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The Huntress is BACK! Alexandra Sokoloff’s Bitter Moon In Preorder!

moon

NEW HUNTRESS BOOK!

Bitter Moon, Book 4 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, is now available for pre-order.

From Alexandra’s email this morning:

Bitter Moon is in some ways the most mystical of the books, parallel storylines set in the California desert, as Special Agent Matthew Roarke and fourteen-year old Cara must join forces to stop a horrific series of rapes and murders — separated by sixteen years in time.

The first three books are absolutely stunning, and I am sure the fourth will be the same. Click the photos below to go to Alexandra’s page on Amazon and grab them to read before Bitter Moon comes out, and check out her other books as well.

 [cover: Huntress Moon]  [cover: Blood Moon] [cover: Cold Moon]

JUNE SALE — $1.99!!

The first three books of the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series are on sale for just $1.99 each on Amazon US in June! If you haven’t caught up with the series, here’s your chance to get a great deal.

To get the deal, go here and use the code: READJUNE16.

Prior to making your purchase, click the Enter the Code button, enter READJUNE16, and click the “Apply” button.

And! (Drum roll Please!!!) As you will know if you are familiar with Alexandra’s work, she is an incredible screenwriter as well as a novelist. And NOW!

HUNTRESS TV SERIES!

It’s back to film writing for me — I just finished the pilot for the Huntress TV series, currently in development. Next we go out to directors and actors, so if you have any casting wishes, I’d love to hear who you’d like to see play Roarke, Cara, Epps, Singh, Rachel, Snyder, Jade, Mills, et al. More news to come….

OK, yes, I am squeeeeing like a Fan Girl! I will have to start thinking about who should play the characters. They need to be actors with gravitas . . . do they make those any more?!?!

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All Good Deeds – Stacy Green is a Goddess . . .

A Personal Note:

I’ve been busy…  I have this huge technical edit I have been working on which is keeping me up all hours of the night, so I’ve hardly been able to read at all. I woke in the middle of the morning (after working all night) and couldn’t sleep, so I grabbed my reader. I was going for the lighthearted story on the menu, and accidentally chose this book instead. I would have put it back and chosen the lighter book – but the first paragraph grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go. I was hooked.

“I’m not a killer. Or a savior. I’m just one person trying to repair the broken scales of justice one jagged crack at a time.”

All Good Deeds won a bronze medal for ‘mystery/thriller’ at the 2015 IPPY Awards. In my mind, she deserved a gold medal. And a big gold medal from the whole freakin’ country for pushing this horrific issue out there in a novel that broke my heart and made me want to hug Stacy Green for being such a courageous woman.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled review.


 

All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1)

Lucy Kendall is a lot of things. Daughter of a self-absorbed mother. Younger sister to a suicide. Child Protective (Gack! Choke. Gag.) Services ex-employee. Private Investigator. Serial killer. And for the last one, more than anything else, Lucy Kendall is my hero.

You see, Lucy Kendall kills pedophiles. Pedophiles who have been run through the system, over and over, and gotten away with it. Who are still doing it. You see, pedophiles cannot be cured. Not gonna happen. For you see, pedophiles don’t think they are doing anything wrong. So, they destroy lives, souls. They rape and maim and destroy, and feel themselves justified. “Perhaps he felt he was born this way, or that he was entitled. But I doubted he spent hours agonizing over his choices. That’s not how his mind was geared.”

These are the people Lucy Kendall kills.

I cannot truly enunciate just how deeply I felt about this book. I loved it. True, Lucy is viciously torn about the work she does, no matter that she knows what she does is the right thing. The “system” certainly isn’t going to do anything about the monsters who creep through the dark. And with the advent of the Dark Web, well, being a pedophile is easier than it has ever been. Lucy knows that she can’t stop them all. But she can do her bit, no matter how small, to clean house in Philadelphia.

“There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘that person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do.” – Norm Chomsky

Lucy gave up when the young boy who she tried to keep in prison after he raped and slaughtered a little girl was released. He didn’t even have to register as a sex offender. He simply walked away, scot-free. Free to move into a neighborhood where children abound.

And now, little Kailey Richardson is missing. And things become more complicated, more horrific, than even Lucy can comprehend. Things fall apart. The center does not hold. And the more they fall apart, the more the flow of the past and the future blend and merge into whole new horrors.

Again, this book absolutely blew me away. In a small way, because I was abused as a child as well. But my abuse was mild compared to the horrors children these days are forced to endure. The fact that humans can do the things they do to children pretty much guarantees, to my mind, that there is no ‘god figure.’ If there is, the sick SOB is one twisted piece of work. And Lucy puts it well when she talks about death.

