Reading

The Third to Die – Allison Brennan | A Book Review

The Third to Die - Allison Brennan

Title: The Third to Die

Author: Allison Brennan

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the first in a new series that follows a police detective in Kara Quinn and an FBI agent in Matt Costa. They investigate a case involving a serial killer who kills every three years, murdering three victims, each three days apart. As Kara and Matt learn more about the murderer, they realize one member of their own team may be the next target.

First impressions: I love a good thriller, so I was curious to see how the story would play out. The book is longer than I expected at over 550 pages, but I enjoyed the beginning.

Characters: Both Kara and Matt are complex individuals with different personalities. I liked learning more about their backstory. There are a lot of different characters, so it took me some time to keep track of everyone. That being said, the unique relationships add an interesting layer to the novel.

Quote:

“She hoped that he kept that spark of optimism and joy because so few people had it.”

Writing: Brennan does a good job weaving multiple storylines together. The book explores many issues with some mature and graphic scenes. It is written in third person, and the short chapters help to build suspense.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends while setting the stage for the next novel in the series. I would recommend The Third to Die if you’re looking to read a crime thriller that feels like watching an episode of Criminal Minds.


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Reading

The Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Turn of the Key - Ruth Ware

Title: The Turn of the Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Rowan who stumbles across a live-in nanny job, which seems like a great opportunity at first. When a child in her care ends up dead, Rowan finds herself in prison and awaiting trial for murder. But if she didn’t kill anyone, that means someone else did.

First impressions: I was curious to see how the plot would unfold. The author chose to have Rowan writing letters to a lawyer, which added an interesting layer to the story.

Characters: Rowan is a complex individual with flaws and secrets of her own. The use of first person point of view allows readers to follow Rowan and learn more about her. There aren’t too many characters, which makes it easier to keep track of everyone.

Quote:

“I never knew there were so many ways to deal with pain so unbearable that it cannot be endured, but in here I have seen them all.”

Writing: It’s a little over 350 pages with short chapters. I found some parts in the middle of the story to be a bit repetitive. Even though I couldn’t predict all the twists and turns, Ware does a good job hinting at the truth without revealing too much.

Final thoughts: The ending wraps up some questions but leaves others unanswered. While it isn’t the most realistic read in my opinion, the story is still fun and different. If you enjoy contemporary thrillers with horror elements, consider checking out The Turn of the Key.


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Reading

Last Girl Ghosted – Lisa Unger | A Book Review

Last Girl Ghosted - Lisa Unger

Title: Last Girl Ghosted

Author: Lisa Unger

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows Wren Greenwood who meets Adam Harper on a dating app. She starts falling in love only for him to ghost her. When Wren discovers that there were other girls who fell for him and later went missing, she starts looking into his dark past.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was excited to read this novel to see how the plot would play out. I also like the title and cover. The beginning sets the stage for what’s to come by introducing some of the main characters.

Characters: Wren grew on me as I learned more about her backstory. Since the book is a mystery thriller, some events aren’t as realistic, but I could relate to the characters and their experiences.

Quote:

“Home is the place you choose.”

Writing: It’s about 400 pages long with short chapters. The pacing is slower in the middle but picks up at the end. It’s mainly told from Wren’s point of view while alternating between the past and the present. I didn’t find it too confusing to follow along. The novel explores issues such as PTSD, trauma, abuse, and more.

Final thoughts: I found certain parts of the plot easier to predict than others. The ending provides closure on different storylines, so I enjoyed how it wraps up. If you’re looking for a cat and mouse thriller about online dating and psychological trauma, look into the Last Girl Ghosted.


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Reading

The Neighbor – Lisa Gardner | A Book Review

The Neighbor - Lisa Gardner

Title: The Neighbor

Author: Lisa Gardner

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the third book in the Detective D.D. Warren series. A young mother named Sandra Jones disappears one night, leaving behind her four year old daughter as the only witness and a secretive husband who becomes the primary suspect. When Sergeant D.D. Warren investigates the case, she learns that this family isn’t perfect and has its share of secrets.

First impressions: I love a good thriller, so I was excited to see where the author would take this story. Although I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, I could follow along without a problem. I enjoyed getting to know more about the family at the start.

Characters: There aren’t too many or too few characters, so I found it easy enough to keep track of everyone. Some of them grew on me quite a bit. I appreciate the complexity of the main characters and their difficult pasts.

Quote:

“You can have everything you ever wanted, only to realize that you wanted all the wrong things.”

Writing: The chapters are short, alternating points of view. It’s over 450 pages, and I didn’t find the pacing to be too slow. The author explores some deep issues and mature themes like abuse.

Final thoughts: I had no idea how Gardner would wrap up all the loose ends, but the ending provides enough closure. I liked the various twists and turns, as I couldn’t predict some of them. If you’re a fan of thrillers about family relationships, check out The Neighbor.


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Reading

The Escape Room – Megan Goldin | A Book Review

The Escape Room - Megan Goldin

Title: The Escape Room

Author: Megan Goldin

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone novel about four investment bankers who find themselves stuck in an elevator and have to get out alive. Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are asked to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, but the four quickly realize this isn’t an ordinary escape room, and their survival is at stake.

First impressions: I was first drawn to the title and cover. Then I read the premise, which piqued my curiosity. The prologue hints at what will happen in the end without spoiling everything. The pace at the beginning is slower and more descriptive, but it picks up.

Characters: Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam aren’t that likeable. They each have their own flaws and secrets, which come out throughout the story. The novel also follows another character in Sara Hall who is an investment banker, working at the same firm. She’s more likeable, so I preferred reading her storyline.

Quote:

“When had making money taken precedence over the people I loved?”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with alternating viewpoints. I was interested to find out what would happen in the end. The book covers some darker, more mature issues as well.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending the most as it answers many of the main questions while leaving some unanswered. There aren’t that many characters, so the plot isn’t too unpredictable. If you like psychological thrillers that explore corporate culture, check out The Escape Room.


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Reading

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian | A Book Review

The Flight Attendant - Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Flight Attendant

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows a flight attendant named Cassandra Bowden who wakes up next to a dead man in a Dubai hotel room. Because Cassie was drunk, she doesn’t remember much of the previous night, so she starts lying to everyone from other flight attendants to FBI agents.

First impressions: The premise made me curious as to how the story would unfold. I liked the beginning as it does a good job of introducing some of the characters.

Characters: Cassie is a flawed but interesting character who goes through a lot and develops throughout the story. Her personality is very different from mine, but at times, I felt bad for her. I found that the other characters are dynamic and not stereotypical.

Quote:

“Even the most successful people in this world make mistakes.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with long and short chapters. There was more description than I anticipated, but the details add multiple layers to the novel. The pacing is slower at the start before picking up at the end.

Final thoughts: Some of the twists and turns surprised me. I wasn’t sure how the author would wrap everything up, but the ending is satisfying and provides closure. If you want to read a mystery thriller about memory and murder, check out The Flight Attendant.


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Reading

Bloodless – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child | A Book Review

Bloodless - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Title: Bloodless

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the twentieth book in the Pendergast series that follows FBI Agent Pendergast and Coldmoon as they investigate a case in Savannah. Fifty years earlier, D.B. Cooper hijacked a flight with a fake bomb and collected a ransom before parachuting from the plane and disappearing into history. The agents try to determine whether the recent murders with the bodies drained of blood are somehow connected to the unsolved skyjacking mystery.

I received a reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise caught my attention because I was curious to see how the two different cases were related. I haven’t read any of the other books, so I didn’t realize this was a series.

Characters: I didn’t fall in love with the characters right away, but both Pendergast and Coldmoon grew on me over time. I thought the authors would tell the story from Pendergast’s perspective, but I like that more chapters are from Coldmoon’s point of view in third person. In my opinion, this choice made Pendergast a more interesting and mysterious character. There are a lot of people and moving parts.

Quote:

“And so I will return to my past—the destiny I was meant to have…”

Writing: It’s 400 pages, and most of the chapters aren’t too long. The writing is descriptive, but the pacing picks up at the end. There are some graphic and violent scenes, especially as the story progresses.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending the most as it answers many questions. This horror mystery blends historical and fantastical elements together. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out Bloodless.


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Reading

The Last High – Daniel Kalla | A Book Review

The Last High - Daniel Kalla

Title: The Last High

Author: Daniel Kalla

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone novel about a toxicologist named Dr. Julia Rees as well as a detective named Anson Chen. When multiple teenagers at the same party all overdose from fentanyl, Julie and Anson try to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs before more people die.

First impressions: I’ve never really read anything about opioids before, so I was interested to learn more. I like that the story is set in Vancouver. I thought it would be told from Julie’s and Anson’s point of view, but some chapters are about other characters.

Characters: The author explores how opioids and overdoses have far-reaching effects on many individuals. I didn’t find it difficult to keep track of who was who. I like Julie and Ason along with the diversity of the characters.

Quote:

“At times the loneliness gnaws at her, but the fear of losing everything all over again is worse than the thought of being alone.”

Writing: The book is a little under 350 pages long with short chapters. It’s an eye-opening read with some graphic and mature scenes. I enjoyed the author’s writing as he does a good job balancing description and dialogue.

Final thoughts: The ending is satisfying as it ties up loose ends. Now I’m curious to check out Kalla’s other books. If you want to learn more about drug addiction and how it affects different people, I’d recommend The Last High.


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