Category Archives: Thriller

2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox -a review

2 sisters detective agency2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox

The exciting new collaboration from James Patterson and Australia’s own Candice Fox, following the recent bestselling success, both here and internationally, of The Inn.

From the creator of the #1 bestselling WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB

Two sisters go into the family business they didn’t know they had – catching killers.

Attorney Rhonda Bird returns home to LA to bury her estranged father, and discovers that he left her two final surprises.

The first is a private detective agency.

The second is a teenage half-sister named Baby.

When Rhonda goes into her father’s old office to close down the business, she gets drawn into a case involving a young man who claims he was abducted.

The investigation takes Rhonda and Baby to dark and dangerous places. Soon they are caught in the crosshairs of an angry criminal cartel and an ex-assassin seeking revenge.

A thrilling new novel starring a captivating sister-detective duo.

Published 28 September 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s |  QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Truth to tell, I haven’t been reading much of James Patterson’s books as I just haven’t been interested in any of them BUT when it comes to Candice Fox, well, I’ve just GOT to. Her name is like a siren call to me, “Read Me!”. 2 Sisters Detective Agency has got the Patterson’s hallmark of short chapter bursts and Fox’s offbeat cast of characters which made the book to be a very entertaining page turner.

The book description is rather succinct and yet, the book is so much more. There were so many interesting characters and there were just so much packed into this 352 pager that I’m finding myself at a lost on how to describe it. The story wasn’t just told from Rhonda’s or Baby’s views but a number of others as well. With that consideration, I’m so surprised that I wasn’t troubled or confused with keeping up with who’s who.

I think I see Candice Fox’s fingers in Rhonda Bird’s characters where she can just mouth off straight-faced and gets away with it; reminds me a bit of Amanda Pharrell. Her mouthing off isn’t to the point of rudeness but just a very creative way to circumvent whatever situation she happens to be in. The fact that she’s super strong, confident, and generous was just icing on top. Baby, despite her young age, complements Rhonda and together, they are a delight to read.

While we move from chapter to chapter with different characters, it was very easy to follow the story. Even as it felt a little bit all over the place when I was in the middle of it, at the end, when everything falls into its proper place, I really felt that it was all one big circle and I think it was neatly done. The ending itself was rather hairy and… somewhat unfinished so I hope to see more of these sisters.

The pace and tone of the book was set by the very first sentence, “She was a killer”, and I was hooked. Tension gripped me and it just kept on going til the very last chapter. The short chapters probably didn’t help because I keep thinking, “just one more [very short] chapter…”, and suddenly, one hour had past and I really had to run for the ladies’… So yes, this is a fantastic read! Do yourself a favour, read this before lockdown ends because you don’t really want “life” to interrupt your reading.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

Review: The Chase by Candice Fox

The Chase by Candice Fox

The new novel by New York Times #1 bestselling author Candice Fox is an electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller set in the Nevada desert.

Candice Fox has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘one of Australia’s finest new gen crime writers’ and her latest novel is another thrilling ride, as a mass prison breakout lets loose 650 of the country’s most dangerous prisoners.

‘Are you listening, Warden?’

‘What do you want?’

‘I want you to let them out.’

‘Which inmates are we talking about?’

‘All of them.

When more than 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins.

But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, five years after the murder of his wife and child.

He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing down the escapees.

Death row supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading . . .

Published 30 March 2021 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  |  QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

I’m going to be upfront and state that this is so totally going to be a very bias review. I have read all of Candice Fox’s books and loved every one of them. I especially love the quirky Aussie flavour her books are steeped in. And yet, even as this one is far away from our shore (Nevada desert) and did not include any Aussie characters ):): it did not detract from my enjoyment of this novel. 

The book description described of a prison break (not one, not two, but ALL of the inmates) and the subsequent hunts to put them all where they belong. It is such intriguing & thrilling concept (even if a little bit outlandish) and the story did not disappoint. The Chase was a compelling read with a well-sustained suspense to pull the reader to continue reading right through to the end.

There is a large number of casts in this novel and while at first I struggled with the names and remembering who they are, a couple of the characters are very memorable and after a few chapters, I found that the flow of switches between characters to be quite smooth and easily followed. Add to this, there were twists and turns peppered throughout each chapter that keep readers flipping pages.

I do believe that Fox specialised in crushed down but loveable and strong female characters but in this particular novel I also feel that she’s got the creepy psycho vibes down pat. It’s hair raising stuff! I guess visiting serial killer on death row paid out! I was amazed by how many baddies in this story and each with his own brand of monstrosity; they are all so brilliantly crafted. 

The Chase is a fast-paced, high-octane thriller that you can’t help but want for more. I’d highly recommend that you have set aside hours to read this because it’s not one you’d want to stop even for a minute.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back to back. Her subsequent novels – FallCrimson LakeRedemption Point and Gone by Midnight – were all shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number one on the New York Times bestseller list in the US, and also to the top of the charts in the UK. Their later novels – Fifty FiftyLiar LiarHush Hush and The Inn – have all been massive bestsellers across the world.

Bankstown born and bred, Candice lives in Sydney.

Find Candice on:  

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Review: Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

The fate of the world is in the hands of a father and daughter in an epic novel of wonder and terror by Dean Koontz, the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Since his wife, Michelle, left seven years ago, Jeffy Coltrane has worked to maintain a normal life for himself and his eleven-year-old daughter, Amity, in Southern California. It’s a quiet life, until a local eccentric known as Spooky Ed shows up on their doorstep.

Ed entrusts Jeffy with hiding a strange and dangerous object-something he calls “the key to everything” – and tells Jeffy that he must never use the device. But after a visit from a group of ominous men, Jeffy and Amity find themselves accidentally activating the key and discovering an extraordinary truth. The device allows them to jump between parallel planes at once familiar and bizarre, wondrous and terrifying. And Jeffy and Amity can’t help but wonder, could Michelle be just a click away?

Jeffy and Amity aren’t the only ones interested in the device. A man with a dark purpose is in pursuit, determined to use its grand potential for profound evil. Unless Amity and Jeffy can outwit him, the place they call home may never be safe again.

Published 29 October 2020 |  Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

My first ever Koontz’ and it did not disappoint!

But yes, I am familiar with this author’s name but horror isn’t a genre I read a lot of, tbh. However, this parallel world trope is something that I’m fascinated with so I really had no choice but to dive in.

The father-daughter relationship in this novel is truly the highlight for me. And that little bit of romance of looking for the missing wife/mother didn’t hurt at all; it’s so not at all a romantic novel but it’s subtly there (or maybe I just chose to read it as such ;p). The parallel worlds are quite fascinating but I find that I wanted more… it just wasn’t enough travels to other worlds and each travel so short that we barely got a glimpse of each.

At the end, I felt that this novel has a similar vibe to Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which I loved, but just a shorter briefer sort of version with better ending 😉 Maybe ‘better’ isn’t the correct description but I don’t want to spoil you for either books. I am now keen to explore more of Koontz works.

Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Dean Koontz is the author of more than a dozen New York Times No. 1 bestsellers. His books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, and his work is published in 38 languages. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife Gerda, and their dog Elsa, in southern California. Dean Koontz is the author of more than a dozen New York Times No. 1 bestsellers. His books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, and his work is published in 38 languages. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife Gerda, and their dog Elsa, in southern California.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  instagram

Review: Daylight by David Baldacci

Daylight (Atlee Pine #3) by David Baldacci

FBI Agent Atlee Pine’s search for her sister Mercy clashes with military investigator John Puller’s high-stakes case, leading them both deep into a global conspiracy — from which neither of them will escape unscathed.

For many long years, Atlee Pine was tormented by uncertainty after her twin sister, Mercy, was abducted at the age of six and never seen again. Now, just as Atlee is pressured to end her investigation into Mercy’s disappearance, she finally gets her most promising breakthrough yet: the identity of her sister’s kidnapper, Ito Vincenzo.

With time running out, Atlee and her assistant Carol Blum race to Vincenzo’s last known location in Trenton, New Jersey — and unknowingly stumble straight into John Puller’s case, blowing his arrest during a drug ring investigation involving a military installation.

Stunningly, Pine and Puller’s joint investigation uncovers a connection between Vincenzo’s family and a breathtaking scheme that strikes at the very heart of global democracy. Peeling back the layers of deceit, lies and cover-ups, Atlee finally discovers the truth about what happened to Mercy. And that truth will shock Pine to her very core.

Published 17 November 2020|  Publisher: Grand Central Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Can this series get any better than this?! Wow, never was I more enthralled in a book without a lick of romance in it. I don’t usually read romance as a genre but I prefer my books to have sprinkles of romance. I admit shamelessly that I kept looking for it and waiting in this book but it never happened and you know what, I’m not even disappointed! And that’s BIG.

After that bomb was dropped in book 2, I was ever more keenly to follow up on Atlee’s hunt for her twin sister, Mercy. I’m going to be fair and give you warning of a nuclear blast in this one. And the ending hurts… It’s not finished yet though. I think Baldacci has more pain in store for us 😰

Of course, such a thick book can’t just be about Mercy. Atlee inadvertently stumbled over a raid and an old friend while following up information on Mercy. And again, of course, there are much bigger things at play but this time, it’s all the way to the highest level of authorities. As their investigation is being stonewalled from above, it didn’t mean the field work stops because not only are people’s lives have been lost, the country is also at risk.

There seems to be quite of a bit of patriotism in this novel (a lot of comments of serving the country, etc) and there are also certain contemporary issues bought out in it. I feel the author’s love for his country and at the same time acknowledging some deep-rooted issues in it. And in all this, kept readers riveted to the unfolding plot of crime solving. Daylight is my favourite of Baldacci’s so far; highly recommend that fans get behind this series!

Thank you Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram  |  facebook

Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America’s 20 Books We’re Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue’s Best Books to Read This Winter, Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of February 2020, and O Magazine’s 14 of the Best Books to Read This February!

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister Alison vanishes from the luxury resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X on the last night of her family’s vacation. Several days later Alison’s naked body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men, employees at the resort, are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. It’s national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved, but for Claire’s family there is only the sad return home to broken lives.

Years later, riding in a New York City taxicab, Claire recognizes the name on the cabbie’s licence, Clive Richardson – her driver is one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. The fateful encounter sets her on an obsessive pursuit of the truth, not only what happened on the night of Alison’s death, but the no less elusive question of exactly who was this sister she was barely old enough to know: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation. As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will uncover the truth, an unlikely intimacy develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by a tragedy.

Alexis Schaitkin’s Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that hurtles to a devastating end.

Published 25 February 2020 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (2 / 5 stars)

Absolutely loved the cover which would’ve been my primary reason to pick this book up, if not that it was sent to me by the publisher. I didn’t mind the blurb either but I’m not at all keen on psychological thriller. I love mysteries, crimes, thrillers, all of them but psychological thriller is one I’d usually avoid. Then again, the reason I usually avoid them (extramarital affairs etc) is absent here so I might as well give this one a go.

It opens oh so beautifully on a fictional Caribbean island beach where a family of 4 (including a teen daughter) have arrived for a holiday. The scene described was so lush, I fell in love with this spot. Maybe I just really need a holiday. However, other than this beautiful prose, I quickly ran out of patience with the novel.

