Last Lullaby – Detective Natalie Ward #2 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

A gripping and chilling thriller that will leave you wondering if anyone is who they claim to be. DI Natalie Ward and her team are back, this time on the hunt for a killer who beat a woman to death in her own home.

When the body of wife and mother, Charlotte Brannon, is found beaten to death by a baseball bat, Natalie seeks to find the truth about what really happened that evening.  With alibis that turn into lies flying around it is hard to get any story straight, but as the pieces of the puzzle begin to align is the real picture forming or is someone playing games?

With the discovery of a second body, DI Ward is on a race against time to track down the culprit and ensure that they can’t strike again.

A captivating mystery suspense that had me picking suspects all the way through and then discarding them as new information was revealed. Natalie is not shy in showing her frustration when the case is not going her way and her team are right behind her.  There is a great dynamic within this team and a connection that goes beyond simple work colleagues.  Natalie’s home life is still up and down, David is keeping secrets and blaming Natalie for just about everything. With home and work demanding more and more from her, Natalie seems on the edge of breaking point, lets hope someone will help her pick up the pieces if/when it happens.

Great series. Next in the series – The Dare

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Diana Croft

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she? 

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood. 

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up. 

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’ scrawled beside her. 

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show. 

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger. 

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever? 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42105401-last-lullaby)

The Birthday – Detective Natalie Ward #1 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

From the Author of the DI Robyn Carter Series comes a new detective who will stop at nothing to find her killer.

DI Natalie Ward and her team find themselves on the hunt for a child serial killer, two years after the disappearance of a young girl from a birthday party.  When the body of Ava Sawyer turns up at the very place she went missing it starts the hunt for her killer but, following the murder of two more girls from the same party, DI Ward finds her list of suspects is extensive.  Is the link between these murders the birthday party or is just a coincidence.  Time is running out and DI Ward must find the killer before another girl goes missing.

Natalie Ward is a completely different character to Robyn Carter.  She is married, although not entirely happily, with two teenage children.  Finding the balance between work and home is a struggle and when a big case turns up, home takes a backseat.  She is close to all her team and they work well together, despite the occasional bit of rivalry. I’m not one to condone infidelity but I’m also not one who believes that you should stay in an unhappy marriage (plus I quite like Mike), be interesting to see where this side of Natalie’s personal life leads.

Carol Wyer never fails to produce an intriguing story-line, well defined characters and captivating plot twists. The Birthday will have you postulating over suspects, speculating over alibis and  conjecturing over motives.  A fantastic murder mystery from one of my favourite mystery authors.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Diana Croft.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

When five-year-old Ava Sawyer goes missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre, the police are bewildered by the lack of leads. That is until two years later, when Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that ended very badly.

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40682386-the-birthday)

The Silent Children – DI Robyn Carter #4 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

DI Robyn Carter finds herself embroiled in secrets yet again when people start being murdered for no apparent reason.

When a man is found shot in his car, an investigation will lead DI Carter and her team to have to try to piece together the who, what, why and whereabouts of friends and family, in order to solve this case.  But as the team dig deeper more people are turning up dead and the links between them are tenuous at best.  Secrets and lies are in abundance but who can Robyn believe?  Red-herrings and misconceptions thwart the investigation at every turn.  What is everyone hiding and is it worth killing for?

Yet another page-turning, gripping mystery from one of my favourite mystery/thriller writers. The Then and Now sections that intersperse all of the DI Carter novels so far give the story more depth and the reader more intrigue.  Who is the ‘then’ referring too? Why does it impact on what is happening now?  It definitely creates more mystery for the reader whilst developing a backstory for the antagonist.

Robyn’s abilities to use her gut instinct where murders are concerned is getting her noticed with the higher-ups but she always ensures that her team receive the praise that they deserve.  I am really getting into the back story about Davies as well now.  Is he alive and stalking Robyn?  Where has he been for the last two years.  I really hope we find out soon.  I’ll be honest, I hope he does come back and, for whatever reason he had to disappear, Robyn forgives him and they actually get some happiness (Ok, so I’m a romantic at heart!) but I have a feeling we are a little way off that yet.

(I did actually read book 5 as an ARC before I started this series, so I have vague idea where it goes from here, but that was a while ago and I have resisted rereading what I put until I have listened to the audio version and can update it)

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Emma Newman.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this… 

Years later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed. 

Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint. 

Then a woman is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her stepdaughter’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies are connected, and has the killer only just begun? 

When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing. 

Buried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost? 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36266645-the-silent-children)

 

The Missing Girls – DI Robyn Carter #3 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

DI Robyn Carter and her team are up against the clock in this latest thriller by Carol Wyer.

Robyn’s expertise are called upon when a young girls body is found during a drugs raid on a warehouse.  When a second body is found, Robyn believes that the girls may have been killed by the same person despite the difference in circumstances.  With links on social media, online dating sites and train stations connecting the girls, the team have to work overtime to cover all areas and narrow down the list of suspects.

When Amélie’s best friend, Florence, starts exhibiting unusual behaviour, Amélie looks to Robyn for guidance but is it just teenage hormones or is there something more going on?  Robyn needs to find their killer before one more young life is wiped out.

On top of everything, Robyn is thrown into turmoil when she receives a surprise package. Is someone playing a trick on her or has she been lied too?

Due to the content of the story I found it interesting to listen to, mainly because I could relate it to having two teenagers of my own.  Admittedly they are both boys, however they are regularly attached to devices, normally with headphones, and as a parent there is a fine line between needing to know what they are watching and who they are talking to whilst still allowing them independence and privacy.

This is a very well-written, hard-hitting story about the consequences of our actions and the affect social media and online-sites can have on our lives.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Emma Newman.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

One girl found dead. Another girl gone…

Long shadows danced on the tin walls. Inside the trunk lay Carrie Miller, wrapped in plastic, arms folded across her ribcage, lips sealed tight forever…

When, a girl’s body is found at a Midlands storage unit, it is too decomposed for Detective Robyn Carter to read the signs left by the killer.

No one knows the woman in blue who rented the unit; her hire van can’t be traced. But as the leads run dry another body is uncovered. This time the killer’s distinctive mark is plain to see, and matching scratches on the first victim’s skeleton make Robyn suspect she’s searching for a serial killer.

As Robyn closes in on the killer’s shocking hunting ground, another girl goes missing, and this time it’s someone close to her own heart.

Robyn can’t lose another loved one. Can she find the sickest individual she has ever faced, before it’s too late?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35514147-the-missing-girls)

Secrets Never Die – Morgan Dane #5 by Melinda Leigh

REVIEW

Another case for Morgan and Lance that will set the heart racing and the pages turning as they race against time, bad guys and the weather to protect the life of one young man.

Morgan Dane, a defence lawyer, and her fiancé, Lance Kruger, a Private Investigator, find themselves embroiled in the case of a missing teen when the mother contacts Lance to help find him following the brutal murder of her husband.  As usual the Sheriff’s department are searching out the easy option but with Morgan looking into every suspect and following every lead the right person will be brought to justice.

I have a great fondness for Morgan and Lance as I’ve listened to their story unfold throughout each book.  From their reuniting in the first book to Lance’s proposal in the last one and now Morgan’s reluctance to set a date and her heart-to-heart with her Grandfather – it’s all very exciting! Lance is so good with Morgan’s girls and has taken them on as his own, I think it helps that they have pretty much taken him on as well, for the youngest he is essentially the only father she has known.

Lincoln Sharp is also getting in on the romance act.  It is nice to see him finding someone to share his time with and I think Olivia would make a good addition to investigative team if Sharp asked her.

A great story, exciting action-packed drama and wonderful characters.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Cris Dukehart

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

When a retired sheriff’s deputy is shot to death in his home, his troubled teenage stepson, Evan, becomes the prime suspect. Even more incriminating, the boy disappeared from the scene of the crime.

Desperate to find her son, Evan’s mother begs PI Lance Kruger for help. She knows her son is innocent. Kruger and defense attorney Morgan Dane want to believe that too, but the evidence against the boy is damning. Just as the trail goes cold, another deputy vanishes. His shocking connection to Evan’s stepfather throws the investigation into chaos as Lance and Morgan fear the worst…that Evan is the killer’s new target.

