I work at home as a freelance writer. I enjoy reading, writing, and television.
There's light in the dark.
Mary Stone has become one of my favorite authors. Her books feature some gruesome scenes and plenty of mystery/suspense, but there's also light in the dark in every story. She depicts friendships and relationships among the characters in her stories, which helps them not seem so bad. Good always prevails and the characters you come to love, despite coming to some harm, always make it out alive.
She has 8 different series so far, and all of them are worth reading in my opinion. They each feature a female lead, either in the FBI, police, or private detective field.
The newest series was announced at the end of April '22, and was released on May 2nd. She also has at least one other series in the works, and 7 of her collections all have at least one more installment as well.
Her series in order of when they began:
|Title||Number of Books|
10 and a novella so far
5 (series has ended)
11 so far
9 so far
9 so far
5 so far
1 so far
1 so far
She debuted her first book in January 2022.
Eva Sparks got her start in 2022 with her first book, The Girl in Room 16. It's engaging, had some unexpected twists, and kept my attention. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which was very reminiscent to me of Mary Stone's work. A female agent named Darcy Hunt is at the center of the story.
Fortunately, the book wasn't her last. A second joined the series by the end of February. Her Final Wish is book #2 in the Darcy Hunt FBI Mystery Suspense Thriller. It was more slowly paced in the beginning, but was still a good story overall and helped us get to know more about Darcy and those closest to her.
A number 3 continued the story of Darcy finding her sister. She titled it, The Girls They Kept. Darcy is still on the hunt for her sister, all while solving another disturbing case. With the story left unfinished, a 4th book should be expected. I would imagine we'd see it before the end of the year.
Note: One Kindle reviewer for book 1 said Amazon never should have recommended the book because of all the mistakes. I strongly disagree! Yes, the books have had a word missing here and there (LOTS of books do), but it's easy enough to infer what was meant, and the storyline is entirely worthwhile of a read. With 4.5 stars and nearly 500 reviews on book 1 alone, it's clear people agree that the series is enjoyable!
Beware: all your favorites won't make it out alive!
Jeff Menapace writes some great horror/suspense books. His stories are well-written and have you wanting to read more. Be aware though that not all the good guys make it out alive. There are some tough losses in some of his stories, particularly the series, Bad Games.
I haven't read everything by him, but have finished a couple of series and some standalone novels. I particularly enjoyed the Bad Games series, as well as the first book in the spin-off, Caleb. I also liked Wildlife and Wildlife: Reckoning. I'm looking forward to the next installments of both. (Caleb: Atonement is expected sometime during Summer 2022.)
Another book I read, Numb, isn't exactly a standalone, but only has some short stories to follow that I haven't read. I liked this book the least so far out of what I've read from him because the main character isn't really likeable and there's no one good in the story to root for. It's rated 4.2 stars with 648 reviews though, so clearly plenty of people enjoyed it.
I also read Dark Halls by Menapace, which was a decent supernatural/spooky thriller. Next up will be his newest book -- a collection of short stories -- titled, A Hammer, a Worm, and a Fortune Cookie: Three Tantalizing Tales of the Macabre.
NOTE: This author is not for those offended by DARK humor, cuss words, and violent scenes involving children.
She's started a great series with a female lead.
Katy Pierce is a new author who just debuted her first novel at the end of 2021. Now she already has 4 books in her series, with the fourth having just arrived at the end of April 2022.
If you enjoy female leads who take down bad guys, you should enjoy her work. Allie Grecco is a former military member turned vigilante, hunting down men who hurt women. She then joins Soldiers-for-Hire and works with other former military people tasked with solving cases the police couldn't - or wouldn't - handle.
The Allie Grecco series originally featured these titles:
- Rising From the Ashes
- Fighting Through the Pain
- Pulling On the Thread
- Luring Out the Truth
However, she then started to rebrand her books, and changed book one's title to The Cover Up. After a bit of thinking, she changed it again, and now has a whole new set of 4 titles and covers for her series. You'll now see them as:
- Justice for the Missing Body
- Justice for the Missing Students
- Justice for the Missing Father
- Justice for the Teenage Girls
A 5th will be added to the collection of stories.
He works within several genres.
Patrick Reuman has several standalone books. All seem to stay within the 200-300 page range, except for some short stories he has. My favorite has been The Little Runaway, which was co-written by Edmund Stone.
He seems to work within a variety of genres, with The Little Runaway being more of a YA mystery. A Place So Wicked had a supernatural aspect, while Sin was a short suspense/horror story. He's got quite a few books to his name that I haven't checked out yet, but they're definitely on my list. I most recently finished reading The Adirondack Witch, which was a good supernatural/mental health depiction.
NOTE: He does have some repetition in his stories, and isn't well-polished by any means. You might notice a missing word here or there. But his books are easy to get through nonetheless and keep my attention. He's worth giving a try.
Start with Pax Arrington
I read the Pax Arrington series by Elle Gray and really enjoyed it. He's sarcastic and funny, but has a sensitive side thanks to his wife who has passed away. Though it was deemed an accident, Paxton has to work to discover the truth behind her demise. The former policeman turned private investigator handles some other crazy cases in the meantime.
Gray has 2 other series, which I haven't read yet. The Blake Wilder series is essentially a spin-off of Paxton. She's an FBI agent who also happens to be a good friend of his. Then there's the Olivia Knight FBI thriller series as well.
NOTE: This is a seemingly self-published author who does have quite a bit of typos at times. Despite that, the Pax story is a good one and she's worth checking out. Plus, with over 5,360 reviews at 4.4 stars for just the first book in the Blake Wilder series, and more than 6,050 reviews at 4.1 stars for book 1 of Olivia Knight, it's clear people are taking major interest in this author's work.
Her series are:
|Title||Number of Books|
Pax Arrington Mystery
Blake Wilder (FBI Mystery Thriller)
Olivia Knight (FBI Mystery Thriller)
4 (with a 5th on the way)
Note that the Oliva Knight series is written by both Elle Gray and K.S. Gray.
CAUTION! Triggering scenes ahead
This guy writes some seriously sick and twisted stuff! But his books really pull you in because the writing and overall story is worthwhile. One of his books, Lambs to the Slaughter, was very reminiscent of the Saw movies. They definitely have lots of gruesome and gory scenes.
I also read The Girl in the Attic by him. It was a worthwhile read, but will be very triggering for victims of abuse. So disclaimer for that!
NOTE: This author is not for the faint of heart! If you're easily triggered by violence against children, scenes of abuse, etc, then this author will not be tolerable for you. He also has VERY gruesome scenes and some downright nasty stuff described, especially in his short story, The Gift, which is part of the horror anthology series featuring a ton of different authors, Broken, Battered Bodies. His books even warn you that reader discretion is advised. Despite all that, the stories definitely stick with you.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Brandi Goodman