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Search tags: Mystery-Thriller
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review 2017-06-26 15:26
Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
Angels Fall - Nora Roberts

The only survivor of a brutal crime, Reece Gilmore has been on the road for a long time now. Plagued by phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and her many mental issues, she hasn’t stopped anywhere for long. But her car has decided to break down in the little Wyoming town, Angel Fist, and almost broke, Reece has no other option than to stop, and seek employment.
Soon, the little town starts feeling like home, she likes her job as cook in the local diner, and although she’s the stranger in town, hence object of curiosity, the jitters about hitting the road again haven’t hit.

Until she witnesses a murder during a hike one day, but no one believes her since there’s no proof, no other witnesses, and absolutely no sign of struggle. And it seems the violence of what she’s witnessed has put her recovery into regression, and she starts experiencing lost time again, moving things, doing things she cannot remember doing. She would probably skip town again if it wasn’t for another outsider, the man who held her together the day she witnessed the murder, the only man who believes her she did see what she claims she saw, Brody. And it’s also Brody the one who suspects there might be another explanation to her supposed lost-time episodes to the one of her going slowly crazy.

Someone is obviously trying to discredit her testimony, and drive her out of town...But what measures might they take if she doesn’t run?



Nice. Very nice. Intense, gripping, suspenseful, and skirting the edges of thriller with all the psychological warfare deployed by the villain toward the heroine. Very nice, indeed.

I loved Reece, not just liked, loved her. She was a mess with all her issues, her insecurities, her obsessive compulsive disorder, her phobias, but I didn’t find her annoying. I sympathized and empathized, but I didn’t pity her. As Brody said, she might’ve been a victim once, but she was a survivor all the way. She’d self-admitted herself into a mental institution, for crying out loud. She’d known she needed help, and she sought it. If that isn’t admirable, I don’t know what is. She also knew she had many screws loose, yet she coped, she tried to move on, she tried to live. And thanks to Brody (yes, unfortunately, the guy had to help somewhat) when push came to shove, she didn’t go down without a fight.

Now, as for Brody, I somehow didn’t get a really clear picture about him. The image, even the character of him still eludes me. He was there, I guess, a supportive entity, one of the few in town who truly believed Reese, a guardian angel of some sort, a brusque jackass which was just what she needed to get out of her funk, yet he remains obscure. A tall, dark, and handsome generic hero, who happened to get involved with Reece.

It’s weird, because it’s usually the other way around. It’s NR heroes I can clearly picture, while the heroines remain rather generic (and somewhat annoying).
I guess this is a “special” book, since the abovementioned fact isn’t the only thing that’s inverted. In this book it’s the heroine who embraces her feelings more easily, it’s Reece who expresses them first, and it’s the hero who’s scared, annoyed, and reluctant to move forward, to change the way things are, while it’s usually the other way around, with the heroines playing the “male part”.

The jewel of this story is the suspense, which is also a slight deviation from norm. Usually I enjoy the perfect combination of both, the romance and the suspense, but in this case, the romance (or whatever that was) took the backseat to the suspense. And yes, it was suspense. Not much action, not much danger, gripping nevertheless.
It was suspenseful, lurking, creeping slowly forward, keeping the reader at the edge of the seat, wondering whether it was truly all in Reece’s head or if there was something more sinister afoot. Very, very well done.
In the end, when Reece and Brody went out on their own, and the knots started unraveling, and the plot started thickening, I had two possible suspects—I had no idea about the villain’s identity until the end, so the big reveal came off as a surprise and not so much a surprise in the end.
I also felt the ending a tad too easy for the town-folk, with no vindication for Reece. I wouldn’t have minded a little groveling, but then, those that counted, believed her no matter what.

