Friday, December 31, 2010

Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder

Lars Waltz, owner of a car repair shop has been shot to death then run over repeatedly. In the course of investigating the crime, the police discover that another man, Olof Bart, was killed the same way as Waltz and that the bullets used in both crimes came from the same gun. Detective Christian Tell and his team devote their time to finding a connection between the two men, which they hope will lead to finding the murderer. Frozen Moment is the first novel by Camilla Ceder and is similar to Swedish mystery series by Ake Edwardson and Hakan Nesser. It hasn't been published in the U.S. yet though.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Since being the last person to see Cindy Walker before she disappeared over twenty years ago, Larry Ott has lead a solitary life. Ostracized by the town because many suspected he had something to do with her absence, Larry has tried to maintain the routine of keeping his father's garage open--even though he has no customers. When Larry is shot in his home, the police wonder if it was a suicide attempt or something more sinister. His estranged old friend, Silas Jones, now a cop, delves into the case himself and is faced with memories of his and Larry's secret childhood friendship (Larry is white and Silas African-American). Franklin has written a character-centered novel about secrets, friendship, and loneliness set in the rural south.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

Rex has just finished a ten-year prison term for murder and moves in with his girlfriend Karen and their daughter, Alice. Karen is learning to adjust to life with Rex home, but worries constantly that the media will discover them. Over ten years ago, Karen, a linguistics student in London, led a pretty quiet life. The summer of her graduation, she met Biba and became entranced by her free lifestyle and rambling run-down house in Highgate. Soon, Karen moved in with Biba and her older brother, Rex (with whom Karen had become involved). By the end of the summer, two people were dead... In telling her own story, Karen reveals that she has secrets she's been keeping from that time. Alternating between the past and present, the author has created a novel of psychological suspense that's hard to put down. It's similar to the novels of Sophie Hannah, Val McDermid's The Distant Echo and Donna Tartt's The Secret History. It will be published next month.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Commuters by Emily Gray Tedrowe

When seventy-eight-year-old Winnie Easton marries wealthy Jerry Trevis, the families of both are having trouble adjusting to the union. Winnie's daughter, Rachel, has had a hard year dealing with her husband's recovery from a serious brain injury and adapting to life on a reduced income. Jerry's daughter, Annette, is furious about the relationship and thinks that Winnie is after Jerry for his money. Avery, Jerry's grandson, fresh out of rehab, wonders what the next step of his life should be and resents Annette asking him to visit Jerry and Winnie every week. In Commuters, Tedrowe has crafted a novel from the points of view of Winnie, Rachel and Avery. Readers who enjoy novels about family relationships will be thrilled to have found a new author. I found the book to be similar to Ayelet Waldman's Red Hook Road.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons

When Jack Rosenblum arrives in England from Germany near the beginning of World War II, he makes it his mission to become as assimilated as possible. He tries religiously to follow the advice in a pamphlet to help refugees fit into English society and does very well for himself, starting a successful carpet business, owning a jaguar, and buying suits on Savile Row. But one thing eludes him—membership in a golf club. Rejected by several because he's Jewish, he decides to build one himself in his new hometown in the Dorset countryside. It proves to be an uphill battle for a number of reasons-- the unpredictable English weather, the lay of the land, not knowing a lot about golf, a dwindling money supply and his wife Sadie's belief in not forgetting the past while Jack wants nothing more than to put their life before England completely behind them. A charming story that illustrates the immigrant experience at this particular point and time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

Nearing sixty, detective Kurt Wallander is reflecting frequently on his life. He decides to make the move from Ystad to a house in the country, not far from where his father lived. He also rejoices in the pregnancy of his only child, Linda and the subsequent birth of his granddaughter. When Linda's boyfriend's father, Hakan von Enke, disappears, Wallander feels that he personally should investigate, even though it's under the jurisdiction of the Stockholm police. Hakan was a retired commander in the Swedish navy and he confided in Wallander his suspicions about Russian submarines in Swedish waters during the Cold War. When Hakan's wife, Louise, goes missing, Wallander is plunged deeper into the lives of the von Enkes and Cold War espionage. The Troubled Man, though, being the last Wallander novel, is concerned mostly with the character of Wallander himself and his relationships with the women he has loved in his life--Linda, Mona, and Baiba. It will be published in March.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg

Having recently given birth to her daughter Maja in the small resort town of Fjallbacka, Erica is adjusting to life as a new mother. Her partner Patrik, a police detective, is disturbed by his newest case--the death of Sara, an eight-year-old girl. At first, it looks as if she accidentally drowned but the medical examiner finds evidence that she was murdered. As Patrik delves into Sara's life, he finds that there's no shortage of suspects. The case is complicated by the fact that Erica is a good friend of Sara's mother, Charlotte--bonded by having both recently had children. Alternating with the mystery of Sara's death is the tale (starting in the 1920's) of Agnes, a spoiled rich girl. How is Agnes connected with the present story? Readers will slowly find out... The Stonecutter is the third novel in the Erica/Patrik series. It's similar to the mysteries of Asa Larsson and Johan Theorin.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Worth Dying For by Lee Child

Jack Reacher is hitchhiking through Nebraska on his way to Virginia when he gets in the way of the powerful Duncan clan. A small town and its residents have been under the control of brothers Jacob, Jasper and Jonas Duncan and Jacob's son, Seth, for twenty-five years. The men are antsy, waiting for a secret delivery from Canada and afraid that Reacher's presence will compromise their business. Reacher also uncovers the case of a girl who went missing years ago and wonders if the Duncan family were responsible, even though nothing was ever proven. He decides to take on all the baddies in typical Reacher fashion--one against many... Worth Dying For is another Reacher novel set in a small town full of secrets. This is at least the fourth with that common plot line. Despite this fact, I did really enjoy it. Although, Gone Tomorrow remains the best Reacher novel of the past few years.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

Glory Solomon is grieving over her husband Dan's death and trying to stay afloat debtwise by catering and holding weddings at her farm. Formerly a foster mother with Dan, Glory decides to take in a teenager, Juniper, on her own. Juniper was abandoned by her father and still suffers from her older sister Casey's disappearance years ago. Her sister's dog, Cadillac, was adopted from Glory and has been back with her since Casey left. Glory struggles to help Juniper, but with the aid of Joseph Vigil, an injured retired cop, she seems to be succeeding. Will these three souls, with their respective problems, be able to heal? I always enjoy Jo-Ann Mapson's books and while writing this annotation was surprised to discover that her last novel was published in 2006--way too long ago. Her books are similar to Judith Ryan Hendricks and Katrina Kittle's The Blessings of the Animals, in that they focus on women's lives and have descriptive senses of place.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Keeping Time by Stacey McGlynn

Widow Daisy Phillips is being pushed by her son, Dennis, to sell her home and move to a retirement community. Refusing to do so, she decides to travel from her hometown of Liverpool to New York to try and locate a lost love named Michael Baker. Daisy and Michael had fallen in love in 1945 and had planned to marry, but Michael never came back to England to retrieve Daisy and bring her to the U.S. Daisy ends up staying with her American cousin, Elisabeth, and her family. Elisabeth, overworked and tired, finds her life changed by Daisy's presence. Her family, especially her sons, are charmed too. Will Daisy also find her trip worthwhile? While Keeping Time has a delightful story and heroine in the character of Daisy, it deviates to other characters, who, at times, are not that likeable. Their stories unfold kind of awkwardly, making the book not as solid a read as it could have been.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Busy Body by M.C. Beaton

John Sunday of the Mircester Health and Safety Board is ruining everyone's lives with his nitpicking rules and regulations, so it's no surprise to anyone that he's found murdered. The prime suspect, millionairess Miriam Courtney, hires Agatha Raisin's detective agency to find Sunday's killer. But soon, Miriam is found dead too. Did the same person murder both victims or are Agatha and her team looking for two different killers? Busy Body is another enjoyable entry in the long-running Agatha Raisin series.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau

Rebecca Robbins has come home to Indian Falls, a small town in west central Illinois, to sell the roller rink she inherited from her mother. But before she can put it on the market, a local handyman named Mack is found dead in the bathroom. Knowing that she can't return home to Chicago until the sale is complete and that all the potential buyers have been scared away because of the crime, Rebecca decides to find Mack's murderer herself. With help from her grandfather (who's always looking for romance) and leaning on the shoulder of the handsome local veterinarian, she just might succeed. Skating Around the Law is a humorous debut that readers of Joanne Fluke and other cozy mysteries will enjoy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Shadow Woman by Ake Edwardson

It's summertime in Gothenburg and a woman's body is discovered in a park. With no identification on her, Inspector Erik Winter and his team spend considerable time trying to find who she was. When forensics reveals that she has given birth and that a child might be missing, the search becomes even more important for Winter. On a personal level, Winter is being pressed by his girlfriend, Angela, for more of a commitment to their relationship and is fielding numerous calls from his mother in Spain. Will Winter and his colleagues unearth more about the mysterious mother and child that will lead to some sort of justice? The Shadow Woman is the second book in the Erik Winter series. For readers who enjoy the individual police procedurals series by Peter Robinson, Ruth Rendell and Arnaldur Indridason.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

In 1916, Nurse Bess Crawford is drawn into the secrets of the Graham family when she promises to deliver a message from a dying solider, Arthur, to his younger brother, Jonathan. After speaking with Jonathan, Bess becomes concerned that Arthur's last wishes won't be followed. She also learns that the family's eldest son, Peregrine, has been in a mental institution for murder since he was a teen. Wondering if Arthur's words had something to do with Peregrine causes Bess even more unease and she realizes that she must find out what happened all those years ago. A Duty to the Dead is the first book in the Bess Crawford series. Last month, I read the second, An Impartial Witness. I enjoyed this mystery just as much.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is all that Jack knows. He was born there five years ago to his Ma (who, two years previously, had been kidnapped by Old Nick and kept prisoner since). Ma has created a world and routine for Jack inside Room that has kept him happy. But now as he grows older, she knows that things are probably going to change. Told through the eyes and language of Jack, Room is an interesting twist on the moving story of the love and connection between a mother and her child.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

Nurse Bess Crawford is home on leave during World War I when she spots the wife of a severely burned soldier in a London train station with another man. The woman, Marjorie Evanson, is distraught and seems unconsoled by him. When Bess learns that Marjorie been murdered, she goes to the police telling them about the scene at the station. Soon, Marjorie's husband commits suicide. Bess feels that she owes it to the couple to find Marjorie's killer. Could it be the mystery man? In An Impartial Witness, Charles Todd has written a mystery with an intriguing puzzle, compelling heroine, and vivid descriptions of the time. This is the second book in the series. The novel definitely would appeal to those readers that enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, which I always eagerly await--but I'm delighted to say that I loved this book even more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

Twelve years ago, private detective Patrick Kenzie returned four-year-old Amanda McCready to her neglectful mother despite his better judgement. Years later he's still haunted by that decision--especially since his former partner (and now wife) Angela Gennaro didn't agree. When a call comes to Patrick from Amanda's aunt saying she's gone missing again, he feels this might be a way to right his past wrong. With Angela's blessing and help, Patrick pursues Amanda. But now with a young daughter themselves, Patrick and Angela have much more at stake than when they were younger, single, and ready to undertake many risks. Will Patrick be able to find Amanda? Moonlight Mile is the latest Kenzie/Gennaro novel after a long absence. It was great to revisit the characters and immerse oneself in Lehane's storytelling. Alas, it feels like this is probably the last book in one of my favorite mystery series... It will be published in November.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Nesting Dolls by Gail Bowen

Joanne Kilbourn's Christmas holidays are disrupted when a woman hands a baby to her daughter's best friend, Isobel, telling her that the baby belongs with Isobel's mother, Delia. Delia is a lifelong friend and law partner of Joanne's husband, Zack Shreve. The disappearing mother is discovered to be Delia's daughter, Abby, whom she gave up for adoption at birth. When Abby is then found murdered, Joanne and Zack are embroiled even deeper in the mystery of who Abby was, who would want her dead, and the fight for who should have custody of her son, Jacob. In The Nesting Dolls, Bowen has again crafted a novel revolving around her family and life in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bad Boy by Peter Robinson

DCI Alan Banks is on vacation when a former neighbor, Juliet Doyle, comes to see him at work. Her twentysomething daughter, Erin, has hidden a gun in her childhood bedroom, Juliet explains to Banks' colleagues (DI Annie Cabbot and DS Catherine Gervaise). Possessing a firearm in England is a great offense, so the police send a team to retrieve the gun. The operation goes awry, resulting in tragedy. It also sends Bank's daughter Tracy, who is Erin's roommate, running to Erin's dodgy boyfriend, Jaff, to warn him that Erin took his gun. Jaff is involved in some pretty bad things that now ensnare Tracy. Will Banks, now returned, and his colleagues be able to bring Tracy home safely? Bad Boy is the latest book in this usually solid series. Unfortunately, the plot of this mystery is slight. My hope is that maybe Robinson had wanted instead to push the lives of his major characters forward.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

In 1950, Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson are born in the same hospital on the same day. Never really interested in becoming friends, their lives are intertwined throughout the years by Ruth's mother, Connie, who oddly makes it a point to visit the Dickerson's once a year, even though the families aren't close. The Planks live on a New Hampshire farm that's been in Edwin Plank's family for generations. Meanwhile, George and Val Dickerson are wanderers, moving from one place to the next, not much interested in their children (Dana and her older brother, Ray). Neither girl grows up feeling that she fits in with her family--Ruth wants to be an artist and Dana longs to work with animals and farm. The novel alternates between Ruth's and Dana's points of view from childhood to middle age, touching on their coming of age during the 1960's and how America's history affects the choices they are given and make. For readers of Elizabeth Berg.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Delta Girls by Gayle Brandeis

In this tale of seemingly unrelated stories, Izzy has been a nomad for all nine years of her daughter Quinn's life. For now, Izzy and Quinn have settled at the pear farm of the Vieira family in California. Even though Izzy is comfortable with the Vieiras, she's trying to keep a low profile and is very watchful of Quinn. Meanwhile, teenage figure skater, Karen, has just got a new partner, Nathan. He is risky, impulsive at times, yet he and Karen are a successful team. When the media descends on the farm, it's inevitable that Izzy's and Karen's worlds collide. While I liked Delta Girls, I felt that it was not as good as her last novel, Self Storage.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

Eliza Benedict hasn't really felt that anywhere is home since she was kidnapped at 15 by Walter Bowman and then freed after six weeks. Now an adult, she's a mother of two and happily married to Peter. After several years in London, the family is now back in the states, residing outside Washington D.C. Eliza's quiet life is disrupted when she gets a letter from Walter, now on death row and soon to be executed, wanting to resume contact with her. Desperate to keep her past from her children, Eliza wonders what to do. Since Eliza was Walter's only victim that he let live, she is torn between wanting normalcy and seeking answers for herself and the families of the other girls. It also causes her to immerse herself in memories of that horrific time twenty years ago... I'd Know You Anywhere alternates between the past and present to create a novel that's hard to put down. Lippman is spot-on her portrayals of all the characters and their lives--from Eliza and Walter right down to Eliza's two children. She presents them in all their complexity and allows you to form your own opinions. Don't miss it...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

Veterinarian Cami Anderson is blindsided when her husband, Bobby, moves out and wants a divorce. Bobby has been unhappy for awhile, but Cami believed they could work it out, especially since they have a teenage daughter, Gabriella. Immersed in her work and her love of animals, Cami tries to move forward with the strong support of her wide circle of friends and family. Cami also wonders about the tradition of marriage and if it's possible to find love again. I loved Kittle's last book, The Kindness of Strangers and adored this one. This novel reminded me of Judith Ryan Hendricks who wrote Bread Alone.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon's daughter Minnie, now two, is as determined and obsessed with shopping as her mother. When a financial crisis hits England, Becky's parents and her husband, Luke, decide that they must economize. Being on a budget goes against Becky's own nature, so she's finding the decision quite a struggle, especially since she's in the process of planning a gigantic surprise birthday party for Luke. Will Becky be able to control Minnie, keep the party a secret, and have it be a celebration to remember on a shoestring? Mini Shopaholic will be enjoyed by all the fans of the best-selling series. It's to be published next month.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dream Queen by Betsy Thornton

Chloe Newcombe travels to Dudley, Arizona to visit her younger brother, Danny. Soon after she arrives, Danny disappears, followed soon after by his girlfriend, Kristi. Worried about his whereabouts, Chloe delves into Danny's life. He's been in trouble with the law before and was seen arguing with someone when he was picking her up at the airport. Being a private investigator in New York, she's familar with the ways to conduct a search. Will Chloe find out what's happened to her brother? Dream Queen is the prequel to Thornton's Chloe Newcombe series. In the book, the reader learns why Chloe ended up making the small town of Dudley her home.

