MISTERIOSO by Arne Dahl

MISTERIOSO by Arne Dahl is a unique and wonderful book. It is part mystery, part police procedural, part existential philosophy and part comedy. There is something so distinctive about this book that it resists categorization. On the surface, it is a mystery but so much of the novel lies below the surface, getting into the characters’ minds and thoughts as they live their lives and work at trying to catch a serial killer.

The title of the book comes from a piece of music composed by Thelonius Monk, a famous American jazz pianist and composer, now deceased. There is a serial killer on the loose in Sweden who is killing very rich and powerful men. The killer waits for his prey in the victim’s living room listening to Monk’s Misterioso on the stereo and when the victim arrives he is shot in the head two times. The killer views the music as “a pantomime, a peculiar dance of death.” The Swedish police put together what they call an A-Team to find this killer.

July 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense, Sweden, Translated, World Lit

THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott

There’s one thing you can count on with author Megan Abbott, you can never predict which direction her novels will take you. Abbott’s first novel, DIE A LITTLE is set in 50s Hollywood and is an exploration of the strange relationship between two women. Then came THE SONG IS YOU, based on the unsolved disappearance of actress Jean Spangler. This novel was followed by QUEENPIN, the story of a female book keeper who works for a glamorous, hard-as-nails mob-connected woman. Abbott’s next novel, BURY ME DEEP, set in the 30s, is a fictionalized account of a real-life murder. And that brings me to THE END OF EVERYTHING, a deeply engrossing book in which Abbott explores the relationship between two 13-year-old girls. I don’t care for a child narrator, but there are hints that this tale is told by Lizzie in adulthood years later.

July 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author

TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante

Dr. Jennifer White has early onset Alzheimer’s disease at 64 years old. Once an esteemed orthopedic surgeon specializing in surgery of the hands, she is now unable to remember things from minute to minute, unable to recognize her son Mark or her daughter Fiona most of the time. Her mind goes in and out from fog to lucidity but the lucidity, for the most part, are memories of her early life. In TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante, the reader gets deeply into the mind of a woman with dementia. It is very realistic and fascinating. Having a mother with dementia and being a clinical social worker myself, I can say without reservation that Alice LaPlante really gets it.

July 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide, Thriller/Spy/Caper

MISERY BAY by Steve Hamilton

After a wait of 5 years and 2 non-series books, including last year’s Edgar award winning THE LOCK ARTIST, Steve Hamilton has brought back Alex McKnight in MISERY BAY, the eighth book in this excellent series. While relaxing at the Glasgow Inn in Paradise, Michigan with the owner Jackie Connery and his friend Vinnie “Red Sky” LeBlanc, Alex’s evening is interrupted by a man he didn’t expect to ever see there, Chief Roy Maven, who surprisingly asks for Alex’s help. Chief Maven, the head of the nearby Sault Ste. Marie police force, wants Alex to help his old state trooper partner, Charles “Raz” Razniewski, determine why his son Charlie would hang himself in a remote part of Misery Bay, Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula part of Michigan.

July 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Sleuths Series, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author

THE RESERVOIR by John Milliken Thompson

Tommie Cluverius is on trial for murder in the first degree. The charge is that he killed Lillie Madison and threw her into a reservoir where she drowned. The year is 1885 and Richmond, Virginia is the scene of the crime. Did Tommie kill Lillie or was it suicide? Did someone else kill Lillie and try to pin the crime on Tommie? The outcome of the trial will determine whether Tommie lives or goes to the gallows.

June 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, US South

MISSING PERSONS by Clare O’Donohue

Clare O’Donohue knows what she is talking about in MISSING PERSONS, a satirical and amusing novel about a Chicago-based freelance television producer who specializes in true crime stories. Since O’Donohue has been a producer, she understands “the frustration, annoyance, and craziness” that go with the territory.

June 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, US Midwest