The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

 

I have read and enjoyed other books by Liane Moriarty.  This one was good, but not as good as the others.  The premise is a woman, Sophie, inheriting a house from a family member of her ex-fiance.  The family lives on a small island and so Sophie becomes embroiled in this complicated and somewhat secretive group of people.  The characters are well developed and I especially was drawn into the Grace/Callum/Jake story line.

The plot deals with secrets in families, the work of maintaining a marriage, postpartum depression, same sex relationships, and how we define a family.  The focus is on Sophie as the main character but I really didn’t find her the most interesting.  I felt as though she was a catalyst for events that occur but her own personal story was not as engaging as some of the others.  I would have loved to delve more into Laura and Grace’s dynamic.

Overall, this was  a good read, just not her best offering.

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Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Cooperman

I have had this cozy on my TBR list for a long time now, so I was really happy when it was selected as one of this month’s read over at Goodreads in the Cozy Mystery Corner Group.

First, let me admit that I live in New Jersey and this book is set at the Jersey Shore.  Now, I will admit something that will probably get me chased out of New Jersey by an angry mob, so I will just say it once and then pretend it didn’t happen…I don’t like the Jersey shore.    Anyway, I am familiar with some of the locales discussed in the book, let’s just leave it at that.

I think because I had been waiting to read this one for so long, I was really expecting a great cozy and then I had a hard time getting into this book.  I will say that it picked up in the second half.  The red herrings in the form of Ned and Tony’s behaviors are really heavy handed.  The villain was sort of an unbelievable character.  In fact, most of the characterizations felt flat or like stereotypes (the overachieving PTSO mom) or odd to me, not odd in the cozy quirky character kind of way , just odd as in not right.  A couple of the plot twists made no sense to me.

I did love one scene at the end involving Paul and the guest house, just because of a personal connection.  My daughter’s grandfather, who has since passed, was an ornamental plasterer and there is a reference to a crew of old school plasterers coming and working on the guesthouse and that made me smile.

I am glad that I read it because it was on my TBR list, but if I want to read a ghost related cozy, I’ll stick with The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly.