by Lisa Gardner. This convoluted mystery labored and twisted through ancillary characters to get back to the core of the plot. Could have and should have been 100 pages shorter. Even so. Not that intriguing. Scattered and thin. Lots of skimming. Sibling connection lacked depth. Contrived and pedantic endorsement of foster parenting without heart. Meh.
by Denise Mina. A prostitute is murdered on the Drag, a seedy backwater in Glasgow, Scotland. Her birth-daughter is unwittingly dragged into the quest for her killer. Margo is a doctor (GP) and not very interesting nor smart. Characters in general lack soul with the exception of Nikki & Lizzie. They are colorful and well-drawn. Otherwise this mystery is a yawn. Mina’s The Long Drop had a richness of period and local Scottish scenes that this lacks.
Stress relieved by reading mostly light non-literary beach books in a serene waterfront setting. So fortunate to be able to escape. Best to least: The Glass Hotel, St. John Mandel Notes On a Silencing, Crawford This Tender Land, Kent Krueger Redhead by the Side of the Road, Tyler The Guest List, Foley The Turn of the Key, Ware The Less Dead, Mina 28 Summers, Hildebrand The Summer House, Patterson & du Bois The Summer House, McKinnon The Big Summer, Weiner Death on the Beach, Johannsen… Read more South Fork 2020 Recap →
by William Kent Krueger. Compared by many to Where the Crawdads Sing, Krueger is not quite Owens. This picaresque saga does have elements of Twain and Davies. A poignant journey of four vagabond orphans during the Depression. It captures the horrors of their lives at a Minnesota boarding school for destitute Indian children where the Superintendent known as The Black Witch makes the Witch of the West seem tame. As with rogue-tales, the children encounter a variety of characters during their adventures and setbacks along the Gilead River and beyond.… Read more This Tender Land →
by Riley Sager. Confabulated lives. The book within a book/ghost story was a successful structure. Without that, rather a flimsy read. The haunted house in Vermont was not a vivid character and added little to the atmosphere. Lots of loose ends and plot holes. The usual gothic themes, nothing is as it seems. But. Better than Mexican Gothic. And. What’s with the title? Had nothing to do with anything.
by Silvia Moreno-García. Two clunkers in a row. Probably not good to have Kelly Ripa as a source for good reading. Weak writing in general. Stilted dialogue as if it were a bad translation. Setting amorphous. Period, scene, geography vague. Could be any house any time anywhere on a hill in a mining town. No tension or drama of any weight. Silly conceit. Stupid reveal. Skip this one. Sorry, Kelly.
by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. As with The Wife Between Us, not sure why it takes two people to write such a tepid tale. Although better than that anemic novel. Shay is a more sympathetic central character even if she is a bit of a ditz. No one could be quite so gullible. But. You want her to prevail. And. There are glimpses of New York City the way it used to be in normal times. Filled a few September hours.
A Memoir. By Lacy Crawford. Crawford’s harrowing years at the prestigious St. Paul’s School in Corcord, NH read like a novel. Her chilling and compelling story reveal a complicated legacy of so many women and men alike. All or parts of Crawford’s encounters are relatable to young students, whether in elite prep schools or not. And the dismissal and cover-up of abuse and assault are common to all of them. Crawford’s book was elicited by recent investigations into the school. None of the voluminous allegations ended in any criminal charges.… Read more Notes On A Silencing →