Category Archives: Minotaur Books

Review: Deadlock by James Byrne

Title: Deadlock by James Byrne
Dez Limerick Book Two
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 359 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


In this sequel to the highly praised The Gatekeeper, Dez Limerick, one of the best new thriller heroes returns.

Desmond Aloysius Limerick (“Dez” to his friends and close personal enemies) is a man with a shadowy past, certain useful hard-won skills, and, if one digs deep enough, a reputation as a good man to have at your back. Now retired from his previous life, Dez is just a bloke with a winning smile, a bass guitar, and bullet wounds that paint a road map of past lives.

Jaleh Swann, a business journalist hot on the trail of an auditor who was mugged and killed, lands in the hospital just one day after her Portland apartment is ransacked. When Jaleh’s sister, Raziah, reaches out to an old friend for help, Dez has no choice but to answer. The Swann sisters have been pulled into a dizzying web of cover-ups and danger. At the center lies an insidious Oregon-based tech corporation, Clockjack, which has enough money and hired guns to silence just about anyone—including this rag-tag trio. Luckily, Dez’s speciality is not just to open doors, but keep them open—and protect those working to expose Clockjack’s secrets.

More stands in the way of the truth than just one corporation. When hired thugs come to the finish the job and attack the Swann sisters at the hospital, Dez does what he does best. Now, the two captured men (and the corpse Dez left behind) attract the attention of not just Clockjack, but of the Portland police, the D.E.A, and the U.S. Marshalls. Dez and the Swann sisters are on the run from powers beyond their control and means. Outnumbered, under resourced and outgunned, Dez must use all his skills to keep his friends safe and stand up to corporate conniving. After all, the one thing Clockjack didn’t count on? A good man with a simple job to do.


Deadlock by James Byrne is an edge of the seat, suspense-laden thriller.

Dez Limerick is unique, likeable, and very easy to under estimate. He is charming but deadly and fiercely loyal with a strong moral compass. But Dez will do whatever it takes to protect his friends and by extension, their family.

When his friend, singer Raziah Swann, asks him to protect her sister, Laleh, Dez moves quickly to help them.  In order to ensure the sisters’ safety, he must figure out why Laleh has become a target. His quest for answers takes him to Clockjack Solutions, a tech company that, on the surface, seems on the up and up. However, appearances can be deceiving and Dez comes up against ruthless people who will do anything and everything to protect their shocking plans.

Deadlock is an adrenaline-filled mystery that moves at a blistering pace. Dez is a larger-than-life hero that is very easy root for. The storyline is well-developed with breath-taking twists and turns. With a jaw-dropping epilogue, James Byrne brings this second installment in the Dez Limerick series to a very intriguing conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Deadlock, Dez Limerick Series, Jack Byrne, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Thriller

Review: A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong

Title: A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong
A Rip Through Time Book One
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Historical, Time-Travel, Mystery
Length: 346 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In this series debut from New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, a modern-day homicide detective finds herself in Victorian Scotland—in an unfamiliar body—with a killer on the loose.

MAY 20, 2019: Homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is in Edinburgh to be with her dying grandmother. While out on a jog one evening, Mallory hears a woman in distress. She’s drawn to an alley, where she is attacked and loses consciousness.

MAY 20, 1869: Housemaid Catriona Mitchell had been enjoying a half day off, only to be discovered that night strangled and left for dead . . . exactly one hundred and fifty years before Mallory is strangled in the same spot.

When Mallory wakes up in Catriona’s body in 1869, she must put aside her shock and adjust quickly to her new reality: life as a housemaid to an undertaker in Victorian Scotland. She soon discovers that her boss, Dr. Gray, also moonlights as a medical examiner and has just taken on an intriguing case, the strangulation of a young man, similar to the attack on herself. Her only hope is that catching the murderer can lead her back to her modern life . . . before it’s too late.

In A Rip Through Time, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong introduces a brand-new series mixing mystery, romance, and fantasy with thrilling results.


