Please Tell Me by Mike Omer
In her therapist's playroom, eight-year-old Kathy uses an intricate Victorian dollhouse to act out horrific murders. The little girl hasn't spoken since she escaped the abductor who had held her captive for the past eighteen months. No one knows who took her or what happened during that stretch of time, but the stories she play acts with the dolls she buries in the playroom sandbox match up with unsolved murders...and she did some of them before the murders occurred.
I really enjoyed this thriller. The pace is a bit slow and there are a lot of characters doing a lot of things that don't have much to do with Kathy and her story, but one things start to come together my patience absolutely paid off.
My biggest complaint -- and the thing that drew me to the book in the first place -- is the dollhouse. I think the author is unaware of the fact that there are dollhouses for children to play with and dollhouses for adult collectors. Some of the scenes with the dollhouse left a sour taste in my mouth in a book that I otherwise loved.
No Child of Mine by Nichelle Geraldes
"She was not exhausted from the work of multiplying cells. That work could be done by a mouse or someone in a coma." I'm still not sure how I feel about this horror novel where one of the biggest horrors is just being pregnant. Essie's birth control fails and although she almost immediately decides to keep the pregnancy, she sees it as an inconvenience that will derail her law school graduation. There's also a curse that causes the women in her family line to lose their husbands shortly after giving birth, but she's not as concerned about that. The plot alternates between Essie's daily life and two women in a previous era. It gets seriously creepy and I was holding my breath for the last few chapters, but I spent the first three quarters of the book feeling extremely critical of the protagonist.
Seeds of Murder by Rosie Sandler
This one is the first in a new series and, as uninterested as I am in actual gardening, I can't wait to read more. Steph Williams is the new gardener for an exclusive gated community and spends her days working on the extensive grounds....except for the upper paddock (where she quickly finds what appears to be an unmarked grave) and the locked enclosures. The wealthy homeowners are all keeping secrets and have decided that she's the one who is blackmailing them all. She has no idea what's going on behind closed doors, but she's got to figure it out fast if she wants to save her dream job. The characters and mystery are intriguing and the setting is absolutely fantastic.
The Wife in the Photo by Emily Shiner
Here's another domestic thriller where the new housekeeper has lied to get her position and has ulterior motives. What makes it stand out from the rest is that those reasons aren't kept secret for long. There's more going on than it first seems and it's an extremely fun roller coaster ride to find out what actually happened that night that Evan's wife died. I've read several of Emily Shiner's books, thoroughly enjoying some while being disappointed in others. This is one of the best.
Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies.