Monday, March 26, 2012

Lori's Book Sense

Welcome to this months edition of Lori's Book Sense.
I hope you enjoy these great titles I've chosen for you this month.

Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman (May 1st) ~ A taut thriller about two rural Minnesota towns locked in a deadly feud--and a teenage girl caught in the crossfire. Linked by the Spirit River, the two towns couldn't be more different: in affluent Barron, a powerful and secretive scientific research corporation enriches its residents, while downriver in blue-collar St. Croix, victims of that company's carcinogenic waste struggle to survive. The bad blood between the communities escalates into open warfare when the beautiful Ashlynn, daughter of the corporation's president, is found shot dead--and a St. Croix girl, Olivia Hawk, is accused of the crime. Reluctantly, Olivia's mother summons her estranged husband Christopher, a Minneapolis lawyer, to come defend his daughter. As Christopher struggles to unravel the mystery of Ashlynn's murder and save his own daughter, he uncovers some ugly truths that endanger the residents of both towns. And looming over everything are the chilling, apocalyptic threats from a murderous psychopath known only as “Aquarius.”

While I was a bit disappointed to find out that this latest release from Brian Freeman was not a Jonathan Stride novel (Immoral, Stripped, et al), I was not let down by even one word. The grab-you-by-the-throat suspense will keep you firmly planted on the edge of your seat the moment you open the book.  The characters are strong, the storyline is intense, the likelihood that this could happen to you is extremely high and incredibly frightening.   Spilled Blood is a cutting edge, tour-de-force that will rock you to your core.  

Outside The Lines by Amy HatvanyWhen Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding out on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life. Since childhood, she has heard from him only rarely, just enough to know he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately, there has been no word at all. Now in her thirties, Eden decides to go look for her father, so she can forgive him at last, and finally move forward. When her search uncovers other painful truths—not only the secrets her mother has kept from her, but also the agonizing question of whether David, after all these years, even wants to be found—Eden is forced to decide just how far she’ll go in the name of love.

Outside The Lines is an emotional family drama that fully explores the impact mental illness has on not only the one living with it, but on the entire family. It tells of one man’s struggle to find the balance between choosing the path that make him the “happiest” or doing what everyone else considers to be best for the family unit. It’s the story of one woman (who is still a little girl at heart when it comes to her daddy) with a desperate desire to find her father and make him well. With the love and support of friends and family, Eden sets off on the journey of a lifetime. Outside The Lines is a tender-hearted story of love, loss, and the idea that maybe some things truly are better left alone.

A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison (April 17th) ~ As a medical examiner, Samantha Owens knows her job is to make a certain sense of death with crisp methodology and precision instruments. But the day the Tennessee floods took her husband and children, the light vanished from Sam's life. She has been pulled into a suffocating grief no amount of workaholic ardor can penetrate—until she receives a peculiar call from Washington, D.C. On the other end of the line is an old boyfriend's mother, asking Sam to do a second autopsy on her son. Eddie Donovan is officially the victim of a vicious carjacking, but under Sam's sharp eye the forensics tell a darker story. The ex-Ranger was murdered, though not for his car. Forced to confront the burning memories and feelings about yet another loved one killed brutally, Sam loses herself in the mystery contained within Donovan's old notes. It leads her to the untouchable Xander, a soldier off-grid since his return from Afghanistan, and then to a series of brutal crimes stretching from that harsh mountainous war zone to this nation's capital. The tale told between the lines makes it clear that nobody's hands are clean, and that making sense of murder sometimes means putting yourself in the crosshairs of death.

While I miss Taylor Jackson and her crew (see All the Pretty Girls, 14, etc.), I am so happy that J.T. decided to write Sam’s story. We’ve always had glimpses into her life, but it is nice to have gotten to know her on a more personal level, to not just know her as Taylor’s BFF. The author did a great job showing how a strong, independent, hard-working woman can also be vulnerable, in pain, and struggling to find her way back to the person she used to be. Sam is flawed, like so many of us, and I think that makes her even more relatable, more human, more likeable.

A Deeper Darkness is an engaging read with a new protagonist who you will immediately empathize with, and who you will cheer on as she struggles to find her footing and the happiness that she so rightfully deserves. The author has created a diverse supporting cast and a multifaceted plot that will constantly surprise the reader, and at the end will leave you breathless.  


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