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review 2017-06-25 23:43
Don’t You Cry - DNF
Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica

Sometimes, rarely, very rarely, I will come across a book written in first-person, present tense that is either so well done, or where the writing and storytelling is otherwise so good that I barely notice it, or else where it is used only sparingly and appropriately to a particular scene. But the vast majority of the time, I hate it. Hate it. Hate it. And I thought I only had to be diligent in checking the preview on YA novels, but apparently this gawdawful trend is invading other genre fiction.

 

I listened to enough of the first chapter to know that I didn’t want to hear any more, but will not assign a star rating as I didn’t get to my minimum 20 minutes of audio time.

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review 2017-06-25 23:21
Camino Island ★★☆☆☆
Camino Island: A Novel - John Grisham

Deadly dull stuff. I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters, and the main character’s moral rationalizing was frankly laughable. I’m not sure why the author even bothered telling us about any of the criminals who pulled off the heist. The plot was… well, I couldn’t bring myself to care how it ended, if the criminals were caught, if the university got their manuscript back, or if the writer and the bookseller reconciled their relationship.

 

I think the only reason I even finished this book is that I was listening to it while on a long road trip and the book was marginally more interesting than just looking at 200 miles worth of grass and trees and cows, although the occasional horse pasture was distraction enough for me to have to rewind.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. January LaVoy provided a very good performance, considering the material she had to work with.

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text 2017-06-25 14:05
Camino Island: 82%
Camino Island: A Novel - John Grisham

Seriously, has Grisham's writing always been this tedious? During a 4 hour road trip yesterday, during which I had little to occupy my mind other than this audiobook, I found it only slightly less interesting to look at the cows, the grass, the trees, and the ass end of the truck in front of me. Sometimes I even had to rewind because I didn't know what I'd just listened to. 

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review 2017-06-24 16:44
Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
Carolina Moon - Nora Roberts

On that fateful night so long ago, when eight-year-old Hope Lavelle died, Victoria "Tory" Bodeen should've been with her. But her father had beaten her because of her particular gift, Tory stayed at home, and someone raped and killed her best friend.
No one knew who did it, the town suspected a drifter, and the killer remained unpunished, as life went on...

Yet Tory hasn't been able to forget her friend or what's been done to her. They were blood sisters, connected by an unbreakable bond, and she feels it's time to finally put the past, and Hope to rest, by finding her killer. And the best place to start is back in her home town...


I watched the movie based on this book, and I must say it didn't to it justice. At all. Not in story, not in characterization, not in suspense.

This book is proof of what Nora Roberts does best. Expertly crafted story with wonderful characters. You have your prickly heroine, a deceptively laid-back hero, and a great supporting cast with the, as far as NR stories set in the South, requisite bitchy matriarch, and the "crazy" relative, usually and aunt.
But the cast itself isn't enough, one has to connect them all together, some in friendship, some in blood, some in reluctant alliances, passing acquaintances, and of course, romance.

This book has two of those, the main one between the prickly heroine and the deceptively laid-back hero, and the second between the hero's seemingly flighty sister, determined to defy mama at all cost, and the hero's best friend and the heroine's cousin, the town veterinarian who's been pining after his love-interest for years before she finally saw reason.
Strangely, I must confess I was more invested in the secondary romance than the main one, mostly because of the heroine's issues and prickliness (justified, I might add) not really doing the main romance any favors. I liked the hero well enough, and the heroine as well, I just didn't like them that much together. It felt a little forced, fatalistic, even.

There was one relationship Tory was in that I liked. And that was the slow-building friendship between her and her childhood best friend's twin sister, Faith. It was lovely seeing these two independent, closed-off women, both with their own inner scars and issues, circling each other, slowly forming the strong bonds of friendship, until becoming a unit toward the end.
The story came full circle in that particular moment.

Speaking of full-circle, I'm glad the villain got what they deserved in the one spot where it all became, but the finale felt a bit rushed. It felt rather anticlimactic compared to the buildup with its suspense and lurking danger.

Still, a very solid story, with a nice plot, good characters, a smidgen of "paranormal", and some wonderfully suspenseful moments.

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