Halloween Weekend Books

These are both books from authors that I have read before. The End of Wasp Season is book 2 in the Alex Morrow series. I did read book 1 and I liked this one actually more than the first. From the start we see the murder of a young woman whose mother has just died and seems to have been killed in error, a case of mistaken identity perhaps or is it? The story vacillates back and forth. The story winds its way through the mind of the teenage perpetrator, whose world of wealth and privilege was ripped apart by the actions of his selfish father and less so his self absorbed mother. This turns into a study of the psychology of a family and in the end you don’t know who to feel more sympathy for, Sarah, or Thomas, with his dead father, neglectful mother and suicidal sister. The story of Thomas, his dead father and dysfunctional family is set alongside a subplot about Alex Morrow and her father’s death and her dysfunctional family and the young teen relative also in trouble for a violent crime. A great police procedural read.

The Other Woman’s House is about my third try at Sophie Hannah. These books keep getting recommended to me. This one is technically a Do Not Finish. I gave up on it and just skipped to the end and made sure that the ending was what I thought it was. The story is just so unnecessarily convoluted. The .police officer characters on their honeymoon, why did they get married? Their behavior was ridiculous. It is just not for me.

Two More Library Reads

The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald was a thriller through and through. The story takes off with Blair Butler returning home to the claustrophobic small town of her childhood in time to hear her older sister’s dying declaration. She makes a promise to her sister to act on what she now knows was a miscarriage of justice but soon finds out that it will be an uphill battle. No one wants to reopen the closed case of a child murder. The sense of place is very well developed here, although it is an entire community, the reader gets the feel of the walls closing in on Blair as she pursues justice for the wrongfully convicted man and seeks to find the real killer of her childhood friend, Molly. Really enjoyed this one and would recommend it.

In the Moors by Nina Milton is not my usual type of fare. It involves a modern day Shaman who gets wrapped up in a mystery as one of her clients/patients is accused of murder. The supernatural element here was really well done. There is a great sense of menace throughout. It is balanced between threats in the “real world” and horrors in her visions. Elements of the real life Moors Murders case here of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley definitely seem to be an inspiration for this story. This was a very good read, especially coming up on Halloween.

Storygraph and Readathon Books

I participated for a while in the Dewey’s 24 hour readathon this weekend. I haven’t done that in quite a while and it was nice to have such a break from everything to just read. From these, three of them are actually new to me authors, so I was happy that it worked out that I enjoyed them. I discovered them on the site https://app.thestorygraph.com/ . I recently joined over there to check it out as a supplement to Goodreads. I’ve been on Goodreads for a long time, but I think this serves a different niche. It is definitely not as social or event focused as Goodreads, but the recommendations based on your already read (which you can import from Goodreads) are far superior. AND….it allows you to permanently remove books from your recommendations. Hallelujah!

I just found Goodreads recommended the same books over and over again. And it kept recommending me some that I would never read in a million years and there was no way of saying “don’t ever recommend this to me again”. Anyway if you are interested, it is definitely work checking out.

Hanging Hill was like all of Mo Hayder’s books a great read. The troubled protagonists, a pair of sisters each troubled in their own unique way, reunite in this fast paced crime book. The novel starts with the horrible murder of a teenager and doesn’t really let up all the way through. The last ten pages or so are fantastic.

The 7th Woman is a very dark French police procedural. The crimes against a series of women being carried out by a serial killer are brutal and the reader is not spared the details. The writing is excellent as is the translation. This first in a series focused on the Paris Homicide squad and Nico Sirsky is in turns suspenseful and horrifying. I did suspect the killer a bit before the reveal but not because I had figured out any clues really, it was just a feeling on my part. Nico is engaging protagonist and pulls the reader into rooting for him throughout the story. The pacing here was spot on, the story moved along at a fast clip pulling you through the pages. Very good read.

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau is less a mystery and more of a psychological study. The reader here sits back and watches as socially awkward, regimented Manfred, who probably today would have received some kind of diagnosis, ever so slowly begins to fall apart. The event that triggers Manfred’s downward spiral is the titular “disappearance”. As luck would have it, this causes Manfred to cross paths with a figure from his past. As much as this is a character study of Manfred, the reader also delves into the detective, Georges Gorski’s, psyche. Manfred and Georges are both men who have events in their past that have impacted them greatly and that will become important throughout the course of the book. This is a dark and twisted read, but be prepared for a slow moving story. This is not a thriller read.

Welcome to Spicetown is a cozy mystery that starts off with the theft of a bunch of fireworks intended for a county New Year’s Eve display. This is the first in a new series and as such it spends time setting the scene and introducing many of the town characters. There is a romantic subplot, some fledgling businesses, and the stable, reliable Mayor and Police Chief. This was an okay cozy mystery.

Sun on Fire was a good Police Procedural read. It crossed into Germany and back to Iceland again. The Police characters were fantastic and I would love to read more of them. The character writing and dialog was really what drew me in to this story along with the well developed sense of place. The story starts with an Icelandic citizen being murdered in the Icelandic Embassy in Germany. The investigation leads the murder squad on a merry chase and uncovers secrets and lies and hidden connections from years past. Discussion of past severe child sexual abuse. Fans of the Department Q series would probably enjoy this.

Some Brief Notes on a Few Reads…

The Little Shop of Found Things is a relatively quick read with a blend of magic and romance. I have to admit I am not a fan of time travel in general, but this was fine for me. I liked the character of Xanthe and the idea of her “power”. Xanthe can get a read on certain objects, the emotions and history that leaves an imprint within them. She then is roped into helping a rather demanding ghost in the new shop that she is opening with her mother. Things do tie together rather nicely and there are some threads that I am sure will be picked up in future books in the series. I just never felt that this book hit its full potential. An okay magical romance read.

Anything is Possible is set in the Olive Kitteridge universe. The strength here is in the writing of the small town voice. The characters read as authentic, as do their emotions. I am not usually a fan of short stories and read very few of them, but I did enjoy this. The visits with Lucy Barton and her family and getting to see how the Barton family was interwoven into the town was an excellent read. This is for fans of excellent slice of life writing.

The Diva Haunts the House and The Diva Cooks a Goose are books four and five in the Domestic Diva Mystery series. Both of theses were good outings in a classic cozy mystery series. The Domestic Diva refers to Sophie Winston. Her extended family make up the colorful cast of characters that reappear in each episode along with recipes and “Dear Abby” letter style chapter headers. Good reads for fans of culinary cozy mysteries.