Category Archives: Thriller & Suspense

Fiction that causes suspense (but not horror) usually concerning unresolved crimes. Includes crime fiction, whodunnits, legal thrillers, murder mystery, courtoom dramas, gangster fiction, detective stories.

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Allison Glenn was the perfect daughter. She made good grades, played soccer, and had a bright future ahead of her. The future her parents wanted and expected her to have. One night changes all of that. In an instant, Allison finds herself in the back of a police car. Her life left shattered, her future uncertain.

Now, five years later, Allison is leaving prison and returning home to start over. While in prison, she has attempted to reach out to her sister Brynn over and over.

Brynn has spent the last five years trying to escape that night. With Allison gone, her parents expected her to step into the role of perfect daughter. When it all became too much, Brynn escaped her parents’ house and went to live with their grandmother. Brynn wants nothing more than to put the last five years behind her and forget her sister even exists.

What follows is a story with unexpected twists and turns, leaving you wondering just how you might go to protect someone else.

Heather Gudenhauf’s tale is compelling from start to finish. It was very hard to put down, and I finished it fast enough to read it a second time before writing the review. I spent the entire time both wondering how Allison could keep such a secret and how Brynn could let her.

What surprised me most is that while reading, I could empathize more with Allison than be angry at her. That was probably the most confusing emotion of all. I wanted to be completely appalled at her actions. Instead, I found myself heartbroken due to the difficult position in which she found herself. The story will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very end.

Gudenkauf writes a tale that few would dare. Her voice is unique and captured me from the very beginning. This book obviously stays on my read again list, and I will be looking for her other novel as well.


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: These Things Hidden

The Radleys: A Novel by Matt Haig

Peter, the patriarch.  Peter is a physician in a small town where everyone knows everyone and is interested in their lives (obsessively so). He wishes for more in his home, doesn’t get it, so he begins to fantasize about what could be with his neighbor.

Helen, the matriarch. Helen tries to keep the family on the straight and narrow, hanging on to habit and tradition with a ferocity that would make a rabid wolverine proud.

Rowan, the son. Sensitive, artistic, and Lord Byron’s biggest fan. Rowan is subjected to the bullying of his classmates. He is also secretly in love with his sister’s best friend.

Clara, the daughter.  Clara starts out seemingly in the background. She is Eve’s friend, the beautiful newcomer who has enraptured Rowan (and most of the male teenage population of Bishopthorpe).   But Clara will not stay in the background long.

One fateful night, a young man decides that he is going to ignore the fact that no means no. It is his decision that will change the fates of this, well, boring middle-class family.

You see, the Radleys are vampires. Granted, Rowan and Clara do not know this, and Peter and Helen have been abstaining for the last 17 years. However, that night changes everything for them. Rowan and Clara learn their true natures, Peter’s long lost brother returns with his past on his heels, and this nuclear family goes atomic.

And all of this happens in the span of a week.

Matt Haig’s tale of family and what happens when secrets are finally revealed is one of the best books I have read in quite some time. He is in turn humorous and serious. Haig captures the nature of repression with sparkling clarity. His unique voice is one that I find refreshing. Haig expertly captures the disconnection that his characters are experiencing between what is right and what is nature.

When I first started the book, I was a little put off by the seemingly erratic change in topic in the first few tiny chapters (some as short as a few paragraphs on one single page).  However, as I continued reading, the book and its format began to make sense.  As in real life, we never get the full impact of a situation all at once.  Haig mirrors that in his writing.

As with all that I read, I gauge how much I like a book based on if I would read it again.  The answer: over and over!  This book is fantastic!  The only con I can really post is that I would have liked to have heard more from Clara throughout the novel.  She tended to take a backseat to everyone else, and she is really the character who put the major part of the story in motion.

Outside of that, the novel was great! My next step will be to seek out Haig’s other novels.  I can only imagine they will be just as grand as this one.


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon:The Radleys

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

What a magnificent book! It has love ghosts, lost kids, weird housekeeper and second chances.

Andie Miller-Archer and North Archer are divorced and haven’t seen one another for ten years. The past is dead and done – she is engaged to Will Spenser the famous writer. Andie’s life couldn’t be better, she has come to see North to return tens years of alimony checks and to say good-be.

North is the legal guardian of two children, Alice and Carter, who live in an alleged haunted house in a remote area in the south of Iowa. The children are orphans and being taken care of by Mrs. Crumb, the elderly housekeeper. North has been unable to keep Nannie because they believe the house is haunted , the children are weird and Mrs. Crumb is downright evil. In desperation North hires Andie to fix the children and see what is actually going on at the house.

Sullivan, North’s brother, wants to take Kelly O’Keefe, a TV reporter, and her cameraman to the house to make a documentary. North flatly refuses Sullivan’s request, but he isn’t inclined to listen. Andie arrives at the house to a very belligerent housekeeper, children with secrets and very strange happenings. She starts having unusual dreams about a young girl who keeps asking her questions about North. Is she dreaming or is there really ghosts?

Sullivan and his crew arrive in a ranging storm. Kelly has contacted Mrs. Hammersmith, a medium, to hold a seance. This is where the book becomes interesting. Will arrives uninvited. North, a Private Investigator, North’s mother and Andie’s mother also arrive. Mrs. Hammersmith tells everyone there are ghosts and they are becoming stronger due to all the anger. Is this true or have they been drugged by Mrs. Crumb and are hallucinating? There is another death and Andie believes she is possessed.

Ms. Crusie is an excellent writer of fiction. You really must read this book. Maybe Next Time is an exceptionally good novel. It will keep you guessing, on the edge of your seat, and seeing ghosts in every room!

Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.” Her former blog was at http://GoldenReviewer.blogspot.com.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Maybe This Time

Once Wicked Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley

Molly Madison has it all – Country Clubs and the luxury of city life in Florida. Her husband, Phillip, is a successful attorney – her world is almost perfect. Suddenly everything comes crashing down. Her parents are killed in a fierily automobile and she learns Phillip is gay. After hearing all the gory passionate details from his lover, she leaves everything behind and heads to Montana and her family home – The Ghost Bear Ranch. She plans to divorce Phillip and start a life. Molly is unprepared for her instant attraction to Clayton Leatherbe, the ranch foreman.

Molly is unaware of the sociopath creating havoc with a sense of her own justice. Phillip want her to sell the ranch so he can further his political ambitions. Her refusal causes a riff in their relationship. Molly’s ranch falls prey to an unscrupulous land developer determined to get the ranch and he will stop at nothing to obtain his goal.

Everything seems to go wrong at the ranch since Molly took over as owner. Several murders have occurred – Phillip’s ex lover is out to exact his revenge on Molly – Clayton is questioned by the local police. Who exactly is Molly’s best friend Leeza – how does she fit into all this? Clayton has uncovered a family secret that could destroy Molly and the ranch, her very life is in jeopardy. The book is about secrets, lies, murder, love and loyalty,

Highly recommended! The book will hold your interest from the very first page to the last one. An excellent mystery. Ms. Benchley is an excellent writer of fiction.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.” Her former blog was at http://GoldenReviewer.blogspot.com.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Map of True Places by Bunonia Barry

Zee Finch is a psychotherapist working with Dr. Liz Mattei. Zee is treating one patient in particular, Lily Braedon, who has a husband and three children. Lilly has been diagnosed as being bipolar. Lilly is having an affair with Adam, a construction worker. Zee believes he is abusing her and suggests she break off the affair. Zee is engaged to Michael, Boston’s most eligible bachelor, but something is always preventing her from meeting with the wedding planner. Lilly’s condition worsens, she become very depressed and commits suicide. Zee goes to Lilly’s funeral, against the advice of Dr. Mattei. This throws Zee into an emotional turmoil. Years ago Zee’s mother Maureen, had been bipolar, but refused to take any medication, and she too had committed suicide. Zee begins to have doubts about her profession. Why didn’t she see this coming – why hadn’t she picked up on Lilly’s suicidal tendencies? Her whole attitude changes and she is acting strange and doing things she would never had done before.

Zee’s father, Finch, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but has been hiding it from her. She discovers just how sick he really is. She takes a leave from her job to become his caregiver. Finch’s long time companion, Melville, has moved out, but is still very concerned about him. Being a caregiver is very hard on Zee. She becomes confused and depressed. She begins a new life which will not only take her into the future, but her past as well.

The book is a fast-paced suspense novel. The father-daughter relationship is based on half truths and her mothers untimely death.

Highly recommended, this novel is a page turner.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy

This is a Monkeewrench novel. Monkeewrench is a group of computer nerds who can hack into any program – national or international. They stay just ahead of the law. The local police and FBI have a situation. In this most recent book, the crew is called in by the FBI to determine if there may or may not be murders being committed across the country and then published on the web. The authorities need to know if the murders are real or computer generated fakes. There have been several real murders in the past few months, but are they connected to these on cyberspace?

The story will keep you turning pages. This is a book that is hard to put down! The novel has generous doses of humor and suspense. Are all the murders real or fake? If real, are they being committed by one person or several? Who is putting these on cyberspace? Can Monkeewrench help the FBI and the local PD solve the mystery?

The mother-daughter team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambert (P.J. Tracy) are excellent mystery writers. You will want to read all their Monkeewrench novels.

Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Anne O’Sullivan is a 32 year old up and coming realtor. She is abducted on the day of her open house for the new condo development in Clayton Falls. She is taken to a remote cabin in the mountains and held prisoner. Her life is forever changed as she is forced to abide by the abductor’s rules, kept in a locked cabin, repeatedly raped and left alone for days.

The book will keep you spellbound from the first page to the last. As you read the book, you will feel Anna’s frustration and questions as she tries to survive living with a madman. The questions she wants answered is why – who is this person – and who is really behind her abduction. You will keep turning the pages (it is a book you can’t put down) to see if she is rescued, if she manages to outwit her abductor, and does she learn his identity. I recommend that you read the book to find answers to these questions.

The book is a compelling, sometimes funny, mostly sad and a heartbreaking novel that keeps you in suspense the the very end. It is a book you will devour, a tense thriller and completely believable as you feel Anna’s pain, her hopelessness and frustration.

Ms. Stevens is a very talented writer. Highly recommend this book to all adult readers.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Hunter’s Moon by Don Hoesel

CJ Baxter is a bestselling novelist from the small town of Adelia, NY, but now resides in Tennessee. His novels are mostly about his own experience growing up in the Baxter family. Lyndale is the ancestral home where the Baxters have lived for centuries. CJ left home at seventeen and has not been back for almost three decades.

CJ is returning to Adelia because his grandfather is dying – the only person he has kept in contact with over the years. CJ is having problems. His wife has kicked him out, changed the locks and kept his dog. Before he leaves Tennessee, he breaks into his former home and steals the dog. This results in the police issuing a warrant for his arrest.

The Baxters have a secret – one that has haunted CJ since the age of ten. He knows the truth, but has been reluctant to face his father who has covered this up for years. CJ’s return is not a joyful reunion. His family is secretive, have their own agenda, and are skeptical of CJ’s motives. His brother Graham is running for the Senate. The last thing he wants is for the secret and his other underhanded deals to become known. CJ has been hired to write an article on Graham’s candidacy and the whole Baxter clan is concerned about what he will reveal.

The longer CJ stays in Adelia, the worse things become. He finds himself having unhealthy thoughts concerning his high school sweetheart. The one he left decades ago and is now married to his cousin. One must read the book to learn how CJ handles this situation and all the other problems he faces. To what length will the Baxters go to get what they want. Blood may be thicker than water, but its no match for money and power.

Highly recommend this book. It is one that you can’t put down – the suspense is addictive. Don Hoesel is an excellent writer of fictional suspense.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand

Rylee Monroe is a dog walker in Charleston. Her clients live in the wealthiest part of the city. Recently their homes are being burglarized by a person the police have dubbed the Robin Hood burglar. Items being taken have little or no value while item valued at thousands remain untouched. The thief is giving the items to the poor, just like the mythical Robin Hood.

Logan Woods, a newspaper reporter, is writing a book on crimes in general and the Robin Hood burglar in particular. As he digs into the recent burglaries, he finds that Rylee seems to be at the center of everything. He tries to get close to Rylee, but she doesn’t trust him or anyone else. Her father left his family when she was a small child and her mother committed suicide, or so she has been led to believe. She only has her grandmother, who she supports, living in a nursing home.

As the burglaries escalate, the police suspect Rylee of the crimes as she has access to each of the homes being burglarized. She is arrested and put in jail. After being released on bail, she returns to her apartment only to find it has been trashed – everything has been destroyed. She turns to Logan for help. Their relationship is one of mistrust and secrets, but they really do need each other: Logan to find the ending to his book and Rylee to have someone to cover her back.

This is a very interesting romantic suspense novel. You will find yourself asking the questions – what really happened to Rylee’s parents, who is living in her ancestral home, who is the Robin Hood burglar – why has he/she committed these crimes?

Highly recommend the book. This is a well written suspense novel. The authors did an excellent job of collaborating the story – leading the reader to a surprising ending.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis

The decapitated body of Brother Stanislav, a Piarist monk is found in the Maria Treu Kirche Church yard close to the school where he teaches. This is no ordinary decapitation – the head was literally torn from the body. Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt of the Vienna Security Police is baffled by this mode of decapitation. Who or what has the strength to commit this heinous crime? He calls in his friend, psychoanalyst Dr. Max Lieberman to help with the investigation. (This is the same Dr.Lieberman who is featured in several of Tellis’ previous works.)

In the course of the investigation, the body of Councillor Faust is found at Maria Geburt church. He has been decapitated in the same manner as Brother Stanislav. The only clue at both crime scenes is a patch of black sticky mud. Dr. Lieberman uncovers that both Stanislva and Faust were vocal members of a shadowy anti-Semitic group. Could the Jewish population, especially the Hasidic community be responsible for these crimes or had the Jewish golem, a legendary figure, arisen?

The investigation soon becomes personal for Dr. Lieberman. His privileges at the local hospital are suspended and he is on the verge of losing his medical license. After the third decapitated body of Jeheil Sach, a local pimp, is found, Dr. Lieberman turns to the Hasidic Jews to find answers. The question is why had the Jews killed one of their own?

What transpired in the investigation as Dr. Libermann searches for answers leaves you in suspense. Tallis keeps you turning pages as he weaves his intrigue and brings the story to the final conclusion of who or what committed the crimes. However, it is very difficult to keep your focus as the plot jumps from subject to subject. Tallis has received many accolades for his work, and his fans will definitely want to read this one. However, I do not recommend Vienna Secrets for first time reader of Frank Tallis.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.