The Hidden Things & The Chalk Circle Man

The Chalk Circle Man is a French Noir mystery. It is the first in the Commissaire Adamsburg Series. Adamsburg is an unconventional officer with an admirable solve rate for murders. He is relocated to an office in Paris when a series of strange chalk circles begin appearing throughout the city. At first they are the subject of humor and much speculation by the population, but Adamsburg, who relies on his ability to sense cruelty and evil intent, believes that the perpetrator will escalate to murder. A dark and in many places cheerless police procedural. The plot was definitely engaging although I found the resolution somewhat of a stretch. Well written and fast paced, a very enjoyable read.

The Hidden Things is an art heist based mystery. The sale of painting went very wrong with people ending up dead and one historian maimed and on the run. Now several years later, a different crime occurs and home security camera footage goes viral offering a glimpse that appears to show the painting in question. The surviving original players are once again drawn together for a confrontation. There were interesting moments and some strongly drawn characters here along with plenty of twists and turns to make for an entertaining story line.

Where the Truth Lies, Cold Killing, Carrot Cake Murder, The Dentist, and Crime in the Choir

These are books sourced from either my local library on Hoopla or Kindle Freebies.

Cold Killing was a title I saw on a blog and found on Hoopla so I picked it up. This was a kind of a spin on the tortured detective in that DI Sean Corrigan had a horrific childhood, however he managed to overcome it and is not the trainwreck cop that we so often see with severe drug/alcohol/violence issues. He is married and just uses his experiences and insights into the deviant mind to solve cases. In this first outing in the series, he is tracking a serial killer even when others don’t really see the connections.

This was well written and plotted. A dark psychological thriller with a strongly developed character in Sean Corrigan at the head of it. I would read another in this series.

Where the Truth Lies is also the first in a new series, the DI Ridpath series. In the series opener, DI Ridpath is returning to duty from fighting a serious bout of cancer. The issue is that even though he is a good officer, they don’t really want him back since he collapsed on duty. In an attempt to shuffle him out they place him in the Coroner’s office. He is responsible now for performing the investigations for the coroner. This was really interesting to see the difference between what the concerns are from a coroner’s perspective and from the police perspective in investigating death. I found this a great read even though it was a little gruesome, with some torture scenes. I will definitely read another.

Crime in the Choir is the first book in the series but the second one of these I’ve read. I believe that I read one as a book club read, but I’m not absolutely certain. The book surrounds a boy’s choir school and the discovery of two bodies during a dig. The bodies are found to be of students who disappeared twenty years ago. As the investigation proceeds, this develops as a solid police procedural, but it is also quite scary with a nicely drawn sense of menace about the setting . I was drawn in to the plight of Nat and Julian and definitely felt the need for urgency pushing me to turn the pages. Good read!

Carrot Cake Murder is book 10 in Joanne Fluke’s long running Hannah Swenson series. I love the characters and the town. They just feel like friends. I will say I stopped reading the series for a little bit because the love triangle felt a little mean to me, but I understand from people who are up to date on it that it resolved so I am now continuing. This book did not disappoint for what I expect from the series. Hannah stumbles, literally, on the body of a man who had recently returned to town. She investigates, as do her love interests. As always there is lovely food to eat and bake. All ends well in Lake Eden!

The Dentist is this month’s read over at the Kindle English Mystery Book Club. This was also a free Kindle book, at least when I purchased it. A man’s body is found. Initially, the thought it is that it will be difficult to solve as it seems to be “homeless on homeless” crime. But some things do not seem to add up, expensive dental work, special contacts, etc. Eventually, as the investigation unfolds connections are made to the past and there seem to be many paths to take to find out who the killer was and why they killed.

Much is made here of the detective, DS George Cross, as he is on the autism spectrum and has many traits that are discussed sometimes negatively and are key to his crime solving during the novel. There are so many detective novels with the detective exhibiting autism traits that I am not entirely sure how I feel about it. I have read many from The Curious Incident… a while ago, to just last week Some Choose Darkness . I’ve enjoyed the writing and the plots. I just wonder at times how autistic individuals feel about this plethora of fiction depicting them all as these crime solving savants. Anyway food for thought:

BookRiot article on writing autistic characters

Another article from Crime Reads

Some Choose Darkness, Cooking Up a Mystery, & Three Widows and a Corpse

 

I picked up all three of these as ebooks from my library through the Hoopla app.  Two of these authors, Charlie Donlea and Debra Sennefelder, were familiar to me having read books by them in the past.  The third Gail Pallotta was just an impulse click.

Some Choose Darkness is the first in the Rory Moore series.  The series is opening with introducing Rory, a young woman who exhibits some symptoms of autism, and works as a forensic crime reconstruction expert.  While working on a case, she has to stop due to the death of her father and the need to close up his law firm and pass on all of the ongoing cases.  One of the cases involves a probable serial killer, who is now up for parole due to only ever being convicted of one crime.  This was a twisting, turning story line told in the past, when the killer was active and arrested and also in the present when Rory is currently working.  Well drawn characters and interesting mystery.  The resolution of what happened was a little obvious fairly early on, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment.  I would definitely read another in the series.

Three Widows and a Corpse is the third in the Food Blogger mystery series.  I have read the first in this series and I’ve really been enjoying it.  This has a fun modern theme and the third book in this series does not disappoint.  Hope finds herself embroiled in yet another crime, unfortunately this time we have one dead man and three different women all claiming to be his legal wife.  There is an engaging romantic side plot for Hope and another story line with her sister.  This is a well written cozy mystery series with a modern feel to it.

Cooking up a Mystery while it was I suppose a cozy mystery it was very much religious fiction, which I didn’t realize when I clicked and added it.  Not really my thing, so I Just don’t think I’ll say much else about it.

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

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I was recommended this book from a pen pal and ordered it from the library.  I did remember it from being shortlisted for the Booker but I didn’t know much about it.

This is set mainly in Istanbul with flashes back to Tequila Leila’s early childhood throughout. It is tale or a kind of mystery told in reverse.  Beginning 10 minutes and 38 seconds after Tequila Leila’s heart has stopped beating and her brain is still working as her body is thrown in a dumpster.

Leila spends those 10 minutes reliving her life and taking the reader through the journey that led to her becoming a prostitute in Istanbul and being murdered.  Eventually uncovering the mystery of her murder.  Along the way, the reader learns of the strong bonds Leila has formed with her group of friends, mainly other outsiders or outcasts.  We see how her death impacts them and what occurs because of it.

This was extremely well written and moving story that leaves the reader with almost a sense of despair at the state of a world that can treat people in such a way.  There is definitely a sense of people being disposable and being treated as objects or tools.

The Bigamist

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I needed to be upfront about the fact that I accidentally requested this.  I don’t usually read true crime at all.  I didn’t realize this was true crime until I actually got the title, I thought it was a fiction title.   That being said it was an engrossing read in a Dr. Phil/ Oprah watching sort of way.  It is like watching a slow motion car crash, the average person sees what is happening and thinks, “Why aren’t you getting out of the way?”  But that is the power of these master manipulators, they have skills at both manipulation and selection of their victims.  The event that sets this story in motion is when a woman, Mary Turner Thompson, is contacted online and gradually built a relationship with someone who turned out to be not anything or anyone he claimed to be.

The novel untangles a far reaching, both geographically and relationship wise, web  of lies.  It also delineates the damage that these psychopaths do to the vulnerable women they target, financial and emotional damage that is ongoing for years after the fact.  Definitely an interesting read and probably a warning still needed because even though the events in the book took place in the early 2000s, the same type of actions still occur regularly today.  Fans of true crime or maybe users of online dating services 🙂 would enjoy.

 

White Out & The Day Henry Died

 

These were two books I saw mentioned on other blogs and just downloaded.  I believe White Out was an Amazon First Read this month.  They are very different books.  The Day Henry Died is a supernatural mystery, in essence a ghost story while White Out is a gritty serial kidnapper/killer thriller.  What they do have in common is in both cases the protagonists are having some memory issues and the exploration of those issues drive a lot of the action in the stories.

In The Day Henry Died,  Henry wakes up alone in bed and thinks it to be a normal day. he goes about his routine and heads off to work.  At some point in the day, he realizes that there  is an obituary with his name on it and no one can see him.  No one that is except for a young woman named, Rita who works in the local supermarket.  Henry has no idea how he has ended up in this predicament or if it is all some terrible mistake.  He enlists Rita’s help to solve the mystery.  A charming mystery that is turns sad and funny, an enjoyable read.

White Out begins with a bang, a car accident and a young woman, Lily,  awakes with no idea of why she is in the car or who the man she is with is or what has led to her being there.  She has a sense of being in danger or perhaps trouble and begins to try to unravel the mystery from bits and pieces of clues she picks up along the way.  Meanwhile a few miles a way the body of a woman is found in a dumpster.  The woman has a horrible connection to Lily’s dark past and to the current danger she is in. Great psychological thriller with themes of abuse, PTSD, and alcoholism.

 

 

The Fly and the Tree

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This had a really interesting premise.  A young Phd candidate is reviewing her data and finds an anomaly in some tests run on some brain matter retrieved from a corpse.  The victim was supposed to have died peacefully in their sleep according to the police report but Baz’s findings contradict that.  She needs to be able to explain the anomaly to defend her research so she starts to look into the source of the brain matter, one Cathy Marsden.  The problem is the Cathy’s death has been marked a closed case and no one really appreciates her poking her nose in.

The idea for this novel is really interesting.  The character of Baz is a great female lead with a strong science bend, which is somewhat unusual.  The book does need some editing in terms of writing dialogue and tightening up.  There is a long section of Baz explaining her research that dragged on right at the very beginning that almost had me put the book down. I think a good editor could have made this a much stronger book.  As is, there are definitely good elements to it.

His & Hers

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This was quite a ride of a novel.  It tells the story of a murder or two and the conflicting view points of the news reporter (her) and the detective (him) entangled in an investigation.  Oh, and the reporter and the detective used to be married.  The twists and turns here are rapid and the reader has to pay attention and not make too many assumptions or they will get lost.  There are other characters moving within the orbit of the story as well and they are well written and fully fleshed out.

Themes of alcoholism, domestic abuse, secrets, family loyalty,  and second chances are explored here.  Well done psychological thriller with a twisted ending.  Fans of Girl on a Train will enjoy.

The Cookbook Club

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

When I saw the title of this, and the author, I knew I wanted to read it.  I collect cookbooks and I have read and enjoyed other books by Beth Harbison.  This one did not disappoint.

Three very different women, each finding themselves at a crossroads in their lives for very different reasons, come together at a cookbook club.  Margo was just dumped by her husband and is in the throes of a divorce.  Aja is unexpectedly pregnant and not in a relationship with the father at this point. Trista has left behind her law career and done a complete life about face by opening a bar.   The novel follows each of the women as they face their personal challenges.  I appreciated that this was not ridiculously sweet or sassy; the characters had more of a realistic feel to them.  

Good women’s fiction read exploring themes of friendship, second chances, and family.

 

The Cottage of New Beginnings

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I received  a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I found the cover of this so appealing and requested it from NetGalley based upon that.  I am a fan of Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Trisha Ashley, etc and this seems to be aiming at that same base.  The lead,  Annie is both a fun and sympathetic character and the village portrayal is lovely.  The novel tells the tale from Annie’s return to the village and continues  through her trials and tribulations as she finds her footing there, recovering from an engagement gone wrong. The plot seemed somewhat rushed to me, but nevertheless an enjoyable romance read.