The Ridge by John Rector

  • Title:  The Ridge
  • Author:  John Rector
  • Genre:  Mystery; Thriller
  • Pages:  284
  • Published:  April 2017 – Thomas & Mercer
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  With its manicured lawns, pastel houses, and quiet, tree-lined streets, Willow Ridge seems to be the perfect place for Megan and Tyler Stokes to start a new chapter in their lives together. But soon after settling in, Megan begins to notice cracks in the neighborhood’s bright suburban facade—cracks that reveal a darker secret hidden just beneath the surface.

After an angry encounter with a neighbor takes a horrifying turn, Megan’s waking nightmare truly begins—growing ever more chilling and bizarre with each shocking twist. Suddenly forced to question everything around her, Megan finds herself trapped between the specter of madness and the shadow of something far worse. Her only hope is to expose the community’s pretty lies and discover the truth about what is really going on in Willow Ridge—a truth so devastating that her life will never be the same. (publisher)

My take:  While thrillers aren’t my go-to genre I was intrigued by the blurb and thought it would be a good read for my vacation. My instincts proved correct. The Ridge was a fast-paced novel that had me remembering The Stepford Wives (was even joked about by a couple of characters).

There’s something different about the town of Willow Ridge. When Megan and her husband move there for his job she can’t wait to move back to Chicago. But she agrees to give it a year. When she begins to notice odd things about her neighbors she may not be able to keep her promise. I couldn’t blame her!

I won’t share any more except to say if you like a short mystery/thriller with light sci-fi overtones you’ll want to look for The Ridge. It was a perfect poolside read.


About the author:

John Rector is the bestselling author of the novels The Ridge, The Cold Kiss, The Grove, Already Gone, Out of the Black, and Ruthless. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and has won several awards, including the International Thriller Award for his novella, Lost Things.

He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.


 

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

  • Title:  One Perfect Lie
  • Author:  Lisa Scottoline
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  April 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them. 

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will have readers riveted up to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.  (publisher)

My take:  One Perfect Lie is the first of Lisa Scottoline’s books I’ve read. It would be a perfect beach/pool read or one to read on a plane (I read it in a day). It could be described a few ways but I’ll stick with a suburban crime page-turner that picks up more steam with almost every turn of the page. One Perfect Lie is filled with characters who certainly can’t be trusted and then a few chapters later you’re not so sure. I enjoyed the twists that kept me guessing. The dramatic scene near the end played out in my mind’s eye as if on a jumbo screen. I loved that. Not wanting to risk a spoiler, I’ll stop here – except to say I look forward to reading more of Lisa Scottoline’s books.


LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of twenty-eight novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States, she has been published in thirty-five countries, and her thrillers have been optioned for television and film. Lisa also writes a weekly column with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and those stories have been adapted into a series of bestselling memoirs, the first of which is entitled Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog. Lisa lives on a Pennsylvania farm with an array of disobedient pets. Visit Lisa at www.Scottoline.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @LisaScottoline


Praise for ONE PERFECT LIE

“Entertaining…This fast-paced read culminates in a daring chase that would play well on the big screen.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers can be assured that the author nails the high school milieu, from athletic rivalries to sexting, and…they’re in for one thrilling ride on the roller coaster” Kirkus Reviews

“Scottoline keeps the pace relentless as she drops a looming threat into the heart of an idyllic suburban community, causing readers to hold their breath in anticipation.” Booklist


 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

  • i-see-youTitle:  I See You
  • Author:  Clare Mackintosh
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  February 2017 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…
 
It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her, a grainy photo along with a phone number and listing for a website called findtheone.com. 
 
Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…a discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. For now Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target. 
 
And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…  (publisher)

My take:  The description will tell you all you need to know before reading I See You. What I will say is that author Clare Mackintosh lulled me into a feeling of “is this going anywhere?” for a good part of the book. That’s not to say I was bored or uninterested. I enjoyed the unfolding of the story. I think she paced it slowly for a reason and then opened up a can of Whoa! in the last quarter of the book.

I agree with the Advance Praise below. It’s creepy and sinister. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t correctly guess who was behind the crime. I would love to read more about the investigation team in future books. Each detective seems to have a story that I’d be interested in knowing. Recommended to fans of the genre and Clare Mackintosh.



Advance praise for I SEE YOU:

A deliciously creepy tale of urban paranoia.”—Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10

Wonderfully sinister. Had me looking over my shoulder.”—Fiona Barton, author of The Widow

 “Mackintosh scripts a hair-raising ride all the scarier because its premise—that our predictable routines make us easy targets—is sadly so plausible.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[T]he steadily thickening paranoia will leave readers questioning their comfortable routines…a well-crafted blend of calculated malevolence, cunning plot twists, and redemption that will appeal to fans of Sophie Hannah, Ruth Rendell, and Ruth Ware.”Booklist, starred review

 Packed with suspense, twists, and turns[Mackintosh’s] meticulous detail to investigative accuracy and talent in weaving a thrilling tale set her work apart from others in the field.”Kirkus


 

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

  • behind closed doors (SMP 8:9)Title:  Behind Closed Doors
  • Author:  B.A. Paris
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  August 2016 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Perhaps it’s simply true love?

Now, picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie??  (publisher)

My take:  Not wanting to reveal more than the description I’ll keep this brief. I don’t like feeling anxious and that’s exactly how I felt while reading Behind Closed Doors. That said, I couldn’t stop reading this novel.  B.A. Paris’ debut novel is addictive like no other book I’ve read this summer.

Alternating chapters between Past and Present was a good way to reveal the story of Grace and Jack. Paris drew me into this story with a seemingly normal scene then quickly grabbed me with a 180° turn. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was interested to learn that the author was inspired to write this novel when she suspected a friend was caught up in a situation with very little control. That led Paris to imagine Grace’s predicament.

I found Behind Closed Doors to be well-paced and suspenseful and I read with a figurative hand over my eyes. I think fans of psychological thrillers will gobble it up. I read it in two days and felt satisfied as I turned the last page. I’m not surprised that movie rights have already been sold in the US.


About the Author: B.A. Paris is from a Franco/Irish background. She was brought up in England and worked in London for three years before moving to Paris, where she worked in corporate banking and as a trader in an international bank. After the birth of her first daughter, she became a stay-at-home mother and went on to have another three daughters. She spent four years in the Netherlands, where her fifth daughter was born. Returning to France, she decided to re-train as an English teacher and worked for some years in an international school and then at the Université de Marne la Vallée, teaching English to Architecture students. In 2009 she set up a language school with her husband and now teaches Business English in Paris.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

  • I Let You Go (5:3 Berkley)Title:  I Let You Go: A Novel
  • Author:  Clare Mackintosh
  • Pages:  369
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Published:  May 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street…

Jenna Gray moves to the remote Welsh coast, desperate to leave behind the heartbreak of the car accident and heal from the loss of her child and her painful past. At the same time, a pair of Bristol police investigators chase down one hopeless lead after another in the hit-and-run, finding themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. (publisher)

My take:  I Let You Go is a gripping story of the fall-out from a tragic event on a rainy evening. Clare Mackintosh’s debut grabbed me on the first page and gave me a shake every so often with a twist. When that happened I had to go back and reread passages to see how I missed something! I liked how easily Mackintosh’s story flowed despite how uncomfortable I felt while reading – I would definitely read more from her. That’s saying a lot given how seldom I dip into this genre.

I loved the Welsh seaside setting for part of the novel. Macintosh’s description made me feel like I was there. I felt the same about the scenes involving the police investigation – her previous experience as an investigator gave believable authenticity to the plot.

Even though I Let You Go was difficult for me to read at times, the pacing was good and I became invested in most of the characters – hoping for the best possible outcome. To say anything else would risk a spoiler so I’ll stop now. Recommended to fans of psychological thrillers.


Praise for I LET YOU GO:

“Chilling, compelling and compassionate, I Let You Go is a finely-crafted novel with a killer twist.” —Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“On the level of the movie The Sixth Sense for its cleverness…This kind of sharp, cunning writing makes one eagerly look forward to Mackintosh’s next novel.”—Shelf Awareness

“[Mackintosh] deftly twists the reader in one direction, then leads them astray in another, until the startling conclusion.”—RT Book Reviews

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

  • The ObsessionTitle:  The Obsession
  • Author:  Nora Roberts
  • Pages:  453
  • Genre:  Thriller; Romantic Suspense
  • Published:  April 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods.  In freeing the girl she found trapped in a root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.  

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. 

Naomi’s new life clicks into place as easily as the photographs that are her livelihood.  But even with her new loves—including an adopted mutt, a rambling fixer-upper, and, eventually Xander—darkness follows her.  As she finds herself at home and at peace in Sunrise Cove, moving on and creating a foundation she’s not had since she fled West Virginia after her father’s horrific crimes, she realizes all too soon that her past is still not buried.  And as much as she wants to build a life, someone wants to tear hers down.  (publisher)

My take:  So, if you’re a regular reader of Bookfan you know I don’t read many thrillers. It’s a genre I’m making a point to read more of in 2016. The latest one is The Obsession by Nora Roberts.  I liked it! I think what worked for me is that Roberts put the initial crime out there in the first chapter and then veered away from it to the main character and the effect the crime had on her life.

After discovering a crime when she was eleven years old Naomi has lived her life in small bits, leaving a place when people found out who she was and where she came from. That eventually brought her to an old house in need of renovation in Washington state. Roberts devoted chapters to the renovation of the house – I liked that – and Naomi’s immersion in the small town. She experiences life as never before and believes she can really put down roots in this place. But can she keep the past from catching up with her?

Roberts’ story kept me turning the pages and wondering how everything would turn out. I would definitely read more of her thrillers/romantic suspense and recommend The Obsession to fans of the author, genre and maybe reluctant thriller readers – like me!