The Resting Place by Camilla Sten

The Resting Place is completely creepy, haunting and sinister from beginning to end. And I loved it!

Eleanor’s past comes with a very high price. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was young, and her Aunt Vivianne took over her care. Vivianne was a very aloof and judgmental person to begin with, but add a young child to the mix and needless to say she had very little patience. But to Eleanor, she was the only person she could rely on and trust since she did not have very many relatives. Until Vivianne was murdered, and Eleanor unknowingly walked in on the crime.

So, you would think Eleanor would be able to tell the police who committed the crime, or at least give a description of the killer. But Eleanor has something called prosopagnosia which makes a person unable to distinguish or recognize features on a person. Someone who has prosopagnosia must rely on voice recognition and other qualities to know who they are with. Because of this illness she is paranoid and has intense anxiety which she has been treated for consistently over the years. So even though Eleanor saw the killer, she did not hear their voice therefore cannot recognize them.

When a lawyer calls her to let her know that he is settling Vivianne’s property and that includes an estate up in the mountains which Eleanor never knew existed she is stunned. The lawyer, Eleanor, her boyfriend Sebastian and her Aunt Veronika travel to this massive landholding which also includes a home for a caretaker who has lived on the property for over fifty years. How could she never have known this? But he seems to be missing.

Eleanor then finds out her grandfather possibly killed himself on this property. Perhaps that is why Vivianne refused to acknowledge the home, although her Aunt Veronika seems to be well aware of the house, even having spent time there as a child. Why has this never been mentioned?

The house seems frightening and nightmarish with nooks and crannies which one could get lost in, or even hurt. Eleanor believes this house holds past secrets, but what could they be? Out for a stroll she thinks she sees someone watching her. Could this be the elusive caretaker? Then she finds a diary hidden under the floorboards which was written by a maid at the time which details the daily life and struggles of her aunt and grandfather. She begins to question everything she has been told of the life of her family.

Then in the middle of a blizzard, the lawyer goes missing and she realizes something is very wrong and they must leave immediately. But they cannot escape the weather or the house. She may regret ever coming here because the house holds a disturbing past which Eleanor will never be able to understand or get over.

The Resting Place is a book you will not be able to put down. It reads like a ghost story, only some of those ghosts still feel like they are alive. And perhaps will always be.

Thank you #NetGalley #MinotaurBooks #CamillaSten #TheRestingPlace for the advanced copy.

Double Twist by Stephanie Rowe

Double Twist is a delightfully witty, fast paced whodunit with incredibly likeable characters whose hair-raising schemes trying to solve a murder to prove their friend innocent are priceless.

Mia Murphy has been through the mud. After two years in hiding for turning her now ex-husband, a drug Kingpin no less and his family into the FBI she is ready to start a new life. She decides to change course and buy a marina, although she has no idea what it entails, which she finds for sale in Bass Derby, Maine, as far away from her past as possible. Along with her she takes a “borrowed” cat named King Tut, the closest thing she has to family considering her mother has been on the lam for years.

Mia quickly gets into trouble when someone hits her car, and she is blamed for ruining a very important town sign. Who knew a sign could be so important as to almost get her arrested! When she finally arrives at her new “home” she finds a dilapidated, smelly, old marina which she finds out has been vacant for about ten years. Boy, can pictures be deceiving!

Her only solace are the two women she meets immediately. Harriet is the elderly owner of the cafe which sits on Mia’s property. Mia is her landlord and Harriet seems to feel she should pay her rent in meals rather than money. Lucy is the new mail carrier on her route who is quirky, but likeable, with baton twirling skills no less!

When the three women decide to go on a retrieving expedition of property from the ex-husband of one of them, something Mia really does not want to partake, but you know, new peer pressure, they are surprised to find him dead and someone fleeing the scene.

As the clues all seem to point to the ex-wife, the women begin to believe she is being set up, and as much as Mia insists she has left her old life behind, she seems to be the only one with the logic and common sense to figure out who is the real murderer. So she decides to help train her two new friends in the art of snagging a killer. But unfortunately not only is Mia schooled by a few low-life’s, a very handsome officer and jet-skiing moose, she finds she herself in danger of being killed.

Some quiet peaceful town she picked! Will the women be able to solve the crime before one of them gets put in jail for a very long time? And who is trying to drive Mia out of town and why? Only Mia Murphy’s luck could have her evade assassins for two years only to be stalked buy a pack of smelly moose!

Double Twist is an enjoyable, funny story with a unique plot and eccentric characters. A can’t put down book you will read with a smile on your face from start to finish.

Double Twist will be out on May 3.

The Lying Club by Annie Ward

The Lying Club is an outrageously intense murder/mystery which takes place at a prestigious high school which caters to the wealthy families in Colorado.

First, we have Natalie. She is an office assistant in the principal’s office. She is the eyes and ears of the school. Although she is friendly with some of the mothers, she keeps her distance. She is dating the handsome Nick who coaches and trains the soccer team. That someone like her would even be on his radar is incredible! Although art is her passion, she has put her real love on hold to make money. She came here to be closer to help her brother Jay who was in a serious accident. Prior to this she had had breakdown and had been abusing drugs and alcohol. She had been clean for a while, until she met Jay’s medicine cabinet. She wakes up in her car one morning parked in front of the school. Unable to remember the night before she walks into the gym and finds a body. She immediately turns around for fear of what she has done.

Brooke is the mother of Sloane a rising high school soccer star who she has high expectations of going to an elite college and playing soccer. Coming from old money, Brooke has everything she needs plus more. She sits on multiple boards and travels extensively. She will do and pay anything to help Sloane achieve her goal. She is separated from Sloane’s father after cheating on him…again. Brook has a bit of a crush on Nick, but she seems to have many men on her radar. Brooke begins to notice Sloane’s personality shifting but figures it’s probably the teen years kicking in and her new boyfriend.

Asha is a realtor who has the perfect life. She has a son and daughter and a loving husband. Her daughter Mia is another rising soccer star and may perhaps be vying for the same spot as Brooke’s daughter when it comes to going to college. But Brook and Asha have been sort of friends for a long time. She feels they will be able to weather the storm. Then Asha’s husband begins to act strangely, very standoffish and not as connected to the family, traveling much more than usual. She suspects he is cheating, and she now has something very important to tell him but is hesitant. Mia begins to become quiet and stays in her room much more than she ever has. No matter how hard Asha tries, she can’t get Mia to tell her what’s wrong. Is her family falling apart?

So, what do these women have in common? Secrets. And lies. Sometimes that’s enough to bond people for life. As the police begin to investigate the mystery behind the dead body in the gym, the reader will be taken back in time and shown what has led up to the present pivotal situation. But not everything is clear cut. And not every secret can ever be told.

Everyone lies, but some do it much better than others. That’s why there is a Lying Club.

This book is brilliantly written with abounding suspense and mystery and shocking twists you don’t even see coming.

Thank you #NetGalley #ParkRow #AnnieWard #TheLyingClub for the advanced copy.

Cordelia and the Hippie Wagon by Mildred Abbott

Small town life should be easy and relaxing, sure there is gossip, but usually nothing too exciting usually happens. But in the little town of Willow Lane, it has unfortunately had its share of tragedies starting with a tornado which hit and damaged the town fifty years ago.

Each year the town memorializes the event by having a town service, although if you asked Cordelia Davis, there is no reason to remind everybody about what they all lived through that night. And Cordelia knows because it changed her life forever.

Cordelia, her sister Pam and their best friend Wanda, called the “twisted sisters” have been part of the town forever. They help with the activities and bake casseroles daily for those who need some comfort food or who just want some comfort.

So, when Pastor Jim is found dead the day after the memorial, crushed by Cordelia’s van on her property, needless to say the townspeople are not only stunned, but the gossip mill begins to go crazy.

Who would want to kill the beloved pastor? Cordelia and her twisted sisters decide to look into the killing, although there is one person the whole town suspects was the pastor’s killer. But Cordelia thinks there could be too many eggs in that one basket. As she begins to make her rounds, she discovers to her surprise there were some people who were not too thrilled with Pastor Jim’s tactics.

On top of this tragedy weighing on Cordelia, she has just discovered that the love of her life who left town fifty years ago has suddenly reappeared in town and has his eyes set on her. But is it possible for someone who is proud to live her life with regrets, possibly have a future with a man who left her all those years ago?

As the suspect list begins to dwindle and new and old secrets emerge, Cordelia begins to see what could possibly have been the impetus to the killing. That’s the thing about small towns. There are so many skeletons from the past, that sometimes they rear their ugly heads into the present from time to time.

Willow Lane seems like a lovely cozy town where everybody knows everybody and everybody’s business, but they all consider each other family and they take care of each other.

Cordelia and the Hippie Wagon Homicide is a warm, enjoyable mystery with a great deal of heart, soul and love.

Thank you, Mildred Abbott, for sending me the copy of this lovely story.

