Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Book Description:

Published: July 23, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman.

In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know–everyone, that is, except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she’s bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life.

Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl–assistance that leads to a job at the city’s afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.

Cleo Sherwood was a young African-American woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie–and the dead woman herself. Maddie’s going to find the truth about Cleo’s life and death. Cleo’s ghost, privy to Maddie’s poking and prying, wants to be left alone.

Maddie’s investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life–a jewelery store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people–including the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.

Review –

In this most recent book by Laura Lippman, she tells the story of Maddie Schwartz, an attractive thirty-seven year-old Jewish housewife who abruptly leaves her husband and son to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist, and Cleo Sherwood, an African-American cocktail waitress about whom little is known.

Sherwood’s body was found in a lake in a city park months after she disappeared, and while no one else seems to care enough to investigate, Maddie becomes obsessed—partly due to certain similarities she perceives between her life and Cleo’s, partly due to her faith in her own detective skills.

The story unfolds from Maddie’s point of view as well as that of Cleo’s ghost, who seems to be watching from behind the scenes, commenting  on Maddie’s nosing around like a bull in a china shop after getting a job at one of the city papers.

We also see her effect on some of the people she comes into contact with: a jewelry store clerk, an about-to-be-murdered schoolgirl, “Mr. Helpline,” a bartender, a political operative, a waitress, a Baltimore Oriole, the first African-American female policewoman (these last two are based on real people), and many more. Though allusive for one, make a single appearance  they greatly add to the enjoyment of the novel.

Maddie’s ambition propels her forward despite the cost to others, including the family of the deceased and her own secret lover, a black policeman.

To achieve realism for the newspaper part of the story the author interviewed associates of her father, Baltimore Sun journalist Theo Lippman Jr., and included  fascinating historical facts.

Mixing noir with hints of hard-boiled fiction, Lady in the Lake gives readers unlikeable but entertaining characters surrounding a mystery loosely based on actual events of the time period.

Five stars!

Run, Run As Fast As You Can (Emma Frost #3) by Willow Rose

Book Description

November 8, 2013
Simone Beaumont is having a rough day. She is exhausted. Her baby is crying non-stop, she is in a fight with her husband and hasn’t spoken to him since last night. A big part of her want to just leave everything. To run away from it all. To vanish. She is considering it while putting her screaming baby in her car seat when suddenly she meets a man in the parking lot who without asking her makes her wish come true.

Emma Frost has just come home from a trip to Eastern Europe when the body of Simone Beaumont is being found. It turns out she was part of Sophia’s mothers’ group and soon the small group is shaken by yet another disappearance.

RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN is a spine-chilling Scandinavian mystery.

Review – 
It turns out that there are several murders in this book and toward the end we find out why. I know I’ve read at least one other book in the Emma Frost Series and really enjoyed it so I knew I’d like this one too. There is a lot of action,mayhem, and murder in this story and who could ask for more?
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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Product Description:

Published: September 26, 2006

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

Review –

I usually wait a week or two to write my review of a book because I just get so far behind as a whole, but after finishing Sharp Objects I had to get my thoughts down on paper, or screen, whatever.

When you first meet Camille you know nothing of her troubled childhood or dysfunctional family but you realize she has problems of her own. She’s a cutter and is now in remission, if there is such a thing, but her entire body, except for a circle on her back, is covered with words. Camille cut words, She also drinks to excess and as we find out later doesn’t mind taking a few drugs.

Her mother appears to be a goody-goody prim and proper Southern lady, but that is only on the outside. She is totally screwed up because of her mother and carries it to extremes. I will not give away what exactly-you will have to read the book. Suffice it to say, that she is a nut.

Camille’s step-father is a mealy mouth Southern gentleman who seems oblivious to what’s going on around him.

Camille’s step-sister is  an advertisement for the BAD SEED.  Most of you, if not all, are probably too young to have heard of that movie but it’s about a little girl who is mean and bullying to the point of murder, while making adults think she is a sweet innocent girl.

This cast of characters plus others make up the story and the outcome is sort of surprise, but I did  have an idea of who the guilty party was before it was told to the reader but the ending WAS a surprise and I felt a sadness. I had hoped for better for Camille and that’s all I’m going to say.

I rated this book 5 stars *****

Gillian Flynn also wrote Gone Girl which ia about to be released as a motion picture. It wouldn’t surprise me if down the line Sharp Objects is made into one too.

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September Fair (Murder by the Month Mysteries #5) by Jess Lourey

Book Description

Publication Date: September 8, 2009 | Series: The Murder-By-Month Mysteries (Book 5)

The Minnesota State Fair-the beloved home of 4H exhibits, Midway rides, and everything on a stick. The festival fun is riding high until the recently crowned Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, a Battle Lake native, is brutally murdered while her regal likeness is carved in butter. Can Mira James, covering the fair for the Battle Lake Recall, expose a deadly State Fair secret and win a blue ribbon for caging a killer? You bet your last deep-fried Nut Goodie!

Review –

This story was a pleasant read and had humor,quirky characters, plot twists and butter carving.  Now who could resist that.  If you are in between books and want something light and fun, give this a try. It will keep a smile on your face.

 

Under Your Skin by J. R. Chartrand

Book Description

Publication Date: December 13, 2011
With small town journalist Cal Murphy quickly losing his big city dreams of writing for a metro newspaper, his passion is reignited when three star prep athletes are found dead in a 24-hour period. As he and fellow photographer Kelly Mendoza attempt to make sense of bizarre circumstances that led to the teens’ deaths, Cal makes a chilling discovery, uncovering a vast conspiracy that grows darker with every twist and turn. With a mastermind determined to silence Cal and Kelly for good, the young reporters ultimately must decide if their lives are worth the risk to reveal the truth.
 
Review –
This book is action packed and reads at the speed of light but the identity of the villian is not much of a secret and the plot line is a bit predictable but all in all it’s a good read.
 
 
SideNote:   I hate it when I review a book out of order and that’s what happened with this one.   I need to learn to look back at my “dates finished” on my reading log.