“It’s the nothingness. . . Whenever life ends, it just quits. We literally cease to exist. Every single one of us. . . . There’s no blackness, no tunnel, no sinking into oblivion. It’s literally nothing.

Lucy watched it happen. Watched the light go out. And felt the emptiness after. And, if they aren’t going to suffer in a Christian hell, well, Lucy will see that they suffer before the light goes out of their eyes. You GO, Girl!!!

Argh. Every time I think about the children out there, the ones who wind up in dumpsters or shallow graves, I despair. Especially when our police and courts can’t do a blasted thing about it. When eyes and minds are closed to the issue. Closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and going “La la la” isn’t going to make it go away. The one who sticks in my mind the most, who still gives me nightmares, is the little boy my police department found tied under a bedroom sink, battered, bleeding from brutal beatings and rapes, who had his penis wired off to keep it hard. He had been licking the dirt off the floor in an attempt to feed himself. Believe me, Lucy is doing a community service.

There are several books in this series about Lucy, the people who help her, and the cop who, well, read the darn book already!!! Then read the next, and the next. And maybe go volunteer for your local shelter. Maybe you too can save a child from a pedophile?

 

 

Review: A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch #VictorianCozy

A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #1)1865. While the US is enjoying the end of the Civil War, in London the Liberals take over Parliament in the form of Lord Palmerston, who died that same year leaving Lord John Russell as Prime Minister. And Lady Jane Grey has sent a note to her platonic love, Charles Lenox.

Dearest,

Would you come over before supper, perhaps at a little past six o’clock? Something has happened. Do come, Charles.
Yours, faithfully,
&c.
Jane

What follows is a tale of mystery, politics, society and the upper-crust formality for which the Victorian period is so well known. Lenox is no Lord Peter Whimsey – he is much more reserved, his intelligence sharp, but quieter and more reserved.

This is very much a “Victorian Cozy” mystery, with interesting characters and a landscape that pulls you into the sights, scents and sounds of Victorian London. Honestly, I requested the book by mistake, as I wouldn’t normally read a historical (it simply isn’t my genre) but I still enjoyed it.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Dead Men Don’t Talk: A Daisy Red-Tail Novel by Deb Sanders #Mystery #ReservationLife #GhostStory

Dead Men Don't Talk: A Daisy Red-Tail Novel - Deb SandersOne day, the Great Spirit brought all creation together. . . “I want to hide something from our people until they are ready to learn.” “What is it?” he was asked.

“The knowledge that people create their own reality.”

Daisy O’Connor knows about creating her own reality. With a mother who drug her along like a rag doll from husband to husband, she had to become self-sufficient. Then, when husband number whatever, Running Bear, beat Daisy unconscious, Daisy and her mother left the Lakota reservation far behind. Then her mother left Daisy far behind, in Atlanta with her aunt while her mother moved with husband six to Germany

No one wanted the young Daisy on the rez – not a pale skinned, redheaded, full-blooded Irish girl. But when her adopted grandfather, Charlie Tall Tree, calls her back to the rez to help her step-brother Eddie, how can she refuse the man who was so kind to her all those years ago? And Eddie himself, the other half of their mismatched pair, “bound together by a marriage between her full-blooded Irish mother and his full-blooded Lakota father.” Eddie was always her friend, even when the other children made her life a misery. So, the Jimmy Choo wearing, southern-speaking Daisy finds herself back in South Dakota on the Piney Creek. In-and-out. Find Eddie. Solve whatever problem he has gotten himself in this time. Get back to Atlanta and her catering business. Easy-peasy.

Well, not so much.

What Daisy finds isn’t simple. Or nice and clean, cut and dried. Instead, she finds her much loved Eddie, but he is strange and distant, showing up to beg for her help, then disappearing just as quickly without explanation or goodbye. Only a warning.

“He killed Father . . . and now he’s poisoning the rez.”

The “He” is apparently Kurt Jessup, owner of the Blue Dog Trading Post, rich man and aspirant mayor of Whittier, South Dakota. And if Daisy is going to find out what is going on, and why Eddie is so certain Jessup is ‘poisoning’ the Piney Creek, she is going to have to get close to Jessup. But getting close could cost more than Daisy ever expected.

I have to thank Ms. Sanders for writing such a realistic view of life on the rez. Being half Quapaw, I have walked my share of rez lands, and seen the deep poverty, the depression, alcoholism and lack of hope. The white people (of which I am half, admittedly) pushed the natives onto the poorest lands possible, where no crops will grow. Schools and medical facilities are nearly nonexistent, as is hope. But often alcohol and drugs are in easy supply, as they are on the Piney Creek in Sanders’ book.

The mystery in the book is very well written, and the characters are well designed. As this is the first in what I see will be a series (I see the next book is in development, “Dead Men Can’t Dance”) and I am excited to read that one as well. The only thing I found wanting in the book was proper editing. There were a plethora of grammatical errors and a few errors of logic and continuity. Other than that, a very satisfying book.

Oh. And the Chocolate Cola Cake with Pecan Glaze? GOTTA try that!!!

I received this book from ReadingAlley.com in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

ABOUT DEB

I’m an adventurer – more by destiny than design. I’ve explored the back roads and highways of 35 states, resided in eight, and ventured into parts of Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas. It’s been fun weaving bits and pieces of my travels into my stories.  As an optimist, I believe anything is possible if you refuse to accept failure as an option. When I’m not in front of my computer, you’ll find me perched atop a rock at the back of a box canyon, crouched low in the middle of a dry creek bed with camera aimed at a majestic Elk, or perhaps hanging onto a skiff after a whale has breached next to me.  At other times, you’ll find me Geocaching with my grandsons, attempting a new project inspired by something I’ve seen on Pinterest or canning a recent crop of veggies and fruits.

Not all wanderers are lost. Some of us prefer to throw away the map and meander through life on a road less traveled.

I physically reside in North Carolina with my husband, Golden Retriever and two rescue cats. My soul resides in Arizona.

I am proud to say my family is rooted in the great Cherokee Nation  ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/zPmGwm
Twitter – @debsanders01
Facebook – Deb Sanders
LinkedIn – D.S. Sanders

CONTACT ME THOUGH EMAIL – debsanders01 at gmail dot comJake and Momma

Review: Blanche Passes Go by Barbara Neely #SouthernMurderMystery #SouthernMystery #BeingBlackInTheSouth

“It was always so hot, and everyone was so polite, and everything was all surface but underneath it was like a bomb waiting to go off. I always felt that way about the South, that beneath the smiles and southern hospitality and politeness were a lot of guns and liquor and secrets.” ― James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother

Blanche Passes Go: A Blanche White Mystery (Blanche White Mystery Series)

Ahh, the “New South.” Where the ancestral mansions were built by slaves, and the moneyed want to forget that their wealth was built on the efforts of “slavers, Indian-killers, Confederate generals, and diehard segregationists. Of course, they still occasionally named their sons Braxton and Zebulon, in honor of their Confederate slaver ancestors . . . and they still didn’t invite their string of mulatto relatives with the same looks and last name to sit down at the family table.”

Yep. Pretty much the same “Old South” I grew up on. And when pretty much the first thing Blanche sees when she returns to Farleigh, North Carolina is one of the privileged white trying to rape a black catering waitress in the family mansion, Blanche knows one thing. Underneath it all? The South is still the “Old South” just like before she left and moved to Boston. She left Farleigh after her own rape by a rich white man, David Palmer, but she is back now, her sister’s children, Taifa and Malik now raised and out on their own. It is time to come home, to work with her childhood friend Ardell in her catering business, Carolina Catering.

“Half of it’s yours whenever you’re ready,” Ardell had told her.

So, Blanche is back. And whom should she run into but David Palmer – the rich, entitled, knife wielding rapist. And all the pain and humiliation, the terror and boiling rage, come slamming back. David Palmer. He’s back in Farleigh with his wife and children, his wealth and old family history.

Terror. Panic. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on steroids. “He’d already killed the woman she’d been before he raped her.” Of course, Blanche can’t get back at him to his face. The police would never listen to a black woman’s story about a white man. But surely her Ancestors will point the way.

And then, the possibility for payback falls right into her lap. But sometimes, payback is a bitch. A deadly, cruel bitch with a wicked sense of humour.

I have to admit, I let my timing fall off on Blanche’s story. I simply couldn’t get into it at first. But once I finally sat down and started reading, I discovered something. This is a really, really good book. Blanche is not your ‘typical’ heroine. Fifty years old, blue-black, size-sixteen and going gray, Blanch is one tough cookie. Someone I would love to emulate in my own life. She has had it far from easy in her life, but she keeps going, keeps moving, keeps doing what she wants no matter what anyone else says. That is something to admire, an attitude to strive for.

