Tag Archives: thriller

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

15 Mar

It’s Spring here in the sunny South, but you never really know what that means. Highs in the 80s, tornado watches, hard freezes, snow — all in one week. That’s what it was like last week. Next week, who knows? 😉 But one constant is I always have great books on my TBR list! I have a bunch of different genres I am looking forward to reading. What about you? What’s on your Spring TBR list?

For more great Spring reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR

Breach of Honor by Janice Cantore

As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light―and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe.

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert

Tess has her work cut out for her—from her day job at the police station to her nights on the campaign trail with her husband, she’s stretched thin. Her two young children also keep her busy, but thankfully she has a supportive mother-in-law who lives just next door.

When the legendary Mothman makes a terrifying appearance and a local librarian goes missing, Tess feels compelled to get involved, convinced something evil has been unleashed on her little town. Then another woman disappears—this one bearing an eerie resemblance to Tess—and the police receive a cryptic message hinting that a serial killer is on the prowl.

After a nightmarish turn of events completely upends the Spencer family, Tess musters her courage to hunt for the monstrous murderer in the woods…even if she has to walk straight into the Mothman’s lair to do it.

False Pretense brings a stunning and memorable conclusion to the award-winning Murder in the Mountains series.

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession–and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she’s crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she’ll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.

Natalie Walters sucks you into the global race for space domination in this perfectly paced second installment of her SNAP Agency romantic suspense series.

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.  

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

Life Flight by Lynette Eason

EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient–and a serial killer on the loose–tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield’s help. But she’s not out of the woods yet.

In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer–before he catches one of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason is back with another high-octane tale of close calls, narrow escapes, and the fight to bring a nefarious criminal to justice.

Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl’s life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she’s certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it. 

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He’s built a new life on the Oregon coast–and there’s no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help. 

Can these two hurting souls make peace with their past and open their hearts to a new beginning? 

Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Shadows in The Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

1904, Chudniv, Ukraine. Playing hide-and-seek in bucolic fields of sunflowers, young Jakob never imagines the horrific secrets he will carry as he and his brother escape through genocide-ridden Eastern Europe.

1994, South Haven, Michigan. At age 94, time is running out for any hope that Jakob can be free from his burden of guilt.

When Jakob’s wife dies, he and his daughter, Nel, are forced to face the realities of his worsening dementia—including a near-naked, midnight jaunt down the middle of main street—as well as emerging shadows Nel had no idea lay beneath her father’s beloved, curmudgeonly ways.

While Nel navigates the restoration and sale of Jakob’s dilapidated lake house, her high school sweetheart shows up in town, along with unexpected correspondence from Ukraine. And when she discovers a mysterious gemstone in Jakob’s old lapidary room, Jakob’s condition worsens as he begins having flashbacks about his baby sister from nearly a century past.

As father and daughter race against time to discover the truth behind Jackob’s fragmented memories, the God they have both been running from shows that he redeems not only broken years, but also the future.

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?

First Line Friday — Legacy of Lies

11 Mar

Happy Friday! This weekend I am attending my nephew’s wedding. Along with getting together with family, I will have some time to read because, road trip. 😉 I am taking along the unputdownable Legacy of Lies by Christy Barritt. It really is a page turner that grabbed me from the beginning. Alas, life causes me to do other things besides reading. But with a few hours on the road, I hope to knock this mystery/thriller out. And just a hint, the first line is not about food. Yikes!

Now the first line:

Insatiable hunger growled inside me, and all I could think about was eating.

The justice system failed her family—and so did her hometown.

Madison Colson knows deep down that her father—a convicted serial killer—is innocent. But believing it and proving it are two entirely different things. Unable to help her father, Madison has spent most of her adult life overcompensating by helping others. When her aunt dies unexpectantly, duty calls her back to Fog Lake, Tennessee, a beautiful but painful place she’d rather forget.

Terrifying events begin to unfold once she arrives, unleashing her worst nightmares. The Good Samaritan Killer—or a copycat—is back, and now Madison Colson is his target.

FBI Special Agent Shane Townsend is determined to stop the deadly rampage that has sent the tightknit community into a frenzy. But he needs to earn Madison’s trust first. The task feels impossible, especially considering his father is the one who put her dad in prison.

With the whole town on edge and pointing fingers, tension escalates out of control. Madison and Shane must sort the facts from the lies—and fight for a legacy of truth—before The Good Samaritan Killer has the final say

Mini-Review — Night Fall

23 Dec

Nancy Mehl is always good for a thriller, and Night Fall fits the bill with plenty of creep-factor mixed in! My book club read this book last summer and liked it. Find out all about it below.

