Book Review: Wilde Lake

wilde-lake-by-laura-lippman-0062083473The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I frequently lament mysteries, thrillers, or suspense novels that I figure out ahead of time.  It’s not that I am so smart, but that many of the plots are formulaic in nature — therefore it is easy to come to a conclusion before it is revealed in the narrative.  Wilde Lake is not easy to figure out.  Laura Lippman has one plot twist after another, and before you know it you’ve been reading and the novel took a turn you didn’t expect.  It was easy to give this book a four-heart rating.

Wilde Lake weaves back and forth between two different time periods and does this effortlessly.  One part of the story is Lu Brant’s personal account of her childhood in Columbia (planned as an inclusive utopian community), where she and her brother AJ grew up and attended Wilde Lake High School.  The story opens with her memories of AJ’s attendance at a graduation party which was marred by a suspicious death.

The other half of the story is contemporary and recounts Lu’s life as a single parent and prosecutor.  Lu’s first case is the murder of a local woman, Mary McNally, who didn’t report to work after a week-long vacation.  It is quickly determined that the murderer is Rudy Drysdale, a local misfit and former classmate of Lu’s brother AJ.

Wilde Lake is an engrossing read — hard to put down.  Just when you think you have it all figured out, Lippman throws in another plot twist.  The end wraps up nicely though, and the book keeps you guessing.  My only fault with the novel is that some of the story just doesn’t seem entirely plausible, but I wouldn’t let that get in the way of an entertaining read.

Book Details:  Published by William Morrow (May 3, 2016), 368 Pages, ISBN: 978-0062083456.

Book Review: City of Blades

City of BladesThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The best book I read in 2014 was Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs.  I wasn’t in the habit of reading fantasy, but had heard an interesting review of the book on NPR and thought that I would check it out.  The book was outstanding — a definite five hearts!

When City of Blades came out early this year, I couldn’t wait to read it as well.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Bennett has included all of the characters which I grew to love in  City of Stairs.  This is important.  Bennett’s characters are well-developed and he imbues them with qualities that endear them to the reader.  Very often, you just can’t identify with the characters making the story difficult to read.  Not so with General Mulaghesh, Sigrud, etc.

The story begins with a messenger coming to see the novel’s protagonist General Turyin Mulaghesh, in a bid to bring her out of retirement and get her aid in solving the disappearance of a Saypuri operative.  She accepts the mission. During her search General Mulaghesh, rumored war criminal and hero of the Battle of Bulikov, uncovers evidence of the divine in Voortyashtan, only this divinity is the goddess of war and death.

This second installment in Bennett’s Divine Cities series is as good as the first novel City of Stairs.  At this point, I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to Justin Cronin’s third installment in The Passage Trilogy or Robert Jackson Bennett’s third installment in The Divine Cities series.  What a wonderful dilemma for a reader to have!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Broadway Books (January 26, 2016), 498 Pages, ISBN:  978-0553419719.

Book Review: The Silkworm

jk-rowling-cuckoos-calling-sequel-cover-fullThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

One thing I dislike intensely is the London Tube.  It is crowded, hot and subterranean.  I don’t like it at all.  Once in a while you meet someone nice and it is tolerable for a bit.  Having said that I am so glad that I am not riding the Tube this week.

The London Tube is oft-mentioned in The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith’s second novel featuring private dectective Cormoran Strike.  It is a wonderfully-written crime novel.

The novel opens as novelist Owen Quine goes missing and his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.  But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

If you are a fan of Tana French or Kate Atkinson, then you will enjoy this book immensely.  Galbraith will surely take his place among the best of the British crime novelists in due time.

Book Details:  Published by Mulholland Books (June 19, 2014), 464 pages, ISBN: 0316206873.

Book Review: Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed

Finding MeThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

For 11 years, Michelle Knight was held captive by a man who kidnapped her and two other women in Cleveland.

A year after her headline-making rescue, Knight has written a memoir, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed.  Written with Michelle Burford, the book describes the torture Knight endured at the hands of her captor and goes into detail about the shocking life she lived before he kidnapped her.  Knight’s terrible childhood began early with getting molested beginning at age five, never having enough food, and finally ending up on the streets as a young teenager. She moved in with a drug dealer after a time on the streets and after his arrest, she again became homeless. Michelle later gave birth to a son Joey, who was the center of her world, but was placed in foster care after her mother’s boyfriend got drunk and broke the boy’s leg.

Michelle was on her way to a hearing to regain custody of her son when she was kidnapped by Ariel Castro.  Castro was the father of one of her friends and she was glad to get a ride from him when the ride she was supposed to get from a family member fell through.  That fateful decision to accept Castro’s offer led to a life of horror for many years.

The most shocking aspect of Michelle Knight’s story was the fact that her childhood placed her in the direct path of her kidnapper.  She was a victim before her abduction and this victimhood put her in even greater peril.  Her life is a testament to survivorship, resilience, and bravery.  My greatest hope for her is that at some point she can get to know the son Ariel Castro took from her.  He stole much more than most people know and her story is worth reading as warning to us all to be aware that someone may be in peril and we may be the one who can help.  Definitely a memoir worth reading and this from a booklover who doesn’t typically favor memoirs.  At 280 pages, this is a riveting read.

Book Details:  Published by Weinstein Books (May 6, 2014), 280 pages, ISBN: 1602862567.