Beneath The Surface – Sibel Hodge

516pV7uAdKL 3,5 Stars

3,5 Stars


I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the first half very much. But as soon as the main topic began to unfold I lost interest. I don’t like kiss-and-tell-stories. And I was not aware that this book was that kind of book. I expected something else or maybe a different handling of the topic.


In the first half we meet Holly. We get to know her and learn about her problems.  I liked reading the book although I was a bit annoyed by everybody telling her she was paranoid and a crazy drunk. But then the story turns into an action thriller. The exposure of the criminal doings of pharmaceutical companies became more important than telling a story. The author did a great job with her research and the topic is shocking and has to be revealed. But it did not work in this book for me. I don’t know how I can explain it. But I think telling this story, revealing everything, became so important for the author that she missed to form it into a harmonic story.


I am sorry to say that the book did not work for me. It felt like something was missing. I liked the writing and the first half was very well composed. But then it turned into a kind of story I don’t like to read. If I had known that I would not have requested it from NetGalley. But because this is just me and my personal taste I round it up to 4 stars.

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


They All Fall Down – Tammy Cohen

31551215  3 Stars

“They All Fall Down” promises to be a psychological thriller. But soon it turns into a domestic drama.


Hannah finds herself in a psychiatric clinic. The reason why she is there remains a secret to us for a while. Hannah was pregnant and something happened to the baby. It couldn’t be so bad because otherwise she would be in prison. Unfortunately the last book I read had exactly the same topic. So I figured out almost immediately what happened. But all this talking around Hannah’s problem and leaving out what she did felt quite forced.


Two other patients of the clinic killed themselves. Hannah somehow suspects that they were murdered. But the story is not turning into a thriller. Hannah and her problems with her marriage and her desperate wish for a baby are the main thing here. Her mother is also a main character. She turns into a kind of detective and investigates some of Hannah’s suspicions and a few things of her own.


For my taste the whole story was told too slow. There was almost too much in it. Mental problems, a failing marriage, the drama with the baby, murder,. I would have wished for a thriller but it was more of a domestic drama. The setting in the clinic is a great idea and there is a lot going on. But there is too much crammed into the story so that many things just fell flat. I could not feel for Hannah. I think it was a bit extreme to put her in the clinic for what she did. She is free to go but she is talked into staying by her husband and her mother. She wants to leave one minute but the next she stays because of the women who killed themselves. But this all did not work out for me. It was back and forth all the time. And I failed to see how they helped her in the clinic.


This was my third book from Tammy Cohen. I liked “When She Was Bad” very much. “First One Missing” was an OK-read. Unfortunately “They All Fall Down” was also only an OK-read for me. It was not a fast paced thriller and definitely no pageturner for me. There was too much so that most of the topics just got scratched on the surface. The twist at the end was a surprise. I have to give that to the author. That I just read another book about a woman desperately wishing for a baby is not Tammy Cohen’s fault. There are so many books about babies and missing children at the moment. It was just too much domestic drama for me.

The Fourth Monkey – J.D. Barker

31125554  5 Stars

What a twisted and creepy book. It is a fast pace thriller which is highly entertaining and scary.

For five years the 4MK keeps the Chicago Police busy now. He punishes people who did something bad by taking someone they love. First he cuts of one ear, then he takes the eyes and at least the tongue. The sends the body parts in a white box with a black ribbon. The police is still without a clue who he is. Then one day a man is killed in an accident. Obviously he jumped in front of a bus. He carried a white box with a black ribbon. Inside is an ear. So there must be another victim suffering somewhere. But the killer is dead now. But that does not keep him from playing games with the police.

There was a kind of diary found with the body. In this book the 4MK describes his unbelievable bizarre childhood. At first you think it is a normal family but soon it turns out that this is a family of a very different kind.

The story is told alternating between 4MK’s diary and the police work. This book is not for readers who are very sensitive. It is quite drastic and there is a lot of blood. If you have no problems with that you will find a highly entertaining and very unique thriller. There is a little bit of humor, despite all this gruesome things happening all around. The book is very well written. The diary and this horrible family is almost too much, like a parody. It’s unbelievable that there would be a family like that. At least I hope there is not.

All together this was a very entertaining book. It’s full of surprises and twist and it has a unique ending. This book is really different to other thrillers. I enjoyed it very much.

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

The Dark Room – Jonathan Moore


I am not sure how to rate this book.  I liked reading it and it was entertaining. But there are also some things I did not like.


A few months ago I read “The Poison Artist”. Somehow I forgot to review it. I can’t explain why. I think I read it during our vacation and I tend to read books I do not necessarily have to review because I bought them myself. I liked “The Poison Artist”, it was unusual in many ways. The story was quite unique and dark. “The Dark Room” also has also a very dark story even it is not as unique. A beautiful young girl was murdered by bad men after they abused her. Nothing new here. An unexpected confession brings this cold case murder to Inspector Cain’s knowledge. He begins to investigate and slowly the background story reveals itself.


The book is more of a slow burner. But the author managed to keep me interested even not much is happening. There is a lot of talking and police work. He is very precise when it is about describing surroundings and other details. But the dialogs are something different. There is a lot of talking but some things stay unsaid. Cain is the main character but we don’t know what he is really thinking.  I felt excluded from some things or even from the story itself. Cain has a girlfriend. She experienced obviously some kind of trauma in her past because she can’t leave the house. This is irritating at first. I felt as if there was something I missed or there was another book I should have read so that I would know about the girlfriend’s problems. We learn later in the book a bit about it. But to me it seemed as if all the characters are only there because otherwise the story would not work. The author seemed not very interested in them. He writes precisely about the crime scenes, the autopsies. Every movement is worth some words, but there is almost nothing about how the characters look or at least what their problem is. Why, for example, is one of the female characters always stripping herself naked in front of Cain? She is troubled, obviously. But why is that so? Ok, at the end I got it. But there was a lack of depth to all the characters. I did not get them, really. You can see how everything happened, how one thing leads to another. But why – the motivation is not that important to the author.

This book is very atmospheric, very dark and sinister. The writing is a mix of precise and imprecise. The main point here is the story and how Cain comes to the conclusion. I considered giving 4 stars because it was a quick read and entertaining on some level. But I had too much problems with the neglected character development. But I must also admit that this book is different. Maybe just because of its flaws. It is weird and strange and worth a look. I liked “The Poison Artist” better. It is similar atmospheric and dark but the story was more unique.


3 Stars


Daniel Cole – Ragdoll



German book – German review

„Ragdoll“ ist ein Thriller, der eindeutig auf „Spaß“ ausgelegt ist. Es gibt innovative Morde und eine ungewöhnliche Auflösung. Mittendrin geht es rasant voran und man weiss nicht, wo die Handlung hingehen wird. Das ist durchaus unterhaltsam. Der Autor erfindet das Thrillergenre zwar nicht neu, trotzdem sind ihm ein paar ungewöhnliche Kniffe gelungen. Das Buch liest sich rasch weg und auch das Interesse des Lesers bleibt geweckt. Sogar die Hauptcharaktere sind relativ realistisch und greifbar. So kann man ruhig sagen, das „Ragdoll“ ein unterhaltsamer Thriller ist.

Ein wenig zu bemängeln hätte ich aber doch. Die Sprache des Autors ist extrem schlicht. Die Dialoge holpern oft und des öfteren hatte ich das Gefühl, etwas überlesen zu haben. Manchmal prescht die Handlung so krass voran, das ich nicht sicher war, alles richtig mitbekommen zu haben. Durch dieses schnelle Vorantreiben fallen manche Handlungslöcher nicht auf. Es fällt bei dem Tempo und dem Durchgehusche durch die Handlung wirklich kaum auf, das die meisten Hintergründe, Beweggründe etc. eigentlich gar nicht richtig beleuchtet werden. Rumms, so isses nu und weiter gehts. Ich habe den Eindruck, das ich trotz gelgentlichem Zurückblättern und nochmal lesen irgendwie nicht alles mitbekommen habe. Ich fühle mich irgendwie durch die Handlung gehetzt obwohl ich langsam gelesen habe und auch genug Zeit dafür hatte. Aber ich denke, nur so funktioniert das Buch. Ex und hopp. Trotzdem hat es Spaß gemacht und mich gut unterhalten. Manchmal darf es auch einfach nur unterhaltsam und seicht sein. So charmant getäuscht, das ich etwas anderes lese als Fast Food, wurde ich selten. 3,5 Sterne

Jenny Blackhurst – Before I Let You In

Before I Let You InBefore I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are tons of books with twists and turns at the moment. Not all of them are good and not all twists are really that surprising. This book has a lot of them and there is one surprise followed by the next. That’s the reason I can’t say too much about the story.

Karen is a psychiatrist. One day a young woman comes to her as a patient. She tells Karen things which are somehow connected to Karen’s personal life. Karen soon is convinced that this young woman is a thread to her and her friends. Karen has two close friends, Bea and Eleanor, and she was always the one who took care of them. And that is what she wants to do know, to keep her friends save from this strange young woman.

Karen, Bea and Eleanor are close friends for many years. Karen is the one who takes care of them, fixes problems. That’s her job in this friendship. When this young woman shows up and seems to know certain things, all Karen wants is to keep her friends save. But this starts a series of events which lead only downwards. It is about things you do although you know they are wrong, unethical and even embarrassing. Things you do but you don’t want anybody you know you did them and you even don’t want to admit to yourself.

This book really was full of surprises. I figured some things out but not everything. This is a twisted and disturbing read and I enjoyed it very much.

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Lying in Wait – Liz Nugent

Lying in WaitLying in Wait by Liz Nugent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

„My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.“
This is the opening line of this book and it introduces us to Lydia Fitzsimmons. You better not mess up with her. Then Lydia, the fragile and protected wife of judge Andrew Fitzsimmons, mother of a little boy, is a psychopath.

Lydia comes from a wealthy family. There was always money and she was raised to do nothing except being a wife and a mother. She lives in a big mansion which she inherited and she does not like to socialize. She just needs her husband and her son. But now their money is gone, and somehow they got into a stupid deal with Annie. But Annie did not intent to keep to their deal, she took the money and threatened to blackmail them. Andrew got angry and tried to strangle her. But the final blow came from Lydia who could not stand that Andrew just was not able to do the job properly. She also had the idea to bury Annie in the garden. They could not go to prison, they have their son to care about. Lydia is going back to normal but Andrew is feeling guilty and is in constant fear of being arrested. His conditions and health are rapidly declining and he soon dies. Lydia is perplex and has a breakdown. There was always somebody to take care of her. Laurence decides to start working instead of going to college. So he can support his mother and take care of her now. Lydia likes that very much and she wants to have it like that forever. And she is willing to do everything to keep Laurence with her in the mansion.

Lydia is narcissistic and manipulative. She keeps saying that everything she is doing is out of mother’s love and for Laurence wellbeing. But instead it is egoism. It is a miracle that Laurence turned out so well as an adult. Of course he does not see the real Lydia, she can hide her inner psychopath very well. She knows exactly how to manipulate her son. It is easy to hate Lydia. Laurence is a bit tiring with his efforts to please everybody and he is very lenient towards his mother. Karen, Annie’s Sister, is the third narrator. Her loss and her struggle to be an independent woman in Ireland in the 1980s is very realistic.

This book is a dark psychological thriller with difficult characters and a tragic story. It tells the story of an obsessive mother who is also a psychopath without empathy. Annie’s death starts a series of events which leads to a downward spiral which neither Laurence nor Karen could escape. The book is well written, maybe a little bit aloof; the story multi layered and gripping. I would highly recommend it.

I received an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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