Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: The Woods Are Waiting (By Katherine Greene)

A big thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane for an ARC of The Woods are Waiting by Katherine Greene. This was my introduction to the author, and the premise was incredibly intriguing. Read on to find out how this thriller fares.

Genre: 

Thriller, Mystery

Blurb:

Cheyenne Ashby has lived under the shadow of her mother’s eccentricities all her life. Constance Ashby is the protector of the small town of Blue Cliff, keeping at bay the evil entity that haunts the surrounding forest. When three children are found dead in the forest, out-of-towner Jasper Clinton is convicted. But Cheyenne, unable to bear the weight of her family traditions, superstitions, and responsibilities, leaves her town and turns her back on her mother and on the two people who matter the most to her – Natalie and Jackson.

Five years later, another child goes missing. The event leaves Constance Ashby a wreck. Cheyenne returns to fulfill her duty and take care of her mother. She faces her past once again and tries to rebuild the broken relationships with those that she still loves. But, as Cheyenne and Natalie realize, there’s only one way to bury that past and resolve the events that have pushed the town into an increasing frenzy of fear and anger – face the evil that lives in the woods.

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10 stars

Plot:

9 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

10 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

10 out of 10 stars for its mystery; 7 out of 10 stars for its thrill

Writing Style:

10 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

A great mix of mystery, creepiness, and the emotional struggles that come with life’s tough decisions, The Woods Are Waiting is an excellent debut by Katherine Greene, making her an author to watch.

What I Liked:

The Woods Are Waiting does justice to a not-uncommon theme – a small town set in its ways and beliefs, plagued by hauntings of an unknown being, and rife with unrest in the aftermath of tragedy. What it gets right is:

  • the characterization of the two protagonists and multiple supporting persons, each holding their own, with their own voice, and their own growth,
  • the emotional conflicts that accompany the tough decisions you have to make sometimes and their aftermath,
  • the vulnerability and strength in relationships of all kinds,
  • the setting, especially that of the forest, and its impact on the people and the events they experience,
  • a mystery that keeps you guessing right till the end

What I Didn’t Like:

While there was little to specifically dislike in Katherine Greene’s debut thriller, the only thing that would have made it better was a little more creepiness. There was significant focus on the ‘creature within the woods’, but there was just something lacking in the effect the narrative had; it left you curious more than unsettled, which is what I was expecting given the setting and theme.

It also moves steadily, but at a slow(ish) pace, picking up in intensity after the 70% mark. That doesn’t in any way affect the outcome, but I definitely found the ‘face the evil’ aspect to be introduced much later than the blurb had me believe.

Who Should Read It:

You’ll enjoy Katherine Greene’s work if you like thrillers with emotion and mysteries with supernatural elements. It’s perfect for fans of Tim Weaver’s David Raker series (because of their similar settings, especially The Dead Tracks) or Mark Edwards (because of their similar themes, especially The Retreat).

Who Should Avoid:

Trigger Warning: The Woods Are Waiting does involve crimes against children, although it is non-violently handled. However, if that’s a particularly sensitive topic for you, I’d definitely recommend avoiding this one.

You could also skip this if thrillers with supernatural themes aren’t a favorite.

Read It For:

A story that excellently combines a creepy mystery and the complexities of relationships and emotions.

I really enjoyed The Woods Are Waiting and finished it within a couple of days. It’s definitely a book that keeps you turning the pages. If you’re looking to try a new author with immense potential, you can pre-order your copy of Katherine Greene’s debut here. It goes on sale in July 2023.

Share recommendations of your favorite thrillers in the comments below. And, as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Station!

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Snowblind (By Ragnar Jónasson)

Snowblind, by Ragnar Jónasson, was an impulse pick-up for me at my library. (Yes, I do spend a lot of time at the library, which probably isn’t a surprise at this point!) The blurb and setting were interesting, especially as the weather outside more or less mimicked that within the pages of the book. The book is a translation from the original and has been translated into English by Quentin Bates (who has also translated Books 2 to 5 in the Dark Iceland series.

How did my introduction to Ragnar Jónasson’s work go? Read on to find out.

Genre: 

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

320 pages

Blurb:

Rookie policeman, Ari Thor, leaves behind his home and girlfriend in Reykjavik and takes up his first assignment in the remote village of Siglufjordur. Often snowed in during winter, the small fishing town has little in the way of crime. Until an elderly, famous writer – a resident of Siglufjordur – falls to his death, and a young woman is found half-naked, unconscious, and in a pool of her own blood, all within the span of a few days. As a snowstorm rages on, cutting off the only path into and out of the village and, Ari Thor faces more than a growing sense of claustrophobia – he faces the close-knit community of Siglufjordur that tells little and hides a lot. What price will he need to pay before he finds the killer among them?

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10 stars

Plot:

8 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

8 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

4 out of 10 stars for its thrill; 8 out of 10 stars for its mystery

Writing Style:

7 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series: 

Yes, this is Book 1 in the Dark Iceland series, featuring Ari Thor. The books are in a different order in the Icelandic version and in the translated, English version. Snowblind is the starting point for readers of the English version (while being the second book in the Icelandic series), but it does not feel like it picks up mid-series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

A character-driven whodunit that pulls you right into its bleak, snowy setting, Snowblind is probably best enjoyed in the winter months with a cup of hot coffee, tea, or cocoa by your side.

What I Liked:

The setting of Snowblind is one of its highlights. It is perfectly crafted and sets the stage for the entire story, making each dialog and action that much easier to envision and connect with. Another highlight is its characterization. Moving through multiple POVs, the book gives you incredible insight into each character and their motivations, without becoming overwhelming.

What I Didn’t Like:

The only thing I would say I didn’t like is how the book is represented in its blurb – its genre assignment. Although stated to be a thriller, Snowblind doesn’t exactly keep you on the edge of your seat. While that doesn’t make it a bad book, it definitely results in you having to adjust between what you expect and what the book really is.

Who Should Read It:

If you like whodunits or character-driven mysteries, you’ll really enjoy Snowblind. It keeps you invested in the characters and their personal battles as it slowly unfolds. You’ll also really enjoy it if you like stories set in remote areas and that take place under the wrath of Mother Nature.

Who Should Avoid:

If you prefer your mysteries to be more thriller-oriented, you should skip Snowblind.

Read It For:

Its setting, and characters that will stay with you after you turn the last page.

I was quite torn when rating Snowblind. The main reason was (as mentioned) that its pitch is very different than its story. Eventually though, when rating it for what it is – a whodunit, not a thriller – I am compelled to give it a high rating. It’s a book that most readers of classic mysteries will thoroughly enjoy. If you liked Agatha Christie’s work, you’ll enjoy Ragnar Jónasson’s.

If you’d like to get your own copy of Snowblind, you can do so here. If you’d like to check out another Icelandic author who combines mystery with some thrill, read my review of The Doll by Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

What are some of your favorite mysteries? Tell us in the comments below. And, as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Station and reading this review!

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: Find You First (By Linwood Barclay)

I discovered Linwood Barclay when I came across Elevator Pitch. That book had been a fast read, with a lot of connected story arcs, and a satisfying end (check out its full review here). It also got me interested in Linwood Barclay’s other works. Which is how I ended up reading Find You First.

How did it compare to Elevator Pitch? Read on to find out.

Genre: 

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

438 pages

Blurb:

Tech millionaire, Miles Cookson, had little time for things other than the business empire he built and his success. Until he was diagnosed with a fast-progressing terminal illness. Now, Miles needs to redefine his priorities and address an unexpected challenge – a fifty percent chance that his illness is passed on to the next generation. As a sperm donor in the past, Miles has nine children that he’s never met, nine adults who could be carrying his illness. Determined to equip them with the knowledge of their potential future and a part of his fortune, Miles begins his search for his biological children.

Chloe Swanson, an aspiring film documentarian, knows that her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant twenty-two years ago. And she’s determined to find her biological father and any biological siblings.

When Miles and Chloe meet, they both find some of the answers they’ve been searching for. They also find that someone is killing off Miles’ children. Will they find out who is behind the terrifying events unfolding around them before Chloe becomes the next target?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10 stars

Plot:

8 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

8 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

6 out of 10 stars for its mystery; 6 out of 10 stars for its thrill

Writing Style:

8 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series:

No. 

Highlighted Takeaway:

A well-paced crime fiction that may not produce a lot of thrills, but definitely keeps the pages turning with its suspense.

What I Liked:

Linwood Barclay always manages to weave tales with numerous layers in a compelling and taut manner. Find You First is no different. The way the story comes together is great, made better by the fact that its characterization definitely has you invested.

One of the most intriguing (and surprising) parts of the story was one character who was definitely created in the image of (or at least heavily inspired by) an infamous predator who made the news in the past few years. It made the story much more believable and realistic.

What I Didn’t Like:

Like Elevator Pitch, there’s nothing to specifically dislike in Find You First. It checks all the boxes for a mystery and thriller. It isn’t creepy, nor does it give you the chills (like Dead Silence), but it keeps the pages turning. It just isn’t the best mystery or suspense out there and does seem to drag a bit at times.

Who Should Read It:

If you enjoy crime fiction, mystery, and serial-killer-themed books, you’ll probably enjoy Find You First. It also has some emotional aspects that work really well. It is one of those books that you can read over a weekend or carry along on vacation and relax with for a few hours every day.

Who Should Avoid:

If you’re not a big fan of crime fiction or consistent-paced thrillers (instead, preferring to stick to those that make your skin crawl a bit), I’d recommend skipping this one. You could, instead, try Alex North’s The Whisper Man, if you haven’t read it already.

Read It For:

A multi-arced story that keeps you engaged and guessing.

I’m definitely going to be following Linwood Barclay and his books, even if they won’t be my first choice for a “thriller”. They’re excellent comfort reads when you want to follow an interesting story that is gripping but that does not leave you looking over your shoulder.

If you’d like to grab a copy of Find You First, you can get it here. Or get a copy of Elevator Pitch here. Want to share your thoughts on Linwood Barclay and his books? Leave us a comment below. And as always, thank you for taking a quick break at The Book Review Station.

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: The Doll (By Yrsa Sigurdardottir)

I came across The Doll while strolling through my library. It caught my interest immediately thanks to its potential serial killer theme and its very creepy cover image. Written by Icelandic author, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, The Doll has been translated for its English-language audience by Victoria Cribb.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the review of this thriller.

Genre: 

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

464 pages

Blurb:

Years ago, a mother takes her young daughter on a fishing trip – an opportunity for the girl to bond with her mother after the devastating loss of her father. They catch nothing but a horrific broken doll that has spent years in the ocean. The mother wants to return it to the seabed, but the young girl’s pleading forces her to bring it home. That night, the mother posts an image of the doll on social media. That night, the mother dies… and the doll disappears.

Present day, Detective Huldar is investigating the identity and cause of death of a skeleton pulled out of the ocean. As the case inches forward, he is drawn into another one – a homeless drug addict’s violent murder. Children’s Home psychologist, Freyja, is assisting in the investigation of a third case – child abuse by the caretaker in a foster care home. As Freyja and Huldar end up helping each other with their cases, they discover that all three are linked by a single person, a vulnerable and missing witness – the young girl who found and kept the doll all those years ago.

Freyja and Huldar frantically search for the girl. But will they be able to untangle the cases as they get increasingly convoluted, or will their failure lead to the loss of more lives?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10 stars

Plot:

9 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

9 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 stars for its thrill; 9 out of 10 stars for its mystery

Writing Style:

8 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series: 

Yes, this is Book #5 in the Freyja and Huldar series, also called the Children’s House series. There are 6 books in the series, all of which have been translated into English by Victoria Cribb for the UK market (available outside of the UK too) between 2017 and 2022.

However, it can be read as a standalone. There are some references to past events, but nothing that seemed like a massive spoiler.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Primarily a police procedural, The Doll offers a few nightmares, excellent mystery, and engaging suspense, making it the entire package for fans of crime fiction.

What I Liked:

While The Doll is an interesting read overall, some things do stand out:

  • good characterization, unaffected by the fact that this book is mid-series,
  • multiple storylines that come together well for a complex yet clean mystery,
  • great cultural and practical insight into the Icelandic region

What I Didn’t Like:

There was nothing that was pointedly wrong with The Doll. The only thing that didn’t make it a 10 out of 10 star rating for me was that it was a good book, but it wasn’t as good as other thrillers and police-procedurals I’ve read.

Who Should Read It:

If you like crime fiction with a creepy touch, suspense, or thrillers, you should definitely try The Doll. You will probably discover an author you may not have followed so far, but whose books may just make it on your list of series to catch up on.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like gore or violence, I would recommend avoiding this one. It’s not got a lot of blood and mayhem, but the few bits that get a bit graphic can be a bit much if you’re not a fan.

Read It For:

Learning about a different culture, and a multi-layered mystery that holds you till the last page.

I’ve read a few translated works, especially by Nordic authors – The Bat by Jo Nesbø and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson being two that come to mind. I’ve enjoyed both authors’ works. And now, I can definitely say that Yrsa Sigurdardottir is another author to watch if you like crime fiction and thrillers. I’m definitely going to be catching up on the previous books in the Children’s House series.

If you’d like to get your own copy of The Doll, you can buy it (with free global shipping) here. And if you’d like to start with the first book in the series, The Legacy, instead, you can buy a copy here.

Got recommendations on thrillers or crime fiction you’d like to share? Drop us a comment below. And as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Statoin for your book review break.

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Thrillers

Book Review: The Book of Cold Cases (By Simone St. James)

I can’t remember exactly where I saw the blurb for The Book of Cold Cases the first time. But I do remember finding it really interesting, especially that it was based around the concept of true crime.

So when I finally got the book from my library, I dove right in. Read on to know if it met expectations. Before we get to that though, a quick disclaimer.

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

Genre:

Crime, Thriller

Length: 

344 pages

Blurb:

Shea Collins is a receptionist by day and a true-crime blogger by night. Her passion for her blog – The Book of Cold Cases – is fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. A shy, anxious adult, Shea is pulled out of her comfort zone when she meets Beth Greer.

30 years ago, Beth had been arrested for the brutal murder of two men who had been shot, strange notes left by their bodies. In spite of a witness claiming that he’d seen Beth fleeing the scene, the rich, easily-judged twenty-three-year-old was acquitted. And she spent the rest of her life alone, in her mansion, away from prying eyes.

Yet when Shea asks her for an interview, Beth agrees. They meet at Beth’s mansion, and Shea begins to notice strange happenings – things move when she’s not looking, she sees a girl outside the window, and the house seems to have a life of its own. Slowly, Shea is pulled in by Beth’s charm, resisting her own intuition that something is off. But is it Beth who’s manipulating Shea, or is there something more sinister in the Greer mansion?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10 stars

Plot:

7 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

8 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 stars for its thrill and mystery

Writing Style:

9 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

An interesting mix of thriller, horror, and mystery, The Book of Cold Cases will be most enjoyed by readers/viewers of true crime.

What I Liked:

The characters were really well done, with the range of their emotions being realistic and easy to understand, even when you didn’t like them. The story itself is told from multiple points of view, and all of them hold their own. A few different arcs run in parallel, and they’re tied together really well at the end. All in all, the book moves at a good pace, keeps you engaged, and keeps you guessing.

What I Didn’t Like:

While there isn’t anything to specifically dislike in The Book of Cold Cases, there were two things that stuck out for me. One, the book does everything it should do to be a good read, but somehow it isn’t phenomenal. Two, the horror aspect is just a given – it’s there, you have to accept it, and there is little focus on it other than how it affects the characters and their emotions.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys crime fiction and true crime would like this book. It is the first book of Sime St. James that I’ve read and I enjoyed it enough to want to read more of her work. The mix of horror and mystery works!

Who Should Avoid:

If you’re not a fan of crime-related content, I’d recommend giving this a skip.

Read It For:

The relationship between the protagonist and antagonist, and how it affects them individually.

I explored some more titles from Simone St. James, and although I’m not a big fan of horror (as I am, in fact, a scaredy-cat), I’ll be reading more of her work for sure. In the meantime, if you’d like to get a copy of Simone St. James’ The Book of Cold Cases, you can buy it here.

Share your thoughts on The Book of Cold Cases or other books and series on true crime in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping at The Book Review Station and giving this review a read!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: No One Home (By Tim Weaver)

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books.

Published in 2019, No One Home is one of the most recent books in the David Raker series. The next full-length novel in the series, The Blackbird, comes out mid-2022. (You can pre-order that one here.) Between these two, Tim Weaver published one standalone thriller – Missing Pieces – and one collection of short stories featuring David Raker – The Shadow at the Door.

The reason I bring all of this up is that when I realized I was almost completely caught up and would now have to wait months and years for the next installment in the series, I was both happy and sad. But if you haven’t read any of Tim Weaver’s books yet, or if you’ve just read a few here and there, I would really recommend reading the entire series, and starting from the first one. The David Raker series remains one that meets the bar almost every time.

