Monday, February 22, 2016

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

 The Shut Eye is a spine-tingling, edge-of-your-seat thriller about a woman who gets involved with a psychic who may be able to find her missing son.
     James and Anna Buck live in a small flat, next door to the garage where James works. One day, some months before, James had popped out to buy some fireworks and left the front door open. Their little son, Daniel, wandered outside and went missing
    Five footprints are the only sign that four-year-old Daniel Buck was ever here. And now they are all his mother has left. Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiraling towards insanity.
    When a flyer comes through her door, advertising a psychic, Richard Latham, Anna feels that he could be her last hope. Anna is desperate for hope, which she’s not getting from the police, or her husband James. DCI John Marvel knows Richard Latham. He was used in another case of a missing child – that of twelve year old Edie Evans – a space obsessed tomboy who went missing while riding her bike. The case of missing Edie Evans was never solved.  DCI John Marvel believes that Richard Latham is a fake and not a real "shut eye" at all, but when a woman tells Anna Buck that she has found a true psychic, she grasps at it.  Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son.
     But when she meets the psychic, what she gets is not at all what she suspected.
    The Shut Eye is a riveting read from one of our finest crime writers. Belinda Bauer's six award-winning novels have been translated into twenty-one languages.  The Shut Eye is her fourth novel to be published in North America.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Passenger 19

Passenger 19 is my first Ward Larsen novel and I found it to be intriguing and leaving me wanting to read another.

The main character, Jammer Davis, is an aircraft accident investigator for the Government. The present tragedy he is called to investigate is unique… for Jammer anyway, because the crashed plane’s manifest list shows his own daughter as a passenger. Davis is flown to Bogota and the jungles of Colombia to the flight scene hoping against hope he will find his daughter alive. However, the odd twist, his daughter’s body, along with 2 others, is not on the scene, but missing.

Behind this disaster is a surprising plot involving drug cartels and Washington undesirables. Jammer, himself is quite a character - both likable and endearing. An edge of your seat book you will want to check out.  ~ Patsy Scott

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

What She Knew

Gilly Macmillan"s debut novel is an emotionally intense psychological/police procedural mystery about the kidnapping of a child.  Rachel Jenner has taken her young son and his new puppy to a local Bristol (England) park  for exercise and fun.  She is still obsessing about her recent divorce-her husband left her for another woman and she feels her life is over.  She allows Ben to run ahead to the playground-a normal mother decision, but when she arrives just minutes later, Ben and the puppy are gone.  After searching the park frantically and finding no trace of either, she calls the police and her ex-husband.  The nightmare begins. 
When the police search the woods, they find Ben's clothing and the puppy whose leg is broken.  Everyone is questioned, the ex, his wife, neighbors, friends, school, and Ben 's classmates.  The parents are frantic and so are the police.  They know they need to find him quick to find him alive.  And the media/bloggers are already questioning Rachel's fitness as a mother.
 This is a very emotional story told from the point of view of the mother and also Jim Climo, the policeman in charge of the case.  He wants to solve this case to further his career. Some of his story is told through the therapy sessions he has been ordered to attend. 

Everyone is questioned and secrets are revealed.  There are many twists and turns and emotional ups and downs.  Can Rachel trust even her own family?  If you stay away from novels about child kidnapping and murder, here is a spoiler.  *Spoiler Alert*  Ben does not die.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato by Kathy Guiffre

I picked up The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato because of its quirky title; I kept reading because of the inventive writing and engaging storyline.

Author Kathy Giuffre is a sociologist and professor specializing in social networks and cultural sociology, and has written a number of academic books on those topics. This, her first novel, combines Plato’s allegory of the cave from the Republic and stories from Greek mythology. This may seem a stretch for her, but personal networks and cultural norms are at the heart of this book.

Set before the advent of the internet, the social networks formed here are those among a group of outcasts in a small college town in the South. Feeling trapped in her small Appalachian town, young Josie hops a bus to nearby Waterville. Waterville is like any small college town, full of misfits, dreamers, drunks, and musicians, all converging at a dive bar called The Cavern Tavern, aka “The Cave.” Josie and her friends create a family of sorts as they navigate through life around the time of the first gulf war.

Each chapter is preceded by a portion of Plato’s allegory or a mythical tale that applies to the events that follow. In less talented hands, this could feel very heavy-handed or forced, but Giuffre winds them together with ease. It is easy to see Josie finding solace in these ancient stories reflecting the events of her own life. The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato tells a universal story of first love, loss, and redemption. It’s about the families we build for ourselves, pulling each other out of the darkness of the cave and into the light of day.

While the events of the story could easily make this book depressing, the characters (especially Josie) and their outlook on life make the book feel hopeful. As the book jacket says, “Just because we’re all prisoners in the cave doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.”

-Portia Kapraun