Undone (Karin Slaughter)

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#3 Will Trent

When a tortured young woman enters the trauma center of an Atlanta hospital, Dr. Sara Linton is thrust into a desperate police investigation with Special Agent Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell. Though guarding their own wounds and their own secrets, Sara, Will, and Faith find that they are all that stand between a madman and his next victim.

All of us have those “comfort” authors that we know we can rely on. Karin Slaughter is one of those for me. Her books are always addictive and fun to read (and gross, too), and even if some of her stories haven’t been my favorite (Pretty Girls was too much for me in terms of crazy twists), she always delivers a real page-turner.

Triptych is still one of my favorite crime books and although Fractured wasn’t as good as the first, I think this third installment, Undone, was a great follow-up. It was so different from the first book, though! Not as twisty as that one, that’s for sure. Still, I love Will Trent (and Faith), and this is an excellent series and one I’ll definitely keep reading.

On the other hand, I’ve only read the first book from the Grant Country collection, so I did know Sara Linton, but unfortunately, I think this book has made it impossible for me to return to that series. I now know more than I should and I know it’s because I should’ve read that series first, but how was I supposed to know?

The case was pretty crazy and the descriptions were graphic enough so you didn’t get to envy Will or Faith’s job (not that much anyway). As usual, I loved the investigation process and, particularly, how they manage to get some clues thanks to Sara, who by the way seems to like Will more than she should 😉 Also, we get to explore Faith’s personal struggles and Angie does make a reappearance (and she’s a good character, but I still can’t stand her), so it’s a complex and compelling novel overall.

My only disappointment was that the killer wasn’t exactly a surprise, which wasn’t exactly a problem but I would’ve liked a more unexpected ending. Anyway, I can’t wait for the fourth book!

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Arrow, 2009

Dead Scared (SJ Bolton)

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Lacey Fling #2

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim?

Dead Scared is the second book in the Lacey Flint series, a series that has already become one of my all-time favorites. This second book was even better than the first! I absolutely loved Now You See Me, don’t get me wrong, but with Dead Scared I felt like I was about to have a heart attack.

This was a deeply disturbing book, especially because of the topic. Young women are committing suicide in college and no one knows why. These women suffered from depression and they clearly weren’t happy, but there are way too many of them, it can’t be a coincidence. Months after seeing each other for the last time, Mark Joesbury asks Lacey to work undercover and collect information. But she obviously can’t do just that, so she begins to investigate the deaths and soon she starts suffering the same symptoms as all those women before her…

It was like the world had conspired against me and no one wanted me to finish the book. This was clearly a novel that I would’ve devoured in one sitting, but sadly, life got in the way. I was about to discover the villain when suddenly I had a dinner to attend and then I had to sleep because of work and then I remembered I had made plans. I couldn’t concentrate during all those hours, as I was thinking of Lacey (and Joesbury, ahem ).

This was a cleverly plotted novel, one of those compulsive reads that everyone seems to love. There’s no doubt that Sharon Bolton knows how to create complex mysteries and what I love the most about her is that you can never guess the whole thing. You can be close, you can even suspect the killer, but you never get the whole picture until the very end. She manages to surprise you every time and that’s not something that can be said about every thriller author.

Lacey is a fierce protagonist and I love her more with every book. Her chemistry with Joesbury is so magnetic and powerful that I could read a whole story featuring just the two of them. I might also be a bit jealous of the way Joesbury loves Lacey, I admit it. There’s something about him!

The prologue caught my attention immediately, as you can’t help but ask yourself: how the hell did it come to this? And well, the journey is certainly thrilling. I was never bored, not for one second. The ending was suspenseful and brilliant and I can’t wait to know what comes next.

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Bantam Press, 2012

Ragdoll (Daniel Cole)

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A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

What a thrilling book, guys! Before I started Ragdoll, I read Daniel Cole’s introduction and loved how he came up with the idea while watching a tv show. I seriously don’t understand how TV producers didn’t fall in love with Ragdoll’s concept, as I believe it’d make an awesome show. Anyway, now we have it as a book series, so in the end, we got lucky.

The book had me at its prologue. A man on trial. A detective attacking brutally him. Years later, this detective is working again. And here it comes the most important and dangerous case of his life… I’m sure that if you’ve read what this is about, you already know there’s only one body but six different victims. They’re stitched together! I couldn’t believe someone would actually do that. It reminded me of the film Resurrection (but don’t worry, Ragdoll is way better).

What I liked the most about Ragdoll is that, even though it’s a serial killer book and follows the usual pattern at first, it eventually stands out because of how the plot develops. Daniel Cole isn’t afraid to go to places many other crime writers wouldn’t dare, especially when it comes to the characters’ actions. Wolf is a complex protagonist and not an easy one to like, to be honest. The same happens with Emily Baxter, his friend and colleague. Despite their personalities, I found them both strong characters and I can’t wait to know what happens next.