The main perspective is Claire who was just 8 years old when her sister, Alison, disappeared and later found dead. She is now a young woman and an accidental meeting pushed her into a dark place from which we could not escape for some time. There were just too many parts with bits & pieces of others’ perspectives (those who were either at the island or is connected to Alison). I didn’t think it was that hard to follow the jump in time but at the end of the novel, I really had to question myself…

Saint X is slow; it is like long lazy waves breaking at the beach at which you could practically watch hypnotised all day. I don’t have all day though so it was hard to keep my focus. And I must say that I was rather disappointed with the ending. I felt that all my hard work to read through the novel did not pay off. However, there are those who truly enjoyed this novel too so maybe psychological thriller really is not my cup of tea.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel, Saint X, is forthcoming from Celadon Books on February 18th, 2020, with seven foreign language editions to follow. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Southwest Review, The Southern Review, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website

Review: Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg

Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg

A twisty, page-turning debut thriller from Kelsey Rae DimbergGirl in the Rearview Mirror is a story about privilege and power, family and obligation, ambition and complicity, and the pull of the past on the present; perfect for fans of Jane Harper, Megan Abbott, Attica Locke and Laura Lippman.

Desperate to put her past in the rearview mirror, Finn Hunt leaves the Midwest for Phoenix, Arizona, where no one knows her story.

While she’s working a dead-end job, a chance meeting with Philip Martin, son of a prominent US Senator, leads Finn to a position as nanny for Amabel, his precocious four-year-old daughter. Quickly seduced into the Martins’ privileged world, Finn can almost believe she belongs there, almost forget the dark past that haunts her.

Then, in the stifling heat of a desert summer as the Senator’s re-election looms, a strange woman begins to follow Finn, claiming a connection to Philip and threatening to expose the family to scandal. As Finn tries to protect Amabel, and shield the Martins, she’s inadvertently drawn deeper and deeper into their buried secrets.

The family trusts Finn, for now, but it will only take one mistake for everything she holds dear – the Martins’ world, her new life – to fall apart . . .

Published 25 June 2019 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R |  QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The thing about psychological thriller is that the protagonists are most often than not broken. Then, most often than not, they are also the cause of their own downfall. I’m not keen on psychological thriller because it feels like getting onto a train knowing that you’re heading for a trainwreck. The one thing I do appreciate about psychological thrillers are that they are usually very clever. <i>Girl in the Rearview Mirror</i> is one such psychological thrillers.

Finn Hunt thinks she’s almost there. She’s working as nanny to this wealthy couple and her boyfriend works for the child’s grandfather, the Senator. She’s tried very hard to leave her past behind and reach for a better future but all the shine of a wealth does not disguise the chinks in their lives. Even as she continues to polish her new life, another woman walks into it and as Finn’s curiosity drove her onward, she kept chipping at the chinks until they cracked wide open.

Despite Finn’s lies about her past, I do actually liked her. I can understand her longing for a different life even if she’s not going the right way about it so she’s definitely got my sympathy. She was warned so many times to leave well alone but her loyalty to the little girl she loved and the feeling that all is not right, she continued to search for the truth. Courageous, intelligent, generous, and kind -she’s a protagonist I can get behind for.

Set in mid Summer in Phoenix, Arizon, I could definitely feel the heat waves out of the page (oh wait, we’re also experiencing one of the worst Summers ever). The suspense of the mystery kept me enthralled and turning page after page because I really won’t be able to sleep if I don’t finish as I’ll be thinking up one scenario after another. There continues to be twist after twist which were stitched up so seamlessly. <i>Girl in the Rearview Mirror</i> is a riveting suspenseful story that’ll keep you on edge ‘til the end.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Kelsey Rae Dimberg received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and studied at Barrett Honors College of Arizona State University, where she was editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Lux, and received the Swarthout Award in Fiction. Girl in the Rearview Mirror is her first novel. Born in Seattle, Kelsey has lived in eight states, and currently resides in Milwaukee.

Find Kelsey on:  goodreads  |   twitter  |  facebook  |  instagram