Not exactly a mystery, Not That I Could Tell mixes an element of the unknown in this smart novel peopled with realistic characters that could be any one of us.
One night the neighborhood women are gathered to christen Clara's new back patio, and the next morning one of them, Kristin, and her young twins are missing.
In their small Ohio town, everybody seems to know each other, but no one, including the police, seems to have really knows Kristin and so feelings are mixed as to whether she ran away or met with foul play.
From behind their closed doors, watching the media circus unfold, they all wonder how well anyone knows anyone else.
This is Baldacci's second book with Amos Decker, the sacked NFL player who recovered to find himself a synesthete - he sees colors that help him decipher situations. This has been so helpful that Amos is hired onto an FBI task force.
Decker convinces his team to investigate the case of Melvin Mars, who was unexpectedly reprieved from execution for murdering his parents 20 years earlier - But just who wants Mars out of prison, and why?
I'm of two minds on this. I like the characters and the storyline here, but I have real trouble suspending disbelief when Amos repeatedly decides that a clue "must" mean this or that crazy plot twist. The plot twists are interesting, but the getting from A to B and pronouncing that this or that is the only plausible explanation given what Baldacci has revealed is kind of a joke. I found myself smirking and talking back to this one.
If you are a Lee Child or Vince Flynn fan, you'll no doubt like the heroes of this thriller, and mostly I think you'll read right past the crazy leaps of logic. All in all The Last Mile is an enjoyable read, with a few reservations.
This is an astonishing book. The author (Sarah Sparrow is a pseudonym for an award-winning writer) has been compared to the likes of Stephen King and Shirley Jackson for this paranormal story.
To call A Guide for Murdered Children a paranormal novel is to discount the cross-genre flair with which it is written. The premise is that those who have met violent ends return to inhabit the bodies of just-deceased adults. And that there is an entire program with protocols and a guidebook and porters who run AA-like meetings to orient the new 'tenants and landlords' to their new situation.
Through this story runs the story of a washed-up cold-cases cop returning home to Michigan to start a cold-case unit for his old police partner. Willow Wylde has been through the ringer and this offer of a last chance is also an offer for personal redemption - in his own life and with his ex-wife and daughter.
Of course Willow has no way to know that the two young deputies who had been assigned to him were actually landlords- with an imperative to solve a very specific cold case - their child-tenants' murderers.
I guess the only way to explain how much I liked this book is to say that I fell right into the story - easily suspending disbelief while I buzzed through the pages.
If you are a paranormal or horror fan, A Guide for Murdered Children should definitely be on your list. But also if you just enjoy a good story well-told. I think this book will find a wide readership in the way that the best stories always do.
Some people are reading this thriller simply because the author, Noah Hawley, is the multi-talented creator of Fargo, but I listened to it because it was featured on Saturn's new Libro audio download site.
This novel takes place in the aftermath of the crash of a luxury private jet, bearing the immensely powerful head of a new network and his family, plus another couple and a painter.
The story is told partly in flashbacks to the passengers' and crew's lives, giving the readers several plausible reasons to suspect.
The book is a viable mystery, but also a searing commentary of the state of today's broadcast journalism, wherein the truth is often sacrificed on the altar of ratings, and that is where this book really scores. It drives home the point that much of today's news is "made", and that you should hope to never become tangentially involved in a breaking national story!
A good read from a multi-talented man.
I've had the honor of being in the acknowledgments of two books and having a character named after me in a third so far this year, and for that I'm thankful not so much for the honor of it, but because it says that the Saturn staff is doing its job well - the job of supporting authors we admire and in whose work we believe, and the authors know it.
One of those authors is Linda Castillo, whose newest Kate Burkholder mystery is among the best.
In Among the Wicked, Kate is asked to travel upstate NY and go undercover to infiltrate an Amish community with a new, very strict bishop. So strict in fact, that things are going on that the police can't get a handle on because nobody's talking. And with good reason - no one wants to face the punishment their spiritual leader so freely dispenses.
Castillo has written about crime in Amish communities for years now, and she has a big following here in Gaylord. Her fans will be delighted to find themselves Among the Wicked.
Benjamin's fourth historical novel is about Truman Capote and his "swans" - the New York society ladies with whom he traveled, socialized and, ultimately, betrayed.
Babe Paley is said to have been the most exquisite woman - beautifully turned out gorgeous homes and a powerful husband - CBS chairman Bill Paley. But her best friend, her once confidante in a social, but largely lonely life, was Truman Capote.
And in his heyday, just prior to and after the release of his smash hit In Cold Blood, Truman was adopted by Babe and her circle and treated to the best that money could buy.
But the Truman Capote many remember - desolate and self-abused, was always lurking under the catty, chipper facade he presented to the world.
And when the pressure to write another bestseller got to be too much, Capote used the currency he had - the well-kept secrets of his rich and famous friends - as fodder for his writing. And all of society cut him dead.
Another novel based on fact with a fascinating look behind the doors of the glitterati, The Swans of Fifth Avenue is sure to please.
Reacher is hot off a successful Army mission, medal and all, when he is unexpectedly sent to "school" - usually a way to bury, not reward, an operative.
But this school is special - there are only three pupils and they report directly to the director of the NSA.
It seems as if there's a whiff of trouble in Germany that no one can really pin down. Big, expensive, catastrophic trouble, though - that's a given.
So Reacher and company set about following leads, looking for money, searching for a man overheard making some dangerous arrangements - all while resorting to 'Hail Mary' best guesses about where to turn next.
Although Reacher is an MP in this story, the patriotism bravado and action are classic Lee Child. His fans will eat this up.
Hellbent is Hurwitz' third Orphan X novel, and they just keep getting better.
Evan Smoak, the former government black operative who has broken away from the project and spend his time helping those with no way out, has been targeted by his former co-workers for the secrets in his head.
And this time they strike him where it hurts - they've gone after X's mentor and handler Jack Johns - the closet thing Evan has to a father.
And so Evan has no choice but to come forward to find the men who would do this. But what he finds first is a surprise Jack has left for him - a young program reject Jack has been trying to protect as well.
Evan isn't so great at interpersonal relationship, as we've learned from the first two Orphan X novels. So in Hellbent, he has to reconcile the hardened operative he has become with the human he perhaps could be.
Fans, you're gonna like this one. Haven't discovered this series yet? Come in to pick up Orphan X today.
Ten years ago, a group of British college friends spent a relaxing week away at a French Farmhouse. Relaxing, that is, until the very last night when tensions ran high, relationships were broken, and Severine, the mademoiselle next door, went missing.
Now Severine's body has been found in the well behind the farmhouse and the friends are all re-questioned.
This book is a study in relationships. It has interesting characters who will stay with the reader. But the novel never has the surprise at the end that I was hoping would leave me with an "Aha!" moment. It wasn't a bad ending, just an uneventful one in a debut novel that I'd otherwise looked forward to getting home and reading.