The idea behind the murders was unique and one of those I couldn’t believe no one had written about before. Smart, twisty and tragic! More than a “whodunit”, this is actually a “why dun it”, and watching Edmunds untangle the case was a fascinating experience. He was my absolute favorite character and I felt bad for him because he was constantly trying to prove himself. He was a great detective.

If you like police procedurals that are action-filled and actually different, do not miss this one! Ragdoll is the true definition of a real page-turner; bold and complex, and, ultimately, lots of fun.

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Netgalley, Trapeze, 2017

The Missing Ones (Patricia Gibney)

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When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how? As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger? Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

I hadn’t read many things about Patricia Gibney’s novel, and sometimes that’s the best we can hope for. I started The Missing Ones knowing nothing about its plot and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

The book was dark and I loved how the author didn’t try to sugarcoat anything: The Missing Ones was straight-forward and explicit when it needed to. It also featured a strong main character, who wasn’t always easy to like, but I found her more interesting especially because of that same reason. Lottie Parker was sometimes kind of rude and didn’t make her colleagues’ lives easier. But she was an excellent detective and her instinct was spot on.

While reading this book I was reminded of Angela Marson’s first book in her series. The topic is quite similar and although this one was set in Ireland, I thought they had some similarities. If you’re a fan of Marsons, you need to read this one as well. She’s definitely one author to watch out for. I’m already a fan!

Even though it was a pretty long book (about 500 pages?), I managed to finish this one in a day. I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t want to do anything but keep on reading. And just because this is a police procedural, it doesn’t mean that the plot is all that matters. All the characters were well-written and I felt like I had known them for a very long time. I found myself really caring about Boyd, Lottie’s children and another character that I won’t mention because of potential spoilers.

My complaints have little to do with the book itself, as you will see. I simply think the blurb reveals way too much and I removed part of it. Also, I do not think this is a novel that relies on the classic “jaw-dropping twist”. There isn’t one. There’s one detail that will surely come as a surprise and I absolutely loved it, but it’s not even connected to the main case. So nope, don’t read it because of that. Read it because it’s an excellent book!

Let’s do this: check out the prologue and tell me if you don’t want to know more…

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Netgalley, Bookouture, 2017

City Of Good Death (Chris Lloyd)

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Elisena Domènech #1

A killer is targeting hate figures in the Catalan city of Girona – a loan shark, a corrupt priest, four thugs who have blighted the streets of the old quarter – leaving clues about his next victim through mysterious effigies left hung on a statue. Each corpse is posed in a way whose meaning no one can fathom. Which is precisely the point the murderer is trying to make. Elisenda Domènech, the solitary and haunted head of the city’s newly-formed Serious Crime Unit, is determined to do all she can to stop the attacks. She believes the attacker is drawing on the city’s legends to choose his targets, but her colleagues aren’t convinced and her investigation is blocked at every turn. Battling against the increasing sympathy towards the killer displayed by the press, the public and even some of the police, she finds herself forced to question her own values. But when the attacks start to include less deserving victims, the pressure is suddenly on Elisenda to stop him. The question is: how?

After many months, I finally read City Of Good Death! Last year, I talked to the author via Twitter and showed interest because of the location, but the publishers never sent the book and I simply added it to my long TBR… Fortunately, Chris reminded me last month and I knew I had to read it as soon as possible.

As some of you already know, I’m from Barcelona, which is part of Catalonia, Spain, and that’s why I was attracted to this series in the first place. The Elisenda Domènech series is set in the lovely city of Girona. It might not be my city, but I’ve been there several times and I love it. It has a rich culture and it’s a beautiful place as well.

City of Good Death was a great read and, of course, I would’ve enjoyed it even if it hadn’t been set in Girona, but I admit I loved that part, as it felt unique and I honestly couldn’t stop smiling. This time I actually knew what the characters were talking about! Besides the locations, there were the names, the food (café amb llet!) and the whole Catalan culture. How could I not love this? Don’t worry if you feel a bit confused at first; the more you read, the more you’ll enjoy this thrilling adventure.

The case was intriguing and followed the classic serial killer storyline that I always look forward to. What exactly is going on? Are the deaths related? Can Elisenda and her team find the killer before it’s too late? I loved how the case was connected to Girona’s myths, as I learned a lot about the city’s legends that I honestly knew nothing about. In addition, this novel deals with the “vigilante” dilemma, as some of the victims aren’t exactly good people. At first, Girona citizens are glad that these people are dead… but what happens when the killer goes too far?

As for the characters, Elisenda was fierce and I adored how she was always protective of her team. I really liked Alex (after all, he was from Barcelona!) but Pau was my favorite. There was a great paragraph where Alex asked him how he knew so much about Girona and its legends and Pau simply told him that he was the son of immigrants, so in school, he had to prove he was more Catalan than the rest of the class. I wanted to hug him!

An enjoyable and immersive police procedural set in beautiful Catalonia.

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Canelo, 2015