This is apparently the fifth of the Blanche White Mystery Series, and I will be adding the others to my teetering piles of to-be-read. I won’t get to them right away, but when I do get to them I think I will be glad I did.

I received Blanche Passes Go from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Missing by Randa Flannery #MissingPersons #MysterySuspense

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Rowan Is Brilliant. Brilliant on a level that Einstein didn’t approach, but Da Vinci may have shared. That kind of brilliance makes it hard enough to bond with ‘normals’ under the best of circumstances. Add in parents who saw her as an interesting experiment, homeschooling her and discouraging any outside hobbies, interest, or friends, and living a normal life is pretty much an impossibility of stunning proportions. But, when Rowan meets Lexi in college, her life changes. Lexi teaches her ‘social studies.’ How to talk to people. How to smile. How to have fun. How to be human.

But then, Lexi disappeared. And Rowen’s life was shattered. The pieces that Lexi had nurtured fell away, leaving the cold, precise, analytical Rowen behind. It hurts to be so broken. So, she analyzes. She analyzes at work, putting together business strategies for the customers of Hologram Security. She analyzes everything, researching, investigating, plotting and graphing everything that strikes her fancy. But especially missing persons, and Lexi’s disappearance. She even researches dating strategies when her friend, Farrah Lewis, whom she met in a support group for friends and family members of missing persons, asks. For six long years, ever since the day Lexi disappeared, Rowan has functioned like an analytical droid, living for her work, for her analysis. For the faint hope that one day she will find the thread that will bring Lexi back to her. Rowan is The Bloodhound, sniffing out facts and presenting them to her clients in the form of cold logic. Just as coldly logical as her life is lived.

And then one day, Harrison Briggs appears in her office. And all the pain comes rushing back. For Harrison Briggs is Lexi’s boyfriend. Was the last person to see her alive on that terrible day, when Lexi disappeared, and Rowan’s whole life imploded. Harrison Briggs, who has the gall to stand in front of her and swear that he didn’t attend Columbia. That he has never heard of Lexi. What kind of monster can do that? To stand in front of her and deny his relationship with the one person Rowan loved above all others? How Could He?

But things are even stranger than she thought. And what is true may very well cost Rowan her life.

I adored Rowan and her story. Mystery. Suspense. Convolutions. This a very well written, enjoyable book that kept me reading for way too long into the night. She is brilliant, but in such pain. Watching what has become of her psyche due to her parents cold scientific parenting is heartbreaking, and her ability to grow and change through the book gave me heart. Her search for her friend, and the pain of all family and friends of missing persons, is extremely well written. Highly recommended.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. This is Randa Flannery’s first book and I will be watching closely for her next.

 

Review: The SEAL’s Angel by Petie McCarty #MysterySuspense #StrongHeroine

“I’ll tell you what I’m fighting for. Not for England, nor her allies, nor any patriotic cause. It’s all come down to the hope of being with you.” ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

“War always reaches the depths of horror because of idiots who perpetuate terror from generation to generation under the pretext of vengeance.” ― Guy Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier

“The footprints of an Angel in your life are Love.” ― Genevieve Gerard

Cory Rigatero is one strong young woman. A young woman who has suffered loss and betrayal, pain and suffering, and still keeps right on getting up in the morning, fighting to keep her family’s legacy, Bel Tesoro, “Beautiful Treasure” the family resort on the edge of Cory has lost everything. Her parents. Her brother, a SEAL, listed MIA two years ago. Now, it is her and Vern, her manager and general handyman at Bel Tesoro, a pile of bills, and a desperate need to keep Bel Tesoro alive.

Her brother Brian’s last words before he left her all alone six years ago were, “I prayed for a guardian angel for you last night to dog your steps while I’m gone…”

She is going to need that angel – because bad things are happening at Bel Tesoro. Things that may land Bel Tesoro in the hands of Percy “Senior” Standish, local rich bully, who is determined to buy Bel Tesoro out from under Cory and raze it to the ground in order to build honeymoon cottages as part of his own huge, overblown, high class resort on the other side of the lake. And if bad – read, ‘expensive’ – things continue to happen, she may have no other choice.

Of course, the bad things didn’t start happening until “Mac” shows up, all bearded, long haired Harley riding drifter. Vern trusts him, so Cory lets him stay to work. But when two of her resort clients nearly drown due to sabotaged kayaks, and Cory herself nearly dies when the dock collapses, trapping her under the pilings, Mac becomes suspect number one for the sabotage.

