A millionaire outsider has bought 100,00 acres of Maine woods with the hope of establishing a new National Park.The outsider, Betty Morse has made enemies of loggers, hunters and other locals whose lives will be affected by her plans. When several moose are found senselessly slaughtered on her land, game warden Mike Bowditch is called to the scene of the crime–the worst wildlife crime in Maine history. Due to past disagreements with his superiors, Bowditch has been exiled by the warden service to the remote eastern woods of Maine, and he is soon relegated to menial tasks in the investigation, even though he was first on the scene. When a murder takes place, Bowditch continues the investigation on his own. Massacre Pond is a riveting mystery, with memorable characters and an author who brings to life the Maine woods and scenery. This is the fourth book in the series featuring main character Mike Bowditch, beginning with The Poachers Son. Each entry in the series involves careful plotting, interesting characters and situations that illustrate the conflicts between development and preserving the environment. If you enjoy this series, you might enjoy C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, about a game warden in Wyoming. Both series should be read in order–start Box’s series with Open Season.
In this fast-paced thriller, Sarah and her daughter Zoe are living in Oklahoma where Sarah is employed as a Skip Tracer–a person who tracks people who don’t want to be located. Since the night her sister was murdered and Sarah was forced to flee from the killer with her sister’s infant, Sarah has become an expert at leaving no trace of herself or Zoe for others to follow–until Zoe is in a school bus accident and Sarah is called to the Emergency Room. There, tests reveal that Sarah is not Zoe’s biological mother and the two are forced to flee. Running for their lives from police, the FBI and killers, Sarah and Zoe desperately seek to find a safe place to hide from their pursuers, and Sarah is determined to protect Zoe at any cost. She is forced ask for help from a U.S. Marshall who aided her escape with Zoe in the past. Will Sarah’s knowledge of how people can disappear without a trace be enough to save them? Edgar Award-winning author Gardiner has created an intense story filled with action, plot twists and surprises at every turn. The Shadow Tracer is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy action driven thrillers, such as those by authors Lisa Gardner or Sandra Brown.
All week long, I’ve been trying to summarize The Shining Girls, the new novel from the South African writer, Lauren Beukes, to my friends and family, and so far, it is a book that defies easy description. The book’s wibbly-wobby, timey-wimey premise tells the story of a serial killer, Harper Curtis, who stumbles upon a haunted house that compels him to travel through time in order to track his victims. Harper is foiled, however, when one of his victims, a young woman named Kirby, survives his brutal attack, and instead, begins tracking him. As Kirby gets closer and closer to understanding the nature of the attempted murder and how to solve the crimes, Harper’s machinations (or are they the house’s???) begin to go awry.
The Shining Girls is based on such an odd concept that it seems like it might be difficult to buy into it. However, Lauren Beukes is a supremely talented writer and within the first 20 pages of the book, a universe in which something like this is possible makes complete sense. This is definitely a book, and author, to keep your eye on: word has it that there is already a deal for a television show in the works.
Three words that describe this book: Creepy, inventive, unexpected
Read if you like: Dr. Who, Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Calliope Jenkins, singer turned PI, heads back to Iowa to find her missing business partner, Josh White, who keeps leaving messages for her after his reported death. Following Josh’s trail takes Calliope into the Hidden Lands, an alternate Midwest, where legendary creatures and mighty dragons roam. Provoked by a guide and a goad, Calli learns to confront her own fears of making a life for herself and dealing with losing her best friend. in Hidden Things, debut novelist Testerman, provides a satisfying blend of noir and magic with sweet revelations –a mundane piece of tire tread turns out to be a lilac-scented dragon scale.
I found this newest story by Lisa Scottoline to be timely reading for the Memorial Day holiday we just experienced. Dr. Mike Scanlon, a podiactric surgeon, has been called up by the Army Reserves to serve in Afghanistan. Blast wounds to the lower extremities were the signature wound of Operation Enduring Freedom, so Mike was one of the busiest doctors in his team. Just one month from completing his tour of duty, his gets the horrendous news that his wife has died in their own kitchen from an accident with a knife, leaving their seven month old baby girl without a mother. An intriguiing mystery develops as Mike discovers a secret about his wife and a stranger that had come into her life while Mike was gone. Lisa shares much about the details of army life in a war torn country, how former soldiers are affected by war and how they and their families then have to readjust once they are home. This is interspersed in a dynamic and emotional story of family love and murder. Read Don’t Go and you will appreciate our military personnel in a much deeper way.
Hands down, no contest! This was the best book that I have read in the last year. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, is a intricate a plot as Gone Girl, and as socially scathing as The Dinner. But Where’d You Go, Bernadette, is much more forgiving than the others, with a soft heart for the quirky relationship between the manic, impulse-challenged mother, Bernadette, and her brilliant daughter, Bee.
Once a talented architect, Bernadette now spends her days harboring grudges against the other Seattle housewives. As tensions between her and another Seattle mom escalate, Bernadette becomes increasingly unhinged. Concerned about her well being, her husband, a Microsoft executive, tries to stage an intervention. This leads to Bernadette’s dramatic and inexplicable disappearance, and the subsequent upheaval of her daughter and husband’s lives. Bee, believing in her mother even when others have given up on her, is determined to go to the ends of the earth to find her. However, what could have been a depressing tale about an unbalanced woman ends up being a surprisingly joyful story about love, second chances, and how our eccentricities shape our lives and our family, for worse, but also, for better.
Cordell Logan, flight instructor and former CIA operative, is involved in another mystery Fangs Out, which is the second novel in this series. (The first is Flat Spin.) Logan is hired by Viet Nam hero Hub Walker when the killer of Walker’s daughter, just before his execution, claims his innocence and implicates someone else in the murder. Logan is drawn into the mystery and becomes involved in murders, a plane crash and attempts on his life. Cordell Logan is a fascinating character, a person trying to reinvent himself and not quite living up to the Buddhist teachings he is trying to adopt. Filled with humorous dialog, a fascinating and likeable main character, a complex plot, an ex-wife he can’t seem to leave in his past, an intriguing mystery and exciting flying scenes, this is a mystery to appeal to readers who love suspense and action–read it and also learn the origin of this unusual title!
Juniper Song,the aimless 20-something heroine of Follow Her Home, has loved noir fiction since she was a young girl. So when she is asked by her best friend to investigate his father’s suspicious behavior, she imagines herself following in the footsteps of her literary hero, Philip Marlowe. What Song doesn’t imagine is how deeply she will get pulled into the seedy dealings of a neo-noir Los Angeles, nor how her investigation will dredge up a family secret of her own that has haunted her for years.
Following the trail of evidence from her friends home in posh Beverly Hills to a questionable club in Koreatown, she is confounded with the thread of betrayals and deceits that she uncovers among her inner circle of friends and family. With a stubbornness of a seasoned detective, Song refuses to give up, even when very bad things begin happening to those she loves most. She is alternately knocked out, held at gunpoint, and kidnapped, yet she remains undeterred from finding out the truth about her friend’s father.
Like the noir authors that inspired this novel, Cha, a debut author, uses a stylized but direct way of writing. All the usual noir characters and plots are in place in Follow Her Home, from the femme fatale to the mysterious stranger that tails her every move. However, Cha writes with a refreshing take on the usual noir conventions. Song is eagle-eyed and cynical, but she is also compassionate when you least expect it. Without giving away the major plot points, I’ll at least say that Cha does not give the reader a happy ending to the story. What she does give us, though, is an ending that suggests that Song is an aspiring detective to watch for in the future.
Murder, conspiracies, infidelity and scandals start this 6-part mini-series off to a fast-pace. Superbly acted with an intelligent story line filled with suspense and an unpredictable plot, this BBC production of State of Play is television at it’s best. Stephen Collins is a Member of Parliament whose researcher for his energy committee is killed on her way to her job. A young man is shot at around the same time, dismissed as a drug killing by the police. Are these events connected? Soon it becomes public that the MP was having an affair, and reporters Cal McCaffrey and Della Smith begin an investigation, which reveals that Sonia’s death was not an accident. A web of lies unfolds and it remains the job of the investigative reporters to uncover the truth. Twists and turns in the plot will keep you guessing until the end and the ensemble of excellent British actors make the story lines believable–a must-see thriller!
What does a perfect life look like? Libby, Justin and their beautiful teenage daughter, a gorgeous townhouse in Boston, a multmillion dollar construction business–What more could one want? But, after 16 years, their marriage is falling apart. On a “date” to discuss their personal problems, Justin and Libby arrive home, find the door open, the alarm off –and three menacing men waiting for them. Just as they hear their daughter scream, a touch of a taser changes their lives.Waking from a drug-induced sleep, all three are caged in a small cell in a now-abandoned prison built by non-other than Justin himself. The dark secrets they each harbor threaten everything they hold dear. Tessa Leone, a private investigator and Wyatt Foster, the local sheriff along with the FBI are trying to recover the kidnapped family alive. Why were all three taken? Why are there no calls, no ransom notes? Their lives hang in the balance in Touch and Go.
Something just didn’t add up as I read this story, I knew there was a mystery lurking in the background, but I wasn’t sure what it was or why. Secrets were behind every turn. Willa Jackson had just moved back to Walls of Water, North Carolina. Her grandmother, Georgie Jackson, was in the nursing home there and seemed to be worried about peaches.
Paxton Osgood, now lived in The Blueridge Madam mansion, which at one time had belonged to the Jackson family. Paxton’s grandmother, Agatha Osgood, was Georgie’s best friend. Paxton decided to have a grand party to celebrate the social woman’s group that Agatha and Georgie had started years ago. Willa wasn’t interested in the event to honor both grandmothers, but when the peach tree was taken out and a skeleton was found, the secrets come out. Then we find out about the traveling salesman, Tucker Devlin, who had worked his charms on the town when Agatha and Georgie were young women. By the end of the book, both Willa and Paxton fall in love, secrets are unraveled, and everyone lives happily ever after.
C. J. Box’s complex and likeable character Joe Pickett returns in this latest novel by Box, Breaking Point. Pickett is a Wyoming Game warden, responsible for a huge area in the state, a job which regularly takes him away from his family and places him in danger often, but is a job that he loves as well. In this latest addition to the series, Pickett becomes involved in a dispute between a landowner and the EPA, which escalates into a manhunt, wild fire and government interference in local responsibilities. Box has written another fast-paced thriller, with perfect character development and a sense of place and community in and around the small town of Saddlestring, Wyoming. Joe Pickett is a character we come to care about in this series–an honest family man trying to do a responsible and fair job for his family, for his community and as a game warden and often finding himself in the middle of situations that he neither wants to be involved in or that he has created. Start this award-winning mystery series at the beginning with Open Season.
Chris Honeysett, artist and private investigator from Bath, is tired of the cold, snowy weather of England. When offered the opportunity to investigate a missing woman in the sunny, Greek island of Corfu he borrows an old motorhome and starts driving south. Chris stays with an old friend from the past who lives on a remote part of Corfu where she struggles to make a living boarding tourists and giving painting lessons. Her warm welcome doesn’t compensate for the barren, austere, backward living arrangements. Soon Chris is feeling the hostility of the locals as he snoops around for the missing business woman. Strange things begin happening such as snakes appearing in bedrooms and turtles turned into walking incindiaries with lit candles on their backs. As Peter continues to investigate the danger increases and he wonders if he has taken on something he will regret. An Inch of Time is Peter Helton’s fourth Chris Honeycutt novel.
Delightful, charming and unique, 12-year old detective Flavia de Luce makes her fifth appearance in Speaking from Among the Bones, the latest novel by Alan Bradley. Flavia uses her intelligence to solve crimes as an amateur detective as well as in her chemistry lab, creating potions and poisons. On the 500th anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, her small village of Bishop’s Lacey is preparing to open the tomb of the saint, leaving Flavia excited to take a look into the crypt. Rather than finding the remains of the saint, Flavia discovers the corpse of the church organist. She naturally inserts herself into the investigation of the murder and along with the help of her trusty bicycle Gladys, she follows clues from the murder. At the same time, Flavia must adjust to changes in her family situation and in her home. We learn more about the her sisters, her father and Dogger, Flavia’s trusted friend at Buckshaw.The books in this series are filled with quirky, interesting characters and with lots of witty dialog. This outstanding series begins with the title The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. If you are not acquainted with Flavia de Luce and her world, start at the beginning and read the series in order–you will be charmed and delighted by this amazing young detective!
After undergoing plastic surgery to correct some severe facial defects, Lauren was looking forward to starting afresh. She is almost run down by a car outside her new print and frame shop, but figures it was just an accident. Arriving at her new rural farm home, she is attacked by a wild dog in the yard. Understandably uneasy, she checks the house and is sure some things have been moved around. Lauren is on alert when handsome Matt Kruger shows up at her shop, claiming to have been a close friend of her brother (who has been dead for over a year)…Is Matt involved in the strange happenings around her? Threats and Promises, a Delinsky classic, was first published as a Harlequin Intrigue in 1986.