Genre: 

Thriller

Length: 

400 pages

Blurb:

The village of Black Gale has four homes and nine residents. On Halloween night, they meet at one of the houses for dinner. Photos of the night show them happy – drinks and smiles all around. Then, none of them are ever seen again. Two and a half years later, the police still have no clue about what happened to the entire village, and the media focus has died down. So the families of the missing people turn to David Raker. And Raker makes their obsession his own. With every case, David Raker has been moving closer to his own destruction. He knows this truth. He accepts it. But nothing could have prepared him for the mystery of Black Gale.

Overall Rating:

9 out of 10 stars

Plot:

10 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

10 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

10 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

10 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series: 

Yep, this is Book #10 in the David Raker series. I wouldn’t really recommend reading it as a standalone. After around Book #5, they’ve become more and more connected, and you’re likely to have spoilers for the prequels if you read them out of order.

Highlighted Takeaway:

An unconventional mystery, supported by numerous characters that are all shades of gray, and enhanced through its perfect setting.

What I Liked:

No One Home has two stories running simultaneously, far apart in setting and time. Both are interesting, and both have their own protagonists. This dual approach is incredibly engaging.

Then there is also the fact that, as with previous works, David Raker’s character grows more and more with every successive novel. And #10 in the series has some of the most interesting character development yet. Never before has the series had you so concerned.

What I Didn’t Like:

I didn’t really find much to dislike. Quite a few twists and turns that keep you guessing right up until the end.

Who Should Read It:

If you’ve read and enjoyed even one of the David Raker books, I’d recommend giving the entire series a read. And if you haven’t read anything by Tim Weaver as yet but enjoy thrillers, mysteries, and crime fiction, especially those with gritty settings, then I’d highly recommend this series.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t enjoy crime fiction that focuses on cold cases or that can become a bit dark, I’d recommend avoiding this one.

Read It For:

Some shocking developments in David Raker’s story arc, and interesting ones in those of other favorite characters.

Unsurprisingly, I actually ended up reading The Shadow at the Door, which is set after the events of No One Home. Its review will be up soon but before that will be the review of Simone St. James’ most recent book. You might have heard of this one if you like the crime and thriller genres, especially true crime. Stay tuned!

Got something to share about Tim Weaver, David Raker, or other books? Or just want to say hi? Drop a comment below!

And as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Station and reading this review.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Treachery Times Two (By Robert McCaw)

A big thanks to the author, Robert McCaw, and Oceanview Publishing for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Treachery Times Two brings to the forefront one of the biggest ongoing arcs in the Koa Kāne series – Koa’s one mistake that made him who he is, but the revealing of which could take away everything that he’s earned. Does the book do the arc justice? Read on to find out.

Genre: 

Mystery

Length: 

361 pages

Blurb:

Numerous bodies are unearthed in an old, abandoned cemetery when a volcanic earthquake disrupts Hawai’i island. In them is the mutilated body of a woman, unrecognizable, and clearly buried only days ago. Chief Detective Koa Kāne’s investigation into the woman’s death leads him into the world of a politically connected defense contractor, an incredibly powerful and secret military weapon – Deimos, and an FBI espionage investigation. Forced to defy his Chief of Police in his search for justice for the victim, Kāne faces a new threat – that of his thirty-year-old secret being revealed. Years ago, Kāne had killed his father’s nemesis – the man who’d been responsible for Kāne’s father’s death – and covered up the murder. Now, the grandson of the dead man has arrived, and Koa is forced to investigate the homicide he had committed. Until another man is falsely accused of the murder. Can Koa stand by and watch an innocent man pay for his crime? Or will he accept his guilt before everyone, losing the chance to find justice for the mutilated, forgotten woman, and losing the woman he loves, the respect he’s earned, and everything he has ever held dear?

Overall Rating:

9 out of 10

Plot:

10 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

10 out of 10 for its mystery

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book No. 4 in the Koa Kāne series. The books are connected and are best read in order, but can be enjoyed as standalone-s too. Check out the review for Book No. 1, Death of a Messenger, here, and Book No. 3, Fire and Vengeance, here.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Even better than its prequels, Treachery Times Two brings everything you’ve come to love about the Koa Kāne series – mystery, culture, and characterization – and ups the ante.

What I Liked:

There were three things that I liked the most in Treachery Times Two:

  1. It’s got the perfect mix of culture and story, with neither outshining the other.
  2. It showcases Koa Kāne in his rawest, most human form – flawed yet morally strong.
  3. It has multiple storylines and brings them all together perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like:

There is nothing I can say I actively disliked in the book. I found it to be even better than the earlier books in the series (except for Book No. 2, which I am yet to read), and feel that it’s set the bar higher for the series.

Who Should Read It:

If you like mysteries, especially those that have multi-layered plots, you’ll definitely enjoy Treachery Times Two and other Koa Kāne books.

Who Should Avoid:

I don’t think anyone would really dislike this book, unless you absolutely do not enjoy mysteries.

Read It For:

Koa Kāne’s ultimate test – professional and personal. And the always-enthralling representation of Hawaiian culture.

Treachery Times Two releases in January 2022 – pre-order it from most online bookstores or Amazon.

Got questions or something to share about Robert McCaw’s Koa Kāne series or Treachery Times Two? Drop a comment below! And as always, thanks for stopping by The Book Review Station and reading this review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Thrillers

Book Review: Eeny Meeny (By M. J. Alridge)

I came across Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge in the Goodreads Giveaways list. Although I didn’t win a copy, I checked it out from my library as soon as possible because of its very interesting blurb. Read on to know if it met expectations.

Genre: 

Thriller, Crime fiction

Length: 

421 pages

Blurb:

The first victim came out of the woods, starved, barely alive. She had been abducted with her boyfriend. The abductor had left them without food or water, with one gun, one bullet, and one choice – one kills the other, and the murderer survives. Survival, though, may be worse than death. Guilt and horror break the survivor’s mind, leaving her a shell of her former self. And Detective Inspector Helen Grace is forced to accept the girl’s horrifying, almost unbelievable, account when more people get abducted, and more survivors show up… leaving more dead bodies in their wake. DI Grace finds herself in one of the most terrible and challenging cases of her entire career. And the demons in her past, that she’s staunchly fought off in her rise to the top, finally seem to be winning. Will DI Grace find what’s driving the unseen monster before her past catches up to her? Or will a sadistic murderer bring about her downfall?

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10 stars

Plot:

9 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

8 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its thrill and suspense

Writing Style:

7 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is the first novel in the DI Helen Grace series, and is M. J. Arlidge’s debut.

Highlighted Takeaway:

An excellent debut, Eeny Meeny is not for those who get queasy easily. Some very disturbing scenes and themes and a layered, complex plot keep you turning the pages relentlessly. M. J. Arlidge is definitely an author that crime fiction and thriller lovers would want to follow.

What I Liked:

There are three things that made Eeny Meeny super interesting for me:

  • A layered, complex story with multiple arcs that tie in well.
  • Narrative that really pulled you in, making you truly feel for the characters (good and bad).
  • A strong lead character, who is as human as they come.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was only one arc that I didn’t really like too much, primarily because it felt a little out of character for me.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers, crime fiction, and thrillers. Eeny Meeny is definitely hard-hitting.

Who Should Avoid:

If you feel queasy with scenes that show the sheer desperation for survival inherent to human beings then you may want to avoid this one. The realness of the characters’ struggles and actions definitely had me squirming at certain points.

Read It For:

A new author and a new main character, both of which show an incredible amount of potential.

Before signing off on this review, I’d like to share that the revamp of The Book Review Station are underway. Starting with a new look (that we’re still fine-tuning), we’re soon going to be moving to author interviews and other new content. Let us know in the comments below if there’s something you’d like for us to include, and what you think about the new look.

As always, thanks for stopping by and checking out the latest book review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

A thriller that checks all the points: A Review of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane

A big thanks to NetGalley for a copy of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane. A thriller with the perfect setting – old, abandoned mental institution, frozen river, the harsh winter months – The Bone Jar was an interesting read that is reminiscent of the works of two authors whose works I’ve loved – Tim Weaver and Tony Parsons. Read on for more deets!

Genre:

Crime Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

328 pages

Blurb:

Blackwater Asylum, located on the banks of the Thames, has been shut for years. A popular destination for urban explorers, the old asylum is known for its rumored psychological experiments and other horrors, as well as its continued haunting. When an old woman is found dead in one of the asylum rooms, it is up to Detective Lew Kirby to find out why someone murdered a fragile, elderly woman and took the trouble of staging her body at the asylum. With the help of urban explorer, Connie Darke, who has a personal connection to the site, Kirby goes looking for answers, only to find another body in the river. Kirby is faced with more questions than answers as he attempts to build the connection between both deaths, receives information from an old patient whose sanity is still questionable, and finds his personal life falling apart around him. Will Kirby find the answers he’s looking for before someone else dies?

