Beth just can’t resist a detour on the way to her son Ben’s soccer game. A detour which takes them past her estranged friend Flora’s new house. After dropping Ben off, Beth returns, hoping for a glimpse of her ex-best friend. And she does see Flora drive up and call to her children, Thomas and Emily, to get out of the car. But when they do, the children inexplicably look exactly as they did when Beth las saw them 12 years ago.
Vowing to get to the bottom of this mystery, Beth becomes embroiled in dark secrets that might lead to her entire family’s undoing.
Once again, Sophie Hannah has penned a dark tale that twists and turns to a startling conclusion. It’s no wonder her mysteries are published in 51 countries and adapted for television. Her fans will love Perfect Little Children.
This book is the first person, nonfiction narrative of Stephanie Land, derailed from her plans to attend college by an unexpected pregnancy and living on government assistance as a maid.
The book follows her desperation to secure enough money to just make it out of the homeless shelter where her daughter, Mia, took her first steps. It explains how little of her paycheck from a cleaning company was left after she toiled in other, wealthier people’s bathrooms for twenty five hours a week when she had to pay to clean her own rags and gas up her car to go from house to house.
It explains how she couldn’t count on her own destitute family, felt alienated from all of her school friends, and didn’t trust Mia’s father.
Maid paints a portrait of a young women who has fallen from a middle- class upbringing to an impoverished adulthood with almost wide-eyed disbelief. She credits her middle class roots with always thinking her situation was temporary- even as she and Mia struggled with illness from mold growing in their studio apartment, with poor nutrition and with unreliable transportation- when a working car was so necessary to get to her paying jobs.
This is a story it might be hard to imagine if the reader has no history with poverty themselves. Land pulls no punches in telling it as she saw it, whether the reader might empathize with her or revile her for her choices.
In a time when, there has never been a greater divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” in the US and when Hillbilly Elegy and White Trash are national bestsellers, I’m sure Maid will strike a chord and take its rightful place among them as a window into the way more and more Americans are forced to live.
This is a tough story, beautifully written. The Butler family - sisters Athena, Viola, Lillian, and brother Joe - grew up in southwest Michigan. They lost their mother early and their itinerant preacher father was distant and largely absent. They basically raised themselves and each other, and now, as adults, the dysfunction of their upbringing informs the people they’ve become and the strained relationships they have with each other.
When Athena, the eldest, and her husband are arrested, what was once one of the most respected and admired families in town immediately becomes the most reviled.
With no choice but to rally for the sake of the couple’s daughters, Lillian and Viola must come together to piece together their own version of family.
This novel will get a lot of attention, both because of the portrait it draws, but also because the author, an Emmy Award winning Journalist at CNN worldwide has a voice so distinct and sure that readers are sure to marvel that this is her first novel.
Lloyd and Hen Lave just moved into their new house in a quieter town outside of Boston where they hope to make a new life.
Their next-door neighbors, Mera and Mathew, invite them over to dinner, and on a tour of the house Hen spots an old fencing trophy. She puts two and two together and next thing she knows she’s calling the police to report that her new neighbor is the man they’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, Hen’s been down this road before- even to the point of hospitalization, and the murder of Dustin Miller has consumed her. In fact, getting her stable and moving to a small town was the couples attempt to put all of that behind them.
So, imagine Hen’s shock when, after it’s clear that the police don’t take her seriously, her new neighbor confesses to her that he did indeed kill the odious Dustin Miller.
Hen and Mathew go down a twisted road of suspicion and confession, with Mathew getting away with more and more crimes.
This nightmare scenario takes a few turns you won’t be expecting, and throughout this twisty thriller you’ll know you’re in the hands of a master storyteller.
I told you early on when I permanently staff-picked Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, and I’m happy to say he’s holding up to his promise as an author to keep on your list.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is the director of pediatric residencies at Hurley in Flint. She is the doctor who became the face of the group breaking the Flint water crisis and forcing the state, governor, and MDEQ to accept responsibility for first creating, and then covering up, the crisis. This book is her story. It takes the reader through her early days as a student activist in high school through her environmental studies at the University of Michigan and her decision to serve the underserved children in Flint.
When Dr. Hanna-Attisha, or Dr. Mona as she is known to her residents, heard rumors of lead leaching from corroding water pipes after the state changed Flint's water source to the Flint river with out adding anti-corrosives, her first thought was of her patients. Those most at risk of water-borne lead poisoning are pregnant women and their babies in the first 15 crucial months of life. Once lead enters the body, it doesn't leave and is tied directly to lowered IQ and tendencies toward violence.
Dr. Mona contends that besides a flagrant disregard for the public welfare entrusted to the state, this environmental crime also amounts to a race crime. It targets vulnerable socially and economically at risk children and changes the bell curve of their population, skewing it toward lower mental abilities and a tendency toward violence and crime. She follows her fight to prove that the contamination was real in the face of denial by various governmental entities, and of eventually winning the ear of the nation.
The story is interspersed with glimpses of the doctor's life in an immigrant Iraqi family and leaves us with the sense that it's our privilege and our duty to do the right thing in life. If, at times, this book reads as a little self-aggrandizing, it's true that this doctor did what no one before her had been able to- stood up to the Michigan government and forced it to redress its crimes.
In this stand-alone spy thriller, author Kit Carradine is approached by MI6 and asked to add a little extra-curricular activity to his agenda while traveling to Morocco for a literary festival. He jumps at the chance.
But of course, Kit doesn't have all the facts or have any idea of the forces competing to find the woman Kit's been asked to keep an eye out for. This is a fun espionage romp in the vein of LeCarre or Stella Remington. Spy fans shouldn't miss it.
Donna Leon has been writing the highly acclaimed and awarded, internationally bestselling mystery series starring Commissario Guido Brunetti for many years now, and her latest doesn't disappoint. The intelligent and powerful detective's father-in-law has prevailed upon the detective to use his police resources to investigate the Count's oldest friend because he's caught wind that the elderly Gonzalo de Rodriguez de Tejada might be adopting a much younger man in his twilight years, and he's leaving a vast fortune to a man the Count fears is basically a gold digger. When Gonzalo drops dead and a woman who has come to Venice for his memorial is strangled in her hotel, Brunetti realizes that there are many layers to this story and he's the one who is going to have to get to the bottom of it.
Donna Leon puts the reader right there in the palaces of Venice as she has Brunetti philosophizing about the human condition, even as he is faced with its most unsavory aspects.
The narrator of this dark and horrifying story is married to Millicent. He's a tennis instructor at their country club and Millicent is a realtor.
Their two kids, Jenna and Rory, are average adolescents. It's all pretty...average.
Except the couple has a little hobby to spice up their lives. They kill women. And they blame it on a serial killer who had preyed on their bucolic Florida community and escaped years before.
Right up until the old killer's sister divulges that he had died in Europe five years previously. Oops.
This book is clever and dark and will suck you in and you won’t be able to put it down!
I guarantee the gasps will continue to the very last page.
A big blockbuster of a book from Greg Iles is always a treat to be savored. Cemetery Road takes us back to Mississippi to the town of Bienville, an old river town past it's its prime and still ruled by a ruthless group of old white men who are for nothing but their own bank accounts. When a huge new project is endangered by Pulitzer prize- winning journalist Marshall McEwan's return to town, they will stop at nothing to shut him down.
This story is classic Iles. Corruption and greed are pitted against a likable but flawed hero fighting his own demons to do the right thing. I loved every page and devoured this doorstop of a book- 739 pages- in just a couple of sittings.
You know that when Ann Patchett puts pen to paper, you can expect to be wowed. So...expect.
The Dutch House is an elaborate mansion that Cyril Conroy bought to surprise his wife after World War Two, when a great investment launched him out of poverty and into wealth. But the house becomes his undoing- driving his unassuming wife away and leaving him with two children he's unprepared to nurture. This book is narrated by Cyril's son, Danny, and spans three generations and five decades. Lonely and bereft, Danny and his sister Maeve are stunned when their father remarries and then when they are turned out after he dies.
Like most of Patchett's novels, the story tone is quiet and assuming- more a study of the characters and how family and circumstance and choice determines their fates. And, as always when reading a Patchett novel, the reader knows from first page to last that he is in the sure hands of a master wordsmith.
A pleasure to be wowed by you again, Ann Patchett!