Category Archives: Flatiron Books

Review: The Fields by Erin Young

Title: The Fields by Erin Young
Riley Fisher Series Book One
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A breakneck procedural that is beautifully written and masterfully crafted, Erin Young’s The Fields is a dynamite debut—crime fiction at its very finest.

Some things don’t stay buried.

It starts with a body—a young woman found dead in an Iowa cornfield, on one of the few family farms still managing to compete with the giants of Big Agriculture.

When Sergeant Riley Fisher, newly promoted to head of investigations for the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, arrives on the scene, an already horrific crime becomes personal when she discovers the victim was a childhood friend, connected to a dark past she thought she’d left behind.

The investigation grows complicated as more victims are found. Drawn deeper in, Riley soon discovers implications far beyond her Midwest town.


The Fields by Erin Young is a grisly mystery that is quite engrossing.

Sergeant Riley Fisher is the first woman detective in the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office. Not all of her co-worker believe she was promoted on merit so she knows she has to prove herself. When the mutilated body of her childhood friend Chloe Clark Miller is found in a nearby cornfield, she and new hire Deputy Logan Wood are assigned to the investigation. Riley has several questions for Chloe’s husband James who works for one of the  Argi companies in the area. He did not report his wife missing for several days and he suspects she was having an affair. Another childhood friend, Mia Collins Adams tells Riley it was the other way round: Chloe believed James was having the affair. Riley and Logan soon discover other murder victims who appear to have been killed in the same manner. Now searching a homeless man who might be their killer, will Riley and Logan find him before someone else becomes his victim?

Seeing Chloe revives old memories of a traumatic event that Riley has tried to suppress. Fighting to keep the recollections at bay, Riley, Logan and the other members of the team work long hours trying to find Chloe’s killer. Riley has the feeling that James is not being completely honest, she is pressured by her boss, Sherriff Robert Ross, to stay away from him. The discovery of a new victim opens a whole new avenue of questions that turn up their only viable suspect. When another body is recovered bearing similar wounds, Riley and Logan are in a race against time to find their suspect before he strikes again.

Despite their search for the missing homeless man, Riley tries to find out more information about Chloe’s husband, James. She turns to an unlikely source who provides her with shocking details of a political conspiracy. Riley is certain this new evidence is linked to the murders but unfolding events back home threaten those who are dear to her.

The Fields is a dark and gritty police procedural that does not shy away from disturbing subject matter. Riley is an intuitive investigator whose unsettled past plagues her throughout the investigation. The storyline is fascinating and pits family farmers against Big Agri corporations. The murders are quite violent and medical examiner Dr. Kristen Webb’s autopsies reveal puzzling information. With pulse-pounding action, Erin Young brings this captivating mystery to a nerve-wracking conclusion. An absolutely great beginning to the Riley Fisher series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Erin Young, Flatiron Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Riley Fisher Series, Suspense, The Fields

Review: Sleepless by Romy Hausmann

Title: Sleepless by Romy Hausmann
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Dark secrets past and present collide in Sleepless, a haunting novel of guilt and retribution from Romy Hausmann, the international bestselling author of Dear Child.

It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven–free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss–kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to refuse.

The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer…


Sleepless by Romy Hausmann is a suspenseful mystery.

Nadja Kulka works for lawyer Gero von Hoven and was at one time good friends with his wife Laura. Nadja lives alone and suffers from extreme anxiety that she is working to overcome. While Gero is out of town, Laura unexpectedly shows up at the office asking for Nadja’s help. Unable to say no, Nadja soon finds herself embroiled in a shocking situation that quickly turns dangerous.

Interspersed with the current narrative is a case Gero worked on several years earlier. A young woman working at her family’s inn embarks on an affair with a married man. The relationship ends in tragedy and Gero eventually ends up defending the person accused of murder. This secondary story arc provides interesting insight into Gero’s character.

Short letters preface some of the chapters and these missives are a bit confusing yet interesting. These letters are brief snippets that offer a heartrending glimpse into a dysfunctional childhood that culminates in a stunning act of violence.

Sleepless is a dark mystery with a multilayered storyline. Nadja is sympathetic yet sometimes frustrating as she allows herself to be manipulated by people she trusts. The various story arcs are seemingly disparate but Romy Hausmann pulls the threads together as the mystery hurtles its way to a breathless conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Flatiron Books, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Romy Hausmann, Sleepless

Review: The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller

Title: The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 325 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


L. Alison Heller, whose work has been praised by Liane Moriarty as “warm, witty…refreshingly true to life,” explores the ultimate sacrifices of parenting in The Neighbor’s Secret, a propulsive and juicy novel filled with gripping twists and instantly recognizable characters.

How well do you really know your neighbors?

With its sprawling yards and excellent schools, Cottonwood Estates is the perfect place to raise children. The Cottonwood Book Club serves as the subdivision’s eyes and ears, meeting once a month for discussion, gossip, and cocktails. If their selections trend toward twisty thrillers and salacious murder mysteries, it’s only because the members feel secure that such evil has no place in their own cul-de-sacs.

Or does it?

What happened to Lena’s family fifteen years ago was a tragic accident, and she will never admit otherwise. Devoted wife and mother Annie refuses to acknowledge—even to herself—the weight of a past shame. And new resident Jen wants friends, but as always, worry about her troubled son gets in the way.

When late-night acts of vandalism target the women of the book club in increasingly violent and personal ways, they will be forced to decide how far to go to keep their secrets. At least they all agree on what’s most important: protecting their children at any cost—even if it means someone has to die.


The Neighbor’s Secret by L. Alison Heller is an intriguing mystery set in an upscale Colorado suburb.

Jen Chun-Pergano, her husband and their teenage son Abe have recently relocated from California to Colorado. Jen has given up her career to keep an eye on Abe whose troubling behavior keeps ending in school expulsions. Her husband travels a lot for business so she decides to join the neighborhood book club. Annie Perley is a school counselor who is concerned about her teenage daughter Laurel’s sudden personality changes. Annie befriends much older Lena Meeker who has been a recluse since a tragedy fifteen years earlier. Over the next several months, they and their other neighbors meet monthly for their book club where they gossip more than they discuss their month’s book selection.

Jen frets about Abe when he is expelled from yet another school. With few options left, they make the unlikely selection of a very small school where Abe unexpectedly thrives. With school no longer a concern, Jen worries about the identity of the neighborhood vandal. Although the vandalism is not serious, it is quite the source of speculation between the book club attendees. Jen remains hopeful the person responsible is not her son…

Annie’s friendship with Lena is unlikely yet the two become rather close once they begin to get to know each other. Lena also gradually becomes a surrogate grandmother for Laurel and Annie’s son Hank. Annie’s worry about Laurel begins to lessen as she surprisingly becomes friends with Abe and takes up running. But did Annie breathe a sigh of relief just a little too soon?

Lena used to be the life of the party but she now stays home with little contact with the outside world. She and her daughter keep in touch through video calls but they rarely see one another in person. Lena is surprised by Annie’s overtures and she is soon enjoying their time together. Although she resists Annie’s initial attempts to lure her to book club, Lena soon looks forward to the monthly outings. But will she come to regret these changes when disaster strikes again?

The Neighbor’s Secret is a darkly entertaining mystery that is quite compelling. The chapters alternate between Annie, Lena and Jen’s perspectives. There are also short chapters from an unknown person’s point of view that grow more ominous over the course of the story. Annie’s parenting challenges with Laurel ring true while Jen’s concerns about Abe are a little heartbreaking. Lena’s past is certainly interesting and quite suspenseful. With unanticipated twists and stunning turns, L. Alison Heller brings this devilishly clever mystery to a stunning conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Flatiron Books, L Alison Heler, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Neighbor's Secret

Review: The Husbands by Chandler Baker

Title: The Husbands by Chandler Baker
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


To what lengths will a woman go for a little more help from her husband?
Nora Spangler is a successful attorney but when it comes to domestic life, she packs the lunches, schedules the doctor appointments, knows where the extra paper towel rolls are, and designs and orders the holiday cards. Her husband works hard, too… but why does it seem like she is always working so much harder?

When the Spanglers go house hunting in Dynasty Ranch, an exclusive suburban neighborhood, Nora meets a group of high-powered women—a tech CEO, a neurosurgeon, an award-winning therapist, a bestselling author—with enviably supportive husbands. When she agrees to help with a resident’s wrongful death case, she is pulled into the lives of the women there. She finds the air is different in Dynasty Ranch. The women aren’t hanging on by a thread.

But as the case unravels, Nora uncovers a plot that may explain the secret to having-it-all. One that’s worth killing for. Calling to mind a Stepford Wives gender-swap, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network Chandler Baker’s The Husbands imagines a world where the burden of the “second shift” is equally shared—and what it may take to get there.


The Husbands by Chandler Baker is a clever mystery with a topical storyline.

Nora Spangler is a personal injury lawyer who is up for partner at the law firm where she works. She is also married with a young daughter. Nora’s frustrations with husband Hayden’s lack of help at home is reaching the breaking point. With their family expanding, they are considering moving into a larger home. Attending an open house in the exclusive Dynasty Ranch neighborhood, Nora falls in with the home’s amenities.  As she meets more of her perspective neighbors, she begins to notice how involved the husbands are with shouldering their share (and more) of the domestic duties. Nora is soon asked to represent Penny March in the wrongful death case of her husband, Peter.  With her investigation into Peter’s horrific death beginning to take shape, Nora starts noticing troubling similarities in the Dynasty Ranch husbands. What, if anything is happening in this close-knit community? And what will happen when Nora accidentally stumbles onto the truth in the wrongful death case?

Nora loves Hayden but her building resentment is affecting their marriage. She is expected to work extra hours at the law firm if she expects to make partner. Her boss is also demanding and somewhat inept when it comes to ordinary tasks at the office. As Nora juggles all of these different areas of her life, she is bound to drop a ball or two. The question is, which part of her life might suffer the worst consequences?

Dynasty Ranch is home to uber successful women who are extremely intelligent and ambitious. Nora is happy to be included in their ranks but she continues to harbor reservations about Peter’s wrongful death case. She greatly admires Penny but is the widow revealing everything she knows about the fire that killed her husband? And are the residents being entirely truthful with Nora as she continues gathering evidence for the case.

Chandler Baker’s The Husbands is an engrossing mystery that highlights the “second shift” many mothers end up working after their paying job.  Nora is a realistic blend of loving and irritated with her husband. Hayden is a great dad and loving husband, yet he is totally clueless about how much he dumps on his wife’s shoulders. The women of Dynasty Ranch have achieved marriages that are true partnerships. Will Nora and Hayden make the move to the tranquil enclave where equal marriages abound? Will Nora stop trying to understand what was going on in Peter’s life that contributed to his death? And was his death a tragic accident? Or something far more sinister?

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Flatiron Books, Mystery, Rated B, Review, The Husbands

Review: One Got Away by S.A. Lelchuk

Title: One Got Away by S.A. Lelchuk
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


PI Nikki Griffin – a badass bookseller who punishes abusers – is back in S. A. Lelchuk’s One Got Away

Nikki Griffin, a private-investigator when she isn’t running her small bookstore, is on a case. The matriarch of one of the wealthiest San Francisco families has been defrauded by a con-man, and her furious son enlists Nikki to find the money. And find the con-man.

Nikki isn’t a fan of men who hurt women. Her secret mission, born of revenge and trauma, is to do everything she can to remove women from dangerous situations—and to punish the men responsible.

As Nikki follows the trail toward the con-man, she realizes that no one involved is telling her the whole truth. When the case overlaps with her attempt to protect a woman in trouble, and Nikki’s own life is put in danger, Nikki has to make terrible choices about who to save—and how to keep herself alive.


One Got Away by S.A. Lelchuk is a fast-paced mystery featuring a strong woman lead.  Although this newest release is the second installment in the Nikki Griffin series, it can be read as a standalone.

Nikki Griffin co-owns a prosperous bookstore in Berkeley, CA. She is also a private detective with a unique sense of justice. Her latest case appears to be a straightforward investigation, but Nikki is in for a surprise when it takes a dark turn. Not one to back off from uncovering the truth, she convinces another member of the very wealthy Johannessen family it is in their best interest to keep her on the payroll. Nikki has no idea where her quest for the truth is going to take her, but she is not going to stop until she has uncovered every secret the Johannessen is trying to keep hidden.

Nikki is intrigued when Martin Johannessen hires her to investigate his octogenarian mother’s latest man toy Dr. Geoffrey Coombs. Martin believes Coombs has taken advantage of dear old mom since she has given him quite a bit of money. As soon as Nikki begins looking into Coombs, he takes off. With a little bit of help from an observant twelve-year-old, she locates Coombs and insinuates herself into his evening. But Nikki finds herself in a precarious situation as Coombs turns the tables on her and his recent past catches up with him. Will Nikki unearth the truth about who is targeting the Johannessen family? And more importantly, why?

One Got Away is a multi-layered mystery with a clever storyline. Nikki is a smart and gutsy woman who is more than capable of taking care of herself. The plot is engaging with plenty of action. With a brilliant series of shocking revelations, S.A. Lelchuk brings this riveting mystery to an unexpected, yet completely satisfying, conclusion. I completely enjoyed and highly recommend this second installment in the Nikki Griffin series to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Flatiron Books, Mystery, One Got Away, Rated B+, Review, SA Lelchuk

Review: Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

Title: Dear Child by Romy Hausmann
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A woman held captive finally escapes—but can she ever really get away?

Gone Girl meets Room in this page-turning, #1 internationally bestselling thriller from one of Germany’s hottest new talents

A windowless shack in the woods. A dash to safety. But when a woman finally escapes her captor, the end of the story is only the beginning of her nightmare.

She says her name is Lena. Lena, who disappeared without a trace 14 years prior. She fits the profile. She has the distinctive scar. But her family swears that she isn’t their Lena.

The little girl who escaped the woods with her knows things she isn’t sharing, and Lena’s devastated father is trying to piece together details that don’t quite fit. Lena is desperate to begin again, but something tells her that her tormentor still wants to get back what belongs to him…and that she may not be able to truly escape until the whole truth about what happened in the woods finally emerges.

Twisty, suspenseful, and psychologically clever, Romy Hausmann’s Dear Child is a captivating thriller with all the ingredients of a breakout hit.


Dear Child by Romy Hausmann is an unnerving mystery set in Germany.

Lena Beck went missing thirteen years earlier and her father Mathias has never given up hoping she will be found. So when his old friend Chief Inspector Gerd Brühling calls to tell him a woman matching her description has been discovered, he and his wife Karin rush to the hospital. The woman was struck by a hit and run driver and she is in serious condition and unable to talk. It is her young daughter Hannah who identifies her as her mother, Lena, but the girl does not give up much information. 

Gerd’s hopes are soon dashed as he immediately realizes she is not his Lena. The police immediately begin searching the area where Lena was picked up by the ambulance. Finally locating a cabin nestled deep within the wood, they discover a shocking surprise. Hannah’s brother Jonathan is discovered along with an unrecognizable body that is presumed to be the children’s father and Lena’s kidnapper.  Who is the injured woman and is she the key to Mathias finding out what happened to his daughter?

Mathias is difficult to feel much empathy for as he bulldozes ahead regardless of the consequences. He is angry the police failed to find Lena although they lacked evidence or leads.  Mathias is equally furious at how the current investigation is unfolding. So, once again, he is again jeopardizing the case with his ill-thought out, impulsive decisions. How will he react if this current search for his daughter fails to yield results?

Hannah is a very smart girl and she seems well-adjusted in spite of her years of living within the confines of the windowless cabin.  She will answer questions up to a point, but she does not provide much information about her life with her parents.  Although she is now free, Hannah still adheres to the rules her father has instilled in her, Jonathan and their mother.

Lena is clearly traumatized and once released from the hospital, she remains locked inside a place she feels safe. She does not follow through with therapy and she is struggling to cope with her memories and fear. Lena is grateful her friend Kirsten shows up to take care of her but she continues to resist any efforts to get counseling or talk to the police.  What, if anything is behind Lena’s continued resistance to providing details that might lead to the identity of the kidnapper and give Matthias the answers he desperately needs?

Dear Child is a riveting mystery that seamlessly switches between Hannah, Mathias, and Lena’s points of view.  The storyline is well-developed and incredibly engrossing. The characters are interesting yet sometimes very frustrating as they hold their secrets close. With a jaw-dropping plot twist, Romy Hausmann brings this suspense-laden mystery to a stunning conclusion.  Highly recommend to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Dear Child, Flatiron Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Romy Hausmann, Suspense