book reviews

More Great Thrillers from NetGalley

This is a great collection of thrillers I received from the wonderful folks at NetGalley. I loved all of them:

  1. Still Waters--even off duty, Meg and Hawk find trouble
  2. The Sea Wolves–can Isaac Bell defeat a clever plan by the Germans to win WWI
  3. The Darkest Evening–a peek into Vera’s storied background which helps us understand why she is who she is now
  4. The Rising Tide–fascinating tale with a somewhat sad ending
–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
–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review

Still Waters

by Sara Driscoll

Meg Jennings, search and rescue dog handler for the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team, finds trouble even when she’s not on a job. In Sara Driscoll’s ninth in the FBI K9 series (Kensington Books 2022), she and her canine partner, Hawk, are in a remote part of Minnesota as part of a contest designed to hone Hawk’s water search skills so he is qualified to find bodies on land and in water. Scents are planted underwater and in hidden places on land by those running the contest. Hawk not only finds these, but one they didn’t plan on–the body of another competitor, a handler Meg had fought with. Because the handler’s last act before her murder was to turn Meg in for abusing her dog Hawk, Meg becomes the prime suspect, theory being Meg was angry enough about being exposed to kill her. With the authorities aligned against her, she gathers her own team–her fire fighter partner, her sister’s journalism researcher boyfriend, and her search and rescue partner–to find the truth.

This is another fast moving thriller about Meg and her dog partner. As usual, Driscoll includes lots of details on how scent dogs find their quarry. I’ve read most o this series and this is my favorite so far.

The Sea Wolves

by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul

In Sea Wolves (G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2022), the latest in Clive Cussler’s Isaac Bell Adventure series, written by Jack DuBrul, one of my favorite thriller authors, Isaac Bell becomes involved stopping a German spy ring whose goal is to sink armament ships sent from the neutral US to European nations in the early stages of WWII. Isaac Bell is a star detective with the Van Dorn Detective Agency and as such, tasked with this history-changing exploit. He soon finds that the German spies managed to plant a tracking beacon in the cargo as it is loaded that will be activated out at sea and give the cargo ship’s position away to a German U2 submarine waiting to sink it. It takes all of Bell’s prodigious skills to unravel this mystery, especially since it involves two German masterminds who were thought dead–or at least, imprisoned.

While this could be a typical spy novel based in Pre-WWI, through Du Brul’s clever pen (author of the excellent Philip Mercer series), it is so much more. Bell is clever and quick, evaluating the clues and resolving solutions. I thoroughly enjoyed watching his mind at work, all set in the framework of the early 1900’s era.

The Darkest Evening

by Ann Cleeves

In The Darkest Evening (Minotaur Books 2020), the ninth installment of the blazingly popular Vera Stanhope series (also a blockbuster TV series), Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is called out when a body is found on the grounds of Brockburn, in the wilds of Northumberland and her ancestral home. This grand but going-to-shabby house belongs to her fathers family, quasi noblemen who pretty much showed no interest in her father and less in his iconoclastic daughter Vera but now they have no choice. A dead girl is on their property and it is Vera’s job to figure out how she died and who is guilty. As is Vera Stanhope’s way, she digs into the history of everyone in the house and won’t stop asking questions until she has uncloaked all family secrets that could contribute to solving this murder. Before she’s done, more murders occur and events she never wanted to know about are revealed.

It’s hard not to get caught up in Vera’s enthusiasm for her job and commitment to truth. Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is one of the quirkiest most fascinating detectives out there. She always makes unusual decisions, panned by most and then to everyone’s surprise except hers, are likely how she solves the case. Highly recommended.

The Rising Tide

by Ann Cleeves

In this tenth installment of Ann Cleeves Vera Stanhope series, The Rising Tide (Minotaur Books 2022), a group of friends continue a tradition of meeting every five hears (since their teenage years) to catch up on each other’s lives and relive the joyful times of their youth. But this time, one of them is murdered and it falls to Detective Insdpect Vera Stanhope to figure out who did it.

This is one of the more winding of Ann Cleeves Vera Stahope books. For example, it took seven chapters to set up the characters and events before Vera–the star–even enters the story. Because the large group of main characters all have extensive backstories, and all could conceivably contribute to the murder, we as the reader must understand all of it. This even include Vera’s second in command, Joe, whose arrival begins with a lengthy retelling of how he visited this location with his family and how the kids complained about boredom and then loved it. In lots more detail than that.

The story itself is told through the eyes of a handful of involved parties. This is an interesting approach, used in other Stanhope books but it seemed to be more in this one than usual. I am left wondering who to believe and who is trying to deceive me.

One complaint which didn’t drop the rating: There wasn’t enough Vera, and that is probably why I like the BBC TV show better than at least this tenth in the series–because the TV show focuses heavily on the fascinating, iconoclastic Vera. This book is highly recommended for those who like unusual crime solving characters.




Copyright ©2022 – All rights reserved.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection Fall 2022.


59 thoughts on “More Great Thrillers from NetGalley

  1. I started reading through your reviews and thought, “This one sounds good.” Then I read the next and said, “Ooh, this one sounds good too.” Then I moved on to the last two and had to laugh. Those sound good too. After all that, the dog sucked me in. Thanks for the great choices, Jacqui.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Another great bunch of reviews, thank you! I am off to investigate the Sara Driscoll series – I’ve been tempted before, so while I’m binge reading (second hip replacement on Wednesday, so 6 weeks off work coming up) I will take the plunge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: September Story Chat Summary – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

  4. Prior to Clive Cussler’s death, I had read most of the works from his franchise. One of my favorite series was the quasi-dieselpunk books featuring Issac Bell. I’ll have to look into getting a copy of The Sea Wolves by Jack Du Brul.

    Liked by 4 people

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