Mini reviews: A Mixed Bag. The trapped girl – Robert Dugoni 3*. Violet – SJI Holliday 5*. The Night Stalker – Robert Bryndza 5*.

The trapped girl by Robert Dugoni

Goodreads synopsis

When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from?

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight. Once again, New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni delivers a taut, riveting thriller in the fourth installment of his acclaimed Tracy Crosswhite series.

Our review

Another good Tracy Crosswhite novel. 3.5 stars.

I really enjoy this series. I like the main character Tracy, and I also like the peripheral characters. So that is a big plus. There isn’t anyone that I feel could be better written or that isn’t true to life. Which in some books can be an issue.

The problem I found with this instalment, is the complexity of the story. I thought it was just a bit too detailed and complicated for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good whodunnit, or a police procedural that keeps you guessing. But there were so many theories about the crime (or not crime) in this book that it just made my head swim a little.

Tracy gets called in to investigate when a body is pulled up out of the water, in a crab pot. Understandably the body is decomposed and hard to identify, but Tracy gets an ID and the case begins to find out who killed her and why. The body is ID’d as Andrea Strickland, a married insurance assistant from Portland. We then go on to meet the other characters in her life – her husband Graham, her best friend Devin, her aunt and her boss.

Then the story gets overly complex and I started to lose the plot a bit.

Overall, it was a good read, but I did want it to end after about 70% as we were just going round in circles a little bit. Some things were being repeated and explained to different characters twice.

I enjoyed catching up with Tracy’s colleagues in homicide – Del, Faz and Kins. And also seeing that Nolasco is still a grumpy tyrant of a boss.

I would recommend this to be read if you want to read the whole series, however as a standalone you may find it a bit detail heavy. It won’t stop me reading the next in the series though 🙂

Violet by SJI Holliday

Goodreads synopsis

When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday.

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

Our review

This one was a spontaneous buy from Amazon, on my Kindle, based on a recommendation I saw on Instagram. I’m glad I saw the post and downloaded this psychological thriller from SJI Holliday.

Violet is about a lone woman traveller, called Violet (!), and her experiences on her world travels. Along the way we meet Carrie and the story is mainly focused around this blossoming ‘friendship’. We also learn about Sam and Michael and Greg and Laura. All people that have crossed paths, in some way, with Violet.

Violet is an odd one, making friends easily and clinging on to them for as long as she can. Her mind is seemingly all over the place and we never really know what she is thinking or what she is going to do next. She gets fixated on to her latest friend and becomes a little too attached.

I’m not doing anything wrong. I just want to know more about her. Sometimes people don’t tell you the whole story, they like to present the version of themselves that they want you to see.

I didn’t like Violet from the start – I don’t know if you are meant to though. Carrie was a little more likeable, but still I didn’t really warm to her either. A bit too loud and excitable for me. Although, I didn’t like Violet, I did feel sorry for her at times.

No one is looking for me, because they don’t even know that I exist.

This isn’t my usual kind of read (there isn’t a murder in the first line!) having said that, with a prologue like the one in this book, you are going to be drawn straight in, and if you aren’t then you probably aren’t going to enjoy this book…. Leetle peeeg

It is chilling, suspenseful and original. I would absolutely recommend this book to all psychological thriller fans.

The Night Stalker – Robert Bryndza

Goodreads synopsis

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

Our review

I loved this book. It is the second in the DCI Erika Foster series from Robert Bryndza and I can’t wait to read the next.

I took so long to read the first book Girl in the Ice that I think it stifled my enjoyment of it, even though, with hindsight I may have rated it slightly low at 3 stars. This one I read quite quickly and I definitely enjoyed it. I raced through the second half.

DCI Erika Foster lands the case of a Doctor who has been killed in his home. It looks like a ‘gay-bashing’ to begin with, and the powers above her want her to just leave it at that and look for the killer on that basis. However, it soon becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye – especially when another man is killed. Erika realises that she has a serial killer on her hands and the chase begins, to stop them before they can kill any more.

This was tense, suspenseful, detailed, intriguing. It had everything you need in a thriller. The writing was easy to read and follow, and I read big chunks at a time, not wanting to put it down. I would absolutely recommend this to thriller fans, police procedural fans, those wanting a good serial killer case to follow 🙂

Happy Reading

Becca and Kate xxx