Monday, December 12, 2016

Burning Bright by Nicholas Petrie

Battling PTSD, war veteran Peter Ash finds himself up in a redwood after encountering a grizzly bear. While up there, he meets journalist June Cassidy who is hiding from some men whom she believes want to kill her and might have had something to do with her mother's death (which was considered an accident).  June's mother, Hazel, was a renowned computer science professor at Stanford. June and Peter take a liking to each other and go on the run to uncover why June is in danger and to also take out whomever is after her. In this second novel in the Peter Ash series, Petrie cements himself as a must-read thriller writer and a sure bet for those readers (like me) who have tired of Lee Child's repetitive plots, but still desire a action-packed, suspenseful read. It will be published next month.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

While out Christmas shopping, Jessica meets a handsome man named Dominic Lacey and impulsively goes home with him. Soon after arriving, she realizes her mistake--she is trapped by a madman. Dominic intends to keep Jessica prisoner, giving her a disturbing gift every day that lends insight into his past and the plans he has for her. Interspersed with Jessica's story is that of a policewoman named Kim who has been assigned Jessica's missing person's case and is trying to find out what happened to her. Dying for Christmas is a suspenseful tale similar to No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.

Friday, November 25, 2016

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

In this novella by best-selling author Backman, a grandfather and his grandson, Noah, spend time together as the grandfather falls deeper into dementia. Both share a passion for math, which bonds them together. Noah's dad, Ted, however, is more interested in the arts, so Ted and his father aren't as close. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is a poignant story of love, memories, and loss.

What's Left Behind by Gail Bowen

Joanne's son Peter's wedding is overshadowed by the appearance of the maid of honor Lee's ex-boyfriend, Simon. Simon is still obsessed with Lee and has checked himself out of the psychiatric hospital against his doctor's orders.  Lee, with her organization Citizens for Planned Growth has been fighting against corporations that want to take over farmland and are more concerned with making money than responsible development. When Lee is found murdered soon after the wedding, the authorities' prime suspect is Simon, but Joanne and others believe that Lee's work with her group or possibly personal relationships in her past will be the key to finding her killer.  As usual in this long-running series, the reader is contentedly immersed in Joanne's world of family, friendships, and politics.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths

In 1951 in Brighton, DI Edgar Stephens heads the case of two missing children--Annie and Mark. Soon, Edgar's worst fears are confirmed when they are found dead in the woods. Annie was the leader of a group of children who put on plays with gruesome fairy tale overtones for friends and family. Edgar and his colleagues, sergeants Emma Holmes and Bob Willis, delve into the children's lives both in and out of school to try to uncover who was responsible. Could the murders have some connection to the killing forty years ago of a girl playing the female Babe in a "Babes in the Woods" pantomime? Edgar's friend, magician and actor Max Mephisto, provides assistance and support to help unmask the killer. This second book in the Magic Men series continues to develop the relationships of Edgar and Max and those around them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutski find themselves busy juggling three cases, one official and two personal.  A Canadian named Susan has come to the agency to find the woman who looked after her when she lived in Botswana when she was young, and Fanwell, who works for Mma Ramotswe's husband at the automotive repair shop next to the detective agency, finds himself in possession of a stray dog that he is unable to care for. Mr. Polopetsi, meanwhile, has become involved in a pyramid scheme and has gotten several friends to invest their money.  It is up to Mma Ramotswe to extricate Mr. Polopetsi from the situation and get everyone's savings back.  As usual in this long-running series, the focus is on the interpersonal relationships of the characters rather than the mystery.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Fall Guy by James Lasdun

Although cousins, Matthew and Charlie were as close as brothers when they were teens. As adults they have drifted apart, but still have a bond. Charlie has done very well financially. He and his wife, Chloe, have a second home in the Catskills, and he invites Matthew to spend the summer. Matthew has not been that successful in his business endeavors and is struggling with what to do next. He also nurses an unrequited affection for Chloe. When Matthew discovers that Chloe is cheating on Charlie, he faces a dilemma: should he tell Charlie or keep quiet?  As the summer progresses, Matthew's knowledge almost becomes an obsession. There's not any way this can end well...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

This collection by best-selling author Moyes features a novella and eight short stories that explore the relationships between women and men. In the title story, Nell is excited to spend a weekend in Paris with her boyfriend, Pete, but when he fails to show up, she has to decide whether to be adventurous and enjoy Paris on her own or head back to her predictable life back home. The other stories feature a famous man accused of adultery, a woman who finds that an expensive pair of shoes can really change your day, and a woman who yearns for a midnight blue coat, even though her family can't afford it.  While the book is a quick read, I really enjoyed the glimpses into the characters' lives and situations.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand

In this final novel of the Winter Street trilogy, the tale of the Quinn family of Nantucket continues. Youngest brother, Bart, is still missing in action, while oldest Patrick is soon to be released from prison for insider trading. Sister Ava can't decide if she should be with Nathaniel or Scott, so she's dating both of them. Kevin, the middle brother, finally has the life he dreams of with girlfriend, Isabelle, and daughter, Genevieve. Meanwhile, patriarch Kelley is happily back together with his wife, Mitzi. Taking place over nine months, the reader follows the ups and downs of the families' lives among the beautiful island backdrop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

As a private investigator, Harry Bosch has been secretly hired by wealthy Whitney Vance to find out before he dies if he has an heir. While in college in 1950, Vance was told by his girlfriend that she was pregnant, but after telling his father about the situation, the girlfriend disappeared and Vance never saw her again. Vance would like his vast fortune to go to his descendants. rather than have it in the hands of the board of directors of his company. Bosch is also part of the San Fernando Police Department reserve unit and is partnered with Bella Lourdes to try and discover a serial rapist in the area that they have nicknamed "Screen Cutter."  With these two cases, the reader accompanies Bosch as he uses his investigative techniques to find the answers he needs. A very satisfying entry in this long-running series.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Needing a change of scenery, Londoner Kate Priddy decides to do an apartment swap with a cousin she's never met, Bostonian Corbin Dell. Soon after arriving, Kate discovers that Corbin's next-door neighbor, Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. Being near the location of such a violent event is traumatic for anyone, but it's especially distressing for Kate, since she came to the States to try to recover from the tragic end of a relationship with an old boyfriend, George. As the novel progresses, the reader begins to worry for Kate, not knowing whom she can trust.... Her Every Fear is the third book by Peter Swanson. I had very high expectations for this novel, because his first two books were such great reads and established Swanson as a suspense writer to watch and recommend. The storyline in this one, however, was just not as compelling as the previous books. Fingers crossed for the next one. Her Every Fear will be published in January.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Trepasser by Tana French

Detective Antoinette Conway does not fit in with her colleagues in the Dublin Murder Squad. She is harassed and doesn't trust any of them. Although Conway is impulsive and suspicious of others, she has a good relationship with her partner, Stephen Moran. Conway, with Moran assisting, finds herself the chief investigator in the murder of Aislinn Murray. They are both displeased, however, to have a third person working with them closely--seasoned detective Breslin. Conway and Moran don't trust Breslin, and throughout the case keep secret some of the information that they have gathered. The prime suspect is Rory Fallon, who had a dinner date at Aislinn's home the night she was killed. Is Rory the killer in a lover's spat gone wrong, or does Breslin's pushing for Rory's arrest indicate a cover-up? In this leisurely-paced sixth book of the Dublin Murder Squad series, French re-teams Conway and Moran from her previous book, The Secret Place. Unfortunately, the mystery did not grip me, and I found Conway to be pretty one-dimensional and an uninteresting character.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

When librarian Nina is made redundant, she decides to follow her dream of owning a bookstore. With a gift for connecting people to the right book, she buys a van, which she christens "Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After." However, making her business work is not an easy task. With limited resources, she moves from where she lives in Birmingham to northern Scotland, because it seems that the people there have a real need for a bookstore and her mobile one is even a better idea, because she can travel to lots of small towns. Soon, she finds herself becoming part of a community--and maybe even finding love. The Bookshop on the Corner is a charming novel filled with quirky characters, friendship, and romance.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Home by Harlan Coben

When his best friend, Win, calls out of the blue and asks Myron Bolitar for his help in getting two kidnapped boys back, Myron knows he can't say no. One of the boys, Rhys, is related to Win. Rhys and his friend, Patrick, have been missing for ten years. While Myron and Win are able to get Patrick back, there is no sign of Rhys. Patrick isn't talking and his parents--just glad to have him home--have cut off access. With their take-no-prisoners attitude, Win and Myron decide to look back at the ten-year-old crime, hoping that it will lead them to Rhys, and the big question becomes whether or not Rhys is even still alive. After a five-year absence, Myron and his crew treat the reader to a fast-paced ride.

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

In 1925, new bride Gwen travels from England to Ceylon to join her husband, Laurence, at his family's tea plantation. Life in Ceylon is not like home, with a different climate, customs, and foods. Even though her love for Laurence is strong, Gwen finds herself doubting their marriage, as she feels Laurence is holding back with her. She is also threatened by his friendship with Christina, with whom he was previously involved. The Tea Planter's Wife is a saga of Gwen and Laurence's marriage through periods of strength and weakness in a changing Ceylon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

When Mila Jackson's father, Sean, dies of a heart attack, she is forced to revisit all the trauma and dysfunction her family has to offer. Sean was a wealthy property developer who married four times and was an absent father to his daughters. Twelve years ago, during Sean's 50th birthday weekend, three-year-old Coco Jackson disappeared. Coco was Mila's half-sister and Sean's daughter and the media had a field day when she vanished. Now, with Sean's death, the mystery is brought up again. Mila finds herself in the middle when she agrees to bring Coco's twin, Ruby, to the services. Alternating with the contemporary story is the tale of Coco's vanishing, told from the point of view of Sean and his deplorable friends. The big question is--what really happened to Coco? Marwood spins a story of secrets and loss with a zinger of an ending.

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

When forty-four year old New Yorker Maribeth Klein has a heart attack, she realizes she needs to slow down, but with working full-time and being the mother to preschool-aged twins, she is finding it hard to do. Her husband, Jason, and mother, Evelyn, seem unable to take over most of the tasks of running a household, so Maribeth can rest and get better. Fed up, Maribeth, leaves her family and moves to Pittsburgh, to recover. Pittsburgh is also the city she was born in, and Maribeth, an adoptee, would like to find her birth mother. Will living there anonymously help her find her way home? Leave Me is very enjoyable novel full of heart and memorable characters. A perfect read-alike for readers of Katherine Center and Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah. O Magazine compared the book to Anne Tyler...a good match.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hell Fire by Karin Fossum

Caregiver Bonnie Hayden, a single mother with a preschool son, Simon, is scraping by financially. When they are found viciously murdered in a neglected trailer, Inspector Sejer, wonders who might of wanted them dead, since Bonnie had no apparent enemies. The story of the investigation into the killings is alternated with the tale of the last six months of Bonnie's and Simon's lives. Fossum also adds a third storyline, that of loner Eddie Malthe, who lives with his mother, Mass. Eddie has a cruel streak and seems psychologically unstable. In Hell Fire, Fossum depicts the daily lives of these characters as they proceed to their shattering conclusions.  A heartbreaking tale of fate, love, and loss.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

In 1850, middle-aged widow Laetitia Rodd makes a living doing investigative work for her brother, Frederick, who is a prominent London lawyer. She is hired by Sir James Calderstone to investigate the past of the woman his son, James, wants to marry. Sir James disapproves of the match and wants the marriage stopped. Mrs. Rodd agrees to take on the case, since it will provide her with a good income, but soon she finds herself immersed in violence and is determined to prove the innocence of someone accused of murder.  The Secrets of Wishtide features a lively main character in this debut historical cozy mystery.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Book that Matters Most by Ann Hood

Ava is still reeling a year after her husband, Jim, left her for another woman. She decides to join her friend Cate's long-running book group, figuring it might make her feel more connected. Over the next year, each book club member gets to choose the book that has mattered the most to them as one of the titles the group will read. Ava chooses a book from her childhood that soothed the sorrow she felt when her younger sister, Lily, and mother, Charlotte, died within a year of each other. Meanwhile, Ava's troubled daughter, Maggie, is studying abroad in Italy, but follows a lover to Paris, where she falls into her usual self-destructive behavior. Alternating the focus between Ava and Maggie, the novel explores the relationships between mothers and daughters, secrets, and learning to recover and heal when the unexpected happens.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Olivia Rawlings decides to escape to Vermont after a disastrous mishap with a baked Alaska at her job as a pastry chef in Boston. Arriving in Guthrie and staying with Hannah, her friend from college, Olivia scores a job as the baker at the Sugar Maple Inn. Soon, she finds herself part of the community, playing her banjo with a local group and falling for Martin McCracken, who's moved back home from Seattle because his father, Henry, is dying of cancer. Will Olivia be able to find happiness if her first thought is to bolt when things get tough? The City Baker's Guide to Country Living is a first novel filled with sumptuous descriptions of desserts and a lovely sense of place in small town Vermont. For readers who enjoyed Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks and the novels of Erica Bauermeister.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

When the Music's Over by Peter Robinson

Alan Banks has just been promoted to Detective Superintendent and finds himself heading up two cases. He and DS Winsome Jackman are looking into the fact that celebrity Danny Caxton, now in his 80's, sexually abused young women at the height of his fame. Meanwhile, DI Annie Cabbot and DC Geraldine Masterson (with Banks overseeing them) are investigating the brutal murder of a young woman found near the side of the road. In When the Music's Over, Robinson engages the reader with two interesting cases in classic british police procedural style.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Grace thinks that she has found the perfect match in Jack. He's handsome, wealthy, and is happy to have Grace's younger sister, Millie, who has Down's Syndrome, come and live with them. However, right after their wedding, Grace discovers she has married a monster. Jack delights in imprisoning Grace in their home and controlling what she eats and wears. He is also anxious for Millie to leave the group home she's been living in and move in with them because he will then have two people to torment. Grace knows she has limited time to somehow get away from Jack and save her sister from the hell she's experienced. How will Grace succeed when Jack never leaves her alone? If you can suspend a bit of disbelief for how Grace gets herself into this situation in the first place, you will be treated to a nail biting tale that you will want to hurry to finish.

Monday, August 8, 2016

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Ten years ago, Nicolette's best friend, Corinne disappeared. Nicolette has tried to move on, leaving Tyler, her boyfriend, behind, relocating to Philadelphia and getting engaged to Everett, a lawyer from a prominent family. Her brother, Daniel, calls and asks Nicolette to come home to Cooley Ridge, North Carolina, to assist in selling their childhood house to help pay the costs of their father's nursing home, and Nicolette is thrust back into the past. When Tyler's current girlfriend Annaleise goes missing, he immediately comes under suspicion and it makes everyone wonder if there is any connection between the women's disappearances. In addition, Nicolette's father is suffering from Alzheimer's and it appears that he has secrets he can't talk about because of his condition. All the Missing Girls is a psychological novel told with a unique story structure--the action unfolds backwards. It's a good read-alike for Julia Keller's A Killing in the Hills.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Eight years ago, teenager Julie was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Her younger sister, Jane, saw it happen, but was quieted by Julie as she left.  Now years later, Julie shows up at home, run-down but healthy, and her family is so glad to have her back. Julie says that she was sold as a sex slave and taken to Mexico--but is this person really Julie, and if it is Julie, is her story about being in Mexico true or was she really somewhere else? Good as Gone is a fast-paced tale that is an exploration of family dynamics, survival, and healing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Martha is 79 and lives at Diamond House, a retirement home in Stockholm. Faced with unappetizing meals and dreary surroundings, it appears that the owners are really trying to cut corners. Martha and her friends Christina, Anna-Greta, Brains, and Rake decide to embark on a life of crime in order to make things more exciting and improve their living situation. Sneaking into the staff gym to get more fit, eating good food, and staying at a nice hotel are just part of the plan. Will "The League of Pensioners" (as they call themselves) be able to fulfill their dreams of getting a lot of cash, or will their misdeeds land them in prison? The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is a leisurely-paced humorous tale.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff

In New York City, Jonathan is thoroughly enjoying looking after his brother's dogs, Dante and Sissy, while his brother is working in Dubai. Jonathan is, however, bored with his job writing ads for an office supply store and is not really in love with his girlfriend, Julie. His big joys in life are walking the dogs and spending time with them. Jonathan wonders if it's time to make some big changes in his life or stay with the status quo. Jonathan Unleashed is a quirky novel filled with humor and affection for our four-legged friends.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Laura "Lo" Blacklock is excited when she's given the assignment of travelling on the debut cruise of the small luxury ship the Aurora. She figures it could be the big break she needs to move up at the travel magazine she works for. She arrives on the cruise with little sleep and frayed nerves after a burglar breaks into her flat a few days before her departure. Then, in the middle of the first night of the trip, she thinks that the young woman in the cabin next to hers has fallen overboard.  After she tries to report what happened, the blood she saw on the balcony has disappeared and she's told that no one was occupying that particular room. Is Lo correct in what she saw or could she be mistaken? The reader soon suspects that Lo belief is correct and she's probably in real danger, while her boyfriend at home is concerned that he has not heard from her in days...  The Woman in Cabin 10 is a locked room tale similar to The Girl on the Train.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard

Mark's and Maggie's marriage hasn't been the same since Maggie was mugged a few months ago. She's cut back on her work hours, bought mace and even a switchblade--leaving Mark wondering about her mental state. He decides that they should head out for their annual trip from Chicago to visit his parents in Virginia earlier than usual.  Traffic turns out to be bad and they also begin to worry about a huge storm that they will have to drive through. These obstacles fray both their nerves and make the car ride even more tense. Will Mark and Maggie be able to come together and heal their marriage or will the journey push them even further apart?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo

Kate Burkholder, the chief of police in Painters Mill, Ohio, is asked to go undercover in a small Amish community in upstate New York. The authorities are concerned about the children who live there and a teenage girl who was found frozen to death nearby. Kate grew up Amish and it would hopefully be an easy transition for her to slip back into that lifestyle--but adapting to the Amish ways (no electricity and no driving) prove to be a bit of a hurdle for Kate. In addition, the group is lead by a bishop named Eli Schrock who is extremely strict. Soon, Kate and others are in danger. Will Kate be able to find out what's going in Roaring Springs before anyone else comes to harm? Among the Wicked is a strong addition to the Kate Burkholder series. Having Kate leave her normal environs and putting her relationship with Tomasetti on the back burner has given the series a welcome kick.

Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach

When retired actor Buffy is left a Welsh bed and breakfast in an old friend's will, he decides to leave London and try to run it himself. Buffy isn't really a cook or housekeeper--but he is a fun and sociable host. With help from two of his daughters and local resident, Voda, he attempts to make a go of it. Offering cooking basic car repair classes along with a place to stay, Buffy hopes he can help the place stay afloat.  Throughout Heartbreak Hotel, Moggach explores Buffy's extended family's lives, along with those of the people who come and stay. An enjoyable story filled with love and humor.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Girls by Emma Cline

In late 1960's California, fourteen-year-old Evie Boyd is an only child, bored being shuttled between her divorced parents. In the summer, before heading off to boarding school, she becomes intrigued by some young women she sees hanging out in a local park. She becomes especially entranced by Suzanne--leading Evie to spend time at the commune where the women live. The cult group is lead by a man named Russell who takes control of all aspects of their lives. The Girls is closely based on the Manson family murders and is an engrossing coming-of-age story.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

When celebrity chef Deacon Thorpe dies of a heart attack, he leaves behind three ex-wives and lots of debt. As the family gathers at the summer cottage on Nantucket where everyone had spent time throughout the years, they learn that Deacon left the cottage to all three women and they wonder if they will be able to keep it in the family. Laurel was Deacon's high school sweetheart and the mother of Hayes, who travels the world, but is battling a drug problem. Oscar-winning actress Belinda was his second wife. She and Deacon adopted a daughter, Angie, from Australia. Angie and Deacon were great friends and worked together in Deacon's restaurant, The Board Room. At the time of his passing, Deacon was married to Scarlett, who was employed by the family as Angie's nanny years ago. With everyone staying in the house as they prepare to scatter Deacon's ashes and say their final goodbyes, jealousy, anger, and secrets all come to the surface. Here's to Us is classic Hilderbrand, filled with details of island life, sumptuous descriptions of food, and an in-depth portrait of family relationships.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton

When Lord Bellington is poisoned to death, his son, Damian, hires Agatha Raisin's detective agency to find his killer. Bellington made many enemies when he decided to possibly sell some of his land to a developer. The land is used for allotments for the villagers in the small village of Carsely to grow fruits and vegetables. When there is yet another murder, Agatha wonders if the crimes are connected, or if there are two separate cases to solve. Despite the police wanting Agatha to stop her investigating, she can be tenacious in her quest for justice to be served. Pushing Up Daisies will be published in September.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

In 1986 in Oklahoma City, the employees of a movie theater are murdered during a robbery. Wyatt, now a private investigator in Las Vegas, was the only survivor. When asked by a friend to travel to Oklahoma City and find out who's been harassing the new owner of a local rock club, he finds himself revisiting the scene of the massacre, as well as unearthing long dormant memories. Another crime in 1986, although not connected, was the disappearance of Julianna's older sister, Genevieve, at the Oklahoma State Fair. Julianna has been in an emotional fog since, desperate to know what happened to her sister. Both Wyatt and Julianna explore their pasts, finding new clues that will hopefully bring them both some closure. The Long and Faraway Gone is a character-centered novel reminiscent of Dennis Lehane. It won an Edgar award for Best Paperback Original, deservedly so.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

What happened at the barbecue? Two months later, the reverberations are still evident. Cellist Clementine is preparing for a big audition while husband Sam is floundering in his new job. Their marriage is also deteriorating because of the events at the barbecue. Clementine's childhood friend, Erika, is trying to move forward with plans for parenthood, along with her husband, Oliver--both keeping memories of their dysfunctional childhoods at bay. Hosts of the barbecue,Vid and Tiffany, worry about how the happenings have affected their ten-year-old daughter, Dakota. Through Truly Madly Guilty, Moriarty weaves the story of the day of the barbecue and the months after. While I really enjoyed Moriarty's last two novels, I found the characters in this one not all that likable in the beginning, but towards the end, the story and the characters became more alive.  Still, not one of her best. It will be published next month.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

When a private plane crashes after leaving Martha's Vinyeard, the authorities wonder if it was an accident or sabotage. On board were David Bateman, the head of a major news network and his family, and Ben Kipling, a Wall Street success headed for a fall and his wife, Sarah. The only survivors are the Bateman's four-year-old son J.J. and painter Scott Burroughs, who was invited on the flight earlier in the day by Maggie, David's wife. Scott is traumatized by the crash and subsequent media onslaught and goes into hiding. Meanwhile, the NTSB, the FBI, and other agencies frantically try and find the wreckage hoping to piece together what made the plane from the sky. Before the Fall is a thriller filled with memorable characters and snappy dialogue.  A perfect beach read for the summer.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton

Nick Mason is released from prison early after agreeing to do criminal Darius Cole's bidding for the next twenty years, no questions asked. Soon, Nick is living in a gorgeous Lincoln Park home, waiting for the phone call that will probably lead him to do something illegal--possibly murder. Trying to assimilate back into normal life, he wishes to try and repair his relationship with his daughter, Adriana, and move forward. Has Mason made the right decision, or would he have been better off staying in prison? The Second Life of Nick Mason is the debut of a new series by veteran mystery writer Steve Hamilton and is a good read-alike for Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie ends up in the small, economically depressed town of Borg when she's desperate for a job after separating from her husband, Kent. Her job in Borg involves working at the town's soon to be shuttered recreation center. Life there revolves around hanging out at the local pizza place and playing soccer. Soccer is something that Britt-Marie has no interest in and really doesn't understand, so when she finds herself the coach of the local team of kids it's really outside her comfort zone. In fact, interacting with the residents who are. at times, quirky and eccentric, might be just what Britt-Marie needs to change her life and what the town needs, too.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

It's the one year anniversary of the death of Miriam, Arthur Pepper's wife, and he decides to donate her belongings to charity. Arthur is intrigued when he finds what looks to be an expensive charm bracelet in one of Miriam's boots. Arthur doesn't remember ever seeing the bracelet before and it doesn't really fit with the type of clothing she liked to wear. When Arthur makes the decision to call the phone number that is engraved on the elephant charm, it takes him on a journey that shakes up his organized life and makes him re-evaluate his forty year marriage. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a charming debut that will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

When Lu Brant is elected the first female state's attorney of a county outside Baltimore, it should be the pinnacle of her career, but when she decides to try a murder case against homeless Rudy Drysdale, she's forced to confront buried memories of her own childhood. Lu's brother, A.J, was involved at 18 in an incident where he broke his arm and another man died. Lu was ten at the time, enamored of popular A.J. and his group of friends. No charges were ever brought against anyone, but as Lu proceeds in her case, she finds that Drysdale was two years behind A.J. in school and that they might have known each other. Lu also reflects on being raised by her father, also a state's attorney, after her mother died while Lu was very young. Wilde Lake is a novel that transports you to 1970's and 1980's suburban Baltimore and fully immerses the reader in a world of childhood and family secrets. Like Lippman's best novels, Wilde Lake is a book that stay with you even after the last page is turned.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

In 1939, wealthy Caroline Ferriday works at the French consulate in New York City and, through her job, helps children and families suffering hardship because of the war. In Lublin, Poland, Kasia Kuzmerick finds her normal life tragically upended when both the Germans and Russians invade her country. Meanwhile, in Dusseldorf, Germany, Herta Oberheuser's medical training is interrupted by war and her devotion to Hitler. In Lilac Girls, the lives of these three women are explored over twenty years, as their fates intertwine across continents and through episodes of evil, friendship, and perseverance. First novelist Kelly based her novel on the real lives of Caroline and Herta and her thorough research makes the novel a compelling read.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

When Ruth's friend, Cathbad, is house-sitting for a friend, he sees what he believes is a vision in the graveyard next door. It turns out to be a young woman named Chloe Jenkins, who disappeared from a drug rehabilitation clinic nearby and is later found murdered in a ditch. DCI Harry Nelson and his team wonder who could have wanted Chloe dead, since she since wasn't a local resident. Then, Hilary Smithson, a female priest who is an old college friend of Ruth's, reveals that she's been getting threatening letters. Could there be some connection between the crimes?  In The Woman in Blue, Griffiths brings back Ruth, her friends, Nelson and his colleagues in another satisfying mystery.

Monday, April 25, 2016

My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich

Widow Mrs. Brown has lived in Ashville, Rhode Island her whole life. She leads a very simple existence, working at a beauty salon and spending evenings at home, but her life changes when she sees a Oscar de la Renta black dress and decides she must have one just like it, even though buying one is beyond her means. Starting a plan of taking on extra work and economizing, she's joined in her quest by Alice (her twenty-something neighbor) and a few new female friends who become like fairy godmothers.  My Mrs. Brown is cozy, gentle read similar to Emily Alone by Stewart O'Nan and Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Murder on the Hour by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Spa owner Penny Brannigan is drawn to investigate a murder once again when Catrin Bellis is found murdered in her house. Single, never married, Catrin lived in her childhood home after her parents' death and was looking for a lodger to help with the bills. In addition, Catrin had recently brought a family quilt to be appraised at an antiques television show that was filming in town. Could that have had something to do with her death? Penny assists her friend (soon-to-be-retired DCI Gareth Davies) in working on the case. Murder on the Hour is another entertaining book in this long-running cozy mystery series.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Friday on My Mind by Nicci French

When an unidentified body is found with a hospital wrist band with her name on it, Frieda Klein becomes a murder suspect, since she knew the victim very well. Frieda is innocent, but it becomes clear that someone is trying to frame her for murder. Going on the run instead of being arrested, Frieda relies on the help on her family, friends, and her clever nature to evade the police and hopefully clear her name. While I enjoyed this fifth book of the Frieda Klein series, it seemed more of a book to push the ongoing story of Frieda along rather than a compelling read on its own. I read the U.K. edition of the book, it will be published in the United States this fall.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday's Children by Nicci French

London psychotherapist Frieda Klein finds herself thrown into her past when childhood acquaintance, Maddie, asks her to talk to Maddie's fifteen-year-old daughter, Becky, who's not been acting like herself lately. Becky confesses to Frieda that she was raped in her bedroom and as Becky relates the details of the incident, Frieda realizes that Becky's assailant is the same person who raped her when she was young. Stunned that the criminal has been around Braxton all these years and probably committed more crimes, Frieda goes back to the hometown that she hasn't visited in over twenty years to try and get the authorities to look into the cases, but gets nowhere. Soon, Frieda has to face the past and the people she ran away from all those years ago, even as she hunts down a killer. In this fourth mystery featuring Frieda Klein, the author duo gives the reader an engaging tale that's hard to put down.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bitter Poison by Margaret Mayhew

Marjorie Cuthbertson has decided that the villagers of Frog End will be performing "The Snow Queen" for this year's Christmas play.  New resident and former model, Joan Dryden, will be playing the lead and even the Colonel has been roped into helping. He will be showing off his woodworking skills by making a sleigh for the performances. When one of the cast members dies at a party, everyone wonders if it was an accident or murder. In this fifth book of the village mystery series featuring the Colonel, Mayhew writes a light, enjoyable tale.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Midsummer's Equation by Keigo Higashino

When a retired Tokyo police detective, Masatsugu Tsukahara, is found dead in Hari Cove, the police wonder who would have murdered him in the small ocean town. Tsukahara was attending a hearing about a corporation seeking approval to mine precious metals off the coast of Hari Cove. Local resident Narumi Kawahata, whose parents own the Green Rock Inn that Tsukahara was staying at, is very involved in the campaign to stop the mining operation. Another guest at the inn is physicist Manabu Yukawa, who is consulting for the corporation. Yukawa, also known as "Detective Galileo," has assisted on Tokyo murder cases before. Soon, both the local police and the Tokyo authorities (with help from Yukawa) are delving into Tsukahara's past and the goings-on in Hari Cove to try and uncover the culprit. In this leisurely-paced third book in the Detective Galileo series, Higashino presents an interesting mystery, but at times I found it hard to keep all the characters straight.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

When Tanya Dubois' husband, Frank, accidentally dies after falling down the stairs, she decides to leave town. In fact, Tanya is not her real name and, fearing that she will be found out after being on the run for over ten years, she feels has no choice but to flee. Throughout The Passenger, the reader follows "Tanya" around the country as she takes on new identities and as her past is slowly revealed. Not being able to settle down anywhere is stressful and dangerous for "Tanya" and the people who cross her path. The Passenger is a page-turner that is reminiscent of the Jane Whitefield novels by Thomas Perry and "Tanya" could be the criminal sister of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone.