Girl-on-Train-Review

As the HOT book right now I was hesitant to read this in the midst of the current fervor, but since I need to know what people are reading, I acquiesced. This is a solid thriller/mystery that lives up to and even surpasses the comparisons to the previous “flavor of the month” thriller, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

What I liked most about The Girl on the Train is the characters and their development. The novel is told mostly from the point-of-view of Rachel, an out-of-work alcoholic whose life has been spinning out of control since her and her ex-husband began having problems (they eventually divorced after he cheated on her). But there are other parts told by two minor characters, Anna and Megan, which gives a deeper insight into not only other characters, but other sides of Rachel. After Megan goes missing, we not only get Rachel’s side of the story, but we hear from Megan herself in chapters that flash back to the time before she vanished. And like Gone Girl, we are left wondering what happened to Megan, or if anything happened to her at all.

Hawkins does a fantastic job of setting the characters up. Rachel’s downward spiral is convincing and seemingly accurate. The ending, though, does lack some intensity (trying to give a thriller a satisfying end is not an easy task), but overall I feel this is a worthwhile read. Is it worth all of the hubbub it’s getting? Well, considering SOME of the books out there, anytime a well-written, entertaining book does well, it’s justified. And this one is both well-written and entertaining enough for any suspense reader.

Facebook0Google+0Twitter2Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

Cuckoo-Review

Because of my inquisitive nature (I guess), I’m always suspicious of bestselling authors attempting to “try something new” under an alias. Romance novelist Nora Roberts writes crime as J.D. Robb. Really? Not making enough money as Nora Roberts? Did Stephen King really have to become Richard Bachman to prove his worth as an author?

Well, when the latest foray into this anonymous world hit book shelves, I was even more suspicious. This time, it was children’s scribe, Harry Potter inventor and millionaire extraordinaire J.K. Rowling writing crime fiction (adult crime fiction, no less) as Robert Galbraith. Rowling has recently (about a year before The Cuckoo’s Calling came out) made a splash in adult fiction with A Casual Vacancy, which was successful. So why use a pseudonym now? Why use a pseudonym at all? And why a male pseudonym?

As I was contemplating all of these questions, basically trying to come up with an excuse NOT to read this book, I started it. I like crime fiction and moderately enjoyed the writing style of Casual Vacancy (though the story there did not hold my interest), so I thought, what the heck?

And guess what? Surprise, surprise – I loved it. Rowling – I mean Galbraith – really shows off her writing chops with this highly engaging, thrilling tale of fashion and celebrities. Her main character, Cormoran Strike, is a character right out of the pages of Dashiell Hammett – hard-nosed, no-nonsense and crusty with a soft streak. Strike, just like Sam Spade, is a PI, but Strike is down-and-out…almost. He takes a case involving the suspicious death of a supermodel, and he not only sees a chance to revitalize his career, but also a chance to gain some high-profile (i.e. RICH) clients. But the case leads Strike places he never thought it would. A must read for crime fiction fans!

Facebook0Google+0Twitter2Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

bitterriver

Keller’s second mystery set in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia and featuring prosecutor Bell Elkins is ALMOST as strong as the first, A Killing in the Hills (2012).

I loved Keller’s first Elkins outing (it was one of the most compelling American mysteries I had read in a while), so I was very excited by the prospect of another harrowing suspense tale. Although it’s not as strong as the first, this story is still intense – a real page-turner. This time, just as Elkins is put in charge of prosecuting the case of a murdered teenager found in the river, two more devastating events happen in Acker’s Gap…a sniper shoots up the courthouse and there is an explosion at the popular diner in town. Elkins pursues the case in her usual persistent way, but this time, her life comes under threat and the case has issues hitting too close to home, literally.

The best part of this book, as it was with A Killing in the Hills, is the well-constructed plot, fully-realized characters and excellent, top-notch writing. Keller, a journalist by trade who earned a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for her feature writing in the Chicago Tribune, has found a second trade: crime novelist. I cannot wait for the next Elkins book!

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library.

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

dramas3

Whereas all procedural shows are close ended episodes, serial dramas are the complete opposite. A show with an ongoing storyline where not all loose ends are tied up in a neat little bow by episode’s end. In order to sustain the longevity of the show, each episode ends in a cliffhanger and character arcs and multiple subplots take time to develop over the course of half (generally 12 or 13 episodes) or a full season (22-24 episodes). A binge viewing is recommended in order to fully comprehend the story as a whole. This type of TV requires viewers to watch the show from the very beginning in order to understand what is happening. If you missed an episode, it is advisable to view the previous episode before catching the newest one. To that end, this is what I refer to as appointment television.

Below is a list of SOME of the RECOMMENDED popular dramas available at the Niles Library!

