Celine by Peter Heller

Celine has worn many hats in her lifetime. She was raised by a socialite mother, went to private schools, graduated from Sarah Lawrence…She is an artist who for much of her life moonlighted as a private investigator. She claims she is retired from all of that now, trying to live a quiet life. All is such until a lovely young woman named Gabriela comes into her life.

Gabriela weaves quite a tale, a missing father presumed dead by bear attack in Yellowstone National Park. A father with a complex past and details which never added up…and Celine is drawn in. She offers to help the young woman and sets out on an adventure into the wilderness of Wyoming, meeting various interesting characters along the way.

As the secrets begin to unravel, the path grows increasingly more dangerous. Can Celine learn the truth about the photographer’s disappearance before she comes to harm herself? Is the young girl Gabriela safe with the knowledge of her father?

Celine, by Peter Heller, was an unexpectedly enjoyable read for me. The first of his works which I have personally read, the novel sucked me right in. If you enjoy mysteries which are ripe with cover-ups and intrigue, you should definitely give Celine a chance. I will warn you, though, all I’ve wanted to do since I started the novel was pack up my camping gear and drive into Wyoming! I spent a summer working at Grand Teton National Park when I was a college coed, and the descriptions in the novel took me right back there. The fresh air, the vegetation, the animals… The interesting city folk.

All in all, terrific novel which can appeal to all mystery-loving readers, male or female alike.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

After Sarah’s mother passed away, she struggled to recover and her family was suffering. Her son was evasive and barely spoke, shutting everyone out of his life. Her daughter was defiant and disrespectful, a typical teenage girl but so very angry. Only Sarah’s marriage seemed strong enough to weather the storm…Until her husband declared that he wanted to buy his childhood home at the seaside, where they could all have a fresh start together and the idyllic childhood he always wanted for his children.

The plan would all sound so very lovely if Sarah didn’t know the truth. That idyllic childhood home was the scene of multiple murders. Nearly an entire family stabbed to death. No one had lived there since the incident and it had been waiting in disrepair, dilapidated and neglected for a decade. Sarah tried to resist, but she found herself too weak against the demands of her husband and his enthusiasm for their new life.

Immediately upon their arrival, Sarah begins to wonder if moving into the Murder House was a terrible, terrible idea. The house seems to whisper with the wind, and there are cold spots that make her skin crawl. The children are irritable and surly about the move, and Patrick has been acting strange ever since they moved in. An anger simmers in her husband that she never witnessed before, and the people in the town keep making comments which make Sarah wonder if her husband’s pleasant childhood memories were anything close to the truth. Figures can be seen staring up at the house at all hours of the day, hidden in the shadows and fog at night.

The Woman in the Dark is a psychological thriller which leaves you guessing until the very end. What secrets is Patrick hiding about his life in that house? What does he know about the murders which he is not revealing? Can Sarah save herself and her children from whatever evil resides in the bones of that creaking, moaning old house?

 

The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell

 

Two women from very different worlds meet up in the most unlikely place…Oakgate Prison’s female ward. Ruth is a teenage girl with a tragic history who was thrown into unimaginable treatment at the hands of her mistress before the woman died and Ruth was locked behind bars for her murder. Dorothea Truelove is a lady of society who has an obsession with the macabre which mystifies everyone around her. The interests of the latter bring her to Oakgate Prison, where she visits the prisoners regularly and provides charitable donations to their needs.

Dorothea’s prison visits serve as an escape for her from the trappings of marriage which her father has set for her…Somehow, with Ruth, however, Dorothea finds herself more than just distracted. Ruth’s tale is so heartbreaking and surreal that she’s sure it cannot be true…. Could a simple needle and thread bring forth the curse of death? What could possibly have happened to a teenage girl to make her end her mistress’s life with poison?

As Dorothea’s curiosity mounts, and the hangman’s noose approaches, she decides to do some investigating of her own into Ruth’s sad story. Will she be able to bring the truth forward in time to save the girl? Will she have time to save herself, once she learns the horrible truth about her own life and the death of her own mother?

Two stories cross paths in a tale that is gothic and dark, dancing the line between horror and mystery. What is real? What is coming from the imagination of a very disturbed teenage girl? Dorothea will find out for herself.

The Poison Thread, by Laura Purcell, is not a cozy mystery. If you enjoy darker, more intense psychological thrillers, then this story is for you. Fair warning, however…Once you start this novel, you won’t want to put it down!

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Nine friends book a hunting lodge in Scotland to celebrate New Years Eve and one of them turns up dead… Could it be another strike for a notorious serial killer in the region? The gamekeeper with his dark past? Or perhaps the foreign strangers with their gruff mannerisms and suspicious motives?

The guests of the lodge are about to learn just how little they know about one another. Jealousy, spite, unspoken crimes, torrid affairs….Secrets abound, but who had  motive to kill?

Some people seem to have it all… But underneath the shiny exteriors are realities that even long lasting friends don’t see until the truth is dragged to the surface.

If you enjoy mystery novels of the “Whodunit” style-and you are looking for a new author-The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley, will not disappoint. Be sure to put on one order today!

Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

Thirty-one-year old Charlie isn’t having the best year. She’s just broken up with her cheating boyfriend, and her upstairs neighbor had an accidental explosion, making her apartment uninhabitable and giving her several injuries from which to recover. Her only option is to go and stay with her cousin Jez, out in the English countryside where she runs a dog resort called the Cozy Canine Cottages.

Charlie is determined to get back to her apartment as soon as possible, but in the meantime she’ll be pitching in around the dog resort, helping to care for several very unique pups and their eccentric owners, to boot. When Jez decides to take an impromptu trip to meet her cyber love interest in the Arctic, Charlie is suddenly left to hold down the fort on her own.

This city girl is about to learn a few lessons about her own happiness, and maybe even involuntarily get involved in a love triangle with a sexy, rich dog owner and the super-cute-but-mostly-surly local veterinarian. Maybe she’ll even learn to appreciate her canine companions…

If you’re looking for a light read, and you love dogs, Mutts and Mistletoe, by Natalie Cox, is a great choice for you.

The Grave’s A Fine and Private Place, by Alan Bradley

Flavia De Luce is a precocious young girl in a quiet little town called Bishop’s Lacey, a delightful little warren full of colorful characters located someplace in rural post-war England. Flavia De Luce isn’t any ordinary girl, unlike her more conformist older sisters. The boisterous, incorrigible girl has some unique hobbies, to include deadly poisons, forensic science, and even a bit of dabbling in decomposition of carbon based life forms.

When murder or suspicious deaths occur in her little town, Flavia sees herself as the obvious detective on the job. If only the local police were more appreciative of her insight and involvement…

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, by Alan Bradley, is the 9th novel in the Flavia De Luce series. One day while Flavia and her sisters are on holiday during a warm summer, Flavia happens upon a dead body floating in the water next to their boat. Something very suspicious is most definitely happening in the quiet little town. An air of mystery hangs over the local morgue, a shady police constable, and a scandal involving church members and a clergyman in which 4 people ended up deceased.

Flavia, true to form, has decided to solve the mystery for once and for all, despite the inability to use her laboratory at home, and the unwelcome reception from the local police. But can Flavia solve the mystery before the killer decides to turn attention to her?

Bradley fans will adore The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, and mystery lovers who haven’t given the series a chance should definitely give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Single mother Kate didn’t have it easy-she struggled daily to balance between her maternal responsibilities and the demands of her career as a successful lawyer. She thought that her daughter Amelia was weathering the strain fairly well, her grades had been good and she never seemed to have behavioral problems. Her private school was one of the best and she had long lasting friendships. Everything seemed ok.

But one day Kate gets a phone call from the school and her life is forever changed. Kate suddenly finds herself desperately trying to pick up the pieces of Amelia’s secret life and get answers to explain the tragedy that took her life.

Strange text messages from a boy Kate had never heard of before, anonymous threatening messages, provocative photos online… Kate is beginning to learn that her daughter was much more troubled than she had ever let on… Not to mention, the school is covering up something serious and the police may be corrupt, too.

Can Kate reconstruct her daughter’s life and figure out what really happened to her? Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight is a mystery/suspense novel of the Girl on the Train persuasion, where nothing is as it seems and people have many secrets. Pick it up today if you like dark, suspenseful mysteries.

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Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Maud may hold the only clues to the case of a missing woman… But she suffers from dementia, and the clues fade in and out of her consciousness. No one seems to want to help her find her best friend Elizabeth and no one believes her when she tells them the woman has gone missing.

But things are not all as they seem in Maud’s world, and the past keeps stirring up into the present. Maud’s sister disappeared decades ago and was never found. Can the two mysteries be related in some way? Why do specific images and memories keep coming to her mind, so close but then sliding back out of reach before she can connect the dots? Does the truth about the missing women live inside a grandmother with advanced dementia who will stop at nothing until the truth resurfaces for once and for all?

Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey was a special read for me because I too have loved a grandmother who suffered much like Maud. The unreliable narrator tests your patience brutally, and the choppy stream of consciousness is highly irregular for a mystery novel. But if you love women’s fiction and suspense novels, and you think you have what it takes to follow endearing, sassy, confused Maud through her story, I highly recommend the book.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

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The Flavia de Luce series is a special favorite of mine. If you love cheeky british heroines and a good murder mystery, you don’t want to miss it. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley, is the 6th novel in the series, which started with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

In the 6th installment, Flavia has been sent to some kind of mysterious finishing school in Canada, Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, where her deceased mother Harriet went to school. The first night, unfortunately, a singed body falls out of the chimney like a blackened mummy, right onto the floor of her bedroom-and no one wants to talk about what might have befallen the poor victim-or who it might be. Something is very suspicious right away, her chaperones to the school are very strange and she can’t make heads or tails of the cryptic messages she keeps getting from her teachers and fellow students. Is there a conspiracy in effect? Who is in on the secret? Who can she trust? What will happen if she asks the wrong person the wrong question?

Our cheeky little heroine isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, however…She’s determined to shake out the truth no matter what danger befalls her in the process.

This series is a top recommendation from me to you…Don’t miss it! And if you do audiobooks, the audiobook for this series is perfectly narrated and very enjoyable. No excuses, start this series!

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah

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Nicki Clements is a housewife with a lot of secrets. When she isn’t buzzing her kids around and running errands, she likes to have a secret life…It seems harmless at first, but when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder investigation, she realizes that she may be in much more trouble than she ever imagined. But how could her innocent cyber activities have caused a murder? And how did it relate to her?

The police have more than enough suspects-the crowd of enemies surrounding Damon Blundy, the murder victim, was vast and full of colorful and eccentric personalities. Nicki may not be the only person of interest, but the way the murder took place, its odd details planned out perfectly…Something is nagging at the back of Nicki’s mind…Something oddly familiar. She can’t tell the police everything, for risk of exposure, but she knows she must try to find out the truth, and how it might be connected to her.

Woman with a Secret, by Sophie Hannah, is a psychological thriller from the Spilling CID series-but I’ve never read the series before this book and I felt like I was reading a stand-alone novel the whole time. I may try to hunt down some more of the series, because this was a page-turner! I read it every chance I got because I couldn’t wait to see what Nicki Clements has been up to that could land her in so much trouble.

If you like psychological thrillers, Woman with a  Secret is impeccable! Get it today!