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Blurb: When your own eyes betray you, who can you trust?

At the door, the harsh-eyed man and woman surveyed the room in slow tandem, like twin Terminators. Drew leaned on the bar, rattling the ice in his glass. Harper took the Cuervo Gold from the shelf. The first sound was a muffled pop. The man and woman with the gunslinger eyes turned toward the high roller’s booth. Harper’s skin prickled. A second report hammered beneath the drumbeat. It was unmistakable, a noise she knew from the firing range and a thousand TV shows, a sound it seemed she had been expecting all her life: gunfire.

In Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner’s new stand-alone thriller, an injured cop and an ex-thief hunt down a killer nobody else believes exists.

When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the crossfire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail and the club is quickly engulfed in flames. L.A. Sheriff’s detective Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her, a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him.

A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shootout has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed.

Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli Syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises.

As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.

Review: I looked forward to reading this book (received from publisher for review) as I liked the premise and I had read about Ms. Gardiner before, but had not yet read any of her books.

I enjoyed reading Phantom Instinct very much. It was fast paced, great characters, enough twists and turns to satisfy my reading tastes, and a good plot.

I liked seeing how the characters grew and changed as the story unfolded. I liked seeing how each character dealt with the different issues that cropped up. The themes were something else I enjoyed - who to trust, who to turn to, how far to go, instinct - good or bad.

Great read and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Gardiner's books.

(Cover image and blurb (c)Meg Gardiner)
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Blurb: SARAH TAZEWELL, A CEREBRAL, highly intuitive woman, knew from an early age that she was psychic. She and her husband David buy a church confessional from a renovator and convert it into a phone booth for their Queen Anne Victorian. Then Sarah hears jumbled voices the first time she uses the phone and senses a presence in the confessional. Before long, the voices become only one: that of a murderer that rapes and strangles his victims. Though consumed with fear and anxiety, Sarah refuses to be a victim and sets out on a journey to learn more about the confessional.

Sarah’s antagonist is a brilliant, charismatic sexual psychopath who conforms to his own rigid ritual; a ritual of murder and confession. The confessional in the 100-year-old church where he confesses is an integral part of the ritual. Before confessing, he carves the initials of his victims into the confessional wall. His confessions bring him release to begin the ritual once again. When he comes to confess after another murder, he finds “his” confessional gone and begins a frantic search to find it. What might the result of Sarah’s and his searches?

Review: The Confessional was a good, gripping read that provides the read with a few "Is it this character or that character?" opportunities throughout the book.

All of the characters are great (even the ones that wouldn't be the kind of people one would like to know if they were real) and the story had a good flow and pace that provided for a few tense moments.

I would recommend this as a read.

(Provided by Smith Publicity for review.)

(cover image and blurb (c)Reiny Pierson)
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Blurb: It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

Review: Received for review from publisher.

I had heard about Harlan Coben's writing for a while prior to reading Play Dead before coming to Missing You. Just as with Play Dead, Missing You has a winding road of clues and branching pathways. There may be readers out there who will say, "Oh, yea, there HAD to be a connection!" with regard to a certain plot point, and the conclusion does fit with that part of the story. I say, however, that it is Kat's journey to finding it and the reasons why things happened the way they did that give things a certain tension regarding what happens next.

What really makes the story for me is how the main storyline intertwines with Kat's search into wanting (needing?) to know certain things - things that unfurl as the reader is drawn further along.

It is also a story of appearances: Are they always what they seem? Is there something more behind them? Is the truth real or is there something more behind the "truth" as we may know it based on how we see different people?

Great read, would definitely recommend to others!

(Image and blurb (c)Penguin Group.)
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Blurb:  Deadwood Humorous Mystery Series #4

One dead body. One century-old haunted opera house. One zombie musical. One pissed-off detective.

Will Violet "Spooky" Parker keep her tail out of trouble or will she end up as one of Deadwood's walking dead?

Review:  I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this book as a Beta Read from the author and wasn't sure what to expect.  Her Dance of the Winnebagos (Jackrabbit Junction series) is on my TBR list, but I have not been able to get to it yet, and have not read the previous books in the Deadwood series, so was, well, going in cold into the read.

I found myself enjoying the read very much and the blurb, albeit short, says it all about the book.  This is the kind of book that I find I like reading when in need of a pick-me-up.  Yes, there are serious moments, but it also shows an almost irreverent zaniness too (after all, who could not like a vehicle called the "Picklemobile") - and Ms. Charles balances the two marvelously.

I look forward to reading her other books, which I will definitely look into locating.

(Cross-posted to and Barnes & Noble)

Quotes from the book:

Impressing buyers starts with showin’ up in your finest duds, not letting them see your shabby old bloomers.” #Harvey to Violet Parker #Better Off Dead In Deadwood by Ann Charles

I found myself liking her in spite of her perky boobs, butt, and everything else. She probably even had perky pinkie toes.  #Violet Parker about Caly #Better Off Dead In Deadwood by Ann Charles

“Is someone holding a gun on you right now? Grunt once for yes.” #Violet Parker to Cooper#Better Off Dead In Deadwood by Ann Charles

The room smelled like cardboard, floor cleaner, and a hint of sweat. Wait—I sniffed my armpits. Good, it wasn’t me. #Violet Parker #Better Off Dead In Deadwood by Ann Charles

“Awww, come on, Mom. That’s the past, let’s just move on with our lives and find happiness in love and forgiveness.” #Addy to Violet Parker #Better Off Dead In Deadwood by Ann Charles

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(Received directly from author.)

Gallagher is back and this time he is hired, as he is trying to close down his private investigations business, to find out who killed Jennifer Clark in her own driveway.

What follows is a path filled with many twists, turns, and unexpected detours.

Deadly Codes was, for me, a bit of a better read than Fatal Gamble was. While I still would have liked to know more of Gallagher's backstory, I did like the way his personality was presented - and his conflict over his job and his wife.

The storyline was interesting and the pace was well set. A good read.


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