24 (Though the 9th season has yet to be released on DVD, you can catch all previous 8 seasons here).

Set in real time, this popular action drama follows the adventures of counter-terrorist agent, Jack Bauer, as he thwarts terrorist attacks both foreign and domestic over the course of a day. If you enjoy intriguing mysteries, edgy and spectacular action, and high stakes drama, you will thoroughly enjoy this show! The twists and turns are a mile a minute.

Read more »

Facebook0Google+0Twitter2Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

Veronica-Mars

In early December, one of my favorite shows aired its last ever episode that undoubtedly left an impression and a small hole in my heart.

Not to get all melodramatic, but there are certain shows no matter how trivial or ridiculous in its premise, will transport you to a whole different world. Which brings me to this five part blog series on shows that are must watch, that you may have missed, and that are sorely underrated (say that with a mouthful). Hopefully by the end, you will hopefully rush to the shelves or place a hold, some of which are available at the Niles Library. So let’s get started starting with the Number 5 show (available as an interlibrary loan): Veronica Mars

Read more »

Facebook0Google+0Twitter3Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

Lord Crick has died. While convulsing. And turning yellow. And providing his family with a gruesome corpse. Although young Lord Crick had some health issues (i.e. the pox) and a rather nasty disposition, it really was a ghastly and horrific death. His sister Lady Lydia decides that there must be a further investigation. The gossip against her husband Captain Flynn, who is her brother’s heir, is becoming scandalous. On the advice of her cousin Francis, she travels to London to meet with Dr. Thomas Silkstone, an American physician who is working, studying and teaching with British anatomist Dr. Carruthers. Silkstone, who is quite taken with Lady Lydia, agrees reluctantly to exhume and examine the corpse and answer questions at the inquest.

When he is at the estate, he finds not just a house in mourning, but a household full of secrets. Silkstone uses his primitive forensic and toxicology skills to study the remains, but he finds more questions than answers, and his list of suspects in the household grows.  The tension swells, and the plot twists,  but will Silkstone (with some help from Carruthers,) find the answers with his scientific methods before there is another body found on the estate? Harris writes a layered tale of forensic mystery using engaging characters who struggle with the conventions of their time. Silkstone is wonderful as the outsider looking into their society. Can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

The Anatomist’s Apprentice by Tessa Harris 

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

1 comment.

A strong Chicago-based mystery from Chicago-based writer Walker, who has a knack for capturing both the essence of the city and the suspense that fills its streets.  In this novel, Walker, a former Catholic priest, uses his seminary background as the backdrop for this latest, involving a priest who gets caught up in an international quagmire.  One day, out of the blue, Father Paul Clark’s friend is killed right in front of him.  Barely escaping with own life, Clark soon finds out that his friend was involved in some less than savory dealings with the wrong types of people.  Enter a woman who says she is from the government who has a plan to help Clark. Can she be trusted?  Clark spends much of the novel trying to answer that question, a search which leads him all the way to South America.  In the midst of all of this, a young man enters him life and shakes his beliefs to the core. 

As mysteries go, this is quite strong.  The character of Paul Clark is a believable, convincing protagonist.  All throughout the book, no matter what Clark is going through, we feel his pain and can sympathize with his difficult situations.  As a priest, he might appear as unrelatable, but Walker gives Clark such compassion and conscience and even some faith crises that we can understand what Clark is experiencing. And Walker also makes good use out of Chicago.  Through the pages, I was able to visualize the gritty and dank streets of Chicago where Clark was desperately trying to run for his life. 

This is the second mystery I have read by Walker (Saving Paulo was the other one) and though I liked both, I found myself drawn more this Clark and his set of nerve-wrenching circumstances. 

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

This is another psychological thriller that keeps the reader riveted from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. This, Flynn’s debut novel, tells the story of Camille and the uphill battle she faces as she is forced to confront her past and return her her roots.  Struggling as a cub reporter, Camille gets a prime assignment that just might get her name on the journalism map.  The only problem is the story requires her to head back to her small hometown to cover the murder of two young girls.  Her mother still lives there and Camille has had practically no communication with her since Camille left eight years ago.  There also is a new half-sister, who Camille does not know at all.

Flynn does a fantastic job of interweaving all of Camille’s troubles with the case she’s supposed to be researching and reporting.  And, though Camille is not a perfect character, we do at least begin to like her more and more as the story progresses.  She’s very troubled (at the beginning, we find out one of the reasons she is floundering in her newspaper job is that she just finished a stint in a psych hospital) and heading to her hometown only increases these troubles.  But, Flynn does not take Camille or any of the characters here and send them over the top, as many authors tend to do, especially in thrillers.  The story and the characters here are controlled and methodical.  All in all, this is a a wonderful thriller with a dark, gritty edge. 

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!