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.