Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Dark And Secret Place by Jen Williams


Heather Evans returns home for the first time in many years after her mother's death.  A former journalist, Heather is baffled by her mother's suicide and determined to find out what led to it.  As she reconnects with old friends, she learns that the area is once again being haunted by the disappearance and murder of young women.  Even worse, the murders are an exact replica of murders that plagued the area years ago, those of The Red Wolf.

As Heather investigates her mother's death, she learns a secret her mother hid for years.  Her mother was a correspondent of The Red Wolf for years.  How could that be?  Was her mother one of those women who idolize serial killers?  What would draw her to this man, Michael Reaves?

Then another surprising call.  DI Ben Parker tells Heather that Michael Reaves wants to talk to her.  The police suspect that the new murders are being done by a copycat killer who idolizes Reaves but he refuses to talk to them.  He insists that he will only talk to Heather.  Will Heather find the courage to talk with Michael?  Will she find out how her mother was involved with him?  Can she find out what Reaves knows about the copycat?

Jen Williams has written a taut thriller that will keep readers involved.  The mystery is revealed in surprising pieces and the book goes in directions that can't be expected.  Heather is not a heroic character; indeed the reader may not like her much at all.  But she is the character that is in a unique position to discover the secrets around the The Red Wolf murders both past and present and Williams does a great job keeping the reader in anticipation throughout the book.  This book is recommended for mystery and thriller readers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Crossroads Of Twilight by Robert Jordan


This is the tenth novel in the Wheel Of Time series and it feels like a novel where Jordan caught his breath and set the stage for the climatic novels that would follow.  The band of individuals who left the Two Rivers so long ago are all separated although tied together in their minds by fate.  Each is pursuing their own destiny in this edition of the story.

Perrin is distraught as his wife, Faile, who he loves more than life itself, has been kidnapped.  He has been tracking her kidnappers for days and is finally in striking distance of the captors but dismayed to discover their numbers.  Will he have to align with enemies in order to have a chance to save her?

Egwene, the true Amyrlim of the Aes Sedai, is gathered with her army outside the White Tower.  She is trying to dislodge the false Amyrlim without leaving the Aes Sedai totally decimated and weakened since they are the hope of helping Rand heal the world.  She is considering the radical step of aligning with the Asha'man, the male half of the Aes Sedai so that they can be controlled and play their part in the final conflict to come.

Mat has taken the Daughter Of The Nine Moons, the Seanchan Empress, with him on the road.  At first it was to prevent her raising the alarm when he freed several Aes Sedai but his fate tells the story that this will be his wife one day.  It seems unlikely as she alternately scorns and intrigues him and he is determined to escape all the follows him and trust his luck.

Elayne is in Andor.  She does not yet have the Lion Throne that should be hers but is maneuvering in order to claim it.  She is also pregnant with Rand's twins but few know that story.  Can she secure her throne?

Rand is not in this novel very much but when he is, he plays a huge role.  He has done something no one thought could ever be possible and cleaned the male half of The Power from its taint.  Now Asha'man will not go mad by channeling but his accomplishment doesn't change the fact that he is surrounded by enemies wherever he turns.

This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Typical by Padgett Powell


This slim anthology of stories was published in 1991.  Powell is probably best known for his novel, Edisto, published in 1984 and a finalist for the National Book Award.  These stories reflect his focus on life in the South although many are character sketches that could occur anywhere.  

The collection starts with longer stories; the book title Typical, Letter From A Dogfighter's Aunt, Deceased, and Irony.  The bulk of the book showcases very short stories, often no more than a page and a half.  The last story, titled The Winnowing Of Mrs Schuping, returns to the longer form and is my personal favorite.

Powell is highly praised by his peers but his stories might not find a wide audience in the general reader population.  The stories are full of irony and surrealism that makes them less approachable than many anthologies.  The shortness of many of the stories can leave the reader wanting more.  This book is recommended for anthology readers and those interested in exploration of the short story format.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee


Miranda and Lucia are the daughters of a Chinese immigrant.  Miranda is the older sister, born in China while Lucia came to America in her mother's womb and was born as an American citizen.  Their mother had to work many jobs to support them and Miranda served as a second mother to Lucia for years.  Due to these roles, Miranda has always been the stable responsible sibling while Lucia was carefree and impulsive, a free spirit who did whatever felt best at the moment.

The first problem came when Lucia was about to enter her twenties.  The carefree antics start to tip over the line towards mania.  She begins to hear voices, what she calls her snakes.  Miranda and her mother see that Lucia needs help but she resists it until she has a full blown breakdown and has to be hospitalized.

Thus starts the rest of the sisters' lives.  Miranda spends her time trying to convince Lucia to stay on medications and live responsibly.  Lucia makes an impulsive marriage, then leaves her husband to have another man's baby.  The birth of her baby causes another breakdown.  By now Miranda has married and moved overseas so the responsibility for overseeing Lucia falls to her husband, Manny, who is unprepared for such a responsibility.  An undocumented immigrant from Central America, he takes Lucia and the baby back home where he has family and no worries about being deported and the family lives there as their daughter grows.  

Mira Lee has written a heartbreaking yet sensitive novel about mental illness, the stigma it carries and the lives it tears apart.  Those around Lucia feel compelled to try to oversee her behavior which leaves Lucia feeling trapped and resentful.  Can a person suffering from mental illness be left to make their own decisions and where is the line where those who love them must step in to prevent catastrophe?  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham


Detective Alisha Barba is facing a lot of things at work.  A year ago, she didn't know if she would ever walk again after a struggle with a suspect went badly and she ended up in the hospital with multiple back bone breaks.  Her parents hate her job and her new supervisor is making noises about transferring her to a desk job.  Her boyfriend, who is also a detective, is starting to talk about marriage which petrifies Alisha.  The last thing she needs is a high school reunion.

But she decides to go when her best friend from those days, Cate, sends her a message begging her to come.  She hasn't spoken to Cate for ten years although they had been inseparable.  But a friendship betrayal put paid to their friendship and now Cate is reaching out.  Alisha goes to the event and is shocked to find her old friend heavily pregnant.  Before she can find out what Cate wants from her, Cate and her husband are mowed down by a hit and run driver and killed.  

Cate's death is just the first shock.  It turns out that she is not pregnant at all but wearing a device to make her appear so.  As Alisha starts to investigate, she discovers that Cate was infertile but desperate for a baby and willing to do whatever it takes to get one.  The investigation takes Alisha to Amsterdam where she uncovers a trade in sexual exploitation and slavery as well as baby marketing.  Cate had multiple failed IVF attempts but had her last two embryos sent to Amsterdam where they were implanted in a female refugee as the price for her freedom.  Can Alisha find Cate's babies?  Can she stop this horrific network of human trafficking?

Michael Robotham is a master at the thriller genre.  I've been reading his books for many many years and always expect a wonderful read.  I was not disappointed as this book was thrilling while shedding light on another horrible example of human exploitation of other humans.  Alisha with her Sikh background is an interesting character who has played a role in other Robotham novels.  This book is recommended for thriller readers. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson


Rose Yates moves back home with her young son after the unexpected death of her husband to a drug overdose.  Since she is a mystery author, Rose figures she can live anywhere and perhaps it's time that her family gets to know her son, Max.  But soon after she arrives, she starts to wonder what ever possessed her to make this decision.  Her father is still the wealthy tyrant who expects everyone in the family to obey him at all times while her sister is still cruel and cutting as is her daughter, Max's new playmate.  Rose had run from this home years ago after a family tragedy and she knows in her gut that coming home was a mistake. 

It turns out to be more of a mistake than she could have expected.  The tendrils of the long ago tragedy seem to be coming to life while Rose has captured the attention of a detective from her old hometown.  Detective Colin Pearson becomes suspicious of Rose after reading her most recent mystery.  In it, the husband in the story is murdered while his wife, the murderer, is able to pass the death off as an overdose.  Did Rose write the book as a subconscious confession?  Is this what happened to her husband?

Colin decides he needs to interview Rose.  She is initially willing to talk to him but as he returns again and again, Rose cuts him off.  This makes his suspicions grow and as things back home go badly he becomes more and more determined to use Rose to make his career a success.  Rose decides to leave the town again but things spin rapidly out of control.  Will the truth emerge this time?

Carter Wilson is known for writing compelling psychological thrillers.  In this novel, the reader is drawn into Rose's life and the way she keeps fighting back against the blows life constantly throws in her existence.  I listened to this novel and the narrator was perfect, conveying the increasing tension as old traumas emerge to demand attention.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Prachett


Sam Vimes is doing exactly what he wants, serving as Commander of the Night Watch in Ankh-Morpork.  But he did marry Lady Sybil and as such is now part of the royalty.  Due to this, he is sent to Uberwald to attend the coronation of the dwarf new Low King, an event that has the potential for many issues as there are charges of theft of royal artifacts and attempted assassinations.  Sam doesn't want to go but Lady Sybil has already packed so off they go.

Some of the Night Watch goes along.  There is Cheery Littlebottom, a transgender dwarf, scorned by the dwarves in Uberwald.  Angua has gone ahead of them.  As a werewolf, she is worried about her brother who will kill anything in his path.  Gavin, king of the wolves, is attracted to Angua as is Captain Carrot, a six-foot dwarf.  Gaspode is a talking dog who feels that he is six foot tall also and lives his life as if he was rather than being a very small terrier.

Sam finds lots of dissension in Uberwald.  There are three factions of dwarves and the proposed Low King is a compromise between them so has little true support.  Along with the werewolves, there are influential vampires, the reigning authority among them being one of Lady Sybil's former classmates when they were girls.  There are kidnappings, murder, theft and lots of other crimes that need solving, even if Sam is not there as a policeman.  Will it all come right in the end?

This is the twenty-fourth novel in the Discworld series.  It is fun and full of wonderful characters and events.  While the plot gets complicated, all is resolved satisfactorily in the end.  Sam Vimes is a marvelous character and readers will fall in love with him.  This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Therapist by B.A. Paris


When Alice and Leo meet, Alice wants to take it slow.  She hasn't had a relationship with a man in several years plus it will be a long distance one since Leo lives in London and she lives an hour or so away.  Alice is a therapist and leaving her clients behind would be a wrench.  But the relationship seems to work out and thrive and after a while, the couple starts looking at houses.  It's almost unbelievable when they find a marvelous house in a gated community that is everything they would ever want.  They buy it and move in.

Leo still has to travel for his work so Alice is left there to meet the neighbors and start a new life.  She notices that some of the neighbors are very standoffish and she wonders what she could have done to attract that.  Slowly the secret emerges.  There was a murder in their wonderful new house which is why the price was so low.  While Alice is reeling from this discovery, she makes a worse one.  Leo knew all about the murder and just didn't tell her so that she would agree to move and live there with him.

Alice is appalled and unsure about the future of her relationship.  She decides that she will discover the truth about the murder and the couple who lived there before.  Obviously they had relationships with her neighbors and she needs to know what those were.  As Alice starts to delve into the past, she begins to encounter resistance from the neighbors and spooky things around her house.  Did she really hear someone moving around the house during the night?  Have things disappeared and other things appeared?  What other secrets does she not know?

B.A. Paris has written an unsettling portrayal of upper class suburbia.  There are many layers of secrets and betrayals.  I had a hard time sympathizing with Alice.  She seemed incredibly naive and obtuse for someone who supposedly made her living 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister


Martha is overwhelmed.  She never thought she would be able to realize her dream and start an overseas charity to help the refugee children who needed so much but things fell into place and suddenly everything is happening.  She gets a huge grant and really needs to be overseas on the ground to get things started but there's an issue.  Martha has just had a baby, Layla.

Martha's husband Scott is an IT consultant with a busy schedule also that has him traveling.  Layla is a demanding baby with colic who can cry for hours and often does, leaving Martha completely drained.  She needs help but who can she trust?  When her sister Becky offers to quit her minimum wage job and become Layla's nanny, Martha and Scott jump at the chance.  Who could they ever trust more than Becky?

But at age nine months, on a night when both Martha and Scott were traveling, Layla doesn't wake up one morning.  Becky can't account for every minute of the night before and her actions and soon she is charged with Layla's murder since the autopsy shows that it was not a natural death.  Could this be?  Could Martha's sister have done this thing?  As the trial progresses, Martha remains sure that the truth will emerge and that Becky will be found innocent but as Becky's secrets are dragged out into the light, it starts to appear more likely that Becky is indeed guilty.  Can Martha ever forgive her?  Can she forgive herself?

Gillian McAllister has written a page turner that strikes at the fear of every parent.  How can you protect your child?  Who can you trust to love them?  Will anyone be as careful with them as you would be?  McAllister has written about the fears and loyalties that can tear a close family apart and how when tragedy strikes it is difficult to ascertain the truth.  This novel is recommended for women's fiction readers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Booksie's Shelves, September 14, 2021


The calendar says that summer is waning but here in the South where wearing shorts on Thanksgiving is a common occurance it's hard to tell.  But the days are getting shorter and soon the heat won't be oppressive.  Leaves will turn and then fall and we will move into the autumn and winter.   In the nation, covid rages on with the Delta variant spiking numbers again.  My husband and I got our vaccinations back in late January and early February but we both got breakthrough cases.  Due to our vaccinations, both cases were fairly mild although my husband was sicker than me.  My case was never much more than a bad cold and boredom at isolating in my bedroom for ten days to try to insure my daughter didn't get it.  Still, lots of time for reading and I've been busy.  Here's what's come through the door:

  1. Honor, Thrity Umrigar, literary fiction, won in contest
  2. Those Across The River, Christopher Buehlman, horror, purchased
  3. Wish You Were Here, Jodi Picoult, literary fiction, sent by publisher
  4. Hello, Transcriber, Hannah Morrissey, literary fiction, sent by publisher
  5. Apples Never Fall, Liane Moriarty, literary fiction, sent by publisher
  6. Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss, literary fiction, purchased
  7. The Mermaid And Mrs. Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar, literary fiction, purchased
  8. Number One Chinese Restaurant, Lillian Li, literary fiction, purchased
  9. Fleishman Is In Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, literary fiction, purchased
Here are the ebooks I've purchased:
  1. Piranasi, Susanna Clarke, literary fiction
  2. No Good Deeds, Laura Lippman, mystery
  3. Under The Pendulum Sun, Jeannette Ng, fantasy
  4. A Room Full Of Bones, Elly Griffiths, mystery
  5. The Forty Rules Of Love, Elif Shafek, literary fiction
  6. Crack Down, Val McDermid, mystery
  7. Clean Break, Val McDermid, mystery
  8. The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig, legal thriller
  9. Child Of The Night Guild, Andy Peloquin, fantasy
  10. The Informant, Thomas Perry, mystery
  11. All Adults Here, Emma Straub, literary fiction
  12. The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley, mystery
  13. Less, Andrew Sean Greer, literary fiction
  14. The Things We Do For Love, Kristin Hannah, literary fiction
  15. A Familiar Sight, Brianna Labuskes, mystery
  16. A Better Man, Louise Penny, mystery
  17. Splinter The Silence, Val McDermid, mystery
  18. Janesville, Amy Goldstein, nonfiction
  19. Bloody Genius, John Sandford, mystery
  20. Serpentine, Jonathan Kellerman, mystery
  21. Perfect, Rachel Joyce, literary fiction
  22. Spirit Of A Kyrie, T.L. Rese, fantasy
  23. How We Disappeared, Jing-Jing Lee, literary fiction
  24. The Warmth Of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkinson, nonfiction
  25. Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake, nonfiction
  26. These Toxic Things, Rachel Howzell Hall, mystery
  27. Fidelity, Thomas Perry, mystery
  28. Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, literary fiction
  29. Tantamount, Blain Pardoe, true crime
  30. A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson, literary fiction
  31. Winter Counts, David Weiden, mystery
  32. Red Country, Joe Abercrombie, fantasy
  33. The Shadow Of The Gods, John Gwynne, fantasy
  34. The Keeper Of Happy Endings, Barbara Davis, literary fiction
  35. Ball Lightning, Cixin Liu, science fiction
  36. Fool Moon, Jim Butcher, science fiction
  37. Snuff, Terry Patchett, fantasy
Here's what I'm reading:
  1. Typical, Padgett Powell, anthology
  2. Night Ferry, Michael Robothom, mystery
  3. Everything Here Is Beautiful, Mira Lee, literary fiction
  4. Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough, mystery
  5. Crossroads Of Twilight, Robert Jordan, fantasy
  6. The Moonflower Murders, Anthony Horowitz, mystery
  7. The Dead Husband, Carter Wilson, mystery
  8. Gospel, Wilton Barnhardt, literary fiction
Happy Reading!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney


In this new novel, Sally Rooney follows a group of friends.  Alice and Eileen are best friends and have been from college.  Alice has struck it big with her first novel and is now courted by the literary world.  Far from being excited about it, she has had a breakdown and is recovering.  Eileen has worked at various entry level jobs in publishing since university.  She dated a man for several years and is still grieving the end of their relationship.  She is flirting with Simon, someone she knew growing up and who is a bit older.  The timing has never been right for them to be involved romantically but maybe it is now?

This first chapter draws the reader in quickly.  The characters are mysterious but fighting to figure out their lives and are typical of young people in their late twenties.  They aren't sure of their work, their attraction to others and what their lives will look like in the future.  Fans of Rooney's earlier novels will be excited to read this new one.  Overall, though, I found it a bit unsettling.  These characters are quick to engage in sex with partners but then find it impossible to make real connections with them, hesitant to assume that the sex means anything in relation to an ongoing relationship.  It just seemed very sad to me.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in those searching to find their way in the world.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Secrets Of Death by Stephen Booth


The Peaks District is known for its beauty and wonderful towns such as Derbyshire and Nottingham.  Tourists flock to view the beauty and hike on the miles of nature trails.  DI Ben Cooper is used to the tourist influx every summer but not what this summer has brought.  All of a sudden, suicides are being found all over the district and the terms suicide tourist is being bandied about.

This won't do and Cooper's superiors want him to look into it and see what, if anything, can be done.  The victims vary in age and gender and in methods of death.  There have been leaps from bridges, drug overdoses, slit wrists and asphyxiation.  What could possibly tie these deaths together?  But shockingly, Ben finds a common thread.  Each of the suicide victims has a card in their possession, a black card embossed with the phrase Secrets Of Death.

In the past, Ben would have been working with Diane Fry, his colleague with whom he had an uneasy work relationship.  But Diane has been transferred to Nottingham to the Major Crime division and is no longer a worry to him.  Until she reappears telling Ben that his latest victim was also one of the Major Crime's suspects in three womens' deaths.  What is the cord that binds these cases?

This is the sixteenth Cooper and Fry novel in the series.  Ben has had some personal setbacks and is just pulling himself out of a personal depression.  He meets several women who make him think about getting back into the dating game although he hasn't done so yet.  The relationship between Ben and Diane is fraught with tension and disconnects as always which makes the book more interesting.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Humankind by Rutger Bregman


The author of this book sets out the premise that humans are not the murderous individuals motivated by hate and fear that is a common perception.  Instead, he believes that humans are basically kind and in fact are hard-wired to help each other and behave in each other's best interests.  

This point is made by exploring several examples of bad behavior and seeing how wrong the stories are.  The first is the contrasting of a real life Lord Of The Flies scenario vs the one in the novel.  The novel has the stranded boys turning into misanthropes who hunt each other down to hurt and eventually kill.  It is contrasted with a real life group of boys who were stranded on an island for months.  They were found to have continued their friendships, found ways to handle conflicts without violence and validate each other.  Other stories include the Kitty Genovese murder case, the Stanford Experiment which supposedly showed people will revert to cruelty when given power over others.  Both are shown to have been reported incorrectly and that the lessons to be taken away are diametrically opposed to the legends.

One statistic that really struck me was the low proportion of soldiers who actually fire their weapons.  Instead they don't fire or fire over the heads of their enemies.  The point is made that the majority of casualties are done by those who don't really see their opponents; situations like bombers who don't see those they unleash destruction on.  

This is a fascinating book.  The author ends with examples of things that could be different if society acknowledged the best rather than the worst in people.  Examples are given of different ways of schooling or running prisons.  This book is fascinating and life affirming.  It is recommended for nonfiction readers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato


Octavia Leander is about to start her adult life.  An orphan, she was rescued from the streets and raised in Miss Percival's school for healers.  It turns out that Octavia is extremely gifted in her service to the Lady of the Tree and one of the most successful healers to be found in decades.  She is off to her first job in a village that has many victims of a recent war and famine.  

Octavia boards her first airship in order to get to her new location.  She is given a cabin with a middle-aged lady who is cordial but a bit mothering and nosy.  Octavia is uneasy with the airship technology but fascinated as well.  She meets an airship employee, Alonzo Garrett, who seems interested in her and who wants to help her.  There are several other men on the ship who are also interested and Octavia is not sure their interest is positive.  

That feeling is right.  As the journey progresses, Octavia is attacked as is her roommate.  Someone wants to prevent her from reaching her destination.  With Alonzo on her side, Octavia is able to avoid the attacks.  Can she find out what is going on?

This is the first novel in the Clockwork series and is written for a young adult audience.  Octavia is a feminist and her abilities allow her to avoid disaster and make her way in a threatening world.  The novel was a Locus Award finalist for Best First Novel in 2015.  Readers will be interested in Octavia and her message of strong feminist power.  This book is recommended for fantasy and young adult readers.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

All Lies by Andrew Cunningham


Del Honeycutt leads a boring life.  He lives in rural New York in the same apartment for years.  He has a job that's so boring that he can't even tell people what he does for a living.  He hasn't had a girlfriend for a couple of years.  But that's all going to change.  He has decided to move into the world of online dating.  

His first foray isn't that successful.  The woman he meets seems overly interested in his family, grilling him about his parents and grandparents.  She seems to lose all interest when Del doesn't know much about them and leaves shortly thereafter.  He writes it off as just the weirdness one finds on the net but has to reevaluate when the woman turns up dead a few days later.  Now the police are involved and they want to know what Del knows which is a big fat nothing.

Del is contacted by the woman's sister who turns out to be mystery writer Sabrina Spencer.  Together they figure out that the murder traces back to a crime committed by Del's grandfather and his cohorts and tied to an art heist.  But there are other people who have also figured that out and they will stop at nothing to find the answers.  Can Del and Sabrina solve the crime before they are killed?

This is the first in what is currently a five novel series.  The characters are very likeable and the reader will be pulling for Del and Sabrina.  They fall in love and their love story is an intriguing secondary story to the crime investigation.  I plan to read more in this series.  This novel is recommended for mystery readers.

Friday, September 3, 2021

The Window Seat by Aminatta Forna


This book is a collection of autobiographical essays by Aminatta Forna.  She is not only an author with books such as The Hired Man and Memory Of Love but a professor of writing in various universities throughout the world.  Forna has led a fascinating life.  Her childhood was spent in various countries.  Her father was executed as a revolutionary in Sierra Leon during the period when various African countries were establishing their independence from colonial rule.  Her stepfather was a diplomat so she and her brother grew up in various embassies in such locations as Iran, Zambia and Thailand.  Her mother was Scottish and she also spent time as a child in Scotland.  The first part of this collection are stories from her childhood and these events.

The latter part of the collection are more reaction pieces to various topics that she has an interest in.  She has a real love for animals that comes through in these pieces.  Topics she covers include the inauguration of Donald Trump, various dogs she has owned and the street dogs in Africa, suffering from insomnia, the experience of being a woman and dealing with men's catcalls and attempts to belittle based on gender, chimpanzees kept as pets or used in testing, peanut butter and wildlife she has encountered, especially foxes and coyotes; the foxes in England and the coyotes in various locations in the United States.  I listened to this book and Forna was the narrator.  Often having the author as the narrator is not a good choice but Forna was an excellent narrator and having her own voice narrating her life experiences was a fabulous choice.

I can highly recommend this book.  Forna is an amazing author and I can't imagine anything she would write that I wouldn't find fascinating.  She is determined to live life on her terms and to live a full life and the reader is blessed to be able to share this part of her life with her.  This book is recommended for readers of memoirs and essays.  

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Faithless by Karin Slaughter

 When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver go for a walk in the woods around Sara's parents' house, they don't expect it to end in horror.  But it does.  Jeffrey tripped over something and they realize it is a pipe.  The pipe leads to a coffin buried in the earth and a young girl who has been buried alive and is now dead.  

The two are used to seeing dead bodies.  Jeffrey is the police chief in this small Southern town and Sara the coroner.  But this is a particularly gruesome death.  Who is this girl?  Who hated her enough to do this?  As the investigation progresses, it turns out that the girl did not suffocate.  Instead someone sent cyanide down the pipe and poisoned her.  She is part of a religious family that runs a large farm that grows soy and employs ex-cons and drifters.  Did one of them do this?  Was it part of the family?  The family sends off cult vibes and Jeffrey isn't sure what they would do.  Can the two find the answer before more girls are killed?

This is the fifth of the six novels in the Grant County series.  The crime is arresting and the investigation is interesting.  Jeffrey and Sara are in an on again, off again relationship, moving through marriage, estrangement and reengagement.  A secondary character, Lena, is a detective in the force who faces many issues from her own past and she is featured again in this novel.  Readers will be caught up in the action and horror that only Karin Slaughter can deliver.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.