The Wife List by J.A. Schneider

Publication Date: February 20, 2023

Description from Goodreads

Has a group of men conspired to murder each other’s wives – figuring their perfect alibis will save them? That is what Beth Kemp starts to suspect, but is she losing her mind? Her husband says he fears so…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’ll give this marriage one more try, Beth Kemp thinks. She is a successful crime writer in New York City, who regrets that tension has crept into her relationship with her husband, Brad. He too is a writer who, after early success, finds his career fading.

Brad urges that a move to the country would make them happy again – and safe, especially Beth, to avoid the city’s stress that triggers her severe asthma attacks. Beth wavers, until her close friend is murdered and the friend’s husband has a perfect alibi. She finally accepts that the city with its surging crime has become too hard for her.

The Kemps move to beautiful Sheffield, Connecticut, so perfect it seems too good to be true. It is. When one new friend cries in fear about her husband, and another has a bruise under her eye, Brad tells Beth that she’s overimagining. But when she hears of another wife’s unsolved murder and yet another friend dies mysteriously, Beth suspects the husbands of covering for each other. Brad tells her she’s getting crazy, paranoid.

Then Beth stumbles onto the most devastating shock of all, one she never imagined…

My Review

New York City is overrun with crime and Beth feels nothing but stress there. Not only is she second guessing remaining in her marriage but her asthma has been faring up more than normal. When a move to Connecticut does not help her paranoia, Beth is unsure what is happening. She suspects that there is a list of wives that are being murdered one by one and she does not want to be next.

It is hard to determine if Beth is an unreliable narrator if she really has something to fear. This is another great read from J.A. Schneider and I highly recommend it.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita

Description

A stranded detective tries to solve a murder in a tiny Alaskan town where everyone lives in a single high-rise building, in this gripping debut by an Academy Award–nominated screenwriter.

When a local teenager discovers a severed hand and foot washed up on the shore of the small town of Point Mettier, Alaska, Cara Kennedy is on the case. A detective from Anchorage, she has her own motives for investigating the possible murder in this isolated place, which can be accessed only by a tunnel.

After a blizzard causes the tunnel to close indefinitely, Cara is stuck among the odd and suspicious residents of the town—all 205 of whom live in the same high-rise building and are as icy as the weather. Cara teams up with Point Mettier police officer Joe Barkowski, but before long the investigation is upended by fearsome gang members from a nearby native village.

Haunted by her past, Cara soon discovers that everyone in this town has something to hide. Will she be able to unravel their secrets before she unravels?”

“Heralds the arrival of a major new talent.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“An offbeat, sharply written thriller.”—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

“The claustrophobic atmosphere in this unique one-building town, isolated by tunnels, weather, and secrets, builds a memorable debut crime novel.”—Library Journal, STARRED review

Northern Exposure meets Dexter in this clever thriller in which an isolated community is rocked by a twisted murder, increasingly dark secrets and the terrifying knowledge that the people they always thought they knew are now the ones they should fear the most.”

Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Step Too Far

“Iris Yamashita blasts into the world of crime fiction by doing something spectacular: introducing us to a totally unique location and sub-culture.  A compulsive page-turner that’s both atmospheric and claustrophobic at the same time.” —C.J. Box, #1New York Timesbestselling author ofShadows Reel  

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano

Publication Date: January 31, 2023

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

From USA Today bestseller and Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun—the hilarious and heart-pounding next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series.

“Fresh, heartfelt and witty, Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun is a twisty page-turner, and its relatable heroine Finlay Donovan is irresistible!” —Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series

Dating. Diapers. And dodging bullets. Who said single moms can’t have fun?

Finlay Donovan has been in messes before—after all, she’s an author and single mom who’s a pro at getting out bloodstains for rather unexpected reasons—but none quite like this. After she and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they may have “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob got her out of debt. But now Finlay owes them

Still running the show from behind bars, mob boss Feliks has a task for Finlay: find a contract killer before the cops do. Problem is, the killer might be an officer.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has started up a citizen’s police academy, and combined pressure from Finlay’s looming book deadline and Feliks is enough to convince Finlay and Vero to get involved. Through firearm training and forensic classes (and some hands-on research with the tempting detective), Finlay and Vero have the perfect cover-up to sleuth out the real criminal and free themselves from the mob’s clutches—all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

My Review

Book 3 in this series has Finlay participating in some “hands-on” training at a Citizen’s Police Academy. This was another fantastic story in Finlay’s messed-up world and I loved every minute of it. Vero is the best side-kick character and Finlay is so relatable when it comes to a single mom trying to make ends meet in whatever way possible.

I love this series and with the cliff- hanger ending of this one, I can’t wait for the next.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Den by Cara Reinard

Publication Date: December 13, 2022

Description from the Publishers

When the patriarch of the Fox family suffers from a heart attack, leaving behind a large inheritance, his four children (along with their long-time former housekeeper) can’t help but come together at his deathbed. Valerie, the eldest, hopes for the family reunion to be amicable, but everyone quickly realizes that the fewer of them there are, the bigger their share of the inheritance. Who will inherit the fortune? Who can be trusted? All these questions and more are explored in this can’t-miss domestic suspense. 

My Review

The inheritance angle is a trend in books right now and I am here for it. The only issue with that is that it is very easy to compare one book to another. I have recently read Daisy Darker and the entire Inheritance Games trilogy and was comparing this book to them the entire time.

There was a fairly large cast of characters in The Den and once in a while, I needed to think about who I was reading about. I did enjoy the story but I did see some of the twists coming. It was not my favorite of the inheritance trope but it was still a decent read. I give this book 3 crowns.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Killer Story by Matt Witten

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Description from Netgalley

How far will she go to catch the killer—and make her podcast a hit?

Petra Kovach, a talented and idealistic young reporter, is on the brink of being laid off from her third failing newspaper in a row. To save her job, she pitches the launch of a true crime podcast about a sensational, unsolved murder.

Years earlier, an alt-right YouTuber was killed in her Harvard dorm room, and the case went cold. Petra knew the victim—she was once her camp counselor and loved her like a little sister, despite their political differences.

Petra’s investigation gets off to a rocky start, as her promising leads quickly shrivel up. In her passionate quest for justice—and clicks—Petra burns sources and breaks laws, ultimately putting her own life on the line. Even as her star rises, she worries it could all come crashing down at any moment if her actions are exposed.

When her machinations start to backfire, there’s only one way to fix everything and solve the murder—even though it may cost her everything she loves.

Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben

My Review

This was a very interesting take on the podcast theme that has become popular in recent years. I like that Petra started a podcast in this novel in order to keep her job and was not part of an already established podcast. The plot twists definitely kept me guessing just as it did with Petra.

I enjoy Mitt Witten’s writing style and will continue to look out for more of his work.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the author through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

Following up her instant New York Times bestseller, A Flicker in the Dark, Stacy Willingham delivers a totally gripping thriller about a desperate mother with a troubled past in All the Dangerous Things.

One year ago, Isabelle Drake’s life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally.

Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.

Isabelle’s entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle’s past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust… including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

My Review

This was an interesting story about an infant that was taken from his crib without a trace in the middle of the night. His mother spoke at True-Crime conventions and was in almost constant contact with the police. As an insomniac with a troubled past, Isabelle can not be certain that she was not involved in her son’s disappearance.

I felt that the pacing of the story was a bit slow and at times I was bored but I did want to know the outcome so I kept going. Overall, I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

Publication Date: January 3, 2023

Description from the Publisher on Netgalley

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set at an Italian villa with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

My Review

I have read Rachel Hawkins’ previous 2 books and enjoyed them for the most part. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one but I was pleasantly surprised. Once I started this book, I could not put it down. I loved the multiple perspectives of this story. Weaved throughout the main narrative is the story of Mari from 1974 and news articles and transcripts for both time periods.

I can’t wait for this book to come out early next year to hear everyone’s thoughts.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Gone for Gouda by: Korina Moss

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

Things are going from gouda to bad to ugly for cheesemonger Willa Bauer in Gone for Gouda.

Yarrow Glen’s newest cheese shop, Curds & Whey, has a lot on its plate, but cheesemonger Willa Bauer relishes a challenge. There’s a float to build for the fall festival, plus the French-inspired cheese shop is playing host to celebrity vegan chef Phoebe Winston. But when photos surface that prove this vegan influencer is, in fact, a carnivore, things crumble faster than any cheese on the market: Phoebe is murdered. Willa’s employee, the affable Archie, was the last one to see Phoebe alive and the first person the police suspect. To clear his name Willa must uncover who’s been up to no gouda

My Review

This is book 2 in A Cheese Shop Mystery Series but I did not read the first book. It is not necessary to do so unless you want a bit more of a backstory on the characters. As this is a cozy mystery, enough information is given to be able to read this on its own.

This was s great fall read full of fall vibes and an interesting murder mystery. I love the character interactions and the fact that the main character owns a cheese shop. This was a lot of fun to read and I can’t wait to try out the recipes in the back.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Description

Amateur detective Mallory Viridian’s talent for solving murders ruined her life on Earth and drove her to live on an alien space station, but her problems still follow her in this witty, self-aware novel that puts a speculative spin on murder mysteries, from the Hugo-nominated author of Six Wakes.

From idyllic small towns to claustrophobic urban landscapes, Mallory Viridian is constantly embroiled in murder cases that only she has the insight to solve. But outside of a classic mystery novel, being surrounded by death doesn’t make you a charming amateur detective, it makes you a suspect and a social pariah. So when Mallory gets the opportunity to take refuge on a sentient space station, she thinks she has the solution. Surely the murders will stop if her only company is alien beings. At first her new existence is peacefully quiet…and markedly devoid of homicide.

But when the station agrees to allow additional human guests, Mallory knows the break from her peculiar reality is over. After the first Earth shuttle arrives, and aliens and humans alike begin to die, the station is thrown into peril. Stuck smack-dab in the middle of an extraterrestrial whodunit, and wondering how in the world this keeps happening to her anyway, Mallory has to solve the crime—and fast—or the list of victims could grow to include everyone on board….

Excerpt

STATION ETERNITY by Mur Lafferty
Ace Trade Paperback Original | On sale October 4, 2022
Excerpt

The kettle screamed its achievement of boiling water and Adrian jerked it off the element, wincing. He must have a hell of a headache, she thought. He retrieved a mug from his shelves above the sink and then a tea bag from a small basket on his counter. He went on with his tea-making ritual with his back to her.

Mallory grew tired of the silence. “Do you think Earth knows that someone else did the diplomatic negotiating? Think they’re sending someone to take your place?”

“Don’t bait me, Mallory,” he said quietly, picking up the mug in both hands and facing her. He inhaled the steam, eyes closed.

Mallory nearly said she hoped a new ambassador would offer their guests tea, but Adrian was pretty tightly wound right now. There was something alarming about the way he was keeping himself perfectly still, like a waiting snake. She mentally prepared herself to dodge a mug of boiling water if he let loose.

She cleared her throat. “May I also have some tea, please?” She asked it just the way her mother insisted she do when she was young.

He looked at her for a long moment as if he didn’t understand her words and then turned around, face still stony. Behind him, hanging below the shelves against the wall, was a wooden dowel. Slung over the dowel and secured with a thumbtack were about twenty used tea bags. He removed one and prepared her tea.

“An old tea bag? Really, Adrian?” she protested.

“I have to ration when I don’t know when I’ll get back home again,” he said woodenly. “If I’d known they were coming, I could have asked someone to bring me some more tea. I was denied that option.” He cleared his throat, and then his voice took on his smoother diplomatic tone. “About the incoming humans-it’s a good thing, Mallory. Trade will increase. Doctors will visit. Diplomats will come to make the situation better on Earth. We might get closer to negotiating for FTL technology. People will bring us news. Media. More books and games. I know you don’t like people, but it’s undeniable-“

She stopped him before he got into full diplomat monologue mode, holding up her hand. “Wait, wait, wait, you still think I don’t like people?” she echoed in disbelief. “Jesus, when are you going to believe me? I like people just fine. They just tend to not like me.”

He had the full diplomatic face on, and he smiled benignly and spread his hands in the classic way to defuse arguments without actually conceding. “What can I do to make things better? Can we find a compromise?”

