Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

In 1986 in Oklahoma City, the employees of a movie theater are murdered during a robbery. Wyatt, now a private investigator in Las Vegas, was the only survivor. When asked by a friend to travel to Oklahoma City and find out who's been harassing the new owner of a local rock club, he finds himself revisiting the scene of the massacre, as well as unearthing long dormant memories. Another crime in 1986, although not connected, was the disappearance of Julianna's older sister, Genevieve, at the Oklahoma State Fair. Julianna has been in an emotional fog since, desperate to know what happened to her sister. Both Wyatt and Julianna explore their pasts, finding new clues that will hopefully bring them both some closure. The Long and Faraway Gone is a character-centered novel reminiscent of Dennis Lehane. It won an Edgar award for Best Paperback Original, deservedly so.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

What happened at the barbecue? Two months later, the reverberations are still evident. Cellist Clementine is preparing for a big audition while husband Sam is floundering in his new job. Their marriage is also deteriorating because of the events at the barbecue. Clementine's childhood friend, Erika, is trying to move forward with plans for parenthood, along with her husband, Oliver--both keeping memories of their dysfunctional childhoods at bay. Hosts of the barbecue,Vid and Tiffany, worry about how the happenings have affected their ten-year-old daughter, Dakota. Through Truly Madly Guilty, Moriarty weaves the story of the day of the barbecue and the months after. While I really enjoyed Moriarty's last two novels, I found the characters in this one not all that likable in the beginning, but towards the end, the story and the characters became more alive.  Still, not one of her best. It will be published next month.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

When a private plane crashes after leaving Martha's Vinyeard, the authorities wonder if it was an accident or sabotage. On board were David Bateman, the head of a major news network and his family, and Ben Kipling, a Wall Street success headed for a fall and his wife, Sarah. The only survivors are the Bateman's four-year-old son J.J. and painter Scott Burroughs, who was invited on the flight earlier in the day by Maggie, David's wife. Scott is traumatized by the crash and subsequent media onslaught and goes into hiding. Meanwhile, the NTSB, the FBI, and other agencies frantically try and find the wreckage hoping to piece together what made the plane from the sky. Before the Fall is a thriller filled with memorable characters and snappy dialogue.  A perfect beach read for the summer.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton

Nick Mason is released from prison early after agreeing to do criminal Darius Cole's bidding for the next twenty years, no questions asked. Soon, Nick is living in a gorgeous Lincoln Park home, waiting for the phone call that will probably lead him to do something illegal--possibly murder. Trying to assimilate back into normal life, he wishes to try and repair his relationship with his daughter, Adriana, and move forward. Has Mason made the right decision, or would he have been better off staying in prison? The Second Life of Nick Mason is the debut of a new series by veteran mystery writer Steve Hamilton and is a good read-alike for Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie ends up in the small, economically depressed town of Borg when she's desperate for a job after separating from her husband, Kent. Her job in Borg involves working at the town's soon to be shuttered recreation center. Life there revolves around hanging out at the local pizza place and playing soccer. Soccer is something that Britt-Marie has no interest in and really doesn't understand, so when she finds herself the coach of the local team of kids it's really outside her comfort zone. In fact, interacting with the residents who are. at times, quirky and eccentric, might be just what Britt-Marie needs to change her life and what the town needs, too.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

It's the one year anniversary of the death of Miriam, Arthur Pepper's wife, and he decides to donate her belongings to charity. Arthur is intrigued when he finds what looks to be an expensive charm bracelet in one of Miriam's boots. Arthur doesn't remember ever seeing the bracelet before and it doesn't really fit with the type of clothing she liked to wear. When Arthur makes the decision to call the phone number that is engraved on the elephant charm, it takes him on a journey that shakes up his organized life and makes him re-evaluate his forty year marriage. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a charming debut that will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

When Lu Brant is elected the first female state's attorney of a county outside Baltimore, it should be the pinnacle of her career, but when she decides to try a murder case against homeless Rudy Drysdale, she's forced to confront buried memories of her own childhood. Lu's brother, A.J, was involved at 18 in an incident where he broke his arm and another man died. Lu was ten at the time, enamored of popular A.J. and his group of friends. No charges were ever brought against anyone, but as Lu proceeds in her case, she finds that Drysdale was two years behind A.J. in school and that they might have known each other. Lu also reflects on being raised by her father, also a state's attorney, after her mother died while Lu was very young. Wilde Lake is a novel that transports you to 1970's and 1980's suburban Baltimore and fully immerses the reader in a world of childhood and family secrets. Like Lippman's best novels, Wilde Lake is a book that stay with you even after the last page is turned.