Friday, August 6, 2010

In the Woods by Tana French

Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox are called to an archaeological dig outside Dublin because a young girl's body has been found. The girl, Katy Devlin, had been reported missing the previous day. Going to the site is particularly traumatic for Rob because he grew up in the area and as a child he was found dazed and bloodied with no memory of the previous hours near the current murder site. His two best friends, Peter and Jamie, weren't so lucky. They vanished without a trace. When a hair clip seeming to belong to Jamie is found near Katy's body, Rob and Cassie wonder if the cases are connected. Rob treads a fine line working on the Devlin case, since only Cassie knows of his past. Will Rob and Cassie be able to find Katy's killer and determine what happened to Peter and Jamie? In the Woods is the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad series and is more a traditional police procedural than the third book in the series, Faithful Place.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fragile by Lisa Unger

When Charlene, a high school student, goes missing in the small town of The Hollows outside New York City, it reminds the residents of the disappearance and subsequent murder twenty years ago of another student, Sarah. Maggie and Jones Cooper's son, Ricky, is Charlene's boyfriend, so suspicion falls on him. Troubled teenager Marshall Crosby also seems more on edge than usual and wants to stop seeing Maggie, who's been counseling him. Marshall's father (Travis), Charlene's mother (Melody), Jones and Maggie were fellow students of Sarah's back then and the current set of events make their lives almost unbearable. Will Charlene be found so the secrets of the past can be laid to rest? Fragile is similar to the novels of Jodi Picoult.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

In 1988, Emma and Dexter spend the night together after graduating from university. Despite feeling a bond with each other, they go their separate ways but remain friends. The book revisits the couple over the next twenty years on July 15, the day they met. The reader follows Emma and Dexter through the ups and downs of their lives as they grow older, wondering if they will ever take the plunge and become a couple. David Nicholls has written an entertaining, yet at times, heartbreaking novel about finding "the one."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Faithful Place by Tana French

In 1985, teenager Frank Mackey planned to escape his horrible upbringing on Faithful Place in Dublin by secretly departing with his girlfriend, Rosie, to London. On the night they planned to leave, Rosie never showed up. Frank assumed she left without him and was heartbroken. Now, more than twenty years later, Frank is an undercover cop who has to confront the past when his sister, Jackie, calls and tells him that some builders have found Rosie's suitcase hidden in an abandoned building. Frank has been estranged from his family all this time and the discovery of Rosie's belongings thrusts him back into its bleak dyfunctionality. It also causes him to wonder if Rosie really did leave or if something more sinister befell her. Faithful Place is the third novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series with each book being loosely connected to the others. Frank was introduced in French's last mystery, The Likeness. Faithful Place was the first book that I've read by her. While it's very leisurely-paced, about a third of the way through I was completely hooked. The novel doesn't follow the traditional framework of a police procedural mystery, but the combination of the Dublin setting and family complications allow French to build her story into something memorable and not soon-forgotten.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Birdie is in the middle of planning her older daughter Chess' lavish wedding when Chess calls it off and then abruptly quits her job as an editor at a New York magazine. Worried about her, Birdie gets Chess to agree to spend the whole month of July at the family's summer home on the island of Tuckernuck, off the coast of Nantucket. Birdie's other daughter, Tate, and Birdie's sister, India, decide to come, too. Tuckernuck is a small private island and the house has no electricity or hot water, but the Tate family has embraced its quirks and isolation for generations. The four women plan to relax, getting away from the problems in their respective lives. For India, that means a possible scandal in her job as curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. For Birdie, it's missing her new boyfriend, Hank, while his wife is ill with Alzheimer's and for Tate it's her infatuation with the cottage caretaker, Barrett (who expressed an interest in Chess when they were teens). The Island is a trademark Elin Hilderbrand novel, filled with interesting well-off characters and descriptions of their interpersonal relationships evolving in a relaxed summer setting. An absorbing beach read...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Annie O'Sullivan is a realtor finishing up an open house when she's kidnapped by a man named David. Held captive for a year, Annie recounts to her psychiatrist her violent and traumatic time with the man she nicknames “the Freak.” Now free, Annie struggles to put her life and relationships with the people closest to her back together. There's also the nagging feeling Annie has when she wonders if the Freak worked alone or had an accomplice... Still Missing is story of suspenseful survival where a woman learns to heal and find her voice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

Coroner Maura Isles heads to Wyoming for a medical conference. While there, she meets an old college friend, Doug Comley, who invites her to accompany him and his friends cross-country skiing. Instead, they get lost and end up stranded in a place called Kingdom Come, a community that's been mysteriously abandoned by its residents. Maura wonders how the group will survive the inhospitable weather and if anyone will notice they're missing. Back in Maura's hometown of Boston, her friend detective Jane Rizzoli gets a call from another of Maura's friends, Daniel Brophy, who is worried about her. Jane agrees to accompany Daniel to Wyoming along with Jane's husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean. Soon the authorities say that they've found Maura's body. With more questions than answers, Jane knows she must get to the bottom of what happened to Maura. Ice Cold is the latest book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. It's one of the best books in the series, even though the characters are one-dimensional. I could not put it down.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern

Librarian Betsy Treading is released from prison after DNA evidence clears her of killing her neighbor, Linda Sue. Betsy was incarcerated for twelve years and it's an adjustment for her on the outside. Divorced from her husband Paul, who always supported her innocence, she moves in with her former neighbors, Marianne and Roland. Living again on the same block where the murder happened allows Betsy to reflect on Linda Sue and who possibly could have murdered her. At the time, Betsy confessed because she had a large bloodstain on her nightgown, had a sleepwalking problem and couldn't remember anything about that night. But before her death, Linda Sue had started up an affair with another neighbor, Geoffrey. In addition, Betsy learns Marianne and Roland's family had secrets of their own. Betsy's journey is one of moving on and healing, in addition to hopefully finding the real murderer. While more leisurely paced than a thriller, the novel is nonetheless, an interesting read. I found it similar to the novels of Kate Morgenroth and Labor Day by Joyce Maynard.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

The residents of the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio are shaken when the seven members of a local Amish family are found dead. At first, it appears that the father, Amos Plank, killed everyone then himself. But clues point to an outsider as the culprit. The brutality of the scene even upsets the police force, including Chief Kate Burkholder, who grew up in an Amish family herself. When Kate finds out that one of the daughters, Mary, had a secret life, she finds herself with an abundance of suspects and memories of her own problem Amish teenage years. Will Kate be able to keep her anger and emotions in check in order to focus on apprehending a killer? Pray for Silence is the second book in the Kate Burkholder series. It features a case and characters that the reader becomes emotionally invested in. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt

Having returned from Iraq after losing his leg, ex-cop Billy Zimmerman has become a thief and has found a good partner in his dog, Milo. One day, Billy is caught in the crossfire of a murder and ends up being arrested for the crime, while Milo runs away with the envelope that the victim was carrying. Paterson, NJ lawyer Andy Carpenter, a dog lover himself, wants to make sure that Milo is taken care of and finds himself protecting Milo and then representing Billy when he's charged with murder. Andy and his team of friends and investigators become embroiled in a case that possibly involves the military and the FBI. They are also putting their own lives in danger... Dog Tags is the latest book in the Andy Carpenter series. While I always like the characters in these books, I found the story didn't hold my attention. Play Dead for me remains the book in the series that all the others will be measured against. Dog Tags will be released in August.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall

When Guru Buster Suresh Jra is murdered by what looks like an apparition of the goddess Kali during a Laughing Club meeting, Delhi private investigator Vish Puri is asked by Inspector Singh to lend a hand. Puri is concentrating on figuring out how someone would pull off this elaborate death scene, as well as hoping to debunk the public's belief that an actual goddess was involved. With help from two of his employees, Facecream and Tubelight, Puri treads lightly, since Jra's enemy, Maharaj Swami holds favor with the government and is considered a prime suspect. With humor and realism, Hall transports the reader to India in the second book of this cozy mystery series.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

Defense attorney Mickey Haller is asked to be the lead prosecutor in the retrial of Jason Jessup. Over twenty years ago, Jessup was convicted of kidnapping and murdering twelve-year-old Melissa Landy. With recent DNA testing, it was discovered that someone else's DNA was on Melissa's dress. This new information was enough to warrant Jessup's release. Haller with the assistance of his ex-wife, lawyer Maggie McPherson, and his half-brother Harry Bosch as the lead investigator, agrees to take the case. All three are convinced that Jessup is guilty and want to put him back in prison for good. The novel is told from two points of view (Haller's and Bosch's) and explores both the courtroom and the behind-the-scenes preparations for trial. It will be published in October.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

A day of celebration ends in tragedy when just-married Becca Copaken and John Tetherly are killed in a car accident on the way to their wedding reception. Becca's family have summered in Maine for generations, while the Tetherlys are year-long residents. Another notable difference between the families is that the Copakens are upper-class while John's mother, Jane, is in charge of her own cleaning business. The deaths of the couple deeply affect their immediate families: Becca's parents Iris and Daniel, her younger sister, Ruthie, John's mother, Jane and his younger brother, Matt. Becca's grandfather, Mr. Kimmelbrod, a famous violinist suffering from Parkinson's, has already known lots of suffering in his life, having lost many family members in the Holocaust. The novel takes place over the four summers following the accident, exploring all the survivors subsequent lives. While I have enjoyed Waldman's previous novels, the main characters were, at times, not that likable. Red Hook Road does not suffer from the same problem. It's her best book, by far. For readers who like books about family relationships. It will be published next month.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

Sylvie Woodruff has been the perfect politician's wife for many years, putting her husband's needs before her own and those of her two daughters, Diana and Lizzie. When news breaks that Richard, Sylvie's spouse, has been having an affair, Sylvie is devastated. Even before the announcement, the now-grown daughters' lives hadn't been going well either. Diana, a doctor, is having a sizzling affair with one of her interns and is in a loveless marriage. Lizzie, always considered the underachiever, is back on her feet after battling a drug problem for years. Could Richard's public scandal cause the three women to re-evaluate their lives and reconnect with themselves and each other? Fly Away Home is another winner from Jennifer Weiner. While the plot may seem tired with all the political scandals in the news, she puts her own spin on the story with her well-drawn characters and touches of humor. It will be published next month.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Never Wave Goodbye by Doug Magee

It's an emotional morning as Dr. Lena Trainor sends her daughter, Sarah, off to summer camp for two weeks. The camp is picking up Sarah and her best friend, Linda, at their homes. But after Sarah leaves in what Lena believes is the camp van with a man named J.D., Lena discovers that she's been kidnapped along with Linda and two other boys who were going to the same camp. Soon, a million dollar ransom is demanded from the parents with the FBI being called in. The parents, though, don't entirely trust one another or the FBI and wonder who's behind the kidnappings (they even suspect each other). Told from the point of view of the parents, children, and kidnappers, Never Wave Goodbye is a page turner with an interesting twist and story that makes it a good read. Read-alikes would be C.J. Box's Three Weeks to Say Goodbye and Fear the Worst and Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sylvan Street by Deborah Schupack

What would you do if you found a million dollars in your backyard? Well, Billy Cane finds that large amount of money in his shed during a pool party with his neighbors on the cul de sac of Sylvan Street in Ashley-on-Hudson, New York. He decides to share his secret and the money with each family. There's retired couple Sally and Janic Levlovic, Jen and Keith Margolis and their brood of five, single painter Ash Flemming, and the newcomers, the Yaniv-Hansens. Some have reservations about keeping the money. Soon, though, everyone agrees to take it, even though they all agree not to go spending beyond their original means. But the cash is a great temptation and lives begin to change. There's also the fact that someone hid the money there in the first place and might come back for it...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Face-Changers by Thomas Perry

Jane Whitefield is settling in to married life, having given up her career as a “guide” by helping people disappear. But her husband, Dr. Carey McKinnon, asks her to do one last job—helping his mentor Richard Dahlman disappear. Dahlman has been arrested for murdering his physician partner, Sarah Hoffman. Both Jane and Carey know he's not guilty, but it appears that other people are after him besides the police. While aiding Dahlman, Jane also discovers that there are some other guides out there who are using her name and don't have their clients' best interests at heart. As time goes on, Jane worries for both her and Carey's future wondering if Carey will end up in jail. The Face-Changers is the fourth book in the series.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bodily Harm by Robert Dugoni

David Sloane has just won a big case against a pediatrician in the death of six-year-old Austin McFarland. As he's leaving court, a man named Kyle Horgan tells Sloane that he caused Austin's death, not the doctor. Horgan gives Sloane information that says a toy called Metamorphis is dangerous to children and that a boy died of the same symptoms that Austin exhibited. Sloane's search for the truth leads him and his family into personal danger and a confrontation with some tenacious opponents: the toy industry and a government regulatory agency. Bodily Harm is the third legal thriller to feature David Sloane.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Broken Circle by Shirley Wells

Forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy is making visits to a local prison to interview Claire Lawrence, who was convicted of murdering her own daughter (even though no remains have ever been found). Claire said she wanted to talk to Jill after the authorities have been pressuring her to tell them where her daughter is. Meanwhile, the body of American Bradley Johnson, the owner of Kelton Manor, is found in the woods. Johnson was considered an outsider in the small village of Kelton Bridge and it appears that he was also a blackmailer. DCI Max Trentham heads up that investigation with help from Jill, since she lives in Kelton Bridge. Will Max and Jill's cases end with finding the truth or in frustration? The Broken Circle is the fourth book in this consistently enjoyable series.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Red Thread by Ann Hood

Maya Lange opened the Red Thread Adoption Agency eight years ago after the death of her own daughter. Maya is both confidante and intermediary in helping her American clients adopt baby girls from China. In the novel, the reader is introduced to six couples who are interested in enlisting the services of the agency in order to get a child. Maya herself has often thought of adopting, but her past keeps holding her back. In The Red Thread, Hood sensitively explores the process of foreign adoption and the various situations that cause Chinese women to give up their daughters. I've always enjoyed Ann Hood's books, especially Something Blue, Places to Stay the Night, and Ruby.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil

It's been one year since Jo's husband died and left her as a widow with two sons (Archie and Jack, aged five and seven). She's healing, becoming an integral part of the local community by making many friends, being there for her children, and making her knitting shop the best it can be. A possible romance with Martin, a carpenter, even looks promising, but something surprising occurs that throws Jo for a bit of a loop. Luckily, Jo is able to handle the situation with her usual down-to-earth good humor and aplomb. Needles and Pearls continues the story of Jo and the other residents of Broadgate that began in The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club. It's as charming and addicting as the first book. More please....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Silent Auction by Jane K. Cleland

When Josie Prescott arrives at the Whitestones' lighthouse to do an appraisal, she is shocked to discover the body of Frankie Winterelli, the caretaker of the property and her best friend Zoe's nephew. Wondering who could have brutally killed Frankie, Josie agrees to assist the local police because they believe that his death might be connected to antiques that the Whitestones owned, specifically some scrimshaw items. The area of Rocky Point, New Hampshire is filled with antique shops and art galleries and the police have a long list of suspects. Will Josie's expertise help find justice for Frankie? Silent Auction is the fifth book in the Josie Prescott series and contains lots of interesting information about antiques, especially the art of scrimshaw. The mystery also nicely features Josie and her circle of friends and employees.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Other Family by Joanna Trollope

When once-popular pianist Richie Rossiter unexpectedly dies, he leaves his family behind to pick up the pieces. Chrissie, his partner of 23 years, feels sorrow that Richie never married her and wonders how she'll support their daughters, Tamsin, Dilly, and Amy, since she was his manager. Richie also never divorced his wife, Margaret, even though he had no contact with her or their son, Scott, after leaving Margaret for Chrissie. Soon, the two families are forced to confront their emotions towards each other when Richie's will is read. How will everyone learn to put the past behind them and move forward?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is hired by the parents of American Michael Clifton to find the British nurse that he fell in love with while working as a cartographer for the British army during World War I. As it's 1932, Michael's remains have recently been recovered in France and it's obvious to Maisie and Michael's father from the postmortem that he was murdered, so that becomes part of Maisie's task as well. When the Cliftons are violently attacked and Maisie is mugged and her document case stolen, it becomes clear that someone is trying to impede the investigation. The mystery, along with the progression of Maisie's personal life, makes the book an enjoyable solid read.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas

It's 1920 and the mining town of Swandyke, Colorado will be forever changed by an avalanche that buries nine local schoolchildren. In the novel, the reader is introduced to the parents and caregivers. There are sisters Lucy and Dolly (who haven't spoken in years), Joe Cobb (the only African-American resident of Swandyke, having fled prejudice and injustice in Alabama), Grace (lonely wife of the mine manager), Civil War veteran and grandfather Minder Evans and, lastly, prostitute Essie Snowball (who watches over her daughter, Sophie, being cared for by her friend, Martha). Four children will survive the horrible tragedy in this novel that explores the lives of both men and women and the choices they make when faced with disappointment, society's rules, and forgiveness.