Now that Alexandra “Alex” Donovan is finally free of her troubled upbringing, she’s able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Kansas and Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains traveling across the country–all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case while battling her own weaknesses, Alex must face how far she’ll go–and what she’s willing to risk–to put a stop to the Train Killer.

Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing. 

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.” 

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: http://www.nancymehl.com. She also is active on the Suspense Sisters: http://www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com and on FaceBook!

My Impressions:

If you aren’t squeamish, then Night Fall, a suspense/thriller by Nancy Mehl could be the book for you. It definitely had the creep-factor going for it with a seriously sick killer. The book centers on main character FBI agent Alex Donovan who is called into the case not only for her profiler expertise, but because she is intimately familiar with many of the elements of the investigation, a fact that gives her both a leg-up and a disadvantage. Alex has ties to the cult that seems to be part of the case. The reader is also given insight into the killer’s mind — I liked this, but it really did send chills up my spine! There is a bit of romance, and though it played a small part in then novel, I expect more in the other books in the series. Alex grows a lot through the course of this book, but she is a somewhat troubled character with a lot to overcome. I look forward to her development in the next two books.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

2021 Christy Award Finalists

5 Oct

Congratulations to the 2021 Christy Award Finalists! So many books to add to your TBR list! 😉

Contemporary Romance

Just Like Home by Courtney Walsh

Some Bright Someday by Melissa Tagg

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

First Novel

A Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Rain by Dana McNeely

Roots of Wood And Stone by Amanda Wen

General Fiction

Set The Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson

Historical

Like Flames in The Night by Connilyn Cossette

Under The Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee

The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

Historical Romance

A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Point of Origin by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn

Short Form

A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh

Joy to The World: Far As The Curse Is Found by Amanda Barratt

Joy to The World: Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch

Speculative

Extinction Island by Janice Boekhoff

Forsaken Island by Sharon Hinck

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin

Young Adult

Dust by Kara Swanson

Moral Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann

2021 Carol Award Winners!

11 Sep

Congratulations to the talented authors who are this year’s winners of the ACFW Carol Award. I hope your TBR wishlist just got longer! 😉

2021 Carol Award Winners

Contemporary

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editor: L. B. Norton

Historical

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Dave Horton and Rochelle Gloege

Historical Romance

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jennifer Veilleux

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Dead End by Nancy Mehl; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jean Bloom

Novella

Far as the Curse is Found (from The Joy to the World Collection) by Amanda Barratt; Kregel Publications; Editors: Janyre Tromp and Dori De Vries Harrell

Romance

Love and A Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editor: Raela Schoenherr

Romantic Suspense

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davison; ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published); Editors: Ines Jimenez and Deb Elkink

Short Novel

The Christmas Bargain by Lisa Carter; Love Inspired (Harlequin); Editor: Melissa Endlich

Speculative

Stealing Embers by Julie Hall; ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published); Editors: Rebecca Heyman and Janelle Leonard

Young Adult

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads; Enclave Publishing; Editors: Steve Laube and Lisa Laube

Debut Author

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Dave Horton and Rochelle Gloege

2021 Carol Award Finalists

29 Jun

Congratulations to all the wonderful authors who are finalists in the 2021 Carol Awards presented by the ACFW. Now you know what to read this summer! 😉

Contemporary

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser

If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh

On a Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Historical

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan

The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas


Historical Romance

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette

The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund


Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Dead End by Nancy Mehl

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

A Baby’s Right to Choose by David L. Winters


Novella

Far as the Curse is Found, from the collection Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection
by Amanda Barratt

Christmas in Galway, in the collection Christmas Lights and Romance by Elizabeth Ludwig

A New Hope for Christmas by Erin Stevenson


Romance

Love and a Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon

Carolina Breeze by Denise Hunter


Romantic Suspense

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davison

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

Airborne by DiAnn Mills


Short Novel

The Christmas Bargain by Lisa Carter

Killer Insight by Virginia Vaughan

Texas Holiday Hideout by Virginia Vaughan


Speculative

Cry of the Raven (Book 3, The Ravenwood Saga) by Morgan L. Busse

Stealing Embers by Julie Hall

The Vault Between Spaces by Chawna Schroeder

Young Adult

Victoria Grace the Jerkface by S.E. Clancy

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads


Debut

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads


Audiobook Mini-Review: Dead of Winter

8 Mar

How far will he go to have his revenge?

When the fingers of dead women start showing up in the Supreme Court’s mail, ex-FBI Agent Jeremy Winter is brought back to the Bureau to aid in the investigation. Agent Maggie Keeley, his girlfriend and now boss, leads the search for the serial killer. Together, Jeremy and Maggie learn the five remaining cities on the murderer’s list, but they have no idea when the killer will strike or whom he will target.

When they stumble upon a clue at the scene of a young woman’s death, the case focuses on an abandoned ramshackle home in sparsely populated west Texas. As the FBI closes in, the ante is upped in ways no one could have imagined, forcing Jeremy to choose between justice and revenge.

 

Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in the Dallas area and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com.

 

My Impressions:

Dead of Winter is the second book in Tom Threadgill’s Jeremy Winter Thriller series. After the dramatic conclusion to his last FBI case, Jeremy Winter is trying to figure out what to do with his retirement. But a serial killer starts to send dismembered fingers to Supreme Court justices, and Jeremy is called back as a consultant on the case. Along with his girlfriend, FBI agent Maggie Keeley, Jeremy is trying to get one step ahead of an illusive killer. Dead of Winter is again a creep-inducing thriller. The author does a great job of getting inside the murderer’s head. This time religion is mixed up in the motivations. Jeremy is not a believer and Maggie has just a basic understanding of Christian thoughts. It was interesting to see Jeremy puzzling out what the killer was trying to accomplish. While that is the main plot, a subplot introduced in book 1 continues to follow Jeremy and complicate his life. Revenge is a predominant theme, and Jeremy comes to the brink of exacting it without regard to justice. It will be interesting to see this character’s development in the third book of the series, Winter’s Fury.

Dead of Winter is a dark look into what motivates people. If you are a fan of Steven James or Criminal Minds, I think you will like this book. Be sure to read book 1, Coming of Winter, first though.

Recommended.

Audience: adults

(This audiobook was included in my Audible subscription. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: Coming of Winter

3 Mar

Catherine Mae Blackston is missing. She is not the first.

While investigating Blackston’s recent activities, FBI Agent Jeremy Winter stumbles upon a string of missing persons within state parks. Unable to convince his boss that Blackston’s disappearance is anything other than a lost hiker, Winter joins forces with a local police officer to continue the search.

As the clues mount, a dark figure from Jeremy’s past emerges with an ultimatum — one that could force him out of the Bureau. Afraid that his girlfriend, fellow agent Maggie Keeley, will be dragged into a high-stakes political game, he delays his decision. But as the tally of missing persons increases, Winter closes in on the unlikeliest of suspects.

The bodies are out there.

He just has to find them before his past catches up with him.

Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in the Dallas area and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com.

 

My Impressions:

I read Tom Threadgill’s books that feature homicide detective Amara Alvarez and was hooked. When I learned that he had several previous novels and two were included in my Audible subscription, I couldn’t pass them up. Coming of Winter is the first book in the Jeremey Winter Thriller series. Darker than the other two books I had read by Threadgill, this novel focuses on a serial killer. The reader knows who the murderer is early on, and the author really gets into his head. It is a fascinating and decidedly disturbing look into motivations and justifications. FBI agent Jeremy Winter stumbles onto the case and a kind of cat and mouse game begins. Jeremy is an interesting character. FBI for years, he had a traumatic experience in Afghanistan that affects him physically and emotionally. A figure from his past arrives on the scene complicating his forward journey to normal. That loose end continues into book 2. Jeremy’s relationship with fellow FBI agent, Maggie Keeley, is also a great subplot. I listened to the audiobook which I think increased the creep-factor for me. Hearing the killer’s voice made me shiver a bit.

I liked Coming of Winter and jumped right into book 2 of the series, Dead of Winter. If you are a fan of Steven James’ novels or the TV show Criminal Minds, give this one a go.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(This audiobook was included in my Audible subscription. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

What I’m Reading — Backlists

24 Feb

Have you ever discovered a new author that has been around for a while unbeknownst to you? Isn’t it wonderful when you find an author you just love and then find out there are all these other books to read? Of course, that is, until it sets your TBR pile to teetering. But that’s a topic for another time.

I discovered two new-to-me authors last year. Tom Threadgill writes mystery/suspense. I read Collision of Lies thinking it was a debut. Nope. He has three thrillers published before Collision of Lies. And of course Roseanna M. White is a new novelist only to me. She has several series under her belt and more books to be published. So what to do?

I generally have a very full reading schedule between review books and book club selections. Working in an author’s backlist is almost impossible, but I am trying my best to get caught up. That’s where audiobooks come in. I am on book 2 of Threadgill’s Jeremy Winter Thriller series. Fortunately for me the first two books in the series are included in my Audible membership. These books are decidedly different from my first foray into Threadgill’s writing. Darker — they involve serial killers — they are still riveting reads (or listens).

So that leads to my first question:

 

What do you think about an author’s writing evolution? Change of tone, structure, or subject matter.

 

I had only read 2 of Threadgill’s novels, Collision of Lies and Network of Deceit, before heading to his backlist. I think that helped in becoming comfortable with the change in style and tone. Although comfortable is probably not the word I would describe while reading one of his thrillers. Think Steven James and Criminal Minds.

 

With Roseanna White, I read The Number of Love first because it was a Christy Award nominee in 2020. Although it is the first book in a series, it has secondary characters that had their own books in a previous series. (I have the first book of two of her other series already on my shelves.)

Hence question #2:

 

After discovering a new author, do you immediately go back and read their backlist in chronological order or do you just proceed forward?

 

With White, I haven’t done either. I’m still trying to decide if I want to go all the way back to her first book or finish The Codebreakers series first. Oh what hard reading dilemmas! 😉

 

So what do you think about authors’ backlists?

 

 

Audiobook Review: The June Boys

18 Jan

I read a lot of different genres, but YA is not one I usually pick up. A FB book club prompted me to read outside the box with The June Boys by Court Stevens. The fresh writing style and puzzling mystery kept me listening. See all the details below.

 

The Gemini Thief is a serial kidnapper who takes three boys and holds them captive from June 1st to June 30th of the following year. The June Boys endure thirteen months of being stolen, hidden, observed, and fed before they are released, unharmed, by their masked captor. The Thief is a pro, having eluded authorities for nearly a decade and taken at least twelve boys.

Now Thea Delacroix has reason to believe the Gemini Thief has taken a thirteenth victim: her cousin, Aulus McClaghen.

But the game changes when one of the kidnapped boys turns up dead. Together with her boyfriend, Nick, and her best friends, Thea is determined to find the Gemini Thief and the remaining boys before it’s too late. Only she’s beginning to wonder something sinister, something repulsive, something unbelievable, and yet, not impossible:

What if her father is the Gemini Thief?

Courtney “Court” Stevens grew up among rivers, cornfields, churches, and gossip in the small town south. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, Olympic torchbearer, and bookseller at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. These days she writes coming-of-truth fiction and is the community outreach manager for Warren County Public Library in Bowling Green, KY. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and several novels with her name on the spine.

Court is a rare bird online, but you might spot her occasionally

Twitter – @quartland
Tumblr -http://courtneycstevens.tumblr.com/
Instagram – quartland
Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyCStevens
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/anabels/courtney-c-stevens-books/

 

 

My Impressions:

I have to admit I was surprised by The June Boys. This novel is multi-layered and complexly-written, something I just wasn’t expecting from a YA mystery/thriller/suspense. Perhaps my view of the genre is too narrow. After reading Stevens novel it isn’t anymore. The June Boys is a highly recommended read.

The story is told through the first person voice of Thea, a high school senior whose life was upended when her cousin was abducted by the Gemini Thief. For 10 years boys of varying ages have been abducted and held for a year and then released unharmed. Thea is on a mission to find Aulus and enlists three friends in the investigation. The second point of view is shared through letters that Aulus is writing from his captivity. Both give the reader a good sense of what is going on, but not the whole picture. The pace of the book is urgent and the reader is kept on tenterhooks hoping that the book will not end in tragedy. I found the writing intense, some of the scenes cringe-inducing, and the whole story kept me listening well past the time I needed to move on to other things in my day. The book does have a YA vibe with its language and characters. I would say this one is for older youths, high school at least, because of its subject matter. There is a wrap-up at the end that helps bring the story closure, but created more to ponder. I think The June Boys would make an excellent choice for families to read or listen to together or for a youth book club. The spiritual questions that arise deserve good conversation. Specific to the audiobook: the multiple narrators make each voice clear.

All in all, I found The June Boys to be a riveting read. If you like thrillers, YA lit, or are looking for a book that will engage your older teenagers, I highly recommend it.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teenagers to adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)