06-12Nightshade-2Stephen Leather is the accomplished author of several thriller series, including the bestselling Spider Shepherd series.

He returns with the newest in the Jack Nightingale occult thrillers in Nightshade, which he based on areal incident that occurred in Scotland when a middle-aged farmer entered a primary school and killed sixteen children and an adult before committing suicide. This case formed the basis that led to a ban on handgun ownership in the UK.

What Leather does spectacularly well is to use the theories for that massacre as the plot line in this chilling novel that is disturbing as it brings a dark twist to the events that feel too real and possible at times.

When Jimmy McBride walks into a school with a double-barrelled shotgun and begins his massacre, he sets into motion a chain of events that lead his brother, Danny, to employ Nightingale. The former cop-turned-private eye reluctantly agrees to look into the case and finds to his horror too many connections to discount.

Police have found evidence of Satanic practices at McBride’s farm, which Danny insists were not present just days before when he visited Jimmy at his farm.

Woven into the story is a young girl who is miraculously revived after being declared dead after a horrible home invasion. Bella claims she’s spoken to people from beyond the grave but a disturbing pattern soon emerges. People who she’s whispered her secrets to start to die and often take others with them in bizarre killings.

Nightingale soon realizes there is much more at work here than appears on the surface, and as he digs deeper he brings his own life into jeopardy.

This is a compellingly told tale that will leave readers sitting on the edge of their seats as the events leading to the haunting prologue start to make a terrible kind of sense that only Nightingale can resolve.

 

Philip Margolin brings back fan favorite private investigator Dana Cutler, previously seen in his Washington Trilogy series, in the fast-paced legal thriller Sleight of Hand. sleight-of-handjpg-670e1b783e618ea9

Dana will face a fierce opponent: the slick criminal defense lawyer Charles Benedict, a man whose talents include magic tricks–and murder.

Sent to the west coast on the trail of a stolen relic, Dana doesn’t see a connection with the missing medieval scepter until she’s deeply embroiled in the case of the missing wife of millionaire Horace Blair.

The action hinges on the prenuptial agreement signed by Blair and his wife, Carrie, guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remains faithful for the first ten years of their marriage. When Carrie disappears the week before their tenth anniversary, Horace is charged with her murder. Surely twenty million is a great motive for murder?

Blair hires Benedict to defend him, not realizing the very man who is responsible for him going free may also be responsible for the murder of his wife.

Benedict uses sleight of hand to frame Benedict for Carrie’s murder, which is the inspiration for the book’s title. His own motives prove chilling and Dana is determined to bring the lawyer down.

How Dana manages to outwit the psychopath Benedict creates the high suspense that is a hallmark of Margolin’s novels and involves readers in Dana’s hunt to bring down a cunning and cold-blooded murderer.

 

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Lisa Jackson adds a hint of romance to her thriller, Cold Blooded, set in New Orleans and featuring Olivia Bechet, a young woman who has inherited her Grannie Gin’s ability to see through the eyes of a murderer.

When a woman’s slashed and burned corpse is found in a seedy New Orleans apartment, jaded detective Rick Bentz discounts Olivia’s reports of visualizing the bizarre ritual murder in a nightmare.

Bentz has his own demons he’s dealing with, and they certainly don’t include a tendency to believe the supposed sightings of Olivia.

Then the bodies start to pile up, and it’s obvious young college women are being targeted, with Bentz’s own daughter, Kristi, is in the mix.

Suddenly the visions he discounted start to make terrible sense, and Bentz starts to believe Olivia’s visions.

Jackson shows the killer’s point of view, too, which ups the suspense, as The Chosen One focuses in those around Bentz.

When his own brother is thrown into the mix, Bentz doesn’t know where to turn. Is his brother an innocent victim, set up to take the fall for The Chosen One? Or is his brother really the maniac who is terrorizing the area?

For those who like their action mixed with a hint of sizzle, this is a perfect, briskly-paced summer read.

 

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