Sunday, March 12, 2017

Alexandra Sokoloff Presents Bitter Moon, latest in The Huntress/FBI Thrillers!

The psychiatrist sits behind an ugly desk in a long room lines with books. It is the all-purpose meeting room, for appointments with social workers, sessions with therapists. Dr. Everhardt begins the way they all begin.
"How are you feeling today, Cara?"
He is already looking at her neck and it is all she can do not to lunge across the desk and scratch out his eyes.
"Eden," she says, without inflection.
"Of course," he says. "Eden. I'll just start by asking a few questions, all right?"
The questions are always the same: In the past week, did you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Did you feel depressed or sad? Were you afraid of things? Did you think or worry about bad things that you have seen or have happened to you? Did you have thoughts of harming yourself? Did you have thoughts of harming someone else?
Her answers are carefully calculated. Of course she doesn't think about harming herself. Of course she doesn't think about harming anyone else. For some of the lesser questions, like Were you sad this week?--it's safe to answer yes or "once or twice" or "on a few days." That's Normal. Every answer she gives is designed to make her appear Normal, just as every question is designed to trick her into seeming Not Normal.
And then come the crucial questions, the ones she must always answer with No.
"Are you seeing anything that shouldn't be there?"
You mean the shadows that are more than shadows?
"Are you hearing voices?"
Just the moon talking, and the air, and the lizards...
"Any flashbacks?"
Like the monster in my room?
"Nothing that scares you?"
"No," she says.
No matter how she answer these questions. They will give her medication anyway. All the group home kids are medicated. She wants the medication. She would like it to work.
She sees things, of course she sees things, and hears things too, ever since The Night.
According to Them, the things she sees aren't real. So they give her drugs to make them go away.
The problem is, they don't.
When she leaves the psychiatrist, she walks back to the bedroom wing, past the signs on the walls. Instead of pictures and posters, there are charts and lists of rules. She notes the doors. Every door. Front door, back door, side door.
In her waistband is the pen she picked up from the psychiatrist's desk. The rules on pens vary from group home to group home. The wards here may be allowed pens, they may not. But a pen is as functional a weapon as a knife, and less likely to result in jail time, since the meaning of a pen is ambiguous. There is nothing ambiguous about a concealed knife.

Bitter Moon

By Alexandra Sokoloff

I've only been able to read two books from this great series... Check out my review of Huntress Moon, the Debut. Fortunately, Bitter Moon provides sufficient information on what has been missed to allow readers to move easily into this latest book. For instance, The Night is referred to by Cara, the main character, a number of times, but the explanation about this being the night when all her family was killed, except her, who was wounded and appeared to be dead, is explained. I hope to still fully catch up on books I've missed since I love the writing of the author and, in particular, this series.

In this book there is a unique character switch between Roarke, the FBI agent who has been involved in the case from the beginning. The switch to Cara, however, is to a time when she was only 14. She had arrived at Las Petras to move into a group home after she had been released from prison. This produced an intriguing, almost eerie time gap situation since Cara had conducted her own investigation during her short time in Las Petras, while Roarke, who had been on leave, gets a call which was curious enough that he took a trip to talk to the caller and find out more.

In essence, Roarke finds out what had happened in the little town of Las Piedras, during Cara's stay... and cannot leave it alone... As he works to find out what was going on he meets a nun who had known Cara and as he tells her more about what had happened, she offers for him to stay in the mission guest house and she works along with him as she was able... She had been involved and wanted to see it finally finished!

Cara, after the deaths of her parents, had become more attuned to people, or perhaps it was a paranormal change to her after the trauma. And she had begun to see visions... Either way, Cara was now able to identify an individual who carried IT--Evil!
And so when she had started to school and had seen a young girl, bloody and hurt, walking toward her, she knew. IT was here in Las Piedras. She tried to talk to the girl, even following her into the restroom where they could talk, if she would. But the girl wouldn't share anything with Cara.

That wouldn't work for Cara. Where evil was, she was ready to do what she had come to know was her mission. To eliminate IT wherever IT was...

She started her own investigation and soon had met several men she was trying to learn more about. She also began to follow Laura and saw her one day entering a group of people, including students. She began to feel that this was where it was happening for Laura...

And then she followed her to a local mission and saw her enter and go to visit somebody who was in one of the rooms. Only to discover that there was another young girl, also 14, as Laura and Cara were. Except she could not speak, and her entire body was covered with burned skin...She had been raped and then burned and left to die. But she was strong enough to return and was given a home at this mission while the police were trying to find out who had done this terrible thing...

Nobody ever knew what Cara had discovered. Until we read of Roarke's investigation years later. Cara is now wanted for murder, older, and still following her mission. But Roarke has come to Las Piedras. And when he discovers what happened during Cara's short stay--that two girls the same age as Cara were dead, he began to dig further, asking members of his former FBI team to do some research. What he found was unbelievable... There was a trail of deaths going back years. And, it was still going on!

The evil in Las Piedras MUST be stopped! Cara started years ago; Roark finished it in a totally surprising climax that is exciting, but much more, totally satisfying! Good over evil! I love it! But what will happen to Cara as she is out there finding IT? Will she ever be captured to pay for the completion of her mission to destroy evil? Should she? Quite a provocative tale for us to consider! Don't you think?! 

Readers, you know by now... check it out or not...This is a very graphic novel of what is even now being done to young children who are taken away from families by evil people. Personally I need to know that there are those speaking out to say Good does win...I highly recommend this thriller!


"Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre." - The New York Times

ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON, BITTER MOON, HUNGER MOON - now n development as a TV series), and the supernatural HAUNTED thrillers (THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, THE SPACE BETWEEN). The New York Times Book Review called her a "daughter of Mary Shelley," and her books "Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre."

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written three non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS, STEALING HOLLYWOOD, and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (, and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. In her spare time (!) she performs with The Slice Girls and Heather Graham's all-author Slush Pile Players, and dances like a fiend. She is also very active on Facebook. But not an addict. Seriously, it's under control.

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