Archive for the ‘Mystery/Suspense’ Category

BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent

Twenty-eight-year-old Australian author Hannah Kent spent time in Iceland while in high school, chosen because she wanted to see snow for the first time. She fell in love with this island country south of the Arctic Circle, and returned several times to do extensive research on Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be beheaded in Iceland, in 1829. Kent imagined the interior psychological states of various characters, especially the enigmatically alluring Agnes, and has successfully penned a suspenseful fiction tale that transcends the outcome. It reveals a complex love triangle and double murder, and a provocative examination of the religious and social mores of the time. Knowing the fate of Agnes prior to reading the novel won’t change the reader’s absorption of the novel. The strong themes hinge on the backstory and viewpoints that are woven in and reveal characters that go through a change of perception as the circumstances of the crime

April 10, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Facing History, Iceland, Mystery/Suspense

THE CUTTING SEASON by Attica Locke

The past and the present are inextricably bound, and history is examined, re-examined, and refined within the context of a changing world of ideas, new evidence, and reform. Attica Locke demonstrated this in her first crime book, Black Water Rising, (nominated for an Orange Prize in 2009). Once again, she braids controversial social and historical issues with an intense and multi-stranded mystery.

Locke artfully informs Cutting Season with the dark corners of our nation’s past and the ongoing prejudices and failures to live up to the enlightened ideals of equality and justice. Her fiction tells the truth through an imaginative storyline, and she enfolds these issues and more in this lush historical novel of murder, racism, and family. The title of the book refers to the season of sugarcane cutting.

March 22, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide, US South, y Award Winning Author

THE BARKEEP by William Lashner

Justin Chase has adjusted to his life as a barkeep (and the Zen lifestyle) after several years of living without his mother and the man he believed murdered her, his father. However, a strange man, going by the odd name of Birdie Grackle, enters the bar where Justin works and tells him that Justin’s father did not murder his mother. He alleges that Birdie himself murdered her at the request of a woman who hired him to do it. Birdie says he doesn’t know who paid him but that for $10,000 he will track her down. Justin does not agree to pay Birdie and does not immediately believe what Birdie is telling him. With his brother Frank’s urging, Justin visits his father in prison for the first time since his father was sent there 6 years ago.

March 7, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Mystery/Suspense

A CIRCLE OF WIVES by Alice LaPlante

John Taylor does not fit the stereotype of a polygamist. Although he is handsome, charming, and charismatic, he is not selfish and arrogant, nor does he seem obviously abnormal or deviant. On the contrary, Taylor is a doctor who uses his impressive skills to perform reconstructive surgery on children who have facial deformities. His partners are unhappy that Taylor insists on doing pro bono work, since the big money is in cosmetic procedures for the affluent. Still, Taylor is a complex individual who, for reasons of his own, married three women who live in Palo Alto, Los Gatos, and Los Angeles; he somehow managed to juggle his myriad professional and personal responsibilities. It is only after Taylor dies in his hotel room of an apparent heart attack that his trio of wives become fodder for the tabloids.

March 4, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense

GEMINI by Carol Cassella

GEMINI is an intensely absorbing novel which I found difficult to put down. It is a very human tale which delves deeply into subjects like love in its many shapes and forms, and time – too little time, not enough time, counting time, too late. The author, Carol Cassella, uses time to move her storyline back and forth in years, seamlessly weaving together the characters and the events which impact them.

March 3, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

CARTHAGE by Joyce Carol Oates

CARTHAGE is quintessential Oates. It is stylistically similar to many of her other books with the utilization of parentheses, repetitions and italics to make the reader take note of what is important and remind us of what has transpired previously. The book is good but it is not Oates’ best.

February 28, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York