Monday, August 26, 2013

The Raven's Eye by Barry Maitland

DI Kathy Kolla is mistakenly called to a houseboat where a woman has died of carbon monoxide poisoning. But after surveying the scene, Kathy is not sure that the woman's death was accidental.  Things become even murkier when she discovers that the woman, known to neighbors as "Vicky" was actually Gudrun Kite, whose sister Freyja was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Gudrun's father, Desmond, believes that Freyja was murdered. Kathy and her boss, DCI Brock, have been told to shelve the investigation because of budgetary constraints, along with the belief that no crime has been committed. Instead, Kathy is supposed to focus on impersonating the wife of Jack Bragg, a longtime crime boss, in the hopes of apprehending him. However, Kathy cannot let go of the Kite case, even if it means a secret investigation.  The Raven's Eye is a solid, typical British police procedural.  Suggest it to people who like Deborah Crombie and Peter Robinson.  It will be published in November.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

After Her by Joyce Maynard

In 1979, sisters Rachel and Patty Torricelli live with their distant mother while their father, a Marin County police detective attempts to uncover the identity of the "Sunset Strangler" who has killed several young women near their home north of San Francisco.  On summer vacation and without any friends, they spend their time exploring Mount Tamalpais and watching shows on their neighbors' televisions while sitting in their backyards. Both girls adore their father and see the strain that the case is putting on him and with Rachel having visions about the murders, they decide their father could use any help he can get.  But things don't work out as they planned...  Even thirty years later and now a successful novelist, Rachel is not able to put her past behind her. Will she be finally be able to set things right?  After Her reminded me of Laura Lippman's The Most Dangerous Thing, but is more leisurely-paced.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Twenty-five years ago, eleven-year-olds Bel and Jade were convicted of murdering a young child named Chloe.  But after serving their time and having their names changed, they have made new lives for themselves. Amber (Bel) works as a manager at a carnival in the seaside town of Whitmouth.  Kirsty (Jade) married Jim, has two children and is a journalist.  The authorities have forbidden any contact between the two women, but they find their lives intersecting when a serial killer is uncovered in Whitmouth and Kirsty arrives to report on the crimes. The main question then becomes will Amber and Kirsty be able to keep their pasts hidden?  The Wicked Girls is a psychological novel in the style of Tana French, although it's much more compact and doesn't have the police angle.  Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for the writer Serena Mackesy who wrote Take My Hand, which I blogged about several years ago.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

While Cecilia's husband John Paul is on a business trip, she finds a letter he wrote years ago, saying she should only open it in the event of his death. Intrigued, she puts it aside to possibly open later. The contents of the envelope will have a profound effect on the lives of Cecilia, John Paul, and their three school-aged daughters.  It will also impact Tess, who has moved back to Sydney (her childhood home) from Melbourne after her husband, Will, and best friend/cousin, Felicity reveal they are in love.  School secretary and grandmother, Rachel is also not unaffected.  Filled with loneliness and anger, she still grieves twenty-five years after her teenage daughter, Janie's murder. The Husband's Secret packs an emotional wallop.  It's like a cross between Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult, yet deeper and more thought-provoking.  If you enjoy books about women's lives and relationships, this book is not to be missed.

The Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah

Anna, a chef, and her husband, Tobias, look forward to fulfilling a dream by moving from London to Provence after their daughter is born. But when Freya arrives severely disabled, they are forced to re-evaluate their plans and come to terms with the fact that their lives are going to be very different than they expected.  Anna and Tobias end up buying a rambling rundown farmhouse in a rural French town that's filled with vermin but has loads of character. The colorful locals embrace the family, yet Anna and Tobias find themselves growing apart because of their differing emotions towards Freya and what kind of life they want for her.  While the plot might sound serious, it's not depressing because Shah fills her book with love and emotion along with a great sense of place and mouthwatering descriptions of the food Anna prepares from local ingredients--mostly from the land around her home.  A memorable read.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton

Reeve has changed her name and tried to make a new life for herself in San Francisco, but the trauma of being held prisoner for years when she was a teenager remains.  When Dr. Lerner, her therapist, asks Reeve to help Tilly (a girl who recently was found after being imprisoned), she readily agrees, because a woman in similar circumstances aided Reeve tremendously after she was freed. Travelling to Tilly's hometown, Reeve becomes immersed in Tilly's life and the quest to find her kidnapper.  What Reeve, Tilly, and the authorities don't know is that the perpetrator is not in hiding, but part of the investigation, and is secretly listening in on them and and tracking their every move.  He still has two other girls in captivity and is not afraid to resort to violence to keep the secret. The Edge of Normal is a taut suspense novel that delves sympathetically into the mindset of survivors of extreme abuse.  Give to readers who enjoyed Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman and James Patterson's Alex Cross novels.  It will be published next month.