From The Booking Desk:

I have been so busy with New England Crime Bake, a Maine vacation, some scheduled speaking engagements, fighting off a cold, and holiday prep that end of year reviews are piling up. I’ve decided to do a post today collecting a number of reviews together with the aim towards helping with your holiday shopping. So many great books – and don’t forget, it’s the season of the annual “Best Of” lists, so be sure to keep an eye out for those as well (hint, hint).

Review: LynDee Walker is one of those dream authors for readers. She always provides relatable characters and a compelling plot, but somehow she also manages to improve with each new novel released. Leave No Stone is without a doubt her best book to date and left me eager to see where she is going to go next. Despite dealing with some of the darker aspects of the crime spectrum – sex trafficking and serial crime – LynDee Walker never loses the heart and hope at the core of her stories, so readers feel safe in her hands even during those bleaker moments. Faith McClellan is fast becoming a fan favorite with a loyal following.

Review: Lisa Jewell continues to impress with her brand of domestic suspense. The Family Upstairs finds a happy balance between what readers expect in a suspense tale of this type, while also bringing some new dimensions to that sub-genre. It can be challenging to manage multiple storylines over several time-periods, but Lisa Jewell handles this with ease. This is an incredibly addictive read that speeds along between those moments when the reader must stop, take a breath, and say “WOW.” A true virtuoso performance.

Review: I did not read Dust, the first book in Ann McMan’s Evan Reed series, but this did not prevent me from loving Galileo. Evangeline (Evan) Reed’s job is to vet political candidates in an effort to discover their secrets and vulnerabilities. Needless to say, she often discovers unsavory information. Galileo tackles some tough subject matter, including the sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church, but McMan handles this in a sensitive way without sugar-coating any aspects of the crimes. Evan Reed is a fantastic character, sure to become a beloved favorite.

Review: When buried remains are discovered on the property of Lake Hall, readers will immediately draw their own conclusions. Trust me, those conclusions will be wrong. And that is only the beginning of the twisted journey Gilly Macmillan has in store for readers of The Nanny. Few authors can so effectively manipulate readers loyalties as does Macmillan. Just when you think you have everything figured out, yet another surprise will throw everything in question.

Review: It is not easy to find a new way to deal with a serial killer plotline, but Bryndza has done it. Kate Marshall successfully exposed the Nine Elms Killer, but doing so left her traumatized and unemployed. Now working as a lecturer at an English University, she must confront her past when a copy-cat killer begins to terrorize the Nine Elms community. This is the start of a new series and certainly the cast of characters that Bryndza has crafted lend themselves to repeat visits. There is a ton of history to unpack here, but the writing is so fluid that it all unspools with ease, keeping readers glued to the page throughout.