Genre: Thriller

Divider

Book Review: The Fixer

February 24, 2014 Book Review, reviews 15

Book Review:  The FixerThe Fixer by T.E. Woods
Published by Alibi on February, 2014
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 312
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

Never a doubt. Never a mistake. Always for justice. Never for revenge.She’s the person you hire when you need something fixed—permanently. With a strict set of criteria, she evaluates every request and chooses only a few. No more than one job per country, per year. She will only step in if it’s clear that justice will not be served any other way. Her jobs are completed with skill and precision, and never result in inquiry or police investigation. The Fixer is invisible—and quite deadly. . . .

In the office of a clinical psychologist in Olympia, Washington, a beautiful young woman is in terrible emotional pain. She puts up walls, tells lies, and seems to speak in riddles, but the doctor is determined to help her heal, despite the fact that she claims to have hurt many people. As their sessions escalate, the psychologist feels compelled to reach out to the police . . . but it might be too late.

In Seattle, a detective gets a call from his son. A dedicated journalist, he wants his father’s expertise as he looks into a suspicious death. Together they follow the trail of leads toward a stone-cold hired killer—only to find that death has been closer than either could have imagined.

Part psychological thriller and part mystery.  Is it vigilante justice or a cold blooded killer?  And who exactly is the Fixer?

Human nature has always held a bit of fascination for me ~ I like to figure out why people act the way the do and how they deal with the consequences of those actions.  The Fixer was certainly right up my alley in that it takes just that, the actions and consequences of those actions,  throws in a few extremes like murder, extortion and child abuse and enough twists and turns to make the most extreme roller coaster seem like a straight ride.

With characters that have enough complexity to be real, events that could have come straight out of the headlines, and a tightly plotted script I thoroughly enjoyed The Fixer.  The author humanizes the characters, especially the psychologist and her patient, Savannah.  The ins and outs of their relationship and personal lives show a clear {but decidedly not straight} path to the life they lead today. What happens when they get together is both an implosion and explosion of sorts!  I’m anxious to read the next one that has Detective Mort Grant in the crosshairs of a demented and determined killer in The Red Hot Fix.  If you like a good thrilling adventure that keeps you guessing then pick up The Fixer!   

About the Author:  T. E. Woods is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her scientific writings are well represented in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. Her literary works earned her first place for Fiction at the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. Dr. Woods enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, and hanging around the house while her two dogs help her make sense of the world. Her habit of relaxing by conjuring up any manner of diabolical murder methods and plots often finds her friends urging her to take up knitting.

Connect with the Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on the Book Tour!  To read what other bloggers have to say about The Fixer, visit one of the blogs on the Tour below.

tlc book tours
Tuesday, January 28th:  The Best Books Ever
Wednesday, January 29th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, February 3rd:  Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, February 4th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, February 4th:  Booksellers Without Borders
Wednesday, February 5th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Thursday, February 6th:  She Treads Softly
Monday, February 10th:  Books in the Burbs
Tuesday, February 11th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, February 12th:  A Fantastical Librarian
Thursday, February 13th:  The Written World
Monday, February 17th:  Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, February 18th:  Mystery Playground
Wednesday, February 19th:  Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 20th:  The Reader’s Hollow
Friday, February 21st:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, February 26th:  Luxury Reading



Divider

R.I.P. Review: The Silent Wife

October 7, 2013 Book Review, reviews 12

R.I.P. Review: The Silent WifeThe Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Published by Penguin on June, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 326
Format: eBook
Source: purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers.

please note ~ the quote below is NOT a spoiler…..it’s from the first page!

In other words, she is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience–which her twenty-year marriage to Todd Gilbert has been slowly eroding–is approaching a final stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable than she supposes, given that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her.

Jodi Brett and Todd Gilbert have been together twenty years ~ he’s a builder/contractor and she is an Adler-practicing psychologist.  He is an habitual cheater.  She in turn hides his keys.  He knows that she knows.  She knows that he always returns to her.  But things change when he “falls in love” with the “much younger woman.”

Life has a way of taking its toll on the person you thought you were.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Silent Wife.  Told in the alternating voices of Jodi and Todd, The Silent Wife takes us into the psyche of both characters.  I was so impressed with the depth of Jodi’s character as a psychologist ~ Harrison did a superb job in researching Jung and Adler philosophies and methods of counseling.  For someone who majored in psychology it was refreshing to see the portrayal as so fact-based.

Since finishing the novel I’ve thought long and hard about the plot, the ending, the choices each character made ~ while much of the novel was stereotypical in that the middle-aged man falls for much younger woman, falls in love and leaves the wife ~ the reactions to each change along the way and seeing it from inside the mind of Todd or Jodi helped to humanize the situation.

 Monogamy wasn’t designed for men.  Or men weren’t designed for monogamy.  However you want to put it.  Both things are true.” “You think so?” “I know so.”

A perfect book for book clubs or couples, this novel had me & my partner talking for a while about the nuances of each character ~ and that was just with me outlining the novel for him {he’s not a reader – I know! huge gasp!!}  The Silent Wife raises all sorts of questions relevant in today’s society ~ do all men cheat? or as my darling bf says – “it takes a woman for a man to cheat with!” so is it a 50/50 thing? and what about Jodi, standing by silent for 20 years while Todd constantly had a fling on the side ~ was she right or wrong in hiding his keys, throwing out clothes, doing subtle things to get back at him though never confronting him ~ is that the norm for women with cheating husbands?  And I love that Harrison had a psychologist as the wife ~ she’s the one who is supposed to be the saner of the two, the one trained to handle stressors in life and deal with everyone else’s stress.  And with an ending worthy of Gone Girl, The Silent Wife is tops in my book for psychological suspense!

Have you read it? What were your thoughts?

 

Images by Artists Jennifer Gordan and Roman Sirotin, used with permission.

Images by Artists Jennifer Gordan and Roman Sirotin, used with permission.

To participate in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril or to find more spooky reads, please visit Stainless Steel Droppings.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books for the complimentary review copy!

four-half-stars

Divider

R.I.P. Review: Delia’s Shadow

October 3, 2013 Book Review, reviews 5

R.I.P. Review: Delia’s ShadowDelia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer
Published by Tor on September, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Thriller
Pages: 336
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

“You make tracking a murderer sound like a chess game.” The university was just ahead, green lawns and gravel pathways glinting in the sun.  Gabe slicked his hair back and stuck the fedora down tight.  “Playing chess is easier, Delia. With chess I can see the board.”

 

In 9th grade I was taking an American History class with a teacher I adored.  This teacher brought history to life and helped her students to realize the impact of events that occurred in our own backyards.  One project she had us work on was creating a newspaper reporting on a particular event in American History ~ I chose to write about the Great Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco in 1906.  I remember writing the articles, cutting and pasting on large newspaper and then painting the paper with strong tea and baking it in the oven ~ giving the newspaper a “burnt” look.  So when given the opportunity to read Delia’s Shadow, set in the time period just nine years after the Earthquake, I jumped at the chance.

 

Delia returns home to San Francisco after spending three years in NYC in an attempt to escape the ghosts who constantly haunt her every move.  She has returned home to her ailing adoptive mother, Esther and best friend, Sadie so that she can help with Sadie’s upcoming wedding.  Delia also has an underlying reason for returning to San Francisco ~ the ghost she calls “Shadow” has been trying to communicate something of importance to Delia, something that has to do with San Francisco.

 

Sadie, consummate social butterfly, introduces Delia to fortune teller and ghost-seer, Isadora in an effort to get to the bottom of who Shadow was in life and what it is she wants with Delia. Sadie also introduces Delia to her fiancé, Jack and his partner, handsome widower Gabe .. . .  Gabe and Jack are on the trail of a sadistic murderer who is killing in the same manner as a murderer from 30 years prior.

 

Life has a funny way of coming full circle and Delia’s Shadow reiterates the phenomena.  Set in 1915 just a few short years after the The Great Earthquake and fire that killed so many, including Delia’s parents, San Francisco appears to be a young town again on the cusp of blossoming. . .if only a serial killer were not on the loose!

 

There were just a couple of things about Delia’s Shadow that did nothing to further the story along ~ first being Shadow’s character ~ in the beginning her character seemed harmless, but as the story progressed and the more Delia met with Isadora, Shadow became more and more volatile.  Also, Delia seemed to have this special talent of seeing ghosts, Isadora could communicate with ghosts and then all of the sudden everybody could see/feel/hear the ghosts.  That seemed to take away from the fear factor.

 

Part murder mystery, ghost story, history, and romance Delia’s Shadow offered an entertaining read for the Fall.   An excellent spooky read for the R.I.P. Event and one that had me reminiscing those “Ghost Whisperer” days!  I hope Moyer plans on turning this into a series. . .I can see it now ~ Sadie and Jack married, Delia settling back into San Francisco life and Isadora, lovely Isadora, helping the police solve another mystery.  Recommended for anyone who misses “Ghost Whisperer” or who enjoys a good haunting murder mystery for October!

Images by Artists Jennifer Gordan and Roman Sirotin, used with permission.

Images by Artists Jennifer Gordan and Roman Sirotin, used with permission.

To participate in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril or to find more spooky reads, please visit Stainless Steel Droppings.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for the complimentary review copy.

Divider

R.I.P. Review: Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)

September 3, 2013 Book Review, reviews 2

R.I.P. Review: Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor on August 7th, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 332
Source: purchased
Goodreads

 

9378297

316 pages | Publisher: Tor Teen | Published: 9/2011

 

 

I decided to kick off my reading selections for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril by selecting the book with the creepiest, bestest cover.   I read Anna Dressed in Blood during last year’s R.I.P. Event and added the 2nd book in this 2-part series to this year’s R.I.P. list.  The art team for both Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) and Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) did a phenomenal job.  Which one of these two covers would have you grabbing the book, flashlight and hiding under the covers to read all night?

In the sixth row of the theater, in the third chair in, Anna winks at me. Or maybe she just blinks. I can’t tell. She’s missing half of her face.

I listened to the audio version, beginning the novel just before bed with the lights off. . .Not my best idea I must admit!  After the first hour I had to turn the audio off, turn on a comedy show and wait until daylight to begin again!  Girl of Nightmares picks up about six months after Anna Korlov, cursed, murderous ghost, disappears into Hell with the Obeahman {a demonous entity if there ever was one that literally “ate” his victims, including Cas’ father} in order to save Cas and his scooby-gang of ghostbusters.  The trio of friends included Cas, the ghost-killer, Thomas, a budding witch whose grandfather is a voodoo master, and Carmel the popular “it” girl in the high school and gangly Thomas’ girlfriend.  Although Cas continues to kill ghosts with the help of his friends, he can’t seem to get over Anna.  He compares every girl to Anna and if being in love with a dead murderous ghost is not enough, Cas keeps seeing Anna in his nightmares.  To him it seems that Anna is in pain, that she’s being tortured, and for her to sacrifice her ghostly self for him and the rest of the town, Cas just doesn’t think its fitting for her to be tortured endlessly, kind of like Prometheus on the rock.   As Cas has more and more sightings of Anna, he draws into himself to the point of almost getting his friends killed by the very ghost they were charged with sending on to the other side.  Cas realizes he has to find out what is happening to Anna and bring her back from hell if he can.

Of the many things I enjoyed about this 2-part series is that there are no zombies and no angels ~ only terrifying ghosts, voodoo and witchcraft, and a bit of “Ghost Whisperer” without the whispering.  Blake has a way of describing horror that is in-your-face straight-up, yet gets under the skin.  Along the journey for information, Cas and friends must walk through The Suicide Forest, a place known for poor souls to go to commit suicide….and now their ghosts protect (hide) the Order from whom Cas must go through to get to Anna.  Creepy! and has me wondering if there is such a place in the world ~ I sure hope not!  From coming up with the ghostly inhabitants of The Suicide Forest to creating a bad guy straight from nightmares, Blake surpasses even herself and Anna Dressed in Blood.  Girl of Nightmares is a bit grittier, edgier yet still has Blake’s trademark humor in darkness.  There’s a tone of seriousness about book #2 with Cas and friends growing up, making adult choices with a strength even many adults don’t have.  Cas describes his confrontation with the Obeahman {really bad, bad guy/ghost/entity}:

His skin is black as a struck match, cracked and oozing liquid metal heat, like he’s covered by a cooling layer of lava. The eyes stand out bright white. I can’t make out from this distance if they have corneas. God I hope they have corneas. I hate that creepy weird-eye shit. 

The audio version was narrated by August Ross and for the most part I enjoyed his reading.  His timing and spacing were impeccable and the dry sense of humor Blake uses throughout the novel shines in August’s capable hands.  The only section that bothered me was toward the end when Cas and friends meet up with Cas’ mentor, Gideon.  August used a breathy kind-of European accent for Gideon and a breathy more American accent for Thomas.  Gideon is a much-older man and Thomas is a teen yet the voices were almost identical.  I liked the way Blake wrapped the story up in the end; however, there’s still a small opening for more sequels if she so desires.   Between the novel and the listening, this one was high on the creep factor!  Audio length 10 hours 3 minutes.  I do recommend reading Anna Dressed in Blood prior to reading Girl of Nightmares.  According to everything I’ve read, there will only be these 2 in the Anna series AND the movie rights have been purchased by Stephanie Meyer’s company Fickle Fish Films ~ pretty cool, huh?!?

Scream Factor: 4 Gurlish Screeches!

To participate in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril or to find more spooky reads, please visit Stainless Steel Droppings.

I purchased this book for my purposes of reading and review.

 

Divider

Book Review: Fragile by Lisa Unger

August 7, 2010 Book Review, reviews 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: Fragile by Lisa UngerFragile by Lisa Unger
Published by Crown Publishing Group on August 3rd, 2010
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 336
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

….Some consequences are forever. (83)
This book could not have had a better title. The fragility of the human bonds that tie us are at the very core of this novel, and Lisa Unger revealed the essence of those bonds superbly.

 

A small town about 100 miles north of New York is rocked by the runaway of Charlene after a fight with her mother, Melody.  Charlene happens to be dating the only child, Ricky, of the local chief of police, Jones, and town psychologist, Maggie (and daughter of the recently retired school principal).  The night Charlene runs away, she stands Ricky up at the local pizza joint.  Instead, she plans to run away to New York City to sing her songs and play in a band – or that’s what she posts on her Facebook page.

 

The eerie part and what sets the town on edge is that 30 years prior to Charlene running away another girl supposedly ran away after a fight with her mother, at least that’s how the police investigated it….until Sarah’s body turned up with unspeakable things having been done to her.  And all is not as it seems in the small town, The Hollows, where everyone-knows-your-name, nor is it in the Chief of Police’s home.  As soon as Jones began investigating Charlene’s disappearance, he began to act….well, weird.

 

From the outset of the case, Jones treated Ricky as more of a suspect than as a son, even telling Maggie while he searched Ricky’s room “Anyone is capable of anything, given the right circumstances, the right motivations.” (187)  Maggie is in the unenviable and tenuous spot of having to support her husband’s job and protect her child.
Maggie resonated with me. Perhaps because I have caretaking tendencies as she does, or maybe it was the son who plays in a band and likes to listen to his music LOUD! I can see sitting down with my book club and discussing the quote below.  Most of us in my bookclub do have personalities in which we want to save the world…it’s remembering when to pull back in self-preservation that is so difficult:

 

She didn’t know how to, didn’t always want to, stop at the edge when others were going over. She’d keep just enough weight on solid ground to pull herself back before it was too late. One day, she might misjudge and tumble over…(250)
The character development is so precise, thorough. We get a clear picture of all of the characters as Ms. Unger goes back and forth between Sarah and Charlene.  So we even get to see Maggie, Jones and Melody from when they were in high school. Maggie was the wannabe goth with the mom for the principal; Jones the gorgeous, star-Lacrosse-player/jock; Melody the school tramp; and Sarah, the good girl who played violin and went to Julliard for special lessons.  With Charlene, she was considered a drama queen by everyone except Ricky and Ricky had the piercing, bad-boy image, but his grades were stellar enough to get him accepted to Georgetown and NYU.  Ahh, high school – do we ever move past it?
[Tweet “What high school role were you happy to leave behind upon graduating?”]
I have to share with you – I use these tiny yellow stickies to notate important passages or quotes I want to include in my review. Well, with this book I must have used over 50 stickies! I wish I had a camera to take a picture of this because it is almost comical!  There’s that many fantastic quotes about human nature, fragile bonds, high school hierarchy and the roles we play, family ties and/or the lack thereof, redemption & forgiveness that I just cannot choose the right quote. Instead you simply must read the book!
I will make it easy for you, and give away my gently-read hardbound copy. I will even remove the stickies prior to sending it out!
To enter please complete the following entry form.
The giveaway closes on August 27th by 11:59 a.m.
The winner will be chosen by random.org.
The winner will be selected and notified by August 29th, 2010.

It is with tremendous thanks that I received Fragile from BookSneeze and Crown Publishing
for my honest review. In no way did it affect my opinion or review.

Divider