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Thursday, November 30, 2017

#allthebookreviews: Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer @molly_the_tanz @hmhco

Creatures of Will and Temper
by Molly Tanzer
Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


☠ AVAILABLE NOW ☠

Huge thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for these copies.


Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siΓ¨cle wonders . . . and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister, aspiring art critic Dorina.

At loose ends after Dorina becomes enamored with their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, a local aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school. There, she meets George Cantrell, an experienced fencing master like she’s always dreamed of studying under. But soon, George shows her something more than fancy footwork—he reveals to Evadne a secret, hidden world of devilish demons and their obedient servants. George has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and diabolists alike, and now he needs Evadne’s help. But as she learns more, Evadne begins to believe that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist . . . and even worse, she suspects Dorina might have become one too.

Combining swordplay, the supernatural, and Victorian high society, Creatures of Will and Temper reveals a familiar but strange London in a riff on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that readers won't soon forget.

My Thoughts:


Set in Victorian London, we learn of two sisters who are about as opposite as you can get.  While they struggle in their relationship with each other, their trip introduces other characters who become vast influences on each of them.  The beginning of the book lays a foundation of their individual characters and their sisterly fights while still having that underlying loyalty of love that only siblings share.  Then as we get into parts 2 and 3, the book starts to take off.

I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I LOVE Dorian Gray and books about demons and the dark arts.  This book is a mix of both and as such, I have mixed feelings with this story.  The writing itself is fine but  the slow start had my attention being pulled away from the pages.  I struggled to continue at certain points but was really curious where the demon and Dorian Gray feel would enter into play as the first half was pretty deplete of any inkling of either of these two things.  Keeping in mind this book is INSPIRED by the story and not a retelling, it's fitting it played more into the subplot rather than into the main storyline.  By the time we are introduced to the diabolists, demons and the dark side of the book, I was just "eh" about it.  It did get interesting but the demons still had little influence...  Demons aside, this felt like more of a story of sisterly love and finding that chord that solidifies their relationship than anything darker or supernatural.

I think those who like historical fiction will be more apt to enjoy this book more than I did.  I think I may have expected more than what I ended up getting and was hoping for a darker read.

★★★

Jessica's Thoughts:


Victorian England, demons, and fencing - what more could you want in a fantasy novel? This was definitely a more unique read and I think that's what I liked most about it. CREATURES OF WILL & TEMPER by Molly Tanzer seemed to have a little of everything, but they were combined so well that it wasn't awkward.

We follow two sisters, Evadne and Dorina as they venture to London. Dorina is an aspiring art critic, and Evadne is along for the ride as she chaperone's her younger sister. Being an avid fencer, Evadne enrolls herself in a fencing school where she meets her instructor, George Cantrell. George not only opens her eyes to new fencing techniques, but also to a hidden world of demons and the cults that worship them. He has dedicated his life to getting rid of demons and the diabolists that serve them and he enlists Evadne's help. However, this will prove to be difficult because the woman that Dorina has become enamored with might be a diabolist. What's worse, Dorina could be turned as well.

When you hear the combination of elements in this story you may think they sound like an odd mixture. I definitely did at first, but Tanzer blends all perfectly. Nothing felt out of place and I loved how realistic the characters were - you didn't love them but you didn't hate them. The relationship between the sisters felt like an authentic sibling relationship. Lots of disagreements and rebellion on Dorina's part. If a book has demons and cults in it, then it's going to pique my interest. Fencing is something that I know very little about, so having a swordplay element was unique.

Overall, if you want a unique story with a historical fiction feel, then this is one you should add to the TBR list. Cults, swords, and Victorian London - what else could you want in a fantasy novel?

I give this 4.5/5 stars!

#CJSReads REVIEW: Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn @aniaahlborn @gallerybooks

Within These Walls
by Ania Ahlborn
Gallery Books

πŸ‘» AVAILABLE NOW πŸ‘»

Our November Ania pick is Within These Walls - my second time reading this book and it's just as good as I remembered it to be!  Come see what we had to say about this cult thriller.



From indie horror author and bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn, this brand-new supernatural thriller questions: how far would you go for success, and what would you be capable of if the promise of forever was real?

With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed up crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback. So when he’s promised exclusive access to notorious cult leader and death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the opportunity is too good to pass up. Lucas leaves New York for the scene of the crime—a split-level farmhouse on the gray-sanded beach of Washington State—a house whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners; runaways who, thirty years prior, were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. Lucas wants to tell the real story of Halcomb’s faithful departed, but when Halcomb goes back on his promise of granting Lucas exclusive information on the case, he’s left to put the story together on his own. Except he is not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.

My Thoughts:


Ah, my Ania reread for November. I first read this book back in 2015 and my feelings are the same.  Let's face it, Ania knows how to write a story.  I think any of you who have read her work will agree.  


I love anything cultish and add in a supernatural flare and I'm one happy girl.  Imagine being a crime writer and being given the deal of the century.  Enter cult leader Jeffrey Halcomb, on death row, giving you exclusive rights to his story.  The only catch?  You have to live in the house where it all happened.  Check, Check.  Pack up bags and GO.

The book goes back and forth to the past with the formation of the cult to the present with the writer and his daughter living in the house.  I much preferred reading about the past and the cult life more than I did with the present and supernatural feel.  I think that's just a preference of which kind of story I prefer to read, but I also think the past story was done more seamlessly.  The only lulls I felt throughout the story were in the parts with Lucas, the writer, and his daughter.  Put the two stories together and we have the promise being fulfilled by the cult leader - eternal life is yours... and that's pretty damn creepy.

Keeping my rating of 4 stars for both reads.

Jessica's Thoughts:

I've been on a roll this month with Ania Ahlborn! This is my fourth novel of hers and I haven't been disappointed yet. WITHIN THESE WALLS was another creepy and incredibly written horror/suspense novel. And it's about an author - gotta love book themes or authors within a book!
Lucas Graham is a crime writer who is looking for his comeback. His life seems to be in a spiral and he's just looking for a break. Well, one day, that break comes in the form of an opportunity for an exclusive interview of a life time. A correctional facility has offered him access to Jeffery Halcomb. Halcomb is the leader of a Satanic cult and has never told his story - which includes murder, the sacrifice of a Congressman's daughter and her newborn, and the ritualistic suicides of some of his disciples. Lucas sees this as his opportunity to find success once again.
The timing of reading this book was almost eerie. I got major HELTER SKELTER vibes (a book I read not too long ago, and loved) and with Charles Manson's recent death, this almost felt too perfectly coordinated. Once again, Ahlborn does not disappoint in the creepiness of this story. Halcomb is such an intriguing character and I wish we would have been able to see through his eyes in this novel. We do switch perspectives throughout as well as timelines. The present as Lucas is moving his family into the home that Halcomb lived in (has anyone seen SINISTER?) and then the past but through Audra's perspective (the Congressman's daughter that was sacrificed). 
If cults fascinate you and you love a little supernatural element to your horror/suspense novels, then there's not question about it, you need to have WITHIN THESE WALLS on your TBR. This one has a slower build to it, but it doesn't lose the interest of the reader. The tension slowly building is what kept me reading. 
I give this one 4/5 stars!


Sam's Thoughts:

Defeated crime writer, Lucas Graham, is looking for a comeback. He’s feeling like his life is a mess (with an adulteress wife and an angst-filled teenage daughter), so when a beacon of hope arrives (in the form of a letter) from a correctional facility for an exclusive interview and access to Satanic cult leader, Jeffery Halcomb, he jumps on the opportunity to gain control back of his life; he’ll fix his marriage, he’ll rebuild his relationship with his daughter and he will find success. What he doesn’t realize, is all those things will come at a price…

Well, Ania Ahlborn has done it again. I can’t sleep. My mind is racing. And I’m pretty sure I am seeing things in my room. When I was looking for a creepy Halloween read to end off my October reading, I instantly jumped to Ahlborn.   I read one of her other novels, Brother, earlier this year and was hooked.   Naturally, I picked up a few others and was hoarding saving them for the perfect opportunity. Within These Walls, a psychological and supernatural horror, is a completely original, and frightening, story that will leave you gasping and checking over your shoulder.
The novel opens with a letter from a correctional facility. Renowned cult leader, and Satanist, Jeffery Halcomb is trying to connect with a true-crime author (Lucas). He has never spoken out on his crimes before, after being involved in the sacrifice and murder of one of his followers (the daughter of a congressman, Audra/Avis, and her newborn child) and then the suicides of eight others in some sort of ritualistic killing. He agrees to tell his complete story, in an exclusive interview, as long as Lucas moves into “his” home: the scene of the crime.
This got me hooked immediately. For starters, cults are both fascinating to me and terrifying! The novel immediately gave me a vibe that I got reading Helter Skelter (about the Manson family murders) or, this summer’s hit, The Girls by Emma Cline.   It also reminded me of the movie, Sinister, with the washed-up crime writer looking to revamp their career by moving into a home that was a scene of a crime. I actually really enjoyed the parallels; I felt like it helped to set up the creepy atmosphere even more.
The novel is narrated in alternating chapters between the present (as we watch Lucas pack up his daughter, move them into the Halcomb house and begin investigating into the cult and their rituals) and the past (as we see Audra/Avis sucked into the cult and the events that led up to her demise).   I loved this narration. Through Audra/Avis’ eyes, we are able to see the slow manipulation as she is sucked deeper and deeper into the cult and we follow the desperation of Lucas, as he grasps at straws to try and redeem himself. It really allowed for the reader to become close to both characters and then watch in horror as everything unravels.
As the novel progresses, it develops and introduces some paranormal elements. Yes. As if a cult isn’t bad enough, Alhborn gives us a cult that will come back from the dead to reach its goal.
Now, the novel is paced a little slower than I would have liked; however, it does work to build up anxiety and push towards the climax. I feel like maybe if Jeffery, the cult leader, would have been given a perspective in the narration, it would have helped to drive the story a little harder and keep the pace up.
Regardless, the concept is creepy. The characters are creepy and I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a nice creepy read!  Praise Ania Ahlborn for giving me another story that will keep me up at night!


BLOG BLITZ & GIVEAWAY: The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali @rararesources @annejohnligali @booksnauthorsuk


The Big Event
by Anne John-Ligali

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and THE BIG EVENT!!  Find out about this short story, a GIVEAWAY and more!  We all have a social media presence - see how that translate to real life!


You are cordially invited to the party of the season where you'll meet Constance and friends in action. 

Constance Jeffries is excited when she gets the chance to meet up with virtual friends at a get-together in a London hotel. She’s been tweeting and messaging her lovely friends for years and feels they must be just as excited to finally meet her in person too. Or so she hopes. 

The Big Event is first part in a short story series about the importance of ‘real’ friendships and how it’s the little things that matter the most.

A Gorgeous Venue, A Room Full of Friends, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Purchase here:  Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review:

For those of us who have made friends via social media platforms, this story will really resonate! 

This short story is about a woman who attends The Big Event where she finally gets to meet her online friends in real life. What she gets is mostly disappointing encounters as what she had perceived in her mind based on their social media presence, is tainted by how they are face to face. I think quite a few of us have been there before! But then that one person turns everything around.

"You just never know who's watching, or who you're inspiring." And this is always true. So mind your p's and q's when online. <3


About the Author:


Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews.  She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers.  She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

When Anne is not writing, she is likely to be at soft play with her kids, taking long evening walks in Hyde Park, making green smoothies, window shopping, or having a pampering session at her local beauty salon (whenever she gets the chance).  She can also be found watching box sets (albeit with a bit of shame at still having to catch up on Scandal, Grey's, and Downton).

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London.  After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number of IT administration jobs in the city.  Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women's fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children's books.



GIVEAWAY!


Win SPARKLY AFTERNOON TEA FOR TWO AT VERTIGO 42 in central London and ONE E-COPY of THE BIG EVENT.

To enter and for full terms and conditions, please follow the link for everything you need to know.



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: Unsub by Meg Gardiner @duttonbooks @meggardiner1

Unsub
(Unsub #1)
by Meg Gardiner
Dutton Books

πŸ”₯ AVAILABLE NOW πŸ”₯

A highly recommended psychological thriller you need to add to your TBR NOW! See what Jessica, Sam and I thought of this book and then continue down to get the synopsis of book 2 that is coming out in January!




A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.


Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An Unsub—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

My Thoughts:

Season One, Pilot Episode, Complete and looks like this is going to be a WINNER!


I've seen a lot of referencing this book to the show Criminal Minds and I can absolutely see why. As one of my favorite shows, clearly I LOVE this book! If you don't already know, Unsub is short for Unknown Subject, the person(s) being sought for the crime(s). I have always been fascinated by this kind of work because you really have to dig into the mind of the criminal and his behavior in order to try and get a step ahead to beat him/her. 


Bring in Caitlin, daughter of the father who almost caught the Prophet, but didn't, causing his life to fall apart around him. Will she follow in his path and not only be bested, but have it cause her physical, mental and social strife?


My goodness does Gardiner give us the works with this novel. We have a highly intelligent Unsub who is patient enough that his terror has reigned for over two decades. He has a plan and is meticulous, leaving cryptic clues while sitting in the background giddy over his successes. What better mouse to play with than the daughter of the one you bested decades ago? Oh what an intricate plot you weave!


If you love the show Criminal Minds, behavioral analysis and/or a proper gruesome, well thought out serial killer rampage, then you are going to be quite pleased with this book. History certainly does repeat itself and comes back with a vengeance. 


You guys, get this book. Read it, love it, remember it.... the next book is out in January and you're going to need to get that one too. Chop chop - these are doozies and must reads in my opinion. See you on the other side ;).



5 stars!!

Jessica's Thoughts:

Serial killers - real or fictional - have always been something I love to read about. I loved THE ZODIAC by Robert Graysmith, so when I saw that Meg Gardiner's UNSUB was based on the Zodiac killer, I knew I needed to read it. A serial killer sending cryptic messages, they were never caught, and then bodies start showing up again 20 years later? Sign me up!


Detective Mack Hendrix is on the case to find the serial killer known as The Prophet. There have been 11 killings, all the victims seem to have no connection except for the Mercury symbol carved into their skin. Throughout the 1990's, The Prophet terrorized the Bay Area, and nearly drove Mack crazy. 


Twenty years later, his daughter Caitlin is now a Narcotics Detective. Two bodies turn up with the same symbol etched into the victims' bodies. Is The Prophet back? Caitlin quickly realizes that she is now a target for the serial killer. Having to decipher each cryptic and twisted message, Caitlin is determined to find the killer and redeem her family name. Despite her father's warnings, her search borders obsession. Is this the same killer that terrorized her family and her childhood, or is this simply the work of a copycat?


First off, I love the messages to decipher. That was something from the Zodiac that was the most fascinating and creepy. This book moved quickly and Gardiner created some great characters to keep your interest. The Prophet is a twisted, sadistic serial killer and this is definitely not for the faint of heart. I've seen comparisons to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMES and SE7EN, and those are completely accurate. Gardiner does a fantastic job at building the tension as you progress through this novel. There isn't a lot of up and down or crazy twists, but a steady build that will keep the reader in suspense. 


Overall, if you like serial killer thrillers, then you need to stop what you're doing and get this book. If you want something with genuine and real characters, then you'll love Caitlin Hendrix as she tries to track down this killer. The writing flows and the plot keeps a great pace - you'll need to clear out some of your schedule if you're planning on starting this!


I give this 5/5 stars!

Sam's Thoughts:

I am one of those people who is fascinated by serial killer thrillers; think Ragdoll by Daniel Cole and The Fourth Monkey by JD Barker, and, of course, Criminal Minds. Truly, anything with a sicko at the core, I completely eat up. Well folks, if you are like me and are looking for a killer summer read, then you best be adding Unsub, the newest novel by Meg Gardiner, to your TBR piles. Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more.


Drawing inspiration from the Zodiac Killer, a never caught serial killer who wreaked havoc in California during the 1970s, Unsub follows Detective Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective who finds herself transferred to homicide when the killer at the heart of her childhood reemerges. The Prophet, a notorious Bay Area serial killer, nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case, during her youth and now he is back with a vengeance. Mind games, cryptic messages and violent actions draw Caitlin closer and closer into the Prophet's web with each gruesome murder.


I was actually lucky enough to win a copy of this novel in a Dutton giveaway. But, like a good book reviewer, I kept this locked on my shelf so I could read it closer to release day.  As you all know, I was majorly book slumping and had a bunch of other books up to be read but, when I opened this one, the cover had praise for Meg Gardiner coming from Stephan King, Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. Needless to say, when these literary greats tell me I need to read a novel, I make it a priority.

 I am so glad I did.  Not only did this novel knock me right out of my book slump, but I am naming it one of my favourite's of the year!! 

This novel had everything I need to be entertained. A fast moving plot, interesting characters, well-developed backstories and moments of humour to give the doom and gloom some relief. Caitlin Hendrix, our lead, is incredibly likeable and truly a cop that can play with the big boys.   I loved her sincerity and ferocity.   As for The Prophet, well he makes Hannibal Lector look like a pre-school teacher.

 Gardiner does so many things within her prose that made this novel stand out for me.   This plot is not a roller coaster, but, instead, a steady build that had me feeling all sorts of anxiety. Gardiner does not let up. I also loved that Gardiner brought so many literary elements into this novel and, as the Prophet’s motives became clearer, I found myself so impressed with the originality it was bringing to the text. This is not your ordinary serial killer thriller.

I do not want to give any specifics away within the plot or the general direction of the text because truly, you need to experience them for yourself. But, trust me when I say, this is absolutely a must read.  

 5/5 stars


BOOK TWO
INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE


Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI's serial crime unit discover the first victim's body in the woods. She's laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style--posed like Snow White awaiting her prince's kiss. 

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology--that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy--dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin's profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people's trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

REVIEW: Best Friends Forever by Margo Hunt @huntauthor @harlequinbooks

Best Friends Forever
by Margo Hunt
Mira Books

πŸ”₯ AVAILABLE 1/23/18 πŸ”₯

Thanks so much to Mira Books for this copy!  A subtle psychological thriller that will have you turning the pages in one sit.  Put this on your TBR immediately!


How well do you really know your best friend?

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.

My Thoughts:


How far would you go for your best friend?
We all have our secrets, don't we?

Kat and Alice are about as opposite as you can get.  At a chance encounter in an airport, they find they live close by and so their friendship begins.  Three years they have become close and integrated into each other's lives.  Then Kat's husband, an all around asshole, falls from their balcony to his death.  Alice gets questioned by the police, arrested for his murder, and Kat has gone radio silent.  

I opened this book up on my travels back home from the Thanksgiving holiday and could NOT put it down.  This reads extremely fast and yet it is extremely subtle at the same time.  I love that the POV is strictly through Alice's eyes so we get a full on feel of everything she is going through.  Her marriage, which isn't perfect, her children, who aren't as well, her struggle in every day life that we can all empathize with, and now a newly formed friendship that was the missing piece she needed.  

We start at the present when the police come to question Alice and then the author takes us to the past, where her friendship with Kat began.  The author does an outstanding job of showing the mind of a sociopath as we travel back and forth from past to present.  Manipulation, lies, setting the stage, selfishness, so on and so forth.  Each chapter is a build up of what is to come.   While the ending is a chilling portrayal of all the events leading up to it, it doesn't quite smack you in the face like some thrillers will do and may be slightly predictable for those who read a lot of psychological thrillers.  However, the subtlety in how she builds the tension is something I truly loved about the book and it's impressive how she gets you there.  

A psychological thriller debut done proper.  I look forward to more from this author.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

#allthebookreviews: The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz @deankoontz @randomhouse

The Whispering Room
(Jane Hawk #2)
by Dean Koontz
Bantam / Random House

πŸ”₯ AVAILABLE NOW πŸ”₯

Big thank you to Bantam / Random House for these copies!  Jessica and I are thrilled to have had the pleasure of reviewing this second in the Jane Hawk series book.  You can read our reviews for book one, THE SILENT CORNER here!


Jane Hawk--fiction's most relentless, resourceful, stunning new heroine--continues her battle against a murderous conspiracy in the riveting sequel to The Silent Corner.
"No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this."

These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun--just before she takes her own life, and many others', in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.

In the wake of her husband's inexplicable suicide--and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals--Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But these ruthless people bent on hijacking America's future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue--and become the nation's most wanted fugitive--in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.

Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

My Review:



Book two continues right where The Silent Corner left off.  Jane is slowly finding her way towards redemption for her husband and to right the wrongs for all of those who literally can no longer think for themselves.

Since this is basically just a continuation, we don't get much more information, if any, that we didn't already have from book one.  The book became stagnant in certain places because we never really got anywhere.  That's not to say the book wasn't entertaining because it is.  I love Jane's take no shit but have a big heart attitude.  I also enjoyed the new characters that were brought into the fold.  My favorite is Grandpa Bernie and if you've read the book, I think you'd agree. ;)  I'm happy to be going on Jane's journey and while this may be a bit boring and slow for some, I like the tenacity of Jane's character and really getting to know each move she makes and my curiosity button has been pushed... I need to see how she gets there. 

I definitely didn't enjoy this as much as the first book, which sets up her adventures.  However, I think when we get into the next one, Koontz is going to masterfully bring some things together that will satiate those of us who need to get to any kind of conclusion, even if it's not the final one.  There's no doubt that I'll be continuing this series.

3/5 Stars

Jessica's Review:


I read book one to the Jane Hawk series, THE SILENT CORNER, earlier this year. I absolutely loved it! So when I saw book two was coming out, THE WHISPERING ROOM, I knew I needed to grab a copy. I will say, despite being book two, it does read fine as a standalone. However, I would definitely recommend the first book.

This picks up right where THE SILENT CORNER left off - rogue FBI Agent Jane Hawk is on the run. After her husband's mysterious suicide, as well as that of many other promising and intelligent people, she went on a mission to find the people responsible. Now a schoolteacher, Cora Gundersun, is the next to commit suicide. When her journals are uncovered, they find disturbing content. All signs point to Cora simply being insane, but Jane knows better. Is this part of the same conspiracy behind her husband's death?

While book one was much more edge-of-your-seat thriller, this was a little more tame. I love the technology element to this kind of thriller. Someone is always watching and how they can manipulate cameras and other devices to track Jane. She is still the most wanted fugitive but has been able to evade those that are trying to stop her. I feel like the character development was so strong in the first book for Jane, so there wasn't too much more progression with that in this novel.

I did enjoy this book, but I'd say that THE SILENT CORNER was such a solid debut for this series that it was hard to follow up. So I would highly recommend getting book one if you want to start the Jane Hawk series! If you like the thrillers that are very believable and have that "this could really happen" vibe, then I'd highly recommend jumping into this new series from Koontz!

Overall, this was still a great paced thriller. If you want a strong female protagonist and love a good suspense novel with some technology elements, then you should grab the Jane Hawk series from Koontz!

I give this 4/5 stars