There are layers of story here. The sabotage at the resort. A mysterious package from her brother, who has been listed as dead for the last two years. And a break in by two foreign speaking men, “Where’s Formula?” Cory is terrified now not only of losing Bel Tesoro – but of losing her life.

I loved this book. Really loved it. The story line is well-developed, and the characters are believable. There is mystery, suspense, thrills. Cory is a strong woman character without being over-the-top, and highly likable. The pace is fast, and Cory barely has the chance to catch her breath as things spin out of control around her. And the very ending? Well, it was, in a word, a great ending. You will have to read it to find out what happens, but it left me with a huge smile on my face. Again, I loved this book and highly recommend it to mystery and suspense lovers with a quirky sense of humor.

As an aside – a major character in the book? Lucky Luciano. If you aren’t familiar with America Mobster History, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky were three of the most famous American mobsters in history. History comes into play here in Lucky’s story and how it crosses and melds with Cory’s great-grandfather, Brocconi “Brock” Rigatero’s history as he built Bel Tesoro. Lucky’s history crosses my own, as my own grandfather was Lewis Archer Cooper, Chief of Police in Hot Springs, Arkansas during the period. Family stories say that Arch, besides being COP, also owned bars and, uh, hum, “bath houses,” with Lucky. Seeing as how Lucky was arrested in Hot Springs by a federal agent who was investigating “Other Matters” in Hot Springs at the time, I got a huge kick out of reading about Lucky’s part in this story! Oh, and as for one of my pet peeves? GREAT COVER!! It caught my eye right away and led me to read the blurb, which made me want to read the book. Awesome!

I received this book from Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. This is the third Mystery Angel Romance. Each stand-alone love story has an angel hidden in the plot, and the angel’s identity is not revealed until the finale unless the reader figures it out first.

About the Author

Petie McCartyPetie McCarty spent a large part of her career working as a biologist at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job in order to write her stories full-time. Petie is a member of Romance Writers of America, and she shares homes in Tennessee and Florida with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer Spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday Conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.

Review: Chilling Effect by Melissa F. Miller

Chilling Effect (An Aroostine Higgins Novel Book 2) - Melissa F. MillerThe more laws, the less justice. — Marcus Tullius Cicero

The law has no compassion. — Christopher Darden

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aroostine Higgins has done something I didn’t think could be done. She made me read a ‘lawyer book’ – and actually fall in love with a ‘lawyer character’. Awesome. You have to realize, I have no patience with the American (or any other) “Justice System”. Because there is no “justice” to be had. Frederick Douglass had it right, all those years ago: Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. And it hasn’t gotten any better.

Aroostine is Lenape, one of the tribes of Native Americans the white man destroyed. They came in, stole the lands, murdered the people, and the ones they didn’t murder they shoved onto reservations in the poorest lands possible – barren, useless lands no one else wanted. And then? And then, they stole our children. Aroostine is a Lost Child. Her grandfather took her when her parents died. Then, when her grandfather died, she was taken by a white family and raised white. She has no history, no connection with her peoples. But that is about to change.

Aroostine, an attorney with the DA’s office in Pennsylvania, and her husband Joe, are in Oregon, trying to piece their lives, and their marriage back together. This is the second in a series, I really hate that I missed out on the first one – I will be going back to read it. Apparently, Aroostine was an up-and-comer in DC and her hubby Joe, a master carpenter, was a jerk, unable to handle her success. Things happened, but this volume, while touching on the happenings, doesn’t ruin my reading of the first book. I will catch up when I read “Critical Vulnerability” – which I will read.

Aroostine’s vacation is interrupted when her old boss, Sidney Slater, Director of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, – the man who threw her under the bus on their last case – asks her to check in on an embezzlement case on the Chinook Reservation. Well, injuns’ is injuns’, right? (Crossing eyes) Surely she will ‘fit in’ and be able to find out why their whistle blower has clammed up. So much for a vacation. And when Aroostine walks in to her whistle blower’s house to find him dead in his chair with a bullet between his eyes, it begins a tightly paced story of mystery, murder, and ultimately heartbreak that kept me enthralled.

What really interested me was Miller’s grasp of life on the reservation. Her characters felt ‘real’ and her of a mindset so very different from the white mans was surprisingly believable.

I will be reading the first in the series, and placing the series on my watch list for new installments.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you are a mystery lover, you should check it out.

Melissa F. Miller, AuthorABOUT the author

I’m Melissa F. Miller, author of the Sasha McCandless legal thriller series and the Aroostine Higgins legal thriller series.  I’m also a practicing attorney. When I’m not in court or on the playground with my three delightful children, I’m hard at work on my next novel.

Review: Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs – A Must Read

Speaking in Bones (Temperance Brennan, #18)“Lost. Murdered. Dumped. Unclaimed. This country’s overflowing with the forgotten dead. And somewhere someone’s wondering about each and every one of those souls.” — Hazel “Lucky” Strike, Websleuth, Speaking in Bones, Kathy Reichs

UIDs. That is what they are called in the US. Unidentified Remains. The remains of a human being, a collection of bones, sometimes a whole skeleton, sometimes only bits and pieces. They collect in storage rooms, stuffed into cardboard boxes, lonely and forgotten. They are planted in pauper’s graves, sometimes cremated, sometimes misidentified as deer or bear bones and left where they lie. That is, if they are found at all.

Overburdened and underfunded police and labs can’t prioritize them, and even when they try, the forms utilized by the FBI are, literally, 30-pages long. Not something a police officer asks family members to  work through when reporting a missing person, so even if remains are found, finding the right name is a shot in the dark by a blind, drunken shooter. It simply doesn’t happen. Something had to be done – and Speaking In Bones tells the tale of what normal, everyday people are willing to do to find the links – to identify UIDs and return them to where they belong.

The woman sitting in Temperance Brennan’s office chair plays a horrifying soundtrack. Two male voices, one female. And the female is begging, literally, for the torture to stop.

“Please don’t kill me.

“Please don’t kill me.

“Please.

“Kill me.”

Hazel “Lucky” Strike is an odd, and possibly dangerous, new being to Tempe. A “Websleuth”, one of a growing group of everyday people who spend their time and efforts researching missing persons and unidentified remains, attempting to find a match, to bring the remains home. Simplistically, they match bodies to people ‘gone missing’. And while Tempe immediately jumps in with “That is the task of law enforcement in conjunction with coroners and medical examiners” she soon must admit that the situation truly isn’t handled by any of the above. Not really. Even though NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) recently NCIC MP and UID Data, eighty percent of coroners and MEs rarely or never even try to match MPs and UIDs. The bones simply go in a box and get stuck on a shelf, forgotten once again. And while Tempe comes across quite sanctimonious and holier-than-thou at first, she soon is intrigued by Lucky’s idea. The woman thinks she has identified a UID. A UID Tempe has in a box on her own shelf. Digging further, Tempe gets another shock. At any one time, there are 90,000 missing persons in the United States. In the past fifty years, the cases of unidentified remains, most never identified at all, runs upwards of 40,000. Forty thousand human beings whose families will never know what happened to their loved ones.

Tempe can’t resist a mystery, and this one crawls in and settles under her skin. And what happens becomes a horrifying story of obsession, zealotry, and twisted murder that had me alternately reading compulsively and hitting the web to research websleuthing and the people who spend their time and money trying to bring the lost home.

Reichs does her normal outstanding job of not only brilliant research, but bringing her writing to life, giving it personality and a life of its own. The story is gripping, her characters compelling, and her grasp of the issues ‘behind the scenes’ kept me reading well past ‘dumb o’clock’. She layers the reality of websleuthing with a shocking modern day tale of religion, obsession, murder, psychology and bigotry that left me sitting here well after I had finished the book, shocked into meditative silence as I tried to absorb all that I read.

There is, of course, the issue of her relationship with Andrew Ryan, lieutenant-detective, Service des enquêtes sur les crimes contre la personne, Sûreté du Québec. In other words, a Detective Lieutenant with the Quebec Provincial Police and Tempe’s on-again-off-again lover and general pain in the backside. Things are just as volatile, and frustrating, there as they always have been. Enough said, other than to say that the roller coaster seems to be on the upswing now. Whether that will last is another question.

This book bounded to my “Top Five Reads of 2015” with a bullet with shocking ease. I encourage you to read it – it truly is the best of Reichs books that I can remember reading. It isn’t perfect, but it is perfectly stunning.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Publication Date July 21, 2015

For further information on Websleuthing, MPs and UDIs, here are a few sites. One thing that is pointed out in the book, and was further noted during my own research, is that people are people. There are some whacko, vitriolic head cases out there posting on the sites. There are, however, many more people who are honest, caring, normal human beings who simply want to help.

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” — ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

The following are only a few of the sites Ms. Reichs recommends in her book.

http://namus.gov/
http://untfsu.com/
http://www.doenetwork.org/
http://www.websleuths.com/

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