Monday, 25 March 2013

Two Reviews of Books You MUST Read!

Greetings! Hope that title managed to grab your attention. I had the pleasure recently of reading two superb novels by blogger buddies - both psychological thrillers, both debuts - and as the authors also happen to be CPs and BFFs, I thought it only fitting to review them together.

First up, it's The Mistaken by Nancy S. Thompson


All Tyler Karras wants is to enjoy life with his expectant bride; what he gets instead is a graveside seat at her funeral. With the woman who killed her uncharged and still free, all Ty wants now is revenge.

His brother, Nick, has dangerous connections and suggests a sadistic plan: grab the woman responsible and hand her over to his associates—sex-traffickers in San Francisco’s Russian Mafia. They offer Ty more than he dreamed possible. In exchange for the woman, they’ll finally let his brother leave the business for good—with his debt wiped clean and his heart still beating.

There’s just one problem: Ty kidnaps the wrong woman.

Now he must protect Hannah Maguire from the very enemy he's unleashed, but the Russians are holding Nick as leverage to force Ty to complete their deal. Caught in a no-win situation, Ty must find a way to save himself, his brother, and the woman, but with the Russian Mafia, even two out of three makes for very long odds.

My review:

A stunning debut novel rich in characterisation and twists and turns, Nancy S. Thompson has really created something special here. She examines the consequences of a man who considers himself good being driven mad by grief and revenge. The events in Tyler Karras' life following his wife's death are like a whirlpool leading him down a path of insane destruction; it might seem over the top in the hands of a lesser author, but Thompson does such a good job you wouldn't believe it was her first book. 

The multiple first person narrative allows us to get up close and personal with the characters' emotions and reactions at each step of the way. Thompson lands them in impossibly dangerous situations, leading you to forge on to discover just how they will get out of them. From a relatively slow start, Thompson builds the momentum until it's impossible to put the book down. If you want gripping action sequences and nailbiting twists, the novel delivers in spades, but it also offers a thoughtful look at what someone can do when they're driven over the edge, and the nature of redemption.

Purchase Links:

Author Links:

Publisher’s website

Next up, Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan


Newly divorced and with his career in jeopardy, Detective Connor Parks takes solace in the arms of a beautiful woman he meets at a bar. The next morning, Claire Fletcher is gone, leaving nothing behind but an address and a decade-old mystery. The address leads to the Fletcher family home where Claire's siblings inform Connor that their fifteen-year-old sister was abducted from a city street ten years ago and is presumed dead. During those ten years, Claire endured the cruel torture and depravity of the man who abducted her. Paralyzed by fear and too ashamed to return to her family, Claire is resigned to her life as Lynn, the identity her abductor forced upon her. Every time she attempts escape or betrays him in the smallest way, someone dies. Even now, her clandestine run-in with Connor Parks may have put his life at risk, as well as the lives of her family. Connor is convinced that not only is Claire Fletcher alive, but that she is also the woman he met at the bar. Driven to see her again, he begins his own investigation, off the clock and without the police department's consent. He is determined to find her and unravel the mystery of her abduction and odd reemergence. But finding Claire Fletcher proves more dangerous than he anticipates. In fact, it may be deadly.

My review:

A first-rate thriller that draws you completely into the tortuous existence led by Claire, held captive by a deranged criminal for ten years. This was a completely absorbing read, told so well by Regan that I felt I was right there watching the action unfold. It is brutal at times, but that would be the reality of such a situation. The book drew me in not only from the premise in the blurb, but the conundrum this presents; if Claire has enough freedom to meet Connor in a bar and go home with him, why does she not simply return to her family? The answers are heartbreaking as they become clear, and Regan does a superb job in analysing her protagonist's psychology as a victim. 

I won't say too much about the plot, so as not to give away any spoilers, but I will say that the relationship between Connor and Claire, ignited on that first night, is the driving force that propels the action forwards and I was really rooting for both of them. Claire's seemingly omnipotent abductor is a horrifying and sinister presence, and my jaw dropped at the revelations that unfolded and the tension that ramps up towards the heart-in-your mouth conclusion. This novel has such strong emotions in it that it's hard to describe, making you palpably feel Claire's sadness, but also the hope that exists in the world. 

I felt at the end that the title had a dual nature; there is the literal search for Claire spearheaded by Connor, but also Claire's search for the girl that she was before her gruesome ordeal. A brilliant and thought-provoking debut.

Purchase Links:

This will most likely be my last post until the A-Z Challenge starts in a week. I'll be around a bit, but
plan to do a bit more editing and reading in that time. Can't wait for next Monday!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I haven't had a chance to read Lisa's book yet, but I was honored to read a review copy of Nancy's last summer. Awesome book - best one I read last year!

Maria said...

Hi Nick,

Both these books look fabulous. I'll look out for both of them. Thanks for sharing.

Maria's Book Blog.

JeffO said...

Two very good books by two very good people. Nice reviews!

Unknown said...

Great reviews, Nick! I've got Mistaken in my TBR list. Definitely going to give Finding Claire Fletcher a look now, too. :)

Nancy Thompson said...

Aw, Nick, I'm speechless! I don't think I could ever thank you enough for such a thoughtful, well-written, positive review. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it & am so grateful you've shared your thoughts, not just with me, but the world, too. What an awesome thing to wake up to. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! Before I melt into a puddle of tears, let me add that I agree in regards to Lisa Regan's book. It is so stunning & provocative, one of the few books I could read over & over. Thanks again, Nick, for making my day!!!!!

Al Diaz said...

So many good books out there, so little time!

Lisa Regan said...

Awww . . . I am speechless as well and very, very, very grateful. I agree that Nancy's book is absolutely amazing. Definitely one of the best thrillers I've ever read. Thank you so much for your incredible review of FCF. This had made my week and it's only just starting! I really appreciate it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Unknown said...

The both sound good, Nick, with interesting plot lines. Lots of great books. Not so much time, but readers never quit, right?

Suzanne Furness said...

Haven't read either of these but they sound great. I'll check them out when I next fancy a good thriller to read. Thanks for the reviews, Nick.

Luanne G. Smith said...

Hey, two of my favorite people. And I've read both books and agree they were both great reads. :))

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - that's great .. two very good read by the sound of it .. and I will definitely get them .. a good mystery-thriller is always a winner for me.

Cheers Hilary

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've got both of these books ready to read on my Kindle, but just haven't managed to get to them yet. Really eager though!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reviews! I love hearing about new things to add to my TBR I need anymore. :P

Just dropping by from the A to Z Challenge to say Hi.

Hope to see you around.

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks everyone! But thanks most of all to Nancy and Lisa for writing those awesome books. :)

Christine Rains said...

Excellent reviews! I have Nancy's book coming up on my TBR list. Can't wait.

Carrie Butler said...

I have read them both, and I love them! :)

Susan Oloier said...

Great reviews, Nick. I haven't yet read either of them, but now I want to!

Krista McLaughlin said...

Great reviews! I will have to add both of them to my list to read! :)

dolorah said...

Both sound awesome; definitely going on my TBR list.


Misha Gerrick said...

I really really want to read Finding Claire Fletcher. Sounds like an amazing book.

Melissa said...

I agree. I enjoyed both of these very much. :)

Mark said...

Hmm, neat:) I'm getting into thrillers more, so I'll check them out:)

Samantha May said...

I have The Mistaken! Unfortunately I've been a bit bogged down with school work, so I really haven't read for fun much these days. I plan to start it as soon as I finish my exams though!

Cherie Reich said...

Great reviews! The Mistaken is on my to-read-and-review list.

Michelle Wallace said...

Books written in my FAVOURITE genre!
I already purchased The Mistaken in paperback form and want to do the same with Finding Claire Fletcher.
I'm looking forward to reading these two novels!
Thanks for the reviews!

M Pax said...

The Mistaken is on my Nook. I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Looking forward to it, though. Lisa's sounds great, too.

Heather R. Holden said...

Great reviews! I haven't heard of either of these books before, but wow, both have such compelling premises!

Ella said...

Great reviews Nick! I look forward to reading both of these well crafted books! Thank you~ :D

Ella said...

And great interview ;D Over at Jo's~

Empty Nest Insider said...

Excellent reviews Nick! I already have The Mistaken, and look forward to reading it! Finding Claire Fletcher also sounds riveting!