Saturday, July 22, 2017

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

When she was young, Kate worshiped neighbor Joseph King. They lost touch after he moved away following his father's death, when both Kate and Joseph were teenagers.  Now, she gets word that he has escaped from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, Naomi. Joseph's children now live with Rebecca and Daniel Beachy, Naomi's sister and her husband, so Kate decides to notify them of Joseph's breakout, since they are Amish and don't have a phone. Kate finds herself caught in the middle when Joseph arrives at the Beachy's while she's there and takes his children hostage. Joseph also tells Kate that he did not kill Naomi and asks for her help in finding the her killer. Kate decides to look into the case, putting both her career and life on the line.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Nikki grew up in a traditional Sikh household in London. Working in a pub, she's been a disappointment to her family ever since she dropped out of law school and moved out of the family home. When the opportunity arises to teach a class on writing to some women at the local Punjabi community center, she decides to take the job. While Nikki thought she would be teaching creative writing, it turns out the class is made up of widows who are not adept in writing the English language. When the students find a book of erotica among Nikki's things, they decide to spend class time transcribing the racy stories of the members of the class. Soon, the stories are spread all over London, but with this fact comes the danger of the conservative men in the community discovering what's being going on. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows gives the reader a glimpse into a community that has been underrepresented in popular fiction.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Camino Island by John Grisham

Novelist Mercer Mann is broke and suffering from writer's block. When she's approached with an offer to move to the town of Santa Rosa in Florida and get close to bookstore owner Bruce Cable, she is apprehensive, but agrees because she will be finally be out of debt. The authorities are interested in Cable because they believe he is in possession of the five original manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels that were stolen from the Princeton University library. The plan is for Mercer to befriend Cable and find out where he is hiding the novels, so they can be returned to the archives. Does Cable really have the manuscripts...and if he does, will Mercer succeed in her task? In Mercer Mann, Grisham has created an extremely likable character, which is one of his trademarks. The story of the theft of the manuscripts is also interesting.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

Identical twins Harper and Tabitha Frost haven't spoken in fourteen years. Tabitha lives with her teenage daughter, Ainsley, on Nantucket, while Harper lives on Martha's Vineyard. When they were in college, their parents, Eleanor and Billy, divorced and agreed that each would be responsible for and finishing raising one twin. Harper, close with Billy, has gotten in trouble with law and has a bad reputation on Martha's Vineyard, which hasn't been helped by her affair with Billy's doctor, Reed Zimmer. Tabitha, meanwhile, manages a boutique on Nantucket that features clothes that Eleanor has designed. When Billy passes away and Eleanor breaks her hip, the sisters are forced to see each other and work together as a family. While I usually enjoy Hilderbrand's books, this one was a miss for me. The characters of Harper, Tabitha, and Ainsley aren't very likable and fleshed out. In addition, Eleanor is only seventy-one years old, but the author has characterized her as old and rigid, which seems a bit too easy and stereotypical, especially since I know so many women who are so vital at that age.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

Working as a paralegal in London, Flora MacKenzie, is glad to be away from her hometown of Mure in far north Scotland. Infatuated with her American boss, Joel, she is stunned to find herself working with him back in Mure. One of the firm's big name clients, Colton Rogers, is building a luxurious property on the island, but its beautiful views are going to be blocked by a wind farm. Colton wants a local's help (i.e. Flora) to stop the project. To her surprise, Flora finds herself warming to the beauty of Mure, as well as the father and brothers that she left behind. At the same time, she might be finding love. The Cafe by the Sea is a charming novel filled with quirky characters and lots of heart. Perfect for readers of Gil McNeil.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dark Saturday by Nicci French

Even though she's made a promise to herself to stay away from crime cases, psychotherapist Frieda Klein agrees to meet Hannah Docherty, who was convicted of brutally murdering her stepfather, mother, and younger brother over ten years ago. Committed to a psychiatric hospital, Hannah has spent much of her time in solitary confinement. When Frieda visits her, Hannah is unresponsive, and in bad shape physically. While Frieda isn't sure of Hannah's guilt, she feels compelled to try and help Hannah because of the state she is in. Soon, Frieda is delving into the murder files, rankling the authorities and people close to the deceased. Frieda also worries that Dean Reeve (introduced in the first book in the series, Blue Monday), whom the police have declared dead, is out there keeping tabs on her. In Dark Saturday, French continues the story of Frieda and her circle of family and friends, while leading the reader through a gruesome psychological puzzle. It will be published next month.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Liv and Nora, who are first cousins, decide to go on a Christmas cruise to Latin America with their families. They take their four children, aged six to eleven, ashore for a zip-line tour, while their husbands go golfing. Then, the kids get separated from Liv and Nora, who become frantic with worry. In a foreign country with limited diplomatic help, Liv and Nora, who speak no Spanish, hope they get their children back safely. Do Not Become Alarmed is a fast-paced tale told from the point of view of the children and their parents and is a great read-alike for Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay. A sure bet summer read.