Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

On Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, pretty, young law student, Becca Eckersley, died. Why did somebody take her life in such a passionate way? And why are the state police tight-lipped about any details surrounding Becca’s Murder?

Kelsey Castle, True Crime book author and journalist for Events Magazine, has just returned to work prematurely after a six-week leave-of-absence, having survived her own, as yet undisclosed, traumatic life event. Her boss informs her that he’s sending her to Summit Lake, a small town in the foothills of the beautiful blue ridge mountains of NC, to formulate a story about what might have happened to Becca.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Rewind fourteen months and we are introduced to Becca’s three best friends, and then we’re given a sequential account of Becca’s daily activities which consequently led to her demise. At the same time, Kelsey Castle is tracing Becca’s steps in Summit Lake; questioning her acquaintances, friends and significant others in an attempt to learn more about the girl that she’s becoming psychologically attached to. As she digs deeper into Becca’s life, she unmasks secrets, coverups and deceptions that just might explain what caused Becca’s death.

This book was perfect for me. It had just the right amount of mystery and suspense, and a more subtle thriller factor which I personally prefer. I really appreciate it when an author can create an amazing story without having to resort to needless shock value content in the way of excessive foul language, gratuitous violence or explicit sex scenes. Charlie Donlea accomplished this in a skillful way. There were a couple of unexpected twists that had me like …

Yup, I couldn’t believe it. Totally caught me off guard. I love it when an author can pull that off successfully.

This book was excellent. I was impressed, kept in anxious anticipation of what would happen next, and would jump at the chance to read another mystery/suspense book by Charlie Donlea. Highly recommended.

And finally, below is a trailer for Summit Lake.  Thanks, as always, for stopping by Cozynookbks.  Have a great week.

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Review: Come Sundown

Come Sundown
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A member of the Bodine family, Alice Bodine, has been missing for 25 years prior to the opening of the story. During the time she’s been gone, The Bodine Ranch and Resort, resided on by four generations, has grown into a thriving enterprise. Alice Bodine’s name is scarcely mentioned by the family because of the differing opinions regarding her hasty departure from their Montana home. On the day she left at age 18, leaving behind no more than a scribbled goodbye note, it was her sister’s wedding day. The family heard from her from time to time at first, and then nothing for decades. Little do they know that Alice was on her way back to Bodine Ranch three years after she left, but was abducted and held captive for 25 years. When she’s found, the entire family welcomes her back, sympathetic to her plight, and does everything in their power to help rehabilitate Alice. While her progress is slow initially, she begins to gradually come around and relief is felt by everyone. But the mystery of who abducted and brutally mistreated Alice for so many years still remains. Could the individual who took her be responsible for the deaths of two other young women who were found on Bodine property? Will Alice’s abductor be back to exact revenge on her for getting away from him?

Come Sundown was outstanding!! The parallel plot structure, excellent character development and amazing Northwest setting kept me engaged in the story. Getting a peek into life on a working ranch and resort in Montana was an educational experience that I enjoyed because it was formerly unfamiliar to me, and I loved learning so much about it, as well as the western part of the U.S.—the recreational activities there, the lingo, cowboys, horses, the humor and attire were all fascinating and fun lessons that will stay with me for a long time. The close-knit Bodine family and the camaraderie they shared was a true highlight, and anyone who reads this book is sure to be taken in by the endearing characters, especially the cowboy, Callen Skinner, whose gentlemanly ways and boyish charm won me over. By the time I was finished with the book I was ready to take a trip to Montana.

I highly recommend this book to those who would enjoy a romance/thriller. Excellently written and difficult to put down, Nora Roberts delivers with Come Sundown. This was my first Nora Roberts book, and now I know what all the hoopla’s about. She’s an amazing storyteller.

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and in exchange I have provided an honest review. The free ARC in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions of the book.

 

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Review: Pretty Baby

Pretty Baby
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Heidi Wood can’t stop thinking about the homeless teenager with the little baby, so she eventually, and without consent from her husband Chris, decides to bring them home where her husband and 12-yr old daughter Zoë live. Chris and Heidi differ on their views regarding cohabitating with this strange girl, Willow Greer, and her infant. Pretty Baby is presented from the point of view of the three main characters: Heidi, Chris and Willow.  The Wood family are not privy to Willow’s past. They don’t even know if Willow is her real name. When we hear from Willow’s perspective we learn that she came from a loving family but was orphaned, separated from her younger sister Lily, and placed in a foster home where she was abused by the husband of the couple that took her in, Joseph and Miriam Zieger. Although Joseph continually abuses Willow he manipulates her into believing that she’s a bad girl if she doesn’t relent to his commands, and that god will punish her for disobeying. She feels helpless and confused, trying to do what she can to alleviate her situation by cooking and doing chores for the family (which also consists of the Zieger’s two boys) to appease Joseph, while also helping the wife to bathe and dress since she suffers from severe mental illness and barely functions. Pretty Baby starts in the present, but Willow’s testimony gives us the backstory of how she winds up homeless with an infant. As the story moves forward we see the Wood family dynamic deteriorating as Willow and the baby become a lingering presence much to the dismay of Chris and Zoë. Heidi puts her own needs ahead of her family, advocating that the two guests stay as long as she determines. But is it really the two that she wants to stay?

I really liked how the author built the story. There were plot twists that I didn’t foresee and that intrigued me as the book climaxed to culminate in a very satisfying, psychologically thrilling outcome. As the story progressed it just got better and better. And although I am not one to read a lot of thriller type books, this one was what I would consider a milder version which was more my speed.

Pretty Baby was a hit with me and I recommend it to those who have a penchant for psychological thrillers.

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Review: Hunted

Hunted
Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Evelyn Baine, special agent and FBI profiler extraordinaire is on the hunt for a particularly cold-blooded, sadistic serial killer who displays his victim’s bodies from the neck up in the deep woods for his own pleasure.   Identifying this violent and demented killer won’t be easy for a petite, mixed-race woman working amidst a male-dominated investigation team that treats her more like a newbie than the skillfully trained, ardent and proficient professional that she is.  Her determination in catching these criminals can be attributed to the loss of her best friend, Cassie, who was abducted and never found nearly seventeen years ago. But now Evelyn is the one being Hunted, and this monster is intent on adding her to his list of victims.
This evenly paced, cleverly crafted thriller kept me interested throughout. I was intent on finding out how Evelyn would escape her fate of winding up like the victims before her.  The ending had me flipping pages faster than I could count!!  I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for thriller/suspense lovers everywhere. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, VANISHED.  Thank you Elizabeth Heiter for a copy of this book. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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