Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Married for many years and with twins in their first year of college, Sarah and Jack Quinlan live a pretty normal life. Sarah feels like she knows her husband pretty well. However, when Jack’s aunt Julia is in a tragic accident, Jack and Sarah make their first trip back to Jack’s hometown of Penny Gate to be there for his family. Julia was like a mother to Jack and his young9780778318651_16f01er sister, Amy, after Jack’s parents were killed when he was a teenager. Sarah was always under the impression that Jack’s parents were killed in an auto accident. Once she begins talking to Jack’s family members and others in the tight-knit community of Penny Gate, she realizes that Jack has been hiding the truth about his parents fate, as well as many other things from her throughout their whole marriage.

After Jack’s sister, Amy, is suspected of hurting Julia, Sarah begins to wonder if Jack is not the true mastermind behind it all. It doesn’t help his case when Sarah finds out that his cousin Hal’s wife, Celia, was Jack’s serious girlfriend in high school. Not one to back down easy, Sarah decides that she will not leave Penny Gate until she discovers the truth about Jack’s parents, Julia’s “accident,” and other strange things she has witnessed in the short time since she arrived. The closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to someone playing a very dangerous game with her life.

This is a fast paced read, and the suspense builds all the way to the end. Gudenkauf is great at leaving little clues throughout the story, without giving away the outcome too early. I enjoyed the book, and I would recommend it to fans of Mary Kubica, Gillian Flynn, and Chevy Stevens.

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

foolmeonceFool Me Once will be released on March 22, 2016. This is a stand alone suspense novel from Harlan Coben, best known for writing the fast-paced, popular Myron Bolitar series. Coben is a master at writing hard-to-put-down novels, and his latest is no different.

Maya Stern, a former special operations pilot, has just buried her husband after he was brutally murdered in what appears to be a robbery gone wrong. Maya is no stranger to loss, having just buried her sister 4 months prior to her husband’s death. A concerned friend, though Maya doesn’t truly trust anyone, has brought her a nanny cam to help her feel at ease while at work away from her 2 year old daughter. One day while viewing the footage, she catches a glimpse of the unbelievable – her husband playing with their daughter. She was there when he was shot and she knows he’s gone; so, how can this be? Is she suffering from PTSD, hallucinating, and imagining things, as her in-laws and friends start to suspect? Or, is Joe still alive? She starts to question the nanny, and realizes that someone is covering up the truth. She is determined to uncover the truth about Joe, and also his younger brother who died in a boating “accident” while the two were in college, despite being warned against such activity by those closest to her. Maya will not give up until she assures that the future is safe for her daughter.

This book will have you on the edge of your reading chair, biting your nails to the quick. It’s trademark Coben, with a major plot twist which throws the reader for a loop, as he or she tries to figure out the truth. This is a quick, suspenseful story with an unexpected ending. Readers will not be disappointed.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

First of all; one of the reasons I wanted to read this book was the clever title. We’ve all heard the old rhyme “In a dark, dark wood, there was a dark, dark house, and in that dark, dark house, etc.” The title alone sets up a creepy atmosphere. At the beginning of the book, we meet the main character, Leonora, a mostly reclusive crime fiction writer who normally only leaves her flat to go for a daily run. Out of the blue, Nora, receives an email from a girl she has never met named Flo inviting her to a hen do (bachelorette party for those not familiar with British terms) for Clare Cavendish. Nora hasn’t seen or heard from Clare for 10 years (since high school), and is hesitant to attend the hen. Nora and Clare’s mutual friend Nina makes a pact with Nora that they will both go together and leave early if they do not want to stay. There are clues that something major happened which caused Nora (who was actually known as Lee 10 years prior) and Clare to stop speaking and not speak to each other for the past 10 years. When Nora and Nina arrive at the hen to spend the weekend with Clare and three other complete strangers (Clare’s friends), strange things begin to happen. Mix in alcohol and secrets from Clare and Nora’s past, and the plot thickens and twists even more. This book is written so that the pace is quick, switching back and forth between present date with Nora in the hospital suffering from amnesia after a car accident, and the past weekend of the hen do. The setting of the hen adds to the suspenseful nature of the book. The party takes place in what is known as the Glass House. It’s a newly built, modernly furnished home which has glass walls all the way around so that it seems like its occupants are on display for those on the outside. But, the Glass House is in the middle of a heavily wooded, secluded area and there really shouldn’t be any people on the outside in, as it is bitter cold and snowing. So why are there footprints to the garage? I would put this book in a category with other titles such as Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Luckiest Girl Alive. Readers are in for a few surprises as Nora starts to remember the details of the final day at the Glass House which caused her to be in the hospital under watch by the police. Also, the ending stopped abruptly, and not the way I thought it would. I would recommend this book for any fans of suspense and thrillers; it’s a great read.

Last Words by Michael Koryta

This book will be published by Little, Brown, and Company on August 18, 2015. I decided to read it because I knew the author lived in Bloomington, IN (at least part time) and the story took place mostly in a fictional small town in southern Indiana. Being an Indiana girl, born and raised, I was intrigued. I truly enjoyed the story. It has quite a bit of suspense and mystery, which kept me flying through the pages. The most fascinating part of the story to me was the setting in southern Indiana where caves and caverns are plentiful. I’ve been through many caves in that area, but only in the portions where public are allowed of course. I find the rest of the cave system dark and creepy, and one couldn’t pay me to be in them. Perhaps that is why this book gave me such a chill at times.

Mark Novak has lost his wife and the murderer has still not been caught or punished. For fear that he may lose his job due to his rash behavior, Mark’s boss, Jeff sends him to a small town named Garrison, Indiana to check out a cold case disappearance and possible homicide from 10 years ago. Ridley Barnes, the local crazy and best known cave expert is thought to have been involved in the disappearance and death of Sarah Martin, whose body he pulled from Trapdoor cave 10 years ago. The problem is that Ridley claims to not have any memory of his time in the cave or how he found Sarah’s body and brought her to the surface. He contacts Mark and asks him to come and investigate the case to see if he can finally provide the truth for Ridley and others. Was he involved? Did he kill Sarah? What really happened? Mark heads from his home state of Florida to snow covered, cold Indiana and has no intention of doing much with the case, only appeasing his boss. However, he soon becomes involved in more ways than one and even after a near death experience, decides to stick around until he uncovers the truth, no matter who or what tries to get in the way. Like I said, I would totally recommend this book because it is well written and fascinating. I was surprised at the ending because it didn’t end like I thought it might. Also, I think the author left it open for a sequel, or at least more stories with Mark Novak in them. I do hope he writes another one soon. Read it…you won’t be sorry!

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

This book is set to be published on September 29, 2015.

I raced through this book so quickly because the story line was fast-paced even though it jumps back and forth between past and present tense. It is definitely a nail biting, up-all-night-after-reading kind of scary suspense novel. Karin Slaughter has an uncanny knack of giving the reader the chills while also making he or she want to keep reading for more chills. There were a couple of plot twists in the book that were pretty shocking, but well worth it. The violence and description of such is pretty gory, so I wouldn’t advise reading if you do not handle that kind of thing very well. I won’t give many details as to the plot or synopsis of the book, because it becomes apparent rather quickly in the first few chapters. The craziest thing about this story is that one of the sisters was married to a man for almost 20 years and knew absolutely nothing about his actual lifestyle and killer instincts. Very creepy. I’ve read all of Karin’s book so far, and this is one of my favorites, despite that fact that I was up thinking about it far after I had finished the last page. Trust me; this is way better than a scary movie or a creepy episode of Dateline!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

After seeing all the buzz for this book and all the comparisons to Gone Girl, I decided I would give it a try. Then, I was on a hold list forever and that caused me to want to read it even more. Funny how that happens! Well, I finally read it and I’m not entirely sure what the big hubbub is all about. It wasn’t as crazy weird as Gone Girl, and I do believe this story would make a better movie than Gone Girl. There are three characters who are narrating the story, Rachel, Anna, and Megan. The chapters switch back and forth between the three women and also back and forth over the span of a few months. I wouldn’t advise trying to pay attention to the timeline while you read, because I tried and got too caught up in it and lost momentum for reading.

Rachel is an alcoholic, and therefore, a mostly unreliable narrator. Anna is Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife, and she is not a fan of Rachel for various reasons which you will soon figure out by reading the beginning of the book. Megan is a neighbor down the street from Anna’s house (which is also Rachel’s old house). Rachel rides the train every day and becomes quite interested in watching Megan’s house, while trying to avoid looking at her old house. One day she sees something out of place, and her obsession builds from there. Meanwhile, Megan goes missing and the night it happens, Rachel is so drunk that she blacks out and has no memory of where she was, or why she came home battered and bloody. Could she have done something to Megan? Does she really know what happened? Did she see who took Megan? The story does move along rather quickly, and I’m glad I read it. But, I just didn’t have the feeling that I couldn’t put it down and I’m not in love with it. If you like psychological suspense and stories where all the characters are a bit off their rockers, this is the book for you.

The First Wife by Erica Spindler

This was a good book. It isn’t one of my favorites, but it was a good “quick & dirty” suspense read. I use that phrase for books that you can easily get into and finish because the plot moves along fast and there isn’t too much fluff to cause the reader to get sidetracked or slow down the pace. I had never read a book by Erica Spindler prior to this one. The story follows young newlywed, Bailey, as she meets and then very quickly marries her “Prince Charming” Logan and then moves onto his horse farm and into his life without much thought about his past. She soon finds out that there are many secrets regarding the “disappearance” of his first wife, along with other young women from the area over a span of a few years, secrets which someone close to her is trying to keep hidden. Much of the story is predictable and the romance is a bit canned at times. However, it’s a good read for anyone who enjoys a little suspense.