Monday, February 26, 2024

A Wild and Heavenly Place by Robin Oliveira

In 1878 Glasgow, Samuel Fiddes lives with his five-year-old sister Alison in poverty. Their parents and siblings died of diphtheria several years ago. Samuel, who can read and write and has a knack for numbers, dreams of a better life for himself and Alison. He has had his eye on wealthy Hailey MacIntyre after seeing her weekly in church, but he knows her parents would never approve. Yet Samuel and Hailey secretly start to spend time together after Samuel saves Hailey's younger brother's life. When the MacIntyre family sets sail for Seattle after losing their fortune, Hailey asks Samuel to follow her there. In A Wild and Heavenly Place, the reader follows Samuel and Hayley over the next four years as they individually make their lives in the Pacific Northwest--a land of enormous promise, yet at times dangerous and lawless. Will Samuel and Hayley's love be strong enough to let them eventually be together? A great read-alike for Sandra Dallas.

Village in the Dark by Iris Yamashita

Police detective Cara Kennedy is still trying to find out how her husband Aaron and son Dylan died. One clue lies in the photo she found of her, Aaron, and Dylan on the phone of a dead gang member. There are photos of other people on the phone too. Could there be a connection between them? Meanwhile, Ellie Wright--owner of the Cozy Condo Inn in Point Mettier--is mourning the death of her estranged son, Timmy. A third story in the novel is that of Mia--a waitress and office cleaner--who left the secluded community of Unity for life in Anchorage. Village in the Dark is the tale of the trio of women, along with other characters who featured in Yamashita's first book in the series, City Under One Roof. A solid mystery that builds on the previous book and pushes the series forward.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Float Up, Sing Down by Laird Hunt

It's 1982 in Bright Creek, Indiana. In this story collection, the reader spends a day with the inhabitants of this small town. There's teenagers Della and Sugar who are in the beginnings of a relationship, despite others' objections. Sugar's best friend, Greg, is obsessed with Kung Fu and works at the Galaxy Swirl with Della, while Della's grandfather Hank (the former sheriff) is stuck mulling between the past and present in his mind. Other people we hear from are Cubby, who owns the local garage, and Candy, an older resident who mourns her best friend, Irma Ray. For readers who enjoy Kent Haruf and Shannon Bowring.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Knife Skills by Wendy Church

The only job Chicago chef Sagarine could find was working at a restaurant owned by Russian mobster Anatoly. When Louie the head chef is murdered, Sagarine is promoted. In addition to being in charge at the restaurant, she begins to cater dinners at Anatoly's home. Soon, the FBI persuades Sagarine to work for them, but when she falls for Ekaterina (the only female member of Anatoly's crew) the situation becomes even more complicated and dangerous. Will Sagarine be able to keep her betrayal secret? Knife Skills is a very twisty novel, but perhaps it twists the knife one time too many.

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Comfort of Ghosts by Jacqueline Winspear

It's 1945 and World War II is over. With the death of Lord Julian Compton, Maisie is helping her former mother-in-law, Lady Rowan, settle Lord Julian's affairs. When squatters are discovered at the family's London mansion, Maisie lets the lawyers know she will look into the matter. Maisie's investigation leads her to protect some of the youngest people who worked for Britain in the war effort. In this final book of the Maisie Dobbs series, Winspear lets the reader visit with all the characters in Maisie's world one last time. The Comfort of Ghosts will be published in June.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

Author Amanda Bailey decides to write a book about the Alperton Angels case. Twenty years ago, three members of a cult were found dead, while the two teenage members of the group escaped with a baby. Amanda decides to focus her research on finding where the baby is now. Amanda soon learns, however, that there are some who want to forget that the Alperton Angels ever existed and will kill to keep the case buried. The story is told through emails, letters, and transcripts of interviews that Amanda does with all those involved over the last two decades, heightening the suspense and getting the reader involved in the puzzle.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Hero by Thomas Perry

Justine Poole works for the private security firm Spengler-Nash. One evening, Justine is assisting her boss Ben, making sure Jerry and Estelle Pinsky get home safely. Justine and Ben succeed in protecting the Pinskys, but Justine kills two of the five men who were attempting to rob the couple at their home. Mr. Conger, who hired the robbers, is embarrassed that a woman was able to basically take out five men. He hires hit man Leo Sealy to kill Justine. Hero follows the cat and mouse game between Justine and Sealy around Los Angeles. Will Justine be able to stay alive and eliminate the threat?