Category: mystery

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

The Carseat in the River: Part Four

The Carseat in the River: Part Four

               “Please sit,” The chief said formally, which immediately put me on edge.

               Starting out that way was never a good sign.

               “Was there something you wanted to discuss, sir?” I asked, after I had sat down in the hard-wooden chair, opposite his desk. As if I didn’t know what this was about already. But he didn’t know that, nor did he need to.

               “I’m sure you’ve seen the news over the weekend. About what was recovered from the river.”

               I nodded, my throat so tight I didn’t trust myself to speak.

               His eyes, so dark that they reminded me of coffee, bored into my face, as if searching for something I was not willing to yield.

               “I’m sorry to tell you this, Officer LeVaux, but I don’t want you anywhere near this case.”

               Even though I knew it was coming, I still flinched.

               I knew that it wasn’t anything personal, that my boss was trying to protect me. But God damn if it didn’t hurt like a bitch.

               “Why?” I asked anyway, and I was proud of the fact that my voice did not quake. “You know that I’m a good cop. That I can handle this.”

               “I can agree with you on the first point.” He replied, not unkindly, smiling sadly. “But I don’t know about the second. You get too emotional.”

               I was getting really tired of hearing that. Just because I was a woman didn’t mean that I couldn’t control myself. Ever since the Academy, I’d been hearing a variation of that same speech, and it pissed me off. But I couldn’t afford to lose my temper, not when I was already on thin ice.

               “With all due respect, Chief, I disagree. I think that my empathy is what makes me a great cop.” I said calmly, taking deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

               “You absolutely are a great cop,” He said, and though it was a compliment, it came off as patronizing, an empty platitude. “But I don’t think you should be risking your mental health. We’ve got plenty of manpower.”

               “Are you putting me on desk duty?” I asked, struggling to remember my breathing exercises.

               This wasn’t fair, and I didn’t care about where it was coming from. This was my job on the line, and before I’d even been given a chance, I’d been sidelined.

               “Not necessarily,” The chief said finally, sitting back in his chair and giving me a once over. “I just want to make sure that you’re not in over your head.”

               Why, all of a sudden, was everyone treating me like I was a rookie? Like I was delicate and made of glass? I hated being treated differently just because I was a girl.

               But it seemed that the cards were not in my favor where this case was concerned.

“I’m not fresh out of the Academy anymore,” I protested quietly, doing my best not to sound like a petulant child.

The chief reached into the fridge he kept behind his desk and pulled out a bottle of water, setting it in front of me.

“I promise you I know that,” He replied. “I just want to make sure that you’ll be all right. If I put you on this case, with Luna, can you promise me that you’re going to keep calm? That you’re not going to read into this?”

I opened the bottle of water, mostly to buy myself some time before I answered. I took a big gulp, wincing when the cold liquid hit my throat.

“Yes, of course, Chief. I promise. Professional as possible. Got it.”

“If I catch even a whiff of impropriety from you, you’re off the case and chained to your desk for the remainder of the investigation. Have I made myself clear?”

“Crystal. Thank you, Chief. I’ll make you proud.”

I’d been granted clearance for a lie. And under any other circumstance, I would’ve felt guilty.

But I was already in too deep. It was too late to turn back now.

**

The Carseat in the River: Part Four

The Carseat in the River: Part Four

               “Please sit,” The chief said formally, which immediately put me on edge.

               Starting out that way was never a good sign.

               “Was there something you wanted to discuss, sir?” I asked, after I had sat down in the hard-wooden chair, opposite his desk. As if I didn’t know what this was about already. But he didn’t know that, nor did he need to.

               “I’m sure you’ve seen the news over the weekend. About what was recovered from the river.”

               I nodded, my throat so tight I didn’t trust myself to speak.

               His eyes, so dark that they reminded me of coffee, bored into my face, as if searching for something I was not willing to yield.

               “I’m sorry to tell you this, Officer LeVaux, but I don’t want you anywhere near this case.”

               Even though I knew it was coming, I still flinched.

               I knew that it wasn’t anything personal, that my boss was trying to protect me. But God damn if it didn’t hurt like a bitch.

               “Why?” I asked anyway, and I was proud of the fact that my voice did not quake. “You know that I’m a good cop. That I can handle this.”

               “I can agree with you on the first point.” He replied, not unkindly, smiling sadly. “But I don’t know about the second. You get too emotional.”

               I was getting really tired of hearing that. Just because I was a woman didn’t mean that I couldn’t control myself. Ever since the Academy, I’d been hearing a variation of that same speech, and it pissed me off. But I couldn’t afford to lose my temper, not when I was already on thin ice.

               “With all due respect, Chief, I disagree. I think that my empathy is what makes me a great cop.” I said calmly, taking deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

               “You absolutely are a great cop,” He said, and though it was a compliment, it came off as patronizing, an empty platitude. “But I don’t think you should be risking your mental health. We’ve got plenty of manpower.”

               “Are you putting me on desk duty?” I asked, struggling to remember my breathing exercises.

               This wasn’t fair, and I didn’t care about where it was coming from. This was my job on the line, and before I’d even been given a chance, I’d been sidelined.

               “Not necessarily,” The chief said finally, sitting back in his chair and giving me a once over. “I just want to make sure that you’re not in over your head.”

               Why, all of a sudden, was everyone treating me like I was a rookie? Like I was delicate and made of glass? I hated being treated differently just because I was a girl.

               But it seemed that the cards were not in my favor where this case was concerned.

“I’m not fresh out of the Academy anymore,” I protested quietly, doing my best not to sound like a petulant child.

The chief reached into the fridge he kept behind his desk and pulled out a bottle of water, setting it in front of me.

“I promise you I know that,” He replied. “I just want to make sure that you’ll be all right. If I put you on this case, with Luna, can you promise me that you’re going to keep calm? That you’re not going to read into this?”

I opened the bottle of water, mostly to buy myself some time before I answered. I took a big gulp, wincing when the cold liquid hit my throat.

“Yes, of course, Chief. I promise. Professional as possible. Got it.”

“If I catch even a whiff of impropriety from you, you’re off the case and chained to your desk for the remainder of the investigation. Have I made myself clear?”

“Crystal. Thank you, Chief. I’ll make you proud.”

I’d been granted clearance for a lie. And under any other circumstance, I would’ve felt guilty.

But I was already in too deep. It was too late to turn back now.

**