How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Raymond Fleischmann gives us a beautifully written debut novel with How Quickly She Disappears. Following Elisabeth on dual timelines we witness in one the grooming and taking of her 11-year-old twin sister, Jacqueline, and in the other we watch Elizabeth slowly unravel at the appearance of a mysterious man named Alfred. Alfred, who claims to know what happened to Jacqueline. Alfred, who knows everything about Elisabeth though they’ve never met. Alfred who might be a little bit mad.


Elisabeth is living in remote Alaska with her distant husband and fiercely intelligent daughter, Margaret. When Alfred shows up claiming he needs to rest before a flight, Elisabeth allows him to stay in their guest room. From there things quickly spiral out of control. Even after murder, her daughter’s attempts to get attention, her husband constantly battling her beliefs and actions, and prison (among other things) Elisabeth pursues the truth about her sister. 


This book reads like The Silence of the Lambs watches (I’ve only seen the movie) with a drawn-out cat and mouse chase between Alfred and Elisabeth. Alfred’s quickly changing moods do nothing to quell Elisabeth’s hunt for facts. Repeated attempts from her husband and police to stop her vigilante investigationdoes not deter her. I loved the steady pace of this book and the way Raymond really brings us with him to watch Elisabeth lose herself in her search for her 20-years-missing sister.


This book is dark and beautiful and haunting and I will absolutely be buying Raymond’s next book.

Hot Splices by Mike Watt

A BarksBeachesBooks Review
 
Hot Splices is not a book, it’s a movie. Not to be confused with a book to movie script but more like reading the subtitles while you watch a movie. Mike Watt warns you before reading this:

“If you do not love film…
If you do not wish to devour it as it devours you…If all you seek from film is entertainment…This is not the book for you.

I would have considered myself a cinephile before reading this (at least an amateur one) but wow, this book tests you. And not just in film knowledge but also in genre knowledge. Because of course there are tons of elements to a film considered to be horror from abuse to assault to actual murder but, be honest, were you counting snuff films in there? And no, this isn’t a book about snuff films. I’m just saying this book is HUGE in its 334 pages. You’re reading between a screen play, the daily activities of “The Addicts” and their endeavor to find the great Borgia films, and their not-so-secret guilty pleasure of “flixing” to movies which is basically a drug-trip on actual film to enhance the movie experience.

 This book is intense. Following several characters, we are led through film school days to each character’s work in the film industry and back to the present. But first, we do start with a scene from a snuff film, so well written and disturbing it’s like you’re in the room watching. A Borgia film perhaps? And then present day, meet Chris Balun, who was there for the original Borgia film viewing that drove a mob of angry film viewers so insane that he locked them inside the building and set it on fire. And Alyce who “sold out” to work in Hollywood…until she made enough money to buy the old film school dorm and get all The Addicts back together down the line. And Boone who is working in a film storage facility to locate and steal the long locked away and largely forgotten Borgia films for an Addicts only viewing. Everyone has so much going on but it all leads back to one thing: watching the Borgia films in their horrific gore, in the right order (hint: not numerical), to either go insane or reach cinematic enlightenment. 

 My favorite part was the ending because like most movies it’s what pulls all the craziest aspects together. But more than that, like most films, after the end comes the deleted scenes and these deleted scenes were top notch. From erotic to splicing into other movies to live machines that seduce and consume their operators to B-flick movie stars and their mysterious disappearances. Once I reached the second half of this book, after all the intentionally-all-over-the-place scenes of the first half, I couldn’t put it down. Especially as it goes from set up and character development to the action and horror scenes. I mean, this book has completely affected me from making waking moments to my dreams. Mike Watts has successfully spliced into my dreams and there has been some F-d up stuff. I’ll be honest, that’s normal. But he did add a special horrific angle.

Hot Splices is complicated and enticing and so captivating. It sets you up to follow multiple characters from their film obsession origins to their final actions upon completing their life’s work: finding, watching, living the Borgia films. You are not just reading this book, you are a part of it. You are spliced in and viewing as an extra alongside the main crew. Reading Hot Splices is like learning a new language. You’ll see what I mean when you start dreaming in cinema. How much blood and death will you see when you close this book each night only to close your eyes and continue the story in your nightmares?

Author Bio

Mike Watt is a writer, journalist and screenwriter. He has written for such publications as Fangoria, Film Threat, The Dark Side, the late Frederick Clarke’s Cinefantastique, Femme Fatales and served as editor for the RAK Media Group’s resurrection of Sirens of Cinema.

Through the production company, Happy Cloud Pictures, he has written and produced or directed the award-winning feature film The Resurrection Game, as well as Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut, A Feast of Flesh, Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation and the award-winning Razor Days.

He is the author of the short fiction collection, Phobophobia, the novels The Resurrection Game and Suicide Machine, and from McFarland Publishing: Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve and No Self-Restraint. In 2014, he launched the acclaimed Movie Outlaw book series, focusing on “underseen cinema”. He is also the editor-in-chief of the bi-annual publication, Exploitation Nation.

Through Happy Cloud Media, LLC, he edits and publishes 42nd Street Pete’s Grindhouse Purgatory Magazine, as well as Pete’s autobiography, “A Whole Bag of Crazy”.

In 2017, he edited the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD novelization by John Russo, and the 40th Anniversary printing of Paul Schrader’s TAXI DRIVER screenplay, featuring a new interview with Robert De Niro, published in 2018 by Gauntlet Press. 

Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

What a wild ride we are given by Mr Van Laerhoven in a novel where Sin City meets Glass meets No Country for Old Men – a story of stories. In Return to Hiroshima we are drawn to the frontline of several lives being intricately woven together and then filleted right before our eyes. This is a dark, complicated and challenging read set during the 50th anniversary of Little Boy being dropped on Japan, the past and present evident in every decision made. 

We are thrown into the middle of a battle of completely differing morals. Mitsuko is fleeing her father, Rokurobei, the leader of an underground crime organization who she has witnessed murder several people. Including her own mother? On the other hand, Rokurobei is tracking Mitsuko down not because of her knowledge of his unsavory affairs, but due to her mental health and the problems it has caused. Including murdering her own mother? Upon meeting Yori and Reizo who offer her a place to stay, Mitsuko soon learns that she has more to fear than just the wrath of her father.

Yori and Reizo are part of the “Suicide Club”, a group of young squatters avoiding reality with jobs as pickpockets and street performers. Yori is drawn to the madness of the psychopaths around her, like that of none other than her boyfriend Reizo for whom she helps lure a foreigner to try and poison. The reason for this? A story to tell. And we will find that Yori is a sucker for a good story…

Of course, in any stories as dramatic as these the police are involved which is where inspector Takeda comes in. He is determined to solve several crimes that he has been told to leave alone by his superiors. He quickly gets a target on his back due to not following orders, putting those around him in danger as well. Are all these good intentions to help redeem himself for previous actions of his own? But of course. 

Rokurobei quickly traces Mitsuko to the Suicide Club where he encounters Reizo, who leaves him with a cryptic clue to the location of Mitsuko…and then Yori, who is as smitten by the madness of Rokurobei as she was Reizo…and then inspector Takeda and the police doctor’s investigations into crimes that should not concern them…and then, and then, and then. He is on a cover up spree, and it seems that no one will be spared.

It is soon revealed that Rokurobei also means Lord of Lies, and we quickly learn that it’s hard to tell who, if anyone, is telling the truth or just their truth. It seems, due to the differing sets of morals mentioned above (Rokurobei’s mirroring those of Anton from No Country for Old Men), that everyone completely believes their own versions while simultaneously being drawn to the voice and ideals of Rokurobei. We see this several times as people easily place their trust in a madman even as they become witness to the wake of his horrific acts.

Bob Van Laerhoven writes in quick, detail packed chapters in alternating points of view. There are several characters contributing the each other’s stories even though these are people that never should have met except for fate. Fate is a strong theme throughout the course of this book as everyone is back in Hiroshima to meet theirs. From Xavier Douterloigne, a diplomat’s son that grew up in Japan, to a German photographer on a mission to prove her talent, to police inspectors and commissioners, to underground crime organizations. It seems everyone is connected, even when they come from worlds apart.

The extreme dualities of the characters extends to the overall story itself as well. Bob somehow managed to seamlessly connect noir crime fiction with historical fiction. As soon as I type those words I realize that of course the two genres should go hand in hand, yet how often have I read a story like that? This is the first.

Author Bio

Bob Van Laerhoven is a 66-year-old Belgian/Flemish author who has published (traditionally) more than 45 books in Holland and Belgium. His cross-over oeuvre between literary and noir/suspense is published in French, English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian. A Chinese translation is currently in production.

In Belgium, Laerhoven was a four-time finalist of the ‘Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year’ with the novels ‘Djinn’, ‘The Finger of God’, ‘Return to Hiroshima’, and ‘The Firehand Files’. In 2007, he became the winner of the coveted Hercule Poirot Prize with ‘Baudelaire’s Revenge’, which, in English translation, also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category ‘mystery/suspense’. His first collection of short stories ‘Dangerous Obsessions’, published in the USA in 2015, was chosen as the ‘best short story collection of 2015’ by the San Diego Book Review. The collection has been translated into Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  ‘Return to Hiroshima’, his second crime novel in English, was published in May 2018 by Crime Wave Press(Hong Kong).  The British quality review blog Murder, Mayhem & More has chosen ‘Return to Hiroshima’ as one of the ten best international crime novels of 2018. MMM reviews around 200 novels annually by international authors. Also in 2018, the Anaphora Literary Press published ‘Heart Fever’, his second collection of short stories. ‘Heart Fever’ was one of the five finalists of the American Silver Falchion Award. Laerhoven was the only non-American finalist. The collection has been translated into Italian and Spanish. A German translation is currently in production.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bob.vanlaerhoven

Website: https://bobvanlaerhoven.be/en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bobvanlaerhoven

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bobvanlaerhoven/

The Captivating Flames of Madness by Jeff Parsons

The Captivating Flames of Madness by Jeff Parsons Book Tour with Isobel Blackthorn

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Think back to your childhood. Remember Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz? Now fast forward to the “Creepy Pasta” internet horror stories of recent history such as The Russian Sleep ExperimentThe Captivating Flames of Madness is Jeff Parsons marrying the two for a chilling read. Or rather, readS.

The Captivating Flames of Madness is a collection of 22 short horror stories. These are campfire stories for the committed: two people working together to scare the rest of the campers; one tells the stories, the other sneaks away and hides for the perfect timing to jump out and scare everyone – chainsaws and props encouraged. None of these stories have an I’s dotted and T’s crossed kind of ending. They are all open and sometimes even vague and leave you to your imagination on what happens next. Sure, they lead you in one direction, but they are the type of stories that you will be thinking about afterward and wondering what really happened to Larry in that old house pit? What was John’s fate after capturing the famed Bruja? What if William Chung is a premonition as to the first domino in the fall of mankind? 

Personally, I loved the short story collection aspect. With my usual thrillers and horror stories I don’t have the ability to take a break between each chapter for even a day or two at a time without having to go back and figure out what I forgot from the previous chapter. In this book I was able to read a quick flight-gone-wrong plot (right before I hopped on my plane because, of course I did) and then pick up the book hours later with a completely new theme. Not that you’ll want to wait to see what the next chapter holds…

Speaking of themes, Jeff has no shortage of ideas. His ability to create a horror story scenario out of anything from virtual reality, to WWII memories, to the more obvious witches, ancient magic and haunted cemeteries is impressive to say the least. Some of these were thought provoking, some were downright terrifying. There was psychological mind play, medical themes, and even dystopian vibes. Three specifically have stuck with me as such a real possibility that they have now entered my dreams: The New Law, The Daisy, The Variant. Others have had me rethinking the ending several times: Among Us, Devourers of Eternity.

There is no repetition in this collection. Everything was well thought out from new and interesting story-specific characters to the problems (read: monsters) to rarely a solution that you expect. I have seen some collections with repeated phrasing which will turn me off an author’s future books. Jeff Parsons has a completely original set of horror that is not for those that like a quick thriller or a drama. Some of these are straight up gory and others are complete psychological warfare. YOU. HAVE. BEEN. WARNED.

For scariest results: 

  1. Turn off all lights except your reading lamp
  2. Silence all radios, TVs, humans in the vicinity 
  3. Immerse yourself in the Jeff Parsons experience that is horror

About Jeff Parsons

Jeff has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. He is well-known for being unnoticed in the literary field. In addition to his two books, The Captivating Flames of Madness and Algorithm of Nightmares, he is published in SNM Horror Magazine, Bonded by Blood IV/ V, The Horror Zine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Dystopia Utopia Short Stories, Wax & Wane: A Coven of Witch Tales, Thinking Through Our Fingers, The Moving Finger Writes, Golden Prose & Poetry, Our Dance With Words, The Voices Within, Fireburst – The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Second Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 4. For more propaganda, visit his author page at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJeffParsons/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.
Some links:Jeff Parsons – AuthorJeff Parsons
Books by Jeff Parsons (Author of Chilling Ghost Short Stories)

The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Who is really the crazy one in the latest psychological thriller from A.J. Banner, The Poison Garden? Because I’ll be honest, it could have been any of them from the first page. The opening page brings us to Elise Watters running for her life with a quick, pulse raising one-and-a-half-page prologue. And then we are purposely disoriented, being thrown back to the “before” of the chase with a calm ferry ride back to her island home after attending business on the mainland.

Elise has an interesting life though it seems she tried to make it as dull and peaceful as possible. No drama, just simple things that make her happy – a beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens, running an herbal boutique. But she did just lose her mother. She just got married. She just started working full time in the herbal shop inherited from her late mother. She also just came home early to catch her husband in the middle of an affair…among other things.

On top of that, she’s unearthing secrets as quickly as you’ll flip the pages of this book. And, she’s sleep-walking?! Not entirely strange in and of itself, but the activities she’s enjoying while doing so are a little suspect.

The duality of all these characters is incredible. There is the crazy woman that her husband was caught with (what exactly is she involved in?). Her neighbor is one of her good friends, but also a grieving schemer. Her ex-husband is around every corner because he’s the island’s go-to Mr. Fix IT…or he’s stalking her. Small island; hard to tell. And then there is Elise’s husband himself, good looking, patient favorite Dr. Kieran Lund. He seems like a good guy who made a mistake. He does everything to make it up to Elise-and I mean everything. They go through a lot in such a short time and he really is holding Elise upright. But it’s either him who’s crazy or Elise. It can’t be both…right?

A.J. Banner does such a great job of misdirection in The Poison Garden that you really won’t know what’s what and who’s after who until the very end. I LOVED the ending. Oh my gosh, just such a good twist! (Let’s be honest, twistS.) I highly recommend this fast paced, psychological thriller with a poisonous touch-it’s just up my alley!

And now, a comprehensive list of people I suspected throughout the book: Everyone.

Enjoy!

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

What I didn’t realize going into A Bitter Feast was that it was part of a series, which quickly became apparent when I started reading. Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are detectives and married and, in this novel, they are traveling to the countryside for a luncheon thrown by the parents of another detective, Melody Talbot. If you have read the series, then you won’t need to do any catching up. But, on the flip side, the beginning will be a little slowergoing due to the mass amounts of information and detail as well as the plethora of characters.

A Bitter Feast could almost read as a standalone. I say this because though it was my first of the series, I definitely felt I was missing some back information. However, once you catch up on the who’s who of the many characters, this is a very interesting read. These are long, information filled chapters in a format that I haven’t read before and took some getting used to. (I guess I got spoiled with my usual thriller chapters told by alternating characters or dedicated to just one of the protagonists at a time.)

A Bitter Feast takes a different approach in narrating all characters pertaining to the content of the specific chapter. For example, a kitchen scene would obviously include its chef, Viv, because she is the kitchen. But it might also narrate for each kitchen worker present who witnessed something, plus the customers who were in the bar and which detective showed up and what they saw. It took some getting used to but once I did it sort of made for a more interesting way to read the story.

Now, to the plot. If you like top chef style kitchen drama and you’re a fan of murder mysteries, then this is the book for you. Viv is an amazing chef hiding away in the countryside working for a pub she owns with her partner, Bea. The confusing part to the townspeople is why such a talented chef is working in a pub – not that they’re complaining because she’s that good. Due to a luncheon planned by the Talbots, Fergus O’Reilly (Viv’s old boss, mentor, and rival among other things) shows up. Then he turns up dead.

Talk about a dramatic kitchen, it seems every time Viv catches up another sordid detail or messy death is on the menu. Good thing Detectives Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid quickly partner with local law enforcement to get to work on what seems to be an accident…until people start talking.

Got a long weekend or vacation coming up? This is the perfect sit-in-your-comfy-chair-and-read-a-long-juicy-story book.

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Cecilia “Cilka” Klein has every reason to hate her life, the people involved in the pain she’s had to endure, and humanity in general. The amazing thing about her is that she doesn’t. No matter what happens to her, Cilka continues to stand up for herself and those around her and be the best person she can be. I would like to think that I would respond to Cilka’s circumstances as valiantly as she did. But based on my reaction to people not using a blinker in traffic I don’t think it’s likely.

Joking aside, this book is incredible. I am so glad Heather Morris decided to continue her work from Lale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz and let us know what happened to an important and influential character. This is a devasting and heart wrenching story, but it is an as important one as any from the Holocaust and World War 2 are.

Not only is this the story of what happened to Cilka, it also the story of how her very soul endured and continued to give humanity chance after chance to be good when she had no reason to believe it ever would. In Cilka’s Journey we follow Cilka after the release of the concentration camps at the end of World War 2. Cilka is pointed out as having aided the enemy as a spy as well as having slept with the enemy. There is no investigation and few questions asked to find her guilty. Did she in fact speak many languages? Was she sleeping with the commander? The facts the she was intelligent and was not sleeping with the man by choice were not factors in condemning a child who went into Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp at 16 and was forced into exile in a Siberian prison upon her release at age 19.

This journey is what happened next. What Cilka’s life was after Auschwitz-Birkenau and during her time in Siberia. Once again unable to go unnoticed, Cilka draws the attention of the male prisoners. She draws the attention of her female prisoner roommates. She finds and tries to protect Josie while she is found out for her past by Hannah and tries to survive her threats. Finally, she captures the attention of a female doctor at the prison who takes her under her wing and teaches her to be a nurse.

This is an incredible journey to be sure. If you are a WW2 or historical fiction fan, then this is for you. If you like human trial and success stories with themes of love and friendship, then this is for you. If you have a heart, then this is the book you need to read.

TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanaugh

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

This book was incredible. It was so good in fact that I was sneaking reading in during any possible breaks in work that I could. Shhh, don’t tell on me.

A couple of things about this book:

1) I was about 75% done with the book when I found out that it was the fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series by Steve Cavanaugh.

2) You do not need to read the others to pick this up and know what’s going on. I was immediately sucked in and had a very hard time putting this book down until I was finished reading it.

3) TH1Rt3EN was so good that I immediately called a local book store and had them hold all the other books in the series they had available and am having my sister pick them up as I type this.

4) Mr. Cavanaugh’s writing style reminds me a lot of The Collector Series by Dot Hutchison. They should collaborate and/or create a serial killer writing prodigy child together.

TH1RT3EN alternates between the point of view of the serial killer Joshua Kane and the up-and-coming lawyer and ex-con man Eddie Flynn. Both characters have very different and very entrancing styles of narrative which was a huge plus for me. Kane’s narrative is that of the highly intelligent, narcissistic, and even entitled and cocky serial killer that he is. On the other hand, Flynn is not your typical lawyer. While he is educated and has a law degree, he speaks like a New Yorker. You know the type – that Brooklyn accent? That was how I automatically read Eddie. The dialogue is even written that way. He is a gritty ex-con, now on the good side of the law and using his old tricks to his advantage.

While reading this book I kept thinking it would be so easy to tell who Kane was on the jury since that part is explicitly on the cover. However, Cavanaugh did an excellent job directing you toward the “culprit” and the doing a complete 180. I did not see that reveal coming, and then on top of that there is another twist that I really enjoyed. Without giving away too much, it had to do with the identity of one of the officers. This may or may not be me intentionally leading you in one direction so as not to give it away much in the same way Cavanaugh did to me. (I am.)

This was easily one of my favorite books of the year, and I cannot wait to get the others in the series and race through those as well. That’s another thing about Cavanaugh’s style: the writing is so well done that I flew through the pages trying to figure out Kane’s game and how it would end. Now that it’s over I wish I wish it hadn’t ended. Isn’t that how it always goes?

The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

 Synopsis

Lila Bennett is a big-time criminal defense attorney whose bad choices have split her life in two – literally. In one reality she is kidnapped and held captive to be tortured with her past mistakes and come to terms with the wrongs she’s committed and lives she’s ruined. In the other reality, she is free. She escaped her captor and is living in fear as she watches the choices she’s made come crashing down around her.

Review

The Two Lila Bennetts is the story of what happens when you make certain choices. In one instance, Lila can choose whether she goes out and “celebrates” after winning a big case. She can go, which will lead her down one road. Or she can pass on the outing and head home, which will lead to consequences of its own. This is the story of the series of events followed by each choice. One choice leads to Lila’s capture. She is held captive in a small cement room, starved and tortured by her past. She does not know the man who is keeping her (alive, for now) but he sure does know all about Lila. He is making her relive her worst moments and watch from her cell as the world investigates her disappearance, alternately blaming the people closest to her, victims from her past cases, and even herself.

The other choice leads to Lila escaping her captor and being free to roam while her world comes crashing down. In both realities her choices are coming back to confront her. Past relationships, cases gone wrong, her marriage. Every choice she has ever made has led her to this point, and what she chooses to do now is life or death.

I really enjoyed this book which is obvious in that I was reading it on work breaks and doctor’s appointments to see what happens next. I was slightly disappointed in the ending(s) though. While they were satisfactory enough, I would have liked to know why or how her life was split into two, literally. I think a couple of things were left out that would have made the book a five-star book for me. Those things are spoilers so do not read the spoilers if you do not want me to spoil the story. Also, please don’t take this to mean the book isn’t worth reading because it is definitely worth it. It will likely be even more enjoyable to people that don’t poke holes in sci-fi theories such as the alternate realty aspect of this book.

*SPOILERS*

Please stop reading if you do not want spoilers.

Spoilers below.

Last chance to avoid spoilers.

Okay here we go with the spoilers.

At the end of the book, Lila is fighting off her captor in one reality and fighting for her marriage and relationships in the other. She sees what happens in the “free” reality, where she gets to make the choices she always knew she should be making: not defending guilty murderers, not cheating on her husband, etc. The captive reality is what happened when she made one last bad choice that landed her directly in the path of her kidnapper.

What I would have liked to know (since she lives in both versions of her realities) is why she gets to live in both? If her one good choice that led to her being free while her life was torn apart which in turn makes her start making good decisions and thus live, why not kill her off in the other? If she is literally two people in the book, why not kill off her bad side? That’s it. That’s the sci-fi of it that is driving me crazy. If she was literally two people, it seems that one of her should have been killed because how can there really be two Lila Bennetts? How are people not going to notice that? Especially because in the end of both situations Lila does make the same decision: to right her wrongs and be a better person. (Which is why I think it may only be “literally” two lives until Lila takes off her virtual reality goggles.) And yes, alternate realities/universes – I know, I know. Like I said, I poke holes in sci-fi.

On A Quiet Street by J.L. Doucette

Synopsis

Stacy Hart has the perfect life: a great job, a perfect fiancé, a beautiful house. Then, Stacy is murdered. But if her life was so perfect then why was she murdered? Detective Beau Antelope is teaming up with Dr. Pepper Hunt to find out why.

Review

Let me just say first, I loved Detective Antelope’s character. He is a Native American officer who left the reserve to pursue the thing he is best at: solving murders. In this book, he teams up with Dr. Pepper Hunt (from the first book, Last Seen) but he does most of the talking. The narrative of this book is different from the first. In Last Seen, Dr Hunt is the lead character. In this sequel, there are a lot of alternating points of view, but Detective Antelope is the main character. He refers often but also superficially to his ancestry as a reason for his moods and behavior. He is a serious but respectful cop with a dry sense of humor. He also seems real – not an over the top action-movie cop, but one who is instead uses his brain. (and when he hits a dead end he does what any smart person would do-he asks a woman!)

Detective Antelope is the leading character in On A Quiet Street. He is pursuing several people of interest in the murder of Stacy Hart. First, Jack Swailes. He was Stacy’s contractor for home improvement, and per her fiancé he was also interested in Stacy as a love interest. That brings us to Connor Collins, Stacy’s hot shot Assistant District Attorney fiancé. As we all know from every true crime documentary ever, the significant other is usually the killer. Of course, Dr. Hunt is also helping – she is brought on a psychological expert with the police department. She is also the therapist for the third person of interest, Max Hunt, Stacy’s brother.

These are just a few of the POVs we see throughout the book, which seems overwhelming until you start reading and realize that they are perfect for this slow burn of a murder mystery. On A Quiet Street builds very slowly, bringing more and more people into the case, some from over 15 years before. The alternating POVs are short spurts of chapters which make for a relatively quick read.

There a few loose ends which I believe are Easter eggs for the third book. For example (not a spoiler but interesting), we are told that Val Campion (Jack Swailes’ uncle) has a rather sordid history that he doesn’t want anyone looking into but at the same time he owns all the seedy joints in town. As you can see there is a lot going on in this book.

Then ending is wrapped up both satisfactorily and unsatisfactorily in my opinion. Of course, we get our final showdown with the killer, but it seemed a little unrealistic to me in how the killer revealed his/herself. BUT, a major theme in this book is sociopathic and narcissistic behavior so it could be completely accurate. (Maybe I just like a lot more drama?) On the other hand, a lot of the loose ends are tied up very nicely which I like. Then there are the ones that were not, which is characteristic of a series. So, I do believe there will be more books…thus more murder and blood for us thriller lovers!

Huge thank you to BookSparks and J.L. Doucette for my free copy to review and share!