Book Reviews · BOTMs, · CrimeThriller · Thriller

Book Review: ‘The Night Swim’ by Megan Goldin (pub 8/4)

Thank you @stmartinspress for my gifted copy of ‘The Night Swim‘ by Megan Goldin! (pub 8/4). (Click HERE to see this post on Instagram & give it a LIKE, Comment or Save!)

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation & set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―& the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a hs student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing & investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places.

Someone is following her, & she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister 25 yrs ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―& when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past & present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial & the lives of everyone involved.

I flew through this mystery/courtroom drama in mere hrs! It kinda gave me ‘Are You Sleeping‘ (fic) meets ‘Know My Name‘ (non-fic) vibes as it deals w/ the relevant issue of rape culture & a true-crime podcast. Goldin did handle the subject matter w/ care & respect & not exploitatively. I will warn you, there is some disturbing & graphic content that may be triggering or hard to read.

The Night Swim‘ is emotional, thought-provoking, heartbreaking & often cringey & uncomfortable to read, but it’s a great book if you can handle the subject matter. This book is also an August Book of the Month, so if you want to get it at a discount & you’re not a member, click on my referral link HERE & read my last Instagram post HERE for all the great benefits of being a BOTM member. This book publishes on 8/4.

Click HERE to add ‘The Night Swim’ to your Goodreads.
Click HERE to look for this book (or others) at a local indie bookstore using BookStoreLink.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love!

Praise for The Night Swim:

“Goldin’s prose is inviting, at times electrifying, and always sensitive in dealing with hot-button issues…well done.” ―Booklist (starred)

“Outstanding…[Goldin’s thriller] casts a searing light on small-town politics.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Remarkably strong.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Escape Room:

“The pages turn themselves…a sleek, well-crafted ride to a surprisingly twisty conclusion.” ―New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

“THE ESCAPE ROOM works as the ultimate locked-room mystery…Goldin excels at illustrating the pressures of a Wall Street career.” ―Associated Press

“Addicting.” ―Time Magazine

“High wire tension from the first moment to the last. Four ruthless people locked in a deadly game where victory means survival. Gripping and unforgettable!” ―Harlan Coben

“Fantastic. One of my favorite books of the year.” ―Lee Child

“Amazing…a thriller set in an elevator [that explores] the vast territory of people’s worst natures. A nightmarish look inside ourselves. Simply riveting.” ―Louise Penny

“A shrewd, brilliantly structured thriller doubling as a takedown of corporate culture.” ―Shelf Awareness

“There is clearly no happy ending likely for the four colleagues trapped inside [the escape room]; but fans of JP Delany and Ruth Ware will want to be right in there with them…a nail-biting tale of a corporate team-building exercise gone horribly wrong.” ―Booklist

“Riveting…[a] tale of greed and revenge set on Wall Street…Thriller fans will eagerly turn the pages to see what happens next.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Cancel all your plans and call in sick; once you start reading, you’ll be caught in your own escape room―the only key to freedom is turning the last page!” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Smart and compelling… I devoured this novel!” ―Karen Cleveland, bestselling author of Need to Know

“A sharp, slick, utterly engrossing thriller. This knockout debut hooked me from the first page and didn’t let go.” ―Cristina Alger, USA Today bestselling author of The Banker’s Wife

Megan Goldin is the bestselling author of “The Escape Room”, praised by Lee Child as “one of my favorite books of the year”, as well as “The Girl In Kellers Way”, a critically-acclaimed domestic noir thriller nominated for Australia’s leading crime fiction awards.
Megan worked as a journalist for Reuters, the Australian ABC and Yahoo! News before writing her debut psychological thriller The Girl In Kellers Way.

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘The First to Lie’ by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Click HERE to give IG post some love!

Thank you @forgereads for my gifted copy of ‘The First to Lie‘ by Hank Phillippi Ryan!

Are you looking for your next all-consuming, page-turner of a psychological suspense/thriller with some secret investigation/super twisty/revenge plot flare? Then look no further. There’s a reason this gifted writer has won 36 Emmy awards, has won many high honor writing awards, including the coveted Mary Higgins Clark award, & is the author of 12 thrillers w/ original, fresh plots & storylines…she is simply AMAZING! (Oh, & she’s an on-air investigative news reporter in Boston when she isn’t writing spellbinding thrillers…when does this Super Woman sleep??)

USA Today Bestselling & award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan delivers another twisty, thrilling cat & mouse novel of suspense that will have you guessing, & second-guessing, & then gasping with surprise.

We all have our reasons for being who we are―but what if being someone else could get you what you want?

After a devastating betrayal, a young woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark family secrets are revealed. What she doesn’t know―she isn’t the only one plotting her revenge.

An affluent daughter of privilege. A glamorous manipulative wannabe. A determined reporter, in too deep. A grieving widow who must choose her new reality. Who will be the first to lie? And when the stakes are life and death, do a few lies really matter?

Hank has knocked another one out of the park as I expected she would! Lies, twists, betrayal, family secrets, & some well-planned revenge, ‘The First to Lie’ is not your average, over-used thriller plot. Expertly paced, sharp as a tack writing, & flawlessly executed, I loved this book so much! It’s my 3rd HPR book & I am planning to get all of her earlier ones as well, giving her books some well-deserved shelf space in my home library.

The First to Lie‘ is fresh, masterful, brilliant, & keeps your guessing right up until the very end! Get this book on your TBR list, preorder it from your local indie bookstores & look for it this Tues, 8/4.

Click HERE to add ‘The First to Lie‘ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Hank Phillippi Ryan on Instagram.
Click HERE to visit Hank’s website.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post a LIKE.

Praise for The First to Lie:

The First to Lie is a twisty, winding road of deception and secrets that starts with a bang and ends with an explosion. Put this one on your list because Hank Phillippi Ryan is at the top of her game.” ―Samantha DowningUSA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife and He Started It

The First to Lie is a masterfully twisty tale full of all my favorite things: interesting women, family secrets, & well-plotted revenge. Start reading early, because you will tear through the pages of this breathless, keep-you-up-all-night thriller.” ―Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts

“With flawless pacing and impeccable character development, Hank Phillippi Ryan delivers yet another powerful, relevant story of deceit, betrayal, and the extent to which someone will go to right the wrongs they have suffered. The First to Lie is a magnificent, intricately plotted thriller that will have you questioning everyone’s motives until the stunning ending.” ―Samantha M. Bailey, bestselling author of Woman on the Edge

“A taut, propulsive plot with twists that will take your breath away…book clubs will gobble up The First to Lie.” ―Sarah Pekkanen

“From one of our top thriller writers―a chilling tale of deception and revenge. Filled with sharp insights, The First to Lie is a house of mirrors, taking us on a thrilling ride of dizzying twists and shocking revelations.” ―Angie Kim, national bestselling author of Miracle Creek

“A must-read for thriller lovers–the compelling and twist-filled plot fearlessly delves into the intersections of revenge and family secrets.” ―Vanessa Lillie, bestselling author of Little Voices and For the Best

“Ryan delivers a mystery plotting masterclass …expert pacing, richly drawn characters, and seamless storytelling are just some of the ingredients that make this novel impossible to put down. Fabulous!” ―Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Sister Dear

“Ryan masterfully escalates the suspense in this smart, twisty thriller. With jaw-dropping discoveries, The First to Lie will shock even the savviest of suspense readers. Ryan’s best yet.” ―Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence

USA Today bestselling author HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN has won five Agatha Awards, in addition to the Anthony, Macavity, Daphne du Maurier, & Mary Higgins Clark Award for her bestselling suspense novels. As an investigative reporter, her work has resulted in new laws, criminals sent to prison, homes saved from foreclosure, & millions of dollars in restitution for victims & consumers. Along with her 36 Emmys & 14 Edward R. Murrow awards, Hank has received dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A former president of national  Sisters in Crime & a founder of MWA University, she lives in Boston with her husband, a nationally renowned civil rights & criminal defense attorney. She is the author of  The Murder List, Trust Me, & the Jane Ryland series (The Other Woman, The Wrong Girl, Truth be Told, What You See and Say No More). (**Author Photo Credit: Steve Bucci)

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Fiction

Happy Pub Day and Review: ‘Blacktop Wasteland’ by S.A. Cosby

Click HERE to give my IG post some love!

Happy Pub Day & Thank You @flatiron_books for my gifted copy of ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ by S.A. Cosby! (And HAPPY 100th BLOG POST TO ME!!)

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner…And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi.

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.

He thought he’d left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can’t-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver’s seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.

Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland…or die trying.

Like Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby’s ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime.

***Someone PLEASE make this into a movie! My husband use to build race cars & was a competitive drag racer (the legal kind) when I met him, winning many awards. (Pic below is my fave pic of him back then). He is also obsessed with the whole ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, so I KNOW he would love ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ (the movie, if it existed), but sadly, he is not a reader. So he will just have to listen to me telling him how awesome this book is!

My super sexy drag racer, way back when…

Cosby has pure talent as a vividly descriptive storyteller & this will certainly be the most talked about noir, crime thriller of 2020. Buckle your seat belts & hold onto tight, ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ will have your heart-pounding & breaking at the same time. (And you will love Bug!) Fast-paced, atmospheric, gritty & pitch-perfect writing, I highly recommend this one! It’s available today! Get it on your TBR!

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to LIKE my Instagram post.
Click HERE to use BookstoreLink & find this book at a local indie bookstore.
Click HERE to get this on audio from Libro.fm & support indie bookstores. (Use code MOMLOVESREADING for a 2-for-1 deal.)

What others are saying about ‘Blacktop Wasteland’ by S.A.Cosby:

“A fast-paced, fresh take on noir that tears through the underbelly of Virginia.”
―New York Times

“One of the year’s strongest novels. 
The noir story quickly accelerates and doesn’t lose speed until it careens to its finale. It’s a look at race, responsibility, parenthood and identity via pin-perfect characters with realistic motives. Cosby invests Blacktop Wasteland with emotion while delivering a solid thriller.”
SunSentinel

“Violence-tinged heists, muscle cars, and dead-end poverty in America generate the full-on action and evocative atmosphere in this beautifully wrought tale.”
―Boston Globe

“S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the buzz book of the summer, and for good reason―this nailbiter of a thriller has everything, including road chases, fast cars, robberies gone south, carefully calibrated underworld shenanigans, standoff after standoff, and some deep family bonds.”
―CrimeReads

Cosby never misses a note in this high-energy readA superb work of crime fiction, uncompromisingly noir but deeply human, too, much like Lou Berney’s November Road (2018).”
Booklist, starred review

“Diamonds and fast cars, trailer park dreams and late night illegal street racing, S. A. Cosby reinvents the American crime novel. Black and white with bills unpaid and no exit in sight, his characters feel the pull of family and swagger with the melancholy ache of wanting to be someone. Blacktop Wasteland thrums and races―it’s an intoxicating thrill of a ride.”
―Walter Mosley, bestselling author of Trouble Is What I Do

“For fans of: BullittThe Fast and the Furious and gritty Elmore Leonard-style noir…[Cosby] never lets up on the gas. The result is a high-octane, white-knuckle thriller that will have readers whipping through the pages at breakneck speed…Cosby’s tightfisted prose fuels this story with heart-pumping (and often brutal) action that begs to be adapted for the big screen but never loses its compassionate edge.”
Bookpage

“High-octane neo-noir thriller…The gritty, brutal narrative is complemented by the author’s sublime use of sensory description and regional imagery. In addition, the epic, jaw-dropping chase sequences that figure prominently are reason alone to read this pedal-to-the-metal but profoundly sorrowful novel. Cosby is definitely a writer to watch.”
Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully wrought and worthy of envy…Call shotgun, and then buckle up. Blacktop Wasteland is a ride that will stick with you long after the engine has cooled.”
―Salon

We’re in Elmore Leonard land…Bug’s got a conscience not typical of the thriller genre, but other than that, this novel recalls almost perfectly the classic heist thriller in the vein of Richard Stark’s “Parker” novelsIt’ll go like hot cakes.”
―Library Journalstarred review

“It’s fitting Blacktop Wasteland opens with a drag race. This is the literary equivalent of a muscle car―sleek, a little dangerous, and when it kicks into gear, you hold on for dear life. Lucky for you, Cosby is an expert wheelman.”
―Rob Hart, bestselling author of The Warehouse

“Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice. Think Elmore Leonard, or Chester Himes. With Blacktop Wasteland, add S. A. Cosby to that list.”
―Steve Cavanagh, bestselling author of Thirteen

“Powerful, gritty, and lyrical, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the unflinching portrayal of a man who’s deeply aware he needs to make a better life for himself and his family, but can’t ― or won’t. This story is an emotional gut punch, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Beauregard while he’s ripping your heart out. Cosby is a mesmerizing new voice in crime fiction you won’t soon forget. This is literary noir at its finest.”
―Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets

“With Blacktop Wasteland, Anthony award-winning author S. A. Cosby cements his position as one of the leading crime fiction voices of his generation. The story crackles with a dynamically flawed main character, vivid description, unexpected reveals and dialogue so real you’d swear you were eavesdropping. I couldn’t wait to finish yet never wanted the book to end at the same time. There’s no doubt that Cosby is an authentic and much needed voice in today’s crime fiction.”
―Kellye Garrett, Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty award-winning author of The Detective by Day series

“This book shook me in the best way possible. Cosby’s gritty, powerhouse novel evokes some of the modern masters – Mosley, Pelecanos, and Lehane – with a tone and vibe that is wholly unique. Epic but also grounded and painfully relevant, Blacktop Wasteland is a crime novel for today, and S. A. Cosby is a writer we’ll be hearing from for quite some time. I loved this book.”
―Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Blackout and Miami Midnight

“Blacktop Wasteland is a guaranteed thriller-of-the-year with muscle and heart and characters who will linger long after the last page is read. S.A. Cosby writes with grit and grace. Do not miss this one.”
―Michael Koryta, bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

“There is a sweet spot in a vehicle, whether it’s a car or a book, a perfect point of harmony between torque and horsepower or character and plot―Blacktop Wasteland is that sweet spot. S. A. Cosby’s new novel reverberates with a throaty roar, pegging the needles with a welcomed strip of rubber laid down in a silk-scarf, lace-backed driving glove mystery world.”
―Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries

“Buckle up. S. A. Cosby is about to take you on a high-speed spin through the rural black south. Muscle cars, backroads racing, double crossing deals and that elusive big score. Red Hill County is my kind of place!”
―Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Revelators

Blacktop Wasteland will let the world at large in on what the crime fiction underworld already knows: S. A. Cosby is a major, original talent. Searing, twisted and jaggedly human, this Southern noir heist novel leaves scars.”
―Jordan Harper, Edgar Award winning author of She Rides Shotgun

S.A. Cosby is an Anthony award winning writer from S E Virginia. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies & magazines his story “Slant-Six” was selected as a Distinguished Story in Best American MysteryStories for 2016. His short story “The Grass Beneath My Feet” won the Anthony award for best short story in 2019. His writing has been called ” gritty & heartbreaking ” & ” dark, thrilling & tragic “. His style & tone is influenced by his varied life experiences which includes but are not limited to being a bouncer, construction worker, retail manager & for six hours a mascot for a major fast food chain inside the world’s hottest costume. When he isn’t crafting tales of murder & mayhem he assists the dedicated staff at J.K.Redmind Funeral home as a mortician’s assistant. He is also known as one hell of a chess player… Actually its checkers, he’s good at checkers.