The Last House on Needless Street

Catriona Ward’s, THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET, leads readers on a mystery of a cold child kidnapping case while also delving into topics of mental illness.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire for providing me an e-book copy of THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET to review.

I wasn’t sure how this book would read for me because I knew there were mixed reviews – readers either loved it or hated it. I think I was in between. It’s hard to review the book without giving away too much information.

Here’s the synopsis: “This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. All these things are true. And yet they are all lies… You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…”

So, the book focuses a lot on mental illness, which is important. But, the problem I had was keeping up with the characters and how they related to the missing girl. It was also a very slow-paced plot. I enjoyed the overall creepiness of the book, which is perfect for cold weekend in January. I would enjoy reading the next book the author, Catriona Ward, writes.

I rate THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET three out of five stars.

My Brother’s Spare

Debut author, Shira Behore, introduces readers to Valeria Anson, the daughter of a kingdom’s head of law enforcement, who desperately wants to solve her mother’s murder.

Thank you to NetGalley and Long Island Press for an e-book copy of MY BROTHER’S SPARE to review. I’m not the biggest fan of Historical Fiction. I’m a huge mystery reader, but I shy away from historical fiction sometimes because the stories can be hard to follow, or the language doesn’t have an easy flow to it.

I didn’t find that to be the case with MY BROTHER’S SPARE. Author Shira Behore takes us back in time to the 19th Century long before cell phones and DNA evidence were used to solve murders.

Valeria Anson’s father is the Chief of the Kingdom’s Imperial Force, aka, the head of law enforcement. Valeria and her twin brother, Victor, witness their mother’s murder when they were children. The evening has haunted Valeria for years. Determined to find her mother’s killer, Valeria finds herself questioning her past, becoming an amateur sleuth unbeknownst to her father and gains a partner in the kingdom’s serial killer.

At the heart of the whodunit is Valeria’s loyalty to her father and brother, all the while taking her spot as the quiet daughter who should be happy her father has not sent her off in an arranged marriage.

The serial killer, Alias Black, becomes a trusted ally, even though, you know, he kills people. The two have a slow burn of a romance. The morally grey area of the characters, for me, made the book.

I’m hoping MY BROTHER’S SPARE is the beginning of a new mystery series.

This Nieve kingdom is as dangerous as Jessica Fletcher’s Cabot Cove, but I feel like it could be a treasure trove of mysteries waiting to be solved.

I rate MY BROTHER’S SPARE four out of five stars.