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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs (Psychological Suspense)


WHAT SHE NEVER SAID
Santa Barbara Suspense #2
by
Catharine Riggs
  
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Thomas Mercer
Date of Publication: September 10, 2019
Number of Pages: 377

on Tour August 19 - September 20, 2019



SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!





How much would you pay to keep a secret?

Ruth Mosby is the VP of operations at Serenity Acres, where the privileged elite go to die. For a hefty fee, wealthy retirees can live the good life in this posh Santa Barbara community—even after they outlive their money. But the savvy new boss has a new rule: if you can’t pay, you can’t stay. Guests whisper about an “Angel” who assists with suicides. Ruth has another word for it: murder. Ruth enlists her neighbor, an ex-detective named Zach, to discover the Angel’s secret identity. However, the two have a painful history, and Ruth has dark secrets all her own. To solve the mystery, Ruth must descend her golden tower—but can she bear the consequences of revealing her own sinister truths?


Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Why Readers LOVE What She Never Said:


“Riggs keeps the tension high to the dramatic climax.”
Publishers Weekly

"What She Never Said is a fast-paced, compulsive read—and I speak as a slow-paced, easily distracted reader."
—Ashley Dyer, award-winning author of the Lake & Carver series

“A compelling read that will keep you awake well into the night.”
—T.R. Ragan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

"Beneath the weight of metastasizing secrets, idyllic veneers buckle to reveal shocking truths that will haunt readers long after the final page."
—P. J. Vernon, acclaimed author of the debut thriller, When You Find Me





I received a free copy of this book. This is my honest and thoughtful review.

From the moment I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read this one. The idea of euthanasia has always been an intriguing concept to me, especially in fiction, and having perhaps a serial killer use it as a means to murder the elderly without too much suspicion seemed like a fantastic story to delve into. And I couldn't have been more correct!

The book is divided into sections titled after one of the seven deadly sins, and opens with brief glimpses from the "Angel's" perspective. This person truly tows the line between good and evil, believing their assistance is helping another, but their true motivations suggest a desire for ultimate control. Secrets are extracted in exchange for help; however, everyone has secrets, and some people are simply being killed to protect that information. Every character is flawed, and those flaws not only drive the plot, but keep suspicions mounting until the very end. Everyone has a motive, calling into question the confidence of this entire facility, and really any institution charged with caring for the most vulnerable among us.


"How naive I'd been not to have known the truth: there is no escaping the past."

Spanning a realistic timeline and told in multiple yet seamless perspectives, this is a slow-burning, deeply twisted, and uniquely framed mystery that packs a powerful punch. As the identity of the killer is slowly revealed, readers become privy to the secrets that fester for each character, and unfortunately for all involved, these burdens are not without a price. The story features an array of compelling discussions surrounding ageism and sexism as well as dynamics in relationships following trauma. The author's deft storytelling created not just an unsettling and suspenseful read, but one that kept me on the edge of my seat and the pages flying! This ended up being the perfect book to get me out of a reading slump because I DID NOT want to put it down! 

Although this is the second book in a series, I believe that these books are loosely linked by location and not by characters. I look forward to picking up WHAT SHE GAVE AWAY soon and can't wait to read what else the author has in store next!



RUTH MOSBY

ONE

Monday, May 6

My goal each day is ten thousand steps. A Fitbit monitors my progress. One. Two. Three. Four. This morning I’ll reach six thousand steps. Only four thousand left after that. It’s nice the days have grown longer. I’ll walk the harbor loop after work. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. I speed up the slope of Orpet Park through the grove of moth-eaten oaks.
At the summit of the steepest hill, I catch a peek of ocean gray. The islands are invisible today, shrouded in waves of lowering fog. June gloom. That’s what the locals call it, although we’ve barely stepped into May. Locals? I am a local. Or should be after thirty-some years. But oh no. Not in Santa Barbara. You can’t be a local unless you’re born here. Ridiculous but true. Sometimes I wonder why I stay. But at my age, where would I go?
Cresting the final hill, I catch my first glimpse of the mission bells. They’re a sad reminder of my walks with Carlyn and the chats we had every day. She thought the Queen of the Missions was a sign of God’s blessing on our tony beachside town. I wonder what she thinks of God now. I wonder what she thinks of me.
I continue past the mission lawn, verging on parched and dry. The agaves look weathered and dusty; they’re wilted at the tips. A handful of elderly tourists snap photos of the iconic scene. Their foreign chatter disrupts the calm, so I cross the street to the rose garden and follow the rutted trail. A lone dog shoots into view, and I slow my rapid gait. The golden Lab jumps, twists, and barks, nabbing a Frisbee in his mouth.
“Morning,” his master calls to me, a smile gracing his youthful face.
“Morning.” I lock my gaze on my running shoes. How did he miss the DOGS ON LEASH signs staggered every twenty feet? Or maybe he didn’t but somehow believes he’s above the city’s rules. I make a mental note to call animal control and continue on my way.
I pick up my pace for the final ten blocks, feeling better than I have in weeks. Turning down my narrow driveway, I cringe at the sight of my neighbor standing on his porch.
“Morning, Ruth,” he calls.
“Morning, Zach.”
Zach limps down his steps and through his drought-stricken garden, a frown rumpling his grizzled face. He’s dressed in board shorts and a tattered T-shirt, mended flip-flops shielding his feet. “You hear those kids partying last night?” he asks.
“No,” I lie. “Was it loud?”
“Hell yeah. I can’t believe they allow short-term rentals in our neighborhood. We’ve got to put a stop to that.”
“Well, kids will be kids.” I fail to mention I called the police at ten sharp. That’s when the noise ordinance kicks in.
“I’m going to complain at today’s city council meeting. Want to come along?” The breeze shifts, and I catch a whiff of spoiled milk. Zach has taken to strategic bathing, which results in an occasional stench.
“I would, but I have to work.”
“Bummer. There’s a better chance if we complain together.”
I nod, thinking he’d have a better chance if he made an effort to clean himself up. When we moved into the neighborhood decades ago, Zach had been a handsome man with an easy smile and a mop of thick black hair. A homicide detective whose pretty wife, Tina, taught art at the nearby elementary school. The perfect neighbors on a perfect street of tiny Craftsman homes. Then their son died in a tragic accident, and Tina passed soon after that. A broken man, Zach took early retirement and nearly drank himself to death. He’s in recovery now and has replaced the booze with an obsession for neighborhood affairs. “What about my petition?” he asks. “You plan on signing that?”
I bite my lower lip. “I’m not sure.”
“Construction begins next week.”
“I wish I could, but . . .”
Mumbling under his breath, he eyes me with a frown. He’s also taken to talking to himself. Is dementia creeping up? “But what?” he asks.
“I don’t think it’s wise for someone in my position to take a political stance.”
“Your position?” He rolls his eyes. “You work at an old folks’ home.”
“I work in a life-care community.”
“Same thing.”
“No, it’s not.”
His frown deepens into a crevasse. “So, you’re okay with those homes coming down?” He nods at the four vacant bungalows located directly across the street. They’re slated for demolition, to be replaced by a ten-thousand-square-foot mansion with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Our future neighbors are a flashy young couple with toddler twins and an army of well-groomed staff. Seems our former middle-class neighborhood is attracting the fashionable Hollywood types.
“I’m not okay with it,” I say, “but what can we do? The planning commission has made their decision. We’re not going to change their minds.”
“But if we don’t take action, it won’t be long before people like us can’t live in this town.”
“At least we’ll make a mint when we sell.”
“You’re not thinking of moving, are you?”
“Of course not.” Although I might if the price is right.
Zach sniffs and takes a swipe at his nose. “I just wish we could stop these assholes. They even complained about my new picket fence.”
I hold my voice steady. “They did?” Last month, Zach replaced his aging fence with a synthetic version that lists from side to side.
“Hell yes. City says my fence is four inches too tall, and I’ve got one month to replace the thing.
Where the hell am I going to get that kind of money? My pension only goes so far.” He searches my face with his electric-blue eyes. They’re the only part of him that haven’t aged.
“That’s terrible,” I say, dropping my gaze and backpedaling down the driveway. “Got to get to work. Have a nice day.” I hurry through the gate, swimming through waves of guilt. What if Zach finds out I turned him in? He’ll be angrier than a cornered wasp. But by the time I step out of the shower, I’ve pushed away all my self-doubt. Is it my fault his fence is too tall? For God’s sake, rules are rules.
***
Excerpt from What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright © 2019 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.




Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. Before her dive into thrillers, Riggs worked as a business banker, adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive. What She Never Said is the second novel in her loosely linked Santa Barbara Suspense series. The first, What She Gave Away, was published by Thomas & Mercer in September of 2018.


Catch Up With Catharine Riggs On:


www.CatharineRiggs.com, Goodreads, & BookBub, Twitter!




Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!





Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Catharine Riggs. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) print copy of What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. The giveaway begins on August 18, 2019 and runs through September 22, 2019. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Best of luck! 

Many thanks to Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours and Catharine Riggs! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

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