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.