Tag Archives: Thriller

Book Review: Blood Wedding – Superb Psychological Thriller

Blood Wedding

By Pierre LeMaitre (translated from French by Frank Wynne)

Sophie is a woman in conflict. At the very least she is mentally unstable, but she is quite possibly a murderer. Somehow she goes from being a happily married career woman to a fugitive in the blink of an eye and she cannot understand how the whole thing happened to her.

It starts with little things. Missing items, forgetting to do small errands, lost birthday gifts that turn up months later. These lead up to horrible mistakes at work. Soon Sophie begins to lose more than everyday items; she is also missing parts of her day. She finds herself in places and situations and doesn’t have a clue as to how or why she is there. Her husband is losing his patience and she is sure she has lost her mind.

Each slip of memory chips a sliver of her psyche away until she doesn’t know who she is anymore. It isn’t hard to disappear and reinvent herself when it became necessary, she does what she has to do.  What is hard is finding a new husband whose name she can take to solidify her new persona. But she has always known somewhere inside herself there is a strong, smart woman behind the façade she has built to hide behind. But is there enough of that woman left to save her?

Enter Frantz, the shy military man Sophie meets through a dating service. Frantz wants to help Sophie and she is so exhausted all of the time she is relieved to find someone she can trust to take care of her. Even if she doesn’t really love him, she needs him. He just might be her ticket out of the crazy life hers has become – or is she jumping from the frying pan into the fire by making a pact with the devil himself?

A catalyst, unbeknown and barely associated to Sophie, sets off a series of life changing events. The scariest thing is that any or all of the things that happen to her could happen to anyone if they are in the wrong place at the right time. It is terrifying to realize how easily Sophie’s life turned upside down and out of control.

If you look up Suspenseful Thriller Blood Wedding should be at the top of the list. I could not turn the pages fast enough to see what happened next. The plot is so solid I could not find an unanswered question.

The supporting characters have depth and are memorable without overshadowing but always important to the story.  Their interaction with the main characters enhanced and advanced the plot. The main characters are fully developed, multi-dimensional and seem to jump off the page to grab the reader’s attention. Sophie pulls you into her descent into madness, from which I fervently hoped she would be able to claw her way back to the person she used to be.

Nothing or no one is what or who they seem to be as the plot swirls around Sophie and Frantz. LeMaitre expertly grabs the reader, dragging you into the depth of Sophie’s despair and into the plotting mind of Frantz. Then he takes you on a roller coaster ride through a house of mirrors at breakneck speed, making you question the ideas you had when you met Sophie and Frantz. This adventure is one that readers live for. You will not be disappointed.

From the first page to the last the suspense never stops. I love this book. The lightning fast pace, perfect plot and characters that are unerringly realistic are reminiscent of a Hitchcock movie. Each page helps build the tension until the momentum explodes in the final chapters. The ending is satisfying, with no loose ends begging for explanation, which is perfection.

Pierre LeMaitre is an acclaimed, award winning author and screenwriter. His books are written in French, but many have been translated to English. Blood Wedding is the first novel I’ve read by LeMaitre, but it will not be the last.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2017 Laura Hartman

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bookreviews

Book Review: The Girl Before – Fabulous Thriller – Would You Give Up Everything?

girl-beforeThe Girl Before

By J Delaney

 

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2017 Laura Hartman

Two women. Two traumas. One home. One outrageous contract. One or two possible murders.

The book begins with a house search. Jane has had something horrible happen to her and she needs to get out of her current flat to feel safe. The agent takes her to a home that is stark, sterile and has been empty for quite a while.

She falls in love with the security so on a whim fills out the questionnaire the builder requires before she is considered a candidate for occupancy. At first she is unnerved by it, but soon realizes she can put up with the crazy rules and requirements if she is chosen.

Surprisingly she is, giving up almost all of her possessions, she begins a journey that others have not lived through. Will she?

The Girl Before was fascinating. I cannot imagine living without color, pictures of loved ones, or having to answer questions before the computer running my home will allow the shower to start. When things get sinister, Jane feels as though she needs to find out what happen to Emma, but this may prove to be fatal.

Delaney’s book is creepy, engaging and thought provoking. I love the way in which it is written. Going back and forth from Emma to Jane the reader sees history almost repeat itself. Was it the choices both women made? Was it the home itself?

You can tell when the characters start to live minimally and begin to lose themselves in the process. The author shows this by removing all of the dialog quotation marks. Oddly enough, I didn’t miss them for several chapters – quite possibly the same way these women didn’t miss their identity until it was gone.

This is a fascinating thriller is full of surprises, twists and turns. I absolutely did not see the end coming, but was exceedingly satisfied as a reader when I finish.

Just a note to those that may object, there is violence and sex in The Girl Before but I believe it is essential to the story.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review – The Conveyance – So Creepy Good You Can’t Put it Down!

The_ConveyanceThe Conveyance

by Brian W. Matthews

Dr. Brad Jordan has a new twelve year old patient, Doug Belle. He has been acting out and his mother isn’t much help – as a matter of fact, she seems to be making Doug’s issues worse instead of better. On the way home after their session, Brad is in a horrific car accident that he amazingly walks away from sore and bruised.

His best friend Frank, a cop, drops him off at home where he finds Toni, his wife upset. They have been trying for months to have a child and she has the evidence of another failure in her hand. The home pregnancy kit was negative again.

Despite his injuries, they decide to go to play cards with Frank and his wife Kerry for the evening to get their minds off of the accident and their inability to have a child. The evening was a disaster. An argument escalated to the point of no return so they head back home. The only bright spot of the visit was the discussion about a cute little tourist town, Emersville, were Kerry purchased a “creepy little doll”.  She felt compelled to buy it, but there was something off about it.

Brad and Toni take a trip to Emersville the next day, picking up a creepy doll of their own. That is when the trouble started. Brad starts having disturbing dreams. Young Doug seems to be having more severe episodes, especially after Brad takes the doll to work (as a psychologist he uses toys, including dolls to get his patients to open up). Then Kerry turns up missing. Emersville has something to do with it, so Frank, Brad and Toni begin to peel back the layers of the town to find out exactly what is going on. Hopefully they will find Kerry and all live to tell the tale.

Matthew’s page turning thriller is a fast and sometimes hair-raising read. I loved the mystery and the intricate web the main characters became tangled in. All of the characters were well-written. I liked them, hated them or was scared of them. I am sure that was the intended reaction. Lucky for me I didn’t have any dolls laying around the house. I might have had to lock them in a closet or throw them away, just in case they got any ideas. It pays to be cautious when reading thrillers late into the night.

If you are a fan of Dean Koontz or Stephen King, you will love this book. This is Matthew’s third book, but the first one I’ve read. His previous novels are Forever Man and Revelation.

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Random House Books that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

Mindfront by Dave Becker: Heartstopping Psychological Thriller

Mindfront

MindfrontWritten by: Dave Becker

Reviewed by Laura Hartman

325 pages

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Dr. Martin Keller is on a relaxing vacation. After his morning run, he steps into the shower feeling a bit dizzy. When he looks down, he is covered with blood, but doesn’t know why. Stepping from the shower he finds his family brutally massacred in their hotel room. Before he can take a breath, men wearing black helmets dark visors hiding their faces and armed with assault weapons stormed the room.

Marty jumps from the window and runs for his life. He has to find the people or organization that brutally murdered his family. He suspects their murder is connected to the project he has been working on for the last ten years, Swansong. It started out as a project funded by George Washington University – or was it secretly funded by the government? His research uncovered a code in brainwaves of animals and eventually humans that could lead to a terrifying form of torture of prisoners and terrorists than has ever been imagined in history.

He is one step ahead of the armed men, but has to find out who created the nightmare his life has become. Is it the Army, CIA, FBI or a group of terrorists? Dead bodies turn up wherever he goes; most of them have a chess piece with their name carved on it shoved in their eye. The suspense of not knowing who is playing this deadly game with Marty will keep you reading at breakneck speed.

Becker keeps you breathless as you enter Marty’s mind and try and figure out what and who is real. Dr. Keller feels like he is losing touch with reality and takes you into the darkness of his mind as he tries to hold on to what he believes to be real – but is it?

To say Dave Becker’s latest book, Mindfront is a fast paced thriller is like saying the Concord was a pretty fast airplane. From the minute I downloaded the file and began to read this psychological thriller I could not stop. I had to see what would happen next.

I loved Becker’s first novel, The Faustian Host and he did not disappoint me with Mindfront. I am still looking forward to his follow-up novel with the Faustian Host characters. Mindfront was different but does not disappoint. It is a great read. To write two very different books that are both winners shows us Becker isn’t a one trick pony. I am still waiting for the Faustian Host sequel, but anything Becker writes will be in my library.

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

4 Comments

Filed under Mystery, Quick Nav