A Flicker in the Dark – Stacy Willingham

Bewertung: 4 von 5.

When Chloe was twelve her father was arrested for the murder of six young women. She stood right there next to him in their house when the police came and he calmly stood up and let them arrest him. Now she is thirty-two and a psychologist. She has not recovered well from that trauma. She is still popping pills but it seems that she finally found a man she can trust. It is just weeks until she gets married and she is madly in love with her fiancée. But then a young girl goes missing. At first it seems like just another tragic case of somebody snatching a girl from the street. Then another girl disappeared and this time she was one of Chloe’s patients. Soon it seems that there are too many similarities to her father’s murder spree twenty years ago and everything is somehow connected to Chloe.

Chloe is a difficult character. She still struggles to put her past behind her. She is not very reliable, self-centered and she has a tendency to lie to the police and investigate on her own. Which is always a stupid idea. The story seems a bit predictable from the beginning. But there are still enough surprises. It kept me interested all the time and I read it in two sittings. The pace is fast enough and the story is dark and gripping. It is an astonishing debut from an author I will keep an eye out for in the future.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill

Bewertung: 4 von 5.

Grace McGill is a cleaner. A special kind of cleaner. She cleans the houses of people who died alone and lied undiscovered for weeks or even months. One day she discovers something, a clue to a mystery she begins to unravel. More than fifty years ago a young girl disappeared and it seems that at least two of her latest dead people were involved in it.

Grace has one of the unusual jobs I ever encountered. I was aware that there are people who clean crime scenes or houses where somebody died. I think it is an under-appreciated job and kudos to the people who do it for a living. It was quite interesting to read about it and I liked that the author choose this unusual profession.

I must admit that I was underwhelmed from the plot right from the beginning. I was irritated by Grace. I just did not understand why she became out of the blue so obsessed with the old case and how she came to the conclusion that her dead people were involved in it. The clue she found, a dried daisy, seemed so odd and I could not comprehend how she knew that this was strange. In hindsight I understand. But for more than half of the book I was wondering what was going on and what was Grace getting at. The book is more on the slower side and the confusing story was not captivating me. There was also something about the writing. I had problems to concentrate on it and I noticed that my thoughts kept straying away. But then, about 60% into the book there was the big twist. I did not see that coming and this changed everything about the story and Grace. Until then I would have given the book maybe a generous 3 Star rating. But after finishing it I will give it a solid 4 Star. It is an unusual story with an unusual main character (although I did not like her and was annoyed by her) and a surprising twist. The story still does not make much sense and I still have some questions but I always appreciate unusualness.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Somebody’s Home – Kaira Rouda

Bewertung: 3 von 5.

Julie is the perfect trophy wife. She lives a very privileged life with her super wealthy husband in a million dollar house at the Pacific Ocean. But one day she has enough of her loveless life. She packs up her seventeen year old daughter Jess and moves to a much smaller house she recently bought. Julie is so eager to start her new life that she agrees that the eldest son of the family who lived there before can stay in the carriage house for another couple of days. But it turns out that Tom is not willing to move out. He is angry at the world, at his father for letting him down. Jess is not happy about the situation. She is a spoiled rich kid who wants to keep her careless and luxury life as it is. But over the course of a weekend their lives will be changed forever.

I enjoyed “Best Day Ever” from the author and I was excited to read another book from her. I still enjoyed this one but I did not love it. There are multiple point of views but unfortunately they sound all the same. So there is a lot of telling and much of it is repetitive. This thriller is more on the slower side and could have done with lesser POVs and more action. It is still a quick and nice read and I would read another book from Kaira Rouda.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Night of the Party – Anna-Lou Weatherley

Bewertung: 4 von 5.

„The Night of the Party“ is a faced paced thriller about a family with a lot of secrets. Evie, the mother, takes a lot of pride out of her daughter. Libby is beautiful, kind, loving, an exceptional student and a talented piano player. She thinks they have a strong bond and she likes to tell herself that she is more than a best friend to Libby than a mother. While she is throwing a dinner party for her friends Libby goes out to meet a friend and see a band. But Libby does not return home and it seems that the unthinkable has happened. Libby was murdered. But there are more things to discover about a secret life Libby obviously was having. It seems that nothing was like Evie user liked to think about her life.

The story is like something you already read somewhere else. There are no real surprises and as a long-term reader of thrillers you can see the twists coming. But it still is very entertaining and gripping. I enjoyed reading it and I probably will check out other books from the author.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Die folgsame Tochter – Lisa Unger

Bewertung: 3 von 5.

2,5 Sterne

Selena hat einen harten Tag hinter sich. Gerade erst hat sie im Büro die Nanny-Cam überprüft und dabei ihren derzeit arbeitslosen Ehemann mit der Nanny Geneva beim Sex beobachten müssen. Dann verpasst sie auch noch ihren Zug nach Hause. Als sie dann endlich auf dem Weg nach Hause ist und noch überlegt, was sie tun soll, kommt sie mit ihrer Sitznachbarin ins Gespräch. Irgendetwas kommt ihr vertraut an der mysteriösen Frau vor, und aus einem Impuls heraus (und nach dem Trinken einer Miniflasche Wodka, die die Frau aus der Handtasche gezaubert hat) erzählt sie ihr von ihrem Mann und der Nanny. Da sie sich sicher ist, die Frau nie wiederzusehen, gibt sie nichts auf das ungute Gefühl, das dieses Gespräch bei ihr hinterlässt. Aber dann am nächsten Tag kommt die Nanny nicht zum Dienst und die Polizei steht vor der Tür.

Das Buch hat eine vielversprechende Ausgangsbasis. Am Anfang verwirrte es mich aber gleich mit seinen verschiedenen Perspektiven. Die Story hat nämlich mehrere Erzählebenen und Personen, aus deren Sicht man die Dinge sieht. Ich habe zwar nie den Überblick verloren, aber ich denke, wenn das Buch sich nur auf Selena und auf ihre Gegenspielerin konzentriert hätte, wäre es etwas geschmeidiger zu lesen gewesen. Leider ist auch keiner der Figuren wirklich ansprechend. Selena ist sehr sprunghaft. Ständig ist sie hin und hergerissen zwischen ihren widerstrebenden Gefühlen. Sie liebt ihren Mann, nein sie hasst ihn. Sie will ihre Ehe retten der Kinder zu liebe. Nein, das kann sie doch nicht. Sie hätte bei ihrem Ex bleiben sollen. Nein, besser nicht denn ihr Mann klang nach so viel mehr Abenteuer in ihrem Leben. So gehen ihre Gedanken hin und her und sie führt sich ständig wiederholende innere Monologe darüber. Sie hält der Polizei Informationen vor. Sie hört nicht auf ihren Anwalt und nimmt auf eigene Faust Kontakt zu einer offenbar dubiosen Frau auf. Sie verhält sich eigentlich die ganze Zeit nur dumm. Was aber am meisten auffällt ist der Männerhass in diesem Buch. Es gibt kaum einen anständigen Mann in dieser Geschichte. Die männlichen Hauptakteure sind völlig übertriebene Scheusale und die Frauen duldsame Wesen.

Die Story an sich ist zuerst recht undurchsichtig, aber nach und nach konnte ich erkennen, wohin das ganze führt. Da sich viele Gedankengänge der Figuren wiederholen und insgesamt viel „erzählt“ wird, kommt auch nicht unbedingt große Spannung auf. Trotz der Mängel liest sich das Buch aber unkompliziert weg. Es hat den ein- oder anderen interessanten Moment, ist aber wenig überraschend und die Charaktere sind leider zu eindimensional.

Ich habe das Buch via NetGalley vom Verlag erhalten, wofür ich mich herzlich bedanken möchte.

Charlie Donlea – Twenty Years Later

Bewertung: 5 von 5.

4,5 Stars

Charlie Donlea delivers another page-turner. The story is complex (as usual) and there are a lot of characters and some jumping between times and scenes. But I never lost track of where the story was and the short chapters kept me reading.

Avery was at the right place in the right time when she had the chance to get the job as a host of a very popular news show. When she hears that twenty years after 9/11 one of the bone fragments found at the site is identified to a victim she is intrigued. But it turns out that there is more to this than just the sad story about a victim of this horrible event.

I am a fan of Charlie Donlea. I love his unusual and complex stories. At first I was not overexcited about the plot summary. But I trusted the author and I was rewarded with a very gripping story with an unexpected twist at the end.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Devil’s Advocate – Steve Cavanagh

Bewertung: 5 von 5.

Usually I don’t like thriller series. I always get annoyed or bored with the main characters at some point. Or I feel I can see the similarities in the structure of the books. But it seems that Eddie Flynn is the exception from the rule. I just love him and his team. The books about him are entertaining and clever. This is again a captivating thriller and I enjoyed it immensely although it is about a topic I usually don’t read about. But somehow it seems that Steve Cavanagh can sell me any story and I will read it because he is a brilliant writer. Or it is because I simply love Eddie. Either way, I can’t way for the next book.

The Secret – Debbie Howells

Bewertung: 3 von 5.

„The Secret“ is a dark domestic drama which handles a lot of difficult issues. At first it seems like a thriller because a young girl is found dead in a small village. One of the main characters is Elise who lives with an abusive husband. In comes Jo, a police detective who is looking not only into the murder but also into a porn ring that operates from this particular village. It is an interesting and entertaining enough story and although it is all very sinister at the same time it is an easy read. There is not too much depth and I failed to connect to any of the characters because they are either uninteresting of unlikable. I feel I should have felt for Elise but I think she was just not likeable enough. I often have no patience for teenagers in books and here it is the same. It felt that stubborn Niamh just fed enough information at a time to keep the story afloat. If she would have told everything she knew immediately the book would have been a short story. So the author decided to make her shy and secretive. Her behavior really felt like it was written just for the purpose to make that book long enough and keep you guessing. And it worked. I did not predict the ending but it just did not captivate me.

As I said it is an easy read but it is not a very remarkable one. This is my fourth book from this author and overall I enjoyed them all. But I enjoyed this one the least.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nowhere to Hide – Nell Pattison

Bewertung: 3 von 5.

This is a fun read but don’t think too much about the plausibility of the story.

There is a group of people who come together occasionally to watch birds. They are not friends but they share an interest in nature and wildlife and that brought them together. Lauren and Emily are estranged sisters. They grew up in foster care and did not stay in touch until lately. Emily is deaf and she developed an app that helps deaf people which earned her a lot of money. Lauren works in a nature reserve and tries to make ends meet. She is jealous of Emily’s achievements. She sees herself as the leader of the group but there is Morna who is competing with her about that. Then there is Alec, an elderly man who is a very keen bird watcher. His life evolves around watching birds and he sees himself as an expert and wants to show off is experience. Dan is a widower and still morning the dead of his wife. Ben seems like a nice guy. He tried to ask Lauren out but she rejected him. But she was about to change her mind and go out with him but then she brought Emily into the group and Ben was immediately smitten with her. One more reason for Lauren to hate her sister. The last one is Kai who seems to have his own reasons for joining the group.

When they decide to go on a hike to see a starling murmuration one day things go terribly wrong. While they split off to several watching points they hear a gunshot. One of them is dead and one of them has to be the killer.

The premise sounded good and the author did not fail to deliver a decent story with a good pace. The characters are all a bit shady and of course they have secrets which one of them seems to know about. The story is not very believable. They run around at night in the forest without any problems. In my experience it gets very very dark in nature but that seems not to bother any of them. They loose and find each other in this huge area all the time. In the middle the pace slows a bit down because of all this talk about which way to go and stuff like that. But at the end it got better and there are some nice surprises which made up for the unlikely story.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Hawthorne School – Sylvie Perry

Bewertung: 3 von 5.

This is an atmospheric thriller about a creepy school but without any surprises. You get exactly what you expect to get.

Claudia is a young single mother with no relatives and few friends. She lives for her four year old son Henry. But Henry has some behavioral disorders. He throws a tantrum every couple of hours and does not fit in preschool. While I was wondering why Claudia does not seek any help from a doctor she decides to take her change with a different school. In a beautiful old cloister surrounded by huge forests she thinks she finds the solution to her problems with Henry. The children here are spending a lot of time in the nature and there is art and music instead of sitting still in a classroom for hours. But of course nothing is as idyllic as it seems to naïve Claudia. She is absolutely clueless while I as a reader could see exactly what was coming. There are no surprises in this book. It is still entertaining and atmospheric although it is so predictable.

I received an ARC from NetGealley in exchange for an honest review