The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep (A Kendra Clayton Mystery) by Angela Henry

I received this book free on BookBub. Lately those books have been a miss so let’s see how this one goes.

Plot Summary:

Kendra Wilson tried to leave her hometown, but found herself stuck there and working. She lost her job as a teacher due to cutbacks and instead spends her time split between working as a GED instructor and as a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant.

She loves both places, but wishes she could teach full time. Also her uncle’s restaurant is great but there is an annoying mean, boorish server-Joy and her uncle’s eclectic, high strung, dramatic girlfriend (I love her wigs and outfits, it makes me think of Iona in Pretty in Pink)

Kendra’s problems start with her best friend Bernie, who is dating a cad and jerk-Jordan Wallace. He’s just after her for money and someone to take care of him. They are waiting for him to pick Bernie up from the Literary Center’s Annual Recognition Program. His car was in the shop so he borrowed hers.

Jordan

Bernie says she’s done this time-Kendra has heard that before. Everyone knows how Jordan has been cheating on Bernie, especially with Vanessa Brumfield, their old mean girl from high school.

Jordan you are such a jerk.

The two go to the rental house that Bernie owns and has been renting to Vanessa (and she of course providing to Jordan along with herself.) Bernie goes to get her car and Kendra then goes home.

Later she is awoken by a phone call, Bernie telling her that Jordan is dead! Found dead in Vanessa’s house.

The two call the police, but Bernie ends up being the number one suspect. Kendra believes her to be innocent, but then discovers there is a whole lot more to Bernie than she realized!

I thought I knew Bernie, but I was wrong.

In fact, Kendra discovers that about all the company she keeps-Joy the waitress, Bernie, Bernie’s sister-in-law Diane Gibson, even her uncle: are hiding a lot more than she realized and all hated Jordan. There are lots of possibilities as to who could have killed Jordan but they all seem to point to Bernie.

Kendra wonders if Vanessa might be involved in all this, finding her “disappearance”, later claiming to be on “vacation”, very suspicious. She tries to investigate her and even goes out with Vanessa’s soon-to-be ex-husband, an extremely handsome lawyer. Kendra really falls for him, but it turns out someone doesn’t want them to together.

One of the two has a stalker that is determined they stay single for them. Will Kendra find out the truth and outwit this psycho? Or will she be joining Jordan in eternity?

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this book and the characters. I thought Kendra was funny and extremely interesting and that the plot was well written and well paced.

The only thing I didn’t care for was Kendra dating someone that may or may not have murdered someone (never get involved with a suspect!!!) but otherwise I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what is next in her investigations.

For more BookBub books, go to Weak Flesh

For more stalkers, go to The Wife Between Us

 

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

***Spoiler Alert!***

So I’m not as tongue-in-cheek as the author and I’m just going to say the truth. This story is about three women:

Nellie:

First we have Nellie, a regular girl who scores the perfect man in Richard Thompson. He’s wealthy, handsome, caring, compassionate-her savior when all is low. Everything is perfect…except that Nellie is afraid she will damage it and send him scurrying.

Also she gets weird hang ups calls, feels as if someone is following her, etc, Is she in danger? Is not all as it seems? Or is she just crazy?

Hmm…

Vanessa:

Second we have Vanessa, Richard’s former wife. She can’t let him go, as she doesn’t want him to hurt another. She details the Hyde side of Richard. His anger, his constant demands, his fighting, blaming, etc. He ruined her life and she will do all she can to keep him from doing it to another.

Emma:

The third woman, Richard’s new fiancée; Emma, who Vanessa wants to help. She has her own dark secrets and hidden face under the masque of sweetness, innocence, and naivety.

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

While Richard is an abusive two-faced man, the Dr. Jekyll persona he shows to everyone, and his hidden Hyde side he only shows to her-Vanessa also has two faces. There is the strong, determined, learned Vanessa-and then her nervous, compromising, submissive side, Nellie.

What?!

Yes these two women are actually the same person.

I thought this was a very well written novel and captures your attention right away.

While it was a great read, it was hard for me to read as what she describes is what I experienced with my husband. one month in our marriage and I was done with his Dr. Jekyll and Hyde life-never knowing which way he will be, trying all you can do to make him not mad, and living with his Dark side.

Thankfully, my divorce was finalized October 24th and I am now legally single. I wish, like Vanessa, I had never met him and never let him into my life-at least all is done and I can move forward.

For more abusive relationships, go to The Enemy We Know

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Woman in the Movie Star Dress

For more stalkers, go to The House on Foster Hill

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

The House on Foster Hill

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

This story is told in twi different times, with two different points of view:

Present Time:

Kaine Prescott has lost her husband and has a stalker. She tried to get the police to investigate both more thoroughly, but both have come to dead ends.

After two years, she moved to Wisconsin and bought a house, sight unseen, in her late grandpa’s hometown.

As she fixes the house up, she discovers a dark history and secret surrounding it, connected to a long ago mystery. As Kaine continues investigating will she find the answers or succumb to a past and present killer?

Past:

Ivy Thorpe assists her father, the town doctor, in trying to exhume and discover what caused the death of the bodies the police find. The House on Foster Hill has always held bad memories for Ivy, but with the discovery of a dead woman’s body, a baby, and possible serial killer. Will Ivy outsmart the killer, or will she be the next in his deadly list.

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

It was good with great characters but the present day reveal was disappointing.

I expected more from the novel than the obvious and chunkily thrown in villain.

I really enjoyed how the author switched back and forth between the ’60s with Ivy and the present day with Kaine. This back and forth was extremely interesting, captured your attention, and made you want to find out what happened next.

For more serial killers, go to Real Murders

For more stalkers, go to Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody

Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody

Yep, posting Saturday instead of Tuesday. Couldn’t help it, it is in the title.

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Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody (Page Turners Novel #1) by Jennie Marts

Sunny is a second grade teacher and is involved in a book club full of her eclectic friends. There is Maggie, a lawyer, recently divorced, and mother of two teenage boys; Cassie, mom of two, married since college, PTA perfection; Edna, a elderly, loud talking, in search of a good time, and crime show addict; and Paige, teenage niece of Cassie who is dealing with the rejection of her mother and hides her feelings under a goth appearance.

They meet every Wednesday for good food, gabbing, movies, and a bit of discussion on whatever book they read.

Lately the book club has two missions they have thrown themselves into:

One, Sunny and Edna’s neighbor hasn’t been seen in quite some time but a young man has come and set up in the homestead. Edna is convinced he has a gun, is a criminal, and murdered Walter. Sunny thinks he is to die for handsome and wants to spend more time with him. However, as much as Sunny likes him, there is something that rings false about him; and the crew start looking into where Walter is and what Jake is up to.

Second, the Page Turners have decided that it is time Sunny got involved with someone. It has been two years since her last relationship so they decide to set her up for six Saturdays, in the hopes that she finds Mr. Right.

This summer Sunny dates a rich but boring stockbroker; a single dad who can’t take no for an answer; a friendly video gamer; a laid back cowboy; a health foodie fisherman; and a mysterious yet friendly FBI Agent.

While all this is going on, Sunny receives hang up phone calls and has a stalker who wants to take their relationship to the next level.

Will Sunny discover who Jake really is? Will she find the perfect date? Or will none of that matter as she becomes victim to an insane stalker.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I received this book free in return of an honest review.

I thought this mystery was only okay. It had an interesting premise, but the development of the characters were extremely shallow and it felt as if the author was going in different directions. Instead of a concise story it was more of a slapdash of different elements.

We have the possibility of the neighbor being a killer which doesn’t really go anywhere, and his character having no real substance.

The dates set up by the book club friends were just too extreme and overdone in an attempt to get you to laugh (which you don’t). I mean really, what women wearing Jimmy Choos would walk in the grass on her lawn instead of the pathway and accidentally step on dog poo without realizing it?

What WOW date would ever risk bringing someone along on a raid without finding out if she even knew what she was doing? They were just dumb.

That’s it?

How could she fall in horse poop and not tell?

The stalker of Sunny was interesting, but again the reveal wasn’t done well as it felt the author didn’t take time to fully craft it but chose a character to wrap it up. The ending was cheap, boring, and cliché.

They call this “page turners” but the women hardly even read, mostly gossip, eat, and watch movies. Maybe they should have gone with a film name instead of literary as they don’t seem to really enjoy it.

It had some fun parts, but those weren’t enough to rescue this book. Another one I’d pass on by.

For more blind date-themed mysteries, go to Dying for a Date

For more stalking mysteries, go to Candy from a Stranger

For more reviews, go to The Cold Dish

Run Run As Fast As You Can

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Run Run As Fast As You Can (Emma Frost Mystery #3) by Willow Rose

Thoughts Before Reading:

So a quick note for those who have never read Willow Rose’s work. In her Emma Frost mysteries, she likes to switch between modern day (2013) and something that occurred in the past; in the end the two winding together to resolution. To help with the confusion, I will put this:

In the post whenever we change times.

She also goes way out there. So these mysteries are not for the faint of heart.

Plot Synopsis:

Run, run, run as fast as you can.
You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
I ran from the baker and his wife too.
You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

So this novel begins in 2013 when Simone Beaumont, mother of nine month old baby is heading out to her mother’s group. She is about to take her baby out of the car for the event they are doing, when she is kidnapped.

Ten years earlier, Thomas lives across the street from his love, Ellen. She doesn’t know he exists as he is a stalker, but of course in his mind every look, motion, thing she does is a symbol for their growing love. He sends her notes and flowers; but one day things change. A man comes to the door and kisses Ellen.

Emma has just returned from Eastern Europe and barely recovered from her recent escapade: girls being sold into the sex trade, a TV show host being a crazed psychopath, and a woman making dolls out of human flesh to fill the loss of her daughter’s disappearance. She has been helping Officer Morton search for the surviving girls from the sex ring in the hopes of reuniting them with their parents. On these trips, she has gotten very close to Officer Morton, the two deciding to to date when they have a free moment.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Lisa, is also a member of Simone’s mother group. She is a germophobe, control freak, and sociopath. She’s been having a lot of anger problems, and when a plumber doesn’t follow her plan and makes her furious, she kills him, cuts him up, and serves him for dinner.

Meanwhile, Simone has woken up, but finds herself trapped in a room full of bats. Her captor let’s her out, but warns her to run as fast as she can; chasing after her with a shotgun.

Back in 2003, Ellen has become very serious about the man she is dating, the two about to be married. But this won’t stop Thomas, he has decided to up his game in hopes of winning his love back.

Sophia, Emma’s friend and neighbor, stops by Emma’s house to let her know the news about Simone. She wants Emma to use her investigative skills to find out what is going on. Sophia thinks that Simone’s husband might be behind the disappearance as they recently fought. He is a police officer, so Sophia thinks that if he did do it the cops won’t do anything about it.

In 2005, Ellen is married and having a baby, but Thomas has not given up. He watches her, sends flowers, gifts, etc.

Always watching

In modern times, they find Simone’s body in her car, shot in the back several times.

What?!

Meanwhile, Lisa has decided she will run for mayor of Fanø Island. Even though others laugh and such at her, it only makes her more angry and determined.

In 2009, Thomas is watching Ellen and her husband fight over the gifts and flowers sent by Thomas. They don’t notice the kids playing outside and when their daughter’s jump rope gets stuck on a tree and starts to choke her; Thomas sees it and runs across the street to help her. When he does Ellen and her husband are grateful…until they realize he is the stalker.

Lisa goes to see Simone’s husband Tim and bring him some food to comfort him. Tim lets out that they were fighting because one of the secretaries at work kissed him. Lisa figures out which one did it and sets out to get rid if her as she enjoys the thrill of killing.

Susanne is taken next and found in the same predicament. Stuck with bats, released and told to run as fast as she can.

Back in 2009, Ellen and her husband call the police. They detain Thomas as the family move away, forever lost to Thomas.

See ya!

One more of the women in the mothers group is killed and they start putting the pieces together. Who is killing them and why?

How does Thomas connect to the whole thing?

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this.

The two stories didn’t really connect well.

This doesn’t really make sense.

I also thought the Lisa character was weird and her story also made zero sense. Didn’t they match up the fork she used to kill the mayor with the one she killed Thomas with? I mean there would be blood from both murders on it.

I know seriously.

This one is one that I would definitely not waste your time on. The next one is worse (to be, ugh, reviewed in the future)

For more Emma Frost mysteries, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

For more kidnapping, go to Death Threads

For more mysteries featuring stalkers, go to The Shadow Hunter

For more mystery reviews, go to Secrets Can Kill

The Shadow Hunter

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The Shadow Hunter (Abby Sinclair and Tess McCallum Series) by Michael Prescott

So I was first introduced to this series when I picked up a copy of Next Victim at a library book sale.

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It’s been a while since I read and before I look at it again I decided it was time that I started the series from the beginning.

Read it today!

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So the first thing that surprised me about this book is that it is all about freelance security consultant, Abby Sinclair.

What?

There is no FBI Agent Tess McCallum, the protagonist from Next Victim.

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Looking at Goodreads, it looks as if the two meet up in later books so maybe the first two are introductory novels to the characters? Or two books that were combined to create a series. I guess I’ll have to do some research.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

So the book starts out with a flashback. Abby’s firm has a different way of going about protecting their client from stalkers and other potential threats. Instead of being around the client, she instead places herself in the perpetrator’s world: befriending the stalker/threat, living next to them, discovering their secrets, and judging whether they are actually going to act on their fantasy or whether it is just bluster.

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Abby has been assisting a case on a case of a famous rock singer. To her chagrin, he won’t listen and remain in seclusion, but insists on going to a club.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

Of course his stalker followed and were she goes Abby does too.

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After many drinks, Abby leaves to conduct standard protocol and notify her team that they should come in, the stalker is nearing red light warning status. But as she is making the call, the stalker kills the client.

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It’s been a year later and that incident has caused trouble for many. Abby left the firm, and the firm has suffered from bad press. The once flourishing company has been culled back to the barest of bones.

Not-Good

But Paul Travis, head of the company, is a forgiving guy and calls Abby back in to help with a new case. Abby is eager to help as she feels horrible and guilty for not only being unable to save the rock star, but for damaging her boss/”boyfriend”‘s business.

gotthis

The new client is the beautiful news anchor, Kris Barwood. Kris was the only one to not blame the company for the death of the rock star, so Travis and Abby are in some real pressure to do right on this. If they succeed in stopping her stalker, it could set everything right. But if they fail, completely demolish them both.

I wonder...

Kris’ husband doesn’t believe in Travis’ company and thinks they should finds someone else to assist them. Kris, however, chooses to ignore him as she no longer trusts her husband, knowing that he is out cheating on her with younger women.

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Kris has been stalked by Raymond Hickle. Everyday he grows more and more intent on reaching Kris and killing her. While he starts planning, a new neighbor moves in: Abby Sinclair.

gotthis

Abby begins working on Raymond and his apartment, getting closer and closer to him. Just as she has made incredible progress, Raymond receives a note from his partner. Yes, it seems that someone anonymous wants Kris dead and is using Hickle to get rid of her.

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This partner has just let Raymond know the truth about Abby, and put her life in danger.

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Who is this mysterious person? Which of the people in Kris’ life are trying to kill her? And will Abby make it out?

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this book was pretty good.

likeit

It was a tough crime novel that gave an interesting perspective into stalkers’ minds.

Very_Interesting250

I liked the character of Abby, although at times she was a little dense at judging people. Choosing to trust the untrusty over the worthy, but then again that’s is pretty realistic.

MeanGirls I know right!

I thought the the twist ending of who Hickle’s partner was, was done excellently.

loveitSupernatural

It is obvious who it is, but Prescott did a wonderful job at smoke screening it so that you thought it was another or doubted you judgement.

goodgood

I give it three out of five stars

***Spoiler Warning***

 

The only thing I really didn’t like was how Abby could not see that Paul was the bad guy. The way he acted so closed off, his emotions/personality; how could she not tell that he hated her and wanted him gone.

seriously

I knew it was him.

You_know_thats_right

I didn’t put the pieces together why he wanted Kris dead and thought that was a great twist. And the way he set the husband up? Excellently planned for his character.

goodgood

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For more stalkers, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more undercover tales, go to A Change of Fortune

For more mysteries, go to Bake Until Golden

 

The Postman Always Purls Twice

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The Postman Always Purls Twice (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #7) by Anne Canadeo

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I had just finished reading Murder in Mohair, but it seemed slightly weird and off like I was missing something.

Interesting

It wasn’t until I added the book to my Goodreads that I realized Murder in Mohair was book #8, not 7.

What?

Weirdly enough my library didn’t have book 7. They had all of them, except that one. I had to Inter-Library Loan it (ILL)

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Plot Synopsis:

A movie crew has descended upon Plum Harbor.

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Yes Hollywood has come a-knocking as it wants to film the newest thriller starring the famous actress Jennifer Todd, and hunky leading man, Heath O’Hara.

thenannygasp

The knitting group find themselves thrust into the middle as Suzanne is a location scout for the film and Maggie ends up becoming a character consultant for Jennifer.

wow

Thing seem to be going well as the group finds themselves invited to parties and spending time with their favorite actors.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

However, there seems to be a dark cloud looming over the production. Sabotage keeps occurring, and in one case Jennifer is almost killed by a falling light.

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The knitters start investigating what is going on when things take an even creepier turn.

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It appears someone is stalking Jennifer, as she is sent creepy flowers by a secret admirer.

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When Jennifer’s husband and the director Nick Pullman is badly poisoned, the knitters become even more suspicious and continue their investigation into what is going on in the set.

Very fishy

Very fishy

But soon things become even more serious when Heath O’Hara is found dead, his drink poisoned too.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

When Jennifer is arrested and believed to be the murderer; the knitters step up their game to clear their new friend’s name.

gotthis

But it won’t be easy. This group has more triangles and issues than Twin Peaks;  as betrayal, adultery, ambition, etc. abound.

twinpeaks

Will the knitters solve the case before the crew heads back to Los Angeles? Or have they met their match?

HMMM

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I did not like this book.

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I thought it was horribly written and that the mystery was lackluster.

horrible

First the title bothered me as it didn’t connect with the mystery at all. It just seemed cheap.

Come on, guys. You didn't even clean up?

Come on, guys. You didn’t even clean up?

The story was kind of boring.

NO emotion = BORING!

Cannadeo lead you in one direction the whole book and then in the last few pages had a character become the exposition fairy giving you all the information to solve it in a minute.

Unlike the other books there was no buildup or development.

Really Anne?

Really Anne?

Definitely so bad it is on the level of A Stitch Before Dying. I hope the future books are much better.

Please!

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to A Dark and Stormy Knit

For more mysteries that revolve around making a movie, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder

For more on poisoning, go to A Pinch of Poison

For more Nostalgia Critic, go to A Stitch Before Dying