Review: The Smiling Man (Aidan Waits Thriller #2) by Joseph Knox

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘Packing a punch from the very first page. You will love The Smiling Man’ Jane Harper, author of The Dry

From the bestselling author of Sirens, Detective Aidan Waits is on the hunt to find the identity of The Smiling Man.

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city.

There they find the body of a man. He is dead.

And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.

When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.

And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Smiling Man will be available January 15, 2019. 

I have been looking forward to reading The Smiling Man for awhile now and I’m happy to report that I liked it even more than the first book in the series.

Aidan Waits is such an interesting character. I was glad to see he was more sober in this book. His life is still a mess, but I feel he’s at least trying to get things in the right direction. I enjoyed his dysfunctional relationship with his shift partner/superior officer, Sutty. Their banter brought a little bit of levity to the otherwise heavy story, even though it was more of a dark humor. I was into it, though.

I thought the writing in the first book could be a little scattered and hard to follow at times, but I didn’t feel that way about this one. While there are several threads that I didn’t really see the connection in until the end, they all made sense. I really do like Knox’s writing style. It’s pretty addictive and when I gave myself time to sit down and read this book, I never wanted to put it down. I loved how short most of the chapters were, too.

Overall, I enjoyed The Smiling Man. Knox’s writing style is unique and addictive and I am eternally fascinated by Aidan Waits. I thought the mystery was well done, but I could’ve spent a little less time on some of the side mysteries, even though they all play in to the bigger picture. I am definitely looking forward to more in this series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: October 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher. Read September 28-30 (yes, this was September, but I finished it late in the month and it didn’t make the last post). 3.5 Stars. 

I started out really liking this and just how crazy all the characters are. I was completely addicted. But then about half way through I started to get a little bored. I thought things drug out a little long. And I was expecting Jolene to really be more crazy than the other two and have some master plan or something, but I found her incredibly boring. I kept waiting for something completely shocking to happen at the end and was left really underwhelmed. ****Maybe a spoiler-alert??? So is this story supposed to be something that actually happened in real life to the author? Is that what the ending means? If it is, it kind of annoys me that the story had to rely on something outside of itself and couldn’t stand alone. If that’s not what it was supposed to mean….then what was the point?? Can someone please fill me in!!

**Note: I did get some comments when I posted this review on Goodreads that this story is in fact based on something that happened to the author. While it’s crazy, I still wish it would’ve been addressed in an Author Note or something instead of having the twist at the end be “this is based on true events.”

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. Read October 5-6. 4 Stars. 

First, I want to say a big thanks to Brandie for giving this to me for my birthday last year! I also want to say I’m sorry it took me so long to read it! Though there were a few things I didn’t like (I thought dressing up the statue of Jesus was a little offensive), overall I thought it was a great story about family and communication and forgiveness. I can definitely relate to secret-keeping and lack of communication in family. I loved the characters, even when they sometimes frustrated me, and their whole quirky living situation was kind of fascinating. I am not the CoHo fangirl so many are, but this has been the second book of hers I’ve had a hard time putting down. I liked that the angsty romance wasn’t the main focus of this book, too. I really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it!

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Reluctantly Married (Married #2) by Victorine E. Lieske. Read October 14-15. 4 Stars. 

This was a super cute fake relationship story. I liked both the main characters and was definitely rooting for them. While it could have been maybe a little better plotted, I just enjoyed reading it so much that I’m bumping my rating up to 4 stars. I also thought this was a good example of how a Romance can still bring all the feelings without any of the graphic content, which is always a plus in my book.

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Acting Married (Married #5) by Victorine E. Lieske. Read October 16-17. 3.5 Stars.

Another cute, sweet fake-relationship story. This was a super quick read with likable characters. There was one major thing that bothered me, though. Tara sometimes acted like she had no say whatsoever in what happened. Like in the beginning when the topic of getting married to save Rick’s image comes up and was dismissed she says something like, “Thank goodness he didn’t insist.” Like because she was one of the maids in his employment she wouldn’t be able to say no if he really insisted? There were a few things like that that bugged me. But overall, it was cute and I shipped the romance.

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Blissfully Married (Married #4) by Victorine E. Liekse. Read October 18-19. 2.5 Stars. 

I did not like this book nearly as much as the other books in the series I’ve read. I had a really hard time liking Sidney. Blake was a little better, but I honestly didn’t care much for him either. I just couldn’t understand any of the choices Sidney made and found her really annoying. I also didn’t really get why Blake pursued her so hard. While I definitely recommend this series to Fake Relationship fans, I think it’s ok if you skip this one.

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Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls #2) by Julie Cross. Read October 23-25. 3 Stars. 

There were parts of this book I really liked and enjoyed, but there were also very large portions where I was just rolling my eyes a lot. I don’t remember a whole lot of the first book in this series, but I definitely didn’t like Haley in that book (though she did kind of redeem herself by the end). I honestly didn’t really like her any better here. She really annoyed me about 90% of the time. I did like Fletcher, though. I thought the severity of his allergies were a little inconsistent throughout the book, but I did find everything he had to go through because of them interesting.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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Betrayed (Rosato & DiNunzio #2) by Lisa Scottoline. Some day I will actually get this book from the library and read more than a chapter. It just wasn’t this month.

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. After loving the Beartown series I decided to give this book a try. I only got a couple chapters in and just wasn’t into it. I’ll try it again someday, though.

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Say You Will (Summerhill #1) by Kate Perry. This book has been on my radar for years, but it’s never been at the library. Recently it was a free Kindle book and I snatched it up. Unfortunately, I just had such a hard time getting into it. I really disliked almost all the characters and pretty much everything they did. I’ll give it a try another time, though.

*****Book with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – 4 Stars

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – 3 Stars

The Smiling Man (Aidan Waits Thriller #2) by Joseph Knox – 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. Read July 1-3. 3 Stars. 

This wasn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I developed a theory about how the two storylines were connected fairly early on and it ended up being right. When that was finally revealed to be true I kept expecting something else shocking or twisty to happen at the end of the book, but nothing did. So I guess if you didn’t figure it out early it would appear as a fun twist, but it was just kind of ho hum for me. I did like the different POVs, though, and I really liked Gabe, even though he frustrated me many times.

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Sirens (Aidan Waits Thriller #1) by Joseph Knox. July 4-6. 4 Stars. 

This book is dark and kind of messed up, but I really enjoyed it. Short chapters and a fast pace made it a pretty quick read. I wavered a little bit with what to rate it because I found myself sometimes not really understanding what was going on and the writing seemed a little scattered at times. However, I liked that Knox was able to take a rather cliched storyline (addict/kind of dirty cop main character, drugs, murder, etc.) into something that really did seem unique. I thought the mystery was pretty well done and it kept my interest the whole time. I’m definitely looking forward to more from this series.

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My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Read June 27-July 7. 2 Stars. 

I am so disappointed!!! My Lady Jane is one of my absolute favorite books and I have been looking forward to My Plain Jane for so long. Unfortunately it just fell so short of my expectations. The humor that I loved in the previous book felt so forced here. This book got a couple of chuckles out of me, but much more eye-rolling. I also didn’t love the Jane Eyre-Ghostbusters mash-up. I felt like the story really dragged and it did not keep my attention. I actually read two other books in the time it took me to finish this one. I had originally really liked the idea of having Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre both be characters, but I didn’t end up liking either of them. Alexander was probably my favorite POV of the three, but I didn’t really care that much about him either. I’m just overall really underwhelmed and disappointed with this one.

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Catch Him if You Can (Accidentally Yours #2) by Jennifer Shirk. Read July 19-21. 4 Stars. 

This book was so cute! After reading a number of mysteries/thrillers lately I was really in the mood for something light and sweet and Catch Him If You Can was exactly what I needed. I found myself smiling through the whole book. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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I Knew You Were trouble (Oxford #4) by Lauren Layne. Read July 22-23. 3.5 Stars.

This wasn’t my favorite Lauren Layne book, but it was still enjoyable. I liked Nick. Taylor took awhile to grow on me, but she wasn’t bad. I was looking for something light and quick to read and this was perfect for that.

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Hard Sell (21 Wall Street #2) by Lauren Layne. Read July 27-28. 4 Stars.

I love both Fake Relationship and Hate-to-Love stories and this book utilized both. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. Read July 28-29. 3.5 Stars.

I’ve had some mixed reviews with the Christina Lauren books I’ve read so I’m never really sure what to expect when I pick one up. However, I do know that there will be some addicting writing that will make the book hard to put down and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was exactly that. Full review to come closer to release date.