A Banquet of Consequences

Elizabeth George’s A Banquet of Consequences deals with a family led by matriarch Caroline Goldacre. Inspector Lynley is talked into investigating a suspicious death by his partner Barbara  Havers, who is currently on probation for some non-orthodox investigation methods.

Clare Abbott is a well-renowned feminist writing making the literary circuit when she is found dead in her hotel room. Her assistant, Caroline Goldacre, had access to the room and was heard arguing with her the night before her body was found. Clare’s editor, Rory Stratham, also a dear friend of Clare, convinces Havers that the death is not natural and a second autopsy is requested.

George delves into Caroline’s family history which is filled with tragedy and lies. Caroline’s relationship with her sons, one now deceased, and the women in their lives is bizarre and unnerving. Could she be lying now to cover up a murder, or is lying so second nature to her that its hard to tell the truth from lies anymore. Havers and Lynley investigate to find whatever truth they’re able to find.

The truth is more horrific than what I originally thought and the ending is superb. Not what I expected, for sure.

Great novel!

Read September 2016

A Market for Murder

Another Rebecca Tope novel that shows a charming English countryside’s murderous side. A precursor to A Grave in the Cotswolds, we learn a little more about the Slocombe family and how Karen is injured. They live in a small world that is trying to live simply. Farmers Markets, non-consumerists, non-GMO’s, simple burials are all topics normal in their world. Until a bomb goes off at a big grocery store. Is it the naturalists against the big corporation, or is their dissent in the happy little bubble that the Slocombe’s and their friends live in.

A easy, quick read allowed me another glimpse into a quaint world tainted by murder.

Read September 2016.

Truly Madly Guilty

Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty is a page turner story about childhood friends Clementine and Erika. They’ve grown up and grown apart, but neither are able to disentangle themselves from their childhood relationship. Written in the same style as Big Little LiesMoriarty gives small glimpses into a secret that a group of adults share. Slowly revealing what happens at a spontaneous neighborhood BBQ, the characters’ secrets threaten to tear apart the couples involved.

The “big reveal” wasn’t as dramatic as Big Little Lies and I was a little disappointed that the event was never discussed afterwards. Was it a scary and dramatic event? Yes, absolutely. But enough to tear apart friends, couples, and neighbors? Maybe, but a bit unconvincing. However, the story about the relationship between Erika and Clementine was interesting and held the book together. Forced to play as children, Clementine’s parents took in Erika to give her a sense of normalcy missing from life at her own home. The strangeness between the girls that this caused and how their friendship evolved was well written and thought out.

A good read, but the climax and big secret could have been more interesting. The characterization makes up for it to a certain degree, but the mystery part of this mystery needed a bit more work.

Read August 2016.

Black-Eyed Susans

Julia Heaberlin dives into a dark work with Black-Eyed Susans. At 16, Tess Cartwright was kidnapped and left for dead with several other girls, in a plot of Black-eyed Susan flowers. She’s the only survivor of a serial killer that was caught and now sits on death row.

Or is he? A team working to overturn wrongful convictions in the state with more death row inmates than any other, makes Tessa question if the right man is behind bars. She has no memories of how or when she was taken and how she ended up in a field. What she does have are delusional dreams where the other girls, never identified who she calls the Susans, try to help her navigate her life.

Almost 20 years later with a teenage daughter of her own, Tessa agrees to work with the team reinvestigating her case. The novel goes back and forth in time and just like Tessa, we’re not really sure what happened 20 years ago until the very end.

Gripping story with a surprise character developments.

Read August 2016

The Cinderella Murder

The Cinderella Murder is a joint effort by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke. Unlike Never Tellthis story seems less intellectual and more grocery story best seller list.

A reality TV show digs into cold cases to see if there’s any new information they can dig up. A young woman murdered 20 years ago is the focus of the newest show. A glimpse into internet start-ups and Hollywood’s 2nd rate stars makes this novel feel gimmicky. It was an easy read, but nothing really gripping.

Read August 2016

A Rule Against Murder

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny has Chief Inspector Gamache vacationing at a remote hotel in the Canadian wilderness. Many of the other guests are together for a family reunion of sorts, in a family that seems to not want to talk to each other.

Once again a quaint place in the middle of nowhere is rocked by one of the family member’s murder. And with everyone in the family at odds with each other, everyone is a suspect. The “how” is more complexing than the who since a heavy statue ended up falling on top of the victim.

Read it at the beach in 1 day. Great vacation read!

Read August 2016.

Klickitat

Peter Rock wrote a book about teen rebellion and idealizing an older sibling while incorporating an underworld of teen runaways on the streets of Portland. Klickitat is the street that Ramona Quimby lives on in Beverly Cleary’s world. Its also close to where the sisters Audra and Vivian live and a secret code between them.

Audra is a rebellious teenage runaway that sneaks back home to get her younger sister. They live with a strange man who supposedly has lots of experience living off the grid, but so far they’re petty thieves living under someones home.

The writing is almost lyrical with beautiful sentences and phrases. This help paint a magical setting for the sisters relationship, which is strained by mental disorders and jealousy.

This was a gripping story with unexpected twists.

Read August 2016.