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.

Starter House by Sonja Condit

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Lacey Miszlak wanted nothing more than a home of her own, where she and her husband would raise their unborn child and make memories to cherish-a home life that she never had, growing up with a mother who could never stay in one place for long. When she first sees the house, she knows it’s the one. Despite the subtle discouragement from her real estate agent, Lacey will not back down, and finally the house is theirs. But Lacey is starting to see a little boy in the yard, in the kitchen, all over the house. And no one else can see him.

When incidents start to frighten Lacey, and she ends up on bed rest, she calls upon her spiritualist mother to help her find out just what is happening in her house, before the worst happens to her, or her child….And events will take place that make any reader’s skin crawl….

Starter House, by Sonja Condit, is a thriller with supernatural elements. If you like haunted house stories, you won’t want to miss this one, which will surprise you with a climax that will blow your mind. If you need a good scare, be sure to check it out!

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

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Ruby Rousseau dropped out of her all-girls university less than a year ago, and thought she would never have to look back. But one day, a suitcase was delivered to her by mistake-a suitcase belonging to a girl from her old dormitory, Beth Richards. She finds herself pulled into the mystery of a missing person, and forced to deal with the ghosts from her recent past, including a love affair with a Professor that went terribly wrong.

The Butterfly Sister is a mystery novel with a distinctly feminine flair, and for those of you who love literature or poetry, the references to Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Virginia Woolf, and other notable female literary geniuses (who were deeply disturbed) is a refreshing and intellectual pleasure, especially for a mystery novel.

I will confess that I was probably the perfect reader for this novel, being interested in tragic literary figures, feminism, and also being an avid mystery reader. This novel may not be for readers who do not share my interests. But if you do, you do not want to miss The Butterfly Sister, by Amy Gail Hansen.

 

 

The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

9981618Libby has what every woman wants. She has her career, she has her perfectly wonderful husband Jack, a beautiful home…She is the luckiest woman alive. Until they are in a horrible car accident and everything begins to fall apart around her. She stumbles upon a notebook, the diary of Jack’s late wife, Eve, who died mysteriously a few years back. Libby is starting to question everything in her perfect life, and Eve seems to be everywhere. In the walls, sitting on the furniture, in the wine cellar…Libby must recover from her accident in a home where she feels like a guest, suddenly…And what really happened to Eve? Jack won’t talk about it much, and he still screams Eve’s name in his sleep at night. Can you be with someone who still loves someone else with his whole heart? Is it enough to love him and get respect and consideration in return? Then a nosy police officer keeps poking around the house, harassing the couple. Libby must decide what is happening and what she is going to do…And the climax of this novel will completely blow readers away.

Readers who liked “Gone Girl” will love The Woman He Loved Before, by Dorothy Koomson. This novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats all the way until the end, and the ending is nothing you would EVER expect-take my word for it. The audiobook version of the novel, by Hachette audio, is brilliantly narrated and a terrific choice for your next road trip…If you can handle it.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Two women decided to risk their lives to serve Great Britain in effort to end World War II. One is a pilot, the other is an agent specializing in espionage. Proving themselves in a man’s world is the least of the problems these ladies face: one night, during a mission, the plane is shot down and the women are separated beyond enemy lines. One of them is brought into SS custody and placed in a makeshift prison to be tortured for information and held until she can be “dealt with”. The other goes into hiding with a solid plan : find her friend, rescue her, and get the hell out of France.

The situation is very, very dire…But the operation is not hopeless. These amazing women cannot be stopped, and the power of friendship is an impenetrable force. Secret codes, secret operations, espionage, targeting rogue enemy operators, and the strength of two remarkable women fill the pages of Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein.

If you liked reading The Hunger Games trilogy, you are likely to enjoy this novel. Reality is harsh, but inner strength and the power of love drive the heroines through the wreckage. If you can’t handle some allusion to POW torture techniques, however, I recommend you avoid this one. Code Name Verity is considered a Teen novel, but is very adult in nature. If you love espionage, especially with strong heroines, you won’t want to miss this one.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Nick and Amy Dunne are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. The day starts out like every other anniversary day…But things go sour fast. Nick comes home to find Amy missing, the furniture in disarray. Amy has disappeared.

The police seem to feel like Nick is the prime suspect, and Nick is cooperating with them as best he can…But he can’t shake the feeling that he’s missing a clue somewhere about what really happened to Amy. Did Nick kill Amy? If not, who did? Or is she alive somewhere? Nick looks for clues as to who is wife really is all around…Who did she talk with recently? Who might have wanted to harm her or take her? What did she do before she disappeared? As Nick begins to examine the truth about his wife’s life, he realizes she may not even be the person he thought she was…An Nick has a few secrets of his own.

This novel is a psychological thriller with emphasis on male/female relationships that will give any reader the creeps. Difficult to find novels to compare with this one because psychological thrillers rarely delve into the minds of husbands and wives so deeply, creating a chilling atmosphere that will leave readers mortified. In other words, an excellent psychological thriller for those of you who enjoy the genre, but be prepared to find something unlike any novel you have ever read.

The Mourning House by Ronald Malfi

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Is the house haunted, or is Dr. Sam Hatch haunted by his past?

He has just lost everything dear to him. His wife and baby are killed in an accident and everything is crumbling around him. Nothing is important anymore. Nothing matters. He walks out of his house, climbs into his car, and begins to drive…Away from his life, away from himself. An old, rundown house in a town where he knows no one beckons to him. He decides to buy it and fix it up…

But things are happening in the house. His things are moving around, disappearing and re-appearing in new places. He hears phantom noises, and as he renovates rooms, he is finding reminders of his old life under the floorboards, in the ceilings, in the closets… Is he losing his mind? Is the house trying to tell him something? If so, what does it mean to communicate? Dr. Hatch is trying to follow the horrific clues, but his sanity seems to be slipping away with each little discovery.

How will the story conclude? If you like haunted house stories like The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Hell House by Richard Matheson, The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom, you will enjoy The Mourning House, by Ronald Malfi, which is creepy and leaves the reader guessing until the end.

Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs

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Forensic Anthropologist Temperance Brennan is back with the 15th installment in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs, which many of you already know has been in the inspiration for the television series called Bones.

This novel explores Canadian Diamond mining, the underworld of drug dealing and prostitution, and a lineup of dead babies that will leave you in shock and dying to find out what really happened. A simple-minded woman disappears, leaving a dead baby in her apartment, and Temperance and the investigators who make up her usual team have set out to find the woman before the bad guys get to her first…Or perhaps before they realize Temperance is sniffing around and decide to take her out of the equation.

The novels of this series are full of interesting facts and very well-researched, each novel takes Temperance into a new avenue of crime and corruption, bouncing around between Canada and the U.S. and even venturing overseas on occasion. If you like forensic science, you will love this series, and if you have read other novels in the Temperance Brennan series, Bones are Forever will not disappoint.

The Blood Gospel, Order of the Sanguines

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Dr. Erin Granger is an archaeologist working on a dig in Israel who gets called in by the Israeli government to help out with a high-priority archaelogical find that has the potential to be very dangerous. The the extent of that danger, however is greater than she ever could have expected. An ancient church order is on a mission to recover an ancient artifact that may have the power to ruin the world, and they can’t do it without her help. Doesn’t sound too bad until she realizes that every supernatural creature seems just as intent on recovering the artifact, which is proclaimed to be the Gospel of Christ, written in his own hand, in his own blood. Suddenly she is thrown into a world of vampires (good and evil), grimwolves, and various other supernatural creatures she once thought the stuff of mythology.

The Blood Gospel, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, is a combination of genres that will make readers go wild. The suspense and history of The DaVinci Code meet with the paranormal, bringing vampires and other supernatural creatures into the world of the bible and Christian history, and the secret operations of the Nazis to hoard ancient artifacts and priceless collectibles are sprinkled on the top, just to give it a little flavor. If you love paranormal fiction, intelligent historical novels, archaeology, religious history, or any combination of the above, the Order of the Sanguines Series, of thich The Blood Gospel is the first, is a must-read.

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Boreal Dreams by Peter Anthony Blush

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Set in the wilderness of Vermont, Sheriff Ray Lackner has been noticing some very strange happenings. People have disappeared, folks have reported mysterious sightings of wild dogs and a Native American man out in the wilderness, his wife has been acting strange lately, and what first appeared to be a snowmobile accident has actually turned out to be a murder in the middle of a blizzard. Ray and his deputy are set on figuring out just what the hell is happening in the quiet town they call home.

When a corporate cover-up with serious environmental and health implications may somehow be involved in the series of events to follow, which include several deaths and attacks, some involving arrows, and the people of the town are happy to blame Native American gang activity for the crimes around the town, it’s time for the slightly corrupt but truth-seeking Sheriff to pull out the “big guns” and put his life on the line. Luckily a “detective” from Montreal shows up and gives him some much-needed information-but what is his angle, and is he who he says he is? Is he playing the good Sheriff to benefit himself somehow?

This is a novel about the secrets we keep, the violence we are capable of, murder, justice (both legal and otherwise), superstition, the things we know and the things we would prefer NOT to know, and the complexity of human relationships.  But to those of you who need a genre category, I would call it a Crime Thriller. Unlike many Crime Thrillers that are out there, this one takes place out in the country, where there really is NO ONE to hear you scream…

If you like Kathy Reichs novels, I think that you should give Peter Anthony Blush a try. The characters are rich and flawed, and you won’t be able to put the book down. I would love to see this one become a movie, and I don’t say that often. Boreal Dreams is available on amazon.com. Check it out!

Pick it up on Amazon.com today!