Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

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Emma in the Night
By Wendy Walker
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781250141439
Pages: 320
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.


(New) Thoughts

Emma and Cass Tanner disappear one night without a trace. Three years later, Cass arrives at her mother’s doorstep, alone. Desperate to find her sister Emma, she shares her incredible story of the events leading up to her return. What ensues is a tale that much darker and twisted than even forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter has imagined, and she has a few theories of her own since she original began the case three years ago. Just how deep can family secrets run?

Mysteries are always hard to review for me. Those worth reading are cherished for that elusive truth that one must work to uncover. Revealing too little or too much can be detrimental. And that is where Emma in the Night shines. Wendy Walker has established an unnaturally rewarding balance between the known and unknown. The reader is supplied with just enough ammunition to formulate several working theories, but left to ponder endless possibilities. The end result is an experience that is hard to walk away from and draws the reader further in with each page.

Told through the alternating points of view of Cass Tanner and Dr. Abby Winter, we are slowly exposed to both sides of this mysterious case. Cass is brilliant in terms of a protagonist. To label her as strong feels unjust. While she is not without insecurities and flaws that build her up as a credible character, she is a survivor. Her ability to acknowledge her own weaknesses and her family’s dysfunction with raw truth and play on these facts, weaves a fantastic tale full of questions that beg to be answered.

I found Abby to be less desirable as a main character, but not without merit. At times she felt too open and almost desperate. But her own history with a narcissistic parent played well into her role and provided some insight, albeit limited. I feel like saying she was without value is not warranted. But make no mistake, this is Cass’s story.

The world building is confined to an island and the Tanner’s home, but felt much larger in the grand scheme. The narration establishes an environment that is a familiar as it is foreign. Cleverly implementing elements of the known and uncertain, the likable and unlikable, Walker plays on the reader’s many emotions, engaging them on multiple levels.

The writing is perceptive and sharp. This is a prime example of a well-developed plot that has been executed flawlessly. It reads with an incredible ease and delivers a suspenseful tale that will leave readers thinking and rethinking with each new development.

Emma in the Night is for anyone who loves a dark story full of twists. If you enjoy a good dysfunctional family and mystery, this will be a welcomed and necessary addition to your shelves.

Untitled design Enjoyed with a warm cup of Earl Grey and a splash of milk.

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A Nice Brew & Something New: Sleep, Savannah, Sleep Excerpt

A Nice Brew & Something New (1).pngA Nice Brew & Something New is a feature where I highlight books and authors that are new to myself and the blog.

If you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know that I tend to feature a variety of books. I enjoy exploring various genres as much as I enjoy sampling new teas. So I am excited to feature an excerpt from horror/thriller author Alistair Cross’ upcoming novel. I do want to apologize for the delay in this post as it was originally intended to have been up at the beginning of the month. I want to thank Berlin (Alistair’s Rep) for the understanding and support!

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep

Available 9/25/17


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The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace


Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own – and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem – and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.

Excerpt

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep

“This is it? Seriously? It’s like we’re moving into Hill House.” In the passenger seat, Brent looked uneasy.

Jason Crandall turned to his son. “It has character.” He looked up at the old Victorian. But he’s right. It’s creepy. Surrounded by mid-century houses, the decrepit Victorian seemed like a flaw on the neighborhood, a stain on something otherwise clean. The cat’s claw vine climbing the walls seemed to shroud the house, as if trying to hide it, the violently yellow blossoms creating a diversion from the faded wood siding – as did the bowers of honeysuckle that accented the yard, draped the veranda, and sweetened the air. Two second-story windows peered out from between the lush vines, looking like the eyes of a hunted beast.

Surrounded on both sides by white split-rail fences coated in spindly climbing roses, the property was spacious, with a small courtyard beyond a wisteria-choked arbor that lead to the back yard. “I don’t know. I think it’s charming.” He offered his son a grin, and shut off the silver Legacy. The annoying squeal – probably a fan belt – went silent and Jason made a mental note to hunt down a local mechanic.

“It’s creepy, Dad. Seriously creepy.” Brent leaned back and assumed his usual air of annoyed indifference.

“But creepy in a cool way, right?” asked Jason.

Brent’s eyes, the color of seawater, looked unimpressed. “Only if you like haunted houses.”

“It’s haunted?” In the back seat, Amber sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Even Ruby, the blond, blue-eyed doll that never left her arms, looked alarmed.

“Of course it isn’t haunted.” Jason shot Brent a warning look. “It’s just old.”

The three of them stared at the house and it seemed to stare right back. All in all, it didn’t appear pleased to meet them.

“Let’s go have a look around.” Jason undid his seatbelt. “After that, you two can help me unload.” A large moving van was a day or two behind them; the small trailer they’d pulled contained only the essentials – and most of Jason’s massage equipment. He knew he was being optimistic about how quickly he could get his studio up and running, but he couldn’t help it. His new business was the entire reason he’d bought the house. It had a basement complete with its own entrance, so Jason could work without having strangers traipsing in and out of the family’s living space. Overall, the old Victorian was pretty ideal, even if it was a little spooky.

Then again, the whole town – or what he’d seen of it so far – was pretty spooky, too. Quaint and quiet, Shadow Springs was a startling contrast to the buzzing pace of Los Angeles. Jason told himself this would be good for him – good for all of them.

Here, just outside of Ojai in Ventura County, they’d begin their new lives, free of bad memories. That was what Jason had told himself a hundred times in the past weeks – it was what he had to believe.

Book info:

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep – Coming Soon 9/25/17


About The Author

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Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Favorite tea: Green tea. He consumes 1 to 2 cups daily!

Author Info:

Contact contact@bamliterature.com

Author’s website: http://www.alistaircross.com/

Author’s social media links: Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest


Have you read Alistair’s work? I am looking forward to exploring it in the near future!

Danielle ❤

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Psycho Analysis by V.R. Stone

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Psycho Analysis 
By V.R. Stone
Publisher: Silverwhite Press
Kindle ASIN: B01KMRM8ZK
Pages: 269
Genre: Thriller

Blurb:

A serial killer who wants to quit. A detective struggling to keep his personal life out of a murder hunt. And a celebrity psychiatrist facing an incredible challenge. Three damaged individuals, linked by their traumatic histories. They’ve chosen very different paths. Now those paths are about to cross.

Sarah Silver is a hedge fund manager – from Monday to Friday she makes a killing in the markets. At weekends, though, she hunts men, not profits. Martin White used to be a brilliant detective. But his family, judgement and self-control are deserting him. And Karl Gross has sold millions of books on serial killers. However he’s a controversial figure in the medical community.

Can Martin keep it together and catch a killer who commits almost perfect crimes? Is Karl capable of unravelling Sarah’s psyche and putting an end to the killing? Or will she disappear when she realises that the hunter has become the hunted?

PsychoAnalysis is a psychological crime thriller that explores the grey area between good and evil. Why would a woman kill for fun? Can she be understood? Can she be stopped?

“The mind is like an iceberg. Most of it lies beneath the surface, a subconscious universe of thoughts we can’t observe. It contains memories too painful to remember, elicits emotions we don’t want to feel, and makes us do things we don’t understand.”
my-thought

First of all, let’s just take a minute to admire this cover! Exceptional. As chilling as it is befitting. I admit that it succeeded in grabbing my fullest attention. Pair that with the promise of an exciting female serial killer and picking this up is an effortless process.

The story unfolds through the eyes of three individuals.

We meet Sarah who not only kills it in the market, but also on the weekends, literally. She is young, wealthy and beautiful. She is everything a man could desire in a woman, aside from one teeny-weeny bad habit. She hunts and kills men. However, Sarah has decided she wants to stop. But can a serial killer be rehabilitated?

Detective Martin White’s home life is falling apart. His wife is leaving and he is struggling to maintain his grasp. Tasked with tracking down an elusive killer, he is no longer sure of his own capabilities. Can he keep his personal life and work separated long enough to finish the job?

Dr. Karl Gross makes his living treating sex addicts and extreme clients and then selling their stories. His methods have managed to create a less than positive stir in his field. So what happens when he takes on a new client that may be too difficult even for him?

I wanted to love this book, and yet I found myself unable to fully do so. A female serial killer, broken detective and questionable psychiatrist seem like a sure recipe for a fantastic thriller. But it failed to fully come together and fall into that perfect harmony. The pieces just didn’t fit well. For that reason, this will be a briefer summary of my time with the book.

The characters felt flat. I am not even going to soften this because it was my biggest challenge with Psycho Analysis. For as flawed and unique as they were, there was little to nothing extraordinary occurring with each of them. Sarah was mildly interesting, but just not likable in that disturbing sort of way. I wanted to secretly admire some small aspect of her. If you have watched Dexter, then you know what I mean. It is possible to love a serial killer. But not this one. In fact, later events completely turned me off of her.

Detective White and Dr Gross both offered little in terms of engagement of engaging the reader. There is one interesting side of Gross that is presented and then completely dropped?! I felt it could have been a huge addition to the story. Ultimately, I felt as though there was a lot of untapped potential within each of them. This was a dysfunctional trio, so there should have been much more happening beneath the initial surface. I wanted there to be so much more.

The setting and world building were solid though. The author easily transports us back and forth through time as memories are called to the surface and effortlessly paints an immersive image of each encounter. The writing is seamless, allowing the multiple PoVs to go off without a hitch. But it was not without some predictability. A few twists were foreseen and revealed far too early for my personal taste. While the ending did not disappoint, it failed to sincerely surprise me.

The end result was a fun but not so memorable experience. I don’t regret my time with Psycho Analysis, but I am not jumping to fully recommend it either.  If you are in search of a more simplistic thriller or a somewhat mindless read, this might be the one. So if curiosity has you, pick it up and formulate an opinion.

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