Never Tell by Lisa Gardner
This is a tale of 3 different (and stupid) women. Evie's husband has been murdered and she's the only suspect. Evie has no emotional security, sabotaged her own marriage, was accused of another shooting years ago and her cumulative idiocy leads her into trouble.
D.D.Warren is a cop (COP!) and a mom (MOM!) and she's tough (TOUGH!) - in other words a walking cliche who needs others to help her solve Evie's case. Flora is a survivor who was held prisoner by a particularly horrific criminal. Escaping him hasn't helped her escape complete despair. Her debasement led to compliancy and she helped him target other women. Something she has escaped judgement for. All her tormentor's other victims? She seems not to care about them.
Flora's dead tormentor is linked to Evie's case. This is a good tale of Dark Web infiltration, women suffering the consequences of stupidity and a baddie doing a big speech full of exposition during an escalating confrontation instead of shooting people. This is a tale of emotionally unstable irrevocably changed women and seriously immortal behaviour. Flora is irascible and given to hysterical terror and self destructive obsessions due to the ghastly period in her life.
The plot line of Flora's late kidnapper being part of a bigger network with unknown helpers and unknown victims and a as yet undiscovered lair is a hideous scenario that will probably play into future books. As will the endlessly troubled Flora's extremely high risk behaviour and indifference to/being intentionally aware of other victims.
Evie and Flora hate their mothers. There are all-consuming lies and people earn negative consequences for being stupid. Evie, Flora and D.D. Aren't the least bit likeable and Flora's callous selfish disregard has caused irreparable harm and she's ungrateful to those who help her and her emotional turbulence and morbid fixation grate.
This was oddly enthralling even if Flora was so jaded that when she was with her captor someone detected her pain and came to her (thwarted) rescue – she failed to recognise it; then and now.
“They know you for who you are.”
“I'm surrounded by nutjobs with no repsect for law enforcement.”
“Secure her own future.”
“Everything was good again. And then...it wasn't.”
The Plague Stones by James Brogden
A village is haunted by the unfriendly ghost of a plague victim who is antagonistically resisting lying still in her unhallowed grave. The ghostly dead bitch has no terrifying impact as a family with an unresolved past and uncertain future move into the village. I don't care about her grievances. She's aberrant, this was just boring and had no limitless potential.