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.