Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb

Todd Aaron has been a resident of the Payton Living Center for almost forty years. Todd has autism and was brought to Payton as a teenager by his mother. Todd's only family now is his brother, Nate, who comes to visit a few times a year. Todd's life has recently become complicated by a new roommate, with whom he clashes, and a recent hire named Mike Hinton, who reminds Todd of his abusive father. How will Todd handle the changes in his life? Best Boy, with Todd as the narrator, takes the reader inside the mind of someone with autism.  A compelling read similar to Patricia Wood's Lottery.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's. Nice. Outside. by Jim Kokoris

John Nichols is on a road trip from Chicago to South Carolina to attend his oldest daughter Karen's wedding. Accompanying him is his nineteen-year-old son, Ethan, who has autism. Travelling with Ethan is so difficult that John feels they can only drive several hours each day. In fact, living with Ethan has put a strain on everyone in the family, and John and his wife, Mary, divorced after he had an affair. John also has a secret agenda for this trip, a spot has opened up at a group home in Maine for Ethan to live full time. Mary and John agreed a while ago that the place is perfect for Ethan. They just didn't expect an opening so soon. How will the family let Ethan go after he has been such a huge part of their lives for so many years? Kokoris has written a realistic, at times humorous, look at how each member of a family is affected by living with a special needs child.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blood Relative by David Thomas

Peter Crookham runs a very successful architectural practice with his German-born wife, Mariana. One afternoon he arrives home from work to find Mariana covered in blood--it appears that she has murdered Peter's brother, Andy. Peter and Mariana are taken to the police station, but soon Peter is let go and Mariana is put in a psychiatric hospital, because it seems that she's suffered some type of psychotic breakdown. Peter realizes that if he can uncover the motive behind Andy's death he'll be able to find out if Mariana is guilty. Peter's investigation leads him to look into Mariana's youth in what was then East Germany. Blood Relative is a thriller in the style of Harlan Coben and keeps the reader guessing until the end.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro

Danielle Abrams has always wondered what happened to her great-aunt Alizee, a painter who disappeared in 1940. Alizee worked for the WPA and was friends with the famous artists Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, and Jackson Pollock. While working at Christie's one day, Danielle finds three canvases that she believes belong to Alizee on the backs of several artworks.  This discovery leads Danielle on a journey to find what happened to Alizee. Interspersed with Danielle's story is that of Alizee's, starting in 1939. Alizee is living in New York and is desperate to get her family out of France before they come to harm, since they are Jewish. However, some in the U.S. government are trying to keep the Jews fleeing from Europe out of the country. What can Alizee do to help her family? The Muralist is an interesting story providing insight into the beginnings of the Abstract Expression movement and the plight of the people trying to survive Hitler's persecution.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Crucifixion Creek by Barry Maitland

Afghan war vet Harry Belltree is a Sydney homicide detective, convinced that the car accident that killed his parents and blinded his wife, Jenny, was a criminal act. After his brother-in-law, Greg March, is murdered and two other violent acts happen in close succession, Harry goes beyond the law when the trail leads to a motorcycle gang called the Crows and possible government corruption. He is aided in his quest by Jenny and newspaper reporter Kelly Pool. Crucifixion Creek is the first book in a trilogy by Maitland, author of the long-running Brock and Kolla police procedural series set in London.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Promise by Robert Crais

Private detective Elvis Cole is hired by Meryl Lawrence to help find a woman named Amy Breslyn, who has disappeared with almost a half a million dollars of their employer's money. Amy's son Jacob, a journalist, died in a terrorist bombing in Nigeria about a year ago. Since then, Amy, a chemical engineer, has been different. As Cole is working on the case, he crosses paths with cop Scott James and his dog, Maggie, plus the rest of the LAPD. The police are very interested in what Cole is doing and are having him followed. Scott, himself, is in danger, because he can ID someone wanted by the authorities that has a connection to Amy and is probably involved in bomb-making. Cole and Scott secretly team up because they realize that, by sharing information with each other, they might be able to get the results they need. The Promise, at first, takes a bit of time to set up the plot, but soon Crais' series characters Cole, Scott, Maggie, Joe Pike, and even Jon Stone move to the forefront and the reader is treated to another great read.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Untimely Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan

British costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has called the Catskills home for the last ten years, working for a Shakespeare festival at the Jacobs Grand Hotel.  This summer, Charlotte has Aaron, a young intern, helping her out for the season. When Lauren, the theater company's Juliet, is poisoned, and Brian Prentice, the big name star, shows up drunk every day to rehearsals, Charlotte finds herself helping her boyfriend, Chief of Police Ray Nicholson, investigate a murder. This is the debut of a new series by Elizabeth J. Duncan, author of the long running Penny Brannigan mysteries.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

With urging from her husband and Mma Matkutsi, Mma Ramotswe decides to take some time off from the detective agency. Soon, however, spending time cleaning out her pantry has lost its allure and she finds herself visiting the office, secretly drawn into a case that Mr. Polopetsi, the agency's part time employee and friend, says has Mma Matkutsi in over her head. Of course, the reader is immersed into the interpersonal lives of all the characters and the African setting. Another enjoyable entry in the series.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Crossing by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch, getting bored in his retirement from the LAPD, reluctantly decides to cross over to the "other side" to work for his half-brother, Mickey Haller, the defense attorney for reformed gang member, Da'Quan Foster. Haller believes that Foster is innocent of the murder of Lexi Parks. With his background, Bosch is able to secretly get information about the case and also view the investigation through the prosecution's and police department's eyes. However, someone is watching Bosch's and Haller's every move--making their actions even more dangerous. The Crossing is another hard-to-put-down adventure featuring Harry Bosch.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

When Margaret Holloway is trapped in her car after an accident, she is rescued by a stranger. As she recovers, Margaret is determined to find the man that saved her life. She is also unsettled after the incident and feels that there are lost memories from her childhood that she needs to recall. Interspersed with Margaret's contemporary story is one from 1985 that that features a man named George, who wants to reunite with his seven-year-old daughter, Moll, whom he hasn't seen since she was born. As the novel progresses, it slowly becomes clear how the two stories are connected. Everything She Forgot is a page-turner for those who like psychological, character-centered novels and is a great read-alike for Erin Kelly.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

After You by Jojo Moyes

In this sequel to Me Before You, Louisa finds herself living in London mourning an important loss. Working at an airport bar and attending a local support group, Louisa's life is upended when teenager Lily comes into her life. Even though they are not family, Louisa feels responsible for Lily's well-being. Louisa also starts thinking about finding love--but can Louisa move on, put her past behind her and really learn to live again? While Me Before You is a hard book to top, I enjoyed After You, especially the humorous subplot about Louisa's family.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin

Needing a change, Addie decides to move from Chicago to the small town of Eunice, Arkansas, after inheriting her Aunt Tilda's house.  Addie used to spend time each summer as a child with Tilda, but it's been many years since she visited.  Addie's plan is to stay a few months to fix her aunt's house up so she can sell it.  However, after rescuing an abandoned dog she names Felix, becoming friends with Wanda Carter (who is the queen of sassy southern sayings), and falling for lawyer/farmer Jasper Floyd she just might find it too hard to leave. Despite all this, Addie finds herself in trouble after she refuses ignore the fact that someone in Eunice is abusing dogs. Sit! Stay! Speak! is a cozy first novel full of charm, romance and quirky characters.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

In 1950's England, DI Edgar Stephens is in charge of a a particularly gruesome case: a woman cut into thirds--the top and bottom left in the Brighton train station, the middle part sent to Edgar at the police headquarters. Who would commit such a crime and what is the identity of the victim? For Edgar, the manner of death recalls a magic trick called the Zig Zag Girl. His old friend, magician Max Mephisto, used to perform the illusion before the war. During World War II, Edgar and Max were part of a unit called the Magic Men, whose job was to fool the Germans with magic and subterfuge. Edgar knows that Max had nothing to do with the murder, but he goes to see him, hoping Max can help. Soon, someone else is murdered, and Edgar and Max have to look into the past to find who's responsible. With The Zig Zag Girl, Griffiths starts a new mystery series featuring Edgar and Max. At first, I was hesitant to read this first book because I'm not interested in magic at all, but Griffiths' writing style and character development won me over. If you enjoy her Ruth Galloway mysteries, give this new series a try.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dishing the Dirt by M.C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin is convinced that Gwen Simple was involved in the murders that her son committed. Gwen, though, pleads innocence and is being counseled by local therapist Jill Davent, who starts spreading rumors about Agatha's upbringing. In response, Agatha threatens to kill her--and then finds herself the main suspect in Jill's death. As Agatha and her employees in the detective agency try to find the real killer, Agatha's own life is put in danger and other people's as well...

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum

When 16-month-old Tommy is found dead in the pond behind his house, Inspector Sejer and his partner, Jacob Skarre, have a hard time believing that it was an accident. Tommy's mother, Carmen, is acting especially strangely. while his father, Nicolai, seems overwhelmed in grief. Tommy also had Down's syndrome and it was not a secret that Carmen was put out by that fact. Are the detectives correct in their suspicions and, if so, will they be able to find sufficient evidence--or will someone get away with murder?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Make Me by Lee Child

Reacher finds himself in the small town of Mother's Rest as he's passing through on his way to Chicago. While there, he meets an ex-FBI agent named Michelle Chang who is trying to trace the whereabouts of a co-worker named Keever. Chang doesn't know why Keever was in Mother's Rest or what he was investigating, but Reacher agrees to help Chang find him. Their journey takes them around the country and is a puzzle where they are forced to confront the very dark side of human nature.  Make Me is fast-paced and not for the squeamish.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

X by Sue Grafton

In this latest book in the long-running series, Kinsey finds herself with two cases: helping wealthy Hallie Bettancourt locate the son she gave up for adoption years ago, and unraveling the mystery of what former co-worker Pete Wolinsky was working on when he died. Both cases raise more questions than answers in the beginning, but, slowly, Kinsey's surveillance and investigation techniques bear fruit. In addition, her landlord, Henry, is concerned about how much water he is using everyday and Kinsey finds herself involved in that situation, too. While I enjoy reading about Kinsey and all her friends, the stories were slow moving and not that interesting, so a disappointment for me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary

When two young boys are found dead in an underground bunker, it shakes DI Marnie Rome and her team to the core, especially when it's determined that the children died five years ago. Back then, there were no homes on the land, only lots of trees--residents moved into the area a year and a half ago. Does the Doyle family, whose property the boys were found on, have some connection to the crime, or might the builder of the houses, since he knew there were bunkers on the land he was developing? Marnie and DS Noah Jake delve deeply into the lives of the residents, hoping to find the answers in this particularly heartbreaking case.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger

Widower Charlie Goldwyn works long hours at a high-pressure law firm hoping to make partner soon. One evening, at an office cocktail party after having too many drinks, he gives a speech that costs him his job. Being unemployed gives Charlie time to spend with his five-year-old son, Caleb, whom he hasn't seen a lot of because of his demanding career. It also allows Charlie to reflect more about his relationship with his late wife Mira, who passed away two years ago in a plane crash. Over time, Charlie begins to see that being a workaholic was maybe not the best thing for him, but when he's offered a new job will he accept it or make a change? This Was Not the Plan is a heartfelt, sometimes humorous, tale about fatherhood, love, and family. A great read-alike for Jennifer Weiner and Edward Hardy's Keeper and Kid.  It will be published in February.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell

Carl Martin has inherited a house from his father in a very desirable area of London. As a novelist, he needs a bit of extra income, so decides to rent out part of the home. At first, things go well with tenant Dermot McKinnon--but when Dermot starts to blackmail him, Carl finds himself in a terrible bind that affects both his work and his relationship with his girlfriend, Nicola. Carl's life then starts to unravel in ways he could not possibly imagine... Dark Corners will be published in October.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Rachel and Andy are just eight when they first meet, but feel an instant connection, even though their backgrounds are very different.  Rachel has a bad heart and lives with her upper-middle class family in Florida, while Andy is bi-racial and calls a struggling neighborhood in Philadelphia home. Over the years, as they grow up, their emotional bond sometimes wavers--living in different cities and seeing each other occasionally. Still, Rachel and Andy haven't completely forgotten about each other, either. Will they eventually reunite and find happiness together?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters

Roberta works at a bookshop and, while sorting through some of her grandmother's books, she comes across a letter that throws her family's history into doubt. It seems to imply that Roberta's grandparents were never married and that her grandfather, Jan Pietrykowski, died later than she was told. Roberta is shaken by the news, but feels that she cannot ask her father about it because he's in ill health, and her grandmother Dorothea, at 110, slips in and out of lucidity. Interspersed with Roberta's contemporary story is that of Dorothea's and Jan's during World War II. What happened all those years ago between them? Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase was an enjoyable read that is similar to Lauren Willig's stand-alone novels.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

David Harwood has moved back to his hometown of Promise Falls with his son, Ethan, and finds himself embroiled in his extended family's problems. While dropping off some meals for his cousin, Marla (who delivered a stillborn baby about a year ago), he discovers that she's taking care of a baby boy, whom, she says, an angel dropped off at her door. Knowing Marla's fragile mental state, he attempts to learn more from her about the situation and is able to trace a baby stroller that was dropped off with the baby to a local family. When Marla and David go to the family's home, they discover a woman has been murdered there. Because she has the child, Marla becomes the chief suspect. David promises his aunt Agnes, Marla's mother, that he will look into the case. Despite believing in Marla's innocence, David has no idea that he's putting himself in danger. With this novel, Barclay returns to the town of Promise Falls, which was featured in some of his earlier novels. Broken Promise is slated to be the first book of a trilogy set there, which might explain why several plot points were left unresolved at the end. Unfortunately, I didn't find the novel as satisfying as Barclay's best work, like Trust Your Eyes.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

In Kitchens of the Great Midwest, the reader is first introduced to Eva Thorvald as a baby. Throughout the novel we see Eva grow to adulthood to become one of the most sought after chefs in the world. Each chapter is named for a particular food that is important to someone associated with Eva. The chapters themselves read like intertwined short stories that sometimes are only tangentially related to Eva. Please don't let what I've described dissuade you from reading this first novel. It's a love letter to food, the Midwest, and family--with many characters so vividly-drawn you cannot help but fall in love with it. A book to savor and think about long after you finish...

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

After her mother passes away, governess Rachel Woodley discovers the father that she thought died when she was little is still alive. He is actually the Earl of Ardmore, and he has an estate called Carrisford. Feeling angry and deceived, Rachel joins forces with Simon Montfort, a reporter who agrees to introduce her into high society disguised as his cousin in return for an article about Rachel and her family later on. Navigating the world of late night parties proves to be not too hard, but coming face to face with her half-sister and eventually her father is far trickier. The Other Daughter, set in 1920's London, is full of secrets and romance. Perfect for readers who enjoy Daisy Goodwin.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

In Mill River, Vermont, everyone knows about the large house on the hill, but not about Mary McAllister, who has lived there for over seventy years. Mary has kept to herself, with her lifelong friendship with Father O'Brien to sustain her. Now dying of cancer, she has plans to make.... The reader also gets to meet more residents of Mill River: widower policeman Kyle Hansen and Rowen (his nine-year-old daughter), schoolteacher Claudia Simon, potion maker Daisy Delaine, and misguided cop Leroy Underwood. The Mill River Recluse recounts the daily lives of the residents and is a gentle read for those who like stories about small towns.

Monday, July 20, 2015

What Doesn't Kill Her by Carla Norton

Reeve has tried to put her past behind her by moving to San Francisco and going to college. When Daryl Wayne Flint, the man who kidnapped her as a teen and held her captive, escapes from an psychiatric hospital, she is forced to relive old memories. Reeve even decides to head back to Washington state to help the authorities find Flint before he harms anyone else.  What she doesn't suspect is that Flint's mission is to find her again... In this second book of the Reeve LeClaire series, Norton writes another fast-paced novel that's hard to put down.

Friday, July 17, 2015

After the Storm by Linda Castillo

After a tornado hits Painters Mill, Ohio, human bones are found in an abandoned barn. The remains turn out to be those of Leroy Holt who went missing thirty years ago. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team delve into Leroy's personal life to find out who might have murdered him. Not only is Kate dealing with the storm cleanup, but she also faces trouble from Paula and Nick Kester, who blame her for causing their young daughter Lucy's death, even after Kate rescued Lucy during the tornado. When Kate is shot at, she wonders if it's the Kesters who are targeting her, or if it's related to the Leroy Holt murder case. In this seventh book of the series, Castillo writes a mystery that's hard to put down, although I have a minor quibble with an aspect of Kate's personal story.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson

Lawyer Sally Baynard is asked by her ex-husband, Judge Joe Baynard, to act as a lawyer on behalf of a miniature schnauzer named Sherman. Maryann and Russell Hart are divorcing, but both of them want custody of Sherman. Sally will live with Sherman, interview the Harts, and try to determine where the best place for Sherman is. Then Sally discovers that Joe wanted her on the case because he has feelings for her--and she finds herself interested in Sherman's vet, Dr. Tony Borden. She realizes how complicated her personal life has become, especially since she's struggling with the fact that she needs to put her mother in assisted care because of her Alzheimer's. Will Sally be able to find a balance between dealing with her mother's needs and finding love? And who gets the dog? A light read similar to Mary Kay Andrews and Jeanne Ray.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand

It's Christmas Stroll weekend on Nantucket, and the Quinns are getting together for the festivities, as well as the baptism of son Kevin's daughter. However, two family members are not there--youngest son, Bart, is missing in Afghanistan and oldest son, Patrick, has several months left of his prison sentence for insider trading. Their absences cast a pall over the whole family. In the sequel to last year's Winter Street, Hilderbrand updates readers on the characters from the first book--this novel takes place a year after the first--but the family's stories feel not that well-developed and the ending felt too abrupt to me. Definitely a disappointment... It will be published in October.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

Alice is given a chance to go back to work full time when her husband, Nicholas, quits his job at a high-powered law firm. Alice accepts a job with a company called Scroll, helping to develop the company's plan to open reading lounges across the country. Alice adores books and feels that the job will be an interesting challenge for her, but with Nicholas and her nanny holding down the fort at home (taking care of the couple's three children), cracks begin to form in Alice's life--especially when her father's cancer reoccurs. A Window Opens was an enjoyable read which some have likened to Where'd You Go, Bernadette?  It is an apt comparison. The book will be published in August.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

Kinsey is asked to help two detectives from the Santa Teresa Police Department with a cold case. The detectives, Dolan and Stacey, have been with the department for many years and are in ill health. In 1969, a young woman was stabbed and her body dumped. The authorities were never able to identity her or the killer. Now, eighteen years later, Kinsey reviews the old files and works with Dolan and Stacey to interview old witnesses. Will a new set of eyes be enough to crack the case, or has too much time passed for a resolution?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Brush with Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Spa owner Penny Brannigan has just moved into the cottage that she inherited from her friend, Emma. While going through Emma's possessions, Penny discovers that Emma had been in love with a woman named Alys Jones, who was a promising painter. Alys died in a hit-and-run near Emma's home forty years ago. With the police's blessing, Penny and her friends work together to find out if Alys' death was an accident or murder. A Brush with Death is the second book in the Penny Brannigan series.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Someone knows Catherine Ravenscroft's secret and has written a book about it. The names have been changed, but Catherine is sure the novel is about her. More intriguingly, how did the book get on her bedside table? Soon it becomes clear that someone wants to destroy Catherine--but who? The only other person who knew her secret is dead. A good read-alike for readers who like Ruth Rendell's psychological novels.

Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen

Lottie and Rose are two moms with young children, and are feeling overwhelmed with their lives. When they spot a notice on the school bulletin board advertising a cottage for rent in Maine for the month of August, they jump at the chance to get away and relax without their families. Hopewell Cottage turns out not to be a small cottage, but a very large home on Little Lost Island, with many bedrooms and a lot of charm. Lottie and Rose have gotten two other people to rent the cottage with them for the month--actress Caroline Dester and seventy-ish Beverly Fisher. None of the four know each other before they head off for their month away, but soon they are sharing meals and confidences. Enchanted August is a humorous tale of friendship and how the magic of a new place might just change one's life for the better.

A Place for Us by Harriet Evans

Martha Winter is turning eighty and having a big family party, at which she plans on revealing a secret. Martha and her husband, David (a famous cartoonist) have built what looks like, from the outside, an idyllic life at Winterfold, their home in Surrey. Their granddaughters, Lucy and Cat, now grown, remember it that way too. For Martha and David's three children, however, there was conflict between Daisy (the middle child) and her siblings--eldest Bill and youngest Florence. In the novel, the reader explores the family's lives both past and present from many points of view. A Place for Us is an exploration of family relationships and is a real treat for people who enjoy the novels of Joanna Trollope, Rosamunde Pilcher and early Jojo Moyes.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

When Georgia Ford discovers that her fiancee has a young daughter that she didn't know about, she escapes to her family's vineyard in Sonoma to think about if she still wants to get married.  There, she learns that her family is falling apart. Her father, Dan, whom she adores, has sold the small winery he started to a big corporation that cares more about making money than producing wines with care. Jen, her mother, has reunited with an old love, Henry, even though she's married to Dan. Meanwhile, Georgia's twin brothers, Bobby and Finn, are both in love with Bobby's wife, Margaret. Georgia is determined that the sale of the winery won't go through, but the buyer, Jacob McCarthy, won't back down. Jacob, while an adversary, is surprisingly in tune with Georgia's feelings and the upheaval in her family. Against the backdrop of California's wine country, Dave has written a novel about family ties and the meaning of home.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

Sarah and Angus Moorcroft suffered a horrible loss fourteen months ago when their six-year-old daughter, Lydia, died. Wanting a new start, they decide to move from London to Torran, an island that Angus' family owns in the Hebrides, with their surviving daughter, Kirstie--Lydia's identical twin.  When Kirstie tells Sarah that she's actually Lydia and that it was Kirstie who died, Sarah wonders if it's true.  Chillingly enough, there is no way for Sarah to medically prove which twin died because the girls DNA is same and they were never fingerprinted. As Sarah tries to come to terms with Kirstie's confession and think of another way she might uncover the truth, Kirstie--who insists she be called Lydia--begins behaving oddly. Sarah's and Angus' relationship also begins to splinter with Kirstie's revelation. With the isolation of Torran and rumors of ghosts, the Moorcroft family sees their lives unravel...  This novel of psychological suspense is similar to The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar, Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster, and Hold My Hand by Serena Makesy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Greer Hennessey is looking for the perfect Florida small town for a movie shoot. As a movie location scout, she's trying to redeem herself after her last job ended in disaster. Greer zeroes in on Cypress Key, which the director of the movie proclaims is perfect. Soon, Greer finds herself falling for the mayor, Eb Thibadeaux, but Greer is leery of getting involved with anyone--she's busy enough juggling her job, her sorrow at the recent passing of her mother, and the apprehension of reconnecting with the father she barely knows. Mixing her trademark light humor with a bit of romance, along with the relationships between the characters, Andrews has written another enjoyable beach read.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Run You Down by Julia Dahl

Pessie Goldin's death is assumed to be suicide, but her husband believes she was murdered. However, since they come from an ultra-Orthodox community which forbids an autopsy, the police have let the case go cold. Reporter Rebekah Roberts finds herself meeting with Pessie's husband and agreeing to look into the case, since she's familiar with the Hasidic community and recently had success with a similar case. Rebekah comes face to face with her own past when it appears that her uncle Sam, whom she has never met, has a connection to Pessie. He is the brother of Rebekah's mother, Aviva, who left Rebekah with her father when she was a baby and disappeared. Will Rebekah find justice for Pessie and also be reunited with her mother? Run You Down is the second book in the Rebekah Roberts series and was just a so-so read, because the story was so similar to the mystery in the first book. It will be published next month.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson

When a farmer's tractor is stolen and blood is found on the floor of an abandoned hangar, the police joke about how insignificant the crimes are. But soon DI Annie Cabbot is dealing with a missing person named Michael Lane, who could have a connection to the tractor and DS Winsome Jackman's bloodstains appear to be related to Michael too. With their boss, DCI Banks, in charge, the detectives soon find themselves immersed in much more serious cases.  With this latest entry in the long-running series, Robinson puts the focus on the female detectives Annie and Winsome, and lets Banks take a back seat.  It works well, along with an intriguing mystery. "In the Dark Places" will be published in August.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Slated for Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan

When preparing for a local concert to be held in a closed slate mine, organizer Glenda Roberts is murdered. Spa owner Penny Brannigan agrees to take over the event and finds herself involved in the case when Glenda's mother, Doreen (also Penny's friend), is found dead. Could the crimes be related to Glenda's sister, Rebeccah, selling knock-off products in her market stall, or might they have something to do with the workers in the mines years ago? In this sixth book in the Penny Brannigan series, set in Wales,  Duncan writes a mystery that would be a great read-alike for people who enjoy M.C. Beaton.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Novelist Madeline King is suffering from writer's block, so when her best friend, Grace, confesses an affair with landscape gardener, Benton Coe, Madeline can't resist using Grace's story as the basis for a new novel. Grace is basking in Benton's attention, despite being married to Eddie and having twin teen daughters, Allegra and Hope. Eddie, meanwhile, is preoccupied with the financial situation he's gotten himself into. In the process of building three houses, he doesn't have enough money to finish them and, as a real estate agent, he hasn't sold a house in many months. Desperate, Eddie makes a business decision that's against the law, which makes him even more stressed. Set on the island of Nantucket, The Rumor explores the relationships between Madeline, Grace, and Eddie, along with Allegra and Hope. While I enjoyed the book, there was something missing that puts it a level below Hilderbrand's great novels, like BarefootThe Island, and Silver Girl. It will be published in June.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

In one week, New York lawyer Lily Wilder is getting married in her hometown of Key West.  The big question on everyone's mind is "should she?" Even though she loves her fiancee, Will, she can't remain faithful to him. I Take You follows Lily along with her family and friends in the frantic and festive days leading up to the nuptials. From the parties and future in-laws meetings to Lily's involvement in a case for work that could ruin her career, the novel is filled with humor, quirky characters and heart. A breezy, fun read similar to Bridget Jones's Diary and the novels of Sophie Kinsella. It will be published in May.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Wednesday Group by Sylvia True

Five women find themselves joining a therapy group because their husbands are sex addicts. There's Gail, a judge, whose husband is tempted by his female students, and Hannah, whose young daughter, Alicia, is acting out because of the uneasiness of her parents' marriage. Rounding out the group are Flavia, whose husband has been arrested for groping someone on the subway, and Bridget and Lizzy, who both are struggling with anger and frustration towards their husbands and worry if the men are being honest. With therapist Kathryn to guide the weekly meetings, the women slowly confide in each other about their lives and emotions and find themselves forming a bond.  A good read-alike for The School of Essential Ingredients and The Friday Night Knitting Club.

The Precipice by Paul Doiron

When two women go missing while hiking a difficult part of the Appalachian Trail, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch helps in trying to determine where the women were last seen. Mike then finds himself embroiled in the search and discovers there are no shortage of people whose behaviors make them suspicious. With a great sense of place, a puzzle that keep the reader guessing, and a main character that you can't help but empathize with, The Precipice is another home run for Doiron. Give to readers who love C.J. Box and Craig Johnson. It will be published in June.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

12 Rose Street by Gail Bowen

Joanne's husband, Zack, is running for mayor in Regina, Saskatchewan, and faces an uphill battle against the incumbent, Scott Ridgeway. Joanne is an expert at running political campaigns, having helped her first husband, Ian, become the Attorney General of Saskatchewan many years ago. However, when a local slumlord is murdered, it unearths secrets, political mudslinging, and more violence. Will Joanne and her family be able to escape unscathed? This latest book in the long-running Joanne Kilbourn mystery series further explores the characters' lives, while bringing to the forefront the issue of poverty among the Aboriginal People in Canada.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

Lawyer Adam Price has his world turned upside down when a stranger tells him that his wife, Corinne, faked her recent pregnancy. Stunned by the news, Adam confronts Corinne who tells him that it's the truth. She then disappears, texting him that she needs some time away and asking him to take care of their two teenage boys, Thomas and Ryan. Where has Corinne gone? Has something bad possibly happened to her? The reader also learns that "the stranger" has gone to other people, revealing secrets about their family members. The puzzle that Adam tries to unravel kept me guessing until the end of the book--and kept me up late at night. The Stranger is a great read-alike for Linwood Barclay.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

When a digger at a construction site uncovers a World War II airplane with a body inside, the police consult with forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway to find out if the plane has been there since the war. Based on soil samples, Ruth concludes that the plane has been there all along, but that the body inside, while long dead, was moved there recently. DNA tests show that the pilot was Frederick Blackstock, from a local wealthy family. He moved to the states before the war and fought for the Americans. How, then did he end up in a plane near his birthplace, while all this time his family thought he died in the war? In this seventh entry in the Ruth Galloway series, Griffiths writes a satisfying mystery that forwards the personal lives of the recurring characters and gives the reader an interesting puzzle to solve, partly owing to the rich heritage of the Norfolk coast. It will be published in May.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Golden State by Stephanie Kegan

Natalie lives in Berkeley with her husband, Eric, and two daughters. She grew up in a well-connected California political family, where she was closest to her brilliant older brother, Bobby. Bobby now lives off the grid, in a cabin in Idaho and isn't in touch with anyone in the family. As someone nicknamed the Cal Bomber is killing and maiming people in the state, Natalie starts to wonder if Bobby might be the perpetrator, based on writings of his and the bomber's that are very similar. Eric encourages her go to the FBI with her suspicions, and she does--getting them to promise to keep her involvement secret. However, they don't and Natalie and her family's lives are thrust into the public eye. The big question becomes whether Bobby is guilty and, if he is, how that will affect his family. Golden State is an emotional story about a family's past and present--and the choices we make and have to accept when things are not in our control. A book to think about even after the last page is turned.