enjoyed reading Death in a Dark Alley, you will enjoy reading these books:

WWW Wednesday: November 2nd, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

  • Thursday: I took Vinnie in to get his microchip. The head vet of the shelter came out and apologized to me. She said she would make sure that it didn’t happen again. Vinnie was a little miffed at me for taking him, but he got over it.
  • Friday: I had a doctor’s appointment. I walked in thinking the worse thing that would happen to me would be a flu shot. I walked out with a referral for a mammogram, a pamphlet for a colonoscopy (bleh), and a referral for an MRI (I am having unexplained dizzy spells). Oh, and I got the flu shot, too…lol. Miss R had horseback riding, and she did very well. She was the only person in her lesson and got personalized attention from her instructor. It was dark when we were done, and we had to use flashlights to see the pasture we were turning the horse into.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Miss B had a sleepover with 6 people. I had 7 teenage girls stuffed into my tiny living room. It was cramped, but they all had a blast.
  • Monday: It was Halloween!! Also, Tony went to the vet to get his last kitten shots. Thank God that I don’t have to go back until next year. I think they were sick of my face. Miss B had 3 friends come over to trick or treating with us. Speaking of that, Mr. Z’s plague doctor costume was a huge hit. He was asked a few times for pictures. Miss R went as Samara from The Ring, but she refused to wear her wig (we got her a long hair, black one). Miss B was a greaser. Everyone got a ton of candy.
  • Tuesday: Miss R stayed home from school. She was complaining of a stomach ache and wasn’t feeling the best. Since she did so well on her report card (A honor roll), I let her.
  • I am killing it with my reading. I am almost done with my author/indie publisher requests for this month (I have 3 left). I am also a week ahead with my reviews. I am beginning to feel the way I did before Covid hit!!
  • My longest book this week was the Hell Hath No Fury Anthology. It took me from last Wednesday to Sunday night to read it.
  • My shortest book this week was Death in a Dark Alley. I read it in a couple of hours yesterday.

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

I have two this week (since I finished both last night)


What I am currently reading: