In the Shadow of Lakecrest

Kate Moore is a governess looking for a better life than she knew from her childhood. Her mother raised her to keep her eyes on the prize and marry a wealthy man who can take care of her. Kate gets her chance when she meets the mysterious bachelor, Matthew Lemont, and he is beguiled by her sensible nature and quick wit.

In a very short time, Kate becomes Mrs. Lemont. Her fairy tale beginning is short lived, however. The newlyweds are naturally headed to Lakecrest to meet Matthew’s mother and sister and surprise them with their good news. Upon arrival, however, Kate realizes that things are not as they might appear. A missing aunt, a winding labyrinth, a cellar dungeon and secrets upon secrets hide within the grounds of that strange, eccentric house.

Just when Kate realizes she needs to escape for her own safety, she realizes she is pregnant, and suddenly everyone, including her husband, seems to think she should be confined to the house until the baby comes.

Can Kate escape the tyranny in that toxic house before it steals her sanity? Could she be reliving the tragedy of the lost aunt?

In the Shadow of Lakecrest, by Elizabeth Blackwell, is a mystery novel with an essence reminiscent of V.C. Andrews. If you enjoy suspense you should pick it up!

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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.

Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

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The setting is a New England prep school. Everything seems squeaky clean and controlled from the outside…But there are too many secrets. One night, the unimaginable occurs. Sixteen-year-old Nica Baker is killed, her body found in the nearby cemetery. What reason would anyone have to kill a rebellious teenage girl? Her sister, Grace is determined to find out what happened to her sister, determined to find closure so she can fight her own demons.

The sleepy little prep school is hiding some very toxic secrets, ranging from drugs to sex scandals, possibly even leading to murder and suicide. Can Grace sort out who is responsible for the death of her sister? Can she sift through the unimaginable sordid details and find a common vein? Is the killer still out there? Are her own parents somehow involved?

Dark Rooms, by Lili Anolik, will appeal to readers in the Gillian Flynn genres (Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Gone Girl). Definitely for adults only, definitely dark and heavy suspense, uprooting the most miserable aspects of human nature and revealing all that people try to hide from the world. This suspense novel is a top pick for 2015, so if you are in the mood for creepy, thrilling suspense, order Dark Rooms today. If you are sensitive and prefer more “cozy” mysteries, steer clear.

Desire Lines by Christina Baker Kline

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Kathryn Campbell is a grown woman, but she finds herself haunted by events from her teenage years. Her best friend Jennifer said goodbye to her at a campfire after graduation, and no one ever saw her again. Did she run away? Was she kidnapped, or worse, murdered? The mystery remains unsolved…Until Kathryn’s marriage falls apart and she finds herself living back at home with her mom, and seeing the same faces she once saw in her high school hallways. To make matters more complicated, the editor of the local newspaper asks her to write a freelance piece in tribute to her missing friend, in light of their ten year reunion in a matter of days.

Kathryn doesn’t want to stir things up or dredge up those old memories…Or does she? She finds herself pulled into a cyclone of tensions that she was too clueless to realize as a teen…And finally finding a challenge that she can’t back down from no matter how tempting it might be to do so.

I, personally, love this kind of books, in the vein of Emily Arsenault (or Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places), where someone is tracking the steps of someone who died or disappeared after the trail has run cold…Probably because I really adore anything related to cold case kinds of files and stories about killers who get justice long after the public has given up the chase. This novel was a decent read, although I have to admit I was occasionally confused by inconsistencies in the heroine’s behavior…Check it out for yourself and feel free to comment your thoughts, too.

Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Annie Hewitt is down on her luck. Her mother passed away, leaving her a secluded island house in Maine, and since Annie is broke and jobless she has no choice but to sort through her mother’s things and decide what to do next with her life. Unfortunately, the island has many bad memories for Annie, mostly attached to the house next door, a giant mansion where her mother was briefly the lady of the house.

Is the current man of the house responsible for her near death as a teen? Is he a sadistic murderer, waiting for his next victim? Or is he just a dark, brooding, reclusive writer with serious sex appeal? The line is getting blurry for Annie, especially when she is very limited on social company…with the exception of her 3 larger-than-life puppets, of course.

I didn’t know what to make of this book at first-I truly thought I was stepping into a serious “unreliable narrator” situation, which is great because I have a penchant for that type of literature. But as the story unfolds, there are others on the island who might not have pure intentions, and evil is lurking in the corners. Annie has to use her humor and wits to shake down the community and figure out just what is going on there on Peregrine Island..And where is the legacy her mother claimed to have left her at the cottage? Does someone else want it, too?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a darker sense of humor and a taste for sarcasm. It is a combination of romance, comedy, suspense and drama, all tied together. I plan to read whatever else Susan Elizabeth Phillips has to offer the world, after reading Heroes Are My Weakness. Highly recommended!

Don’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown

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When a 14-year-old girl disappears, her mother’s worst nightmare is realized. Rachel’s daughter, Marley, left her phone and computer sitting at home, but packed a backpack full of clothing and left a note for her mother which read “Don’t Try to Find Me”. At first, Rachel believes her daughter must have been kidnapped by someone who made her write the note, but the evidence piles high and she is forced to accept that her sweet, average, non-rebellious daughter is a runaway.

Marley is tired of being ignored, tired of being cast aside, tired of being unremarkable to everyone. She wants to start fresh, away from her neurotic mother, her domineering and detached father, her psychiatrist who rejected her when she asked for help, her cruel, self absorbed friends…She wants to be with someone who truly appreciates her. And she thinks she may have found that. Online.

Take a journey through the lives of a family torn apart by social media in every way…This novel is what I would call “Suspense” but it also has a lot of emotional depth as you get deeper and deeper into the very personal thoughts of very ordinary people, when things get very out-of-the-ordinary without any warning whatsoever. I would say that readers of Emily Arsenault and other similar novelists will enjoy Don’t Try to Find Me, by Holly Brown.

Find out if Marley will ever come home…Will she even have an option?

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, is a suspense novel unlike anything I’ve ever read. In the vein of Gone Girl, this story unwinds in ways you could not see coming and leaves the reader shaking his/her head and sitting in stunned shock.

Grace Reinhart Sachs is a New York couples therapist and mother. Her life is exactly the way she always wanted it to be. No surprises, just the normal day to day routine with her son’s school and extracurricular activities, her husband a busy pediatric oncologist. She’s so pleased with her life, in fact, she has decided to write a self-help book for the poor sad women in the world who haven’t had the common sense to follow her own example. Just before the book is about to be released, telling women that they should have known all along that their husbands were cheaters, liars, addicts, hopelessly under-employed, (and worse)-Grace gets the shock of her life…

Seems like her husband may have had a few secrets of his own. A mother from her son’s school comes up murdered, and the police keep trying to find out what Grace may know about the crime and the victim. But Grace just doesn’t understand why they think she might know something…The woman was barely even on her radar. When the facts start raining down on her and she realizes she really didn’t know her husband at all, the brutal truth has the potential to ruin her entire life, or at least the life she always thought was perfect.

You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, is a psychological suspense novel. I wouldn’t call it a “thriller” per se, because most of the novel is not action, but the slow unveiling of truth to a woman who thought she knew it all. I thought the audiobook was excellent for my work commute and for housework-but don’t listen while being interrupted a lot, because if you miss something you will be very confused! Every detail counts in You Should Have Known, which is a novel entirely comprised of little details which lead up to one horrifying conclusion…You’ll have to read it or listen to it if you want to know more!

 

Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

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Paranormal readers may recall The Blood Gospel, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, in which Archaeologist Erin Granger is pulled into an ancient prophecy and a world of vampires, angels, and other supernatural beings she never could have dreamed existed. Innocent Blood is the second installment in this series, called The Order of The Sanguines.

Erin finds that her role in saving the universe is not over-she may still be the “Woman of Learning” in the prophecy, this time she has to prevent the Apocalypse and destruction of the entire earth. She must stop the supernatural being called Iscariot from bringing ruin to the whole of humanity, using her knowledge of ancient biblical history. The old gang from The Blood Gospel is back, holy men from the Vatican, the Warrior-but just to shake things up, she must deal with a psychopathic killer vampire, perhaps the most formidable female in history, natural or supernatural…Elizabeth Bathory, The Blood Countess.

Will they prevail? Find out for yourself if you like reading supernatural fiction, especially if you have a taste for a more “Dan Brown suspense” type of read.

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

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John Gower is commissioned by Geoffrey Chaucer with a very vague and mysterious mission-find a book of songs that has gone missing. He is intrigued by the mission, but he has no idea how deep the plot will go until bodies begin to pile up. What is in this book that seems to be traveling in London’s underground? Does it have the power to set in motion terrible events, including the death of King Richard II? The more Gower learns, the more danger builds up around him. The surprise arrival of his formerly exiled son makes for very suspicious timing amid it all-how do all of these events tie together? What is the connection between a dead Lady in the woods, a handful of prostitutes, the famous Geoffrey Chaucer, a group of butchers, and his majesty, the King of England? Only the book will reveal all-and someone is killing to get their hands on it. Can Gower solve the mystery before the ultimate crime occurs?

This novel portrays 1300s London in a very harsh light-nothing is sugar coated, so if you are looking for something pleasant and romantic, this is not the book for you. The language, while probably very accurate, is a lot to take in, especially from the mouths of the prostitutes and the men who commission them. All in all, however, this novel is great suspense fiction, and an incredibly detailed account of what life might have been like during the time of Chaucer. If you enjoyed The Bones of Avalon, by Phil Rickman, you will want to pick up A Burnable Book, by Bruce Holsinger.