First up was Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. This 'new to me' series was recommended by Kay at Kay's Reading Life and this is book one in the series.
The Chief of Police at Painter's Mill, Ohio is Kate Burkholder. The town has a large Amish population and Kate herself was brought up Amish but left the religion/way of life in her teens. Thus, her relationship with her family and former Amish neighbours is almost non-existant. And life isn't that easy as a female chief of police either. Her fellow police officers have accepted her but dealing with town politics and politicians with personal agendas is never easy.
A body is discovered in a snowy field by a police officer chasing straying cows. The young woman's body is severely mutilated and it's obvious she's been murdered. Sixteen years ago there were several identical murders, is the killer back? Kate has a terrifying secret in her past which makes her think this serial killer can't be. But might she be wrong?
I must say a big 'thank you' to Kay for suggesting this series as this book was rivetting. A real pageturner. I really liked Kate and felt for her in her difficult situation. So much unfairness and injustice in her life and that made this book much more than just a crime yarn. The wintery, Ohio setting was superbly portrayed and I felt myself there in all the snowy bleakness. I will say that this book is not for the faint-hearted. If you don't care for gory descriptions (think Tess Gerritsen) and psychological type crime scenarios then this might not be for you. Personally, I couldn't put it down and have already put the next book on reserve at the library.
After that I fancied yet another psychological type thriller so I moved on to The Killing Place (or Ice Cold) by - funnily enough - Tess Gerritsen, book 8 in her long-running Rizzoli and Isles series.
Maura Isles is off to Jackson Hole in Wyoming for a medical conference. Her personal life is complicated at the moment because of who she's heavily involved with. At the conference she comes across Doug Comley who was at medical college with her, although the two were not really friends. He has his 13 year old daughter at the conference with him, plus two friends, and at dinner one night he tells Maura that they're all going to head off to a lodge in the mountains when the conference ends. He eventually persuades Maura to go with them. Things start out well but deteriorate when the sat nav sends them up the wrong road on the mountain. The car ends up in a ditch and the four adults and a child are stranded. There's no mobile phone signal and they didn't tell anyone where they were going. (This strikes me as TSTL... Too Stupid To Live!) They start out walking and come across a small settlement in a snow filled valley. What is this place? Why does it appear like a Marie Celeste scenario where people have disappeared off the face of the earth in the middle of their meals? Something is not right here and Maura knows without a shadow of a doubt that they need to get out of here and back to civilisation as soon as possible. But how?
Cracking good read this one. Tess Gerritsen never disappoints, her books always gallop along at breakneck speed, scaring you to death half the time but always hugely enjoyable. *If* you don't mind the fact that they are a bit gory. She doesn't spare the reader any details of autopsies and some of it does make you shudder a bit. Her main characters, Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles are not blonde bimbo type women, they're intelligent, thoughtful, 'different'. Very different to each other too and I like that. The plot here seems simple but, typically, it turns out not to be. I thought I had it all worked out and of course that was nonsense. LOL! Good stuff. I won't leave it so long next time before I read more in this series.