“You can listen to me when I tell you that letting that shuttle dock will very likely result in someone getting killed,” she said, glaring at him from behind bangs that hadn’t been cut in three months. “You can go to your meeting and tell them to send the humans back home.”

“You knew this was what we were working toward, and it’s much bigger than you and your personal problems. This is a big step for humanity and long overdue,” he said patiently. “What if one of us humans gets appendicitis and there’s no one who understands human anatomy? Having humans on board who can handle our medical needs is good for both of us!”

She got to her feet. “If you won’t listen to me, I’ll ask for a meeting with the station folks. I can still get this changed.”

He shook his head slowly. “That’s not going to work. They’re not going to deny a new race access to the station based on one person’s paranoia. And if you succeed you will be responsible for single-handedly holding back humanity from scientific evolution. Do you want that on your tombstone?”

“If humans come aboard, we will be writing the epigraph for someone’s tombstone, but it won’t be mine,” she said, defeat weighing on her shoulders.

Nobody–really, nobody–believed murders “just happened” around Mallory.

After two years of college and four murders in six months, she had tried therapy.

Dr. Miller first said she’d seen too many murder mystery shows and didn’t believe her when she said she wasn’t a fan of them. Then he suggested possible paranoid schizophrenia. Or maybe just paranoia. She left the appointment with a prescription for brexpiprazole that she didn’t fill.

During her second appointment, Miller’s receptionist became number eight when she was murdered while Mallory and the doctor were arguing in the next room. When they discovered the body, Dr. Miller accused her instead of validating her, and then, when she obviously had a perfect alibi, refused to treat her further.

He didn’t appreciate her solving the crime either. Probably because the killer had been his own wife, who had been convinced he was sleeping with the victim.

She’d turned to religion next. She didn’t care which; she just made a list of places one could worship in Raleigh and rolled a die. Each holy leader she spoke with told her to trust in a variety of higher powers, give herself over to Christ, follow the Tao, meditate, pray, volunteer, whatever. They each thought she was presenting a troubled mind that their faith could focus, not a real problem. But she couldn’t just magically believe in something; she had trouble believing in what was actually happening in front of her.

“Miracles happen daily if we just open ourselves to it,” one priest had said while she was in confession. He hadn’t wanted to call it a miracle when, while hearing Mallory’s confession, a parishioner had been murdered in the church’s parking lot. The church had not admitted she was right; they instead accused her of orchestrating the crime. This was her ninth murder and she should have known better.

Excerpted from Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty Copyright © 2022 by Mur Lafferty. Excerpted by permission of Ace. All rights reserved.

The Fall Girl by Marcia Clark

Audio Narrated by Marcia Clark, Cathy Lepard

Description

Lives and lies are inextricably linked by a high-profile murder trial in The Fall Girl, the latest exhilarating legal thriller from bestselling author Marcia Clark.

When Charlie Blair left Chicago behind—and her old life as Lauren Claybourne—for a gig in the Santa Cruz DA’s office, things were supposed to be easier. Or at least nothing that a couple of Xanax and a tumbler of vodka couldn’t handle. The plan had been working, until the murder of a local bail bondsman Shelly Hansen.

Enter: hot-shot prosecutor Erika Lorman, she of the stellar record and unfailing touch with juries, a veritable legend in her own right. Fresh off the prosecution of celebrity chef Blake Steers, the newest resident of California’s penitentiary system and perhaps its most high profile, she’s thrust back into action alongside her new co-chair from the windy city and ready to do anything to put criminals behind bars.

But as the fevered search for answers intensifies and the hunt for a killer continues, secrets from the past threaten to undo not just the case—but Erika and Charlie, too. Expertly plotted and relentlessly paced, The Fall Girl will keep readers guessing until the very end.   

My Review

I am a fan of Marcia Clark’s works and was thrilled to see this as an audio ARC for review. In all honesty, I struggled with this as an audiobook even though it was partially narrated by the author. I felt a bit confused with all of the background characters’ names and backstories. I think that if I had read this physically, it would have flowed better.

I did enjoy the plot and hope that we get more from Erika and Charlie in the future.

I gave this audio edition 3 stars.

I received this Audio ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.