A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong is an outstanding time-travel mystery.

In 2019, Vancouver Homicide Detective Mallory Atkinson is in Scotland to be with her beloved nan who is dying. While taking a much-needed break, Mallory is strangled in an alley and inexplicably travels back in time to 1869 Victorian Scotland. She awakens in the body of housemaid Catriona Mitchell who was murdered in the same place as Mallory’s attack. Unable to figure out how to return to her own life, Mallory uses the excuse of her head injury to explain her “memory loss” about herself and her day-to-day activities. She also uses her modern-day policing knowledge to assist her boss, undertaker Dr. Duncan Gray and his friend Detective Hugh McCreadie, as they work together to solve the murder of a crime beat reporter. Mallory also makes a shocking discovery that will pit her skills against a diabolical killer.

Mallory is an intelligent woman who utilizes numerous skills as she attempts to convince those around her that she is Catriona. But as she has little information about the young woman whose body she inhabits, Mallory  missteps and mistakes t are quite noticeable. She also cannot contain her curiosity about the murders that Gray and McCreadie are trying to solve. Mallory finds an unanticipated ally in Gray’s half-sister Isla Ballantyne who is very much ahead of her time.

A Rip Through Time is an intriguing historical mystery with an ingenious storyline. Mallory is a vibrantly developed protagonist who makes the best of her very unusual circumstances. Duncan, Isla and Hugh are wonderfully drawn secondary characters who are quite appealing. The investigations evenly paced and very interesting. The time period and place are vividly life-like and realistically depicted.  Old and new fans of Kelley Armstrong are sure to enjoy this first installment in the A Rip Through Times series.

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Filed under A Rip Through Time, A Rip Through Time Series, Historical, Kelley Armstrong, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Time Travel

Review: Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen

Title: Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown in this small-town mystery about an unlikely private investigator searching for a missing waitress. Pay Dirt Road is the mesmerizing debut from the 2019 Tony Hillerman Prize recipient Samantha Jayne Allen…

Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with Garnett, Texas. Recently graduated from college and home waitressing, lacking not in ambition but certainly in direction, Annie is lured into the family business – a private investigation firm – by her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather, Leroy, despite the rest of the clan’s misgivings. When a waitress at the café goes missing, Annie and Leroy begin an investigation that leads them down rural routes and haunted byways, to noxious-smelling oil fields and to the glowing neon of local honky-tonks.

As Annie works to uncover the truth she finds herself identifying with the victim in increasing, unsettling ways, and realizes she must confront her own past – failed romances, a disturbing experience she’d rather forget, and the trick mirror of nostalgia itself – if she wants to survive this homecoming.


Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen is an intriguing small-town mystery.

After college graduation, Annie McIntyre finds herself right back in her hometown in Texas. She is working as waitress and living with her cousin, Nikki Avery, when a co-worker goes missing. Annie and Victoria Merritt both work as waitresses and she is worried when Victoria fails to show up for her shift. They were both at the same party the night before on the land adjacent to her grandfather Leroy’s property. Annie has just started doing office work for Leroy and his partner Mary-Pat Zimmerman at their private investigation company. Although Mary-Pat wants them to stay out Victoria’s case, Annie and Leroy cannot help but trying to find out what happened to her.

Annie is quickly reminded of things in her past she would rather forget as she reunites with t foremer classmates she once knew. She has mixed emotions about meeting up again with Wyatt Reed, her teenage boyfriend who broke her heart when he ended things with her. Equally confusing is seeing Justin Schneider again. He is tangled up in a part of her history that she would rather not resurrect.

Although much about the town has stayed the same, the arrival of an oil company is a new complication. Many of the roughnecks are strangers but Justin’s brother Troy works for the company. Annie discovers he has a previously unknown connection to Victoria but does he have anything to do with what happened to the missing waitress? And then there is the hit and run accident that occurred the same night that Victoria disappeared. Is it just a coincidence these two events  happened near one another?

Pay Dirt Road is an interesting mystery that is initially a little slow-paced. Annie is very reflective as she tries to learn the truth about what happened to Victoria. Her family is a dysfunctional but she is fiercely loyal to her loved ones. She is a somewhat impulsive and sometimes confrontational as she searches for answers. The storyline is engaging and the setting springs vividly to life. With outstanding plot twists, Samantha Jayne Allen brings this suspenseful mystery to an action-packed conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Pay Dirt Road, Rated B, Review, Samantha Jayne Allen

Review: The Resting Place by Camilla Sten

Title: The Resting Place by Camilla Sten
Translated by Alexandra Fleming
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspse
Length: 322 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Crimson Peak meets The Sanatorium in The Resting Place, a heart-thumping, unforgettable novel of horror and suspense by international sensation Camilla Sten.

Deep rooted secrets.
A twisted family history.
And a house that will never let go.

Eleanor lives with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face. It causes stress. Acute anxiety.

It can make you question what you think you know.

When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer—a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, the horror of having come so close to a murderer—and not knowing if they’d be back—overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.

Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house—a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a chilling past for over fifty years.

Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.


The Resting Place by Camilla Sten is a spellbinding Swedish mystery.

Eleanor Fälth’s relationship with the grandmother who raised her is so complicated she has set up strict rules about phone calls and visits. When Eleanor shows up for her obligatory once a week dinner, she is stunned to walk in minutes after her grandmother’s murder. Even though the killer is still present and walks right by her, she cannot offer any details due to her face blindness (prosopagnosia). After not coping well with the resulting anxiety, Eleanor is finally doing much better. Surprised to learn her grandmother owned a summer house away from the city, she and her longtime boyfriend Sebastian join the estate lawyer Rickard Snäll to inventory the contents. Upon their arrival, she discovers her aunt Veronika has decided to join them. With a winter storm bearing down on them, will Eleanor learn her grandmother’s secrets? And will she uncover the identity of her killer?

Eleanor has been unable to make contact with the groundskeeper Mats Bengtsson so her first order of business is to locate him. She is still not able to track him down so she is surprised when she sees a figure lurking by a nearby cottage. Then during the fierce storm, Rickart goes to the cellar for more wine and never returns. Danger awaits Eleanor and Veronika after they decide to venture out in the storm to see if they can find them.  Will Sebastian now take her sighting the night before more seriously?

The Resting Place is an atmospheric mystery with a chilling storyline. Eleanor is a sympathetic young woman whose recent past leaves her questioning herself. Sebastian is completely out of his depth so Eleanor quickly realizes she is much stronger than she believes. The country home is secluded and they are soon cut off from the nearby town once the blinding storm settles in. With shocking twists, Camilla Sten brings this suspenseful mystery to a an absolutely stunning conclusion.

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Filed under Camilla Sten, Contemporary, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Resting Place

Review: The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Title: The Night Shift by Alex Finlay
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the author of the breakout thriller Every Last Fear, comes Alex Finlay’s electrifying next novel The Night Shift, about a pair of small-town murders fifteen years apart—and the ties that bind them.

“The night was expected to bring tragedy.” So begins one of the most highly-anticipated thrillers in recent years.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.

In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights—stirring up memories of teen love and lies—to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.

Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.


The Night Shift by Alex Finlay is an intriguing mystery set in a small town.

In Linden, NJ, 1999 ends in tragedy. Four people are dead following a murder at the local Blockbuster video store. Ella Monroe is the lone survivor and fifteen years later, her life intersects with the only survivor of a similar attack at the local ice cream shop. Ella is a counselor who is asked to assist teenager Jesse Duvall who is traumatized in the aftermath of the killings. The only suspect in the Blockbuster murders is Vince Whitaker and he has been missing since he was released for lack of evidence. Is it possible that Vince has recreated his earlier murders? If so, why?

Ella might be a counselor but she has never quite recovered from what happened to her. She self-medicates in very unhealthy ways but she is dedicated to helping other trauma survivors. So, when asked by a friend to help, Ella tries to get Jesse to open up to her. The teenager is in foster care and new to Linden and she has yet to make any friends. Jesse is tough and not exactly willing to reveal much information, but what she does tell Ella makes it clear the two sets of murders are connected.

FBI Agent Sarah Keller teams up with local police Detective Atticus Singh to take a second look at the Blockbuster case. Hopefully fresh eyes will help uncover any threads that might have been overlooked in the earlier investigation. Sarah and Atticus discover new details that will eventually lead them to Public Defender Chris Ford who is very interested in finding a mystery vlogger who films his travel adventures.

The Night Shift is a fascinating mystery that is quite gripping. The characters are vibrantly developed and very relatable. The storyline is well-developed but the pacing is a little slow until after the half-way point. The small-town setting adds tension to the unfolding story as do the interconnected relationships. Although the murderer’s identity is easy to guess, there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns.  Alex Finlay brings this suspense-laden mystery to an exciting, edge of the seat conclusion.

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Filed under Alex Finlay, Contemporary, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, The Night Shift

Review: Last Seen Alive by Joanna Schaffhausen

Title: Last Seen Alive by Joanna Schaffhausen
Ellery Hathaway Series Book Five
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Last Seen Alive> is the fifth book in Joanna Schaffhausen’s heartpounding Ellery Hathaway mystery series.

Boston detective Ellery Hathaway met FBI agent Reed Markham when he pried open a serial killer’s closet to rescue her. Years on, their relationship remains defined by that moment and by Francis Coben’s horrific crimes. To free herself from Coben’s legacy, Ellery had to walk away from Reed, too. But Coben is not letting go so easily. He has an impossible proposition: Coben will finally give up the location of the remaining bodies, on one condition—Reed must bring him Ellery.

Now the families of the missing victims are crying out for justice that only Ellery can deliver. The media hungers for a sequel and Coben is their camera-ready star. He claims he is sorry and wants to make amends. But Ellery is the one living person who has seen the monster behind the mask and she doesn’t believe he can be redeemed. Not after everything he’s done. Not after what she’s been through. And certainly not after a fresh body turns up with Coben’s signature all over it.


Last Seen Alive by Joanna Schaffhausen is a thrilling mystery. Although this newest release is the fifth novel in the fantastic Ellery Hathaway series, it can be read as a standalone. However, I HIGHLY recommend the entire series.

FBI Agent Reed Markham has stayed away from Boston Detective Ellery Hathaway since she ended their relationship a few months earlier. But when serial killer Francis Coben says he will reveal the location of eight more victims, Reed has no choice to call her. Why? Because Coben is only willing to tell her where the bodies are located. Ellery is the sole survivor of his murderous rampage twenty years ago. She still has the physical and mental scars from her time with the deprave murderer. Despite her reluctance to face the man who tortured her, Ellery would like the victims’ families to know the fate of their loved ones. But will she regret agreeing to meet with him?

Ellery and Reed soon discover a Coben copycat is on the loose. They work with local police in hopes of finding out who the killer is and how this person is getting information from Coben. The convicted murderer has no contact with his fellow inmates and his mail is carefully checked over by prison officials. Ellery and Reed meticulously follow every piece of evidence that is unearthed but will they find the killer before another murder?

For the first time since leaving home, Ellery, with Reed at her side, returns to visit her mother. Their history is fraught and Ellery has resisted going back to the scene of her kidnapping. Will the trip help her put some demons to rest?

Last Seen Alive is a fast-paced mystery that is full of suspense. Ellery and Reed find it difficult to keep their relationship strictly professional. But they try not allow their personal life interfere with the investigation. Coben is pure evil and he derives great pleasure from other people’s suffering. With shocking twists and cunning turns, Joanna Schaffhausen brings this tense mystery to a highly satisfying conclusion. Old and new fans are sure to enjoy this latest addition to the Ellery Hathaway series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Ellery Hathaway Series, Joanna Schaffhausen, Last Seen Alive, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense