The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: November 1st, 2022

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Thriller Mystery, Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Adult, Contemporary, Audiobook, Crime

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a life for herself, she is swept up into a glamorous lifestyle where she married the handsome billionaire Ned Hawthorne.

But then, Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?

With Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris takes the psychological thriller to shocking new heights. Now she’ll hold you captive with this stunning new thriller about one woman wed into a family with deadly intentions.


First Line:

I sense the shift of air beneath my nose, a millisecond before something-thick, sticky tape-is clamped over my mouth, silencing the scream that would have ripped from me.

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

I am a massive fan of psychological suspense. I love having my mind messed with while reading a book (outside the book, not so much). I have my favorite authors and B.A. Paris happens to be on my top ten list. So, any book from her gets automatic approval on my end. And I am thrilled that I got to read this book. It was that good!! In one of my WWW Wednesday posts, I said it took under 2 hours to read. I could not put it down.

The Prisoner had an exciting plotline. Amelie is a tough cookie. She has to be, surviving the death of her parents and trying to make it on her own, at 16, in London. Thankfully, she meets an angel named Caroline, who takes her under her wing and allows Amelie to flourish. After getting a job working for Ned Hawthorne, a billionaire playboy, Amelie is approached by him with a business deal: Marry him for one year, and he will pay her enough money to cover all of her university fees and beyond. But there is a sinister reason why Ned wants to marry her, and Amelie finds that out soon after the wedding. With Ned becoming unstable and isolated from her friends, Amelie wonders when he will kill her. Things come to a head when Amelie and Ned are kidnapped, blindfolded, and taken to an unknown location. But, for some reason, Amelie feels safe with the kidnappers. Who kidnapped Ned and Amelie? What is their end game?

The Prisoner is a fast-paced book that mainly takes place in London. But the last scenes take place in New Zealand (for reasons I cannot get into, spoilers!!!).

There are trigger warnings in this book. The most obvious one is kidnapping. The other ones are the death of a parent from cancer, the death of a parent during childbirth, the death of a sibling, sexual harassment, talk of rape (several times), physical abuse, mental abuse, murder, and discussion of murder. If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading the book.

I enjoyed the main characters in The Prisoner. They were well-written and, for the most part, well-fleshed out.

  • Amelie: I liked her a lot. She cared deeply for her friends and never stopped trying to protect them from Ned and his cohorts. I loved her post-nuptial prenup. It was brilliant!! I also loved how she tried to stay one step ahead of Ned after discovering what a scumbag he was. There was a point in the book where I kept yelling (in my head), “Trust your instincts” regarding the kidnappers. She turned into a total boss at the end of the book too!!! I loved her.
  • Ned: God, was he sleazy. He didn’t come across like that at the beginning of the book. Instead, Ned was very charming. It was strange how he asked Amelie to marry him and how he laid it out. But his sleaziness wasn’t on display until after they married, and Ned isolated her from her friends. The things he did to her and threatened her with made my skin crawl. And after they were kidnapped, Ned quickly told them to kill her instead of him. He deserved everything he got and then some in this book.
  • The kidnappers: I can’t give names, but I was shocked at who they were. After I got over that shock, different parts of the kidnapping made sense. I also understood why they did what they did. If someone I loved had been targeted by Ned and then disappeared, I think I would have had the same reaction. Plus, they had the resources (all I will say about that).

A bunch of notable secondary characters added extra depth and understanding to the kidnapping storyline and Amelie’s recovery storyline. I wish some had stuck around and the author had introduced others earlier in the book.

The Prisoner was a perfect fit for the psychological suspense genre. It messed with my head pretty well. Also, add to that is that I didn’t want to put the book down. I needed to find out who the kidnappers were, why they did what they did, why Amelie was treated differently (even though I had a slight suspicion), and what Amelie’s recovery would be like.

The storyline with Amelie and her life before the kidnapping was well written. I loved seeing a carefree Amelie who had a great life and friends. She might have been a little naive, but her heart was in the right place. She had endured so much up to meeting Ned that all I could think was, “Man, she needs a break.” Then she met Ned, found out what her friend accused him of (along with a couple of other girls), and her life went sideways. Still, it was nice to see how she was before.

The storyline with Amelie, her kidnapping, and her life afterward broke my heart. This bright, cheerful girl who had her life ahead of herself turned into a shadow of herself. It didn’t matter if her kidnappers kept her safe from Ned; it was still a kidnapping. She still had to deal with everything by herself. I did like the two twists that the author threw into that storyline. One was about her deceased parents, and the other was about the kidnappers’ identity (plus why they did it). Both made me go, “Oh snap,” when it was revealed. And you know, I don’t blame her for thinking she had Stockholm Syndrome. I would have felt the same way.

The end of The Prisoner both blew me away and disappointed me. It blew me away because of who the kidnappers were. I did have a slight feeling it was those people but nothing concrete. The disappointment angle came with what Amelie decided to do at the very end. She had to get home because of an incriminating letter, but at the same time, she made plans to see that person again. I was like, “Are YOU SERIOUS? No wonder you think you have Stockholm Syndrome.” It was 100% frustrating for me to read because of the hint of a love connection. Ewww, no. Girlfriend needs therapy, not dating that person!!!!

Three Reasons You Should Read The Prisoner:

  1. It was a good read. It kept me glued to the book.
  2. Amelie. She was a tough cookie.
  3. The twist at the end of the book

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Read The Prisoner:

  1. Ned. He was a dirtbag.
  2. The triggers.
  3. At the end of the book, the implied love connection (well, at least to me, it was implied).

I would recommend The Prisoner to anyone over 21. There is language, sex (implied but not discussed), and moderate violence. Also, see my trigger warning.


If you enjoyed reading The Prisoner, you will enjoy reading these books:

All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: September 6th, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Contemporary, Adult, Audiobook, Suspense, Relationships, Crime

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

The weekend getaway at the gorgeous manor hotel should have been perfect. But Becca is freshly smarting from her husband Blake’s betrayal and knows this is just an expensive attempt at an apology. She may not be ready to forgive him, but the drinks are strong, the estate is stunning, and the weekend has an elaborate 1920s murder mystery theme. She decides to get into the spirit of things and enjoy their stay. What could go wrong?

Before long, the game is afoot: famed speakeasy songstress Ida Crooner is found “murdered,” and it’s up to the guests to sniff out which of them might be the culprit. Playing the role of Miss Debbie Taunte, an ingenue with a dark past, Becca dives into the world of pun-heavy clues, hammy acting, and secret passages, hoping to at least take her mind off her marital troubles.

Then, the morning after they arrive, the actress playing Ida’s maid fails to reappear for her role. The game’s organizer–that’s Miss Ann Thrope to you–assumes the young woman’s flakiness is to blame, but when snooping for clues as “Debbie,” Becca finds evidence she may not have left of her own free will.


First Line:

The mansion changed at night, all the rigid lines and hard surfaces of the daytime melting into something softer, more secret, a little strange.

All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon

When I read the plot for All Dressed Up, I was immediately intrigued- a mystery that takes place during an immersive 1920s-themed murder mystery. I couldn’t hit that accept button fast enough. I was looking forward to reading bad puns (and yes, there were plenty) and solving the actress’s disappearance. But, this book fell short of my expectations. Not to say I didn’t like it (I did), but it was the characters (mainly Becca) who made me “meh” about this book. Everything else was perfect.

All Dressed Up did have an enjoyable and exciting plotline. The story centers around Becca and her husband, Blake. Blake had arranged a weekend getaway to an immersive murder mystery. But Becca isn’t exactly thrilled about it. Blake and herself are going through a rough patch in their marriage, and she is still furious about what happened. But once there, the magic of the mansion and the mystery draw her in. But, a real-life mystery draws her in when one of the actresses goes missing. Becca is determined to find out what happened to her. But is she getting in over her head? Can Becca solve the fictional murder mystery as well as the real-life one? And, while she’s at it, can she forgive her husband for what he did?

All Dressed Up is a fast-paced mystery that takes place on in a mansion somewhere in New York state. I didn’t catch the town’s name (or there wasn’t one). But with the talk of New York City and going upstate, I figured it was in New York.

The characters are the main reason I was “meh” about All Dressed Up. Individually, they all got on my nerves, and together, that nerve was stretched to the max. I will not discuss each character. I will focus on the main ones, Becca and Blake.

  • Becca: I had mixed feelings about Becca. On the one hand, she was a great detective (both in and out of character). She genuinely cared about the missing maid. But her detective work bordered on obsessive. However, she was awful to Blake. Yes, I get that he cheated on her, and I understood her behavior for the first 25% of the book. But every overture he made, be it doing something she liked and that made him uncomfortable, she was awful to him about. She was mean and spiteful, which didn’t gel with me.
  • Blake: Out of all the characters, I did like him the best. He acknowledged and owned that he screwed up badly. He was willing to do whatever it took to work on his marriage. But there is a line between constantly apologizing for one thing and taking the brunt of Becca’s anger for everything. Becca crossed that line before the book started.

As I mentioned above, the secondary characters got on my nerves as much as the main ones. But, they did add extra depth to the plotline and did provide a few red herrings to the mystery.

All Dressed Up fit perfectly into the mystery and suspense genres. The author did a fantastic job of keeping me guessing who the killer was in the game and why the maid went missing. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, several red herrings were thrown out by the secondary characters.

The author wrote the main storyline well with Becca, the other guests, and the fake mystery. I loved the puns (even if they were groan-worthy at times). I also really liked how the people running the show made the guests work for the clues. Because, on my end, I am also trying to figure out who the killer was. I made notes, and it wasn’t who I thought it was.

The other storyline was well written, with Becca investigating the actress/maid’s disappearance. The author did keep me guessing about what happened to her. I did figure out what happened by the middle of the book, but I didn’t expect who. Talk about a big twist in the plot there. A “no freaking way” was thrown out when it was revealed. And the reason this person did it was heartbreaking.

The end of All Dressed Up was typical of the genre. I liked how the author revealed who the killer was in the fake mystery, why the maid disappeared, and who was behind it. As I mentioned above, it was a twist that I didn’t see coming. Also, what I didn’t see coming was something to do with Becca and Blake. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but it did tie up that storyline.

Three Reasons You Should Read All Dressed Up:

  1. The murder mystery storyline.
  2. The puns. As bad as they were, I was dying laughing when they came up.
  3. The twist at the end of the book. I didn’t see that coming..

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Read All Dressed Up:

  1. Becca. I felt terrible for her, but I couldn’t stand her.
  2. Blake. I explained why above.
  3. The other characters. They got on my nerves.

I would recommend All Dressed Up to anyone over 16. There is no sex, mild language, and mild to moderate violence.


If you enjoyed reading All Dressed Up, you will enjoy reading these books:

Spies Never Lose (Banana Girls: Book 3) by M. Taylor Christensen

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Publisher: Zoom Press

Date of publication: November 10th, 2022

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Spy

Series: Banana Girls

Spies Never Quit—Book 1 (review here)

Spies Never Swoon—Book 2 (review here)

Spies Never Lose—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hannah’s new husband is going to drive her absolutely crazy.

Never having been married before, Hannah McCarthy doesn’t know if what she’s feeling is normal. Even though she has to pretend to be madly in love with her fake husband, she really just wants to wring his neck. But her annoyance and frustration would all be worth it if it means putting a stop to the illegal international adoptions they’ve discovered.

Can Hannah and her fellow agent set aside their differences and work together to track down the mastermind of the adoption operation? And, perhaps more importantly, is Hannah willing to let her incredibly condescending yet aggravatingly adorable pretend-husband actually get his way?

If you enjoy kick-butt spy-girls and enemies-to-lovers, you’ll love Spies Never Lose. This stand-alone novel is the third book in the Banana Girls series. As always, the romance is sweet and the suspense is cozy.


First Line:

A loud bang shattered the stillness of the scrubby Georgia woods.

Spies Never Lose by M. Taylor Christensen

I was super excited when I got the invite to review Spies Never Lose. I had read the previous two books and enjoyed them. So, I jumped on the invite. I am glad that I did because this book was fantastic.

Spies Never Lose has a fast-paced and exciting plotline. Hannah has been assigned to work with one of the most infuriating men she has ever met, Special Agent Jason Briggs from Homeland Security. Their job is to infiltrate an international adoption agency suspected of kidnapping children from their families in China and adopting them into families in the United States. Hannah and Jason are posing as social media influencers looking to adopt. The closer they get to exposing the agency, the more dangerous it gets. The only thing is Hannah can’t stand Jason, and it isn’t easy for her to pretend to like him. Can Hannah and Jason put aside their differences and work together? Or will they fail their mission?

Spies Never Lose is the third book in the Banana Girls series. While the readers can read it as a standalone, I recommend reading the first two books before reading this one. That way, you can get the background on why the Banana Girls were formed, who the other team members are, and the relationships the previous two girls found themselves in.

Spies Never Lose is a fast-paced book that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding areas.

I like characters that grab me from the get-go. I get a better connection with them if they do that. Thankfully, both Hannah and Jason were able to do that.

  • Hannah—-I was thrilled that Hannah finally got her book. My opinion of her has been rocky because of how she acted in the first two books. She was a jerk, and I was praying that she wasn’t written that way in this one. Well, she wasn’t. All those jerky traits were toned down and morphed into qualities that complimented her. I loved it. I also liked how single-minded she was in her hate of Jason. I knew it would turn to love at some point, and when it did, I loved how Hannah showed it.
  • Jason—I did not like him at first. He came across as a cocky, misogynistic man who told Hannah she was privileged to work with him. But, as the book went on, the author revealed a man who cared deeply about his case and Hannah. I also loved his explanation about why he came off the way he did. By the end of the book, I was 100% team, Jason.

The former characters from the previous books did make appearances in this book. The author, though, kept them in the background. Other notable characters (the two influencer families and the adoption coordinator) added extra depth and character to the book.

Spies Never Lose has a hybrid of genres. It is a combination of young adult, suspense, mystery, thriller, and a little bit of romance. As with his other books, the author was able to meld all of those genres together in a way that caught and kept my attention.

There was one major storyline in Spies Never Lose. It was Hannah and Jason infiltrating and taking down the international adoption ring. It was slow-moving at first (with all the talk of influencers and an adoption camp), but the pace did pick up. I enjoyed trying to figure out who was behind the buying of the children.

There were secondary storylines, and they complemented the main one very well. I loved the storyline with the influencer families that Jason and Hannah had to make friends with. I was dying laughing. Mainly because the representation shown was 100% what I imagined those people would be like.

The end of Spies Never Lose was standard. I was surprised by who was behind the adoptions. I also liked the HEA for Jason and Hannah.

Three Reasons You Should Read Spies Never Lose:

  • Great storyline
  • Readers can read it as a standalone
  • Great melding of genres

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Read Spies Never Lose:

  • Jason at the beginning of the book. I wanted to strangle him.
  • The influencers. As much as they amused me, I didn’t like them.
  • The kids are being stolen from their families and adopted.

I would recommend Spies Never Lose to anyone over 16. There is mild language, violence, and no sex (some kissing scenes).

Wicked Bleu: Simone Doucet Series Book 2 by E. Denise Billups

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Publisher: Next Chapter Publishing

Date of publication: October 10th, 2022

Series: Simone Doucet

Tainted Harvest—Book 1

Wicked Bleu—Book 2

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Paranormal

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis:

A 103-year-old murder mystery.

An amateur ghost sleuth.

Can a wrong be rectified in death?

Eight months ago, Simone experienced her first spectral encounter. It awakened a dormant second sight and opened a chasm to the afterlife. Now, another spirit from 1917 New Orleans has wandered through that passage, haunting her with an intoxicating jasmine fragrance and wicked antics.

To escape this mysterious ghost, Simone jumps at a seven-day complimentary Mardi Gras hotel package, unaware there might be an ancestral power behind her decision, an identity she grapples with.

Is the ghost’s name Bleu?

She’s a lady of the night who lived a dangerous life in the infamous Storyville. A place lined with mansion-like brothels on the edge of the French Quarter run by unscrupulous madams and frequented by dangerous criminals. WWI is on the horizon, jazz music is burgeoning, and Bleu’s life unravels.

Visions of her past and horrific death beset Simone as she explores present-day New Orleans with her three roommates.

But why are the images fragmented? Has Bleu forgotten what happened the stormy night she died? Can Simone uncover Bleu’s murderer and reunite her with her loved ones before it’s too late?


First Line:

Knock-Knock, Knock-Knock! “I’m here. Can’t you hear me?”

Wicked Bleu by E. Denise Billups

I like reading paranormal suspense/mystery/thriller. This reflects in the books that I review. If I get a request to review a book in any of those genres, I will accept it. That was the case with Wicked Bleu. I read the synopsis, and I knew that I was going to love it. And guess what, I did!!

Wicked Bleu had an exciting plotline. Eight months previously, Simone had dormant powers awakened, and she could connect with the dead. A new ghost from 1917 is taunting her with its presence. Unnerved, Simone takes a trip to New Orleans with her roommates but finds that the encounters intensify, and they turn in an unexpected direction. On the cusp of the Covid 19 pandemic that shut down the country, Simone must unravel a century-old murder. Who was Bleu? Who killed her? And more importantly, what is Simone’s connection to her?

Wicked Bleu is the second book in the Simone Doucet series. I never say this, but readers can read this as a stand-alone. I would recommend reading book one, but it isn’t needed.

I am going to put up a trigger warning for this book. I went back and forth on it for a little bit while writing my notes. I decided to include it because of the subject matter and some scenes in the brothel. There is a scene of attempted rape, mentions of rape and bearing a child of rape, the beating and murder of the main character, comments of a serial killer in Storyville, drug use (opium), and descriptions of the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading Wicked Bleu.

Wicked Bleu is a fast-paced book. I read it in one night, mainly because I didn’t want to put it down. I did pay for it the next day, but it was worth it. Also worth it was the locations where the book took place. The beginning of the book takes place in an apartment in Brooklyn and the rest in New Orleans. I loved it. Having never been to Mardi Gras, I was living through the characters when they were at the parades. I also loved the descriptions of 1917 New Orleans and the colorful Storyville.

The main characters complimented the book and added extra depth to the plotline.

Simone: I enjoyed her character. She wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t have liked her if she was. She didn’t want her gift (I wouldn’t have either, she blacks out), but at the same time, she learned to embrace it in this book.

Bleu: She wasn’t someone I particularly liked at first. She came across as selfish and manipulative. Add in that she possessed Simone’s friend Stacey (a huge no-no). But, after the possession, I started to see a different side to her. All she wanted was to find out who murdered her, reconnect with the love of her life, and get her daughter’s forgiveness. It was at that point that I started to like her.

The secondary characters complicated the main characters. The only ones I didn’t like were Jude (he was very distant for most of the book), Bleu (for reasons stated above), and the person who killed Bleu (spoiler if I gave the name away).

Wicked Bleu is a paranormal mystery with a bit of suspense added to it. The author kept me guessing who the killer was (I figured it out shortly before Simone did) and that person’s motives. As for the paranormal angle, I enjoyed seeing a different take on ghosts and Bleu possessing Stacey. It fits very well within those genres.

The main storyline with Simone, Bleu, and Bleu’s murder was well written. Like I said above, I kept guessing who the murderer was (at one point, I did think a client killed her). I also loved the descriptions of 2020 and 1917 New Orleans. It has reignited a desire to visit there and visit.

The storyline with Simone, Bleu, Bleu’s daughter, Bleu’s fiance, and Bleu’s former best friend broke my heart. I did have a hard time following it (and not because of how it was written but because I kept getting interrupted). But once I got all of my distractions settled (cough9yearoldwhowouldnotgotobedcough), I could better focus on it. And that storyline broke my heart. I was alternately sad, angry, and triumphant (you know why if you have read the book).

I couldn’t believe the ending. The author wrapped everything up in a way that I loved. And then she did something unexpected. It was a cliffhanger, and I couldn’t believe what I had read. I cannot wait to see what Simone will do!! It has made me all fired up for the next book.

Three things I liked about Wicked Bleu:

  1. The characters. They were all well-written and had distinct personalities.
  2. The location. New Orleans has been on my must-visit list for years.
  3. The end. Talk about not expecting what happened!!

Three things I disliked about Wicked Bleu:

  1. Bleu’s possession of Stacey. It proved to be dangerous.
  2. Bleu’s daughter’s backstory. I felt bad for that child and everything she had been through.
  3. Who killed Bleu. That person deserved everything that they got!!

I would recommend Wicked Bleu to anyone over 21. There are no graphic sex scenes (most were implied or nongraphic). There was language and violence. See also my trigger warning.


If you enjoyed reading Wicked Bleu, you will enjoy reading these books:

Conviction by Michael Cordell

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Publisher: TCK Publishing

Date of publication: November 14th, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Series: Thane Banning

Contempt—Book 1

Conviction—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

Goodreads Synopsis:

THE LONG-AWAITED SEQUEL TO THE AMAZON BESTSELLER, CONTEMPT

He orchestrated a murder. Now he must defend the man charged with the crime.

Thane Banning is ready for a fresh start. He survived 5 years in Forsman Prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and now he’s started a law firm to defend the innocent. But the past won’t stay buried for long.

Kilo Miller, a violent felon who tried to kill Thane in prison, is charged with Joseph Crowell’s murder, and Thane agrees to take the case. Thane knows for certain that Kilo didn’t kill Crowell—because Thane knows who did. It’s a secret he must protect in order to keep his family safe, but LAPD’s top detective is getting closer to the truth.

When strong evidence surfaces implicating Kilo in the murder, Thane discovers that conspiracy runs deep in L.A.’s court system. But proving Kilo’s innocence could reveal Thane’s own dark history and send him back to death row.

With help from his colleagues Gideon and Kristen, Thane must uncover who is framing Kilo and targeting his associates before he loses the case—and even his freedom. His conviction to represent the innocent forces him to face the ultimate test:

Is he willing to let an innocent man go to prison to avoid his own life sentence?


First Line:

When the shiv plunged into his side, Thane didn’t even realize he’d been stabbed.

Conviction by Michael Cordell

When I read the blurb for Conviction, I was intrigued. While I read many books (and stress a lot), I rarely read legal thrillers. So, I accepted the invitation, and I am glad I did. This book is an important book to read.

Conviction is the second book in the Thane Banning series. Unlike most other books in other series, readers can read this one as a standalone. The author briefly explained what happened in book one and brought up other characters/events. But the book primarily focused the what Thane, Kristin, and Gideon were doing for their current clients.

The plot of Conviction was intriguing. Thane Banning is a lawyer who had spent five years on death row, convicted of a murder he didn’t do. After being released, he started a law firm to defend people falsely accused of crimes. Almost simultaneously, two cases come across his desk. One case involves Gideon’s nephew. Arrested after delivering a package to a house for a friend, Gus is held in prison. But a dirty cop threatens to send him to jail for a long time if he doesn’t tell him what he wants to hear. The other case involves the inmate who tried to kill Thane. He had been arrested for the murder of Thane’s mentor. Thane knows that he is innocent. Why? Because Thane knows who killed his mentor. As the lawyers work with their clients, they realize that the corruption of the police and DA’s office runs much deeper than they initially thought. Can they prove the innocence of their clients? Or will their clients go to jail on false charges?

Conviction takes place entirely in Los Angeles. The author didn’t bring Hollywood or the actors up. Instead, he focused on the everyday people that live there-the good, the bad, and the morally gray people. I enjoyed it.

The author amazingly wrote the main characters in Conviction. There was depth to them that I wasn’t expecting. And the secondary characters added an extra oomph to the storyline.

  • Thane: I enjoyed his character. He was as morally gray as a character could get. He understood what it was like inside prison. He also emphasized with the family members whose loved ones were falsely accused. I also liked his investigation style. It was a little unorthodox but never crossed the line where the evidence would be inadmissible in court.
  • Gideon: I enjoyed his scenes. I don’t know why he was in prison or how he got out (it was probably explained in book 1), but I do know, from what I read, that it was justified. Gideon had no issue using his size to intimidate people into giving him information (thinking of his nephew’s friends).
  • Kristin: I wouldn’t say I liked her character as much as the other two. She was almost too abrasive in some scenes and weak in others. She did hit her stride, though, during Kilo’s trial. Her takedown of that detective was muah (chef’s kiss).
  • Gus: I was enraged for him. He was done dirty by his friends (mostly Jamie but also Andre, to an extent). I couldn’t believe what I was reading when he was arrested and held in jail. He wasn’t even allowed a phone call, which ticked me off. And then to listen to the detective say what he did. My blood boiled. I know this is a reality of POC daily, and it sickens me.
  • Kilo: OK, so when Kilo was introduced, and Thane agreed to take his case, I had the same reaction as everyone else in the office. Why? But only some things are what it seems with Kilo, and I was surprised at what was revealed., and I was surprised at what was revealed. I loved how dedicated his wife was to him. I was rooting for him to be found not guilty.

The secondary characters, as I mentioned, were just as well-written as the main ones. I did have my favorites. I loved the saucy (and snarky) Letitia. She had me nodding my head during her scenes. So much of what she said is true. Cricket was my other favorite. She was a ten-year-old hacker Thane was representing for free and was terrific. She stole the scenes every time she appeared. I loved that she was repentant for what she did and told Thane that she would keep doing it. I hope she is made more of a main character in upcoming books.

Conviction fits very well into the thriller genre. I was kept on edge the entire time and didn’t know what would happen from one chapter to the next. That is the way someone should write a legal thriller. There was a point where I thought Kilo wouldn’t get off. I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen.

The author amazingly wrote the main storyline. It was a twisty, turny storyline that (along with the thriller angle) kept me glued to the book. I had doubts that Thane could keep himself from being implicated in his mentor’s death, and the author did nothing to dissuade me from thinking about that.

The secondary storylines were just as good as the main one. They added additional information and background on several secondary characters and the main ones.

The end of Conviction was a nail-biter. As stated above, I worried for Kilo and Gus. But, after a major twist (I saw it coming and relished it), the author had an ending that I enjoyed and loved. I cannot wait to read book three when it comes out.

Three things I like about Conviction:

  • The characters (primary and secondary). They were believable and well-fleshed out.
  • The social justice issues that the author addressed.
  • The storylines. They were all well-written.

Three things I disliked about Conviction:

  • Detective Malone. He was as slimy as they come, and I hope he gets what is coming.
  • Stick (Andre’s brother). He was an evil man, and I hope he gets what is coming.
  • The ex-DA. He kept showing up on Thane’s runs. It gave me stalky vibes.

I would recommend Conviction to anyone over 21. There is moderate violence, language, and sexual situations. There is also a scene where Kristin is physically assaulted in her apartment.

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

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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:

Shadowed Intent (The Guardians: Book 5) by Reily Garrett

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Publisher:

Date of publication: October 28th, 2022

Genre: Suspense, Paranormal, Romance

Series: The Guardians

Shadowed Horizons—Book 1 (review here)

Shadowed Origins—Book 2 (review here)

Shadowed Passages—Book 3

Shadowed Spirits—Book 4 (review here)

Shadowed Intent—Book 5

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Detective Wade’s search for her sister leads to an abandoned building and a man with two teens, a fierce battle where light poles bend like pipe cleaners, and twenty-six unmarked shallow graves.

A sibling addicted to extreme sports used to be her biggest challenge. Now fate has chosen to widen her horizons and test her unique psychic skill set. With her Bernese mountain dog by her side, they must fathom friend from foe while staying one step ahead of the organization responsible for kidnapping those with psychic abilities.

Parker Ratham’s goal of locating psychically talented teens and adults held prisoner takes him deep into the Connecticut forests. On a stormy night, he crosses paths not only with a serial killer, but also a young teen running from unknown assassins.

Each must learn to trust and work as a unit while staying ahead of those seeking to capture or kill.


First Line:

A midnight hike through thick, forested land ending with a creepy abanonded insitution would be less unnerving without slivers of moonlight casting phantom shadows across broken windows.

Shadowed Intent by Reily Garrett

I love reading series. I mean, who doesn’t? I love seeing new characters get their romance (if I am reading a romance) and minor updates on older characters. So, I always say yes if I have been reading/reviewing a series and an author asks me to review the next book. That was the case with Shadowed Intent. I am glad I did because I got to see Parker get his romance and see what twists this book would bring to the continued storyline of finding the gifted people. I wasn’t disappointed.

Shadowed Intent had an exciting plotline with more twists and turns than a mountain road. Detective Wade is out in the woods searching for her missing sister when she accidentally runs into Parker and Casper. They are with another teenager who has just been saved from being abducted by the organization they have been fighting with. After discovering that Wade has powers like Keira, Parker brings her to their home base. Can Wade help Keira’s found family? Can she help the imprisoned people before more die? And more importantly, can she find her sister before something horrible happens to her?

Shadowed Intent is the 5th book in the Guardians series. It can be read as a standalone book. But, I suggest reading from book 1. That way, you get why Keira and her group are fighting the people they’re fighting. You also will get the background on the different family dynamics and romantic relationships between background characters.

Shadowed Intent takes place in Connecticut with side trips to Texas and Pennsylvania. The author doesn’t get into much detail about where in Connecticut this book takes place. But, if I had to guess, it would be in the western part of the state.

The main characters of Shadowed Intent had some unique abilities. I loved reading how their characters interacted with each other as well as the other members of the team.

  • Parker. I was super excited when it became clear that this was Parker’s story. The author got more into his background and how his power manifested (the tragic drowning of his older brother). I did think that he was a little too patient with Wade, but given what they were up against, it made sense. I also loved his banter with Casper!! It had me cracking up laughing. His ability was also showcased more in this book. I wish that I could slow down time.
  • Wade. I got a little irritated by her at first. She refused to listen to Casper when told what was going on. Instead, she brushed her off and treated her like a kid (well, she is, but Casper is much more than that). When confronted with the truth, she didn’t believe it until Casper morphed her and Parker through the abandoned facility. When her power was revealed, I was impressed. Her ability to talk to animals surpassed Keira’s. And her secondary ability was flipping awesome!!! It was something new, and it was scary.
  • Casper. I loved this spitfire. She was determined to bring down the organization that killed her parents. She was also more powerful than the author lets on. There were glimpses in this book and the previous one. She was also a perfect foil for Wade and Parker (her defacto parents).

The secondary characters (including Wade’s sister, Silver) were just as well fleshed out as they always are with this author. They all brought added depth to the book. While I know Silver will probably be featured in an upcoming but, I hope another character is also featured. I was fascinated by this character and his ability (slow aging).

Shadowed Intent is a romantic suspense novel. It fits those genres well. The romance between Parker and Wade is low-key and kept in the background. But, the author did work in some kissing scenes and one or two nongraphic sex scenes towards the end of the book. This book also had a ton of suspense. I couldn’t put my Kindle down because I had to know what would happen next.

There are two main storylines and a bunch of smaller ones in Shadowed Intent. The main storyline runs throughout this series: Find and defeat the people kidnapping and experimenting on people with abilities. The author did branch off this storyline for several secondary ones (like the serial killer, the kidnapped kids/murdered adults, and how people were being forced into their abilities). The other main storyline centered around Wade, Parker, and Wade’s kidnapped sister. Both of those storylines (and the secondary ones) were well written.

I am going to include a trigger warning in this review. I usually don’t, but I felt that, in this case, it is warranted. The triggers are torture, kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, and mass murder. If any of these trigger you, I recommend not to read the book.

The end of Shadowed Intent was terrific. I loved the final fight scenes with the serial killer and his accomplice. There were things revealed that I didn’t see coming, and there were reunions that touched my heart. The author did wrap up Wade and Parker’s storyline in a way that I loved. Now, I am wondering who will be next. Dacian and Silver? I also want to know who is watching the group but staying hidden. I have a feeling I know who it is, but I don’t want to stay.

Three reasons why you should read Shadowed Intent:

  • Amazing characters
  • Great storylines
  • It can be read as a standalone (see above)

Three reasons why you shouldn’t read Shadowed Intent:

  • Does have triggering content (see above)
  • The romance was almost too low-key.
  • The serial killer. He was pure evil.

I would recommend Shadowed Intent to anyone over 21. There is graphic violence and language. The sex scenes are nongraphic too.

A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: November 8th, 2022

Genre: Horror, Short Stories, Fiction, Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Short Story Collection, Fantasy, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound

Goodreads Synopsis:

The debut short story collection from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man, featuring ten bone-chilling and mind-bending tales

Timeslips. Doomsday scenarios. Killer butterflies. C. J. Tudor’s novels are widely acclaimed for their dark, twisty suspense plots, but with A Sliver of Darkness, she pulls us even further into her dizzying imagination.

In Final Course, the world has descended into darkness, but a group of old friends make time for one last dinner party. In Runaway Blues, thwarted love, revenge, and something very nasty stowed in a hat box converge. In Gloria, a strange girl at a service station endears herself to a cold-hearted killer, but can a leopard really change its spots? And in I’m Not Ted, a case of mistaken identity has unforeseen, fatal consequences.

Riveting and explosively original, A Sliver of Darkness is C. J. Tudor at her most wicked and uninhibited.


First Line:

She often dreamed of drowning.

End of the Liner, A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor

I like reading anthologies. Sometimes my brain isn’t able to process longer books (my attention span can be shot at times). But I wouldn’t say I like reviewing them. I write long reviews because I want to cover each story and give it the attention I think it deserves. I am not going to do that with this review. I am a little crunched for time (I am writing this on Halloween and I have a bunch of things to do/get ready for on top of my usual Monday morning routine). So, this review is going to be short.

A Sliver of Darkness had an exciting mix of short stories. The author did keep my attention because these stories were not cookie-cutter. Also, the author did something that I wasn’t expecting. She wrote a little forward to each story to explain why she wrote it. I loved it!!

I had two favorite stories out of the eleven that were published. They are End of the Liner, and I’m not Ted. My least favorite one was Gloria, only because I hadn’t read her featured book.

This short story collection would have been perfect for reading in October. Each story was creepy in its way.

I would recommend A Sliver of Darkness to anyone over 21. There is language and violence but no sex.


If you enjoyed A Sliver of Darkness, you will enjoy these books:

Alias Emma (Alias Emma: Book 1) by Ava Glass

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: August 2nd, 2022

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Spy Thriller, Espionage, Suspense, Adult, Contemporary, Spy Thriller

Series: Alias Emma

Alias Emma—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

Emma Makepeace is about to spend the longest night in her life.

She’s on her first operation with a shadowy organisation known only as ‘The Agency’, assigned to track down and save an innocent man wanted by the Russian government.

All Emma has to do is bring him in to MI6 before sunrise, and before an assassination team gets to him first.

But the Russians have hacked the city’s CCTV cameras. There are spies all over London searching for the two of them. And her target, Michael Primalov, doesn’t want to be rescued.

As London sleeps, a battle is taking place on its streets as Emma fights to keep Michael alive.

But what sort of reception await them if and when they get to MI6?


First Line:

The sun was setting over one of the most expensive streets in the world when nthe assassins arrived.

Alias Emma by Ava Glass

I usually do not read books that are about spies or any espionage. It’s a genre I do not care for, and I typically go out of my way not to read anything from it. So, I was surprised (and a little irritated) when I read Alias Emma and realized it was a spy/espionage/thriller. That was on me, though. When the publisher sent me the invite to review, I automatically accepted without reading what I was getting. Imagine my surprise when I started liking Alias Emma. This book might be the one that has cracked my dislike for that genre. It was that good.

Alias Emma is the first book in the Alias Emma series. Anything else I would write in this section can be ignored (aka my warnings about reading books out of order in a series). That doesn’t apply here.

Alias Emma had a solid and engaging storyline. Emma is a secret agent working undercover at a shop run by a low-level threat when she gets a phone call she has been waiting for. She has been assigned to pick up a man, Dr. Michael Primalov, and bring him to the M16 before daylight. She must also keep him safe from Russian assassins and rogue agents from her agency. But that is easier said than done. The Russians have taken over London’s CCTV, her handler has gone missing, and she is receiving no help from her agency. With a cryptic message from her handler about staying in the dark, Emma must fulfill her mission. If she can’t, an innocent man will die. Can Emma do it? Can she bring Michael to the safety of the M16?

I loved Emma. She was stubborn (which served her well in this book), tough, and knew how to think outside the box. I loved seeing how she was recruited and her more tragic backstory. She was a very fleshed-out character. She did irritate me during some scenes but other than that, I liked her. I also loved how she saw something through to the end. And oh boy, did she with Michael.

The storyline with Emma, Michael, the Russians, and getting to the M16 was well written. The author did a great job of keeping my attention by constantly changing the storyline. Every time I thought something was going to happen, the storyline shifted. I did have my doubts about them getting to the M16. They were both up against so much.

The storyline with Emma, her agency, and the rogue agent kept me on the edge of my seat. I was alternately irritated for her and frightened for her. But everything did iron out in the end, but it was a ride to get there.

The spy/espionage angle of Alias Emma was very thought-provoking. I liked that the book featured a female spy who was relatable. I got a very James Bondy vibe during parts of the book, and I loved that Emma had to use her intuition to feel situations.

The action angle of Alias Emma was well written. I couldn’t get over the amount of running Emma and Michael did during this book. I also couldn’t get over the number of hand-to-hand combat situations that Emma had with the Russians. Again, it was another thing that kept my attention on the book.

The end of Alias Emma was interesting. I say interesting because I was fascinated with how the Russian storyline ended. The images I produced in my head after the Russian team passed the British one at the hotel in Paris were not good. I also liked how the author left open the storyline about specific agents going rogue. There was an explanation, but the way it was left made me wonder if book two would explain more.

I would recommend Alias Emma to anyone over 16. There are a few kissing scenes (mainly to conceal identities), language, and moderate to high violence.


If you enjoyed reading Alias Emma, you will enjoy these books:

Steel Fear (Finn Thrillers: Book 1) by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: July 13, 2021

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, War, Military Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Crime, Mystery Thriller, Contemporary

Series: Finn Thrillers

Steel Fear—Book 1

Cold Fear—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

An aircraft carrier adrift with a crew the size of a small town. A killer in their midst. And the disgraced Navy SEAL who must track him down . . . The high-octane debut thriller from New York Times bestselling writing team Webb & Mann—combat-decorated Navy SEAL Brandon Webb and award-winning author John David Mann.

The moment Navy SEAL sniper Finn sets foot on the USS Abraham Lincoln to hitch a ride home from the Persian Gulf, it’s clear something is deeply wrong. Leadership is weak. Morale is low. And when crew members start disappearing one by one, what at first seems like a random string of suicides soon reveals something far more sinister: There’s a serial killer on board.

Suspicion falls on Finn, the newcomer to the ship. After all, he’s being sent home in disgrace, recalled from the field under the dark cloud of a mission gone horribly wrong. He’s also a lone wolf, haunted by gaps in his memory and the elusive sense that something he missed may have contributed to civilian deaths on his last assignment. Finding the killer offers a chance at redemption . . . if he can stay alive long enough to prove it isn’t him.


First Line:

Shivers rippled over Monica Halsey’s naked skin as she peered into the steel mirror and splashed water on her face.

Steel Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

I DNF’d this book the first time I read it. I stopped reading at around 40%. The reason was pretty simple; I wasn’t a fan of how slow the book was. Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I decided to go through my NetGalley Will Not Give Feedback section and read/review all the books on that shelf. I am a little anal with keeping my NetGalley ratio on the higher side of 90. And since Steel Fear was one of those books, I decided it would be one of the first ones I read/review.

Steel Fear is a military mystery/thriller set on the USS Abraham Lincoln. Finn is a Navy Seal sniper who is being sent home for a debriefing after a raid goes wrong. With his memory of the events compromised, Finn settles for the voyage back. But soon, he is embroiled in a mystery when several seamen (and women) are found murdered in various areas of the ship. With the ship on lockdown and people beginning to think he is the murderer, Finn decides to take matters into his own hands and solve the murders. But with the body count piling up, can Finn stay one step ahead of the MPs and solve the murders? Or is he the one they are looking for?

Finn’s character was interesting to read. He was a very unlikely Navy Seal. He wasn’t tall, jacked up, or loud. Instead, he was average height, had an average body build, and was very quiet. He was so quiet that people often forgot he was there. What intrigued me the most about Finn was that he was an enigma to everyone, including the ship’s captain. No one knew why he was on board or where he was going. The authors chose to reveal almost all of Finn’s background slowly. His childhood, the horrific thing that happened, and what happened to his team were slowly revealed. And the more that was revealed, the more I needed to know.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this book was a DNF for me because of how slow it was. And, yes, it was still slow. But with the second reread, I noticed that the authors were weaving the story with several of the secondary characters. About halfway through the book, the pacing does pick up, and my interest in the plotline picks up with it. By the last chapters of the book, I was utterly hooked. It was more about the serial killer/murders than the ship.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. While I figured that Finn didn’t do it, I was at a loss for who it was. So when the serial killer was revealed, I was shocked. The authors did keep what happened to Finn on his last mission to the bare facts and what Finn remembered. So, there was nothing new was learned there.

The suspense angle of the book was as well written as the mystery angle. I was glued to the book, wanting to know who it was. I couldn’t hit my Kindle button fast enough.

This is a military book, and with it comes military jargon and talk. I wasn’t very interested in that and did skim over some parts of it. But, I did find it fascinating that the authors chose to highlight how women were treated in the Navy (and military). Let’s say that the women in this book weren’t treated very nicely by their COs. It goes with everything I have heard and seen on the news (rapes, coverups, etc.).

The end of Steel Fear was interesting. The authors were able to wrap up the serial killer/murders plotline in a way that I liked. I felt that person got what was coming to them. But I also liked where the author took Finn’s story. There was also enough left with his story for book 2 (which I will read).

I would recommend Steel Fear to anyone over 21. There is no sex. But there is strong language and graphic violence.


If you enjoyed reading Steel Fear, you will enjoy these books:

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