book reviews

A Mix of Great Reads

Here are more great thrillers I got from NetGalley:

  1. Unforgiven–Gemma (not her real name) meets Jethro (not who he says he is) while teaching at a small college; you won’t believe what happens next
  2. Rizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me–Good detective story but would have liked more Rizzoli and Isles
  3. Red Flags–are children being kidnapped because of an addictive online game?
  4. An Unforgiving Place–a Federal investigator gets caught in the frigid Alaskan wilderness investigating a possible murderer
–a note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed. I need to be inspired to write. That’s why so many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5
–Books received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of my opinions


Unforgiven

by Rebecca Zanetti

In Rebecca Zanetti’s fifth book of the Deep Ops series, Unforgiven (Lyrical Press 2022), Gemma Falls has been hiding from an abusive mate for years. He won’t quit hunting her and she is desperately trying to keep her young daughter safe while offering her some semblance of a normal life. Gemma takes a job as substitute teacher at a small college and meets Dr. Jethro Hanson, a former Deep Ops operative who retired. Like Gemma, he is trying to give himself the normal life that eluded him until now despite having a twin brother (Fletcher) who’s a brilliant psychotic killer-for-hire and blames Jethro for their mother’s death and Fletcher’s imprisonment. How Gemma and Jethro manage to elude these crazy stalkers is a saga you don’t want to miss.

This is fast-moving with a well-balanced mix of action and sexual tension. It could be a romance, but at its core is mystery and murder. I’m not a romance reader, but enjoyed this one so it tells you that Zanetti managed to balance the two themes well.

–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review


Rizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me

by Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen’s Listen to Me (Ballantine Books 2022), thirteenth in the Rizzoli & Isles series, sticks closely to what has made the fans of this series (like me) love each new installment. From Page 1, this is a confusing case for Boston PD Detective Jane Rizzoli and her good friend, Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles, A fifty-something nurse and neighbor of Rizzoli’s mother Angela is killed and it falls to Rizzoli to figure out what happened. Because the victim is Jane’s mother Angela’s neighbor, Angela–being a busybody–takes it upon herself to become the neighborhood watch and spy on strange events occurring in her community. She quickly finds one right across the street from her own house, but when she share her insights, her daughter Jane is less convinced and the across-the-street neighbor annoyed. Seemingly unrelated (but we Detective mystery aficionados knew better), a college student is the victim of a hit and run, almost killed, but survives.  As only Gerritsen can do, all of these disparate plot lines come together in a clever, twisted plot that keeps readers guessing.

Tess is a good writer. Her character development is always spot on. The pacing is perfect and the character development is good though I’m so familiar with the series’ folks, I may be biased. I do have two complaints not serious enough to merit a star deduction: 1) Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the main characters–Amy (the girl involved in the hit and run), Jane Rizzoli, Maura, or her mother Angela. IMHO, I would prefer to stick with the series namesakes, Rizzoli and Isles. 2) Some chapters were in present tense, some past. Why I have no idea. If you read this, let me know your thoughts on that.

Overall, a good and satisfying read, perfect for lovers of detective stories that are light-hearted and a tad humorous.


Red Flags

by Lisa Black

In Lisa Blacks first book in the series, Locard Institute Thriller, Red Flags (Kensington Books 2022), Ellie Carr is a successful forensic investigator despite a rocky start in life filled with varied foster families but lots of love. One of those families is with her cousin, Rebecca, who with her politically-motivated husband has grown up to be in the top levels of influence in national politics. When their infant son is kidnapped, they ask for Ellie’s help, claiming she is the only one they can trust. The problem is, Ellie never felt that close to Rebecca when she lived with her and isn’t sure she is telling the truth about the events surrounding the kidnapping. When the children of other business friends of the Washington power couple are also kidnapped, it becomes clear this isn’t personal to Rebecca’s family but may be related to a business venture that provides online games for kids that may or may not be addictive.

The story is clever, fast-moving, complicated enough to keep my interest, with maybe too much backstory that slows the pace. It includes a lot of tech wizardry to solve the crime which I always enjoy. When I finished the story, I realized the author had two messages: 1) Beware of people you meet online, especially if you’re a child, and 2) Online games are designed to be addictive. It’s a good cautionary story that I enjoyed reading.


An Unforgiving Place

by Claire Kells

In Book 2 of Claire Kells National Parks Mystery, An Unforgiving Place (Crooked Lane Books 2022), Investigative Services Bureau agent Felicity Harland and her hunky partner, ex-Navy SEAL Hux are sent to the Alaskan wilderness to investigate the death of two hikers–possibly or probably murder. Both Felicity and Hux thrive on challenges, and Alaska’s icy wilds satisfies that desire. Early in the investigation, they find clues that the couple was here on a fertility retreat, to try to solve issues that prevented them from becoming pregnant, and something went terribly wrong. Hux and Felicity go undercover with the same retreat, pretending to be hikers lost in the same general backwoods area who are looking for safety within the larger group from the area’s threats. It isn’t long before they become the target of killers, intent on keeping whatever secret they have away from Federal law enforcement.

The story is fast-moving and soaked in the unforgiving world of wild Alaska. Highly recommended for those who like their FBI chases to have a lot of icy and feral teeth in them.

@penguinrandomhouse @kensingtonpublishing @crookedlanebooks


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Summer 2022

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60 thoughts on “A Mix of Great Reads

  1. Hi Jacqui – it’s great to know about these thrillers … I’d love to totally switch off, sit outside and just read and read – one day perhaps. ‘Unforgiven’ sounds a great choice – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the way you laid out this post, Jacqui. The one-sentence synopsis gave me enough information to know whether I wanted to read each review. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I skipped your review on Listen to Me as I’m getting this for my birthday, Lols! I’m rereading the books in the series to get ready 😁 These all look like good reads. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jacqui. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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