Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Nov-Dec Books

Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo borrows concepts from Ove, Hitman Anders and The Revenant but doesn’t quite succeed. A failed-fixer for an Oslo drug lord doesn't  kill a contract and becomes his former employer's next target.  He escapes to a quiet Norway community north of the Arctic circle where he finds friendship, adventures, love and an opportunity for redemption.

**Nutshell by Ian McEwan is essentially “a womb with a view” account by a precocious fetus who  narrates the tale about the diabolical murder of his father (by his mother and uncle).  What might have been just a clever literary gimmick becomes a “devilishly clever and darkly humorous” in the hands of a world class talent who deserves the awards and accolades he has received.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse is “a chilling and spooky Gothic historical thriller reminiscent of Rebecca and The Turn of the Screw.” There are lots of weather reports, dark twists and eerie surprises that add bits of flavor to a thin plot.

*The Trespasser by Nina French was named one of the year’s best books on a NYT reviewer.  I didn’t think so, but it was an engaging police procedural with lots of lots of self-doubt and analysis by Dublin Murder Squad Detective Antoinette Conway. The challenge is to figure out who is trying to intimidate her out of the 's high-pressure investigation into the death of a highly polished and unsettlingly familiar woman whose demise reveals a growing number of secrets. Conway is a great detective whose deep-seated paranoia seems to work for her.

*The Whistler by John Grisham who continues to expertly and entertainingly interweave his story line with the mechanics of the legal process while addressing timely issues.  Yes, the plot is familiar and predictable, but it is still hard to put down as a lawyer for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct investigates a major corruption case. A disbarred lawyer practicing under an assumed identity, pursues a claim under the Florida Whistleblower Law involving a circuit court judge who helps an Indian tribe, an unethical developer and the local Mafia skim millions from a casino and related enterprises.

The Woman is Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is an Agatha Christie wantabe novel about a travel writer, Lo Blacklock,  who is assigned to review an exclusive North Sea luxury cruise and witnesses a woman being thrown overboard.  She is baffled when all passengers remain accounted for, and a nightmare that unravels as she struggles to convince everyone that  she saw a real crime and not an alcohol-induced hallucination.

*Truly, Truly Guilty by NYT best-selling author of Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret,  Liane Moriarty captures three “successful” couples and how a seemingly insignificant back yard cook-out changes all of their lives.  “A tale that explores the role of guilt in relationships and the power of everyday moments in family life."

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