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review 2018-07-16 02:17
What Happened at Midnight, Hardy Boys #10 by Franklin W. Dixon
What Happened at Midnight (Hardy Boys, #10) - Franklin W. Dixon,Walter S. Rogers

Bayport has entered the modern age: the automat has come to town! The boys are excited to have their good chum Chet Morton show them how to operate the automat, put a coin in the slot next to the desired food and presto you can open the cubbie and feast. The gang is having a great time and even start playing shovin' buddies, when Joe is pushed into a blonde man and jostles him. The man has an overblown reaction, but the boys don't think too much of it. Later, Joe is shoved into the same man, making him drop a package this time. The man, perhaps justifiably, is even more pissed off and thinks they're out to get him. Again, the situation is laughed off and the gang agrees to meet up later at Chet's for a party.

Then...at midnight...it happened.

'Midnight' has a dramatically different opening here then in the revised edition, which has the Hardy Boys breaking into a scientists house at the behest of their father to safeguard an invention. Were automats not cool anymore by the 1960s?

I'm given to understand the rest of the plot is similar with electronic gizmos replacing some of the loot being kicked around. I never read the revised edition of this, but the leisurely pace the narrative takes while Frank and Joe travel to New York City to follow a clue and then are forced to hitch-hike back home to Bayport over a couple days doesn't seem like something that would have been allowed.

I cannot stress enough how cool these early editions of the Hardy Boys are. Also, Aunt Gertrude was delightful in a crisis. Other than some basic safety concerns for two teens spending several nights out of doors and hitch-hiking, I didn't see any reason to butcher this work for 'modern' audiences. 1920s slang has more appeal to me than that of the 1950s.

Next: 'While the Clock Ticked'

Previous: 'The Great Airport Mystery'

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review 2018-06-28 18:45
What Happened That Night - Sandra Block

The thing about My Book Box, a subscription book service, is that whoever chooses books has a tendency to chose books I would bypass in a book store but actually love once I read them. It’s true that this has been more the rule for the non-fiction selections. The mystery selection is a bit more hit and miss. Not that the books are bad – they are more I could easily be just as happy as not reading them. But every so often the mystery book is something like Block’s work.

Honesty, this is something that if I saw in a bookstore, I might have picked it up, read the back, and walked off without it buying it. I would have written it off as a Lifetime movie, you know the one, where the woman discovers that her bestest girlfriend set her up to be raped. I hate Lifetime movies, so why would I want to read one?

But this book is not a Lifetime movie. To be fair, it does play with the idea of that trope, but it does something a bit different with it. 

Dahlia was gang raped during college, she dropped out and now works as a paralegal. She has cut herself off from many things. The really good part of this book, and what Block does extremely well, is show us how Dahlia realizes that she is not as cut off as she thinks she is, how she has friends that she didn’t quite realize she had. This book has more than one positive woman/woman friendship and that is absolutely wonderful.

The book is also told from the perspective of James, a co-worker and romantic interest for Dahlia. He has his own set of issues, and to be honest, one of his reveals isn’t quite as hidden as the questions at the end of the book imply. But it to is an important and timely reason.

The book is about rape as well as the toxic masculinity that in some situations drives it. Block also deals with the question of mental illness, in particular depression, and she does it extremely well. The mental changes that both James and Dahlia go thorough are powerful, and I cannot describe the pleasure in reading a book that doesn’t treat the idea of going to therapy as something to be ashamed of or to be laughed at. She also illustrates how the process of determining to go to therapy works for some people.

In dealing with rape, Block also confronts the reaction of those to rape in a public setting, in particular with the use of social media accounts. It actually is a real examination of a variety of things that occur because of toxic masculinity. It’s a really good book.

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review 2018-06-08 14:21
What Happened That Night - Sandra Block

Sandra Block wrote a book that grabbed me from the very first time I looked at the gorgeous cover and held me until I read the very last word.    When I first saw the book I knew that this was a story that I had to read.   I knew that the suspense would keep me on the edge of my seat, the characters would make me want to be part of their friend circle, and that there would be so many twists and turns that I wouldn’t know which way I should go next.    

 

The storyline was not an easy one to read.   There were subjects, especially the rapes, that had to be tough to write about but Sandra Block did an amazing job.   She gave enough detail for the reader to have no doubt what was happening but not too much.   I had no doubt how much pain and fear Dahlia felt while being raped and the intense feelings that she was trying to figure out how to deal with.   I love that Dahlia was strong enough to continue her life, she fought to find a way out of the black hole, and she found a way to move on.   I was concerned when Dahlia met James, was he leading her down the right path or would he hurt her more than she already was hurting.  By the end of the story, I enjoyed seeing the friendship grow and loved that Dahlia had someone she could trust.

 

The setup of the book with short chapters and multiple points of views had me flying through the story.  I was anxious and excited to get to the end to find out what happens.    The ending… oh, the ending… PERFECT.   I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t even dream it but it was amazing.

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review 2018-06-05 23:10
What Happened That Night - Sandra Block

Wow!!

A woman was drugged and gets raped on campus and doesn't remember a thing, except birds chirping, men in line, laughing, and, of course, the pain. Now, she suffers from PTSD, imagine that.

The last part of this book was killing me. I feared for Dahlia. She was crazy with her revenge. I wanted to holler "you go girl!" so many times but I just couldn't. My fear was so strong for her. That kept me going for like over half of this book.

I'm not going to spoil it for you and tell you what happened. Just know if you have a heart problem, you may want to use caution before picking this book. Because mine was beating like crazy and it kept on until the very end. However, if you like really good suspenseful books, pick this one!

A really good book that would not let me put it down or go to sleep for a while after I finished.

Huge thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2018-06-05 03:25
A great thriller to kick off your summer (and/or a Russo novel gone awry)
How It Happened - Michael Koryta

The rain had tapered off overnight and given way to a gorgeous day, the sky and sea competing for the deepest blue, a light wind pushing off the water, temperature nearing eighty. The air was scented with ocean breezes and pines and held only the faintest trace of humidity. A quintessential Maine day, more suited to July than May.

 

If you weren’t looking for a drug addict and self-confessed murderer, it would be a day to treasure.

 

This is one of those that comes down to the set-up. Because it's executed practically flawlessly, and if you're in for a penny, you're in for the whole pound -- and it's a heckuva ride. You won't want to get off until the end, and then you'll be able to breathe for the first time in seventy pages or so. If you've read Koryta before, you have an idea what things'll be like -- and you'll be right. If you've not read him before, you probably will make arrangements to familiarize yourself with him soon after finishing this.

 

So, what is the setup? FBI Agent/expert on eliciting/evaluating confessions from criminal suspects, Rob Barrett returns to the small Maine community of his childhood summers to investigate a missing persons case/potential double homicide. After weeks of work, he finally gets a seemingly reliable confession from Kimberly Crepeaux to what happened to the missing young people. It's a harrowing confession, I have to say -- I've read novels with less tension than her recounting of what happened that night. Kimberly is a drug addict, jailhouse snitch, and all-around unreliable person -- everyone in town knows this. But Rob believes her (and you will, too).

 

But there are a couple of problems. Problem one: Mathias Burke is the man that Kimberly says is the murderer. Mathias is a go-getter of a young man, and has been since he was a kid -- the dictionary might as well feature his picture under "industrious." No one in town can believe anything Kimberly says about the way he acted that night -- even the non-criminal aspects of it. None of it is characteristic of him. Problem two: the bodies aren't where she says they were. In fact, they're found miles away and seemingly killed in a different fashion, with the fingerprints and DNA of someone not Mathias Burke present.

 

So much for Kimberly's confession -- and Rob's career. He's shipped out to a field office in Montana, probably for the rest of his career.

 

But Kimberly sticks to her story, and convinces the father of one of the victims, Howard Pelletier, to believe her (and fear for her safety from Burke). Howard's wife died when his daughter, Jackie, was young. He became the most devoted single father in history, and in time, she reciprocated. The story of Jackie and Howard would be enough for a novel, were it not for the murder. Howard's insistence that Rob pay attention to Kimberly again and his need for answers brings Rob back for one more try at finding out how it happened.

 

Pretty good hook, eh? And like I said, once it's set, Koryta reels the reader in just like the seasoned pro he's become.

 

A strange thought occurred to me this weekend: this could very easily have been a Richard Russo novel -- I'm not sure who the protagonist would've been -- maybe the cafe owner or something. But Rob, returning to his childhood stomping grounds (however temporarily), Howard and Jackie would've easily have been fixtures -- ditto for Mathias Burke (and even Kimberly, come to think of it). Mathias would be a major player, really -- not the protagonist, but a lead character for sure, his troubled youth, his Horatio Alger-ish work ethic/success story, the way that this silly FBI interloper messed up his life, etc. The tangled lines connecting all these people would be seen more clearly, and traced back a generation or two, making everything more complex. Actually, the more I think about this, the more I want to see Russo write his take on these elements. Anyhow, this isn't a Richard Russo novel -- this is a Michael Koryta novel. So, it won't be anywhere near as funny, the psychology will be presented in starter light, the tension level will be much higher, and the sense of right and wrong will be much less murky.

 

A knockout of a read -- a great thriller to kick off your summer with.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/06/04/how-it-happened-by-michael-koryta-a-great-thriller-to-kick-off-your-summer-and-or-a-russo-novel-gone-awry
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