Lexie Elliott: The French Girl Tuesday, Feb 20 2018 

Lexie Elliott’s debut, The French Girl, is a strong entry in the psychological suspense category.

A decade after six Oxford friends spend time in a farmhouse in the French countryside, the week comes back to haunt them in a way that no vacation should.

Kate Channing narrates the story of the week she and her boyfriend, Seb, and four others left London for a carefree summer escape. Tensions between several of the friends escalate by the end of the week, added to by girl living next door, who uses the pool at their house with the owner’s permission.

Severine is mysterious, lithe and beautiful and knows her power over men. When she disappears just as the group is leaving, it’s a horrid ending to a week that’s been ruined by revelations inside the group that broke up Kate and Seb.

Now years later Severine’s body has been found in a well at the farmhouse next door, and the primary suspects are Kate and her band of friends.

As a persistent French detective interrogates the friends, alliances shift and reform, exposing old secrets and complications. Misunderstandings surface; old opportunities are exposed and rued.

When it’s recommended that Kate hire her own lawyer, the tension rapidly escalates and as Kate’s memories of that last evening start to coalesce, she fancies that she sees Severine watching her try to figure out what really happened to the French Girl.

A captivating read that will leave readers asking how well they really know people they call their friends.


Douglas Light: Where Night Stops Sunday, Feb 4 2018 

Douglas Light’s references to noir stories will have fans of that genre enjoying this literate thriller from the outset in Where Night Stops.

With strong, observant diaglogue that often shows a dry wit, Light’s unnamed protagonist is living in a homeless shelter when he’s befriended by a man who gives him an assignment that allows him to survive financially.

The naive narrator sinks deeper and deeper into a money-laundering scheme, looking over his shoulder, as his own complicated backstory spools out. He’s clearly out of his depths as he makes poor choices and convinces himself he’s really doing just fine, even as he feels he’s on the run from his shadowy employer.

The literary tone sets this one apart from a standard thriller and will provide readers with a gripping and interesting read.

Fiona Barton: The Widow Tuesday, Jan 9 2018 

Fiona Barton’s debut thriller came highly recommended to Auntie M, so despite being out last year, she bought it herself and agrees: don’t miss The Widow.

Told through the lens of journalist Kate Waters, a realistic person you’ll want to spend time with again, Kate manages to get an interview with a new widow. Jean Taylor’s husband was tragically hit by a bus and died instantly.

But that’s the new story. The history surrounding Glen Taylor is very different. Four years ago he was found not guilty of kidnapping and murdering a two-year old girl.

Jean has spent those years in his shadow trying to eke out a life and putting on one face to the public. Now that Glen’s dead, that can end.

The story is told in alternating chapters from Kate and Jean’s perspective, as well as that of the detective on the unsolved case, who’s almost compulsive about finding the truth.

But what is the truth? And when exactly did Jean know it? A compelling tale from a voice in crime fiction that will be sought out again. Highly Recommended.

AJ Finn: The Woman in the Window Tuesday, Jan 2 2018 

AJ Finn has hit it out of the park with his debut psychological thriller The Woman in the Window, the first book of 2018 Auntie M is reviewing and giving her “Highly Recommended” status.

This one’s a winner, whether you’re a fan of Hitchcock movies or not. Finn is, and that influence is seen in the highly cinematic feel of the book, which has been optioned by Fox 2000 Studios.

Dr. Anna Fox is the narrator, a child psychologist who has been inside her home for the past eleven months suffering from severe agoraphobia and depression. Her reclusive life includes visits from a physical therapist, Bina, and her psychiatrist. She speaks to her husband, Ed, and daughter, Olivia, who are not living with her. She has her groceries delivered, doesn’t shower often enough, and has a basement tenant to do chores if she needs them. And she watches her neighbors.

She also plays online chess, but tries to feel useful by running a chat room for other agoraphobics, using her skills as a therapist to help them, even as she can’t help herself. It’s the one place she feels a modicum of positive output, even as her drinking gets out of control.

When a new family move in nearby, the Russells seem unremarkable; father, mother, awkward teenaged son who seems emotional. Then the mother, Jane, comes to visit Anna, and in their brief time together, they laugh and drink and play chess. Anna jokes about the actress, Jane Russell, and feels that she might just have a new friend.

It’s a hollow victory when she subsequently sees Jane stumbling through the house with a blade sticking out of her chest. But no one in the NYPD, her therapist, Bina, Ed–no one believes she saw what she knows she saw: Jane being murdered.

Or did she? Has her preoccupation with old movies, especially those of the Hitchcock thriller variety, combined with too much wine and the multiple psychotropic meds she’s on, caused Anna to hallucinate the events? What is real and what has she imagined?

There are references to classic movies, but Finn manages to make this story his own, with a riveting tale that crackles with tension as the story advances. The whoosh sound you’ll be hearing is you turning the pages as you devour this gripping, dark novel. As Auntie M started out, it’s highly recommended.

Sherri Hollister: Chrome Pink Wednesday, Dec 20 2017 

Please welcome guest Sherri Hollister, to talk about her debut romantic suspense novel, Chrome Pink, the first of the Leeward Trilogy.

The evolution of Chrome Pink

The idea for Chrome Pink started with an online class I took a few years ago. The instructor told us to list ten things about a person or character. I used my husband. He is a tow truck driver, motorcycle rider, mechanic, he does woodworking and construction, he is kind to people and animals but if he doesn’t like you, you know it. He likes fast cars, bourbon and me.

After we sent in our lists, we were instructed to change the sex, ethnicity, religion or politics of the person. From that class came the idea of Rae Lynne Grimes, who I tell people is my husband in drag.
Rae is a tough girl with a bad attitude. She is an alcoholic, anti-social and hell-bent on her own destruction but she is also kind, generous and beautiful.

After I started working on the story, I met my son’s friend. She had taken him in and was letting him stay with her and her partner. She brought him to visit us and she was trying to help him get on his feet. She was a beautiful Hispanic girl, with dark hair and eyes, with tattoos and piercings and a streak of pink in her hair. My son told me she’d had a rough life but even through her own adversities, she’d offered kindness to my son.

Combining these two ideas created the frame work for my character. From there I started asking questions and Rae Lynne Grimes evolved into a person whose story I had to tell.

I was supposed to be a romance writer. At least that is what I believed when I first started writing. I thought I wanted to write historical romances as they were my first love. When I fell in love with contemporary romance it was after reading Jayne Ann Krentz who also writes historicals as Amanda Quick.

Contemporary romance, especially the subgenres of romantic mysteries, thrillers and suspense intrigued me. I started marketing Chrome Pink as a romantic suspense novel. It wasn’t until after several very kind rejections and a couple of years of working with an agent that I learned my story doesn’t fall into the typical romance framework. My couple doesn’t meet on the first page and fall in love by page fifty.

Chrome Pink is about Rae Lynne Grimes, a rape survivor, and her journey from self-destruction to finding her strength. It is a suspense thriller, with some women’s fiction and, oh yeah, a bit of romance.

Sherri Hollister is a member of the Pamlico Writers Group and former news reporter who had had stories published in several anthologies. Chrome Pink is her first novel.

Someone doesn’t want Rae to stay in Leeward. When warning her doesn’t work, they try to scare her away. Logan Birdsong has fallen for Rae Lynne, but she won’t be with him if he’s working for her nemesis. Afraid of losing the company his step-father has entrusted into his care, Logan is torn between his growing attraction to Rae and his need to succeed. When her dates start turning up dead, Rae and Logan both become suspects. They can’t prove their innocence while on the run but returning to Leeward could cost them everything.

More Holiday Gifting Sunday, Dec 17 2017 

More great reads for holiday gifting~ there are goodies to be had for the reader on your list!

Con Lehane introduced NY City Public Library crime curator Ray Ambler in last year’s Murder at the 42nd Street Library. He brings Ray, his colleague Adele, grandson Johnny and detective friend Mike Cosgrove back in the equally engaging sequel, Murder in the Manscript Room.

In an interview Lehane once said someone told him the most interesting person at a library was its archivist, the keeper of everyone’s secrets, and that holds true here when Mike introduces him to Paul Higgins, a former NYPD intelligence detective who has written a few crime thrillers and wants to donate his police files to the library.

With the file boxes stowed in Ray’s office as he mounts a new exhibit, so a few days later is the body of a newly-hired library staffer. Ray has a personal interest in solving the crime, not the least that he’s a suspect, but there are complications in the form of a Syrian researcher who’s arrested and a tie-in to Ray’s son, John, serving time in prison.

The personal angle of little Johnny plus Ray’s relationship with Adele provide added interest as Ray tries to figure out how the secrets of the past and the murder of a union boss have contributed to this recent murder.

An intricate sequel sure to please book lovers and mystery afficionados, with well-drawn characters to boot.

<img src="https://auntiemwrites.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/shadowdistrict.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="760" class="size-full wp-image-3680"
Arnaldur Indridason's returns to Iceland with the start of a new series in The Shadow District

It’s an interesting mix of present day, with retired detective Konrad is asked to help with the death of a 90-yr old man smothered in his bed and end up investigating the WWII murder of a young woman in the shadow district, the rough neighborhood near where he grew up bordered by the National Theatre.

Alternating between the original detective’s investigation into the girl’s murder and his own follow-up, he soon realizes he must solve the old murder to find the killer for the recent one. Who would bother to kill an old man on the verge of death and for what reason?

Intricate and skillfully woven.

And speaking of the Scandanavian Noir, Kjell Ericksson’s 7th Ann Lindell mystery, Stone Coffin, is now out in paperback if you missed it last year. This one surrounds the hit-and-run deaths of a young woman and her six-year old daughter and becomes a complex mystery.

Peter S. Rush’s debut introduced Steve Logan, Brown graduate whose been affected in 1970 by the Kent State killings to the point where he joins the police force.

But his idealism takes an immediate hit as the rookie gets used to what it means to police Providence. Local mafia, agressive colleagues who heat up situations instead of knowing how to defuse them, detectives who are sadistic–all add up to quickly disillusioning Steve’s idealism.

Mixed in with the mores of the time is his continuing and complicated relationship with pre-med student Roxy, his true love. Both young people have growing to do and learning about life through each other’s actions.

When Steve decides he’s had enough, that change has to come from within, he starts keeping notes about the way things really are going down and finds more than he’s bargained for as he looks into the corruption. But will he have the courage–and the time–do see real change happen before he loses his own life?

A complex and assured debut with a compelling storyline.

Killing Pace is Douglas Schofield’s newest thriller that packs a wallop with its premise.

After a horrific car accident months before, Lisa Green is being nursed back to health by her boyfriend. Roland. The only thing is that Lisa has amnesia and can’t remember the accident or what led to it.

Roland’s close watch on Lisa leads her to believe he’s not her boyfriend and is keeping her prisoner. When she escapes him she enlists a sheriffs deputy to help her find a missing person: herself.

It’s a creative way to tell capture readers as Lisa, who is really Laura Pace, figures out who she really is and why people want her to die. With international repercussions to her case, invovlement from the mafia and US Border Control, it’s no surprise when infant traffiking is at the core.

It’s a wild ride Schofield takes Laura on as she cuts a wide swath in her wake to find the truth. Believeable and all too timely.

Katherine Bolger Hyde’s second “Crime with the Classics Mystery,” Bloodstains with Bronte comes complete with chapter epigrams from Bronte novels, a nice conceit Auntie M enjoyed, as well as plenty of literary references.

Widowed literature prof Emily Cavanaugh has inherited her murdered aunt’s fortune and lovely Oregon home, and her guilt at both has prompted her to turn the large home into a writer’s retreat.

With her housekeeper Katie and her infant daughter, Lizzie, for company, Emily braces for renovations. What she’s not counted on was the two workers, Jake and Roman, openly attracted to Katie. Their boss, on the other hand, is his own kind of enigma.

When Katie and Emily host a murder mystery fundraiser for the local clinic at their house, fiction turns horribly wrong when the supposed victim is actually killed, and Katie is the prime suspect.

It will take all of Emily’s smarts to clear Katie, as she “helps” Windy Corner’s detective Luke Richards in his investigation, despite his misgivings. It doesn’t help that Emily and Luke are romantically involved. And then the deaths multiply and suddenly all bets are off.

A mystery for those who like their literature with a hint of romance.

Caz Frear: Sweet Little Lies Tuesday, Dec 12 2017 

Caz Frears accomplished debut, Sweet Little Lies, brings readers into the world of DC Cat Kinsella. It’s easy to see why this won the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition in the UK and readers will be looking for more of Cat. It’s not every gal who has to ask her father if he has an alibi for the night of a murder . . .

Cat has an unusual family and that background affects her every move. When a murdered woman is dumped not far from her shady father’s pub, she’s forced to consider he might be involved, especially as she’s always wondered if he had something to do with the disappearance of an Irish teen, Maryanne, when the family was on a trip to Ireland years ago.

The narration from Cat seesaws back and forth between that time years ago and the present, giving readers the history of what happened but only from the new detective’s point of view. It’s a complex story with twists in a compelling story.

As facts come to light and connections between the two women are made, Cat finds herself dug in deeper as she hasn’t mentioned her father to her bosses. It’s an impossible situation she’s put herself in, especially when it comes to light what really happened to Maryanne, and all of the truths Cat thought she knew become questioned.

With a host of flawed but believeable characters, this is a suspenseful police procedural, and with Cat’s wry humor added, it’s a sure winner. Don’t miss this one. Highly recommended.

Chloe Mayer: The Boy Made of Snow Sunday, Nov 12 2017 

Please welcome author Chloe Mayer, who will introduce her new UK release, THE BOY MADE OF SNOW:

How to write a chilling winter’s tale when you’re living in Los Angeles

Writers write anywhere.

They write whenever and wherever they can eke out a few moments of time to get down the words. Stephen King had the idea for Carrie while working as a janitor cleaning a girls’ locker room, TS Elliot wrote poetry while working as a bank clerk, and Fiona Mozley – whose novel Elmet was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize recently – wrote much of her book on her cell phone as she commuted to her intern job.

The wonderful thing about writing is that not only can you do it anywhere; it’s that by writing you can make wherever you actually are, become anywhere you like.

Although I’m British – I was born and raised in London – I wrote most of my first novel while I was living and working in LA. Most of the time, I loved the glorious Californian climate – with one exception.

For a Brit, Christmas in the sunshine, under hot blue skies and palm trees, doesn’t really work.

I became more and more homesick as the festive season approached; I missed soggy autumns, I missed cold winters, and I missed the snow. I began to fantasize about it.

It was around this time that I finally decided to do what I’d always promised myself: I’d try to write a novel.

I’d already decided my story would be about a little boy who told his mother a terrible lie that would lead to tragedy and murder. And I also knew that those characters would both be obsessed with fairy tales, which would affect the way they saw the world and have terrible consequences.

The Snow Queen was always my favourite fairy tale. But now snow had suddenly become my most longed-for weather. As I wrote my story, the cold seeped into the pages. The snow itself almost became a character, and – just as in the fairy tale – my novel saw a child battling with the snow in order to survive.

After four years in LA – and four sunny Christmases – I returned home to east London.

And now, just before a wintry Christmas this year, my book will be published. It’s called The Boy Made of Snow. But the truth is, the girl who wrote it was just trying to bring the snow to LA.

Chloë Mayer is a British journalist whose work has been shortlisted for several awards, including newcomer of the year and reporter of the year. She has lived and worked in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and decided to try her hand at fiction in the US, where the first short story she ever wrote beat more than 8,000 others to win a prize and publication in an anthology. She was so surprised and delighted that she immediately began work on her first novel, The Boy Made of Snow. After spending much of her twenties living abroad, Chloë returned home to the UK and now lives in east London, not far from where she grew up. She recently gained a creative writing diploma from the University of East Anglia, and combines freelance journalism with writing her second novel.

The Boy Made of Snow is not yet out in the US. But readers should be able to buy the book from the following UK websites:




Todd Merer: The Extraditionist Wednesday, Nov 1 2017 

Lawyer Todd Merer spent the bulk of his career defending drug crime bosses and brings that experience to his thriller The Extraditionist. It’s a strong debut with that insider’s knowledge, one that Auntie M bets will soon be on the Big Screen due the violent and yet seductive world it describes.

Lawyer Benn Bluestone has a name for getting results, and then basking in the glory as he represents cartel bosses and feeds their secrets to the Justice Department in return for reduced sentences for his grateful clients.

He’s a man who flirts with danger and walks on the edge, and decides to walk away after three final cases that will represent his biggest challenges and biggest thrill. Could one of his clients in reality be a Colombian drug king? That case could fund a very nice retirement for Benn. Only he doesn’t contemplate the cost.

It will be a race for Benn to escape with his life as he juggles the cases, beautiful women, hit men and corrupt cops and how they merge and threaten his own life. There will be shootouts, hidden videos, and druggings as things spiral out of control. And all along, Benn feels he’s being played.

Brief snippets from the head villain that the reader knows but Benn doesn’t intersect the action and add to the tension, with the villain counting on Benn’s greed to get him what he wants, while Benn’s life hangs in the balance. This world of drugs, DEA agents, unscrupulous women and drug-war funding will make the reader’s head spin trying to figure out who is clean and who isn’t.

A startling and dark debut.

Jon Rankin: Running From the Sunrise Friday, Oct 27 2017 

Lawyer-turned-author Jon Rankin debuts a hard-boiled detective thriller whose cover screams ‘noir’ in Running From the Sunrise.

Lloyd is a most unusual killer who is having a ‘systems failure.’ The book opens with a gut-wrenching scene as Lloyd, spurred on by a Sears ad for a tricylce, seeks out a young child riding a similar bike.

In almost slow motion, Rankin gives out details of the setting, the unhurried pace adding to the rising tension as the reader knows that Lloyd is about to blow this child away. “A perverse respectfulness compelled the demon within to acknowledge at the very last possible moment that it was about to take a human life.”

Marty Randolph is the PI who awakens after a pub crawl to find he’s slept with beautiful blonde whose name escapes him at that moment.
The same eloquence that charmed Jewely into Marty’s bed is Rankin’s own as the book, and this relationship, progresses.

When the paths of these two disparate men cross during a background check, Marty will turn to Jewely as his sounding board, and find she makes a darn good partner and may just be the life of his live.

But can she handle the nature of his dangerous business when it hits close to home? Can Marty?

A startling debut that readers will hope is the beginning of a series featuring the enigmatic, earthy detective.

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