8.15.2011

Booktastic Reviews...

I've been reading - really! Let's get some "latest and greatest" reviews...


A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

The first Anna Pigeon mystery I read, and still my favorite, so with my autumnal trip "up north" drawing nigh, I wanted to return to Isle Royale for a few hours...and I'm so glad I did. I missed Anna of old. Great, great series with a great, great protagonist!






 Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo


This is the third in the Kate Burkholder, police chief, series. Kate is the chief of a small Ohio town that encompasses not only Englischers, but an Amish population as well. This time, a father, mother and uncle are found dead in a barn and foul play is suspected...

This is a fast-reading, interesting series with enough Amish culture, mystery and romance for Kate to keep the reader engaged. I like the setting, the mysteries, and the twist on traditional cop tales. Recommended!



The Ridge by Michael Koryta

I'm a fan of Koryta, and not just because a) he's young and b) he's a Bloomington boy. I have found, though, that I enjoy his mysteries quite a bit, and his "horror/paranormal" not so much, which is what this one is (though it was a tad better than So Cold the River).

A lighthouse in a Kentucky forest, a series of unexplained deaths, a suspect suicide, a big cat preserve, a police chief in love with the woman who shot him, and...a ghost? Or something? This is definitely an original tale, but again, not one of my favorites from Koryta - he tried too hard, and tried to include too much for me, and REALLY stretched the limits of plausibility, even with the paranormal aspect. Looking forward to more Lincoln Perry books instead!

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

"Forgetful Fiction", as I'm calling it, is so hot this summer...we have fiction featuring amnesia, bumps on the head, and dementia all coming out this summer, including this title. Jennifer White was a successful hand surgeon until she retired at age 64 with dementia. This book is told from her point of view as the police investigate the murder of her closest friend and neighbor - who had four fingers expertly excised after death. Did Jennifer do it?

This is a super-fast read, but wasn't nearly as satisfying as I expected. I really liked the perspective of Jennifer's world, but found the mystery, and the relationships, a bit too muddied to make sense of - which I guess was the point. Good, but not my favorite.

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

This was recommended to me by several people, so I was glad to see it on the shelf for me to check out! This is a really great "summer story" - easy to tear through in a few hours, but with depth and emotion as well. Two woman on a foggy road collide - one is killed and leaves behind a husband and son, the other woman is left with survivor's guilt and a desire to help the little boy...

This is a gentle read with really well-developed, well-drawn characters, and didn't have the maudlin sentimentality or "woe is me" attitude I was expecting. Instead, you aren't sure what you are rooting for at the end - but it did take me by surprise. A great read - no wonder it was recommended! What an interesting premise for a story...

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

I really enjoyed Stevens' first novel, Still Missing, so I was eager to read her follow up novel. In this novel, Sara Gallagher is about to marry, has a 6-year-old daughter, and is the adopted daughter of a successful family...but it all falls apart when she discovers that her birth father is the infamous-and-still-at-large "Campsite Killer", the result of a rape by the only woman that got away from him.

Naturally, this throws Sara's life into serious disarray as she and the police work to catch the serial killer, to repair her family relationships, and to figure out who she is with this new birth parent information.

This was a great premise, and I enjoyed it - to a point. However, the story seemed to get repetitious in the middle, and the angst level was a little high for me, and of course, the ending stretched some serious plausibility. I was psyched about the premise, and the story was very fast to read, but the plot dragged, and frankly, the writing was not terribly snappy - it felt kinda junior high, if I'm honest. I had high hopes...maybe they were too high for this mystery...





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