THE ORPHAN CHOIR by Sophie Hannah

In Sophie Hannah’s THE ORPHAN CHOIR, forty-one year old Louise Beeston may be on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Her creepy next-door neighbor, Justin Clay, plays loud music late at night, usually every other weekend. Although Louise has repeatedly implored him to stop, Clay is indifferent to her pleas. (Louise’s husband, Stuart, is oblivious to the cacophony. Even if a freight train were to pass through their bedroom, Stuart would remain asleep.) Unfortunately, Louise has little hope that Clay, a pot-smoking party animal who enjoys living it up with his loud-mouthed friends, will change his ways.

February 13, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Psychological Suspense, United Kingdom

BLUE ASYLUM by Kathy Hepinstall

This is Kathy Hepinstall’s fourth novel… and I’ve read all four, so obviously I like this author. She writes a different book each time and thus one never knows what will be found upon picking up her latest, although one can be sure it will be both literary and lyrical, no matter the tone and subject.

BLUE ASYLUM takes place during the Civil War years on Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida.

February 9, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Facing History, Literary, Reading Guide, Theme driven, US South

MOTHER, MOTHER by Koren Zailckas

Koren Zailckas’ Mother, Mother is a tale of psychological horror–a savage portrayal of a narcissist, Josephine Hurst, who lies compulsively, shamelessly manipulates her family, and tries to destroy anyone who crosses her. This disturbing story is told in alternating chapters by twelve-year-old William Hurst and his sixteen-year-old sister, Violet. William is mommy’s prissy little boy whom Josephine home schools (he has been diagnosed with autism and epilepsy) and infantilizes; Will is completely dependent on his mother and will do anything to stay in her good graces. Violet, on the other hand, is a rebel. She chops off her hair, takes mind-altering substances, and refuses to be intimidated by Josephine’s sick behavior. Josephine’s husband, Douglas, is, for the most part, an ineffectual bystander who gives his wife free reign. Missing from the picture is twenty-year-old Rose, whom Josephine was grooming to be a famous actress. Rose left home abruptly and never returned.

December 28, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense

YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUESTED AT SUVANTO by Maile Chapman

Nestled in the pristine Finnish woods is a sanatorium for women. It’s the 1920s and medicine and its accompanying attitudes towards women’s health is moving from Victorian ideas to more modern methods of treatment, but those shifts have not yet reached the women’s hospital at Suvanto. This vast multistoried building is still part spa for the wealthy wives of the male employees for the local timber company, and part hospital for the poor. This is a building with sharp physical and mental divisions between staff and patients and also between the patients themselves. The poor patients–those who are considered “really” ill are kept on the bottom floors, while the convalescing wives of the timber employees, called the “up-patients” lodge on the 5th floor.

July 15, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Finland, Mystery/Suspense, Unique Narrative

THE STORM AT THE DOOR by Stefan Merrill Block

Stefan Merrill Block has written a novel so irrepressibly beautiful and poetic that it left me stunned.THE STORM AT THE DOOR is based on the life of his grandparents, Frederick and Katharine. Partly imagined and partly based on fact, this is the story of a troubled family dealing with mental illness, secrets, and denial. It is also about the horror and the power of a psychiatric hospital, along with the myriad patients who have enacted their trust in this institution.

July 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Facing History, Family Matters, Literary, NE & New York, y Award Winning Author

DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer

Daniel Palmer’s DELIRIOUS is a nightmarish tale in which Charlie Giles, “an electronics superstar,” suddenly loses his job, his reputation, and quite possibly, his mind.

June 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Macavity Award, NE & New York, Psychological Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper