Category: mystery

(WP) Questions for Alice

(WP) Questions for Alice

               It’s a
typical day at the salon when I turn on the news during a color, my client
sitting in her chair with a magazine.

               “Yes,
Jim, well, we’re going to interrupt our usual news programming for a special
report.” The pretty news anchor, Carol Keane, smiles brightly, though it doesn’t
reach her eyes. “We’re receiving word that a woman has been arrested,” She
pauses a beat for dramatic effect, “for murder.”

               At first,
the words don’t sink in. But then the mugshot surfaces next to Carol, and I
cover my mouth to hide a gasp.

               It’s
Alice. And she’s smirking at the camera, holding up her name and number plate.
As usual, she is beautiful, with her long, blonde hair twisted into an elegant
chignon, makeup perfectly applied and nails done, painted a violet so dark they
look black.

               How
could this have happened? I know that she and her boyfriend were having issues,
but surely it hadn’t all led to murder?

               Rita,
sitting in her chair, glances up at the screen and frowns.

               “Is
that Alice?”

               Living
in a small town really sucks sometimes; I remember giving that girl her first
haircut.

               As soon
as I finish Rita’s hair, I close up the salon and head over to the police
station, bits of conversations floating around in my mind like angry bees.

               I’m so
worried that I barely remember the ride to the station, and my hands are
trembling.

               “It’s
nothing, Heather, honestly,” I remember Alice saying, smiling stiffly,
shrugging her slim shoulders. “Frank and I just had a fight, that’s all. A
small disagreement and too much liquor, it’s not a big deal.”

               I
try to press the issue, but she just shakes her head and sits down. “I just
need a trim.”

               **

               She comes
in on a rainy day, and her cheeks are tearstained, makeup ruined despite the
umbrella she’s carrying. A purple bruise stands livid on her neck, like a
strand of bright violet jewels.

“Alice, are you all right?”

I rush to the back of the shop
and make her a coffee, thick with cream and sugar, and press it into her hands.

“I’m fine, Heather,” Alice murmurs,
shivering after she takes a sip of coffee. It’s a constant refrain, even with
my gut telling me that everything is wrong. But I ignore it, not wanting to
rock the boat.

**

And here I am, kicking myself
sounding for everything I noticed but refused to acknowledge. I sit in the station’s
parking lot, punching the steering wheel and wondering if the voice taunting me
in my mind is right.

Could I have prevented this if I’d
said something earlier?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist
to figure out that Frank was abusive. There’s no doubt in my mind that the man
deserved it.

But does Alice deserve to rot in
jail for the rest of her life, just for defending herself?

My decision made, I lock the car
and walk into the station.

**

An officer is sitting at his desk,
taking a bite of a sandwich. His scowl makes me wish that I hadn’t walked in,
but it’s too late to back down now.

“Excuse me, officer, I apologize
for interrupting, but it’s important. I’m here to talk about Alice Dewitt.”

**

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing Review

Title: My Lovely Wife

Author: Samantha Downing

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

              I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve had My Lovely Wife on my list since before it came out, and I was so excited to finally snag a copy through my interlibrary loan system. When I was finished with Kingsbane, I pushed this book to the top of my stack and finished it in a little under two days. This book was like Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith, only without the spy stuff. It was dark, chilling, weirdly funny, and more than a little bit terrifying. Granted, it didn’t help that I’ve been watching true crime shows on repeat since my summer began, but moving on… Samantha Downing has penned a deliciously smart and creepy debut worthy of Gillian Flynn. But to compare this book to one of the queens of crime is to do is Downing a disservice. What a way to break the mystery/thriller genre wide open! Definitely one of my favorite and terrifying books of 2019, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

               The unnamed narrator and his wife, Millicent, seem to have it all. A passionate, loving marriage, two children, money, and prestige. But they have a dark, deadly secret that could ruin them. To keep the passion in their marriage alive, he and Millicent kill women. Yes, you read that right, they kill people! When they give in to their awful, unsettling urge, they start targeting young women, and in the process, resurrect a local bogeyman. The couple’s murderous hobby leads to their entire family’s lives being upended, and as the stakes get higher, they begin to wonder if they can indeed get away with murder…

               This book; I can’t even fully describe how it made me feel. It was chilling, more than a bit creepy, dark and weirdly funny. It really made me wonder how much we really know the people we interact with every day: our families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The pacing was breakneck, and I was absolutely spellbound by the unnamed narrator and his strange marriage to Millicent. It was truly terrifying. Even so, I couldn’t stop reading; the twists and turns had me gasping, screaming, and practically tearing my hair out as the book went on. It was so compelling; so much so, in fact, that I found myself thinking about it even while I was sleeping. I loved all of the characters, and they all complemented each other. Millicent and her husband are a match made in hell, and the ending had my jaw on the floor! I got so many feelings from this book, and it really got me thinking about the monsters that wear human faces and mask the ultimate evils. This creepy, visceral debut novel was incredibly dark and weirdly funny, and I loved every tense, crazy moment of it. I can’t wait to see what Samantha Downing has in store for us next! The bottom line: Scary, smart, horrendous and thrilling, I loved My Lovely Wife! An absolute knockout for the thriller genre! Next on deck: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/06/my-lovely-wife-by-samantha-downing.html

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson Review

Title: The Vanishing Stair

Author: Maureen Johnson

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Truly Devious, book two

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Truly, Devious was one of my favorite books of last year, so I was so excited when the sequel finally dropped back in January. I had to return it to the library the first time I checked it out, as I couldn’t read it before it had to go back. It’s been sitting on the top of my stack for a while, and I realized that I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was done with Saving Meghan, I pushed it to the top of my stack. I devoured it in less than two days, and even though I finished it last night, my head is still spinning! Maureen, how could you end it like that?! How am I supposed to wait until 2020 for the last book in the trilogy?! Smart, shocking, and chilling, The Vanishing Stair was a fantastic sequel, and I can’t wait for the next book! A great sequel to one of my favorite books of last year!

               The Vanishing Stair picks up where Truly, Devious left off, with Stevie still reeling from the events of the last book. For the sake of those who haven’t read it yet, I won’t say too much about the plot; I don’t want to spoil it. But Stevie returns to Ellingham, trying to refocus on the famous case that brought her to the school to begin with. Unable to leave well enough alone, she begins to investigate the deaths that caused her to leave. But it turns out that the deeper she digs, the more she realizes that nothing stays truly stay buried, forever…

               The Vanishing Stair was absolutely wonderful! Truly, Devious was one of my favorite books of last year, and I’m so happy that I finally got the read the sequel! I really enjoyed it. Sequels made me so nervous; all too often, they don’t live up to my expectations. But The Vanishing Stair more than delivered; I almost enjoyed it more than the first book. The pacing was breakneck, and it took me a little while to remember what was going on, since it’s been more than a year since I read Truly, Devious. I loved the way that Johnson braided two mysteries together; I was constantly left wondering and scratching my head. I was also screaming, laughing and crying; this book gave me so many feels! The transition between the past and present were really smooth. I also adored the characters, but Stevie and Janelle were my favorites. The twists and turns of the book had me dealing with literary whiplash, and more than once I had to walk away so I could puzzle them out. And that ending! That ending! Oh, my goodness, how on Earth am I supposed to wait until 2020 for the next book?! Come on, Maureen, you’re killing me here! I loved this book, but the ending was what really clinched it for me; I can’t wait for the last book in the series! Absolutely amazing! The bottom line: Dark, twisty, and thrilling, I loved The Vanishing Stair, and I can’t wait for the last book in the series! Next on deck: Cape May by Chip Creek!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-vanishing-stair-by-maureen-johnson.html

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer Review

Title: Saving Meghan

Author: D.J. Palmer

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I was given an advanced readers’ copy of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press. Thank you so much for the book!

               I started alternating between library books and advanced readers’ copies, and once I finished Bad Blood, I decided to read Saving Meghan. (I’d read two library books in a row, so I wanted to read two ARCs as well.) I’ve had it on my rapidly growing stack for about two months now, and I decided, why not give it a shot? I was still in a dark, thriller-type mood after I finished Bad Blood, so I decided to go for it. Normally, thrillers and mysteries as a genre make me anxious. Either I can guess what’s going to happen within the first hundred pages, or I’m completely blown away; there’s no in-between for me. But I’m quite happy to report that D.J. Palmer has penned a fantastic, dynamic mystery, complete with thrills, chills, twists, and so much heart. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I did, I was glued to the pages! Twisted, creepy, unpredictable and shocking, I loved Saving Meghan, and I cannot wait for what he’s got up his sleeve next! This book is one of my favorites of 2019.

               Meghan Gerard is a very sick young woman. So sick, in fact, that people are pointing the finger at her fiercely protective and devoted mother, Becky. There are whispers that Becky has Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy; in layman’s terms, she’s purposely making her teenage daughter ill for attention. But could it be that Meghan is making herself sick? Or her father, Carl? Tensions begin to mount as suspicion clouds the entire family. Who is lying? Meghan? Carl? Becky? Her doctor, Zach Fisher? Or something else entirely? Is this a desperate child’s bid for attention? Or something much more sinister and frightening?

               This book was incredible! Saving Meghan kind of reminded me of Jodi Picoult’s works: thriller and mystery with a lot of medical jargon thrown in. It took me a little bit to get into the story, as the viewpoints were constantly shifting between Becky, Meghan, and Dr. Fisher, but once I did, I was glued to the pages! The medical jargon was kind of confusing at first; I kept having to go back and reread parts of the dialogue to make sure I was understanding what I was reading. I was spellbound, and for the life of me, I could not figure out who put this sick, twisted set of events into motion; I think that’s half the reason I loved the book so much. But even more than the mystery, the characters were particularly compelling; I loved them all, even in all of their ugliness. But my favorites of them all were Meghan, Becky, and Dr. Zach Fisher, who is determined to help figure out what’s wrong with Meghan. The pacing was breakneck, the prose taut and snappy, and that ending—I didn’t see it coming! It was absolutely amazing. Definitely one of the better mysteries I’ve read this year. One thing’s for sure: I’ve got D.J. Palmer on my radar, and I can’t wait to see what sick, twisted thriller he’s got up his sleeve next! The bottom line: Compelling, sick, twisted and shocking, I loved Saving Meghan! One of my favorite books of the year! Next on deck: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Review

Title: The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in a contest by Bookish, thanks for sending me a free copy!

               Recently, I started alternating my library books with books I’ve been sent by publishers (and the stack keeps growing by the day). I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but I’ve heard so many good things about The Silent Patient that I decided to go with that. Thrillers and mysteries as a genre are iffy with me; sometimes I’m blown away by what I’ve read and other times I can figure it out within the first hundred pages. But The Silent Patient did not disappoint; Alex Michaelides pens a cutthroat, breakneck thriller that had me scratching my head, screaming in confusion, and frantically flipping pages until the crazy, twisted ending! The book I’d been reading before just was not holding my attention, so I moved on to this, and read it in two and a half days! I finished it on Sunday night, and have been wrestling with my feelings ever since. Michaelides has cemented himself as one of the debut thriller writers to watch, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store next!

               Alicia Berenson has a life most people would envy. She has a prominent career as a painter, a beautiful home, a loving husband, Gabriel, who is a highly sought-after fashion photographer. But that life is torn to pieces when Alicia shoots Gabriel, and has not spoken a word since. Known now for entirely different reasons, Alicia refuses to speak. Locked up in a psych ward, she meets criminal psychoanalyst, Theo Faber. He is determined to solve the mystery of why Alicia snapped, even as their lives begin to dangerously intertwine. But as Theo begins to piece the truth out of the puzzle that is Alicia, he realizes that solving this mystery must just consume him totally…

               This book was a stunner, an absolute knockout. I wasn’t sure what to expect, honestly. But the book I’d tried to read before it just was not working for me at all; I was over a hundred pages in and I just wasn’t feeling it. So, I decided to get started on my gigantic review copy stack, and chose The Silent Patient. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately enthralled by the unusual format. The narrative went back and forth between entries from Alicia’s diary and Theo’s first-person as he forces his way into Alicia’s life, for reasons unknown. I devoured this book in less than three days, and I was absolutely captivated. I couldn’t put it down. Theo’s voice was so distinctive and creepy, but I loved it! All of the twists and turns had me dealing with literary whiplash, and I was constantly guessing who was the bad guy. And that ending! It was amazing! It blew me away; I would’ve reviewed it sooner, but I needed some time to process everything. The Silent Patient has become one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait for what Alex Michaelides has in store next! The bottom line: Disquieting, creepy, and shocking, I loved The Silent Patient, it has become one of my favorite books of 2019! Next on deck: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-silent-patient-by-alex-michaelides.html

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Review

Title: The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in a contest by Bookish, thanks for sending me a free copy!

               Recently, I started alternating my library books with books I’ve been sent by publishers (and the stack keeps growing by the day). I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but I’ve heard so many good things about The Silent Patient that I decided to go with that. Thrillers and mysteries as a genre are iffy with me; sometimes I’m blown away by what I’ve read and other times I can figure it out within the first hundred pages. But The Silent Patient did not disappoint; Alex Michaelides pens a cutthroat, breakneck thriller that had me scratching my head, screaming in confusion, and frantically flipping pages until the crazy, twisted ending! The book I’d been reading before just was not holding my attention, so I moved on to this, and read it in two and a half days! I finished it on Sunday night, and have been wrestling with my feelings ever since. Michaelides has cemented himself as one of the debut thriller writers to watch, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store next!

               Alicia Berenson has a life most people would envy. She has a prominent career as a painter, a beautiful home, a loving husband, Gabriel, who is a highly sought-after fashion photographer. But that life is torn to pieces when Alicia shoots Gabriel, and has not spoken a word since. Known now for entirely different reasons, Alicia refuses to speak. Locked up in a psych ward, she meets criminal psychoanalyst, Theo Faber. He is determined to solve the mystery of why Alicia snapped, even as their lives begin to dangerously intertwine. But as Theo begins to piece the truth out of the puzzle that is Alicia, he realizes that solving this mystery must just consume him totally…

               This book was a stunner, an absolute knockout. I wasn’t sure what to expect, honestly. But the book I’d tried to read before it just was not working for me at all; I was over a hundred pages in and I just wasn’t feeling it. So, I decided to get started on my gigantic review copy stack, and chose The Silent Patient. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately enthralled by the unusual format. The narrative went back and forth between entries from Alicia’s diary and Theo’s first-person as he forces his way into Alicia’s life, for reasons unknown. I devoured this book in less than three days, and I was absolutely captivated. I couldn’t put it down. Theo’s voice was so distinctive and creepy, but I loved it! All of the twists and turns had me dealing with literary whiplash, and I was constantly guessing who was the bad guy. And that ending! It was amazing! It blew me away; I would’ve reviewed it sooner, but I needed some time to process everything. The Silent Patient has become one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait for what Alex Michaelides has in store next! The bottom line: Disquieting, creepy, and shocking, I loved The Silent Patient, it has become one of my favorite books of 2019! Next on deck: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-silent-patient-by-alex-michaelides.html

The Carseat in the River: Part Five

The Carseat in the River: Part Five

               As soon as I was cleared for the case, the captain called for a squad meeting. Everyone except the desk jockeys, the rookies, were asked to sit in.

               When we were all seated, the chief stood at the front of the room, hands folded in front of him, lips turned down and eyes grave.

               “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think I need to tell you just how urgent this situation is.”

               Silence met this declaration, and Luna, sitting next to me, grabbed my hand and squeezed, as if to remind herself that I was still there beside her.

               “Now, we have little to go on. Any forensic evidence was washed away when the carseat in question was thrown into the river. And we don’t want to alert the public yet; rumors are already spreading.” He frowned, running a hand thoughtfully through his goatee.

               “I’m going to divide you into groups to tackle different aspects of the case. Luna and Ella, I want you to do another search of the crime scene, see if anything was missed by the first team. Take one of the forensic techs with you.” I nodded, happy to be given something to do.

               “Mensch and Emerson, you two are to canvass the neighborhood around the marsh. See if anyone saw anything suspicious on the days before the carseat was found.”

               Emerson, sitting in the back, nodded silently. I was glad that the captain had paired those two together. Avery Emerson didn’t screw around; she took her job seriously and was one of the best detectives I’d met anywhere. She would keep Kit in line.

               “All of you on desk duty, I want you to comb through all recent missing persons reports, Amber alerts, anything that looks like it might be related to our case. No detail is too small. We need to start piecing things together, and quickly. There’s someone who might be living in this very town who did something horrible. Unforgivable. The sooner we catch this bastard, the better.”

               His voice was calm, but his neck and face swiftly grew red, a vein beginning to throb in his temple. The captain didn’t often lose his temper, but things like this got to him. Hell, he had a wife and two kids at home, a son and a daughter, and he adored all three. So clearly, I wasn’t the only one rattled by this.

               “All right, everyone, dismissed,” He said, and went to Kit and Avery, telling them where to start looking. He was calming down, I thought, but then I saw his clenched fists.

               One of my favorite things about my boss was that he cared. He didn’t just sit at his desk, barking orders. He was always in the thick of everything, always involved. It made him a damn good cop.

               “Come on, Ells, let’s head over in my car,” Luna said, smiling at me. I could see the relief all over her face, and I knew that she’d been just as afraid as I had been, that I’d be boxed out and excluded.

               A forensic tech named Gabby walked over, smiling shyly. “Can I tag along?” She asked. It didn’t matter that the Captain had ordered someone from her department to come along; the girl was so quiet and timid that she was half-afraid of her own shadow.

“Of course, you can, Gabby,” Luna said, and I smiled at her, trying to be friendly. Like Kit, she was brand-new, fresh out of college and eager to get into the field. Though she was practically a ghost, she was a good kid who wanted to help people.

               Pretty good reason to get into this line of work, in my opinion.

               Luna insisted on stopping for coffee on the way over. Even though she’d had the day off, she’d insisted on coming into work, telling the Captain that all hands were needed on deck, all-nighter or not.

               “I’m exhausted,” She moaned as we pulled up to the window. “Of course, an urgent case had to pick up as soon as I pulled an all-nighter.”

               Luna bought coffee for all three of us: two iced coffees with extra espresso shots for all of us, and hot chocolate piled high with whipped cream and sprinkles for Gabby.

               “Thanks!” Gabby chirped at Luna, grinning as she took it from me. She took a sip and her eyes lit up; evidently, she had a sweet tooth.

               **

               We drove out to the marshes, where a large section had been taped off with yellow police tape.

               Despite the croaking of frogs, the quiet rush of the river, the birds calling and the insects singing, a pit of dread opened up in my stomach. It was all too easy for my imagination to fill in the gaps, and I shuddered, trying to appear normal. I’d been included in this by the skin of my teeth, and if it got back to the Captain that I was losing it before we’d even begun, I’d be back on desk duty quicker than you could say ‘Miranda rights’.

               “Are you okay?” Luna asked me, putting her hand on my back. Much to my own surprise, I flinched away from her, spooked.

               “Ella?”

               Gabby was sitting in the backseat, looking between us, eyebrows drew together, but she said nothing.

               “I-I’m fine,” I stuttered, putting my coffee in the cupholder and unclicking my seatbelt. I couldn’t crack up now, not after I’d worked so hard to be included. I had no choice but to keep calm.

               Frowning, as if she knew what I wasn’t telling her, she unbuckled and put her coffee down, climbing out of the car. Gabby scrambled after us, grabbing her bag of tools.

               I set off toward the taped-off area, making sure to put on a pair of gloves before I got close. Things were already fucked up enough without any foreign DNA involved.

               It turns out, though, that there was a clue waiting for us. Something that had been felt behind.

               “Guys,” Gabby said, moving close to the bank. “Check this out. I think the first team missed it,” She added, and her face was pale green, as if she were about to be sick.

               In her gloved hands, she held up a ribbon, bright purple, stained brown with looked like blood.

**

The Carseat in the River: Part Five

The Carseat in the River: Part Five

               As soon as I was cleared for the case, the captain called for a squad meeting. Everyone except the desk jockeys, the rookies, were asked to sit in.

               When we were all seated, the chief stood at the front of the room, hands folded in front of him, lips turned down and eyes grave.

               “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think I need to tell you just how urgent this situation is.”

               Silence met this declaration, and Luna, sitting next to me, grabbed my hand and squeezed, as if to remind herself that I was still there beside her.

               “Now, we have little to go on. Any forensic evidence was washed away when the carseat in question was thrown into the river. And we don’t want to alert the public yet; rumors are already spreading.” He frowned, running a hand thoughtfully through his goatee.

               “I’m going to divide you into groups to tackle different aspects of the case. Luna and Ella, I want you to do another search of the crime scene, see if anything was missed by the first team. Take one of the forensic techs with you.” I nodded, happy to be given something to do.

               “Mensch and Emerson, you two are to canvass the neighborhood around the marsh. See if anyone saw anything suspicious on the days before the carseat was found.”

               Emerson, sitting in the back, nodded silently. I was glad that the captain had paired those two together. Avery Emerson didn’t screw around; she took her job seriously and was one of the best detectives I’d met anywhere. She would keep Kit in line.

               “All of you on desk duty, I want you to comb through all recent missing persons reports, Amber alerts, anything that looks like it might be related to our case. No detail is too small. We need to start piecing things together, and quickly. There’s someone who might be living in this very town who did something horrible. Unforgivable. The sooner we catch this bastard, the better.”

               His voice was calm, but his neck and face swiftly grew red, a vein beginning to throb in his temple. The captain didn’t often lose his temper, but things like this got to him. Hell, he had a wife and two kids at home, a son and a daughter, and he adored all three. So clearly, I wasn’t the only one rattled by this.

               “All right, everyone, dismissed,” He said, and went to Kit and Avery, telling them where to start looking. He was calming down, I thought, but then I saw his clenched fists.

               One of my favorite things about my boss was that he cared. He didn’t just sit at his desk, barking orders. He was always in the thick of everything, always involved. It made him a damn good cop.

               “Come on, Ells, let’s head over in my car,” Luna said, smiling at me. I could see the relief all over her face, and I knew that she’d been just as afraid as I had been, that I’d be boxed out and excluded.

               A forensic tech named Gabby walked over, smiling shyly. “Can I tag along?” She asked. It didn’t matter that the Captain had ordered someone from her department to come along; the girl was so quiet and timid that she was half-afraid of her own shadow.

“Of course, you can, Gabby,” Luna said, and I smiled at her, trying to be friendly. Like Kit, she was brand-new, fresh out of college and eager to get into the field. Though she was practically a ghost, she was a good kid who wanted to help people.

               Pretty good reason to get into this line of work, in my opinion.

               Luna insisted on stopping for coffee on the way over. Even though she’d had the day off, she’d insisted on coming into work, telling the Captain that all hands were needed on deck, all-nighter or not.

               “I’m exhausted,” She moaned as we pulled up to the window. “Of course, an urgent case had to pick up as soon as I pulled an all-nighter.”

               Luna bought coffee for all three of us: two iced coffees with extra espresso shots for all of us, and hot chocolate piled high with whipped cream and sprinkles for Gabby.

               “Thanks!” Gabby chirped at Luna, grinning as she took it from me. She took a sip and her eyes lit up; evidently, she had a sweet tooth.

               **

               We drove out to the marshes, where a large section had been taped off with yellow police tape.

               Despite the croaking of frogs, the quiet rush of the river, the birds calling and the insects singing, a pit of dread opened up in my stomach. It was all too easy for my imagination to fill in the gaps, and I shuddered, trying to appear normal. I’d been included in this by the skin of my teeth, and if it got back to the Captain that I was losing it before we’d even begun, I’d be back on desk duty quicker than you could say ‘Miranda rights’.

               “Are you okay?” Luna asked me, putting her hand on my back. Much to my own surprise, I flinched away from her, spooked.

               “Ella?”

               Gabby was sitting in the backseat, looking between us, eyebrows drew together, but she said nothing.

               “I-I’m fine,” I stuttered, putting my coffee in the cupholder and unclicking my seatbelt. I couldn’t crack up now, not after I’d worked so hard to be included. I had no choice but to keep calm.

               Frowning, as if she knew what I wasn’t telling her, she unbuckled and put her coffee down, climbing out of the car. Gabby scrambled after us, grabbing her bag of tools.

               I set off toward the taped-off area, making sure to put on a pair of gloves before I got close. Things were already fucked up enough without any foreign DNA involved.

               It turns out, though, that there was a clue waiting for us. Something that had been felt behind.

               “Guys,” Gabby said, moving close to the bank. “Check this out. I think the first team missed it,” She added, and her face was pale green, as if she were about to be sick.

               In her gloved hands, she held up a ribbon, bright purple, stained brown with looked like blood.

**

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus Revi…

Title: Two Can Keep a Secret

Author: Karen M. McManus

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Before now, I haven’t read any of Karen M. McManus’s work. I’ve had an audiobook of her debut novel, One of Us is Lying, in my arsenal for a while now. When I saw her sophomore novel sitting on a shelf at my local library, the creepy cover and strange title caught my eye. It reminded me of that Pierces song that plays on the Pretty Little Liars credits! Creepy, dark, and shocking, I really enjoyed Two Can Keep a Secret, but there was also a lot of different threads that were confusing to me. Luckily, the ending was what saved the book for me; it was like a brutal punch to the gut! I can’t wait to listen to One of Us is Lying, and I can’t wait to see what this amazing author has in store next! This book was a bit overambitious, but it was an awesome read anyway! One of my favorite books of 2019 for sure!

               Echo Ridge is the essence of small-town America. But not everything is as picture-perfect in Echo Ridge as it seems. Twins Ellery and Ezra have to move to their mother’s hometown after an unfortunate accident that forces her to go to rehab. Living with a grandmother they’ve never known, Ellery, a true crime buff, knows that something is going on just under the surfaces of this town’s shiny veneer. When she meets Malcolm, the little brother of the man accused of murdering a missing girl, things grow even more complicated. But another woman disappears, and Ellery and Ezra are determined to unearth the town’s dangerous secrets. Even if it means risking their own lives…

               I really liked this book. For a mystery, though, it was a little too ambitious for me. There were three separate storylines happening throughout the novel, and it was really hard to keep track of all of the different characters and all of the events straight. There were times that I had to go back and make sure of what I was reading. Nonetheless, it was really enjoyable. Echo Ridge felt creepy and claustrophobic, and I constantly found myself wondering who the bad guy was. The pacing was good; I liked the way the viewpoint went back and forth between Ellery and Malcolm. Both of their voices were very distinct, but I think Ellery was my favorite, being a true crime buff myself. I liked all of the side characters, though they could’ve been fleshed out a little bit more for me. I also liked Ellery and Ezra’s family, particularly their mother and grandmother, and I loved how the history of Echo Ridge tied into their own personal pasts. The ending, though, was what really saved the book for me; it chilled my blood and I’m still thinking about it, nearly a week later. What a creepy, dark little book! The bottom line: Though it was a little overambitious for me, I really liked Two Can Keep a Secret, especially the ending, and I can’t wait for what Karen M. McManus has up her sleeve next! Next on deck: Lovely War by Julie Berry!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/two-can-keep-secret-by-karen-m-mcmanus.html

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus Revi…

Title: Two Can Keep a Secret

Author: Karen M. McManus

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Before now, I haven’t read any of Karen M. McManus’s work. I’ve had an audiobook of her debut novel, One of Us is Lying, in my arsenal for a while now. When I saw her sophomore novel sitting on a shelf at my local library, the creepy cover and strange title caught my eye. It reminded me of that Pierces song that plays on the Pretty Little Liars credits! Creepy, dark, and shocking, I really enjoyed Two Can Keep a Secret, but there was also a lot of different threads that were confusing to me. Luckily, the ending was what saved the book for me; it was like a brutal punch to the gut! I can’t wait to listen to One of Us is Lying, and I can’t wait to see what this amazing author has in store next! This book was a bit overambitious, but it was an awesome read anyway! One of my favorite books of 2019 for sure!

               Echo Ridge is the essence of small-town America. But not everything is as picture-perfect in Echo Ridge as it seems. Twins Ellery and Ezra have to move to their mother’s hometown after an unfortunate accident that forces her to go to rehab. Living with a grandmother they’ve never known, Ellery, a true crime buff, knows that something is going on just under the surfaces of this town’s shiny veneer. When she meets Malcolm, the little brother of the man accused of murdering a missing girl, things grow even more complicated. But another woman disappears, and Ellery and Ezra are determined to unearth the town’s dangerous secrets. Even if it means risking their own lives…

               I really liked this book. For a mystery, though, it was a little too ambitious for me. There were three separate storylines happening throughout the novel, and it was really hard to keep track of all of the different characters and all of the events straight. There were times that I had to go back and make sure of what I was reading. Nonetheless, it was really enjoyable. Echo Ridge felt creepy and claustrophobic, and I constantly found myself wondering who the bad guy was. The pacing was good; I liked the way the viewpoint went back and forth between Ellery and Malcolm. Both of their voices were very distinct, but I think Ellery was my favorite, being a true crime buff myself. I liked all of the side characters, though they could’ve been fleshed out a little bit more for me. I also liked Ellery and Ezra’s family, particularly their mother and grandmother, and I loved how the history of Echo Ridge tied into their own personal pasts. The ending, though, was what really saved the book for me; it chilled my blood and I’m still thinking about it, nearly a week later. What a creepy, dark little book! The bottom line: Though it was a little overambitious for me, I really liked Two Can Keep a Secret, especially the ending, and I can’t wait for what Karen M. McManus has up her sleeve next! Next on deck: Lovely War by Julie Berry!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/two-can-keep-secret-by-karen-m-mcmanus.html