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by Sarah Perry. Should have realized after reading Perry’s Essex Serpent that this would be another unscary Halloween story. Melmoth, the old witness who sees all of our bad deeds, is a witchy figure dressed in black. She lurks everywhere. The one who denied seeing Jesus rise from the dead. She’s the lore of many countries told to little children by their sadistic parents. Guilt. Shame. Conscience. She follows them through life. Spooky? No. For such a horrible portent, the stories told through letters and documents and by Helen, a… Read more Melmoth

Red River

by Amy Lloyd. That is the original title, for which Lloyd won the first novel prize by Daily Mail/ Penguin Press. She is from Cardiff, Wales. Red River is much more appealing and apt than what it is marketed as in the States,┬áThe Innocent Wife. Why it was changed I cannot imagine. It doesn’t describe the work, and it sounds like chick lit. Somehow I got past the title and tried the book. Wanted a quick weekend diversion. Although it is a mystery, there are nuances and layers which are… Read more Red River

French Exit

by Patrick deWitt. An amuse bouche. Enough to whet the palate for more of his work. Delightful writing style. Wit. Irony. Colorful cast of characters. From the Upper East Side to Paris. What could be better on a brisk Autumn afternoon? Frances and her husband Franklin are quite the couple. In more ways than one. They are horrible parents to their son Malcolm, ignoring him at best and at worst abandoning him at boarding school, even during the holidays. Until Frank dies. Then Frances jumps to being a little too… Read more French Exit

Memento Park

by Mark Sarvas. A beautifully crafted storytelling device trumps a lackluster story. Matt Santos tells his story telepathically to an overnight guard at the auction house where a valuable painting he’s unexpectedly inherited awaits sale. Matt Santos is the anglicized name of the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants who discovers he’s the recipient of a newly discovered art treasure. The painting was taken during WWII under the Nazi’s and has been discovered at the National Gallery and traced to Matt’s holocaust survivor family. His father has rejected the work and… Read more Memento Park

A Double Life

by Flynn Berry. Arrested Snow Flake Development. This English woman who becomes a general physician is stuck in her childhood in more ways than her obsession with a murder of the past. She has limited maturity and seems to think like a young girl, hard to fathom that she could get through med school. Her interactions and investigations are fraught with self-centered magical thinking. I did like Berry’s voice for the most part, but the ending was just a modern day hackneyed snow flake job. It was okay until the… Read more A Double Life

The Banker’s Wife

by Cristina Alger. A formulaic quick beach read. Loose connection to current events and a lack of depth about international banking. Travelogue of touristy European landmarks. Flimsy mystery with two women protagonists who are superficial stereotypes and barely distinguishable. And. Please. Don’t translate French or Spanish from the Google. Not idiomatically correct. Are all the editors at the beach, too?