Category Archives: Seventh Street Books

Review: What They Don’t Know by Susan Furlong

Title:What They Don’t Know by Susan Furlong
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Genre: Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Length: 274 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A picture-perfect suburban life fractures . . . and a darker reality bubbles beneath the surface.

Mona Ellison’s life is as perfect as the porcelain dolls lined up on her shelves. She has a successful husband, a loving son, a beautiful home, and a supportive group of girlfriends ever ready for their weekly wine night.

But when Mona’s son gets entangled with the wrong crowd and runs away from home, her blissful suburban world begins to unravel. She tells her friends that boys will be boys, that he’ll be back as soon as his money runs dry . . . but deep down she knows there’s something else going on.

Then the police show up at Mona’s door. A young girl has turned up dead in their quiet town, and her missing son is the prime suspect.

Determined to reunite with her son and prove his innocence, Mona follows an increasingly cryptic trail of clues on social media, uncovering a sinister side of suburbia and unveiling lies and betrayal from those she trusted most. And as Mona spirals further from her once cozy reality, a devastating revelation shatters everything she thought she knew. Now the only thing she’s sure of is that she can’t trust anyone . . . not even herself.

With unrelenting psychological suspense and a wicked twist, What They Don’t Know marries small-town thriller and domestic mystery—suburban paranoia at its best.


What They Don’t Know by Susan Furlong is a diabolically clever psychological thriller.

With their son, Gus, absent from the house, Mona Ellison and her husband Ben are selling the home they have lived in for years. After she and her friends, Tara, Alice and Selma’s final book club, Mona becomes a bit untethered with moving day approaching. Ben is out of town for business and she becomes rattled after the police drop by asking questions about Mia Jones, a teenager recently murdered nearby.  Why do the detectives want to talk to Ben? And why does Mona get the feeling that Gus might somehow be involved?

Mona is taking a cocktail of drugs that are not doing her mental state any favors. She becomes increasingly paranoid and suspicious as she tries to locate Gus. Instead of preparing for the move, Mona becomes obsessed with locating Gus and attempting to find the connection between him and Mia. Highly agitated, she is comforted by the dolls in her collection. With her friends becoming more ad more worried about her, Mona is frightened and unnerved but she slowly begins to unearth the truth about her family.

What They Don’t Know is a suspense-laden thriller that quite riveting. Mona is a brilliantly developed character whose narration might not be reliable. The secondary characters are well-drawn with interesting backstories. The storyline is tautly written and easily draws the reader into the unfolding story. With cunning twists and shocking turns, Susan Furlong brings this intriguing psychological thriller to a chilling conclusion.


Filed under Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Rated B+, Review, Seventh Street Books, Susan Furlong, Suspense, What They Dont Know

Review: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle

Title: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle
Thomas Lynch Series Book Three
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Genre: Historical (90s), Mystery, Suspense
Length: 303 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In the small, sleepy town of Idyll, Connecticut, Police Chief Thomas Lynch assists police officer Michael Finnegan to uncover clues to his sister’s disappearance two decades ago.

Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found.

Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman’s corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan’s past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods–if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister.

Both cases reveal old secrets–about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they’ve been hiding from each other their whole careers.


Set in 1999, Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle is a spellbinding police procedural about the investigations into two unrelated cold cases. This third installment in the Thomas Lynch series is just as outstanding as the two preceding novels. Although this latest outing can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the entire series.

Thomas Lynch is a former New York detective who is now the police chief in Idyll, CT. Without much serious crime and two detectives on staff to handle investigations, Lynch remains hopelessly bored as he handles budgets and avoids Mayor Mike Mitchell. Nosing around the evidence room, he finds a box containing a human bone and unexpected DNA results. The bone belongs to a still unidentified victim and Lynch’s curiosity is piqued by the DNA test.  When skeletonized remains are discovered close to where the bone was found years earlier, Detective Lewis Wright and his partner, part-time Detective Michael “Finny” Finnegan are assigned to the case. Meanwhile, Thomas begins an investigation into the still unsolved disappearance of Finny’s sister Susan who has been missing for twenty seven years.  With both cases long grown cold, will the investigations lead to justice for the families of the victims?

Wright and Finny have their work cut out for them as they attempt to identify their victim.  They diligently sort through a slew of missing persons cases and their search soon pays off.  After sifting though old case files and  re-interviewing the victim’s parents, Wright and Finny are beginning to zero in on a suspect. But will the passage of time make it impossible for them to find the evidence they need to definitively link the victim to the killer?

Thomas  surreptitiously  enlists Wright’s help with the investigation into Susan’s disappearance. This unexpected partnership is a surprising boon to their uneasy working relationship but this improvement remains fragile.  A surprising insight by Thomas takes the case in a completely unanticipated direction but their progress eventually runs into a brick wall. Lynch continues combing through police reports and with previous witnesses speaking more freely, a break in the case raises hope they will learn Susan’s fate.

Lewis and Thomas are both undergoing a bit of turmoil in their private lives. Now that everyone knows Thomas is gay, he is involved in his first public relationship with FBI Agent Matt Cisco. Thomas is still grappling with the complexities of conducting a romance out in the open so he makes a few mistakes and stumbles that jeopardize his future with Matt. Not everyone under his command is comfortable working for a gay boss and Lewis remains on edge around Lynch. Working together on Susan’s case helps erase some of tension between them, but Wright is extremely stressed due to an unexpected family crisis. Lewis is quick to shut Lynch out but will this put an end to their cordial working relationship?

With an marvelous cast of characters, witty banter and two fascinating cases to solve,  Idyll Hands is an absolutely riveting mystery.  Thomas is more at ease with his quiet life in Idyll but he still misses the fast-paced career he left behind.  Susan’s case provides interesting insight into oft-divorced yet always amiable Detective Finnegan. Lewis is still hesitant to fully accept Lynch’s revelation about his personal life so it is quite refreshing to witness a thawing in his attitude toward his boss. The dual investigations into the cold cases are realistically portrayed as the detectives encounter the expected issues with witnesses and reports since so many years have passed since the victims’ disappeared. This latest addition to Stephanie Gayle’s Thomas Lynch series is another top-notch police procedural that fans of the genre are going to love.

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Filed under Contemporary, Historical, Historical (90s), Idyll Hands, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Seventh Street Books, Suspense, Thomas Lynch Series

Review: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens

Title: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 285 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Homicide Detective Max Rupert never fully accepted his wife’s death, even when he believed that a reckless hit-and-run driver was to blame. Haunted by memories both beautiful and painful, he is plagued by feelings of unfinished business. When Max learns that, in fact, Jenni was murdered, he must come to terms with this new information—and determine what to do with it.

Struggling to balance his impulses as a vengeful husband with his obligations as a law enforcement officer, Max devotes himself to relentlessly hunting down those responsible. For most of his life, he has thought of himself as a decent man. But now he’s so consumed with anguish and thoughts of retribution that he finds himself on the edge, questioning who he is and what he stands for.

On a frozen lake at the US–Canadian border, he wrestles with decisions that could change his life forever, as his rage threatens to turn him into the kind of person he has spent his entire career bringing to justice.


In The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens, homicide Detective Max Rupert is on quest for vengeance for his wife Jenni’s killer but when he has the murderer in his grasp, will he fully exact his revenge?

Max has grieved the hit and run death of Jenni for the past four and a half years and he still keenly feels her loss. When his former friend, defense attorney  Boady Sanden, hands him a file containing a recording of two men plotting her murder, Max leaves no stone unturned as he begins his hunt for her killers. Before he can begin delving into his wife’s case, he and his partner Niki Vang must investigate a vehicle fire in which the remains of Pippi Stafford are discovered after her boyfriend, the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Dennis Orton, reports the fire. The investigation quickly reveals Pippi was dead before the van was set ablaze so all eyes soon turn to Orton. Max is also rather curious about his boss, Lt. Emil Briggs’ intense interest in the case and with no love lost between him and his superior, Max is determined to uncover the reason why.

With chapters weaving back and forth between a narrow three day window, the narrative flips back and forth between the two investigations in Minneapolis and Max’s efforts to seek vengeance on Jenni’s killers. The case involving Pippi and Orton is somewhat easy to solve. Once Max has a fairly solid hypothesis about what happened to Pippi, he uses the information to leverage answers about why Briggs’ is so curious about the investigation.

The main focus of the storyline is Max’s search for answers about Jenni’s murder. With new details about the reason she was targeted, he is able to glean enough information from the last day of her life to know where to begin his investigation. Just when it seems he has hit a dead end, Niki provides invaluable information that breaks the case wide open.  Once Max knows where to look, he soon zeroes in a suspect which in turn, leads him right to the person he is certain ordered Jenni’s death. After he locates the suspect, Max then has to decide whether or not to carry out his plan to exact his revenge which presents an interesting ethical quandary for a man who has always been on the right side of the law.

The Deep Dark Descending is a riveting mystery that will leave readers on the edge of their seats as Max grapples with an unknown man in the bitter cold in an isolated part of the state. Allen Eskens skillfully presents an intriguing scenario in which Max must decide whether or not he can go through with his plan and if he can live with the aftermath of his decision. A very compelling novel that has plenty of tension as it wends its way to a stunning conclusion.

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Filed under Allen Eskens, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Seventh Street Books, Suspense, The Deep Dark Descending