Monday, July 31, 2017

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

William South lives a solitary life as a local policeman and birdwatcher on the Kentish coast. He is also someone who got away with murder when he was young growing up in Northern Ireland. Because of his earlier crime, he has avoided similar cases in his job, but when asked to assist the new Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, he finds himself involved in the murder case of his neighbor and friend, Bob Rayner. The crime hits William close to home because of his past and his friendship with Bob. As the investigation unfolds, it seems that William's former life may be catching up with him... The Birdwatcher is an engrossing read for those who enjoy British police procedurals.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Taking a shortcut home on a isolated road during a rainy evening, Cass, sees a woman in a car that looks like it's broken down. After deciding not to come to her aid, the next morning, Cass discovers that the woman was found dead in her vehicle. Cass's guilt about not calling emergency services begins to eat away at her.  She also starts to get phone calls several times a day where no one appears to be on the line. With memories of her own mother's early onset dementia close in her mind, Cass wonders if that's what happening to her, especially because she seems to be forgetting things. As Cass descends farther into paranoia and absentmindedness, one wonders whether Cass is really ill or is something more sinister going on. The Breakdown is a psychological tale that meanders a bit for most of the book, but the last hundred pages are worth waiting for.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

LAPD detective Renee Ballard has been relegated to the late shift after accusing a superior of sexual harassment. Working 11pm-7am, Renee always has to pass the cases she and her partner work on to other detectives, which is frustrating. When an opportunity arises to investigate an assault that left the victim near death, she decides to work on it off-hours. Renee is also peripherally involved in the investigation of a club shooting that left five dead. Soon enough, Renee realizes that working "the late show" might give her the challenge she's looking for.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

When she was young, Kate worshiped neighbor Joseph King. They lost touch after he moved away following his father's death, when both Kate and Joseph were teenagers.  Now, she gets word that he has escaped from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, Naomi. Joseph's children now live with Rebecca and Daniel Beachy, Naomi's sister and her husband, so Kate decides to notify them of Joseph's breakout, since they are Amish and don't have a phone. Kate finds herself caught in the middle when Joseph arrives at the Beachy's while she's there and takes his children hostage. Joseph also tells Kate that he did not kill Naomi and asks for her help in finding the her killer. Kate decides to look into the case, putting both her career and life on the line.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Nikki grew up in a traditional Sikh household in London. Working in a pub, she's been a disappointment to her family ever since she dropped out of law school and moved out of the family home. When the opportunity arises to teach a class on writing to some women at the local Punjabi community center, she decides to take the job. While Nikki thought she would be teaching creative writing, it turns out the class is made up of widows who are not adept in writing the English language. When the students find a book of erotica among Nikki's things, they decide to spend class time transcribing the racy stories of the members of the class. Soon, the stories are spread all over London, but with this fact comes the danger of the conservative men in the community discovering what's being going on. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows gives the reader a glimpse into a community that has been underrepresented in popular fiction.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Camino Island by John Grisham

Novelist Mercer Mann is broke and suffering from writer's block. When she's approached with an offer to move to the town of Santa Rosa in Florida and get close to bookstore owner Bruce Cable, she is apprehensive, but agrees because she will be finally be out of debt. The authorities are interested in Cable because they believe he is in possession of the five original manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels that were stolen from the Princeton University library. The plan is for Mercer to befriend Cable and find out where he is hiding the novels, so they can be returned to the archives. Does Cable really have the manuscripts...and if he does, will Mercer succeed in her task? In Mercer Mann, Grisham has created an extremely likable character, which is one of his trademarks. The story of the theft of the manuscripts is also interesting.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

Identical twins Harper and Tabitha Frost haven't spoken in fourteen years. Tabitha lives with her teenage daughter, Ainsley, on Nantucket, while Harper lives on Martha's Vineyard. When they were in college, their parents, Eleanor and Billy, divorced and agreed that each would be responsible for and finishing raising one twin. Harper, close with Billy, has gotten in trouble with law and has a bad reputation on Martha's Vineyard, which hasn't been helped by her affair with Billy's doctor, Reed Zimmer. Tabitha, meanwhile, manages a boutique on Nantucket that features clothes that Eleanor has designed. When Billy passes away and Eleanor breaks her hip, the sisters are forced to see each other and work together as a family. While I usually enjoy Hilderbrand's books, this one was a miss for me. The characters of Harper, Tabitha, and Ainsley aren't very likable and fleshed out. In addition, Eleanor is only seventy-one years old, but the author has characterized her as old and rigid, which seems a bit too easy and stereotypical, especially since I know so many women who are so vital at that age.