Category Archives: Forge Books

Review: Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman

Title: Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 272 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Both suspenseful and deeply moving, Carolina Moonset is an engrossing novel about family, memories both golden and terrible, and secrets too dangerous to stay hidden forever, from New York Times bestselling and Emmy Award-winning author, Matt Goldman.

Joey Green has returned to Beaufort, South Carolina, with its palmettos and shrimp boats, to look after his ailing father, who is succumbing to dementia, while his overstressed mother takes a break. Marshall Green’s short-term memory has all but evaporated, but, as if in compensation, his oldest memories are more vivid than ever. His mind keeps slipping backwards in time, retreating into long-ago yesterdays of growing up in Beaufort as a boy.

At first this seems like a blessing of sorts, with the past providing a refuge from a shrinking future, but Joey grows increasingly anxious as his father’s hallucinatory arguments with figures from his youth begin to hint at deadly secrets, scandals, and suspicions long buried and forgotten. Resurfacing from decades past are mysteries that still have the power to shatter lives—and change everything Joey thought he knew.

Especially when a new murder brings the police to his door…

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman is an atmospheric mystery that tugs on the heartstrings.

Joey Green is in Beaufort, SC to help take care of his father, Marshall, whose short-term memory loss leads to a heart wrenching diagnosis. After realizing how exhausted his mom is, he convinces her to take a short vacation with a friend in FL. Joey is distressed by the changes in his father but he remains patient and tries to enjoy this time with his dad. When a murder occurs close to their house and the police attention turns to Marshall, Joey and his neighbor’s daughter, Leela Bellerose, work together to solve the case. Does the key to finding the killer have any relation to events that occurred in his father’s past?

Despite the shock over his father’s illness, Joey and Marshall spend time fishing with his dad’s long-time fishing guide, Bubba. After the murder, he tries to protect his dad from the police as they immediately treat him as a suspect. Marshall’s agitated ramblings provide Joey with important information but can he convince his father to tell him what has him so upset? At the same time, Joey and Leela grow closer, but a future together seems impossible.

Carolina Moonset is an intriguing mystery with plenty of personal moments. The characters are vibrantly drawn and appealing. Marshall’s family and friends’ reaction to his dementia will resonate with readers who have also dealt with this crushing blow. The secrets Joey unearths are true to place and time period. Despite a few missteps from good intentions, the murder investigation is interesting (albeit frustrating at times). Matt Goldman brings this clever mystery to poignant conclusion.

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Filed under Carolina Moonset, Contemporary, Forge Books, Matt Goldman, Mystery, Rated B+, Review

Review: The Chase by Candice Fox

Title: The Chase by Candice Fox
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

The Chase is a modern The Fugitive with characters only #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author Candice Fox can write.

“Are you listening, Warden?”
“What do you want?”
“I want you to let them out.”
“Which inmates are we talking about?”
“All of them.”

With that, the largest manhunt in United States history is on. In response to a hostage situation, more than 600 inmates from the Pronghorn Correctional Facility, including everyone on Death Row, are released into the Nevada Desert. Criminals considered the worst of the worst, monsters with dark, violent pasts, are getting farther away by the second.

John Kradle, convicted of murdering his wife and son, is one of the escapees. Now, desperate to discover what really happened that night, Kradle must avoid capture and work quickly to prove his innocence as law enforcement closes in on the fugitives.

Death Row Supervisor, and now fugitive-hunter, Celine Osbourne has focused all of her energy on catching Kradle and bringing him back to Death Row. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading…

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

Set in the Nevada desert, The Chase by Candice Fox is a thrilling crime drama that is quite engrossing.

A bold plan is set in motion to release all of the inmates from Pronghorn Correctional Facility by an unknown caller.  Warden Grace Stanter knows she has no choice but to follow the order if she does not want any innocent lives taken. Death Row Supervisor Celine Osbourne valiantly directs her subordinates to not set their inmates free. Defying her command, the convicted killers are allowed to leave with the rest of the prisoners. Celine is most concerned about ensuring John Cradle is quickly captured. But U.S. Marshall Trinity Parker is concentrating all of her energy on locating mass shooter Burke David Schmitz. Will either of them be successful?

Celine loathes John with every fiber of her being. He is convicted of murdering his wife and son but he has always proclaimed his innocence. Celine lives a solitary life and she is devoted to her job at Pronghorn. Although she is not in law enforcement, she is insistent they focus on Cradle. Her instincts are on track but will she find him and bring him back to prison?

John is adamant he did not kill his family and he is using this opportunity to find out who did. He has a plan at the ready and he successfully evades capture. With an unexpected (and unwelcome) sidekick, John finds stunning information that he hopes will lead to his family’s killer.

The Chase is a fast-paced crime drama that is full of suspense. Celine’s backstory is heartbreaking and explains a lot about who she is. Trinity expects her orders to be followed and she is very frustrated with Celine. John is industrious and single-minded as he searches for the person responsible for the death of his son and wife. Although there are numerous narrators, John’s and Celine’s chapters are the most compelling. With plenty of action, Candice Fox brings this tense crime drama to a highly satisfying conclusion.

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Filed under Candice Fox, Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Forge Books, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Chase

Review: She Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha

Title: She Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Time Travel
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Sliding Doors meets Life After Life in Sarah Adlakha’s story about a wife and mother who is given the chance to start over at the risk of losing everything she loves.

A second chance is the last thing she wants.

When thirty-nine year old Maria Forssmann wakes up in her seventeen-year-old body, she doesn’t know how she got there. All she does know is she has to get back: to her home in Bienville, Mississippi, to her job as a successful psychiatrist and, most importantly, to her husband, daughters, and unborn son.

But she also knows that, in only a few weeks, a devastating tragedy will strike her husband, a tragedy that will lead to their meeting each other.

Can she change time and still keep what it’s given her?

Exploring the responsibilities love lays on us, the complicated burdens of motherhood, and the rippling impact of our choices, She Wouldn’t Change a Thing is a dazzling debut from a bright new voice.

Review:

She Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha is a well-written debut with a very intriguing premise.

Thirty-nine-year-old Maria Forrsman has a thriving psychiatry practice, a loving husband, and two young children. She is also pregnant with their third child that is due very soon. Her husband Will has a demanding career as a doctor so much of the household and childcare responsibilities fall on Maria’s shoulders. With so much going on in her personal life, she is a little distracted when new patient Sylvia Woolf’s first session is filled with dire warnings and unbelievable claims. But one of the things that Sylvia tells her piques Maria’s curiosity. With the opportunity to verify the information, she cannot resist checking it out.  This decision proves to be life altering for Maria and other people as well. When faced with an impossible choice, what will Maria ultimately decide to do?

Maria is stretched too thin as she juggles work and home. She loves Will but she is very resentful that he does not help more around the house. Maria is very concerned about how she will manage after their third baby arrives. After she makes the fateful decision to find out more about Sylvia’s claims, Maria wakes up as her seventeen-year-old self, but she retains her memories of her life with Will. Determined to make it back to her family, Maria is faced with a moral dilemma when she has the power to prevent a tragedy. But in doing so, she will alter the course of many lives, including her own.

She Wouldn’t Change a Thing is a fascinating novel with a multi-layered storyline. The characters are vibrantly developed with relatable strengths and weaknesses. The beginning and end of the story are fast-paced and engaging.  However, the middle of the story gets a little confusing as Maria goes back to her seventeen-year-old self and the puzzling introduction of new characters. But it is well-worth wading through the confusion as Maria weighs which choice she will eventually make. Sarah Adlakha brings this thought-provoking to an incredibly gratifying conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Contest, Forge Books, Review, Sarah Adlakha, She Wouldn't Change a Thing, Time Travel

Review: And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

Title: And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 369 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, Rachel Howzell Hall’s And Now She’s Gone explores the nature of secrets — and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall is a clever mystery starring a flawed but likable lead protagonist.

PI Grayson “Gray” Sikes has been impatiently waiting for her boss Dominick “Nick” Rader to assign her first real case.  And now he has, she is nervous as she meets with new client cardiologist Ian O’Donnell. His girlfriend Isabel Lincoln has vanished along with his Labradoodle Kenny G. Gray comes away with the impression Ian cares more about finding his dog than his wayward girlfriend.  While searching the missing woman’s condo, she finds some interesting and perplexing information. How do these unexpected findings fit into the case? And more important, where is Isabel?

Thirty-nine year old Gray has a wry sense of humor but she does not put up with any nonsense. She is cynical and cannot quite seem to escape memories of her past.  Gray is new to the PI business and although she makes a few mistakes, she is smart and tenacious.

Gray’s investigation is not as simple as she initially believed it would be. As she digs into Isabel’s life, she unearths very unexpected information. Some of these discoveries bring back memories Gray would rather forget. She quickly realizes that locating Isabel is going to be much more complicated than anyone could have imagined. But Gray plans to track down every last detail that will aid in her search for missing woman.

Weaving back and forth in time, And Now She’s Gone is a captivating mystery with a complex storyline.  Gray is a vibrantly developed woman who is strong, relatable and surprisingly vulnerable. The investigation into Isabel’s disappearance is fascinating and leads to stunning discoveries. With a series of chilling twists and dangerous turns,  Rachel Howzell Hall brings this ingenious mystery to an edge of the seat, breathless conclusion. Greatly enjoyed and HIGHLY recommend.

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Filed under And Now She's Gone, Contemporary, Forge Books, Mystery, Rachel Howzell Hall, Review

Review: Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

Title: Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox
Crimson Lake Series Book Three
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

#1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author Candice Fox delivers a compulsive new crime thriller with Gone by Midnight.

Crimson Lake is where people with dark pasts come to disappear—and where others vanish into thin air…

When Sara Farrow’s son goes missing from a locked hotel room, she frantically turns for help to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators—disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell.

Just the sort of twisted puzzle that gets Amanda’s blood pumping, the disappearance couldn’t have come at a worse time for Ted. He has just this one week with Lillian, the daughter he barely knows…but the clock is ticking for the lost boy.

Amanda and Ted’s search dredges up the area’s worst characters, and the danger they uncover could well put Ted’s own child in deadly peril.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

The third installment in the Crimson Lake series, Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox is a suspense-laden mystery about a missing eight year old boy.

Local police in and around Cairns are rather emphatic about NOT working with Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell.  Unfortunately for Chief Superintendent Damian Clark, Sara Farrow, whose son Richie vanished from a Cairns’ hotel, has requested Ted’s assistance.  He also gives in to Ted’s request that Amanda work with him on the case due to the urgency in locating the missing child. Ted and Amanda are soon reviewing CCTV footage, re-searching the hotel and questioning local men on the offenders’ list. As days pass without new information, will Amanda and Ted find Richie before it is too late?

Although the allegations against Ted have been quasi resolved, he still faces a great deal of animosity and disgust from the local police. But fortunately for Ted, his ex-wife Kelly is finally giving him the chance to spend quality time with their daughter Lillian.  While thrilled at the opportunity to get to get to know his little girl, the timing of  the visit could not be worse.  Unable to stay away from the investigation, Ted finds an unlikely babysitter to stay with Lillian while he and Amanda desperately hope for leads in Richie’s disappearance.

Amanda remains ratherquirky yet quite appealing. She still manages to irritate most everyone she meets and unbeknownst to her, she has become the target of revenge. Trying to ignore the increasingly menacing situation,  Amanda remains focused on solving the mystery of what happened to young Richie.  However, as that attacks on her becoming increasingly virulent, Chief Superintendent Clark is losing patience with Amanda. Can she convince him that she is telling the truth about what is happening to her?

The investigation into Richie’s disappearance is tense as his friends are questioned about the night he vanished. The stories from the three boys are creative yet implausible.  Ted is extremely sympathetic to  Sara but he is a little troubled by some of her reactions. Ex-husband Henry has little information about his son and some of his behavior is also questionable. A worker at the hotel catches both Ted and Amanda’s attention, but does the employee have anything to do with Richie’s disappearance?

Gone by Midnight is a multi-layered, compelling mystery. Mentally, Ted is in a much better place but his past still casts a long shadow over him. Amanda is not one to take threats lying down but the situation soon spirals into very dangerous territory. The investigation surrounding into what happened to Richie moves at a slow but steady pace. With both Amanda and Ted trying to uncover the truth about the young boy, Candice Fox brings this riveting mystery to an unpredictable and stunning conclusion.

The Crimson Lake series is delightfully unique and features two of the best crime-fighters in the genre.  I highly recommend both this latest addition and the previous novels in this superb series.

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Filed under Candice Fox, Contemporary, Crimson Lake Series, Forge Books, Gone by Midnight, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense

Review: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Title: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

“An exhilarating thrill ride that keeps you turning pages.. Ryan deftly delivers a denouement as shocking as it is satisfying.”–Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Last Time I Saw You

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan is an engrossing mystery set in the legal world.

Thirty-six year old law student Rachel North is looking forward to finishing her degree so she can become a partner in her husband Jack Kirkland’s law firm.  She is a little concerned about how Jack will take the news she  will interning with Assistant District Attorney Martha Gardiner. Jack is a defense attorney who has a tense relationship with Martha, whom he believes will do anything, including cheat, to secure convictions. Rachel is hoping to get insider information about Martha’s techniques and thought processes that she hopes will aid both her and Jack in future cases. She is quite surprised when Martha  takes her under her wing and assigns her to the their newest murder investigation. But she is stunned when Martha begins investigating an unsolved homicide that is related to Rachel’s former career. What is Martha hoping to accomplish by taking a second look at the case that torpedoed several people’s careers, including her own?

Rachel is a bit of a doormat when it comes to her husband. She does not argue with him and she follows his directions even when she does not agree with him.   When taking her background into consideration, Rachel is shockingly naive when it comes to legal matters.  Her self-confidence is a bit shaky but she is determined to excel during her internship with Martha. But it soon becomes painfully clear that Rachel is no match for the legal shark who is just as manipulative as Jack.

Interspersed with the events occurring in the present are flashbacks to Rachel’s former career. Six years earlier, Rachel works for state Senator Thomas Rafferty. Just as she is promoted to Chief of Staff, she receives a jury summons.  Rachel is selected to serve on the jury for a murder trial in which she and her fellow jurors are not quite certain the suspect is guilty.

The Murder List is an interesting legal mystery that is a little slow-paced.   While none of characters are particularly likable, their sly, underhanded machinatios are infinitely fascinating.  The plot is unique and quite suspenseful since it appears all of the key players are pursuing their own agendas.  With the tension building with every chapter, Hank Phillippi Ryan brings this intriguing mystery to a twist-filled conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this clever legal mystery  to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Forge Books, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, The Murder List