Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Book Description:

Published: May 2, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Review –

Te story starts with a woman, Nel Abbott, who is found dead in a river in a spooky northern English town. It quickly emerges she is not the first person to meet a watery grave in Beckford. The mystery spirals out from this “did she fall or was she pushed” puzzle, and it is to Hawkins’s credit that she attempts to tell the story from multiple viewpoints, too many if you ask me.

The problem is that there are 11 of these characters. This is far too many and it seems the author battles to make these slightly troubled people distinct from one another. If reading the book you would have to keep looking for the name at the top of each page to see whose story you are in. If listening to the audio book version, which I did, it’s not as easy to keep all viewpoints separate and that’s my main complaint.

Paula Hawkins first book, The Girl on the Train, which sold over 15 million copies, had a certain kind of plausibility in its very focused suburban setting, but the whole “death stalks a strange northern-English town” idea feels incredibly hokey.

That being said, I loved it and with all its twists and turns, gave it five stars. It’s well worth reading or listening to just to see if you can manage all the points of view.

21)Not In The Flesh (Inspector Wexford #21) by Ruth Rendell

Book Description:

Published: June 10, 2008

When the truffle-hunting dog starts to dig furiously, his master’s first reaction is delight at the size of the clump the dog has unearthed: at the going rate, this one truffle might be worth several hundred pounds. Then the dirt falls away to reveal not a precious mushroom but the bones and tendons of what is clearly a human hand.

In Not in the Flesh, Chief Inspector Wexford tries to piece together events that took place eleven years earlier, a time when someone was secretly interred in a secluded patch of English countryside. Now Wexford and his team will need to interrogate everyone who lives nearby to see if they can turn up a match for the dead man among the eighty-five people in this part of England who have disappeared over the past decade. Then, when a second body is discovered nearby, Wexford experiences a feeling that’s become a rarity for the veteran policeman: surprise.

Review –

This was the first time I’ve read or listened to a book by this author and I found it a little slow but pleasant.  Not great, but an okay way to pass the day. A lot of the incidents in the book were just too implausible to happen, but that’s why it’s called fiction!

If you like a good “who-dun-it” give this one a try.

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Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure (Aunt Dimity Mystery #21) by Nancy Atherton

Book Description:

Published: May 24, 2016

While exploring the attic in her cottage near the small English village of Finch, Lori Shepherd makes an extraordinary discovery: a gold and silver bracelet inlaid with gleaming garnets, which she quickly learns belonged to Aunt Dimity. When Lori brings news of the garnet bracelet to Aunt Dimity, it awakens poignant memories of a doomed romance in Aunt Dimity’s past. Regretfully, Aunt Dimity asks Lori to do what she could not bring herself to do—return the bracelet to her unsuccessful suitor or to his rightful heir.

In the meantime, a new family has moved to Finch. The villagers are thrilled because their new neighbors are avid metal detectorists. Metal detectors soon become all the rage in Finch and the villagers unearth a lot of rubbish (some of it quite embarrassing) before one of them stumbles upon a real treasure—an ancient hoard of priceless gold and silver artifacts.

The artifacts look strangely familiar to Lori. She begins to suspect that the villager isn’t the only person who’s stumbled upon the hoard. Did Aunt Dimity’s suitor get there first? If he took the garnet bracelet from the hoard, what else might he have taken? Was Aunt Dimity’s long-lost love a common thief? If so, who is his rightful heir? As Lori searches for answers, she discovers an unexpected link between the buried treasure in the village and the treasure buried in Aunt Dimity’s heart.

Review –

If you love cozy mysteries, you should really read the Aunt Dimity Mystery Series, and in order. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference in which order a series is read but this one follows the characters from the beginning with the discovery of an unexpected inheritance by a woman Lori didn’t even know, to how Lori met the man she would marry and their  life in the quaint village of Finch in England. There is a natural progression in the lives of all the characters involved  and the reading is easy and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

I love this book just as much as the others and look forward to the next one.

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Vertigo 42 (Richard Jury #23) by Martha Grimes

Book Description:

Published: June 3, 2014

In her latest Richard Jury mystery, Martha Grimes delivers the newest addition to the bestselling series The Washington Postcalls “literate, lyrical, funny, funky, discursive, bizarre.” The inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent returns, now with a tip of the derby to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the forty-second floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered seventeen years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’s death was accidental—a direct result of vertigo—but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.

Jury learns that a nine-year-old girl fell to her death five years before Tess at the same country house in Devon where Tess died. The girl had been a guest at a party Tess was giving for six children. Jury seeks out the five surviving party guests, who are now adults, hoping they can shed light on this bizarre coincidence.

Meanwhile, an elegantly dressed woman falls to her death from the tower of a cottage near the pub where Jury and his cronies are dining one night. Then the dead woman’s estranged husband is killed as well. Four deaths—two in the past, two that occur on the pages of this intricate, compelling novel—keep Richard Jury and his sidekick Sergeant Wiggins running from their homes in Islington to the countryside in Devon and to London as they try to figure out if the deaths were accidental or not. And, if they are connected.

Witty, well-written, with literary references from Thomas Hardy to Yeats, Vertigo 42 is a pitch perfect, page-turning novel from a mystery writer at the top of her game.

Review –

This author was another first for me and I found the book mesmerizing and hard to put down. The characters were very believable and easy to relate to and the plot  was full of mystery and intrigue. 

If you enjoy Alfred Hitchcock, then this is the novel for you. Fantastic read from beginning to end.

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A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge #10) by Charles Todd

Book Description:

Published: December 26, 2007

In the ruins of Yorkshire’s Fountains Abbey lies the body of a man wrapped in a cloak, the face covered by a gas mask. Next to him is a book on alchemy, which belongs to the schoolmaster, a conscientious objector in the Great War. Who is this man, and is the investigation into his death being manipulated by a thirst for revenge?

Meanwhile, the British War Office is searching for a missing man of their own, someone whose war work was so secret that even Rutledge isn’t told his real name or what he did.

The search takes Rutledge to Berkshire, where cottages once built to house lepers stand in the shadow of a great white horse cut into the chalk hillside. The current inhabitants of the cottages are outcasts, too, hiding from their own pasts. Who among them is telling the truth about their neighbors and who is twisting it?

Here is a puzzle requiring all of Rutledge’s daring and skill, for there are layers of lies and deception, while a ruthless killer is determined to hold on to freedom at any cost. And the pale horse looming overhead serves as a reminder that death is never finished with anyone, least of all the men who fought in the trenches of France.

Review –

This is my first time reading/listening to a book in the  Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd and I’m sorry that it had to be number ten because I know that I’ve missed a lot of character developement that has occurred in the earlier books. Since this author was new to me I didn’t want to spend money on a book so I found number ten on OverDrive and gave it a try.

The characters are all believable and the story line held my interest all the way to the end and I particularly like that the ending is not predictable.  A great mystery for a horribly windy Oklahoma afternoon.

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Dishing The Dirt (Agatha Raisin Mysteries #26) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

A therapist had moved into the village of Carsely and Agatha Raisin hates her. Not only was this therapist, Jill Davent, romancing Agatha’s ex-husband, but she had dug up details of Agatha’s slum background.

Added to that, Jill was counselling a woman called Gwen Simple from Winter Parva and Agatha firmly believed Gwen to have assisted her son in some grisly murders, although has no proof she had done so.

A resentment is different from a dislike and needs to be shared, so as the friendship between James and Jill grows stronger, the more Agatha does to try to find out all she can about her. When Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days’ later, Agatha finds herself under suspicion – and must fight to clear her name.

Review –

I usually love an Agatha Raisin Mystery  but this one was disappointing.

The writing seemed rushed, there were too many deaths, SEVEN(even for a murder mystery) and while the killer did have a motive it just seemed a bit too easy. I do realize that the end leaves it wide open to be continued in the next installment, which I’m guessing will come out next year.

I did like that Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, gets her own plot development and it’s about time. Her husband takes her for granted and is a rude man.

Agatha is still looking for Mr. Right and I do wish the author would find one for her. It would serve James, her ex-husband, and Charles, and old friend and sometimes bed mate, right.

While I did enjoy the book it just didn’t live up to the standard of the others, but I will be sure to read the next one because that’s what avid readers do-READ.

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The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day

Book Description:

Published: August 28, 2012

EVERY MARRIAGE HAS ITS SURPRISES…

Gray was beautiful before, four years ago when he asked Isabel to wed him in a marriage of convenience. Now there are no words to describe him. He is no longer a boyish rogue, not by any stretch of the imagination, but a tormented man, driven by secrets, silent about what he’s done since he disappeared.

Isabel knew how to handle the reckless youth he’d been, but this new husband of hers… this darkly passionate man is not tamable. Does she dare explore the places inside herself that Gray demands to possess? Does she trust him enough to bare herself completely to a lover who is an irresistible stranger?

Review –

I’m finding out I’m not a fan of historical fiction or at least I haven’t found one that I really like.

This one takes place in England during the 1800’s.

The story line  for this book was okay but very predictable but made bearable because of the hot sexual chemistry between Isabel and Gray. The sex scenes were well done and very explicit. If it’s true that few women allowed themselves the freedom to genuinely feel the passion that comes along with sex in this time period, I don’t know how they stood it.

Communication is key in all things sexual and both characters had to learn that and be able to be honest with one another about their feelings and what they wanted out of sex. Once they had, they were much much happier and very well satisfied.

Good read but the narrator got on my nerves.

Adult

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Shifting Skin by Chris Simms

Book Description

August 1, 2014
Second book in the critically-acclaimed DI Spicer series
The Butcher of Belle Vue’ has struck again. Like the first two victims, the third has been partially skinned and dumped on waste ground: muscles, tendons and ligaments exposed to view. Only this time, her face has also been removed.
Jon Spicer and his new partner, Rick Saville, are approached by a woman who insists she heard ‘The Butcher’ claiming his latest victim in the next-door room of a run-down hotel in Belle Vue. But all she has to back up her story is an escort’s business card recovered from the empty room the following morning.
Jon’s investigation takes him into the twilight world of Manchester’s sex workers and the unscrupulous cosmetic surgery industry, eventually forcing him to confront the potential for violence within every man – even within himself.
Review –
The story line is well thought out and easy to follow but there are many twists and turns.  Jon Spicer is a flawed character but you can’t help but like him. Rick Saville, his new partner (who might be a plant) ,I’m a bit unsure of. 
This is a fast read that at times will have ou on the edge of your seat.  Loved this book and will have to find more by this author.
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Young Sherlock Holmes-Death Cloud- by Andrew Lane

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Book Description

Publication Date:February 1, 2011
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
Review –
Again, this was a free audiobook which I listened to on my Ipad,
I didn’t know if I would like it because in my mind I pictured the actor that played Sherlock Holmes in the old classic movies, which I love, Basil Rathbone, only young. That image didn’t work for me so I went with the one on the book cover. 
It’s a great story of mystery, loneliness,new friendships,a mentor, a blush of romance, and of course Sherlock, with a bit of help, solves the crime.
Looking forward to following the series in the New Year.
Review –

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

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Book Description

Release date: September 27, 2012
When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Review-
J.K. Rowling should go back to writing young adult or children’s book because I my estimation this book is a total waste of paper.
I chose the audio version and still I didn’t find anything about it that I even came close to liking and if I had had to READ page after page I don’t know  if I would have held on to my sanity.    In short, do not waste your time.