It seems that Tuesdays are the day for new books! June has been killer for great new releases for summer, and I was not disappointed by any of these ones out today!
THE FOURTH MONKEY – JD Barker: 5/5 stars!
The eye catching cover paired with the description, “Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs” – there’s no way I wasn’t going to read this book. My first novel by JD Barker, THE FOURTH MONKEY was quite the way to start with his work. Dark, twisty, and gruesome – this is the perfect thriller for any horror and suspense fans out there.
Detective Sam Porter is woken up by a phone call – there’s been an accident and he needs to come to the scene. Considering he works in homicide, Porter is confused but amuses his partner and goes. A man was hit by a bus, but this wasn’t just any man, they believe that he is the Four Monkey Killer. The 4MK is a serial killer that had terrorized the Chicago area for half a decade and was never caught. He followed a very specific formula, and with the body, Porter finds a white box wrapped with a black string. He has another victim, another victim that could still be alive.
Not only do they find the package on his person, but they also recover a personal diary from the killer. Since his face was mangled in the bus crash, they still have no idea who he is. Porter takes the diary with him as they fight to find the next victim. You dive into the mind of a psychopathic killer. Through his diary he continues to taunt the detectives while giving very minimal clues as to who he has taken.
I loved this book. So twisted, gory, and fast paced. We go through alternating narrators in this story. The diary entries are my favorite – I found myself reading faster so I could get to those chapters! I really liked how the killer got his name. Not going to lie, when I saw the title I was thinking, “how the hell does someone get that as their nickname?” The whole, Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil monkeys come into play. He would first send an ear, then the eyes, the tongue, and then the body would be found with a note that read, Do No Evil (the Fourth Monkey).
This was my first time reading anything by JD Barker, and it definitely will not be my last! I love his style of writing. The short chapters made this read even faster. It was the perfect amount of twisted and demented for a serial killer thriller. Porter and his partner Nash were incredibly likable. Porter’s backstory was effortlessly weaved into the story, which made his character seem even more human. If you like the thrillers where you dive into the mind of the killer and that isn’t too heavy on the typical police procedural, then I’d highly recommend this one!
EVERY LAST LIE – Mary Kubica: 5/5 stars!
This was my first Kubica book, and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about her writing. I received a copy of her newest book EVERY LAST LIE and dove right into it without knowing much about it. I was not disappointed and I’m looking forward to reading her other books!
Clara Solberg’s world completely changes in an afternoon when her husband and 4 year old daughter are in a horrific car crash. The crash killed her husband, Nick, while her daughter, Maisie, was completely unharmed. The crash was ultimately ruled as an accident, but in the weeks following the crash Maisie starts having night terrors about a bad man coming for them. This causes Clara to try and find out what really happened that day of the crash.
So many questions in her search for what happened to Nick. Who would want him dead? Why would they want him dead? Why was Maisie unharmed? As she dives deeper into the search for the truth, she uncovers twisted secrets and deceit along the way.
Kubica writes in the alternating perspectives – Clara present day and then Nick in his last months leading to the car crash. I’ve always loved this style of writing because it answers questions as you go or explains events in a unique way. The characters were incredibly well-developed and Kubica does an incredible job weaving these stories and making the reader never stop guessing. I couldn’t guess the ending even if I tried! So many new theories and an interesting look into the mind of a grief stricken widow. One thing I also liked about this story is that it was completely plausible. This event could definitely happen and nothing was too outlandish. That makes it have an eerie feel.
I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future! If you want a good psychological thriller that will keep you guessing, then this is the book for you.
THE BIRDWATCHER – William Shaw: 4.5/5 stars!
This novel is set in the Kent marshlands, where William South both works and lives. South works for the police force as a detective, yet he gets anxious when he is asked to take part in a murder investigation. Not only will this interfere with his hobby as a dedicated Birder, but William is also a murderer.
When he discovers that he knows the victim – his neighbor, Bob Reyner, who would frequently join him in watching birds at the reserve close by. Why was such a gentle, soft spoken man such as Bob Reyner killed so brutally? The nature of the murder reminds William of his childhood and violent past. We find out within the first couple pages why he labels himself as a murderer.
To make matters worse, he is partnered with Alexandra Cupidi, a sergeant who just arrived from the Met to assist in the investigation. The main person of interest is someone from South’s childhood – with the victim being the only connection to South’s crime years ago. He must now work tirelessly to keep his personal connections to not only the past, but also to the victim, a secret.
THE BIRDWATCHER is British crime fiction to its core. I really enjoyed the bleakness of the story – the characters, the location, and the murder. Shaw did a great job developing and creating the characters. William South is a diligent and methodical man, Alexandra is vivacious and troubled as she raises her teenage daughter, Zoe, on her own. The relationships between the characters are incredibly unique.
If you’re looking for a slow burn, police procedural, British crime fiction novel, then I’d highly recommend this one! I really enjoyed Shaw’s writing style and I’ll be looking for more from him.
THE CAFE BY THE SEA – Jenny Colgan: 4.5/5 stars!
Flora is a quiet Scottish woman who left her hometown behind, the island of Mure, for the busy streets of London. She wanted to, not only, escape her past but to live with some anonymity for a change. While in London she’s been working as a paralegal and has made a few friends, but she can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to love. Perhaps this is because she’s hopelessly in love with her boss.
One day, her brother calls her out of the blue and requests that she returns home to help with Colton Rogers. Flora had not been home since she suddenly left years before after the death of her mother. Her strained relationships with her brothers and father are very present when she arrives back home. Colton Rogers is an American that had purchased property on the northern end of the island with intentions of building a resort. With her help, he realizes that he must get to know the locals of this small island and experience what they do.
It was definitely fun getting to meet the locals and see all of their stories unfold. The relationships between Flora and her family were incredibly realistic. Real issues, real obstacles to overcome, real solutions and learning to live with each other again, and all with a lighthearted element to them. This was my first book by Colgan and I was amazed at how well she developed the characters and the relationships between them all.
This book as something that everyone will enjoy. Family, a little bit of romance, humor, and lots of amazing food – Flora cooks for her family and the locals and she uses her mother’s old cookbook. These recipes helped bring the family together again and gave them that sense of belonging. Her passion for cooking turns into her eyeing up an old cafe by the sea that needs some restoring.
This is perfect for summer and should be added to anyone’s beach reading list!
PART OF THE SILENCE – Debbie Howells: 4/5 stars!
This was my first novel by Debbie Howells and I really enjoyed her writing style. PART OF THE SILENCE was described as, “haunting and heartbreaking new psychological thriller about the distorted nature of reality, the unreliability of memory, and the enduring power of a mother’s love.”
When Evie Sherman was found in a field, battered and left for dead, authorities soon discover that she has absolutely no memory of who she is. The only thing she does remember? Her daughter, Angel, and that she believes she is in grave danger. To her horror, the police can find no evidence of her daughter’s existence.
A local woman, Charlotte, hears of Evie’s attack and thinks that she recognizes her from her childhood but not as Evie, as Jen. By no means were they close friends, but Charlotte remembered Jen being involved in a high profile kidnapping. One night, the child under Jen’s care had disappeared and was never found again. Charlotte decides to contact the police and becomes a link to Jen’s past to try to regain her memories.
Even though early on in the book I was able to figure out the who/why, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the entire read. Howells does an incredible job weaving the story and bringing the reader on a journey. Is Evie losing her mind? Why is she constantly hearing “Trust no one” going through her head daily? Who is she warning herself about?
While I figured it out early, there were still great twists and it kept me tense the whole time reading! If you want a well-written, twisty, and suspenseful domestic thriller, then this is the one you’ll want to pick up!
THE CHILD – Fiona Barton: 4/5 stars!
This is the year of anticipated sophomore novels! We had Paula Hawkins, BA Paris, and others coming out with their follow ups to their incredibly successful debuts, and that is no different with Fiona Barton. When I saw THE CHILD was coming out, I was very excited to win a signed ARC from Berkley!
In the middle of a house demolition the skeleton of an infant is found. Journalist Kate Waters jumps at the opportunity to cover this story – who is the building site baby? As she begins to investigate she comes across an incident involving a baby that was stolen from a hospital maternity ward decades ago. The parents, Angela and Nick, have been heartbroken and never gave up their tireless search for their child. She continues to dig deeper and her path crosses with Emma. Emma’s past and secrets are beginning to resurface – to haunt both her and her mother, Jude.
As Kate gets more and more into the story she begins to piece together all of the information, she finds herself in the middle of a web of secrets larger than she could have ever imagined.
I will say, right off the bat, I was very intrigued by the skeleton being discovered and trying to figure out what happened. Meeting the other women along the way and see how everyone is intertwined. Fiona Barton tells the story in multiple perspectives (which is a favorite of mine). This had very well developed characters and the reader is completely immersed in them and their lives. However, it did get very slow – I found this one harder to finish but I’m so glad I stuck with it until the end because that final twist was so worth it!
Overall, it was a great read and very character driven. It amazes me how well Barton was able to weave this entire story together and have it end the way that it did! If you’re looking for a fast pace, page turning binge read, then I’d probably say to skip this one.
I give this 4/5 stars! The ending brought it up from 3.5!
Thank you to all of the wonderful publishers for the copies in exchange for my honest reviews! I enjoyed them all and hope that you go pick up a few of these 🙂