Friday, September 30, 2011

Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

Wanda Batton-Smythe runs Nether Monkslip's Women's Institute with an iron hand, so it's not so surprising that she's found dead in the village hall during the Harvest Fayre. While allergic to nuts, it seems she's been poisoned by them. The local vicar, Max Tudor, formerly with MI5, is asked by the local police to assist them in their inquiries. Max, knowing the residents of his small village well, finds it hard to believe that one could be a murderer, but questions them, nonetheless. With details of English small town life and its inhabitants, Malliet has written a read-alike for readers of Caroline Graham, M.C. Beaton, and Rhys Bowen's Evan Evans series.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Burning by Jane Casey

A serial killer nicknamed "The Burning Man" is the talk of London. Already claiming four victims, it looks like the fifth is beautiful Rebecca Haworth. DC Maeve Kerrigan is assigned to look into the murder and starts by interviewing Rebecca's friends--Louise, Tilly, and ex-boyfriend, Gil. She also delves into Rebecca's past, including her time at Oxford, where a fellow student died under mysterious circumstances. Soon, Maeve begins to wonder if Rebecca's death is the work of a copycat. The Burning is told through the eyes of both Maeve and Louise and is similar to Tana French's and S.J. Bolton's masterful, Now You See Me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Jennifer White is a former hand surgeon who is slowly descending into demetia. She lives with a caretaker, Magdalena, but has trouble remembering who she is and what happens from day to day. Jennifer is also the police's prime suspect in the murder of her best friend, Amanda, who had several fingers removed from her hand. Of course, Jennifer can't help the authorities at all when they question her because of her condition. The book details Jennifer's day to day life though her unreliable eyes. The reader meets her overachieving daughter, Fiona, and son, Mark, who has a drug problem. As the novel progresses, one is immersed in Jennifer's murky world and wonders what is true and imagined. An absorbing read...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

Inspector Harry Hole is reluctantly persuaded to come home to Oslo from a self-imposed exile in Hong Kong to aid in the case of a suspected serial killer. Two women have been murdered in a similar way and Harry's expertise is invaluable. Kripos, the NCIS, is officially running the investigation, so Harry and his two colleagues have to keep their actions secret. In addition, Harry's father is dying and he's developed a fondness for opium while on his sojourn. As he tussles with Mikael Bellman from Kripos and more bodies pile up, Harry tries to find a connection between the victims while struggling with the chaos in his personal life. The Leopard is the eighth book in the Harry Hole series and is much too long. It suffers from plot twist after plot twist, diluting the mystery. The Redeemer and The Snowman are better books.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

One day, people all over the world just disappear, never to be seen again. The residents of the town of Mapleton are affected by the event, called the "Sudden Departure," in different ways. Nora Durst lost her husband and two young children. The Garvey family had no one disappear, but teenager Jill lost her best friend. Now three years after the event, lives are still in an unsettled state. Kevin Garvey, father and husband, is now mayor of Mapleton. His wife, Laurie, has left the family to join the Guilty Remnant, a group that dresses in white, smokes constantly, takes a vow of silence and breaks ties with their loved ones. Tom, their son, has dropped out of college and is following a "healing prophet" called Holy Wayne. Jill has lost all interest in academics and is hanging out with Aimee (a bad influence), who has moved into the Garvey home with Kevin and her. Meanwhile without her family, Nora struggles to move forward with her life. Perrotta explores the choices people make when faced with a possible life-changing event. I enjoyed The Leftovers more than his last novel, The Abstinence Teacher, but not as much as Little Children which I loved.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams

Ex-FBI profiler Keye Street has gotten her life mostly back together after losing her career because of her drinking. She now owns an investigating agency and spends her time serving summons and capturing bail jumpers. Keye is asked to lend her professional expertise to her friend, Atlanta police detective Aaron Rauser. Rauser is heading up the investigation in the case of a serial killer that the media has nicknamed the Wishbone Killer. The authorities know that he's committed at least four murders and Keye is helping them to try to figure out what ties the murders together and to come up with a possible profile of the killer. But when the killer starts to communicate directly with Keye and Rauser, they wonder if their lives are in danger, too. Will they be able to nab the person responsible before harm comes to them or someone else? The Stranger You Seek is the first book in the Keye Street series. The character of Keye, combined with the Atlanta setting and the suspense of hunting for a killer made this book an absorbing read. Similar to the Jo Beckett series by Meg Gardiner and the excellent Sarah Pribek series by Jodi Compton.