Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

"Don't Let Go" is a classic Coben: an old mystery surfacing, secrets, lies, betrayal. As good a suburban thriller as you can get. Read it in one sitting.


Blurb:
Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn't been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother's death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he's been looking for.

When Maura's fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.








Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Almost Sisters - Joshilyn Jackson

"The Almost Sisters" by Joshilyn Jackson - in a word: WOW!

If you don't know the beautiful, slightly off-kilter, heart-warming world of Joshilyn Jackson's books, do yourself a favour and get shopping. These are books you want on your shelf, to greet you at the end of a long day; and in your car on CDs, and on your e-reader for when you have five minutes to spare at the dentist and you want to read a few pages of gorgeous prose.

"The Almost Sisters" revisits some themes from "Gods in Alabama" - racism, maternal love, the bond between not-necessarily-biological sisters, old secrets - but it offers a totally different plot and a brand-new set of characters.

You will fall in love, just as I did.

Only read the blurb if you have to. I didn't, and was happy to let the book take me places at its own pace.

BLURB:
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.



Then She Was Gone

"Then She Was Gone" by Lisa Jewell is a captivating tale of loss and closure. A page-turner, with believable characters.

Blurb:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother's
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?
 



Saturday, October 07, 2017

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

From the author of "The Dry", here's the second Aaron Falk novel. Just as much of a page-turner as the first. Just as Australian. Just as full of twists.

Blurb:
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.
The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - in just a matter of days she was to provide the documents that will bring down the company she works for.
Falk discovers that far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. But does it include murder?


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - by Gail Honeyman

An unusual, addictive, heart-warming book.

Blurb:

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.



Monday, October 02, 2017

The Girls in the Garden - Lisa Jewell

I loved, loved, loved Lisa Jewell's "The Girls in the Garden" (also called "The Girls" in some editions). Marketed as a character-driven thriller (more of a character-driven mystery), it's a page-turner that makes you think about deeper issues and fall in love with the characters.


The blurb:
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people's houses. You've known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? On a midsummer night, as a festive neighbourhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?







Friday, September 08, 2017

Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum 23)

Turbo Twenty-Three (the 23rd book in the Stephanie Plum series) by Janet Evanovich is showing signs that the protagonist is coming of age at long last. She is more adept at catching bond-skippers, she actually shops for food, and even though she still keeps her gum in the cookie jar, she seems less scared of it.


I'm rooting for Team Ranger, BTW.






Blurb:
A killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts...
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has been on countless crime scenes, but this is definitely a first. Her fleeing target has left behind a truck loaded with ice cream and a dead body - frozen solid and covered in chocolate.
As fate would have it, Stephanie's mentor Ranger needs her to go undercover at the ice cream factory to find out who's killing employees. It's going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It's also going to be hard to explain to Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger...