You’ll Never Know, Dear

Hallie Ephron’s You’ll Never Know, Dear is a strange story about a family who’s daughter was kidnapped forty years ago with no trace. Janey was only four when she went missing along with her porcelain doll that was made to look like her by her mother. Her sister Lissie was only seven and her whole world changed after that. Her mother, whom everyone called Miss Sorrel, never gave up hope and kept the search alive for her beloved Janey.

Miss Sorrel was known for her dollmaking and fixing skills and ran a business out of her home. After offering a reward every year for 40 years, it seems like Janey’s doll made its way home. The police along with the family investigate to see if it truly is Janey’s doll and how it ended up with its current owner and whether is it related to the explosion and gas leak that injured Miss Sorrel and Lissie.

To find the truth, secrets from 40 years ago must come to light, along with current crimes and secrets.

Interesting read and a lot more information about doll making than I ever knew.

Read October 2017

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Hour of the Wolf

Hakan Nesser allows us insight into the murderer’s mind in the Hour of the Wolf when we see the first accidental murder and the following cover-ups to hide the crime. Alongside the murderer, we follow the investigation led by Chief Inspector Reinhart, Van Veeteren’s successor. When Van Veeteren’s son turns up murdered and left in a ditch, the whole team must work tirelessly to find their mentor’s son’s killer.

The murdered confounds the police since the crimes are not decisively connected. The first murder seems completely unrelated but is the key to understanding what happened and what will happen. Van Veeteren must also come to terms with his son’s past and how it connected to his murder. The key to understanding the crime comes from him with his ability to look into a criminal’s thought process to deduce the reasoning behind the crimes.

Good read.

Read October 2017

 

Magpie Murders

Anthony Horowitz set up Magpie Murders in a unusual way. The first chapter seems to be set outside the book with someone sitting down to read Magpie Murders: An Atticus Pund Mystery, by Alan Conway. Then we jump the the text of the novel within the novel until it suddenly ends with the last few chapters missing. We find ourselves back with the original character, Susan Ryeland, who now must find the remaining chapters of the novel in order to publish it after the sudden suicide of Alan Conway (our novelist within the novel).

Susan starts to believe that Conway didn’t commit suicide but was murdered. But why? The list of potential suspects grows longer the more Susan digs into Conway’s life. When she finds the remaining chapters it helps solve one crime, but another almost ends her life.

This was a creative murder mystery set in peaceful English villages. I really enjoyed the concept and execution of the stories.

Recommended.

Read October 2017

The Gunslinger

I must preface this with the fact that I like Stephen King’s novels and was excited to read the first of the Dark Tower series based on the recommendation of several people who were rereading the entire series since a movie is coming out. I read the introduction in my copy of The Gunslinger which was written by King himself. In it, he talks about how he feels this was a young novelist’s book written in youth and surrounded by pretentiousness.

There’s not much that happens in this novel, but I imagine that it was written to help set up the remaining series. Not having read any of the other series, I cannot say whether it works for that or not. What I can judge is this novel by itself since that’s how I read it.

The Gunslinger as an independent book, is not exciting and incredibly drawn out. I had a hard time getting through the chapters of nothingness as we follow a character through a bleak world. I cannot tell the exact setting, but I’m guessing that its in the future after something has gone awry in the world. Some of the scenes were gripping but many others were not.

I haven’t decided if I’ll read any further in this series, but if I do, I hope the story is better than this.

Read October 2017

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock

Terry Shame’s An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock starts off with the grisly murder of a black family in the part of town where black families live. Several victims were shot and the the whole house was burned, leaving some of the victims bones fused together. Samuel Craddock in the new Chief of Police and this crime, while occurring in his town, falls outside of his dominion. Taking over the case is a racist Patrolman who seems to arrest the first black man that he finds any connection the the house.

Craddock has to break the silence of the justifiably stand-offish black community to try to save an innocent man from prison or an accident that often befall black men while in custody before any trial. Its an interesting look into how racism forces black communities to remain insulated even if an outsider is trying help.

Overall I really enjoyed the different layers of this novel. A lot about racism and how it can affect the criminal justice system. Also some about a reluctant police chief who cannot sit by and watch while crimes are brushed aside.

Read September 2017

 

Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is an interesting look at 2 sets of teenagers that are affected by a spell book that seems to have found them. Moira Fowley-Doyle’s chapters jump from character to character and at first I was annoyed since the thread of the story appears linear but not all at the same time. It took me awhile to warm to the characters, but once I did I loved the story. Olive, Rose, Rowan, Hazel and Ivy are the contemporary cast that are affected by the spell when so many of their things end up being lost. Bracelets, time, memories are all things that go missing.

Then diary entries from another set of characters start finding their way into their lives. As they try to piece everything together, the spellbook seems to find them and they dangerously cast the spell to find lost things in hopes that it will fix their lives. But with all magic, there are consequences.

At first the style of this novel bothered me since it was hard knowing how any of the characters knew or related to one another. But once the relationships became clearer, the story was fascinating and well told. Its a magical time of year and this was a great pre-Halloween read.

Read September 2017

Dead and Breakfast

Kate Kingsbury’s Dead and Breakfast is a cute mystery set in a fictional town on the Oregon Coast. Melanie West and her spunky grandmother buy and are renovating an old house on the ocean that appears to be haunted. While removing wallpaper they come across a skeleton in a hidden chamber and their lives are put on hold. They cannot open their bed and breakfast until they’re allowed back into the crime scene and the small town police have bigger worries than a 10-plus year skeleton. So its up to the pair to find the killer so they don’t go broke before their opening day.

This was actually a cute, fun local read that I almost didn’t read because the cover is AWFUL! There’s a fake ghost and a weird cartoonish looking dog with the Inn in the background. The story deserves a better cover.

Read September 2017