When a Killer Calls by John E. Douglas

4.5 stars Nonfiction Crime

It was a circus performance. Standing trial, the case was held in court but his performance before those in attendance, was more like a show.  He was a performer, putting on quite a show for all those in attendance.  He’s proud, he’s bold, he’s talking in circles.  He’s been careful, precise, and patient so what’s with this performance?  Are we seeing just another side of Bell that he tried to keep hidden.   


This book was a very comprehensive look into this case. From the police, the family, and other individuals close to the case, I got a detail look at this case.  Beginning from day one, they discover that Shari’s disappearance might be tied to a similar case (Debra May) and Bell might be another serial killer.  This book left no stone unturned as Bell might be tied to other disappearance as they start to link similar ties together and we see Bell lose his composure. I liked how the book gave a lot of details as I felt I was a part of the team, doing the research with them.  Each evening, as the family waited to hear from Shari or her abductor, my frustration grew.  This family is being strung along, how could they be so patient and composed?  How were the authorities ever going to catch this guy when he’s being so careful?  When the FBI started to link other cases to him, why?  What led him on this journey?  I thought this was a long book to read when I picked it up but I did find it interesting and engaging and it was a 4.5-star read for me.  I want to thank NetGalley, Scene of the Crime, and Dey Street Books for my copy of this book that I received in exchange for my own honest opinion.  This review in my own opinion.  #WhenaKillerCalls #NetGalley

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

4.25 stars Mystery

This was better than I anticipated. I listened to this book on a Playaway and I liked the character of Wilde.  He was the boy who they had found in the woods and although he was a bit different than anyone else, I thought he used that to his advantage.  I thought this book might be more about him but it had to do with him and a case that he was working on.  Wilde knew people judged him on his past but he knew things that others didn’t. Wilde didn’t try to shine in front of others yet he also didn’t let others walk on him- he held himself up and he did what he thought needed to be done.  He got the job done like a professional.

Wilde is asked to help search for a young girl who has disappeared.  I thought it was interesting why they asked for Wilde’s help but with some professional background he knows the protocol and he definitely knows the area.  Wilde’s actions and demeanor reminded me of crafty spy.    

When I first started to listen to this audio, I got a bit confused and had to replay the first couple chapters but then, I got on Wilde’s team.  His voice on the audio was exactly what I thought he would sound like too.  I saw that this was a series so I now have to listen to the sequel to see what happens.  4.25 stars

The Maid by Nita Prose

5 stars Fiction

Holy Mogoly!  I loved this book!!  I thought this book was super good!  I loved how Molly threw herself into her work.  I loved how devoted she was to everything she did and how committed she was even though others didn’t feel the same way she did.  I know that many individuals have already spoken about this book so I will tell you that I listened to this book and I couldn’t stop.  I felt for Molly as she made her way through her day doing the same thing, picking up after people, but loving the satisfaction she got for doing a great job at it.

Molly loved getting praised or someone noticing her (although not everyone does) and she enjoyed her friendships, although it was a shame, she didn’t have many.  To Molly, even just a quick hello or a few minutes of conversation was something and she was very observant. 

When she finds Mr. Black in his room dead, I imagined what Molly must have done but her mannerism felt off to me as she replayed the events for the authorities.  Was it shock or something else?  One of her favorite guests and now, he’s gone.  How the hotel employees and other guests come into play becomes a dance as they file in and out of Molly’s life.    Molly, ole Molly…what happened inside Mr. Black’s room?

The Other Family by Wendy Corsi Staub

4 stars Mystery

There was a lot to figure out in this book.  Does a vacant house troubled with the history of an unsolved triple homicide sound appealing to you?  I would think that most individuals would have done some type of research before buying such a home.  Let me introduce Nora, Keith and their family.  This husband and wife packed up their California home, along with the 2 teenage daughters, their dog and they found such a house in Brooklyn. Trying to grasp why this family would make such a move was just the beginning of my inquiries as the mysteries grew the minute this family took possession of their new home.

Told from a variety of viewpoints, I found this family a bit different.  Nora doesn’t waste much time after the move to sneak off and privately use her phone to call Teddy.  Who this Teddy is, I had no idea, but their conversation sure was close and personal. Who is Teddy?  Their daughter Stacey enjoys true crime and once the whole family becomes aware of the home’s history, Stacey becomes obsessed with it.  She was definitely into figuring things out including who the individual was, that she’s saw watching their house.  Individuals get introduced and strange things start to occur that I needed to straightened out.  How did this all pertain to the storyline?  I liked how some of the characters were able to make some discoveries on their own and how they acted sensible and clever instead of being crazy and stumbling around.  There were a few parts in the book that were slow but I did enjoy trying to figure out the various mysteries in the book.  I also thought that the ending of the book was rushed and cut-off, it just didn’t fit, compared to how the rest of the book was written.  The ending was a big disappointment.  4.0 stars

I received a copy of this book from Scene of the Crime Early Read, Harper Collins, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar

4 stars Mystery

Written like true crime but truly fiction, I fell for this book quite a few times while I was reading it and I could’ve sworn that what I was reading had actually occurred.  With the addition of the photographs, it was hard not to lean towards true crime as the authorities tried to find their serial killer and the body count kept creeping up.

I enjoyed the concept behind how the author put the book together.  I liked how the author put the book together so it read like a true crime novel. I know that I checked the genre on this book at least a couple times just like I checked Daisy Jones and the Six when I read that book.  These stories play tricks with us, they want us to believe them but then, where is the memory of such events in our heads?

I was looking forward to some impressive reading when I picked up this book after looking at the title and the synopsis, as it sounded scary and intense. After reading this book though, I felt disappointed.  I enjoyed the book but I guess with all the glowing reviews, the title and the synopsis, I was expecting something grander.  I guess I was expecting it to be a I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-this-book, with me sitting on the edge-of-my-seat and the words just flying across the page.  There were also moments where I felt the author gave me information just to give me information, where I grew bored.   I wanted to be scared and I wanted to devour this book. There were moments of mystery, intense and bizarre activity but nothing that frightened or alarmed me.

I wanted to know who was killing these young girls.  I needed to know what sick individual would then, take the time to pose their victim’s mutilated dead bodies for others to find.  Why? What was the purpose? With a fantastic cover and a unique style of writing, this book is by an author who has some amazing talent.  4 stars

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

5 stars ! Fiction

I loved, loved this book!!  What a great story.  It was the way that these two fathers bounded and how they came to terms with who they really were.  It was the way they decided that they’d had enough and that they want to settle the score, no matter the cost.  The way that these fathers came to realize that they’d made mistakes and that there was no do-overs and that they could now only, move forward in life. These fathers became a team yet they were working alone, working for each of their sons and for themselves.

Each of these fathers had some history in the system, history that left an impression on them.  They didn’t want a return visit so they tried not to leave a trail as they do their investigation.  Their sons had met in college although they grew up not far from one another.  They died together, both murdered and the case is now, inactive. 

The fathers have some issues that they must come to terms with before they can move forward, big issues that will impact themselves and the feelings that they have towards their children.  It was the marriage between their sons, this gay marriage, the unity between a white man, Derek to Isiah, a black man that left the two fathers seeking answers and justice.

Wow, these two fathers were pulling out everything they had to find the answers.  I liked how they took charge although, it scared me a few times how gusty they were.  I was worried that one of them would be killed but then, it felt like someone/something would save them and they would live for another day.  I enjoyed how the two of them talked to one another, it felt realistic and sometimes, the heat between them was smoking.  I really enjoyed this book and there was some book hangover with this one.  5 stars!!!

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

4.5 stars Mystery

What exactly was going on? She left him lying there, as she hurried down to the proper floor where her own workspace was waiting for her.  There was so much blood, she knew that Michael was dead.  Ellice had to pretend like nothing had happened.  They’d been meeting up for a while and no one knew of their relationship.  Michael paid her well and they both were happy.  They were both lawyers, except Ellice was the only black lawyer in the firm and Michael was married. 

Ellice was good at pretending that she knew nothing about what happened that morning.  As the police and emergency personal arrive at the office building, Ellice tries to stay calm yet inside she’s a nervous wreck.  When invited into the CEO office, she feels her days are over and yet, she can’t believe her ears when they offer her Michael’s job.  What?!  Instantly, I think this is a set-up.  I’m cautious of everyone, why would they do that and who would do it?  Then, Ellice hears that it’s a racially motivated move to place her in Michael’s position, which makes sense since there’s some tension on their doorstep.  Yet, this doesn’t make sense to me and why kill him? 

I liked how Ellice didn’t accept what individual were telling her and she downed her private detective tools and she started her own investigation.  She actually made a great detective as she explored every lead and she pursued every little trail she found.  I found that in the middle of the book, it got a bit slow for a while but then, it picked back up in speed and the book’s conclusion was brilliant. In the end, what she uncovered was some twisted account with a lot of different pieces attached to it.  It was quite the discovery.  This book was an entertaining mystery that I enjoyed.  4.5 stars  

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Scene of the Crime Facebook website.

Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey

4 stars Mystery

This was dark.  I felt as I was reading this novel that I was being led down different paths, roads that never really connected to one another till later in the book. I knew immediately when Emma left Abigail at the party that she had made the wrong choice.  The beer is flowing freely, the bonfire is hot and the guests are ready to party.  Abigail leaves Emma behind as she walks off into the woods with the boy.  Abi tells her friend that she’ll be fine and that, she’ll find a ride home later.  Abigail never made it home that night.

So, where is Abi?  To answer that question, we’ll need to time travel and return to “Then” and get some history on our characters. Throughout this book, you’ll be rotating time periods from “then” and “now”, so don’t lose track of where you are. 

Welcome to Whistling Ridge, a small community, where not-even the preacher was honorable.  It seemed as if every citizen has a secret side of themselves, a side that only a few others see.  That hidden side can hold many different attributes and, in this town, it holds a great number.  From prejudices, abuse, phobias, anger and lying, these are just some of the issues that you’ll find on their city blocks.  I really find it interesting how all these individuals can live together in one small community and they can actually exist with one another. With everything that is dividing our country now, how can such a small town have such a high number of issues and still function as a community?  The history of these individual play a major role as they investigate where Abi went.

I, myself have never lived in a small town but my grandparents did when I was growing up and I visited there quite frequently. My grandfather owned the general store in town and we’d see lots of folks stop in.  I don’t remember hearing or hearing my grandparents talk negatively about their neighbors.  Perhaps, it depends on where you live and perhaps, they kept that information away from my ears.  I seem to gravitate towards dark stories and this one definitely checked that box, while also keeping me engaged and energized.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams

4.5 stars Thriller

Given the evidence, I’d have done exactly what Lena did when she was notified that her twin sister had committed suicide.  Sure, Cambry wasn’t completely stable but Lena feels that she knows her sister and that she wouldn’t commit suicide.  Cambry was supposed to be taking a break from life, traveling, living in her car, enjoying the world around her so, why would she suddenly decide to end her life by jumping off a bridge?  Then, there’s the police report.  This piece of paper raises too many red flags for Lena.  Why hasn’t anyone else questioned this record?  Do they understand all the phone calls Cambry made?  What about Cambry’s last message, what did she mean by that?  Was it just a coincidence, the contact between Cambry and the same highway patrolman before and after her death?  This was one intense read and I wanted needed to know the answers.

As Lena meets Reymond Raycevic on Hairpin Bridge, she wants the full account of what occurred between Reymond and her sister, when the two of them came into contact.  As Lena listens, the Montana Highway Patrolman comes off irritated for having to repeat this but nevertheless, he gives Lena what she wants.  Whoops!  Better slow down Mr. Patrolman, you might just not want to be so overconfident.  This is getting good as Lena is a great listener and she’s paying close attention to everything that he’s saying. She’s not giving up until she knows the truth and she’s not putting any trust in the words on the typed-up police report.      

Another fantastic book by Taylor Adams, an exciting pursuit that had me turning the pages way past my bedtime!  I received a copy of this book from Scene of the Crime Early Read Program in exchange for an honest opinion, thank you for sending me this book. 

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

5 stars Mystery

What a terrific book by Tudor!   This was my third book from this author and she never fails to amaze me.  From the beginning pages, the story had my curiosity as Jack and her teenage daughter are relocated by Bishop Durkin.  I didn’t know what to think as the reverend and her daughter were transferred to the small community of Chapel Croft.  As the Bishop talks to Jack about this move and he mentions that Jack will be leaving behind the police observations, the crime scene and her angry congregation, whatever Jack did, it sounds pretty serious.  The Bishop felt that this would-be Jack’s best option yet, as I read the book, this was supposed to a good option?  I guess I wouldn’t want to know, what the Bishop thought were bad options.   

When the mother and daughter arrived at their new community, it’s not all that promising.   What happened that first day, should have told them something but I guess the reverend is used to drama.  The pair was met by a pair of Burning Girls at their gate, Jack later find a gift that was left for her.  Upon opening this gift, Jack finds she was gifted an exorcism kit and later, as their first visitor approached them, they realized that she was covered in blood.   Welcome to Chapel Croft.

I liked how the book unraveled itself.  I was interested in Jack’s past yet as the book progressed, there were other more intense issues at hand now.  It felt as if Jack was trying to separate herself from her past and start anew, as she wasn’t saying much about what happened.  As they arrived into Chapel Croft, they were pulled inside Chapel Croft and the events that surrounded this small community.  Jack had seen the small church and she thought that it needed to be revived but she didn’t really know the church’s history nor the people who resided in the town.   Jack was trying to distance herself from one horrible scene in her past and then, she ends up walking right into another one.  As Jack tries to make sense of what has just been uncovered, she realizes that her past is never really gone.   There were plenty of twists inside this book, and they were amazing as the stories unfolded. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine in exchange for an honest opinion.  Thank you for my copy.