Black Wolf (Natalya Ivanova, Book 2)

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Author: G.D. Abson

Genre: Crime Fiction/Thriller/Noir

Publisher: Mirror Books

Pages: 336

A woman is found dead outside of St. Petersburg. After investigating, Captain Natalya Ivanova links her to an anti-Putin activist group. A government group that has been looking in to this group steps in and shuts down her investigation before it gets anywhere. After another activist disappears, Natalya is forced to go undercover in an attempt to discover what is really going on and find the murderer. This decision could put not only her career, but her family and personal life at risk. 

I was hoping for something a bit different than my “normal” thriller when I received this copy of Black Wolf, and boy did I get it with this wonderfully written crime fiction noir. This novel grabbed me and pulled me in to the story from the very beginning, and I did not want to put it down. The writing is beautifully atmospheric, and although I’ve never been to Russia, I could picture everything vividly. The story is very much character driven, so thankfully the author does a wonderful job of writing complex and multifaceted characters. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and their stories, especially Natalya, who presented a wonderful strong female lead. This was exactly the gritty crime drama that I was looking for, and I enjoyed it immensely! This is the first of Abson’s books that I have read, but it is the second in this series. The first is Motherland, and you can bet that I will be picking that one up! 

This title releases on May 16. 

Many thanks to Mirror Books for the ARC! 

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Small Kingdoms and Other Stories

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Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publisher: JABerwocky

Pages: 176

Anne DeWitt is not the kind of principal that one wants to cross. Before coming to Travis High she had quite a different job at a very different type of school, and a different name. That was before the incident, of course. She now has her new name, new job, new town, and new life- unless her old one catches up with her. Anne likes her new life, a lot in fact, and she’s willing to do anything to protect it… anything. She may have to put that resolve to the test when her past makes an appearance in her present. 

As a long time fan of Charlaine Harris’ work, I was very excited to receive her latest work for review, and I was not disappointed! This is a book of four short stories centered around Anne and another character (introduced in the first story) Holt, and their exploits under new identities and new lives. Both of the main characters are well developed the first story and continue to become more fleshed out as the stories continue on. The secondary characters that are introduced in each story are also interesting and well developed. These stories were very different from my favorite series’ of Harris’ (Midnight, Texas is one of my favorite trilogies!), but it is definitely written with her voice and style. While I certainly wouldn’t say that it is laugh out loud funny, there is some great snark and sass combined with a bit of dark humor from these characters that I found quite enjoyable. I truly didn’t want these stories to end, and hope that there are more to come from this world! 

Many thanks to JABerwocky for the ARC! 

This is out May 28!