Twenty-Seven Minutes

Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate is a book about secrets. As the 10th anniversary of a tragic accident and death of a young girl approaches, tensions are high.

The book centers on the death of Phoebe and questions surrounding the accident that caused her death, and why it took her brother, Grant, twenty-seven minutes to call for help.

I had high hopes for this. It started well. However, I quickly found all of the characters unlikeable, even the dead girl. And that’s unfortunate. I also disliked the portrayal of mental illness and the fantastical nature of some of the latter parts of the novel.

Overall, I thought some of the twists were interesting, but not enough to make me fall in love with the book, the plot, or the characters.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advance copy in exchange for sharing my opinions. All opinions in this review are my own.

Dogboy vs. Catfish

Dogboy v Catfish by Luke Gracias is billed as a mystery-thriller. It was a quick, somewhat fun read, but lacking depth for my tastes.

When a woman knows the date she’ll file for divorce on her wedding day, there can be no good intentions. When the husband goes missing just before the planned divorce date, you wonder if there was foul-play or if he somehow got wise to her schemes.

This novel has a detached, 3rd person narration, as we are following the police investigators and others in the story more than our main characters. We are mostly told about them and about what they have done and speculations on their actions. This is somewhat limiting, and makes most of the characters come across as one-dimensional.

Additionally, I probably would not have read it if I had realized it centered around counterfeit designer goods. After reading Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen last year, I’ve had my fill on the topic. Others might find this more interesting than I do, though!

I did enjoy the analogy of The Endless Knot. Overall, the plot is interesting, and the ending was good, but the middle part was lacking depth. Due to the shallow characters, there wasn’t much of an emotional investment in the story, so it didn’t really matter to me how it ended or who “won.”

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for an advance copy in exchange for sharing my opinions. All opinions in this review are my own.

The Night Shift

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay is a fast-paced, adventurous murder mystery. There are a lot of characters in this novel. So many that I almost felt I like I needed to take notes to keep track of everyone!

With many interesting characters, and several plot twists to keep readers guessing, The Night Shift is highly entertaining. The novel follows multiple people, each on their own journey to discover the killer.

Who will be the one to solve the crime? Is there only one killer or does this new murder mean a new killer is in town? As our characters try to answer this question, we learn about who they are, and how they came to be involved. Each of our main characters is invested in finding the murderer, each for their own, very different, reasons.

At first, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this novel. In the first chapter, something about the writing style bothered me. I also generally don’t like books with so many characters, it’s so much work to keep them all straight in my head. However, I was soon hooked and needed to solve the murder myself. Any issues with the writing style and numerous characters were quickly forgotten, and I finished the book within a few days and as many sittings.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for an advance copy. All opinions in this review are my own.

When the Stars Go Dark

When the Stars Go Dark is an upcoming novel by Paula McLain. This novel, a mystery-thriller, turns in a new direction for McLain and deviates from her previous historical fiction works, The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun.

Ann is running from her life and returns to her past in Mendocino. Upon arrival, she immediately gets entangled in the search to find a teenage girl. As much as she tries not to get involved, Anna feels drawn to the case, and not only because she’s spent the last several years as a detective in San Francisco, specializing in missing persons.

Set in 1993, the novel carefully interweaves Anna’s history with current events—the search for the missing girl—while hinting at what’s happened in Ann’s more recent past. Books that shift between now and past events can be tedious, and I often find I prefer only one part’s storyline. That is not the case here, with the past elements deftly woven in at just the right moments.

Anyone alive in California in 1993 probably remembers the search for missing Polly Klaas. Polly is not the focus of this novel, but her story is intertwined and is, in part, an inspiration for this novel.

This was a quick read for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The pacing is excellent and engaging. It reminded me of a true-crime thriller, and while Polly’s kidnapping and murder are not central to our story, I believe the details included are fact-based.

I loved the writing style of this book; the opening paragraphs seemed like poetry more than pose. The pacing is excellent and engaging.

While it does not go into graphic details, child/sexual abuse and murder are central themes of this novel, so you might want to skip if those are hot topics for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend it if you enjoy mystery-thrillers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received a free copy of this book from in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.