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Joe Hartlaub

Biography

Joe Hartlaub

Senior Writer
josephhartlaub@gmail.com

Joe Hartlaub is senior writer/reviewer for Bookreporter.com and has been with the site since 1997. In addition to reviewing for Bookreporter.com, Joe has had a number of short stories published in the crime and horror fields and is an actor, having had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed film LA-308. An entertainment attorney specializing in music and publishing, Joe lives in Westerville, Ohio with his family, who permit him to do a number of things that he probably shouldn't. He describes himself as a boring guy who lives a very interesting life. He has been a vociferous reader since he was four years old, starting with the Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie comic strips, before graduating to the Hardy Boys mystery series (the original one) before being thoroughly corrupted by Mickey Spillane and Richard Prather.

Joe Hartlaub

Reviews by Joe Hartlaub

by Jeff Lemire - Fiction, Graphic Novel

Derek Ouelette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too much and fighting anyone who crosses him. But he never counts on his long-lost sister, Beth, showing up one day out of the blue, back in town and on the run from an abusive boyfriend. Looking to hide out for a while, the two siblings hunker down in a secluded hunting camp deep in the local woods. It is there that they attempt to find a way to reconnect with each other and the painful secrets of their past...even as Beth’s ex draws closer.

by Mary Torjussen - Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Hannah Monroe's boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It's as though their last four years together never happened. As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she'll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth.

by Robin Yocum - Fiction, Mystery

After his unspectacular professional baseball career ends with a knee injury in Toledo, Ohio, Johnny Earl gets busted for selling cocaine. After serving seven years in prison, all he wants to do is return to his hometown of Steubenville, retrieve the drug money he stashed before he went to jail, and start a new life where no one has ever heard of Johnny Earl. However, before he can leave town with his money, Johnny is picked up for questioning in the murder of Rayce Daubner, the FBI informant who had set him up on drug charges in the first place. Then his former prison cellmate shows up --- a white supremacist who wants the drug money to help fund an Aryan nation in the wilds of Idaho.

by Melissa Scrivner Love - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

The Crenshaw Six are a small but up-and-coming gang in South Central LA who have recently been drawn into an escalating war between rival drug cartels. To outsiders, the Crenshaw Six appear to be led by a man named Garcia --- yet what no one has figured out is that the gang's real leader (and secret weapon) is Garcia's girlfriend, a brilliant young woman named Lola. Lola has mastered playing the role of submissive girlfriend, and in the man's world she inhabits, she is consistently underestimated. But in truth she is much, much smarter --- and in many ways tougher and more ruthless --- than any of the men around her.

by Jeffery Deaver - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

A businessman is snatched from an Upper East Side street in broad daylight, and a miniature hangman's noose is left at the scene. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are called in to investigate. Soon the case takes a stranger turn: a recording surfaces of the victim being slowly hanged, his desperate gasps the backdrop to an eerie piece of music. The video is marked as the work of The Composer. Despite their best efforts, the suspect gets away. So when a similar kidnapping occurs on a dusty road outside Naples, Italy, Rhyme and Sachs don't hesitate to rejoin the hunt. But the search is now a complex case of international cooperation --- and not all those involved may be who they seem.

by Daniel Cole - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after he was suspended for assaulting a vindicated suspect. Still under psychological evaluation, Fawkes returns to the force eager for a big case. When his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene, he’s sure this is it: the body is made of the dismembered parts of six victims, sewn together like a puppet --- a corpse that becomes known as “The Ragdoll.” Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them. The final name on the list is Fawkes.

by Darcey Bell - Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

When Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her son, Nicky, after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and Stephanie’s son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together --- just like she and Emily. But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong; Emily would never leave Nicky. Terrified, she reaches out to Emily’s husband, Sean, offering emotional support. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over. Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing --- not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor --- is as simple as it seems.

by James Patterson and David Ellis - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

A horrifying murder leads investigators to an unexpected address --- an exclusive brothel that caters to Chicago's most powerful citizens. There's plenty of incriminating evidence on the scene, but what matters most is what's missing: the madam's black book. Now shock waves are rippling through the city's elite, and everyone is desperate to find it. As everyone who's anyone in Chicago scrambles to get their hands on the elusive black book, no one's motives can be trusted.

by Paul Levine - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Jake Lassiter’s client, Miami Dolphins’ running back Thunder Thurston, has been cleared of murdering his wife. Jake didn’t expect to win (or want to win) since he is sure his client is guilty. When Thurston walks free, Lassiter vows to seek his own kind of justice. Street justice. Vigilante justice. Law partners Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord can’t believe their friend has become so obsessed with killing Thurston. Convinced Jake’s unhinged behavior is due to concussive brain injuries suffered during his football career, they beg him to seek treatment. But as Lassiter’s raging fixation on vengeance grows, Solomon and Lord wonder if they’re too late to help.

by Stuart Prebble - Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Michael Beaumont is head over heels with the woman of his dreams. But Alison is harboring a dangerous secret, one that threatens to break loose once Michael introduces her to his last remaining relative. Michael's grandmother Rose, who raised him from childhood, isn't quite the woman she used to be --- her memory is failing her, and she's prone to fits of wild emotion. But something about Rose's outburst upon meeting Alison seems like more than just a simple delusion. And something about the string of murders terrorizing London, with incidents occurring just blocks from Michael, feels like more than just a coincidence. What is Rose not telling Michael? What is Alison hiding?