Hidden in the Shadows, by Angie Vancise

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and A. D. (Angie) Vancise for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

After having A.D. Vancise reach out and request I read this ARC, I was both honoured and curious about what was to come. An eerie story that spans two time periods, Vancise takes the reader on a journey and jolts them with what they will discover. Part mystery, part horror thriller, the story develops quickly and leaves the reader wondering if they have any control over what they are reading. My first piece by A.D. Vancise and what a ride it was.

Evie Day is back in her hometown, five years after she vowed she would never look back. In Woodsville, Arkansas to attend her grandfather’s funeral, Evie discovers an old photo in his belongings. This leads to other oddities, including a vial of blood, presumably from a case he was working as a local cop many years ago. Now, Evie is pulled into the middle of the mystery that her grandfather left for her, albeit inadvertently.

While she delves a little deeper, Evie uncovers a secret life her grandfather may have been living, or at least a case that remained unsolved. What begins somewhat innocently soon unravels and keeps Evie from being able to stop herself. Mysteries abound and people she’s never heard of become the centre of her world.

Meanwhile, in a flashback narrative, the story of what happened back in 1933 comes to life, with horrible situations and a witness there to recount the tale. Torture, murder, and a taste for blood all come to the surface while a killer (or group) runs rampant around town. How will it all connect with Evie‘s discoveries and what does it all mean? A.D. Vancise has the answers, but demands patience and full attentiveness of her audience to discover the truth.

I try to keep an open mind when I discover a new author, in hopes that they will click for me. A.D. Vancise did so in some regards with this uniquely framed story that had me scratching my head throughout the reading experience. Some crime fighting and even more baffling revelations left me wanting to know more, while being jarred by what I was learning. I can only wonder if some of Vancise’s other books pack the same punch, as she is sure to have quite the following if this is the case.

It takes a strong narrative to keep the reader connecting with a piece through to the very end. A.D. Vancise does that in her own way, luring the reader with some jolting information and hopes that it will be enough. The pacing of the book proved useful to help digest some of the larger and more problematic parts of the storytelling, content, not delivery. Vancise uses a handful of interesting characters to portray the jarring effective of her story and left me asking myself what I was reading on more than one occasion. Plot twists and reveals helped keep me on my toes throughout and left me to wonder if there will be more in this vein, if not in the form of a series. Vancise is a new author for me, but I have not yet decided if I will be back for more, or if this is one novel I need to allow some digestion before committing to something else. Well worth a gander, if only to see what the hype is all about.

Kudos, Madam Vancise, for a unique journey well into the depths of the genre. I liked it, i think!

Played in Seattle (Dr. Julia Fairchild #6), by P.J. Peterson

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and PJ Peterson for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Back with another Julia Fairchild novel, P.J. Peterson dazzles once more. A cozy mystery, perfect for a quick read, Peterson adds depth to her series with this addition that, as Julia Fairchild mentions throughout, ‘does not include a dead body’. Quick chapters and a narrative that flows with ease, P.J. Peterson shows that her writing ought to be taken seriously, or at least enjoyed by many.

Dr. Julia Fairchild and her sister, Carly, are away in Seattle for a girls’ week. While everything appears to be going well, they notice a man entering a cub one night, who turns up unconscious in the water the following day, a scrap a paper lodged in his hand. It will take all in Julia’s power not to play amateur sleuth, though Carly knows this may be a lost cause.

The plot thickens even more when Julia’s old college beau turns up, a professor of nuclear engineering, who has ties to an old Navy communication project that was shelved in the 1960s. When messages begin emanating from one of the Navy’s old beacons, no one is quite sure what to make if it all. It’s made even more problematic when whispers of espionage could be on the horizon, as intel appears to be going to the Chinese.

While Julia and Carly want to enjoy their time in Seattle, they become enmeshed enmeshed in the investigation, only to be stymied with the lack of progress. It will take a great deal of sleuthing and some risk-taking to get to the bottom of this case, while keeping Carly from getting too upset at the lack of sightseeing that’s being done.

The race to the truth leaves many trails, including a few missing people and a kidnapping of a small child. Whatever has happened, it’s sure to keep everyone on their toes and asking what awaits them. Julia and Carly have surely ended up in the middle of a major mess, but this seems to be just what the doctor (Julia) ordered for their vacation. A great mystery that will keep series fans begging for more!

I discovered P.J. Peterson through my connection to a mutual friend and devoured some of her early mysteries in short order. Now, as each book is ready to be released, I receive an ARC to offer my own views and have nothing but positive things to say. Peterson writes with ease and develops a story that works, without the need for a great deal of minutiae. Quick, enticing, and great for a mystery reader on the go, P.J. Peterson is one to take note of for all who enjoy the genre.

While my mystery reading tends to take me on the deeper trolls through crime scenes and police experts analysis, I thoroughly enjoy these shorter and cozier stories as well. Peterson develops a strong narrative that is easy to digest without all the extra that distracts the reader from the central plot. Quick chapters push the story along and keep the reader wanting to know more. Characters who develop with ease add something t the story, while the protagonist (perhaps we can add Carly too, as she has been in repeated novels) continues to add depth to a story that has been in the works from the beginning. Plot twists throughout help keep things from being overly predictable and leave the reader feeling entertained as they power through the book. I can only hope there are more to come, as Dr. Julia Fairchild is fast becoming a character whose adventures I impatiently wait for as I read to pass the time.

Kudos, Madam Peterson, for a great piece that kept my attention until the final page.

Contracts for Sale, by Edward Izzi

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Edward Izzi for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Always eager when Edward Izzi hands me an ARC of his newest book, I took it upon myself to devour this novel in short order. As usual, Izzi provides the readier with a stellar piece of writing that is full of strong writing, powerful themes, and building on past novels, while remaining a standalone piece for anyone to enjoy. Those who discover the work of Edward Izzi are in for a treat and should not hesitate to find one of his books soon.

After reporter Paul Crawford begins investigating the disappearance of a corporate executive, he’s unsure where it will take him. Working for the Sun-Timesin Chicago, Crawford is used to the unusual and everything has a whiff of mob activity. A little research shows that a number of people are disappearing into thin air with no trace or apparent reason. A lack of any forensics or video surveillance leaves Crawford to wonder if these are well-executed professional hits. Working in tandem with his friend and fellow reporter, Chaz Rizzo, Crawford cannot make any solid headway, save for referring to those who have gone missing as ‘Houdini Victirms’.

Meanwhile, Mark Stetler has been working behind the scenes as CEO of Eradication, Inc. a company that specialises in providing murder for hire. While the fee is high, the result is usually to the client’s desire, as nothing is left to chance. Meeting in secret, the Board of Directors for Eradication, Inc. reviews submissions and delegates the work to their two hired assassins. Members of the group are in it for life, with dire consequences for anyone trying to leave the fold. Stetler is sure that this will continue to become a lucrative business, as long as those who seek their services to not have loose lips.

When Crawford and Rizzo get some intel that points to the possible existence of Eradication, Inc, they begin digging deeper, alerting some within the group that the cover nature may soon be blown. It will take a great deal of effort and determination for Eradication, Inc. not to let everything come crashing down around them, especially with two nosy reporters on the prowl. The grit and determination shown by Crawford and Rizzo is something few in the Chicago reporting world have seen.

Scrambling to put the pieces together and alert the CPD, these two reporters ramp up their competitive side while working to bring down this organisation. It will take everything they have, but someone must act or Eradication, Inc. will continue these brutal murders and turn Chicago into a city with blood flowing down the streets. Another stellar piece by Izzi that only proves even more why I enjoy this author.

While I have been around for each of Edward Izzi’s novels, it took me some time to get used to his style. Izzi writes in a gritty fashion and pulls the reader in from the start. While each novel is a standalone, the setting and characters overlap, such that a reader of all the books will find threads that connect each storyl and add to the enjoyment. Izzi keeps getting better and shows that he is one author worth noting, particularly for the reader who needs something fast paced.

Izzi provides the reader with something intense and yet easy to read, with a strong narrative that keeps the story on track. With short chapters and strong plot development, there is little time for the reader to rest as they make their way through another Chicago-based thriller. As mentioned before, Izzi writes standalones, but some of the charcaters return from book to book, permitting those who have read many of Izzi’s books, as I have, to enjoy some development throughout the overall ‘series’ experience. I cannot say enough about Izzi or his writing and can only hope that there are more to come soon, as I eagerly await his emails with ARCs attached.

Kudos, Mr. Izzi, for impressing yet again! I look forward to what you have to come.

