Thursday, February 8, 2024

Mini Reviews: Thriller Edition

I love audio books as they make everyday mundane tasks and car rides that much more entertaining. To me, there is nothing better than a suspenseful audio book that will make you keep listening. Today I'm sharing two thrillers that kept me coming back for more.


First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
Genre: Adult Fiction/Audio Book
Pub. Date: January 2, 2024
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: 10 Blind Dates
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars  

Goodreads says,"Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist. The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job. Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes—especially after what happened last time. Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn't be higher—but then, Evie has always liked a challenge..."

Evie Porter (that isn't her real name!) is on assignment. Her mark is Ryan Sumner and he has fallen in love with her. Her job isn't done though as her employer, Mr. Smith, has explicit instructions for her and the pressure is mounting. When she meets some of Ryan's friends, she is introduced to Lucca Marino, a girlfriend of one of Ryan's friends. This is all well and good except Lucca Marino is Evie's actual name! Mr. Smith is testing her on this job as she botched up the last one and there's a lot at stake here. Things get even more messed up when Lucca dies in a car crash and upon the investigation, Evie's name pops up with a warrant. It shouldn't as it's been cleared before this job, so something is going wrong. Readers will be kept on their toes with all the twists and turns in First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of twists and turns in First Lie Wins, so many that I was getting confused at times, and not entirely every twist is 100% believable. The novel wasn't my favorite of thrillers (some readers are raving about this book!), but I really enjoyed being caught up in this cat-and-mouse chase between Evie and Mr. Smith. There's also the fact that Ryan is caught up in some shady business dealings of his own, so this complicates things further. Elston also provides readers with flashbacks to Evie's start in this "career" with Mr. Smith and her former jobs that will keep readers entertained. All the while readers are wondering if Evie can trust Ryan. First Lie Wins is Elston's adult debut and I will be keeping my eye out for her novels in the future.

The Senator's Wife by Liv Constantine
Genre: Adult Fiction/Audio Book
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: May 23, 2023
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Last Mrs. Parrish
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "A D.C. philanthropist suspects that her seemingly perfect employee is secretly plotting to steal her husband, her reputation—even her life—in this seductive novel of psychological suspense from the internationally bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish. In this town, anyone is replaceable. . . . After a tragic chain of events led to the deaths of their spouses two years ago, D.C. philanthropist Sloane Chase and Senator Whit Montgomery are finally starting to move on. The horrifying ordeal drew them together, and now they're ready to settle down again—with each other. As Sloane returns to the world of White House dinners and political small talk, this time with her new husband, she's also preparing for an upcoming hip replacement—the latest reminder of the lupus diagnosis she's managed since her twenties. With both of their hectic schedules, they decide that hiring a home health aide will give Sloane the support and independence she needs post-surgery. And they find the perfect fit in Athena Karras. Seemingly a godsend, Athena tends to Sloane, and even helps her run her charitable foundation. But Sloane slowly begins to deteriorate—a complication, Athena explains, of Sloane's lupus. As weeks go by, Sloane becomes sicker, and her uncertainty quickly turns to paranoia as she begins to suspect the worst. Why is Athena asking her so many probing questions about her foundation—about her past? And could Sloane be imagining the sultry looks between Athena and her new husband? Riveting, fast-paced, and full of unbelievable twists, The Senator's Wife is a psychological thriller that upends the private homes of those who walk the halls of power. Because when you have it all, you have everything to lose."
Senator Robert Chase and his wife Sloane are hosting Senator Whit Montgomery and his wife for a relaxing weekend getaway. Things are anything but relaxing as Whit and his wife, Peg, have an all-out screaming match about Whit's possible infidelity. Cue the drama! Fast forward to weeks later and after a scuffle while Robert is trying to help Peg, who is his cousin, there is a gun drawn and Peg shoots Robert, on accident, and then takes her life all while Whit is watching. Fast forward yet again, and Whit and Sloane, brought together by the accident, are now married. Things are hunky-dory until Sloane has a lupus flare-up. She has also been suffering from a bad hip, due to lupus, and gets a hip replacement as per her doctor's orders. This surgery should ensure she no longer has pain daily. They hire a nurse, Athena, to help Sloane at home as she recovers, but she is proving to be a problem. Not only does Athena snoop around, she isn't who she says she is. Meanwhile, Robert's mother can't let go of the fact that her son was killed and blames Whit. She doesn't trust him and does some digging of her own. The Senator's Wife, another compelling domestic thriller by Liv Constantine, will prove to entertain readers and the twists left me surprised.

I really enjoyed the setting of Washington D.C. and all the drama that comes from that. The setting only added to the thrilling aspects of 
The Senator's Wife. While I felt compared to some of the other thrillers that this one wasn't entirely believable, I still enjoyed the wild ride. Constantine always promises some good twists and this novel had some. If you can overlook some minor issues, readers will be sure to have fun as they piece together the truth surrounding Sloane and her situation; it left my heart pounding.

So, are you a fan of domestic thrillers? Have you read these? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. I'm getting back into thrillers a bit more, but the believability factor is a big one for me - I get that it's fiction and the author can go wild, but sometimes they just leave me rolling my eyes!

    1. Yes! Agree! A lot of times you have to just let things slide for the sake of the story, but when it gets too unbelievable, I definitely don't enjoy the story as much. Thanks for visiting, Angela! I hope you read some more thrillers this year!


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