Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Psychiatrist David and his beautiful wife, Adele, move to London to try and put the past behind them. However, after David kisses his receptionist, Louise, and appears to restrict Adele's movements by checking in with her a couple of times a day and watching her spending habits, their relationship seems to be heading in the same awful direction as before. When Louise and Adele become friends without David's knowledge, the triangle of their relationships becomes even more complex and disturbing.  Is Louise just a pawn--and can she really trust either David or Adele? Behind Her Eyes is a fast-paced novel that will appeal to readers of The Girl on the Train. It also has a truly unexpected ending.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

In 1863, sixteen-year-old Placidia agrees to marry Gryffth Hockaday after knowing him for a very short time. He is a soldier on leave, so while he goes back to fight for the Confederacy, she travels to his South Carolina farm to look after it and be a mother to his young son, Charles. Being alone and isolated, living with only the slaves and no other family leaves Placidia vulnerable. When Gryffth comes home after the war is over, he finds that she has been accused of having a child while he was gone and then murdering the baby. Placidia finds herself arrested, in jail, without her husband's support. What really happened while Gryffth was gone? The Second Mrs. Hockaday is a perfect read for those who enjoy historical fiction (especially Sandra Dallas) that highlights the everyday lives of women.

Monday, January 23, 2017

My Favorite Books of 2016

The books I loved most last year were all mysteries or thrillers.

In alphabetical order, by author:

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

This Edgar award-winning novel featured several memorable characters that are still vivid in my mind more than six months later.

Home by Harlan Coben

Coben has never appeared on my list before, but he consistently writes page turners that are extremely hard not to gulp down in more than a few sittings.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

Sorry, Bosch still remains, after all these years, probably my favorite series character.

Thursday's Children by Nicci French

This fourth book featuring Freida Klein is one of the best.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Dry by Jane Harper

When Aaron Falk gets word that his best friend from childhood, Luke Hadler, has been murdered, along with Hadler's wife, Karen and six-year-old son, Billy, Falk travels back to the small town of Kiewarra to attend their funerals. Aaron left Kiewarra twenty years ago under a black cloud after a good friend of Aaron's and Luke's, Ellie, was found dead of an apparent suicide. At the time, many believed that Aaron was responsible, and even now, many still hold that view. With Luke the prime suspect in his family's death and with questions still lingering about Ellie's, Falk decides to stay in town for a bit to try and clear his and Luke's names. The Dry is a gripping debut novel with a great sense of place and two intriguing mysteries. I do wish the book were longer, to allow for more character development. A sure bet for those looking for a new thriller writer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

Best-selling novelist and professor Thomas Huston has fled his home, leaving behind the bloodied bodies of his wife and three children. On the run and suspected of murder, he doesn't know what to do. Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police recently had become friends with Huston and doesn't believe he's a killer. Leading the investigation, DeMarco hopes they will find Huston alive and unravel the mystery of who killed the Huston family. However, DeMarco has his own demons that threaten his task. Two Days Gone is a fast-paced tale of secrets and jealousy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

As a professor of Forensic Archaeology, Ruth Galloway is called to a underground tunnel where some bones have been found by a surveyor. Ruth determines that they are human bones and they appear to have been boiled, which is odd.  Around the same time, a local homeless man, Eddie, reports to DCI Harry Nelson that a friend named Barbara has gone missing. Like Eddie, she lives on the streets. Could there be some connection between Barbara's disappearance and the bones Ruth found? In this latest series mystery, Griffiths continues the personal stories of Ruth and her friends from the police force. While the mystery in The Chalk Pit is not especially compelling, it's still good to spend time with the characters. It will be published in May.

The Old Man by Thomas Perry

For thirty-five years, Dan Chase has lived quietly in Vermont, raising a daughter and happily married until his wife died ten years ago. Chase has kept himself mentally and physically sharp waiting for the day when someone discovers who he really is and comes to kill him. That day is now. All those years ago, Chase delivered $20 million for the CIA to a man named Faris Hamzah, who was supposed to give the money to Libyan insurgents. Instead, Hamzah kept the money for himself. Chase stole it back, and when he tried to get in touch with his superiors, they cut him off completely. Chase had no choice, but to disappear. Now on the run, trying to outwit and overpower those who are coming after him, it's a cat and mouse game to see who comes out on top. The Old Man is a extremely satisfying fast-paced thriller perfect for a cold winter's day.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Hollow Men by Rob McCarthy

In his job working as a doctor for the London Metropolitan Police, Harry Kent is called to the scene of a hostage situation. Teenager Solomon Idris is holed up in a fast food restaurant with a gun and appears really sick, so the authorities want Harry to go in and assess his condition. While in there, Solomon reveals that he has taken everyone hostage because of Keisha, but before he can reveal more, Solomon is critically injured. Harry along with DI Frances Noble finds himself delving into Solomon's life to find out what would cause him to commit such a desperate act. Along the way, Harry's life, along with others', are put in serious danger as the truth is uncovered. While The Hollow Men, the first book in a projected trilogy featuring Harry Kent, isn't a police procedural, its frame and pacing make it feel like one. It's also a good choice for readers who enjoy British mystery novels and are looking for a new author.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

In 1940 in the small town of Chilbury, Kent, the vicar has disbanded the village's choir, since almost all the men have gone off to fight in the war. But the women, lead by newcomer Primrose Trent, start the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. Taking place over six months and told from four characters' points of view, the story gives the reader a close up view of what it was like living in coastal England during World War II.  Mrs. Tilling, a widow, has just sent her son, David, off to war. Lonely, she finds a new purpose and strength. Meanwhile, midwife Edwina Paltry is not entirely honest and is out to make some quick money. Thirteen-year-old Kitty and her beautiful older sister Venetia, from the wealthy Winthrop family, bicker and dream of finding love. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is a heartwarming tale great for readers who enjoyed The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It will be published next month.