Monday, September 19, 2016

Among the Wicked

Another great suspense read by Linda Castillo.

Kate Burkholder, who was raised Amish, becomes the chief of police in Paniters Mill, Ohio.   Kate is asked to go undercover in an Amish community in upper New York to solve the murder of a 15 year old girl, Rachel Esh.

Once settled in the Amish community, she sets out with her new identity and tries to get other Amish women to talk to her about the death of Rachel.  Everyone speaks highly of the bishop, but he gives Kate chills that have nothing to do with the cold winter they are experiencing.

Whenever Kate gets close enough to get people talking to her, something always happens that causes them harm or even death, they stop communicating. With the help of Marie, Rachel's best friend, Kate is able to uncover some very deep secrets, a series of shocking crimes and finds herself alone and trapped in a fight for her life.

There are some news at the end of the novel that left me shocked!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

This story captivated me from the first chapter and would be a great chapter book to read aloud with your family. The mystery of a young boy who shows up on a young couple’s porch one morning, hooked me immediately.
A young married couple who never had children, John and Marta, learn about unconditional love, happiness, and compassion when they take this strange, mute child into their home. Learning to communicate with him was a challenge but instead of feeling frustrated or giving up, they persevered and found a way to interact with him. Family does not have to mean blood relation and will not always look the same as another. The main characters realize that love and support are what create a family.

Not being able to speak, the young boy cannot convey his story or explain where he came from to John and Marta. The couple know they must find out where he came from and how he a young boy appeared on their porch. Not only does the mystery of this book keep the reader intrigued, seeing the young couple go through a life-altering journey together and learn lessons that only the love of a child can provide, make the story worthwhile. 

-Lauren

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of Canadian author Michael Redhill.  These mysteries center around Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who is in her sixties, a curmudgeon and often too independent for her bosses.  She  heads a small police station in Port Dundas, Ontario, is divorced and lives with her cranky mother, a former mayor of the town who is now suffering from dementia.  In several of her books she has to contend with her ex-husband and his new wife.
There are four books in this series: The Calling, The Taken, A Door in the River and her recent book The Night Bell.  To her staff, Hazel is not only a well respected detective, but also a mother figure to her youngest officer, James Wingate.  As with most police mysteries, Hazel has to manage crimes of revenge, serial killers and abuse and neglect.
It would please me if Michael Redhill would write a few more of these quickly.  Hazel is an interesting older character with quirks and doesn't suffer fools which makes her interactions interesting. The surrounding characters are realistic and the plot of her latest brings together past and present.  There are needed but some unwelcome changes at the station and in Hazel's life.  More is learned about her childhood and other members of her immediate family.  These are not cozy mysteries, and the murders can be quite vicious and bloody.  But if you want interesting characters and story lines check her out.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Coming November 15th 2016!
Spanning over twenty years and two continents, Zadie Smith’s new novel Swing Time is a charming account of one woman’s coming-of-age during those bygone heydays when video was still killing the radio star.  Smith’s unnamed narrator, a mixed-race child of a striving Jamaican mother and a peaceable, hard-working white father, lives in one of London’s many low-end housing units.  She meets Tracey, her first and only best friend, during dance class at their community center.  The two are bonded over the shared experience of being poor and “brown” in a class that is predominantly white, but an increasing gap in talent and two very different home lives begin to draw the girls apart before puberty even finishes its ravages. As the two stumble towards womanhood, the differences become more stark and divisive, and their friendship is ultimately fractured by what the storyteller perceives as Tracey’s final, unforgiveable act. The past and present simultaneously unfold through the narrator’s musings on her childhood, college days, and finally, her career as an assistant to the long-time pop idol Aimee.  Demanding and charismatic, Aimee requires total submission.  The protagonist’s success in this role is telling, and of a piece with her tendency to allow dominant women to manipulate her life: her mother, Tracey, and Aimee.  She seems content in her subservience until she begins to question the true cost of “privilege” during her time overseeing Aimee’s project, a school for girls, in Africa. This book will appeal to lovers of character-driven fiction because, despite the author’s hints at past hurts and scandal (doled out with a sweet slowness), it’s not the suspense that keeps you coming back. Swing Time is much like a favorite friend whose visits you anticipate, not because of their exploits, but because you simply enjoy their company.

-Jennifer Wilson

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

We first meet Wavy Quinn as she's being placed into her aunt's care by child services following the arrest of her parents.

Wavy is just a slip of a girl ; tiny, neglected and distrustful of most. She refuses to speak or eat meals and is prone to sneaking out at night ; wandering the streets, slipping into peoples homes and taking small objects or food. Due to this behavior, her aunt has a meltdown and Wavy is passed on to her grandmother where she resides until her parents are released from jail.

One evening while stargazing, she happens to startle a biker while on a country road and he loses control of his motorcycle, wrecking on the loose gravel. The accident victim is Jesse Kellen and as it turns out, he happens to work for Wavy's father. A friendship is soon forged between the girl and the thug who becomes the one true, consistent and stable force in Wavy's life.

Greenwood's writing style was very enjoyable ; as the characters narrated each chapter. Honest, very raw, beautiful and yet uncomfortable and troubling,  this book will have you questioning your own opinion regarding love, loyalty and overstepping boundaries.

Cathy Kesterson