Suspense

Also called thrillers, this genre doesn't contain a fantasy-element, but it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Medical thrillers go into this genre as do Alfred Hitchcock type plots. If a mystery is present it would likely go into mystery rather than here, but many serial killer movies would find their way into suspense.

Fatal Error

I opened Fatal Error by J. A. Jance ready for an interesting and suspenseful read. I wasn’t disappointed. Jance’s Ali Reynolds novel drew me in quickly as I read about Reynolds’ newest mystery. Having an “older” protagonist who lives life to the fullest appeals to me as a woman and as a reader.

Jance smoothly leads the reader along all the different threads of the plot until they finally meet at the end, tied into a neat bow, even if a few bodies may be left along the road side. The novel begins with the over-forty Ali competing with much younger cadets at the Arizona Police Academy. She wants to “better” herself for her job with the Yavapi Country Sheriff’s Department at the suggestion of the sheriff, only to discover she no longer has a position due to funding cuts. While at the academy, a former friend hunts her down to appeal for help in finding her never-met fiancé. When Ali agrees to have the security company that does her computer checks do a background check on the missing man, the intrigue begins.

Queen of the Night

Since J.A. Jance is one of my favorite authors, opening a new novel by her is like opening a gift. I never know for sure what lies inside the cover, but I know I’ll enjoy it.

Queen of the Night continues the Walker family saga with bits and pieces of Native American lore scattered throughout. Two cases intersect and mingle as Dr. Lani Walker and Dan Pardee, part of a border patrol unit called the Shadow Wolves, work to protect a young girl. The child is the only witness to the monster who murdered her mother and three others.

The second case is the investigation by Lani’s adoptive father, retired detective Brandon Walker, of a cold case, the unsolved murder of an Arizona State University coed. In the midst of the two mysteries, Walker’s wife relives visits of a dead man, the man who tortured and nearly killed her, then previously trained another criminal to finish the job of destroying her and her family.

Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam

Are you ready for a suspense story not about a perfect beauty or an analytical detective? How about people doing regular jobs with a few twists? Quirky townspeople, including a grandma who serves as a sexual surrogate, helpful former felons, lecherous coach and a missing student who may have ties with the Mafia. Best of all, an impulsive Special Ed teacher named Allegra, who acts before she thinks. An unexpected crime spree in the small town pairs Allegra with smart mouth detective Sloan in The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam.

Allegra stumbles back into town after a horrible divorce. Grateful to be able to bunk with her aunt and grandma, she is willing to do the rock and roll music shows at the local nursing homes - even though the last trip bought her a walking cast for her foot. Not sexy by a long shot. Right now she needs to be major sexy since she has a line on the last eligible bachelor in town, but then all hell breaks loose. Blame it on caring too much.

Deep and Dark and Dangerous

Mary Downing Hahn's Deep and Dark and Dangerous cover intrigued me with this girl in a watery shadow. This book is available on the Scholastic school order forms.

Ali discovers some family secrets the summer she spends with her aunt and cousin in the cabin on the lake in Maine. Ali's mother is deathly afraid of water and hasn't been to the cabin since she was a young girl. She also suffers from chronic depression and lets a life-changing event consume her. When Ali finds the torn photograph with her mother and aunt, she starts inquiring as to who is missing from the picture. Ali's mother goes into a deeper depression and does everything she can to keep Ali from finding out the secrets that she has held for so long. Then, Aunt Dulcie and her daughter, Emma, show up to whisk Ali away for the summer. Dulcie needs to do some artwork for an upcoming show and needs a babysitter for her 4 almost 5-year-old daughter. Ali is the perfect age to help out so that Aunt Dulcie can attempt to work.

Upon arriving to the cabin on the lake in Maine, Ali and Emma begin a trip of discovery. The photograph keeps haunting Ali. Events spiral out of control and the next thing you know, Ali is finding out the biggest family secret of all.

The Unmasking

Often people aren’t what they seem. Nancy Appleby is determined to unmask the rapist who is hiding in the sleepy college town and attacking co-eds. There are only three problems: conflicting reports on what the attacker looks like, confusion over the behavior of the attacker, and the timing of the attacks. Nothing seems to make sense. When Nancy’s favorite aunt, the president of Blackthorn College, asks for her help. Nancy the cop becomes Nancy Crane the student in Amanda Burns’ suspenseful novel, The Unmasking.

Nancy Appleby can’t imagine not being a cop. She was born into a family of cops. Her dad was a cop and so are her two brothers, even her ex-husband. Police work is what she does best. It makes sense to help her favorite aunt when a series of rapes threatens to undermine the small college. It has been a while since she has been in school, but how hard can it be? What she doesn’t count on is Professor Matt Bayfield, an attractive, arrogant man and possible suspect.

Matt Bayfield can’t help noticing the dark-eyed beauty lounging in the back of his class and regarding him with the same intensity a cat does a sparrow. Not the typical co-ed. He tries to ignore her. After all she’s a student, but those eyes, those lips keep coming back to him. If that isn’t enough, she corners him to chat. The woman is intelligent—a shocker that, combined with her appearance, makes him wary. He has strict boundaries he doesn’t cross, plus he won’t be in town long enough to start up a relationship.

Guardian Angel

What do you enjoy more from a romantic suspense: heart pounding twists and turns or the smoldering love scenes? I am hard pressed to choose, but luckily with this read I didn’t have to dwell on the thought much. Lise Fuller's Guardian Angel delivers pages full of both!

Business has gone horribly wrong for Marie Taylor. Her business partner is dead and his associates are coming after her. Having no one to turn to and not trusting the law, Marie Taylor finds herself on the run. Needing somewhere to hide, she lands in small town Fort Bridger, Wyoming. Marie takes a job as a waitress at the Chuck Wagon, the local dinner. It's here that she comes face to face with Jake, accidentally spilling coffee into his lap. Although, the erotic tension coming off the two is heating things up far more than the coffee.

Jake Colder, county sheriff in Bridger Valley has been alone for years. He’d slaked his lust a few times with a couple of women here and there, but hasn’t let anyone into his life since his wife left him and his son. Then he meets clumsy, cautious Marie at the local diner and knows she needs help and a place to stay. He also knows something is wrong. Against his better judgment, Jake offers her a place to stay in exchange for housekeeping and babysitting.

Eye Walker

Have you ever found out an astonishing fact about colleague or friend that makes you look at them in a whole new way? Maybe making you wonder if you ever really knew them? What if you found out these same bizarre facts about your own fiancée? Worse yet, you find these things out after she disappears and the police think you’re somehow responsible. That’s the place Vince DeLucca finds himself in Barbara Miller’s novel, Eye Walker. His only choice is to turn to Faith Miller, better known as Eye Walker, to find his missing fiancé.
Faith Walker knows Vince even before he reaches her remote cabin. How could she not? He has called, written and emailed her enough about Elizabeth, his fiancée. Still, she’s not buying, no matter how much money he brandishes. The last hunt for a missing child almost put her over the edge. In addition to being a forensic pathologist, she becomes the victim and sees through their eyes. In tribal parlay, she’s an eye walker. Faith is unsure of how many times she can be murdered.
Vince knows Faith is his last hope. Already he is saddled with a pair of mismatched cops. The male cop, Stuart, seems to have marginal interest in the case, simply as a wayward fiancée who has taken off for greener pastures, but the female cop, Fletcher, is dead certain he murdered Elizabeth. That’s why he is hiking through a wilderness to reach a pathologist who has amazing rate of solving cases. Unfortunately, the cases involved dead bodies and sometimes missing bodies, but he knows she has more than intuitive reasoning because he has special skills himself.

Inevitable Sentences

Are you a suspense junkie? Maybe you’re interested in the twisted way the mind of a serial killer works? Perhaps you’re a Law and Order fan, and can’t get enough of the world of crime and punishment. Isn’t it odd how most of those genres feature a tough, grizzled male veteran cop or a young, gorgeous female detective—who is not only too young to know anything about life, but just way too young to be a detective? And why does it always have to be a cop or a former cop? Why not someone like you? After all, you’ve read enough crime novels, watched enough shows you could probably do the job, right? Tekla Dennison Miller allows the reader a chance to solve the motivations of a serial killer in the very ordinary personage of Celeste Brookstone in her novel, Inevitable Sentences.

Celeste Brookstone did not set out to be a crusader for abused women. In fact, she probably sees herself as a bad example staying with an abusive husband until he died, subjecting her daughter to that perverted version of love. Celeste often wonders if she left her husband if her beautiful daughter, Pillar, would still be alive and not dead at the hands of that killer, Chad Wilbanks. All the same, Celeste decides to take over an abandoned lighthouse and make it into a safe house for abused women. Somehow it seems fitting, especially done in her daughter’s memory. She also wants to be close to Hawk Haven where Chad Wilbanks is currently residing. She’s not done with him yet. Maybe the courts didn’t convict him for killing her daughter, but Celeste knows he’s guilty. Chad knows she knows and is amused, which makes it that much worse.

Mark of the Devil

Beneath the sea lies a dark and terrible secret and it is one that could forever change the world. The race is on to find it and some will stop at nothing to get there first. This is the premise of Mark of the Devil, a new thriller by author William Kerr.

Mark of the Devil starts with hero Matt Berkeley deciding to help his friend, Steve Park. They need to spot the exact location of a storm-sunk barge off the coast of Florida. The Coast Guard wants it located and flagged as a shipping hazard. Matt goes diving to ascertain the position of the sunken vessel. He discovers a strange object sticking up out of the sand. Oddly, it looks as if something large lies buried there, beneath the barge itself.

The two men determine they are seeing a snorkel, and that it probably belongs to an old submarine, possibly one belonging to the Nazis of World War II. Together, they decide it is worth investigating further. But others, with secret interests, also now determine the same thing. And these others have power and influence on their side. A lot of it! They aren't afraid to use it. What's more, they'll go to any lengths to steal the secret that lies buried beneath the sea. Matt and Steve now discover they are caught up in something far bigger than they could ever have possibly imagined. What once seemed a simple diving job now is suddenly a quest, one that is a matter of life and death.

Kllrs

I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the old axiom says nothing about titles. The only reason I picked up Kllrs by Phil Bowie was because there were no vowels in the title I was in the mood for a little escapism fun and guessed that Kllrs would be a suspenseful book with violence and murder. I was right.

John Hardin is a hard working, descent man with a past. He's coerced into helping a BATF agent find his brother, who is being held by the outlaw biker gang Satan's Ghosts. Motorcycles, airplanes, and a psychotic mastermind make Kllrs a fast-paced thriller.

Mr. Bowie has wonderful descriptions of riding motorcycles and flying Cessna airplanes that made me feel like I was right there. The story follows the fairly worn path of the thriller storyline, complete with evil mad genius, but the ending was a fun surprise.

This is Mr. Bowie's third book with John Hardin. While I hadn't read the first two books, I had no problem getting a feel for the characters. Reading this book was like befriending someone halfway through their life: you know something happened to them before you came along and if that history is important, they reveal it to you bit by bit. When the background information was parceled out, I didn't get bogged down with unnecessary detail. Instead, I got just enough information to move the story forward, and enough to make me curious about the other books.

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