In Allison Brennan’s SUDDEN DEATH, FBI Agent Megan Elliott ends up teamed with mercenary Jack Kincaid in a race to stop a couple of serial killers. SUDDEN DEATH is billed as romantic suspense, and the suspense is aces. Fabulous pacing and edge-of-your-seat story telling. I’m not a fan of procedurals, but this one kept me riveted. I’m also not a fan of romance because no matter how hardened and world weary the men, they invariably sound as though they were written by women, too much inner thought, too much qualifying in dialogue. This is not a critique, just an observation of the genre. It’s not meant to take away from SUDDEN DEATH, which is an excellent read.

PLACES IN THE DARK by Thomas H. Cook is the story of two brothers caught between a single mysterious woman. When one of the brothers is murdered and the woman suddenly disappears, the other brother, convinced she’s involved in the crime, becomes obsessed with finding her. I’m going to make this short and sweet. Cook is one of the finest mystery authors writing today. His prose is exquisite, his characters beautifully drawn and  his psychological insights compelling. Why he isn’t better known eludes me. I assume it’s because he refuses to write a series, his books tend toward the dark and are often told in flashbacks. If you enjoy mystery, suspense or psychological thrillers, read PLACES IN THE DARK. You won’t be disappointed.

Last but certainly not least is MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins in which Katniss Everdeen is cast as the Mockingjay. And that, my friends, is as much of a spoiler as you’re going to get. Darker and more violent then the first two books, with more anti-war sentiment and more social commentary, readers seem to either love or hate the final book in Collins’s Hunger Game series. If you’re vested in the Katniss, Peeta, Gale triangle, you may be disappointed in the book’s pointed political thrust. If you’re looking for a taste of  the real world, I offer up this dystopian fantasy. I liked it, but I’m a cynic without a drop of romance in my soul.