Tag Archive | mystery

Review: Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

Series: Rock Harbor #6

beneath copper falls -colleen cobleUSA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble returns to her beloved Rock Harbor—but both danger and romance hide in this idyllic small town.

Dana Newell has just moved to Rock Harbor to take a job as a sheriff’s dispatcher and is settling in next door to Bree and Kade Matthews. The abusive relationship she left behind seems a distant memory in this perfect place.

Her first day on the job, Dana receives a call from her friend Allyson who screams “He’s going to kill me too” before the phone goes dead. Dana immediately dispatches a deputy, but it’s too late. Allyson’s death is ruled an accident, but Dana just doesn’t believe it. She knows Allyson—an investigative reporter—was researching a new story. Did someone want to keep her quiet?

Dana continues to look into the accident with the help of Bree and also Allyson’s cousin Boone. Romance quickly blooms between Dana and Boone but the game is much more complex than either of them imagined. When Dana’s ex-fiance locates her, she’s caught in the middle. It’s a game of cat and mouse as she and Boone fight to catch one killer while evading another.


3 Drink Me Potions


Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**Beneath Copper Falls comes out July 11, 2017!**

Ah, another mystery set in Rock Harbor. I will confess. I’m a huge fan of Colleen Coble and while that still remains true, I always found myself enjoying her historical fiction works a little more than her contemporary ones. Even still, I wanted to see how her latest story back by popular demand in the town of Rock Harbor would do.

And it didn’t necessarily disappoint (which is a win!).

Dana is an emergency hotline operator. That’s one tough job, but apparently the story trope of witnessing a tragic murder while on the line isn’t all that uncommon anymore. Nevertheless, Colleen Coble made this her own story.

As I was saying, Dana was a good protagonist. She was relatable, albeit not too memorable. She faced similar challenges as I do, trying to speak up when you’re afraid of rejection or being reprimanded by others. With the challenges she had to face due to the murder of her friend Allyson, it gets somewhat overlooked in the grand scheme of things, but she does grow a little in character. I think her character mostly shone through with the craziness that came from her ex chasing her around the country. I will get back to this later.

The romance was predictable. Boone has faced rejection from a previous relationship and didn’t want trust women, yada yada yada. But of course, Dana’s goodheartedness and inner beauty made him change his mind. Okay, it didn’t quite sound so simple, but it kinda felt that way. I wanted to believe in their blossoming love, but I felt it was all a little too cliched and it just didn’t hit me in a way that made me say “aha, my heart is hurting with them”. ‘Cause of course that’s the sign of true love in my eyes 😉

So maybe the romance wasn’t great with the typical strong male character wanting to save the girl who gets in trouble. But the mystery made up for it.

Except for the fact that I guessed who the unlikely culprit was before the halfway point. I was thinking to myself, “hmm, why do I get this crazy feeling it’s *insert name*? No, that can’t be right….”. And guess what?

I was right.

But I’m sure most of you won’t see it coming (I blame it on reading too many mysteries growing up – and the amount of crime shows I binge watch). So that aspect should still be suspenseful and exciting for most readers. I enjoyed the way the pieces fell together. I was hoping it would be a little bit more creepy – like Colleen’s Abomination – but alas, it wasn’t quite as psychologically twisted as I initially thought it would be.

Other little things made the book better. Appearances by fan favourites Kade and Bree put them in roles – particularly Bree – beyond cameos in this story, and the familiar feeling of being back in Rock Harbor was pleasant. The plot was a little all over the place following different POVs, such as the killer’s and Boone’s and Dana’s, but it wasn’t to the level of chaotic so it felt like a good mix of omniscient narrative for us readers.

To sum it up, the romance wasn’t the best, but the mystery was still Colleen’s best. I liked being back in Rock Harbor, and I’m sure many more diehard fans than I am would really enjoy seeing familiar sights and characters. I may just be a bit picky (although I do love her historical mysteries!) but I believe this book falls in line with all the other works in this series and make for a good addition to fan favourites.

Overall Recommendation:
Beneath Copper Falls was a present to diehard Rock Harbor fans and I think Coble did a decent job with this new book. Witnessing the murder of her friend over the line, Dana was a relatable character who struggled with her own past relationship abuse while trying to figure out who killed her friends before the killer got to her. The budding new romance with Boone could’ve been better – he was a little cliched in personality and backstory – but that’s okay as the mystery more than made up for it. Mostly suspenseful (no matter if I predicted it a little early), this book is bound to satisfy some Rock Harbor fans and also make some new ones.


Know of any other good mysteries similar to this storyline?

And if you read this, do YOU think the culprit was predictable or not? I feel like I’m just an anomaly, but I could be wrong.

Next up: reviews on I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski, and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh; and my June book haul ❤ Until then, lovelies.

Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

to catch a killer -sheryl scarboroughErin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late.


3 Drink Me Potions


To Catch a Killer left me second-guessing my whodunnit culprit while still making it exciting with real science, albeit lacking a bit in the “scare” factor.

I am always up for a good mystery, and lately I’ve been in a funk craving a good, suspenseful story to gush and pour over. There aren’t many YA novels that I find does justice to a good crime story. It could be ’cause I read and watch many crime fiction and shows.

This novel captures the essence of forensics in a YA context, so watch out for any skeptical scoffing over the fact that young teenagers do better police work and evidence collection than the ACTUAL police. Erin was an interesting protagonist. She wasn’t deterred so easily by adult figures who kept telling her that she should “just get over” her past and forget the emotions in the aftermath of her mother’s violent death. Sometimes these secondary characters, particularly her guardian Rachel and Erin’s two besties Spam and Lysa, really annoyed me. I get they want to protect her, and it adds to the whole main character versus the world kinda trope but it honestly just got on my nerves after a while. Both sides had decent points for why they were doing what they thought was best, but better communication would’ve definitely gone a long way.

The current mystery surrounding the bio teacher, Ms. P’s death was intriguing, especially once it was linked to her mother’s death. I enjoyed the Erin’s thought process and planning as she set about connecting the dots through her evidence. Although it may not be for everyone, I found the strongest point in this story was the cute little quotes taken from her FBI Uncle Victor that was oddly quite accurate. The story does go more into detail about genetics (aka simplified to just DNA) and how to extract it – ahem, my fav scene was when they made a homemade gel electrophoresis for separating the DNA bands (the bio nerd inside of me is rejoicing at seeing an experiment I do in real life pop into a YA novel!) – but I find they add to the story instead of detracts from it. Erin’s character revolves around wanting to solve murders, particularly her mom’s. And good evidence collection and testing are the forefront of determining how a case may go.

What I thought wasn’t so great or as realistic was the romance. Yep, you heard me. The ROMANCE. Journey Michaels was the love interest for Erin and although he seems like a rather nice guy, I don’t feel we get to know him very well in this story. He’s there to help connect the dots with Erin by providing info that they don’t already know, and maybe to make the story more interesting. But ultimately, he didn’t really need to be a part of this book, which says a lot when it comes to one of my FAVOURITE things I find normally essential in a story. I didn’t set any ships for them, not really. And it felt a bit fast for them to fall for each other in a non-platonic way. Sure, emotions are rampant when you feel like you’re in danger, but I suppose their path to romance wasn’t depicted as well as it potentially could’ve been.

Last comment: what’s with the names in this story? Spam, which is short for SAMANTHA, was an oddball name I’ve never come across a story before. And the only way I figured out her real name was Samantha instead of actually Spam was ’cause someone called her by the full name wayyy later in the book. Also, Journey’s not such a hot name either…It was just very interesting.

Overall Recommendation:
To Catch a Killer isn’t some scary book that’ll keep you up at night, but it does sufficiently for the mystery that is the heart of the story. Erin Blake is an easy to follow protagonist with a love of forensics (that actually dives into real forensics), although it sometimes felt like no one else understood why she needed to do this for her mom’s case. Family and friendships are other things that’re portrayed here, but ultimately this is a story about a killer who needs to be brought to justice (by apparently teen CSIs). However, it falls a bit flat in the romance category with Journey, but all in all, the ending wasn’t the most predictable and closes on a happy note that should satisfy most readers.

Review: Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Series: New Orleans #5

lost souls -lisa jacksonNew York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson delivers her most harrowing novel yet as a young woman’s determined hunt for a serial killer draws her into a twisted psychopath’s unspeakable crimes.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kristi Bentz is lucky to be alive.

Not many people her age have nearly died twice at the hands of a serial killer, and lived to tell about it. Her dad, New Orleans detective, Rick Bentz, wants Kristi to stay in New Orleans and out of danger.

But if anything, Kristi’s experiences have made her even more fascinated by the mind of the serial killer.

She hasn’t given up her dream of being a true-crime writer–of exploring the darkest recesses of evil–and now she just may get her chance.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


Lost Souls wasn’t quite as freaky as Lisa Jackson’s previous novel in the New Orleans series. This might’ve been due to the whole vampire theme that was going on. I’m not shaming vampires. I frankly still read stories on occasion that feature vampires who are very real in their fantasy world, and I was a lover of many vampire novels in the past. But when it’s set in the real world of New Orleans, people who exsanguinate others for blood just didn’t sound as scary as other serial killer types.

That being said, this novel was still weird in its own way. I love that there’s always different clues and red herrings that get pointed in our way to make it harder to easily predict the killer. The POV coming from the killer didn’t make it much easier to help narrow down the pool of suspects. I enjoyed the thought Jackson put into crafting the plot, but at times, it was just a bit slow and long to read. I felt the killer had more “screen” time than most other crime novels do, although I’m not necessarily complaining about that. I’m mostly satisfied with how it turned out and who the culprit was.

What I felt lagged a bit was the reconnection between Kristi and Jay. I liked that there was already a spark there, but it didn’t feel like it rekindled naturally. I also don’t love Kristi. Since the last novel, I already figured that she wasn’t one to listen to anyone, let alone her own survival instincts until it was too late and she’s just screaming for help and praying that someone would intervene in time. There’s no sense of safety and precaution in this girl! You’d think after at least 2 attempts on her life from SERIAL KILLERS, she’d at least be more careful when tracking down another. It’s like she doesn’t experience PTSD or learn anything from not one, but TWO, horrible dealings with killers. And I hated that she was able to persuade Jay to let her do things her way (aka not going to the police when they had some evidence of sorts ’cause she was afraid of what her daddy would do *eye rolls*) or by plainly lying by omission to Jay so he wouldn’t know what harebrained plan she had hatched up and wanted to try – without thinking the consequences through of course.

All in all, Lost Souls wasn’t bad as I’m not adverse to the whole vampirism trope that was happening here, but the personal relationships and the main character could annoy some people.