End of Summer Reads

Summer is winding down and I am preparing to go back to work. Fit in a few more library and Hoopla reads here.

I always enjoy Belinda Bauer books and The Facts of Life and Death is no exception. A small, tragically underserved, almost cut off community is being terrorized by a killer. As police and citizens mobilize to hunt this killer in their midst it is the smallest amongst them who notices things and puts clues together. This was a really good read, very hard to put down from start to finish. The sense of isolation and almost claustrophobia that the community has comes through on the pages. Tension filled writing with excellent pacing that pushes through to the end without any dragging along the way. Highly recommended.

For Whom the Book Tolls is the first in a cozy mystery series. Jenna Quinn is down on her luck and down to her last dime when she is invited by her uncle to stay with him and work in his bookshop until she finds her feet again. The murder of her Uncle has the police naturally looking at her. Nicely drawn characters, an interesting background in the town of Hokes Folly, NC, and a well plotted mystery make this a great opener to a new series. Looking forward to reading another.

Devil’s Food Cake Murder is book 14 in the Hannah Swenson series. Another visit to Lake Eden, this time filled with deception, jewel heists, and murder. As usual we have the local characters and Hannah’s love interests, Mike and Norman. This is a comforting visit with old friends, if your old friends are sleuths that solve murders!. There is a bit of a surprise announcement at the end for long time readers.

Paranoid by Lisa Jackson is a classic case of a crime today being linked to a crime from the past. 20 years ago Rachel’s brother Luke was killed in what seemed like it might have been an accident or not? Now today, people involved are dying and Rachel is getting text messages that seem to be from beyond the grave. Twists and turns and very critical jabs at life in insular small towns, the downside of everyone knowing everyone and know one ever forgetting. Lots of red herrings and distractions from the main plot. I found some of the characters a bit annoying but still a fun domestic thriller read.

Murder at the Lakeside Library is the first in a new series. Rain Wilmont has returned to her family’s summer cabin to spend some time healing from her husband’s death and infidelity. She discovers that during her absence her mother has expanded the cabin’s library and made it a local attraction and everyone is expecting her to open and run it. A murder on the site, her parents troubled marriage, the identity of the victim, and her own family history all complicate what was supposed to be a peaceful retreat for her. She reconnects with an old summer friend and together they investigate uncovering old secrets and new. An okay read.

Early August Books

Summer is rapidly drawing to a close for me. So here are the early August reads.

Two by Linda Greenlaw, mainly because I read the first one and liked it so much I requested the second one immediately from the library. Slipknot and Fisherman’s Bend are first and second in the Jane Bunker Mystery Series. Jane Bunker is a ex-Miami detective recently relocated to Maine and starting a new career as a Marine Insurance Investigator. She has lots of water and boating experience as the author does in real life. In the course of her duties, she comes across crimes that she then investigates. The mysteries are well plotted and the action flows throughout the books. I would not really characterize them as “cozy” but they are not really gory or graphic either. Highly recommend, especially for anyone who enjoys Maine and/or boats.

Apple Turnover Murder is book 13 in the long running Hannah Swenson series, which I read more for the idea of revisiting the town of Lake Eden, Minnesota and its inhabitants than I do for the mysteries themselves. An unpleasant character from Hannah’s past turns up dead and Hannah investigates as per usual. Norman also has a subplot going on with a cliffhanger ending in this one, so I will have to wait for book 14 to see where that is going.

These Toxic Things, I believe was my Amazon First Reads choice. Mickie Lambert creates virtual scrapbooks from people’s memorabilia and stories of their lives. She is hired to create one for a woman who is having memory issues and wants it done before it is too late. The client dies and Mickie doesn’t want to leave the job incomplete, but uncovers more that what she expected when diving into the artifacts the client left her. There is also a side plot of Mickie’s own personal history that she uncovers during the course of the book. I don’t want to say too much because it would create spoilers. I did enjoy most of this and thought the idea was really good. I just figured out relatively early on what the “secret” was and that did sort of ruin the suspense for me.