Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, a psychological thriller, is SO eerie! The story is told by the daughter of a serial killer, Milly, and begins when she turns her mother into the police. That’s right, this particular serial killer is a female. Surprising huh? At first they didn’t believe Milly, what are the odds of a murderous mother? But the police are quickly convinced when Milly shares her terrible trauma.

 

While Milly prepares to testify against her mother in court, she stays with a foster family. Mike, Saskia and Phoebe, a fellow teenager, take her in and saying that Phoebe and Milly don’t get along is putting it mildly. As Milly settles into her new life, we see glimpses into the horrors that Milly’s mom put her through. Land was able to convey these awful experiences without being too graphic or gruesome, which I found to be impressive.

It’s very clear that Milly is battling against herself, her good self and bad self. Between who she feels she is and who she wants to be. She struggles to be normal, but is constantly reminded of the lessons her mother taught her and consistently speaks to her mother throughout the story, addressing the audience as “you.” The true question Milly longs to answer is whether she’s her mother’s daughter after all…

This debut novel from Ali Land is well written and chilling. If thrillers are your thing, I definitely recommend it!

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorI’ve been looking for a quick mystery novel that isn’t too dark or gory; The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena was just the book I was in the mood for.

Marco and Anne Conti, new to parenthood, go to a dinner party at the house next door and leave their infant baby behind with a baby monitor. During the span of the party an awful crime is committed and as the story progresses, readers learn exactly what happened that night and what role everyone played, however unexpected.

What interested me the most in this book was the way that people can spiral out of control and dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole in an effort to save their own skin. Situations in this story drive people to commit acts they never thought they were capable of.

Each chapter flowed smoothly into the next, the whole story only spanning a week or so. The book is told in third person from the perspectives of many different characters. The narrator seemed very removed from the characters and I noticed that each of the characters’ names were used a lot, almost so much so that it started to distract me. This style of writing isn’t a favorite of mine, but I thought it worked for this book.

The Couple Next DoorFor me, The Couple Next Door is a plot driven novel, rather than character driven, and a quick one-time read.

Here’s a quote I marked from the book:

“She knows how judgmental mothers are, how good it feels to sit in judgment of someone else.”

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

No One Knows “Insanity is filled with wishful thoughts.”

Aubrey was devastated when her husband disappeared without a trace 5 years ago and she still feels the loss everyday. Even though his body hasn’t been found, the court has officially declared him to be dead. With the declaration comes a $5 million insurance payout and information that leads Aubrey to believe that there may have been more to her husband than she knew…

When I first started reading No One Knows by J.T. Ellison I wasn’t sure about the story because the flow was a bit choppy and at times the dialogue felt forced, but I was intrigued enough to continue. I’m glad I kept reading though because the story picked up and I was gripping the book through the very last pages.

No One Knows As with many psychological thrillers these days, No One Knows has been compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and while there are similar components of deceit and trickery, I would end the comparison there because it isn’t fair to either book. There are many psychological elements to this story, throwing me for a loop when I thought I had my head wrapped around the situation. I ended up really enjoying No One Knows and definitely recommend it!

Here’s one more quote that stuck out to me: “Everyone came to this town with a dream, and ended up kaleidoscopes together into a single shifting, pulsing entity.”

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison will be released on March 22, 2016.No One Knows

After the Crash by Michel Bussi

After the CrashI really enjoyed After the Crash, a mystery thriller, by Michel Bussi. A popular French author, this is the first book of Bussi’s to be translated into English so that more of us readers can enjoy his work! A very well written story that’s nicely translated, it’s filled with intriguing characters, some of which I enjoyed and others that I was disgusted by, and surprising plot twists.

Right before Christmas of 1980 a plane crashed into the Swiss Alps killing all 169 passengers besides one… A baby was found to have miraculously survived the crash. Against to odds, there were two baby girls of similar age and with similar features on board meaning that the found child’s identity was unknown. Officials were unable to determine which of the babies on board, Lyse-Rose and Emilie, was the child found at the crash site.

A private detective is hired to investigate the case and has spent 18 years trying to find the real identity of Lylie, the name the baby goes by, a combination or Lyse-Rose and Emilie. Over the years he has compiled a journal full of clues explaining his inability to find the real identity of the baby, who has now grown into an 18-year-old woman. On the eve of Lylie’s 18th birthday, the same date that his contract ends, the detective claims to have come across a case-solving clue…

I really enjoyed this book because it switches between the perspectives of multiple characters (including members of each family and snippets from the detective’s journal of notes) as they all race to answer the ultimate question: who is Lylie?

Thank you to Hachette Book Group for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of After the Crash in exchange for an honest review. The book will be released on January 5, 2016!

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark Dark WoodI refuse to waste the time I spend commuting back and forth from work so I’ve been listening to audiobooks over the last few months. In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is the latest of those audiobooks. A creepy murder mystery, this one had me sitting in my car once I arrived home just to keep listening to the story.

Leonora, a crime novel writer, finds herself in a situation just like one of her plots when she goes to the bachelorette weekend of her old friend Claire. Leonora and Claire lost touched many years ago and haven’t spoken since they went to school together as teenagers, so Leonora is confused about her invitation to the weekend. Despite having a bad feeling about the whole thing she goes anyway. A couple days later she wakes up in the hospital with scratches and bruises all over her body and doesn’t remember how she got there. Someone has died, that much she hears from the police outside her room, but she doesn’t know who has been killed or how she’s involved.

Leonora describes the house they stay in next to the woods as a glass castle with the feeling that something or someone is outside watching which creates a creepy tone for the story.

At times I was frustrated by Leonora for going to the bachelorette weekend when she didn’t want to and for not standing up for herself when she felt uncomfortable. Her character did grow on me a bit throughout the book though and I really enjoyed the story. Definitely pick up In a Dark Dark Wood for an engaging and descriptive mystery!

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost CausesWhen a friend of mine asked for a mystery book recommendation before heading out on a road trip this weekend, one story instantly popped into mind. I told her that she needed to read (or in this case, listen to on audiotape) The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen right away. Despite reading this novel a couple years ago, I still find myself recommending it to many friends asking for recommendations because it is a story that has stuck with me.

For a haunting page-turner, choose The Keeper of Lost Causes. Jussi Adler-Olsen has written a seriously excellent page-gripping story here. This is the first book in the Department Q series centered around Carl Morck, a Copenhagen homicide detective whose life had been shattered when two of his fellow cops were shot on the job.

After finally coming back to his career, he gets to work on a series of old case files before becoming stuck on one in particular. A politician, who has all but disappeared into thin air and is thought to be dead, lingers on Carl’s mind. By following a hunch he finds something that has haunted me to this day. I don’t want to give anything away, but there is such a TWISTING finish here!

An incredibly thrilling mystery novel, The Keeper of Lost Causes is fantastic!