The Avignon Affair (Vatican Secret Archives #4), by Gary McAvoy and Ronald L. Moore

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Gary McAvoy for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Gary McAvoy is back with more stellar writing, the primary reason I rushed to read the latest novel in the Vatican Secret Archive series. McAvoy again collaborates with Ronald L. Moore and they examine a new mystery that forces Father Michael Dominic to pull out all the stops, while evil forcers seek to take full advantage. McAvoy and Moore guide readers through a historical event shrouded in secrecy and show how a modern happening could be directly tied to its interpretation. With politics, action, and a little romantic triangulation, McAvoy and Moore offer up a cryptic story that is sure entertain a great cross-section of readers.

While in Paris for a funeral, Father Michael Dominic is called to Notre Dame Cathedral for a mysterious reason. A crypt said to hold the body of a fourteenth-century bishop has been recovered during restoration processes. What’s odd is that the skeleton has a cardinal’s ring on one finger and has two parchments hidden within the vestments. Baffled as to who it might have been and what secrets the parchments might hold, Father Dominic is asked to take them back to the Vatican to investigate.

All the while, major acts of terror rock the streets of Paris and its outskirts, proving that there is instability within the government. A high-ranking aristocrat calls for the French president to step down and allow the democratic process to choose his successor, while the country stands in awe. In a political vacuum, anything goes and this could be the perfect time for anarchy to reign supreme.

While Father Dominic seeks to better understand their mystery before him, a new King of France emerges and tries to wrest control of the country away from the political leaders, who have themselves sought to impose martial law; leaving little space for anything democratic to flourish. It’s only when Father Dominic uncovers some of the key mysteries about the body and parchments that France’s political turmoil becomes a little clearer and the play for power is central to the story.

As Father Dominic deciphers what is before him and France is torn, glimpses of what might be come to the surface, both for the country and with some of those with ties to the Vatican. Will something that took place during a temporary seat of the Pope prove to be the end to the Vatican as we know it, taking a country down with it? McAvoy and Moore weave a scintillating story that adds to the greatness this series has produced to date.

My relationship with Gary McAvoy’s writing began when he asked me to read his debut piece of fiction, which gripped me from the outset. The numerous themes develop a Vatican that proves complex and multi-layered, even when events take place well outside of Rome. McAvoy brings Ronald L. Moore back to collaborate, which proves a great choice, as the story finds new depth and complexity without getting overly heavy. Great character development, especially with the key people series fans know well, adds another aspect as to why the book should be read in short order.

There’s long been a spark surrounding this series, which exposes so many truths, fallacies, and ways to blend them together. The collaborative addition of Ronald L. Moore keeps the reader exploring new avenues of mystery while keeping themselves highly entertained. Laying the groundwork from the opening chapter, the narrative develops with each page, balancing historical happenings with modern goings-on, all of which culminates in a strong story that pulls the reader in. Explosive revelations, both political and religious, add depth to a series that has never lacked for adventure. Strong characters, particularly those who are back yet again and build on their past, help create an emotional connection for the reader. While there were some tense moments in the last novel about whether things might be coming to a close, the authors have spun new themes to keep the series going without any sign of letting up.

Kudos, Messrs. McAvoy and Moore, for another great piece in the series. I await your next adventure!

The Potrero Complex, by Amy L. Bernstein

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Amy L. Bernstein for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

After being handed this ARC by Amy L. Bernstein, I was curious to see how things would play out. Set in the near future, the story is a little mystery, with a peppering of dystopia and some self-discovery tossed in for good measure. Bernstein keeps things unique and memorable for the reader, even if the product may not have been something that gripped me as much as I would have liked.

Rags Goldner has been though a great deal after a pandemic has taken hold over the world for the last number of years. She’s seeking a fresh start and leaves with her partner, Flint, for a small Maryland town, hoping to find herself once more. The town of Canary offers much to Rags, including a missing teenager, who is all the talk of the town. Effie Rutter must be out there,but Rags must also cut through a bunch of emotional red tape to get to the truth. The mystery rages on with little hope of a simple answer.

While Rags and Flint try to pick up the pieces, they are faced with some daunting experiences that will push them to the brink. This is a new world, one where hope hangs by a thread and no one appears to know what waits around the corner. Both will have to pull up their bootstraps and face reality, even if it does not have all the answers they hope to find. Plus, with Effie still out there, someone has to care enough to push onwards and not let sensationalised journalism take over. Bernstein does well to paint a dreary picture, even if the content was not as tantalizing as I might have hoped.

Amy L. Bernstein has shown that she can write and has a great deal to say. Her delivery is strong and she has ideas to share, but it is perhaps the content that failed to grip me to its fullest extend. Dystopian novels are hit and miss for me, as are things surrounding some ominous larger event. Still, Bernstein does well to keep the story moving forward and kept me guessing how things might resolve themselves by the final page turn.

Good novels have a strong narrative, while great ones pull you in and won’t let go until all is settled. For me, Bernstein offered up something good and kept things flowing with ease. Her narrative is well-paced and allows characters to set their personalities as the larger story progresses. There are some wonderful plot twists and that helps the reader see how the protagonists evolve throughout the piece. I was not as hooked as the dust jacket blurb would have led me to hope, but that may be my short attention span these days. I needed something with more action and a quicker delivery. All the same, many readers may really enjoy Bernstein’s work and I wish them well!

Kudos, Madam Bernstein, for a great effort. I hope many find something wonderful in what you have to say and latch on.

Cult of Darkness, by D.W. Whitlock

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and D.W. Whitlock for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having been handed this ARC by D.W. Whitlock, I was eager to see if the core of the novel proved to be as enticing as the dust jacket blurb. Having read some of his other work, I was prepared for a thrilling and intense read, which would surely pull me into the middle of the action. I was not disappointed, as Whitlock told a story of great interest and kept me wanting to delve a little deeper.

While drugs continue to find their way onto streets and in the hands of the most vulnerable, there is a power struggle much higher up that is just as dangerous. Mexican drug cartels are battling not only to get their product onto the streets, but to control distribution and sales to any and all who find themselves needing a hit.

Of those groups who are wrestling for control, one has risen above all others: the Riviera. Headed by the ruthless Kukulkan, members of the cartel have begun peddling fentanyl, a drug more powerful than anything else on the streets. Bodies are strewn all around pristine Mexican communities, proving that this is one battle that will not end easily.

When the son of a prominent local businessman disappears, a call goes out to Alex Schofield, whose time in the Delta forces and investigative techniques are second to none. Schfield enters the landmine that is Mexico, in search of a boy who may have become involved in something more complex than he could have imagined.

While Schofield has made a vow to himself, he may have to break it in order to save one boy from imminent danger. However, there are other demons creeping up that could seriously harm Schofield on a more personal level. D.W. Whitlock weaves a chilling tale that will surely leave the reader on the edge of their seats throughout this great story.

While I have read the other novel published by D.W. Whitlock, this one was more captivating and enthralling than its predecessor. Full of action and wonderful character development, Whitlock proves that he belongs in this genre an should be noticed by those who love reading books of this nature.

The test of a great book is the ability to pull the reader in with ease as the story progresses. Whitlock does that well, as his narrative builds to a crashing crescendo and takes the reader on a journey like no other. With strong characters and some wonderful development to keep the reader wanting to know more, Whitlock teases the reader throughout the process, while tossing in some great plot twists to keep things interesting. There is no time to take a break between page turns, as the action culminates in something well worth the wait. I will keep my eyes open for more by D.W. Whitlock and hope others take notice.

Kudos, Mr. Whitlock, for another great read. I’m eager to see what’s to come!

Hooker Avenue (Jessie Martin #2), by Jadé Millman

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Jodé Millman for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having been handed this ARC by Jodé Millman, I dove into the series debut first, in hopes that they would complement one another well and keep me intrigued until the final page turn. Millman does well and keeps pace in this second novel, which does not leave the reader tired at any point throughout the intense thriller.

Jessie Martin is back as a great legal mind in upstate New York. The young lawyer has a lot to prove and is ready for most anything that comes her way. While driving home in a torrential storm, Jessie comes across a woman who is in dire need of assistance. Thinking that she can be a Good Samaritan, Jessie tries to help, only to find herself pulled into the middle of something far more dangerous.

When Detective Ebony Jones answers the call and attends the scene, Jessie is torn while also filled with emotions. Ebony was once Jessie’s close friend, but something’s happened, an event that is best left shelved until things quiet down. Ebony and her partner have actively been persuing a number of sex workers who have up and disappeared, their bodies assaulted by some unknown assailant. With a live victim, things could be different, but Ebony will have to act fast, putting her row with Jessie to the side.

