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review 2019-07-12 02:04
Oof, a tough read at times
Cold Woods - Karen Katchur

There’s nothing like a short, creepy prologue to whet your appetite for what’s to come. One line sums it up nicely: “He had it coming”.

 

The story follows the relationships between a group of women in 2 time lines, one in the present & one from 30 years ago. It’s clear they share a huge secret stemming from traumatic events. When a body is found in present day, that past comes roaring back & forces them to remember what they’d sworn to forget. The thing is, not everyone’s memories are the same.

 

Parker Reed is a detective in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. After the fallout from his last case, he’s in the department dog house. So when a human skull is found near the Appalachian Trail, he’s the lucky guy assigned to freeze his butt off while forensic crews do their stuff. At least it gives him a chance to bond with new partner Geena Brassard. In some ways she’s the department’s other outcast. Her crimes? Too smart & too attractive. *sigh* The nerve of some women.

 

It’s a sparsely populated area where everyone knows your business. So it’s not long before they identify the remains. Lester Haines was a surly drunk who disappeared 30 years ago. Public opinion was he simply walked away from his wife & stepdaughter. Apparently it was a short walk.

 

Three decades ago Trisha Haines left town in a hurry. That’s no surprise in itself. It’s one of those places you either never leave or never come back to. She cut all ties with her mother & friends Danni & Carlyn. Now she has no choice but to return. Danni’s mother has died & a funeral is the perfect opportunity to remind her old friends to keep their mouths shut about the body.

 

That’s it, no more yakking about the plot. Best to let you draw your own conclusions as both time lines unfold. I loved the historical side of the story. Trisha, Danni & Carlyn are typical teens dealing with all the usual issues brought on by high school drama & raging hormones. Two of them live with single moms. Danni’s mother has given up & never leaves the house & Carlyn’s works the night shift, leaving her to raise herself.

 

Only Trisha has a father figure in her life. Her real dad left when she was a baby & her mother soon remarried. Sadly, she’s an alcoholic who is unaware of what’s happening in her own home. Which brings us to Lester. Drunk, despicable Lester. Most of this side of the story is alluded to, leaving the reader to imagine the worst. But the effect on those involved is very well portrayed.

 

As we follow the 3 families through these years. I was struck by a couple of things. First, with the exception of Parker, few men in this story come off very well. Second, the women are a wonder. Each of them suffers with poverty & abuse or abandonment. But there’s a resilience, the ability to make do with the hand they’re dealt & support each other as best they can. There’s an ominous undertone that builds as these chapters progress. We know Lester is going to meet his maker. The question is who & how.

 

The present day time line also has an edge but most comes from a separate subplot. I fared less well with this side of the story. Meeting all the characters decades later reveals some long held secrets as they deal with the police. But there’s a middle section where the story, like the investigation, slows down & not much happens. At one point we get some info about Trisha’s real father & how he shaped her current life but I wanted more detail as it had huge significance (trying not to give too much away here).

 

As they reach for the end, both story lines will have you guessing. Some of mine were spot on, some weren’t even in the same time zone. But when it’s all said & done you might find yourself thinking back to that line from the prologue & agreeing.

 

 

      

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review 2017-04-03 06:14
The Sisters of Blue Mountain
The Sisters of Blue Mountain - Karen Katchur

By:  Karen Katchur

ISBN: 1250066824

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date: 4/4/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Talented Karen Katchur returns following (2015) The Secrets of Lake Road with another emotional mystery domestic suspense, THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN — two timelines connect for a riveting page-turner of the strong bonds of family.

Set in a fictional tourist town of Mountain Springs, PA, two young sisters Linnet and Myrna grew up in a home with a professor for a dad and a mother which suffers from extreme depression. When the girls were young, the father decided they would turn the large home into a Bed and Breakfast Inn, called the Snow Goose.

True to its name the Snow Goose was the main attraction in the small town, thriving on the snow geese migration. Each year, the birds flock to the dam, and the tourists follow. The geese migrated late winter and early spring, flying over Pennsylvania en route to Canada. Tourists traveled from as far away as Virginia to see the snow geese making their trip north, swimming in the dam, resting in the fields.

The girls are now grown. The mother is deceased, and the father has moved to the guest house and suffers from dementia. He is a retired ornithologist. Linnet (the older sister), now oversees the management of the inn with her husband Ian, and twelve-year-old son, Hank.

The younger sister, Myrna left the small-town life, years earlier and resides in Florida. Why did she want to escape the memories? She is very unsettled in her own personal life since Ben wants to get married and she does not believe in the institution, with no role models from her own childhood.

Something happened when the girls were teens. A tragedy. A dark secret. The sisters were once close and now estranged.

As the book opens, it is their busiest season, and the geese are dead. Everywhere. Hundreds of them. How could this have happened? Linnet cannot have dead geese in the yard.

Pop (the dad) is seventy-three and his mind is not what it once was. He is called the “Bird Man”. Pop had taught classes at the university years ago and the inn was left to the mother. Of course, with her depression (mental illness), a lot of the work was left to the girls. The girls have a lot of guilt from an event in the past.

Of course, the dad is not sure this is a nightmare or reality with the geese.

With another storyline, Jake is a reporter from Leigh Valley and sent to cover the story. He also has ties with this town. His dad died in a car accident years ago, and Jake was still not satisfied with the results of the investigation. He thinks this may be a good time to kill two birds. (no pun intended).

Jake had found an old Nokia cell phone. He was going to have a hacker try and locate the last phone number dialed. The phone was found with his dad’s body at the car crash.

What was his dad doing on a road in this town? How is this family connected to his father’s death?

The town makes national news and Myrna returns home. There is friction between her and her older sister. In the meantime, the professor who gets called in to investigate the birds' death (helping the father since he is too old), turns up dead. Then more fish.

The father is the prime suspect and his best friend Charlie is the chief of police, putting him in an awkward position. Pop loved the birds as well as the townspeople. They relied on the birds to bring tourists and money into the town.

With panic from everyone, not only do they have a crisis on their hand, now a murder. They cannot allow their father to be charged with the murder.

In the meantime, the closer Jake gets to solving the case of his father, the more the two sisters fear their long hidden secret will be unraveled. They are not speaking to one another. Keeping secrets can become deadly and stay with you through life. As the investigation unfolds, the sisters must confront one another and their hidden past.

Karen keeps you hooked from the first page to the last —turning the pages with several different mysteries and suspense going on at the same time. The most intriguing storyline is the mother and the girl’s past and how they are intertwined possibly with Jake’s father.

The author also crosses some moral lines and proposes some thought-provoking questions. As in her first book, the author delves into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between land and life. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

Fans of Mary Alice Monroe and David Bell will enjoy, this well-written complex yet powerful family saga of sisters, combined with nature and lush settings.

 

Interview with the Author The Big Thrill

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/07/01/The-Sisters-of-Blue-Mountain
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review 2017-03-03 06:39
The Sisters of Blue Mountain - Karen Katchur

I enjoyed reading this book about a family who owns a B&B that is now being run and lived in by the oldest sister and her family as the mother is deceased and the father is too old.

It's the time of year when the geese migrate which attracts a lot of tourists, good business for the B&B. However, something is killing the geese and they are dropping dead out of the sky with hundreds everywhere. Not good for business, what's going on? Dad is starting to deal with dementia and a younger professor has taken his place at the university who just happens to end up dead in the backyard of the B&B. Did Dad do it?

The younger sister comes back home to help deal with things and a reporter comes to town dredging up a long ago secret that the sisters want to keep hidden.

Lots of suspense and mystery kept me glued to the pages and trying to figure out what this secret could be and just who killed the professor? Everybody's trying to hide a little something from everybody and they each hold a little piece of the puzzle. Getting those pieces together and seeing the big picture make this story very entertaining, enjoyable and an interesting read.

Thanks to St. Martin for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2015-08-04 16:53
The Secrets of Lake Road
The Secrets of Lake Road: A Novel - Karen Katchur

By: Karen Katchur 
ISBN: 9781250066817
Publisher: St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne
Publication Date: 8/4/2015
Format: Other
My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD, a complex, emotional, and haunting debut by Karen Katchur-- delves into the devastating secrets and lies of the past across generations-- Family secrets sizzle at the core of an unsolved mystery for a suspense-filled gripping tale of a long ago summer lake accident.

Jo is now a grown woman, always running from something—a past which torments her. As a mother of two--teen Johnny, and twelve-year-old, inquisitive Caroline, a husband, Kevin who travels, and a strained relationship with her own mother. Every summer she drops the kids off with her mother at the lake cottage, but she never wants to stay. Too many bad memories and guilt. Why?

However, this summer, her mom needs help, cleaning out some old junk, so she finds herself pressured and closed in, and drowning in her own guilt, from a mysterious event from years ago—a summer at the lake when she was a teen, which changed the course of her life.

Her daughter, Caroline does not understand her mother’s eccentric ways and her coldness towards her. She wants nothing more than her mother’s love; however, she feels she never lives up. She loves her Gram; however, she also is not very forthcoming with answers regarding Jo. Caroline was so excited to be at the lake and the upcoming adventures, until a little girl’s disappearance turns her world upside down.

There was a mysterious drowning years ago, of a boy named Billy, when her mom was a teen. Now there is another little girl, Sara who has gone missing. Caroline feels responsible as she was just talking to the little girl when the girl’s mother seemed distracted. Caroline seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders worrying about the events unfolding on Lake Road. She has to help find this little girl. What was supposed to be a happy memorable summer, has turned into a nightmare.

Now the secrets of the past, surface—two teen boys in love with the same girl, so long ago. A horrible drowning. What really happened all those summers ago on the lake? Who was to blame for Billy’s death and his drowning years ago? Was there a witness who surfaces, connecting the storylines? Will reopening the investigation dredge up hidden past sins?

A riveting, part coming-of-age and family drama, Katchur keeps the reader in suspense of the mysterious events of years past, and how one summer, changed the lives of three teens, and all those close to them. Jo is not a likable character, and not a warm and caring mother. The relationship between Jo and Caroline are strained, as well as the relationship between Jo and her own mother. However, you will fall in love with Caroline!

In the theme of Diane Chamberlain’s The Bay at Midnight (loved this older but goodie), Jo must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the complex emotions that led to one unspeakable act on Lake Road. Through multiple points of view, Katchur skillfully explores the painful memories of the tragedy—crimes of the heart and those they try to protect. Will the sins of the past, threaten to destroy their present family? A story of loss and love and the powerful bond of family.

An enticing mystery of the destructive power of secrets. Love the front cover, drawing you in. Highly recommend. Looking forward to more from this talented author!

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!The-Secrets-of-Lake-Road/cmoa/C1D9346D-B120-4494-BC55-0CE6D355CAF9
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review 2015-07-18 20:44
The Secrets of Lake Road
The Secrets of Lake Road: A Novel - Karen Katchur

Another summer, another tragic drowning, and a lot of awful memories.

After the tragedy of the drowning years ago, the beach community never expected another tragedy.

Jo and her family were the most affected by the tragedy that happened years ago, and that tragedy still haunted Jo. Will the awful memories ever go away, and will the real facts about the drowning perhaps be revealed?

The secrets of Lake Road were deep and haunting for those who had a secret. Ms. Katchur marvelously put together a story that will remain with you simply because it could really be a true situation.

Ms. Katchur skillfully takes the reader back years before and skillfully brings readers to the present as the storyline unfolds.

The characters in THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD were a bit difficult to like.  Jo was my least favorite.  She was a terrible, heartless mother. The secret she kept tucked inside most definitely affected her.  Caroline her daughter seemed sweet and wise beyond her years. The other characters worked well around these two main characters.

I enjoyed the revelations at the end.  One of the revelations was obvious toward the end, but the others were a surprise.

THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD is a murder/mystery with a bit of romance.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Source: silversolara.blogspot.com
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