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its mystery; 7 out of 10 for its thrill factor

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is the first book in the Detective Lew Kirby series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The setting. S.W. Kane, according to her bio, is fascinated with “urban exploration and crime set in cold places”. She brings both these elements together really well, creating a setting that pulls you right in. Her descriptive narrative adds a whole new level to every scene and every event that takes place.

What I Liked:

I found the characterization really strong – S.W. Kane has created well-woven, complicated people that stand their own with every action and sentence. This is especially true for Detective Lew Kirby who is shown to be a quintessential good guy at his core, but with enough shades of gray to make him seem real and relatable.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was really not much to dislike in the book.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys a good thriller or mystery. If you liked Simon Beckett’s Written in Bone (check out its review here), Tim Weaver’s The Dead Tracks (read its review here), and/or Tony Parson’s The Slaughter Man (yep, I reviewed that too and you can read that here), you’ll like S.W. Kane’s The Bone Jar.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who does not enjoy thrillers, especially those that tend to have a bit of a macabre setting and outlook.

Read It For:

The pace, and its ability to pull you in from the first page and not let you go until you’re done. For me, this was the start of another series that I’d definitely like to follow.

Get your paperback copy of The Bone Jar here, or get the audio book (CD-Audio) here.

Got some thoughts on The Bone Jar? Share them in the comments below, along with recommendations and suggestions of books that you think are a must-read.

Not a fan of mystery? How about some new sci-fi? Or a classic? Or a legal thriller? Here are some recommendations:

  • Sci-fi – Obscura by Joe Hart (find its review here)
  • Classic – 20000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (find its review here)
  • Legal thriller (with a healthy touch of social awareness) – A Time to Kill by John Grisham (find its review here)

Happy Reading!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by The Book Review Station.

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Great start, but fizzles out: Review of Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

David Baldacci introduces a new lead character – FBI Agent Atlee Pine – in the first of a series dedicated to her. A well-developed, likable heroine, Atlee Pine leaves an impression in Long Road to Mercy. The book had some great parts and some not-so-great parts. Keep going to read the entire review!

Long road to mercy - David Baldacci - Atlee Pine
Source: Goodreads

Genre:

Thriller

Length:

404 Pages

Blurb:

Atlee Pine was six years old when a kidnapper snuck into the room she shared with her twin sister, used a random nursery rhyme to select his victim, and left with Mercy. Atlee never saw her sister again. But the event drove her to become the justice-keeper she is. Thirty years later, the only agent assigned to the FBI’s Arizona Resident Agency at Shattered Rock, she is responsible for the protection of the Grand Canyon. But even with her experience and outlook, Atlee could not pre-empt the convoluted web she finds herself in when she begins to investigate a stabbed Grand Canyon mule and its missing rider. Soon, Atlee realizes that those she considered her allies may not be so, and enemies – known and unknown – are waiting at every turn. Will Atlee win the fight for the democracy of the country she swore to protect, or will her battle end with her life?

Overall Rating:

6 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

7 out of 10 for its suspense-filled storyline, and 6 out of 10 for its thrill.

Writing Style:

7 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is the first of the Atlee Pine series. The second book, A Minute to Midnight, comes out in November 2019 (and looks pretty kick-ass).

Highlighted Takeaway:

Atlee Pine, as created by Baldacci. Admitting that it’s his first time attempting a female lead, Baldacci does a good job of creating a character that is easy to associate with, and complex enough to be realistic.

What I Liked:

The plot: It was really well-woven, introducing the reader to unknown ideas that could very well be real (some aspects may or may not be based in reality, in fact – I didn’t check).

What I Didn’t Like:

The depth of the Grand Canyon’s geography: While it was meant as an immersive narrative, it got a bit too mundane and made me zone out a bit when there was little but details of the Canyon for pages on end.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys political thrillers and other Baldacci books. Or anyone who likes crime fiction.

Who Should Avoid:

The book has nothing that would specifically turn someone off.

Read It For:

The beginning of a new character series that shows a lot of promise and sets the stage for a story arc that you would want to follow, if you enjoy crime fiction.

Got something to share about Long Road to Mercy or David Baldacci or Atlee Pine? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And, as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review!

– Rishika