With so many secrets to unravel, will Lance and Morgan find him before it’s too late?

(https://melindaleigh.com/project/secrets-never-die/)

A Merciful Fate – Mercy Kilpatrick #5 by Kendra Elliot

REVIEW

Mercy and Truman are back in the thrilling fifth book in the Mercy Kilpatrick series.

A long forgotten mystery is unearthed when Ollie stumbles across a dead body in a shed.  As it is believed to be a perpetrator of a thirty year old armed-robbery the cold case ends up in Mercy’s hands.  When vandals start to focus on Bree and Sandy, two prominent figures in Eagle’s Nest, Truman wonders if the cases are connected but with silence from both women he struggles to provide the security they need.

I loved this story from start to finish.  All the main characters are included and as usual the unexpected happens.  It really is time that Mercy and Truman got married.  I want to see them achieve their HEA.  Rose and Nick are well on the way to theirs – Double Wedding?! Ollie plays a big part in this book and as a parent I feel for Truman when it comes to advising Ollie on the rights and wrongs of social behaviour, especially when it turns out that Ollie actually prevented something far serious from happening.

This series really should be read in order so as to obtain the most out of the characters and a good understanding of the overall background.

I listened to this via Audible and I feel that the narrator does a great job of bringing the characters to life and giving them their own personalities. Teri Schnaubelt narrates all the books in the series so there is a consistency throughout.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Raised by preppers, survivalist and FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick has a deep-rooted need for a safe place. Her getaway in the Cascade Foothills is her secret. But when skeletal remains are unearthed—those of a murdered man linked to a notorious heist—Mercy realizes she isn’t the only one with something to hide.

Thirty years ago, an armored-car robbery turned deadly. The mastermind was captured. Four conspirators vanished with a fortune. One of them, it appears, never made it out of the woods alive. For Mercy and her fiancé, Police Chief Truman Daly, their investigation opens old wounds in Eagle’s Nest that cut deeper than they imagined. Especially when a reckless tabloid reporter draws fresh blood. It’s clear to Mercy that somebody in this close-knit community is not who they seem to be.

Some are still shattered by the heist. Some still have reason to be afraid. But which one will kill again and again to hide three decades of secrets? To land this case, it’s up to Mercy to unmask a familiar stranger before someone else dies.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39888482-a-merciful-fate)

What I’ve Done – Morgan Dane #4 by Melinda Leigh

REVIEW

Fear-inducing and tear- inducing all in one exciting story.

Morgan Dane is finding it hard to work as a defence council, especially when she has clients like her current one. But when a friend of Sharp’s ask for their help to defend her daughter, Morgan and Lance will do everything they can to prove her innocence.

Morgan is one of my favourite female lead characters.  She is intelligent, caring and loves food! She also loves her family unconditionally.  Her Grandpa and three little girls are the backbone of her existence, with Lance being her shoulder of strength to lean on when times get hard.

Intrigue and suspense are in full flow in this story.  Hayley, who is being accused of murder, having been found covered in the blood of the victim and holding the murder weapon, has no memory of the nights events.  Morgan and Lance set out to investigate the night of the incident but in doing so ruffle some very uneasy feathers. As things heat up, especially for Lance, he and Morgan race to find the answers before it is too late.

Loved the ending, have tissues ready!

Rating 5/5

Listened to via Audible, Narrated by Cris Dukehart

 

Synopsis

Haley Powell wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the night before. When she sees a man lying in the backyard, stabbed to death, she has only one terrified thought: What have I done?

Agreeing to take the case as a favor to her PI friend Lincoln Sharp, Morgan must scale a mountain of damning circumstantial and forensic evidence to prove her client innocent. Haley couldn’t appear more guilty: her bloodstained fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and she has no alibi. But Morgan can’t shake the feeling that this shocked young woman has been framed.

Someone out there is hell-bent on sabotaging her defense, targeting Morgan, her partner, and especially Haley. Someone who will stop at nothing—and whose next move will be deadly.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37759102-what-i-ve-done)