Save Me From Dangerous Men by S.A. Lelchuck. Published by Flatiron

Living in an era when women are treated, at best with contempt, or worse, as potential victims by the people who are supposed to lead our country and protect our constitutional rights, it’s a little bit of sweet relief to read about a character like Nikki Griffin. A private investigator whose passion for books and the written word is matched only by her desire to mete out justice to the men who prey on women, Nikki is all about taking back our power. She’s compared in the book blurb to Lisbeth Salander, but I think she’s much more accessible to readers, in both her anger and her empathy. The book market is flooded with books about damsels in distress, some of whom save themselves, but most of whom need a strong male protagonist to step in and save the day. Nikki doesn’t need anyone to save her and that’s what’s so refreshing in this timely and extremely cathartic read.

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The Other Wife by Juliet Bell. Published by HQ Digital

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time, I were stranded on a deserted island, it would be with me. So when I saw that this book was a 20th century retelling of the story I wasn’t sure what to expect. Transported from 19th century England to mid twentieth century Australia, most of the characters have the same names and the plot lines are quite similar, maybe too similar. I didn’t feel the same connection to Jane, she was a little too undeveloped for my taste. The best past of the book, and the one place the book takes a major diversion from the original, is the ending. The ending is all about female empowerment, and it’s really very well done.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper. Published by Flatiron

Jane Harper has established herself as an author who isn’t afraid to take her time building her characters and settings, reading one of her books requires thought and time. If you are willing to let her, Harper will sweep you away to the Australian Outback. In this book, on one of the most brutally days of the years, a rancher, one of three brothers, has been found dead far from help without any of the supplies he should have been carrying, supplies that would have saved his life. The death seems inexplicable, the only reasonable answer would be suicide as the departed knew better than to be out in such brutal heat without his kit. The location of his body, near an old stockman’s grave, only gives credence to the suicide theory. But the death is only a small part of this story that dives deep into the workings of a family and the secrets that they hide. A standalone, unlike Harper’s first two novels, this may be her best work yet, and that’s saying something. One of the best books of the year

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong. Published by St. Martins

Rockton is a secret town in the Yukon for people who don’t want their past interfering with their new lives. Police detective Casey Duncan may have only been in town for a few months, but she’s already dealt with an array of ugly crimes.  Then the unthinkable happens and an outsider, a US Marshal, somehow find the town. He’s looking for a resident of Rockton, but before he can get his man (or woman), he’s shot and killed. In a town filled with ex-cons and people hiding from their pasts, how is Casey to determine who the killer is? If you haven’t read the first book in this series, you will probably find yourself lost. Best to start there and then continue on

A Place to Lie by Rebecca Griffiths. Published by Sphere

Joanna and Caroline are glad for a chance to escape their unhappy home life and spend the summer of 1990 with their aunt Dora. Dora lives in a charming village near a beautiful forest that the girls can’t wait to explore. But what seems fun and innocent during the day becomes dark and menacing when night falls. Years later, Joanna returns to Witchwood, determined to uncover the truth about recent violent events and the truth about that long ago summer. There’s more than a little of the dark fairy tales we feared as children in this terrific and atmospheric read

The Snow Girls by Chris Mooney. Published by Penguin UK

Darby McCormick has never forgotten the disappearance of Claire Flynn. The investigator failed to solve the case conclusively, or recover the lost girl. Now, eleven years later, the only suspect, Father Richard Byrne, is dying and wants to talk to Darby. To confess perhaps? He was also suspected in two other disappearances and Darby goes to his side expecting him to unburden his soul, but she doesn’t get a confession.  Mooney knows how to build suspense and does a masterful job keeping readers on the edge of their seats

Sleep by C.L.Taylor. Published by Avon UK

As the only survivor of a terrible accident, Anna is having a hard time coping. Even sleep is beyond her reach. Hoping a change of scenery will help her, she takes a job at a hotel on an island in the middle of nowhere off the coast of Scotland. She’s soon tasked with looking after seven guests, all of whom are hiding something and one of whom is a killer. With shades of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, this is a creepy claustrophobic read that had me chewing on my nails