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

Helen and her husband Daniel have been trying to get pregnant for years. Although able to conceive, Helen has been unable to take a child to full-term. So, when Helen becomes pregnant again, there is a cautious optimism. Then she and Daniel find out her brother Rory and his wife, Helen’s best friend Serena are expecting as well. What could be better for this foursome who have been friends since college and with Daniel and Rory who are working together in the architecture business, which was Helen and Rory’s father’s.

Although the other three have vibrant personalities, Helen is a timid wallflower who blends in with the background, is unable to stick up for herself and always feels when something goes wrong it is because of her. She has a difficult time making friends thus her limited circle.

With the pregnancy going so well and being told due to her history, she should begin her maternity leave early, she and Daniel decide to take the prenatal classes that have been suggested. Unfortunately, Daniel cannot attend the first class and Helen is stuck there alone. There she meets a young woman, alone as well, with a very boisterous personality who seems to be drawn to her. She agrees to go out with her after the class and proceeds to watch as the young girl drinks and smokes even though she is pregnant. Although not Helen’s cup of tea, Rachel seems to pop up at different places she is at. Helen, feeling bad for Rachel who seems to not have any friends and with Helen having so much time on her hands tries her best to be there for her, although she feels something is very off with the young girl.

Suddenly her husband seems to be withdrawing. She believes it is because of the work they are doing on the house Helen inherited from her parents and the stress of Daniel working with her brother Rory who has never been very motivated. As Helen sees more of her new friend, the uneasiness of their relationship continues. Rachel doesn’t have a job, yet she has a lot of money. She refuses to talk about the father of her unborn baby and seems to continue to drink and smoke without guilt She seems to want to meet all of Helen’s family and friends and even invites herself to a family get together.

But their relationship takes a bad turn when Rachel turns up at their door one day with bruises on her neck and says she fears for her life. From whom, she will not say, but begs Helen and Daniel to let her stay with them. Reluctantly Daniel agrees. As Rachel’s time with them seems to drag on, Helen begins to think Rachel is at their house for another reason. But what?

While all this is going on, Helen is just trying to maintain a sense of calm as she has never been this close to having a healthy baby. Daniel wants Rachel gone, and when Helen begins snooping in Rachel’s room, she discovers items which should not be there. How can she tell this young girl she needs to go?

Helen and Daniel have a last hurrah party before their baby is born. As the party seems to get out of control that night Helen has an argument and kicks Rachel out of her house. Unable to remember much about the night itself, when the police show up informing them that Rachel has been reported missing, Helen’s life begins to fall apart. What happened that night? Did she hurt Rachel? Where is Rachel?

What is discovered will blow the reader’s mind! How this tight group of friends for so many years could have harbored so many hidden secrets from each other is beyond belief. Then as the skeletons begin to be exposed the reader will be in awe up to and including the last sentence of the book!

This book is mesmerizingly exciting and would make an incredible beach read!

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Golden Couple has so many twists which keep coming one after the other after the other until the reader can’t seem to take anymore, but then they incredibly continue!

When Marissa and Matthew Bishop hit an impasse in their marriage, Marissa has been unfaithful and is afraid to tell Matthew, she convinces him to go to a marriage counselor under the guise of helping their 8-year-old son, Brandon. When they arrive at their first appointment, Matthew is hit with the realization his marriage was not as perfect as he thought.

Avery Chambers is a therapist who has recently lost her license but is still working just calling what she does crisis counseling. Her methods are unique and difficult, but those who stick with her, she promises will have a satisfactory outcome.

During the Bishop’s first session, Avery can see Marissa and Matthew are not being perfectly honest with her, but Avery has ways of finding out what and why they are keeping secrets. And the Bishops are both secret keepers. Part counselor and part detective she begins to see Marissa and Matthew who look as if they have it all, the golden couple to all those on the outside, may not be perfect or truthful. The more Avery digs, the less she is convinced of their outcome.

But while dealing with her increasing number of clients, Avery is also having her own personal issues. She is being stalked by a corporation for assisting one of their employees in whistleblowing. They seem to know things about her no one should. Find her at their will and let it be known they will not stop until they get what they need.

So as the Bishops try to repair their broken marriage someone seems to not be too pleased. Anonymous flowers and notes are sent to Marissa’s work, strange texts arrive. Matthew starts to become suspicious. Marissa starts to be concerned it could be the man she cheated with, someone whose name she has yet to divulge to either husband or Avery. Her assistant Polly, seems to be acting strange as well. She has begun to emulate Marissa’s wardrobe, hairstyle and perfume. She also seems to be getting closer to Matthew for some reason.

Then just when Marissa sees the light at the end of the tunnel and feels she and Matthew are finally headed in the right direction, Avery and the Bishop’s worlds collide into an astonishing ending which is devastating, shocking and chilling. The Golden Couple is brilliantly cleverly written, and I miss Avery already!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #GreerHenricksandSarahPekkanen #TheGoldenCouple for the advanced copy.

Death in the Sunshine by Steph Broadribb

Death in the Sunshine is a well-crafted murder mystery about four retired investigators, three from England and one from America. They all find themselves in a Florida retirement community known as The Homestead. The association prides itself for its safety with a nightly watch group of residence to make it even more so. So, when Moira, a pretty new resident and former DCI Investigator from England returns from her morning walk and finds a dead body floating in one of the pools on the property with thousands of dollar bills surrounding the corpse, needless to say she is pretty shaken.

Another resident, Philp, a former detective from London sees Moira in distress as she is speaking with the police and tries to help. Not only do the police not want his help, but Moira, who is trying to keep her former life a secret from the residence just wants him to go away. But Philip is persistent and insists Moira come and meet his wife Lizzie, a former CSI person, and Rick a former police officer.

As they begin to discuss the evidence Moira has witnessed at the crime scene, they come to the conclusion that not only do the police not want any outside help but have missed important clues. They decide that as a group they will secretly investigate the death and if they find out anything then they will bring it to the police.

The first piece of the puzzle falls into place when they discover there have been a rash of burglaries at the property which seem to have been squashed by the higher ups at the retirement community, perhaps because they fear it will not look too good to potential residence. The question becomes are the two crimes connected and what evidence can they gleam from the stolen property which could tie into the murder.

As Moira tries to keep her past from becoming her present, she finds herself being stalked by someone. Unfortunately, she is not sure the person is after her for looking into the recent crimes, or for the reason she decided to retire from a job she loved but due to her last case which had such a devastating ending, she needed to leave.

And Philip and Lizzie seem to have some skeletons in their past as well. Although Philip retired due to health issues, Lizzie seems to believe there is more to his story than he is telling her which breaks her heart that he feels he needs to keep secrets from her.

Retirement should never be this hard! As the group works together to solve the puzzles, they begin to open up to each other about their past lives and what brought them to this retirement community which they hoped would be so relaxing it would solve all their previous worries! But the group, through their questioning of suspects, has put themselves in danger. Can they solve these crimes before one of them becomes the next victim? Why does it seem the police continually seem to look the other way?

Death in the Sunshine is a terrific cozy filled with murder, mayhem and mystery. Enough so that I am sure book two will continue to give us more information about the retirees’ past lives as they continue to try and enjoy The Homestead.

Thank you #Goodreads #Thomas&Mercer #StephBroadribb #DeathintheSunshine for the advanced copy.

Listening Still by Anne Griffin

Listening Still is the story of a woman who can speak to the dead. Jeanie Masterson is an undertaker in a small Irish town. Her family has owned a funeral home going back to her father’s father. She and her father have a gift. They are able to hear the last requests or words of those customers who choose to speak. Some of the dead just want their family members to know they loved them, while others need to relay information or secrets they have kept hidden for years. Others just ask for forgiveness.

Although Jeanie wanted to go to college in London and explore different career options, she always knew there was a family obligation for her to stay in their small town and keep the family business going. It was important to her that the gift she was given was used the way it had been intended. She owed that to the people who needed to speak through her.

She even married her childhood friend, Niall who became an embalmer and had loved her since they were very young. He was not the love of her life though. He moved to London for college and even though he begged her to join him, the obligation to her family was too overwhelming. Just another regret.

But Jeanie is now at a crossroads in her life. Her parents have just informed her that they are retiring and moving away leaving the business to her and her husband and her aunt. It is just expected Jeanie will take over. But Jeanie feels the itch of trying something different. Niall has begun to pressure Jeanie to have children, something she was never too keen on for fear she would pass her gift along and have the cycle of feeling trapped continue.

Intertwined through the story are some of the problems of the dead which Jeanie has helped resolve through the years, some good, some shocking and some which helped the living to move on.

But suddenly she begins to see that while everyone else seems to be putting their needs first, she on the other hand has never done that for herself. All through her life she has always done what was expected of her, not what she has really wanted to do. But what is it that she really wants? How on earth could she tell all the people in her life that she wants something more? Something which may not include some of them?

Jeanie needs to not only speak for the dead, but she needs to have the courage to finally speak up for herself in this incredibly unique heartfelt story about love and loss.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #ListeningStill #AnneGriffin for the advanced copy.