The Other Girl by Erica Spindler #Review @ericaspindler @StMartinsPress

The Other Girl cover

This is the first Spindler novel I’ve read in a while, and I kicked myself for it repeatedly as I read THE OTHER GIRL. I’ve enjoyed reading other books by this author, so I have no idea why I let myself miss out on so many while I was busy reading other things. I’m going to chalk it up to temporary bookish insanity (defined as neglecting to read books by authors you love to read), brought on (as always) by the distraction of other books. Luckily, all it took was a pre-approved Netgalley widget from St. Martin’s Press to cure me of this terrible condition, and I’m eternally grateful!

All joking aside, I’m glad I didn’t miss out on reading this one. I’m really loving crime thrillers lately, and this one is especially good. Miranda “Randi” Rader has a rich back story that is crucial to the entirety of the story. She is a “bad” girl gone good… as a teenager, she was a juvenile delinquent from the wrong side of the tracks, a known liar up to no good. Her life changed after the night she was held against her will—along with another girl—and managed to escape to find help that never came because no one would believe her. This was the turning point in Miranda’s life, culminating in her becoming a detective in the Harmony, Louisiana Police Department. During the investigation of two murders, Miranda realizes that—despite having changed her life and becoming a respected officer and person in the community—the specter of “Randi” Rader still loomed large enough to cast doubt on her integrity as an officer when evidence found at the crime scenes appears to tie her to the victims of both murders.

I love it when a character has to prove they’re not the person they used to be, so I enjoyed seeing Miranda fight her way through the ghosts of her past. The sub-plot of the story, having to do with Miranda’s relationship with her family, was as good as the main plot. There were times I wished that aspect of her life was explored in more detail, even though it wasn’t the main story, because it was so fascinating to read. Equally compelling were the scenes with Jake, her partner, both on and off the job.

All the characters in this novel—both major and minor—are well written and easily pictured in the mind’s eye as you read. I found myself wanting to know more about all of them, no matter how minor a character they were, because they were all so interesting. In many books, minor characters are easily forgettable once their small role in the story is complete, but that’s certainly not the case here, in my opinion.

I was able to figure out the murderer’s identity, but it wasn’t easily done. Spindler made use of subtle misdirection that cast doubt on my suspect-of-choice many times, and it wasn’t until I’d almost reached the big reveal that I felt certain I’d figured it out. For this reason, I didn’t let it affect my rating… THE OTHER GIRL definitely earned every one of the four stars I’ve given it!

If you’re a Spindler fan currently suffering from temporary bookish insanity, or a fan of crime thrillers who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of reading one of her books, I highly recommend that you read THE OTHER GIRL. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.


Author: Erica Spindler

Title: The Other Girl

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published: August 22nd, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Book Depository

About the Book

From the New York Times bestselling author of Justice for Sara and The First Wife Erica Spindler comes The Other Girl, a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.

A horrific crime. One witness—a fifteen year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one known for lying and her own brushes with the law.
Is it any surprise no one believed her?

Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.

When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.

Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop—the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda.

About the Author

Author Erica Spindler
Author Erica Spindler

A New York Times and International bestselling author, Erica Spindler’s skill for crafting engrossing plots and compelling characters has earned both critical praise and legions of fans. Her stories have been lauded as “thrill-packed page turners, white- knuckle rides and edge-of-your-seat whodunits.”

Erica loves meeting and interacting with her fans, both in person and online. She has a wicked sense of humor, an optimistic spirit and loves coffee, chocolate and red wine, not necessarily in that order.

In 2002 her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels Forbidden Fruit and Dead Run and was a four-time RITA® Award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.

Erica lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.


The Lost Children by Helen Phifer #Review @helenphifer1 @bookouture

The Lost Children cover

Back in April, I put my auto-approval with Bookouture to good use, and downloaded this on Netgalley… and it sat for months waiting for me to read it while I read other books instead. I finally opened it up last week, and just like that, I’ve found a new series and author to love!

In my opinion, some of the best books (regardless of genre and sub-genre) use an old, abandoned asylum as a backdrop for the action. You can’t pick a creepier setting that than… your imagination sparks images of sorts of things that might have happened there before you even crack open the book. They give books an ambience that can’t be achieved in other settings, and is used to particularly chilling effect in crime thrillers.

Helen Phifer puts all of this to use in The Lost Children, creating a story about a place—the Moore Asylum—whose past is as horrifying as the murder that takes place there decades after its closure. It’s the first of several murders connected to the asylum, and it’s up to Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin to figure out who the killer is and put an end to the bloodshed.

Lucy Harwin is fabulously flawed. Her relationship with her daughter is rocky, and she’s a workaholic with a tendency to drink too much at times in order to forget the horrific things she sees on the job. She struggles with the guilt she feels over victims she was unable to save, holding herself responsible whether she is or not. The woman has issues, but she’s tough as nails when it comes to her job, and fiercely protective of the people she loves.

There are occasional flashbacks to the mid-1970s, which are told through one of three point of view: children who were patients in the asylum, a doctor at the asylum, and a nurse who worked on Ward 13—the children’s ward. It was fascinating to see the asylum through the eyes of people who worked, or were patients, there. The abandoned asylum of the present day is creepy, but what happened before the asylum closed is the stuff of nightmares.

I was able to figure out a couple of things before they were revealed in the story, but it didn’t affect the rating I’ve chosen to give this book because there were a couple of things I didn’t see coming that were fantastic and really added to the story.

I can’t wait to read more about Lucy Harwin!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.


Author: Helen Phifer

Title: The Lost Children

Series: Detective Lucy Harwin #1

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published: March 24th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney…

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

About the Author

Author Helen Phifer
Author Helen Phifer

Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingalls Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Secrets of the Dead by Carol Wyer #Review @carolewyer @bookouture

Secrets of the Dead cover

Secrets of the Dead is the second installment of the DI Robyn Carter series. I haven’t read the first book, Little Girl Lost, but I didn’t feel it diminished my ability to enjoy this story. And oh my… did I ever enjoy this story!

Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer?

DI Robyn Carter is on the hunt for a killer. Three people are dead, their murders obviously connected—but how? What did they have in common, apart from a cryptic note found on their bodies? DI Carter is determined to find out, hopefully before anyone else turns up dead.

This story has a fairly large cast of characters, but they are all, in their way, crucial to the story. I’m in awe of how Wyer presents the reader with multiple threads and delicately weaves them all together for a mind-blowing tale overflowing with thrills and chills. I can’t say much about the particulars of the story, other than to note it is a fast-paced story with plenty of action that kept me reading into the wee hours of the night.

I’m looking forward to reading more about DI Robyn Carter in the future, and will be keeping my eye out for news about the next book in the series. In the meantime, I’ll look for a way to work the first book into my reading schedule!

If you love reading a good crime thriller, I highly recommend giving Secrets of the Dead a read. You won’t be sorry!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.


Author: Carol Wyer

Title: Secrets of the Dead

Series: DI Robyn Carter #2

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published: May 30th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Link


About the Book

Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer?

A bottle of bubble bath and colourful, plastic boats were scattered in small puddles on the floor. In the bathtub lay Linda Upton, fully-clothed, her lips a shade of blue, and her bloodshot eyes wide open.

When a young mother is found drowned in the bath, clutching a receipt saying ‘all debts paid’, Detective Robyn Carter knows it’s just the beginning of a harrowing case. She recognises the signs of a serial killer, and when a second victim with a receipt is found, her worst fears are confirmed.

With the local press whipping the public into a frenzy, Robyn is under pressure to solve the crime yesterday. But her team can’t find a link between the two bodies, and the cracks are starting to show.

Just when her leads have dried up, Robyn discovers an unsettling clue she thinks could unlock the case. But as she chases across the plush carpets and manicured lawns of the wealthy elite, honing in on the killer’s shocking motive, one of her own is put in terrible danger.

The press call him The Leopard for his stealth, speed and brutality. Can Robyn stop the most twisted killer of her career before it’s too late?

A heart-pounding, toe-curling, one-sitting serial killer thriller that will hook you from the first page till the last. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

About the Author

Author Carol Wyer
Author Carol Wyer

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published by Safkhet and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.