Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

Furious Hours is an intense true-crime thriller in which through impeccable fact-checking weaves two life stories, one of the Reverend Willie Maxwell, a rural preacher whose family members seem to die under mysterious circumstances which always somehow leads to the Reverend being able to collect a life insurance policy he had on them, and the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, who decides to write a book about the trial of the man who killed Maxwell at the wake of Maxwell’s step-daughter.

But the book delves much deeper into both their life stories. The Reverend, who is shot point blank in front of many witnesses by a man who believed the Reverend not only had been scamming and killing people for many years but had an incredibly illegal past, (especially for a clergyman) who was never charged with any crimes due to many factors. His past and the trial of his killer are incredible drama with the outcome of the trial even more unexpected.

Lee, who had not written a book since Mockingbird, decides after reading about the Maxwell case to research the Reverend and the murder trial as well as the outcome of the trial itself. It delves deeply into her thought process and hours of research both by investigating and interviewing as many of the witnesses as possible.

Furious Hours is also a concise biography of Lee’s life, her trials and tribulations, her love of her family, her on and off love affair with alcohol and her decades long writer’s block that seemed to cast a shadow on her both in the publishing community, but more so in her own psyche as she seemed not to be able to live up to her own perfectionism.

It also suggests theories as to why she and her life-long friend, Truman Capote, stopped talking. It suggests that her assistance as his researcher during the writing of his book In Cold Blood was one of the inspirations for her to begin her own research on the Reverend Maxwell case.

There is also a mystery within the book which sadly is still unsolved to this day. Although Lee told people she had begun the writing process of the book on Maxwell…at least four chapters which were allegedly read by someone, the book was never found in her possessions when she died. Had she finished the book? If so, where is it? Or who has it? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions may only be known to the reclusive Harper Lee who took them with her when she died.`

Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Molly Clarke once had it all. A loving husband and three terrific children. Then in an instant it all changed due to a terrible accident which left her family broken, and Molly fighting to put them back together.

On a stormy night, after feeling rejected once again by her children, she runs out of gas on a highway close to a gas station which has already closed. When a man and his young daughter drive by as she has begun walking in the pouring rain and offer her a ride, she at first hesitates, but then takes him up on his offer.

And then Molly just disappears.

Her clothes and a note which says she needs to get away are found in a room at the local casino. Her family and the police begin a massive search for Molly which yields no clues as to where she could have gone. Then rewards are offered to no avail. As Molly’s husband begins to believe she really has decided to leave them, her daughter Nicole refuses to let it go. Perhaps it is due to the guilt she feels as she relives the conversation she had with her mother the last time she saw her.

Then Nicole receives a tip from a woman who says she saw someone that matches her mother’s description get into a pick-up truck with a broken headlight the night Molly disappeared. Against her father’s wishes, Nicole decides to go back to the small town where her mother went missing and meet with the woman. What she discovers when she goes back is that her mother’s cold case is now brimming with local suspects.

She begins to learn the townsfolk know how to keep secrets buried and not everyone wants to give up what they know to her. But she persists and she begins to unravel the unknowns and starts to piece together an unbelievable story. But what could any of this have to do with her mother’s disappearance?

Then Nicole discovers the horrific truth which has her racing to find her mother before it is too late for both of them.

Don’t Look for Me is a twisted, devious psychological thriller which continually leaves the read both gasping and wanting more.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #WendyWalker #Don’tLookforMe for the advanced copy.

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Eight Perfect Murders is just that…perfect!

Bookstore owner and murder mystery lover Malcom Kershaw is shocked when an FBI agent comes into his store in Boston one snowy day to ask him some questions about a blog post he wrote years ago. Malcolm had put together what he thought were the eight perfect murder mysteries in which the murder could not be solved. Some on the list were books by Agatha Christie, Donna Tartt and Patricia Highsmith to name a few of the eight.

Questions are asked of him as to who knew he had written this list because it seems someone is could possibly be taking the murder plots from these books and killing people in a similar manner. Malcolm does not see a link to him, but decides to assist the FBI by getting information on some of the murders and rereading the books on his list.

Then he discovers one of his customers who had moved away a few years ago was a possible murder victim on the list. That’s when he begins to think this is no coincidence. And that is something Malcom cannot afford to happen. He does not want some of his past perilous decisions to be made public.

As he tries to put the pieces together he wonders if this could have anything to do with the death of his wife Claire who tragically died in a car accident on New Year’s Eve a few years ago. But what could the list have to do with Claire’s murder? Then he begins to suspect someone is following him. He tries to trace people from his past in hopes of finding the murderer in the present.

But then those being murdered begin to be people he has asked about. Malcom finds himself in his own terrifying eight perfect murders, afraid he will be one himself.

Eight Perfect Murders is a fantastic page turner with of course, the perfect ending to the perfect murder.

The Vacation by T.M. Logan

For Kate, her family, her friends and their families this week long vacation to France is a well deserved getaway to relax and catch up. It was suppose to be the dream vacation of a lifetime. A villa in France looking over the Mediterranean Sea, relaxing days by the ocean, wine flowing, enjoying each other’s company for friends who have not seen each other for a while.

But unfortunately, this vacation will not be that leisurely. As Kate and her family arrive at the villa, Kate reads a text on her husband’s phone which takes her breath away. She discovers he is having an affair. And heartbreakingly it’s with someone who is on vacation with her…one of her best friends.

Now all Kate wants to do is find out which of her friends has betrayed her and wants to break up her family. But what she begins to uncover is betrayal. Deep secrets seems to be front and center between this group of friends. It seems unbeknownst to her, there is family dysfunction running rampant in all these seemingly “perfect” families.

We have Rowan who owns her own company and is in the process of selling it and can not afford to have any type of scandal associated with her. Another friend Jennifer has two out of control boys whose behavior she chooses to overlook, even though her husband is a psychologist, and then there is Izzy, still single years after her fiancee was killed.

When Kate finally confronts her cheating husband he refuses to even engage in a conversation about what she has uncovered. So she takes matters into her own hand and sends a text from her husband’s phone asking to meet with the person (whose name in his phone is CoralGirl) to finally get the answer he will not give her.

And who she sees coming toward her will shake her to the core. But secrets can be deceiving, not every secret is what it seems to be. Some with secrets would rather kill than have what they know come out. It is clear this vacation will not end well. What is unclear is will they all survive.

The Vacation is a great psychological thriller with so many secrets you never want it to end, but you want to finish the book in one sitting because you can’t wait to see how it ends.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #T.M.Logan #TheVacation for the advanced copy.

Harvest: The True Story of Alien Abduction by G.L. Davies

Whether or not you believe in UFO’s or aliens, this story will chill you to the bone.

If this story is in fact true, the premise of the tale and its ramifications could possibly change or sway your opinions as to whether there are aliens in the vast beyond, or if they have been on our planet for a very long time.

As in past G.L. Davies’ books, he once again interviews and researches a claim, in the past hauntings, in this case a woman, who believes she was abducted in 2009 by aliens not just once but many times over a certain period. To this day she is terrified of what she saw and that they will return.

Through interview questions we learn how Susan’s (not her real name) life spiraled out of control after she had some sort of incident while sleeping in a barn loft while attending a friend get together. Not really sure what to think, Susan tries to shrug the episode off and continue on with her life until a second happening occurred which involved herself and her then boyfriend.

Then Susan began to have dreams…horrible nightmarish dreams in which she is visited by family members who have passed as well as small alien-like figures. Dreams in which she encountered women like herself and somehow was able to communicate with them. Post-visitations, she would become sick for days vomiting and having nosebleeds, as well as other symptoms. Susan, who lived with her aunt at the time began to notice her aunt begin to seem ill as well. Finally, her aunt asked her to please move out and move back in with her parents.

As she tells what she believes took place, giving Davies impeccable and detailed descriptions of the encounters such as where they were, details and descriptions of the aliens, other humans encountered, she begins to see what she describes as visions of some catastrophic event in which she is not sure will end the world or be a horrific incident in the future.

As Susan’s life begins to be overtaken by these visions, and the the thought of when the next one will come, she decides to cut-off communication with her family and friends for fear they will somehow become pulled into whatever is happening. She now lives a very lonely existence in fear of sleeping, in fear of her unknown.

Whether Susan has really been visited by aliens, or whether this is something else, the specificity of her memory must lead one to ask did this really happen to Susan? I will leave you with this quote which Davies begins his book:

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.

-Arthur C. Clark

Thank you to #JohnHuntPublishingCompany #NetGalley #G.L.Davies #Harvest:TheTrueStoryofAlienAbduction for the advanced copy. The book will be out on November 1.