Three more new and upcoming releases for your consideration…
No Second Chances by Rio Youers (released February 22, 2022)
Luke Kingsley’s glory days are behind him. A star on the rise, his life and career imploded after his soul singer wife, Lisa Hayes, disappeared without a trace, silencing a very public and tumultuous marriage. Most people, especially an avenging PI, think Luke got away with murder. The last thing he expects is to be pulled back from the brink by a starstruck stranger.
Wannabe actress Kitty Rae has chased her dreams all the way from Kentucky to Hollywood. Saving a washed-up actor’s life wasn’t one of them, but she believes in Luke—as much as she believes her own career is just one lucky break away. For now, she works for Johan Fly, a charismatic, wealthy, and seriously unbalanced drug dealer to the rich and famous. When Johan discovers that Kitty has been skimming the product, he vows to make her pay.
As Luke steps up to help Kitty, he uncovers a web of violence and corruption, as well as a single, enticing clue about his wife’s disappearance. Barreling across the Mojave Desert, Luke and Kitty set off to find the long-lost Lisa. But Johan, hungry for vengeance, is hot on their trail. There’s no limit to what he will do to find them. And in a world where fortune favors the ruthless, there’s also no limit to what Luke and Kitty will have to do to survive.
My thoughts: This one gets off to a rip-roarin’ start with the introduction of our three main players. There’s the fiercely independent Kitty Rae, a young girl with attitude who still dreams of making it big in Hollywood even though she spends more time making drug drops than auditioning for roles. There’s washed-up former acting legend Luke Kingsley whose career tanked following the mysterious disappearance of his wife. And then there’s Johan Fly, aka “The Viking”, a drug dealer with panache and an affinity for big-ass axes. When Kitty runs afoul of the Viking, Luke steps up to take on the role he was destined to play: that of the hero. But, unfortunately for Luke and Kitty, life isn’t like a CBS primetime drama.
I really loved the first two thirds of this book, mostly for these characters, but also because of the humor that runs through this novel. One of my favorite scenes in the book involves Luke going undercover as detective Colton Stone, one of his former onscreen characters in a bid to convince the baddies that their target, Kitty, has, in fact, been killed. It’s a brilliant scene, funny and clever. But soon after, the wheels come off when Luke’s investigation into his wife’s disappearance – the most uninteresting and, frankly, implausible part of the novel – leads him to a surprising discovery…and the most unlikely development that (What are the chances?) there may be a connection to the Viking here.
Biomass Rewind by Terry Person (release date: March 7, 2022)
BIOMASS REWIND follows a group of “made” humans manufactured and trained by a sapient ship to colonize a new Earth-like planet. Once on the surface, the squad must evade gruesome death at the claws, leaves and wings of the hostile native wildlife–if they don’t end up killing each other first. But when they find evidence that they aren’t the first humans to walk the planet, their mission becomes suspect. If this is not their first visit to “Beauty”, then what is their ship’s motive, and how could they survive what other versions of themselves could not?
My thoughts: By far the most thought-provoking of this week’s reads is this sci-fi first (?) contact thriller involving a team of clones sent to colonize an alien world that, perhaps, their previous incarnations may have visited in the past. The aspects of the story related to cloning and memory are fascinating; the elements concerning their attempts to deal with a seemingly aggressive native species less so. There’s not much depth to the characters so when they are under threat or, in some instances, killed, it’s hard to care without that emotional investment.
A fairly standard sci-fi story, in the service of some really great ideas.
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham (released January 11, 2022)
When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.
Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren’t really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?
My thoughts: Chloe Davis’s father was arrested for the murder of six teenage girls. 20 years later, when other girls start to disappear, Chloe wonders if it’s the work of a copycat killer? Those of you who can’t stand suspense will be in luck because it’s fairly evident who the real serial killer is very early on. I had my suspicions 50 pages in, then pretty solid confirmation on page 117 of my digital copy (Yes, I took note). From there, it was 400 or so pages of obvious red herrings and ludicrous coincidences manufactured to set up false jeopardy before the not-so shocking truth is revealed. Oof.
Apparently, Emma Watson has already snapped up the film & television rights. Expect more of a Girl on the Train than The Silence of the Lambs.
And what have you been reading?