The Stranger Beside Me

 

Chilling and thoroughly researched story about one of the most notorious serial killers in history!

~ Highly recommended especially as Halloween is upcoming!!

 

 

About The Author:

Ann Rae Rule (née Stackhouse; October 22, 1931 – July 26, 2015) was an American true crime author of The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer, and Rule’s co-worker, Ted Bundy. Rule was also known for her book Small Sacrifices, about Oregon child murderer Diane Downs. Many of Rule’s books center on murder cases that occurred in the Pacific Northwest and her adopted home state of Washington. Read more ~ Wikipedia

 

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The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer

This a fast-moving thriller with an intricate plot about espionage, the FBI and political games as played out in the 90’s among foreign diplomats for the governments of Libya, Egypt, and the USA. The story is centered around Sophia Kohl the wife of Emmett Kohl, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary. Her husband is shot dead by an unknown gunman right after she confesses to him about having an affair. The story then follows as Sophia goes awol with a determination to find out who killed her husband and why. Her unauthorized and secretive quest set in motion an inquisition that threatens to expose years of deceit, lies, murders and cover ups.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Cairo Affair. This book starts off at a breakneck speed, and builds up intensity as the story progresses. It is a complicated and layered plot which makes it even more exciting!

This is one of those books you can’t put down because of the eye-opening discoveries that you make as you get deeper into the story. There are themes of evil schemes, betrayals, rivalries, backstabbing and deceptions all interwoven in this intricate plot.

Set in North Africa, from Hungary to Libya, Yugoslavia to Egypt, this story offers great insights into new places, people and cultures. I especially love stories that take you through foreign lands where you can learn a thing or two – this book does just that.
Pick up this book – It’s well worth your time!
Similar books – The Hidden Man by Charles Cumming, A Cold War by Amelia Levene, and The English Girl by Daniel Silva –

About The Author

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he’s lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy…Read more from Amazon

61 HOURS -Jack Reacher by Lee, Child

Given how much I love mystery thrillers I can’t believe I never read any Lee Child’s books especially his popular Jack Reacher series. I have to tell you, all the accolades given to these series are well deserved. I borrowed an ebook copy from my local library which I read over the weekend.

Already, there are a lot of reviews about this book so I will go ahead and list some important take aways – From the title – 61 Hours you can already tell this is a count down to a major event. Jack Reacher the protagonist, an ex military man turned private investigator is a drifter. This time he hitches a ride and finds himself in a rural small town that has very limited police capabilities. As things begin to happen, a sense of an impending doom is imminent. The count down is already on which keeps you at the edge of the seat.

The author writes in simple and straight forward language – only facts that are relevant to the story – no fluff, all read meat. The book starts at a break neck speed and continues that way. The writing is third person POV, so the reader sees every angle which increases suspense.

The plot is complex where you peel away the narrative like an onion. The author creates various plot threads with each chapter ending in a cliff hanger. I love that the author takes time to build relatable characters. The reader gets to know the characters well enough where you establish some connection. As a result, I really found it hard letting some of the characters go at the end of the book.

This is a book to read when you have enough time to devote to it because you can’t put it down. Your heart’s racing and you feel you’re on roller coaster ride!

I’m not usually a huge fan of series, but I like that Jack Reacher series do not have to be read in order. Even though this is #14 in the Jack Reacher series, you can start from any book without feeling as though you’re missing anything.

If you’re a mystery thriller fan and haven’t read this book, please do yourself a great favor by grabbing one!

I really would like to read a similar book from a new author, please feel free to suggest anyone, I would really appreciate it!!

Author – Child, Lee
Publication – 2010
Pages – 528
Location – South Dakota

About the Author:

“Lee Child is the #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel. “Jack Reacher”, the film based on the 9th novel, One Shot, stars Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, and David Oyelowo and debuted in December 2012. Child, a native of England and a former television director, lives in New York City and the south of France with his wife and daughter”~ Amazon

He Won’t Need It Now

Author – James Hadley Chase
Genre – Thriller
Publication Date – 1939
Number of Pages – 176
Geographical Setting – United States

A quick job that should have taken Duffy a couple of minutes to complete and earn him $1,000.00 per photo – with a $500.00 retainer’s fee spins out of control.  Thus placing Duffy on a murder scene. Duffy is an out of job newspaper correspondent who is just trying to figure out what’s next.

Fast forward – Duffy finds himself involved in a complicated drug smuggling and under world activities.  He meets Annabel, daughter of a very rich and influential politician. She is young, attractive but hangs out with the wrong crowd and has no qualms about embarrassing her father.

Duffy’s long time friends are afraid for him and warn him he is heading in the wrong direction. Now, he has to make a decision between making a lot of quick cash or continuing on his current daily grind…

My Take

I loved the complex plot as well as the twists and turns. But I had issues with some of the plot thread which I found a little unrealistic and hardly believable – where the protagonist, a regular Joe with no previous criminal history finds himself on a murder scene  while doing a crappy job. He decides to get rid of the body and cover up the murder with no idea how the murder occurred or who may have been involved. Apart from scenes like that, I also found lot of spelling errors, which in this case can be totally blamed on the editor. However, the language is casual, with a lot of funny anectodes and slangs which I found really interesting.   If you don’t mind some   grammatical errors, and a couple implausible  incidents, then go check it out. Indeed, He Won’t Need It Now is a fast-moving and engaging thriller that has the reader turning the pages quickly to see what happens next.

Snippet  on author

His real name is René Lodge Brabazon Raymond  but wrote under a couple pseudonyms including James Hadley Chase. Born in London, grew up in Europe and never visited the United States before.  He was a very popular thriller writer in the ’30s-’50s.  He wrote mainly about theft, fraud, murder and gangster life.   His books gained a lot of attention word wide except in the United States.    The descriptions of his settings were mainly acquired through research, maps and a dictionary of American Slangs.  For one who never visited the United States, his  ability to craft these stories  with such detail is very commendable.

Nevertheless, it is said that the American audience never took to his books because his descriptions didn’t seem convincing enough. On top of that, the women audience were turned off because of the misogynistic portrayal of his female characters. Going from how successful his books were though, about 50 of his novels has been made into films. 

Nightwatcher

Author: Wilson, Charles
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery
Published: 1990
Setting: Mississippi

This novel is about the brutal rape and murder of Judith Salter a nurse at the state hospital for the mentally insane. Featuring – three escaped psychiatric inmates, suspicious police officers and a guilt stricken dad turned “detective”. Brandon Richards, the victim’s dad abandons his life and career in other to help bring justice to Judith’s killing. Is it a coincidence that these three inmates got out the same night of this tragic incidence? Evidence found on the murder scene has detectives suspecting either or all of the escaped inmates – or could there have been someone else? Judith’s ex husband, a person of questionable character becomes a suspect. Also “someone in the police force” could be killer. While grieving his daughter’s death, Richards is determined to leave no stone unturned investigating his daughter’s murder. Meanwhile, an inmate claims he might have witnessed the killing. How believable is an assertion made by a mentally ill patient?

What prompted me to read this book in the first place was the recommendation on the cover of the book given by John Grisham – an author I’m truly fond of. “Splendid! A lean tight compelling story that was over much too fast. I wanted more”. Another person described the book as “dark, scary, and truly menacing”. Regarding the last statement, I don’t find Nightwatcher that terrifying, neither does it read as spooky as the cover picture depicts.

It is rare that you find a complex plot presented in such a simple format. This is a very quick read. The author did not try to stretch the story with unnecessary details and rigmarole like you find in most mystery novels. Richard’s character very systematically obtains valuable tips and information that helps move the story rapidly. The author methodically builds up a compelling tempo while all the time leaving you guessing who could have committed this horrid act. The excitement lies in the process of walking the reader through layers of unveiling lies, deceptions, conspiracies, and cover ups by the people who were close to the victim. Gradually, shocking revelations are made of the victim’s past life which further complicates the plot. At this point, suspicions about who committed this crime becomes an open-ended question.

It is thrilling to watch as the story culminates in a surprise revelation of the murderer. This is a fun mystery/thriller read – great for the weekend. Fast readers could finish this book within a day.

If you’ve read this book, please let me know what you think…

Tell No One

Author: Coben, Harlan
Pages: 384
Genre: Mystery
Published: 2009
Setting: New York City

This is my first introduction to Harlan Coben
books and certainly not going to be the last.
He is best known for his award-winning Myron Bolitar series.
So Tell No One is one of his stand alone novels.

David Beck and his wife are on their yearly vacation for their wedding anniversary at the Beck family beach house. While out swimming under the moonlight, suddenly Beck feels someone hit him on the back of the head with a baseball bat. He is collapsing as he hears his wife screaming for him. When he comes to, he learns of his wife’s kidnap and tragic death.

Eight years later, Beck has become a respectable Physician in New York City where he works with under privileged children. Beck never got over the death of his wife. Closer to his next anniversary, he receives an intriguing email message with a coded phrase known only to him and his wife. His head is spinning – Is someone playing games with him? Could his wife still be alive? Suspense begins to mount…

Determined to find out the truth about what happened eight years ago, Beck starts his own investigations not knowing whom to trust anymore because the message said “Tell No One” and “They Are Watching”. Beck discovers he is up against a powerful and dangerous billionaire, and it doesn’t help him either to learn he’s being investigated by the CIA as the number one suspect in the death of his wife. But David Beck is not holding back. He is determined to unravel this mystery and he will go to any length to uncover the truth about what happened to his wife.

In Tell No One, Coben has masterfully spun a believable layered story with a lot of twists and turns. Towards the end, as the reader is still getting over some unexpected developments, the author throws in an exciting surprise. This mystery story is very suspenseful and thrilling. It will appeal to anyone who loves fast paced, edge on your seat novels.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, now I’m starting a list of similar books I’d like to read. Do you have any suggestions?

Vanished by Robards, Karen
A Prisoner of Birth
by Archer, Jeffery
The Affair by Child, Lee
Smash Cut by Brown, Sandra
Backfire-FBI Thriller by Coulter, Catherine
I’ll Walk Alone by Clark, Mary Higgins
I’ll Look Again by Scottoline, Lisa
Quinn by Johansen, Iris

Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn
Title:
Gone Girl
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publication:
June 5, 2012
Number of Pages: 432 pages
Geographical Setting:
North Carthage, Missouri

What drew me to this book? (1) It was on the bestseller’s list of 2012 and (2) It garnered lots of raving reviews. So I decided – why not…

At the initial glance, this book starts out like an open and shut case – but it’s not!

In a small town in North Carthage, Missouri, everyone is shocked when a beautiful woman Amy suddenly disappears on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary to Nick Dunnes her husband. As investigations begin, all evidence seem to point to the husband as the probable killer. Friends and neighbors are torn – did Nick Dunnes really kill his wife? On learning that he has become a suspect, Nick starts his own investigations and along the way, he learns of shocking and terrible secretes about his wife. Puzzled and perplexed, he starts to question among other things – his wife’s real identity.

Intricately plotted, and written with alternating narrations of Nick and entries found in Amy’s diary, the reader is drawn into this complex psychological suspense with doubts of whose point of view to actually believe. On the surface, the story seems simple and straight forward until the reader gets to the middle of the novel where dark, twisted, and chilling discoveries begin to emerge.

Gone Girl is engrossing, fast paced, layered and thought-provoking. This is a brilliant crime novel that would appeal to anyone who love thrills, mysteries and surprises.

While I did enjoy reading this book, however I would not consider it one of the top thrillers ever written like some reviewers rated it. Any thoughts?