OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish

August 15, 2018

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From the publisher:

From an internationally acclaimed author, a disturbing and addictive novel of domestic suspense where secrets kept hidden from spouses cause shocking surprises that hit home…

There’s nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it’s her house. And she didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.


Wowza! This book has been getting all sorts of accolades and it’s easy to see why. It’s a very different kind of story and a timely one. Set in London, it feels like it could be set in any suburban community.

A real page turner of a book, fast paced and interesting with great characters and more twists and turns than a hurricane. Highly recommended.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish. Berkley (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-0451489111 416p.

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FEARED by Lisa Scottoline

August 14, 2018

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A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel, Book 6

From the publisher:

In the new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Mary DiNunzio’s ruthless nemesis Nick Machiavelli is back…with a vengeance.

When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve his end…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared…

Feared, the sixth entry in the acclaimed Rosato & DiNunzio series, expertly explores what happens when we are tempted to give in to our own inner darkness.


Before it was Rosato & DiNunzio, there were the Rosato & Associates novels, 11 of them. Same series for the most part but it was rebranded six books ago. It is one of my favorite series and it never disappoints – how often can you say that? Especially with so many books!

Set in Philadelphia, Rosato & DiNunzio were an all female law firm until a couple of books ago when they hired a man. I remember being surprised back then, and now it has come home to roost. DiNunzio and all her crazy, loving big Italian family are here and you can just feel the “gravy” dripping off the pages.

I love the characters, the setting and the mystery, which had a shocking ending – perfection! Don’t miss it.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FEARED by Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s Press (August 14, 2018). ISBN 978-1250099594. 400p.

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2020 by Kenneth Steven

August 13, 2018

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A very profound novel that paints a picture of the damage that can be done by the advent of the “True Believer” i.e., the individual following the herd rather than thinking on his or her own. While the book is set in the United Kingdom it can be true of problems found in any country today. Shown in the novel are the many factions vying for the attention of the masses and demanding that they be granted rights beyond what is just and correct. People are forced to bend over backwards to be seen as politically correct in order not to offend the many interest groups.

Consequently, the result is a nation that has become mired in political correctness at the expense of common sense. It is felt that the politicians in office are only serving themselves. Immigration policies have gotten out of hand and it is feared by many that the country is disunited with the distinct possibility of terrorism rife just waiting to explode in violence.

And than it does. A train going from Edinburgh to London is attacked by terrorists with hundreds killed by the bombers. The reaction by the public with many differing opinions about what should be done to forestall future terrorism allows a far right wing group called White Rose to form. An untried leader coming from White Rose indicates that he will be able to fix the problems of the nation. The population splinters even more than before with no firm direction being taken to attack the internal mess that characterizes the country. Opinions and demands for action rush out of the many groups that have formed making up a population that is frozen and unable to act.

It might be that 2020 could lead to a 1984 scenario with an embedded dictatorship but most probably it would lead to the exact opposite; a nation completely splintered with no real direction and unable to solve the real problems facing it. A very provocative opinion piece with a large amount of what is forecasted being the norm today.

8/18 Paul Lane

2020 by Kenneth Steven. Thomas & Mercer (June 14, 2018).  ISBN 978-1477805169. 270p.


THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer

August 11, 2018

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Steinhauer postulates a United States on the brink  of revolution due to the uncaring and selfish policies of our elected leaders. Consequently, in the early summer of 2017, four hundred people just disappear, leaving their worldly possessions behind them.  Where have they gone to and what is the reason for the disappearance? When heard from the group styles itself the Massive Brigade and they believe that necessary change is not coming fast enough to really bring the country to again be prepared to take care of the cultural needs as well as those necessities vital for life such as food and shelter for the population.

FBI Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the sprouting of left wing political groups for several years and is very familiar with Martin Bishop who is the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But Rachel has her work cut out for her in getting her peers and supervisors at the FBI to take thedissidents seriously. She digs into the workings and leadership of the Massive Brigade and what she discovers, including murder shocks the country and sends a wake up call to the Administration as well as the leadership of the FBI.

Character development leaves something to be desired and I felt that the emphasis on a lot of conversation does detract somewhat from what is a great idea and worthy of an Olen Steinhauer novel.

8/18 Paul Lane

THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer. Minotaur Books (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250036179. 368p.


DEATH IN SHANGRI-LA by Yigal Zur

August 9, 2018

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A novel originally written in Hebrew and than becoming the first of Zur’s books to be translated into English. The background for the story is one of the most exotic settings possible. The action takes place in India, several cities and a wild frontier near Pakistan. Descriptions are tendered by an author that through his own travels and adventures has seen these areas and witnessed the events described that play out as background.

Dotan Naor, an ex-Israeli Operator turned private investigator, takes up a bet he has made with an acquaintance of his who is privately a ruthless individual selling Israeli made weaponry to any buyer that can pay for them. Willy Mizrachi bets that in one year from the date he meets with Dotan he will have his son returning to work for him with a wife and child in tow. Like many ex-Israeli soldiers, his son decides to travel to the Himalayas in India in order to “find himself”. Dotan takes the bet but than finds himself forced to go after Willy who has taken the initiative to go after his son himself.

The makings of a great story and the descriptions of cities in India, their overcrowding, poverty, filth and total corruption coupled with the fascinating views of a part of the Indian subcontinent that includes Tibet and borders with Pakistan and China are unfortunately not enough to make up for a rambling style of writing. The characters not at all fleshed out move from scene to scene listlessly making for a novel that leaves the reader trying to keep up with what’s going on and who is where. The fact that Zur has published other books featuring Dotan Naor might mean that it is the fault of the translation of this novel that causes the problem, but with that “Death in Shangri-La” does not live up to the promise of the exotic setting and events that are not touched upon outside of Israel and India.

8/18 Paul Lane

DEATH IN SHANGRI-LA by Yigal Zur. Oceanview Publishing; Sew edition (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-1608092994. 272p.


BLOODY SUNDAY by Ben Coes

August 5, 2018

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A Dewey Andreas Novel, Book 8

There is one thing absolutely sure about any book featuring Dewey Andreas – there will be action galore! Since Ben Coes first introduced Dewey as an employee of an ocean-going drill rig, his character has grown in stature and the violence that he interacts with along with his increasing importance to the U.S. government. Bloody Sunday finds Dewey reeling from previous adventures narrated in prior books. He is getting ready to retire from the CIA and just relax. Obviously this is not a possibility for Dewey – his country needs him and fast.

North Korea has successfully developed nuclear bombs but not the long range missiles necessary to deliver them to their arch enemy – the United States. But of course where there is a will there is always a way and so it is that a trade has been planned between the North Koreans and another mad regime in Iran.

The Iranians will exchange two missiles for nuclear triggers and fissionable material to help them develop their own anti west weaponry. But both of these evil doers have not reckoned on Dewey Andreas being called up by the president of the United States to break up the scheme.

Present with the CIA is a brilliant British agent on loan to aid in inter-agency relations. It is a young lady who is quite pretty and trying to get over the murder of her husband. It is thought that her husband was killed in error in place of her. Jenna Hartford, the exchange agent has come up with a scheme to inject a poison into the person of the high level North Korean officer that will be handling the trade between Iran and his country. An antidote would be hidden somewhere in the city of Pyongyang the capital of North Korea to deliver to the officer injected once he delivers the secret plans for the firing of the missiles to the U.S. Obviously Dewey is the ideal man to handle the tasks of both breaking up the trade,and injecting the poison.

Action involves the first set of problems complicated by Dewey injecting himself with a tiny quantity of the poison and than having only 24 hours to go after the antidote. The events are machine gun fast and calculated to keep the reader drawn to the book with no inclination to put it down. Of course the novel leaves us with the ingredients for the next book featuring Dewey Andreas and the possibility of a romance while involved with the events he faces.

6/18 Paul Lane

BLOODY SUNDAY by Ben Coes. St. Martin’s Press (July 31, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250140760. 400p.


RESCUED by David Rosenfelt

July 18, 2018

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 An Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 17

I’ve been reading this series since the first book literally dropped into my hands through the book drop at the library where I was working. The cover, a skyline of NYC, drew me in but the writing has kept me coming back book after book. The cover of that original book, Open & Shut, has been updated with dogs to match up with the rest of the series. And it is a dog-centric series.

Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who inherited enough money so that he doesn’t need to work. He takes only one or two cases a year, and that suits him just fine. It gives him more time to spend with his dogs, his wife and son. probably in that order.

When a large truck is found at a New Jersey rest stop with a dead body in the front and lots of dogs barking in the back, Andy is called to help out. He has a rescue foundation for dogs, and with this many, his help is needed. Turns out his help is also needed when his wife’s ex-boyfriend is accused of being the killer.

Self defense is the way to go and it is not looking good for Andy and his legal team until the very end of the book, but getting there is half the fun.  With his wise cracks, witty repartee and all the series regulars in place, I had a good time reading this book. These books do not have to be read in order but I think it best if you read the first book, it sets up the rest of the books in the series.

If you love dogs, wise cracks and legal fiction, and I do, this is a terrific read.

7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RESCUED by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 17, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250133069. 304p.

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THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay hi

July 5, 2018
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From the publisher:

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s  Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.


It seems to me that this story falls somewhere between thriller and horror. It’s suspenseful but not quite at the level of breathlessness I find with a Stephen King novel, but certainly more than most thrillers. The basic story of a home invasion where a young child is involved is pretty much every parent’s nightmare, and this one was well played.

It is a fast read at only 288 pages, and the suspense definitely helps keep the pages turning. I would have liked a bit more character development but for the most part, this is a good read. The terror feels real and so did the ending, and I can’t ask for more than that.

7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay. William Morrow (June 26, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062679109.  288p.

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THE PERFECT COUPLE by Elin Hilderbrand

June 25, 2018

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I look forward to spending time on Nantucket every summer; in Elin Hilderbrand’s books, that is. They are the perfect escape, and with this latest novel, she’s really upped her game and the suspense.

“The Perfect Couple” are Celeste and Benji, and this wedding is going to be the highlight of the social season. Benji’s mom has hired the premier wedding planner, venue, etc. while Celeste and her family are just along for the ride. Except on the morning of the wedding, Celeste finds her best and only friend, Merritt, her maid of honor, washed up on the beach, dead.

Celeste is a zoologist who is loves her work to the exclusion of much of a social life. We learn about her courtship with Benji as the story moves back and forth between the morning of the wedding and everything that led up to it. And to add a little spice to the story, Celeste and Benji’s best friend have some strong feelings for one another which complicates things even more.

Was Merritt murdered or was it an accident? Nearly everyone is a suspect, and police chief Ed Kapenash (from The Castaways) is going to have to figure that out.

This is the quintessential beach read; a beautiful summer setting on Nantucket, a complicated romance and a possible murder. Secrets unfurl, lies are covered up and ultimately revealed, and the pages just fly by. Hilderbrand stretched into something new with spectacular results in this completely enthralling and entertaining read. Don’t miss it.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PERFECT COUPLE by Elin Hilderbrand. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (May 29, 2018). ISBN 978-1250102539. 352p.

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TO DIE IN VIENNA by Kevin Wignall

June 16, 2018

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A very neatly done novel about conflict between different spy agencies. Freddie Makin had once been an agent for a super secret group known as S8. He was a survivor of an ambush in Yemen five years ago when three of his fellow agents had been killed when driving towards a rendezvous with suspects wanted by their group. Freddie had been so traumatized by the killing, blaming himself for poor planning that he resigned his position. He than became a spy for hire and the story finds him doing surveillance on Jiang Cheng an academic. After many months of observing Cheng Freddie finds that there really isn’t anything in Cheng’s behavior to warrant the attention given.

Suddenly the situation changes radically. Someone is sent to kill Freddie who fortunately turns the tables on his would be killer. He quickly realizes that it is probably something that he saw in relation to his watching Cheng that has prompted the attempt on his life. The novel than becomes a masterful study of Freddie’s old trade craft returning as he begins unraveling the reason for the attack on himself and on people including Cheng and others. And is it the CIA that is doing the attacking? Freddie is well portrayed as a normal human being prone to being hurt and possibly killed while looking into what is happening to him. Clues are available to the reader and the reason for the attacks is a logical one resulting in a logical finale to the book.

NOTE: Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The book certainly has the ingredients to be a good one.

6/18 Paul Lane

TO DIE IN VIENNA by Kevin Wignall. Thomas & Mercer (June 14, 2018).  ISBN 978-1477805169. 270p.