Today, I thought I would do something a bit different. Since Amazon is such a stickler about reviews, they wont let me review any of the books in Reese A. Stephens’ Oak Grove Suspense Series on Amazon because Reese and I are friends, but I just must tell people about it, so I decided to do it this way. As most of you know, I love crime suspense. Detectives, FBI Agents, Police Officers, ATF Agents, well, you get the picture. I also have always loved the psychological nature of cat and mouse games, which of course is why I have thoroughly enjoyed this series.
The Oak Grove Suspense Series follows Ryan Jacobs, former FBI Agent and current head detective, and Shayla Thorn, surgeon at the local hospital. The backstory in a nutshell is as follows: Ryan and Shayla grew up together and were high school sweethearts, but life got in the way and they became separated. Unbeknownst to Ryan, he and Shayla have son together. When he finds out, he is not too happy with her, but he still loves her and wants her to come back. After a failed marriage she does just that. They decide to try again, but their new found love may be short lived if serial killer, Jason Mathis, has anything to do with it.
The series begins with Vengeance where we are introduced to our main characters. “When Dr. Shayla Thorn moves back to her home town of Oak Grove, she is determined that this will be a new start for her and her son. But when Dylan’s father insists on righting the wrongs of their past, she’s torn between what she knows is right and what her heart wants. But the one thing she never expected was for her life to be thrown into utter chaos. Ryan Jacobs, former FBI agent and lead detective for Oak Grove and its surrounding areas, is determined to win Shayla’s heart and make up for the mistakes they made in the past. He won’t take no for an answer, but everything begins to unravel when he is called to the scene of a brutal crime almost identical to a slew of murders he solved long ago. It doesn’t take long for the pair to give into what their hearts want, but when an old nemesis seeks revenge on Ryan, everyone’s life is in danger. Will Ryan find the culprit in time to save the love of his life or will she fall victim to a vicious killer’s vengeance?”
I really enjoyed the cat and mouse came that was played in this story. There are points where you are left scratching your head (in a good way…LOL), trying to figure out what’s happening, and who the villain is. Ryan is a hot head, but in that sexy, I’ll do anything to protect you kind of way. Shayla, is strong willed and smart, but trusting to a fault. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but things get really chaotic and crazy when both Ryan and Shayla’s past comes back to haunt them. It’s a real page turner.
The next book in the series is Penance and in it we are introduced to a new case involving a man named Judson Hardenbergh. “Judson Hardenbergh’s life was perfect, that is until tragedy changed the course of his life. When a fire claims his family, he gives up on everything. Will moving back to his home town of Oak Grove save him from himself or drive him into deeper despair? For Ryan Jacobs, Oak Grove’s Chief of Police, it’s been smooth sailing since the abduction and murders that plagued the town, and almost cost him his family. Though Mathis is still at large, Ryan is confident that he’ll be able to catch him before he strikes again. When one of Ryan’s high school friends, Judson Hardenbergh, is accused of murder, he must jump into action and determine if ‘Jud’ is capable of committing this horrible crime. What he finds is that this case is more complicated than he imagined and that penance comes in many forms.”
This was another great addition to the series. I liked how Ryan and Shayla’s story still progressed, even though they weren’t the primary focus of this book. I loved the new characters in this story, including Ryan’s fiery sister, Laney, and my poor Judson. I felt so horrible for him and the life he had, losing his family really wrecked him and I was like, oh man, can’t this guy catch a break? But by the end I really feel that there was some hope for him to find happiness again. There are also some new bad guys to contend with, not mentioning any names but some may appear later 🙂
The final book in the series is Retribution and in it, we are introduced to more new characters, and get to see some that we have already grown attached too from previous books. “In the final showdown, Mathis has Shayla and Ryan is pulling out all stops to get her back. He’s angry at himself and his wife, but after a late night phone call from Shayla, the pair agrees to work together to take Mathis down, from the inside out. However, just as it seems their plan is working everything changes. Will Ryan be able to save her in time? Will he do the unthinkable to get her back? What price are they both willing to pay to find Retribution?”
Oh man, what a wild ride this book was. It is action packed all the way through, and I really wondered whether things would turn out okay. I will admit that there were times that I wanted to just thump, both Shayla and Ryan upside the head, because they were being, what I like to call, ‘some kinda way’ 🙂 but seriously, this is another page turner and a great end to the series. And, well, I liked that Reese offered a few possibilities for other books in the series.
That’s not it though. Reese has just published Ryan and Shayla’s backstory, in the form of a prequel novella, aptly entitled When We Were Young. “It is Ryan and Shayla’s beginning, told by both Ryan and Shayla. For a few very fortunate, a person comes along with whom you share a special connection, a spark, that is so strong you can’t help but be drawn into it. Some call it soulmates, true love, your heart’s desire, or kismet, but whatever it is, it is real. And, while it may be an everlasting love, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be together forever or that you can find your way back to one another.”
I absolutely LOVED this novella and getting a glimpse at Ryan and Shay, the lives they led, and how they finally found their way back to one another. One of the great thing about this novella is that it can be read before or after you read the series.
So, are you excited to read this amazing series? You can do it a few different ways. One of course is to buy each book independently. You can find them all on the series homepage right HERE. The other way is to buy the box set of the Oak Grove Suspense Series. It includes all three books and the prequel novella. You can get that HERE.
Okay that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed my review of the Oak Grove Suspense Series by Author Reese A. Stephens and that you go check it out. It’s really good and I think you will like it. You should also follow Reese on all of her social media accounts so that you will be in the loop on all her upcoming projects.
Reese Stephens’ Social Media Contacts: