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Search tags: mysteries-thrillers
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text 2018-10-23 17:37
Reading progress update: I've read 221 out of 317 pages.
A Fatal Inversion - Barbara Vine

 

All of these people, but especially Adam and Rufous, are horrible!

 

 

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review 2018-10-22 19:28
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore / Matthew Sullivan
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

 

I’m always on the look-out for a good book about a library or bookstore and I’m also a fan of the mystery genre, so when I ran across this title, it went on my “to read sooner rather than later” list right away. I really enjoyed it—largely because of the setting (the bookstore) but also because the suicide wasn’t the only focus of the story. It becomes obvious early on that there is a mystery in Lydia’s background too, and one that she must sort out if she’s going to figure out why Joey Molina killed himself in her bookstore.

It takes courage to face the past and you can’t blame people for avoiding it whenever possible. Lydia is wary of becoming “Poor Lydia,” the girl who survived the Horrible Thing. But when your childhood trauma was front page news back in the day, it’s hard to avoid being recognized. It’s even harder to come to try to come to grips with a crime that’s colder than Greenland.

I loved the gradual reveal of Lydia’s memories and how she starts to try to make sense of them as an adult. I also found her gradual reunion with her father to be realistic and well done. There are lots of co-incidences and synchronicities required to weave the different story lines together, but nothing too incredible to deal with—I’ve seen real-life situations that would be more unbelievable than this. I also liked the slightly messy ending, being the sort of reader who doesn’t like everything tied up too neatly.

Perfect as the “Book that involves a bookstore or library” selection for my PopSugar challenge this year.

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review 2018-10-22 18:41
Made to Kill / Adam Christopher
Made to Kill: A Novel (L.A. Trilogy) - Adam Christopher

Raymond Electromatic is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency--except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray's inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.

When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he's inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own.

Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen--and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

 

I read this to fill the Modern Noir square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I became kinda fond of Raymond Electromatic by the end of this novel. He’s a robot with a heart for gold and limited short term memory. The author made it clear that he was a great admirer of Raymond Chandler and the noir detective genre, but that he was trying to write “Raymond Chandler’s lost science fiction novel.” Unfortunately for Mr. Christopher, it is extremely difficult to write as beautifully as Raymond Chandler. However, I can tell that he had a good time trying.

Things get a bit complex and confusing about 2/3 of the way through, but everything sorts itself out in the end. There are more books in the series if you’re a fan, but I think I know Mr. Electromatic well enough at this juncture. A fun Halloween read.

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review 2018-10-10 21:52
Into the Black Nowhere / Meg Gardiner
Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel - Meg Gardiner

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI's serial crime unit discover the first victim's body in the woods. She's laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style--posed like Snow White awaiting her prince's kiss.

 

I read this book to fill the New Releases square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I read the first book in this series (UNSUB) last summer—it was an excellent summer book and I have been looking forward to this next step in the story. However, I’ve found myself a bit jaded with the mystery/thriller genre recently, so bear that in mind with my star rating of this book. For me, the stars reflect my personal reading experience, not an objective quality measurement and, as I say, I’m a bit off when it comes to this genre right now.

I was unsurprised to read on the dust jacket that this series is being made into a TV series. All the while I was reading, I was staging it in my mind’s eye to look like Criminal Minds! It reads like it is prepared to become a script. Looking at the GR description now, I see that this plot was based on Ted Bundy’s life of crime and I certainly notice the parallels now that I know to look for them. Using real-life details makes for a haunting plot.

So I was not at all startled when the book ended on a cliffhanger, obviously setting us up for the third book, due next year. I think I’ll be taking a hiatus from the thriller/serial killer category for a while, but I could see myself reading The Dark Corners of the Night eventually.

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review 2018-10-09 22:41
Blood Moon / Alexandra Sokoloff
Blood Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

Twenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace. The only surviving victim of his rampage was a child…who is now wanted by the FBI for brutal crimes of her own.

Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt to track her down, despite feeling torn between his dedication to duty and his sympathy for her horrific history and motives. But when Roarke’s search unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman he seeks—and secretly wants—may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath. He just has to find her first.

 

I read this book to fill the Free Space square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

Bloody hell, what a good book! Make it 4.25 or 4.4 stars or something of that sort. An intriguing mash-up of the FBI profiler genre with a dash of the paranormal. Special Agent Matthew Roarke realizes that his morals have been compromised—he has come to identify with a woman who murders the men who prey on women. His partner is giving him the side-eye, not entirely trusting his judgement anymore, but his team still seems to be following his lead. When he chooses to re-open a decades old cold-case in the course of investigating Cara Lindstrom, his superior officer closes things right down again. Until it becomes clear that the Reaper is back and Cara is as interested in catching him as the FBI is.

Sokoloff knows how to build tension effectively and how to structure the mystery to keep me reading, reading, reading until the end. She is also gentle with the paranormal aspects of the story, never over playing them and leaving room for us to wonder if there’s a rational explanation.

Written well before the “Me Too” movement, this book still made me think about it, as women still take the brunt of domestic abuse, serial murder, kidnapping, sexual enslavement, and other forms of violence.

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