Book Review – Black Jack

Black Jack,
Book 2
Written by: Jean Holloway
Published by: PHE Ink
Date: May 14th, 2009
Pages: 294
Format: Perfect Paperback
ISBN: 978-0982447505

“Black Jack is a darkly seductive erotic thriller; a page-turner that keeps you riveted from beginning to end!”

Book Description – From Amazon.com
“Lead Homicide Detective Shevaughn Robinson has gone from the cop everyone, including herself, doubted to the “golden child” of the Portsborough Police Department with a record of sensational arrests and closed cases. But when Helene Elliott is found dead from an apparent suicide, her family insists it was murder and pressures the Portsborough Police Department to take on the investigation. Detective Robinson is assigned to the case at a time when she is struggling to strike a balance between her personal and professional life following the death of Tony O’Brien, the love of her life. Elliott’s case awakens a complicated relationship with Terri Becker who harbors resentment towards Shevaughn for the death of Eric Becker, the serial killer dubbed Ace of Hearts. Was the Elliott death a suicide or the work of a cold-blooded predator? Will life throw Shevaughn another unexpected blow? And will Shevaughn’s attempts to move forward inadvertently lead death to her front door yet again? Black Jack is the sequel to Jean Holloway’s acclaimed debut novel, Ace of Hearts. Buckle up and follow Shevaughn as she moves closer to solving the Elliott murder, unknowing rekindling old grudges and awakening sinister spirits. Get ready, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

I’ve been looking forward to reading Black Jack, ever since I’ve had the privilege of reading and reviewing book 1, Ace of Hearts. I was really curious to see how this story would play out, I wondered who the new characters would be and how the new storyline would tie into the first book. Boy oh boy, are you in for a treat! The story picks up just a few short years after Ace of Hearts ended. Shevaughn Robinson (Von to her friends) feels pretty good about her role as lead homicide detective. With work going so well, she can almost forget the pain and sadness of Ace of Hearts. When Von is called to the scene of a homicide and she begins investigating an elderly woman’s death, she can’t stop some of the memories from flooding back as similarities remind her of Eric Becker, the notorious Ace of Hearts serial killer and violent rapist. Black Jack is not for the squeamish; the characters and the fast-paced story line is gritty, authentic and at times, quite graphic. It’s an absolute must, that you read Ace of Hearts (book 1) and then Black Jack (book 2)! I found myself having compassion for some of the sinister characters in the story, almost against my will. Jean Holloway is, in my opinion, a master story-teller; she has an amazing gift and she’s not afraid to use it. With exciting twist and turns, a cold-blooded killer and fast-paced action, this seductive thriller will pull you in and keep you guessing.
I very highly recommend this book to all thriller and erotic thriller fans!
***Some graphic sexual content***

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!

My review of Ace of Hearts (Book 1).

Read more about Black Jack.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Jean Holloway for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Love You to Death (ARC)

Love You to DeathLove You to Death
Written by: Shannon K. Butcher
Published by: Forever
Date: October 1st, 2009
Pages: 400
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-0446510295
(Available NOW!)

Love You to Death is a spine-tingling, romantic thriller that will creep-you-out and scare you half to death!”

Book Description – From Amazon.com
“Delicate, expressive hands…long, graceful legs…One man is looking for his perfect woman–and he’ll stop at nothing until he finds her.
LOVE YOU TO DEATH
It’s been days since reporter Elise McBride has heard from her sister, Ashley. She’s convinced Ashley has met with some kind of foul play, especially when she learns that bodies of other missing women have surfaced in and around Chicago–all victims of a brutal serial killer. Convinced her sister is still alive, Elise vows to risk everything to save her…
The last thing ex-cop Trent Brady needs is more blood on his hands. Yet when he catches Elise breaking into her sister’s house, full of reckless determination and fear, he knows she needs his help. But just as desire ignites between them, a twisted madman sets his sights on Elise. Hell-bent on possessing her for himself, this psychopath won’t rest until he has his perfect woman.”

Love You to Death is a really great book! One of the best parts about this suspenseful, romantic thriller is the progression of the drama…the story keeps getting better and better! The serial killer character is so fascinating and horrifying at the same time…what amazing writing! Shannon’s portrayal of the serial killer is so lifelike and believable that I would LOVE to read non-romantic thrillers written by her…hint, hint. The romantic elements between Elise McBride and Trent Brady are sweet, but I found that the cold-blooded gruesomeness actually overshadowed the romance…and I’m so glad that it did! I think that Shannon Butcher has missed her true calling as a Thriller writer; I would have enjoyed seeing more of the killer’s character developed and explored. The story has very good flow, momentum and it keeps the reader’s attention riveted as tensions are heightened and the killer gets desperate.
I highly recommend this book to all suspense and thriller fans…if you don’t mind a little romance, you’ll really enjoy the rest of the story!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it

Read more about Love You to Death.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Haunted

HauntedHaunted
Written by: Barbara Haworth-Attard
Published by: Harper Trophy Canada
(HarperCollins Canada)
Date: August 18th, 2009
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0002008211

Top Pick

Product Description – From Amazon.ca
“Dee is feeding the chickens the morning that bones are discovered on the mountain. Something doesn’t feel right–and her feeling is confirmed when local police show her a ring that they found with the bones, a ring belonging to Mary Ann Simpson, who disappeared four years earlier. Other girls, Dee learns, have disappeared too, unusual for a small town nestled in the shadow of the Bruce Peninsula’s rugged escarpment, the “mountain” that Dee loves.
Like her Gran, Dee has “the Sight,” an ability not only to see spirits from the afterlife but also to experience their deaths–a quality that becomes more horrifying as the story takes darker turns. While trying to help with the investigation, Dee is drawn into a deepening mystery that soon strikes terrifyingly close to home.”

Haunted is one of my favourite books of 2009! Barbara Haworth-Attard  is the author of more than 13 children’s books and she is a Canadian author. While reading the story about 14-year-old Defiance or “Dee” as she is known to her friends, I was immediately taken in by the convincing, evocative tale. Set in the early 1900’s, Haunted takes the reader on a journey through history, into the realm of the supernatural. Dee’s “gift” allows her to see and feel good and evil in many forms. As a reader, I am very sceptical about “ghost stories”, but I have to admit that I was blown-away by the outstanding writing and skilful telling of Haunted; I cannot say enough great things about it! The story flows smoothly with mesmerizing tension that builds slowly with bursts of emotion and tension so thick that you could cut it with a knife; there is a suspenseful pull that keeps the reader tuned into the story and makes this book VERY difficult to put down. I really enjoyed the build up and the pace of the story; it changed momentum often and heightened moments to the point where I felt MY heart pounding with fear for the characters as they were endangered by the murderer. Each of the characters are unique and all too human…even those in a ghostly form. The forest/mountain setting was used very imaginatively by the author to enhance the atmosphere and the mood of the story. I must commend Barbara Haworth-Attard on her writing skills and her ability to bring the story of Haunted, to life. I know that I haven’t talked very much about the story itself, but I don’t want to say too much and ruin it for you; suffice it to say that I simply loved this book and enjoyed every single minute that I spent reading it! This is NOT a story for children, though it will be enjoyed  by YA readers and adult fiction readers.
I very highly recommend it!!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about Haunted.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Fear the Worst

Fear the Worst
Written by: Linwood Barclay
Published by: Doubleday CanadaFear the Worst
Date: August 11th, 2009
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0385668026

Top Pick

Fear the Worst is a heart-pounding thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end; this book is a sure-fire hit!”

Product Description – From Amazon.ca
“Seventeen-year-old Sydney Blake’s summer is shaping up to be typical for a teenager: she’s spending it with her father, and she has landed a part-time job at a local hotel. One night, Syd fails to come home from her shift, and her father Tim is a bit alarmed. However, that alarm turns to full-on panic after he visits the Just Inn Time hotel and the manager claims that Syd has never worked there. Grilling his daughter’s friends for clues leads Tim nowhere — except to threats against his life — and as he frantically chases every lead, he can’t help but wonder if Syd is even still alive. Despite a growing list of unanswered questions, all Tim knows for certain is that he must continue searching for his daughter — no matter how high the stakes become.”

Fear the Worst is one heck of a ride and it comes from the Canadian, #1 Internationally Bestselling Author of Too Close To Home; I’ve never read it and if Fear the worst is any indication, it is probably phenomenal! I cannot say enough positive things about this book; it’s high-adrenaline, fast-paced and has a lot of fantastic plots twists that surprised the heck out of me…in the very best of ways. This story is painstakingly-weaved to keep the reader guessing and I, as a sceptic, still didn’t see any of the major plot twists coming which increased my interest in the story and clearly demonstrated the Author’s skill for writing awesome thrillers! I seriously couldn’t put this book down and I really didn’t want it to end; it’s a page turner so if at all possible, you’ll want to set a few hours aside for uninterrupted reading. All of the characters are well developed and felt all too human. Tim Blake’s love for his daughter Sydney, is a big part the story’s focus and also on the attempted search and rescue of his child from terrible cruelties and who knows what else if he can’t find her quickly enough. In the race against time, criminals (who are also searching for Syd) and the authorities, Tim pulls out all the stops and reveals the genuine depths of a father’s love. This story is very realistic, gritty and aggressive; there is some swearing and graphic violence that may offend some readers but these essential elements enhance the story immensely.
I very highly recommend this book to all thriller fans and to anyone who wants to try something exciting and new!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about Fear the Worst.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.linwoodbarclay.com/news.html

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.doubledaycanada.ca/

A special thanks to Random House Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Public Lies

Public LiesPublic Lies
Written by: Brenda Youngerman
Published by: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Date: July 2007
Pages: 300
Format: Perfect Paperback
ISBN: 978-1432712969

Public Lies resonates powerfully; a brutally-honest look at domestic violence.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Nancy thought she had married her Prince Charming. But six years later, she was on the run with her two young children, trying to escape her abusive, drug-addicted husband. In a new town, living under new names, the Cooper family begins life anew.
But as the years pass, Nancy’s children begin to question their mother’s motives for leaving. Her son’s constant recriminations fill her with guilt and give way to the thought that if they return home, maybe she can put things right. Returning to the place where her nightmare of a marriage began, she must now face a man whose days have been filled with twisted thoughts of revenge. As the court turns its back on her, her husband takes steps to punish her…as he always vowed he would.”

Public Lies is so incredibly realistic that it reads more like a biography then a fictitious story. This particular story has genuine, real-life implications; domestic abuse is all to prevalent in today’s society and Brenda Youngerman deserves a lot of credit for shining a light on a such serious issue by writing a story that lays bare many of the realities and misconceptions surrounding this type of abuse. The story of Nancy and Vince Cooper follows their lives as drug, alcohol and physical abuse turns a blissfully happy family into an endless nightmare. Nancy needs to keep her children safe and goes to great lengths to accomplish it; not every woman is as lucky. Some women have nowhere to turn and no one to ask for help! The narrative pulses with raw emotion; the fear, anger and hate threaten to overwhelm a mother’s love for her children and jeopardize their safety. The plot is skilfully woven to add realistic depth and patterns to the story. This is not a book for the faint of heart as it contains a fair amount of swearing and many vicious threats against Nancy and those who aid her; it is vulgar, but it lends more credibility to the story and characterizations.

Driving usually calmed her down. Not tonight …Not now … Not this time.
She was running from the horror, the evil, the unimaginable.
I’m being followed. I know I am. He’s watching every move I make. There is no way I’m going to escape without his knowing. He’ll find me.

There were moments when I wanted to shake Nancy for some of the stupid choices she makes but this too is part of an authentic abuse cycle; many times, victims of abuse can’t see what’s best for them because they live in fear of reprisal and are in to deep. I’ve really enjoyed reading this book because it stands for something and doesn’t sugar-coat domestic violence; I read it cover to cover in one day!
I very highly recommend this book!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
 

Read more about Public Lies.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.brendayoungerman.com/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.outskirtspress.com/

A special thanks to Brenda Youngerman for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Kill for Me

Kill for MeKill_For_Me
Book 3 of 3
Written By: Karen Rose
Published By: Grand Central Publishing a division of Hachette Book Group, 2009, First Edition, 422 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-0446510301

Kill for Me is a dark thriller that explores the terrifying world of online predators and sex trafficking; it’s gritty, intense and fiendishly-satisfying!”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Five teenage girls have been viciously attacked. One survived. Only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.
Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own personal reasons. The investigation leads them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask his or her identity. They soon discover a chain of deception so intricate they don’t know whom to trust. Finding comfort in each other’s arms, they begin to unravel the intricately knotted threads, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and won’t hesitate to take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact. When Susannah proves to be inexplicably linked to the crimes, her life is soon in danger, and Luke will do everything he can to save the woman he loves.”

Kill for Me is fast-paced; a page turner that keeps you guessing until the end! I was really pleased with this story because it gave me a lot of clues, yet I STILL wasn’t able to pick out one of the killers; I was stunned when the main villain was revealed. This book reads like a block-buster movie and I for one, would like to see it adapted to film…this is a movie that I would go to the theatre to see! There were some shocking and unexpected plot twists and some very typical ones for a book in this genre. The love scenes, though few and far between, were very intense and highly sensual. I would have liked a little more graphic detail in some of the scenes as it would have made the story that much more realistic and would have pulled the reader deeper into the book. The characters are well developed, each with a distinct personality that sometimes left a bad taste in my mouth; I wanted the bad guys to meet a terrible end and hoped for the good guys & gals to win the day. Luke Papadopoulos is strong and steadfast, yet he is very vulnerable because of the atrocious content that he is exposed to in his line of work; his sense of failure and his powerlessness hangs over him like a dark cloud. Susannah Vartanian has secrets from her past that have come back to haunt her; her tough outer facade begins to crumble under the weight of the investigations and during the search for victims; for those who might have been spared had she been braver in the past. Can Luke and Susannah work with the investigative team to unravel the mysteries surrounding the kidnapping and trafficking ring or will they become ensnared in the deceitful web of lies and become targets themselves? You’ll have to read it to find out!
I highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s Website:
 http://www.karenrosebooks.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Afraid (ARC)

Afraidafraid
Written By: Jack Kilborn
Published By: Grand Central Publishing, 2009, First Edition, 384 pages, mass market paperback
ISBN 978-0446535939
(Available NOW!)
Top Pick

Afraid is a horrifying nightmare come true; if you dream of winning the lottery, all I can to say is BE CAREFUL what you wish for…”

Product Description – Amazon.com
“Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force. Until now . . .
A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying. Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. As residents begin dying in a storm of gory violence, Safe Haven’s only chance for survival will rest with an aging county sheriff, a firefighter, and a single mom. And each will have this harrowing thought: Maybe death hasn’t come to their town by accident . . .”

Afraid is a fantastic book; I just couldn’t put it down! The fast-paced plot and emotion-driven story is very convincing; it’s so fiendishly nauseating that it makes your skin crawl! The suspense is palpable and the atmosphere is rife with tension and fear; just what you would expect from a book with a title as simple, yet powerful, as Afraid. When the action starts it just keeps on coming. With an eerie sense of dread, the reader will be drawn into this skilfully woven story and gripped by the horrifying events that take place in the quiet little town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin. This novel is jam-packed with high-tension that escalates with murder, torture, cannibalism and more! The evil that infests this town is written with such intensity and zeal that you can’t help but loathe them; they are the reason we should be afraid of the dark. I sure double checked my door and window locks last night; not that it would have helped me…or anyone in Safe Haven. Will the ever spreading malevolence consume the whole town; or can the people of safe haven fight back and win the day?
I very highly recommend this book!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.jakonrath.com/kilborn.htm
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy