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A Dark Lure

Title: A Dark Lure

Author: Loreth Anne White

Genre: Thriller

I read In the Dark last year, which ended up being one of my top 10 of 2020. I just thought it was so clever and well-written. That book immediately put White on my radar as an author who I want to keep reading. And this one definitely kept her on my list. What a great, thrilling, suspenseful book.

From Goodreads: Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.

What I love about this is that all the character motivations make sense. A lot of thrillers just have characters doing things that really don’t make sense, just to make the plot work. And it’s so frustrating. But White has her characters’ actions make sense within the development of said character. When Sarah/Olivia keeps her past a secret, sure it helps the plot, but it’s really because White has created a character the craves privacy because of her past. I just detest thrillers that underestimate the reader. We are smart. We require well-written books. And so many writers just cheapen the genre. Not Loreth Anne White. She’s the real deal and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

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books and reading

The Lucky Ones

Title: The Lucky Ones

Author: Mark Edwards

Genre: thriller, murder mystery, police procedural

I love Kindle First Reads. Because I have a Prime account, I get a free book every month from a not as well-known author. I’ve read some great ones like Beneath a Scarlet Sky, In the Dark, The Collector Trilogy, A River in Darkness, I Choose You, The Winter Over, Find Me, and plenty more that I haven’t gotten around to, yet. And I love the fact that these are authors that I haven’t heard of, but once I am aware of them via this program, I end up reading more of their work. Such is the case here. I have purchased several of Mark Edwards’s books just because this one was so great.

From Goodreads: It was the happiest day of her life. Little did she know it was also the last.

When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.

A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorizing his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky. But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben. Happiness…and death.

Everything worked for me in this book, which says a lot because I’m so picky. The characters were great. Ben’s a good guy who you want to see happy. Imogen is a no-nonsense detective, but you can see she truly cares about her job and helping people. The plot was tight, and by the time you find out just what’s happening and why, it all makes sense because Edwards created the path right to it, without you really knowing it.

I am constantly frustrated by “famous” authors writing crappy stories and getting away with it, when people like Edwards or Loreth Anne White who wrote In the Dark aren’t as well known. But these two authors wrote two of the best thrillers I read this year…. and I’ve read dozens….it’s my go-to genre. But they both did it spectacularly well, and I can’t wait to read more from them.

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books and reading

In the Dark

I’ve never read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Now I don’t have to because this book entirely spoils the plot. That said, the book is 80 years old, so spoilers for it have long passed. My own fault, not the author’s. I had no idea going into this book that it was a retelling of anything, let alone one of the most famous murder mystery books of all time.

This book was offered as a Kindle first selection at some point, which I didn’t select, but it sounded interesting enough that I add it to my “to read” list and discovered it was available to me via Prime reading, which is a great resource. I’m glad that I found this book because it was excellent.

From Goodreads: The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.

I loved this book because I truly had no idea what was going to happen. I had no idea what the secrets were, who was behind the entire trap, how this was going to resolve. You know that at least one person survives because you meet her in the first chapter. But who that person is and how she was involved isn’t revealed. The layers of the plot are revealed cleverly and nicely with a big twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this one!