Jessie is offered a great new position in a law firm, one that will help her as a single mother. However, this comes as a significant cost and impedes her from being able to work the case alongside Ebony. When her employer becomes the attorney for the woman who was attacked, Jessie must straddle two worlds and hope that she can work effectively without putting added strain on her disintegrating friendship.

While working through the case, Jessie must also deal with a personal life that is in a spiral. One man seeking to win her heart and another wanting her dead for past legal transgressions, Jessie Martin will have to face things head-on, in hopes of making a difference in the lives of many. This is one time in her life that Jessie wished things were simpler and without drama. Millman does it again with a great piece that stirs up emotion and suspense in the same breath.

Jadé Millman offers readers something stellar to contemplate as they read this piece, mixing drama and legal matters into a single story. There is a great deal going on herein, providing the reader a great deal of excitement in a series that is gaining momentum. I have high hopes for Millman and her exciting protagonist, who is growing on me bit by bit.

Millman uses a strong narrative throughout the piece to keep the reader in the middle of all the action. With a decent amount of character development and some plot twists, the reader is drawn into all the drama with each turn of the page. Serving as a legal thriller on the one hand and a crime story on the other, Millman mixes them well, developing a constant depth to her protagonist, Jessie Martin. I am eager to see what comes of this series and how Millman will continue developing things for her fans.

Kudos, Madam Millman, for another great piece. You are evolving as the series progresses and I hope things continue to advance accordingly.

The Midnight Call, by Jodé Millman

Seven stars

After being handed the newest novel by Jodé Millamn, I thought it best to start at the beginning of this series. Millman develops a decent story for most readers, tapping into some emotional and high-intensity stuff from the outset. While it was not the most captivating legal thriller I have read, it was decent enough to pass the time.

Jessie Martin is a decent lawyer whose education helped pave the way to a successful career. Then, late one night. she got a call she was hardly expecting or prepared for, with chilling news. Jessie’s friend and long-tome mentor, Terrence Butterfield, seeks her help after admitting that he killed someone.

Sending Jessie into a spiral, she tries to compose herself while trying to come to terms with Terrence’s admission. Now she has a decision to make; should she help the man or stay a fair distance away? Jessie cannot turn her back on the man who made her who she is today, but doing so will certainly bring out a great deal of risk to all parts of her life.

As Jessie goes to help Terrence, she is pulled into something even more sinister when a body is discovered in his home. Might Terrence have been playing on Jessie’s emotions from the get-go, trying to get her to help him, while remaining a horrible monster all along? Jessie will have to trust her gut and legal instincts to get her out of this mess before too long. Millman does well with this series debut to paint quite a picture for the reader!

Many who know my reading likes would expect me to fawn over this book, particularly because of all the twists it appears to present. Jadé Millman offers readers something to contemplate throughout this piece, with some strong plot ideas and a decent delivery. I would not call it stunning, but it did keep me thinking and pondering what I might expect as the series continues.

Millman offers a decent narrative throughout the piece, keeping the reader in the middle of things as the story unfolds. There is a decent amount of character development and some plot twists that are sure to keep the reader wondering well into the night. While a legal thriller on the one hand and a crime thriller on the other, Millman is able to mix the two fairly well, without knocking me over with either. I am eager to see what is to come with this series and whether Jessie Martin will make more of an impact on me in the follow-up story, for which I have an ARC ready to read.

Kudos, Jodé Millman, for a decent debut. Let’s we where things go in the next novel!

Crux, by Robert Hamilton

Six stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Robert Hamilton for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having stumbled upon this book by Robert Hamilton, I was eager to give it a chance. It was the dust jacket blurb that piqued by attention, as it seemed Hamilton would use this book to explore a number of intriguing platforms. While he does do that effectively, I was not as mesmerized as some other reviewers, feeling as though I could not connect with parts of the writing and themes presented to me.

The premise of the book is that America is fraying at the edges and being left on the brink. From the vein of religiosity that flows through the country through to some of the barbaric means by which animals are treated to put food on the table, the country is teetering on the brink. The story’s central character, Dr. Thomas Pickett, wrestles with these issues and how he sees the country turning away from being a leader to covering things up for the almighty dollar. At the heart of the matter is the strain this puts on democracy, in its truest form, taking control from the voter to those with power and influence. Nothing new there, but the concept is as blunt as can be.

While the writing was easy enough to comprehend, I was not pulled in by it and felt the aforementioned blurb was more scintillating than what I was presented with throughout the reading experience. I can see what Hamilton sought to do, using fiction writing as a worthwhile soapbox to air his concerns and ideas. There is no doubt that Hamilton understands many of the issues he discusses, going into great depth at various points of the narrative. For me, it fell short and left me wondering if I had missed something. I noticed others lauding the book and its themes, but I cannot let others steer me into thinking I am the issue.

Short chapters worked for Hamilton, helping to gain momentum throughout the reading experience. I was able to sit and read chunks at a time without issue, but kept hoping something would resonate within me and leave me wanting more. This could be a one-off or just my personal struggles at this point in time. Whatever the reason, I remain unsure if I will seek more by Robert Hamilton to avenge this novel’s lack of a spark for me.

Kudos, Mr. Hamilton, for your efforts, even if it did not work for me. I hope others continue to find greatness in your writing.

Shot to the Heart (DS Jack Lisbon #4), by Blair Denholm

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Blair Denholm for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having binge-read the DS Jack Lisbon series, I have finally reached the ARC that Blair Denholm requested I review. Things have been a whirlwind, allowing me to discover a little more about DS Lisbon, both as a police officer in Australia and the sordid past he left behind in the United Kingdom. Finally able to visit his daughter in the UK, Lisbon arrives and sets out on quite the adventure with Skye. When she is kidnapped in plain sight, Lisbon is distraught, but knows that he must be very careful. It’s likely that some of those he upset before fleeing to Australia have planned this and seek long-awaited retribution. Lisbon will have to work off the books, including getting some assistance from a colleague Down Under, in order to bring Skye back safely. Denholm does really well to add new layers to the series, exciting readers who have been waiting for a novel like this.

After many years away from his daughter, DS Jack Lisbon has finally returned to the United Kingdom. While his ex-wife is leery, she allows them out for a few days together. While in a park, Skye is kidnapped in plain sight and this leads Lisbon to panic. His sordid past has likely come back to haunt him, when he was suspected of killing a prominent member of the boxing community. Could this crime have been planned for years, simply awaiting Lisbon’s return?

Told not to contact the authorities, Lisbon is left with few options, but refuses to stand idly by. He reaches out to a few of his contacts from before he left the country to help him locate Skye quickly. With a ransom demand and a time limit, Lisbon will have to follow all the rules, while panicking on the inside. A few clues help get the ball rolling, but Lisbon will be some trusted assistance from a colleague back in Australia, well off the radar of the kidnappers.

Inching closer to a likely location for Skye, Lisbon and his ragtag team begin to formulate a plan, but have little guarantee that it will work. Skye’s life likely hangs in the balance, as these criminals have no morals and are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they need. Lisbon makes his move, fuelled by the love of a father, in hopes that it will be all that Skye needs to be returned to him safely. Denholm ups the ante once again and makes this the best novel in the series to date.

Blair Denholm has done a great deal with this series in short order. While I was not sure what to expect when I started the books a few days ago, I have seen a great deal of progress with the series and DS Jack Lisbon, specifically. Strong writing and great plot lines have helped create a captivating collection of novels sure to attract the attention of the curious reader who enjoys quick police procedurals.

DS Jack Lisbon has come full circle in this series. Those who have followed the novels from the start will know that Lisbon fled the UK under tense circumstances, but little has been fully hashed out about it, save some mention in a prequel novella. Now, Lisbon is back and able to spend time with his daughter, Skye, who has always been simply a passing reference in other books. Seeing a more personal side to his character, Lisbon exemplifies the love a father has for his child, stopping at nothing to bring balance once again. Denholm has built things up well and this novel was just what the series needed to add new depth to a tense collection.

Blair Denholm has mastered the art of storytelling and uses this series to catapult DS Jack Denholm into a new realm. With a strong narrative that pushes forward, while using personal angst to flavour the writing, the story gains momentum as the hunt for a missing girl reaches new heights. Great characters leave the reader wanting more, while also complementing the protagonist throughout this piece. I have waited for this plot line, ever since early mention of Skye Lisbon appeared in the first novel. The inevitable heartache Lisbon feels with the kidnapping of his daughter is matched by the tension between the copper and those seeking to destroy him. Denholm impresses yet again and leaves the reader wanting even more. I can only hope DS Lisbon will be back soon for more suspenseful investigating.

Kudos, Mr. Denholm, for adding new tensions to a great series. Thank you for having me read this series, which I devoured in short order.