THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn; translated by Rosie Hedger

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FROM GOODREADS

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape… TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough… Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless. 

 

******

Continuing my current reading pattern of eye catching black, gray and red covers is The Bird Tribunal. A disturbingly eerie story of two strangers brought together under suspicious circumstances. When the story begins we are introduced to Allis as she arrives at the remote, isolated home of Sigurd Bagge, her new employer. She seems to have abruptly left behind her previous life to take the job as Bagge’s gardener and housekeeper. Many questions surround Allis…but two of the biggest are what is she running from and why?…is she mentally unstable or just a little quirky? I have to say, I found Allis to be surprisingly witty and sarcastic at times and at other times I thought she definitely had a screw loose.

As for Bagge, he appears to be in hiding but from what? And why? We are led to believe that he needs Allis only temporarily until his wife returns; however , he never really says where she went or when she’ll return. Combine the secrets between these two with their escalating attraction to each other, add in the isolated, confining setting and you’ve got a page-turning novel that begs the questions…What is going on with these two and how will it all end?  

I found myself completely drawn into this story, sometimes thinking poor Allis, she’s in over her head with Bagge and then after a few pages thinking poor Bagge, he doesn’t know what’s in store for him if Allis turns out to be completely off her rocker. For me, this is what makes this book a true page-turner –  the inability to decipher who I could trust and the constant sense of below the surface menace that surrounded these characters. You just know something’s bound to go very wrong for one or both of these two! I did wonder if the book would feel complete with only 185 pages but that actually seemed to be the perfect length to tell this story.   If you like to be immersed in an eerie setting where you never quite know who’s telling the truth or what’s going to happen next you’ll want to read this book.

4/5 Stars

*** Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for rushing this to my kindle on      Thursday as well as sending me a print copy to share with my book club***

***I also want to note that Rosie Hedger did an outstanding job translating, none of the strange was missing in this story!***

BOOK TAG:FALL FESTIVITIES

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I have been tagged by the wonderful Janel at Keeper of Pages for this fun Fall Festivities tag. If you haven’t visited Janel’s blog please check it out, she has reviewed some awesome crime reads. Because of her my TBR list keeps growing! She can also be found on Instagram at reads.crime and Twitter @keeperofpages. Don’t forget to check the end of the post to see if you’ve been tagged….

Now on to my selections:

APPLE PICKING (A book on your TBR pile that looks so good you can’t wait to take a bite out of it!)

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I can’t tell you how excited I am to have gotten this from Netgalley a couple of days ago!! Chevy Stevens writes fantastic characters with surprising plots. Still Missing, her first novel, is high on my list of all time favorite reads

 

 

 

CORN MAZE (A book that is fun to get lost in)

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You might be surprised to see this on my list seeing as though I gravitate toward mysteries and thrillers but I just read this one this summer and loved everything about it. The characters and dialogue are so snappy, it was fast paced and basically…FUN!

 

 

 

HAUNTED HOUSE (A book that scares you silly)

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Yes It’s Chevy Stevens again! I don’t read a lot of truly “scary” books and while Bird Box is on my TBR list and it scares me just thinking about it, Still Missing is a classic terrorizing thriller. I remember feeling very on edge reading it as the tension is sky high throughout whole book. If I was a real estate agent this book would terrify me!

 

 

PUMPKIN PATCH (Last book you picked up/purchased)

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I purchased Without Trace after Annie from The Misstery gave it a glowing recommendation and I just picked up The Bird Tribunal which was sent to me by the super nice and generous Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books. I’m so excited to read each of these

SCENIC DRIVES (A book that is lyrically beautiful)

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The cover of this book just doesn’t do it justice. This is Bill Clegg’s debut novel which was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2015 but which I just read in the spring so it will make my top 10 reads of 2016!  Such excellent writing and the story will break your heart.

 

 

 

PUMPKIN CARVING (A book you didn’t enjoy much and you wouldn’t mind carving up!)

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I believe this was short listed for the Man Booker this year but It just didn’t work for me on any level

 

 

 

DRINKING APPLE CIDER (A book to curl up under the covers with)

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I realize that’s FOUR books to curl up under the covers with but you won’t regret settling in with Sharon Bolton’s Lacey Flint series. This is my absolute favorite series going and it’s SHARON BOLTON so you know you are in for top notch storytelling!

JUMPING IN A PILE of LEAVES ( A book that reminds you of your childhood)

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The childhood books of all mystery lovers!

 

 

 

 

SCARY MOVIE NIGHT ( favorite spooky read)

 

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I read this in high school and don’t think I’ve read anything as scary since!
 

 

I Tag…… Amy at Novel Gossip

Annie at The Misstery

Dee at Dees Rad Reads and Reviews

Diana at A Haven For Booklovers

If you have time and would like to participate please send me a link when you’ve posted so I can see all your selections!

REVIEW:THE DOLLHOUSE by Fiona Davis

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FROM GOODREADS 

Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed. 

******

This book caught my attention right away with that great cover. I love books set in New York City, especially ones with a mystery at its core. The Dollhouse alternates between New York City in 1952, when Darby, a young girl from Ohio, arrives on the doorstep of the Barbizon Hotel where she’ll be staying for the next year while she attends secretarial school and New York City in 2016 where Rose, a journalist, is currently living with her boyfriend Griff in the newly renovated condos of the Barbizon.  Rose soon makes contact with Darby, one of the elderly ladies who lives on the fourth floor and discovers that she has lived at the Barbizon since the 1950’s when she was involved in the mysterious death of a maid at the hotel.

The story starts off STRONG as I was immediately drawn to the characters in 1952, especially Darby, Stella, and Esme. The author did a great job of placing us smack into the setting of the Barbizon in 1952 which itself seemed to be a character in the book. The pacing was great and I was very interested in finding out what went wrong on that fateful Halloween night in 1952. Before that night, however, we get to know Darby and Esme and their struggles to be independent and to “make it” in New York City. We are also introduced to some supporting characters (Sam) who have their own stories that intersperse with Darby and Esme.

Just when we are immersed in Darby’s story in 1952, the time shifts and we are returned to 2016 and Rose’s increasingly bizarre behavior to get information on Darby and the mysterious death of Esme. I have to say, I don’t typically mind this technique of flipping back and forth between time periods, but for this story it didn’t work that well in my opinion and I’m not sure why. I found myself becoming irritated with Rose and her really unethical behaviors when it came to getting information on Darby. I think one reason I felt this way is because we were led to believe that she had problems at her previous job when she was asked to run with a story before it was ready and fact checked and she refused . But now she’s being extremely unethical, breaking the law really, and I just didn’t buy it. Maybe the character motivation was lacking for me I’m not sure.

So I found myself looking forward to returning to 1952 and the buildup to Esme’s death. I was fully engaged with this until about the last third of the book and then I felt that the plot and/or pacing began to drag. The large sections about Sam and the spices just, for me, detracted from my enjoyment of the story. It was at this point in the book that I felt the author began “telling” us way too much in terms of (Jason and Rose’s) theories  about Esme’s death which actually made me somewhat confused.  Between that and the spices, I felt my attention wavered a bit. As for the ending, I liked it but it seemed to wrap up too swiftly and neatly. I think if you like mysteries with unique historical settings, you should definitely give this a try.   I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Fiona Davis writes in the future.

3/5 STARS

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WAITING ON WEDNESDAY

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This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we get to highlight an upcoming book we are eagerly anticipating. This week I’m choosing….

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Jan.10, 2017

First of all I love that cover! Second, I would think anyone who read and loved The Kind Worth Killing will be on pins and needles waiting for this release on January 10, 2017…I know I am!

Here’s a sneak peak:

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks.

Told from multiple points of view, Her Every Fear is a scintillating, edgy novel rich with Peter Swanson’s chilling insight into the darkest corners of the human psyche and virtuosic skill for plotting that has propelled him to the highest ranks of suspense, in the tradition of such greats as Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Patricia Highsmith, and James M. Cain

Cant Wait!!

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO

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FROM GOODREADS 

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

****

I decided I really liked Amy Schumer when she made a guest appearance on an episode of The Bachelorette two summers ago. Turns out she’s a HUGE bachelor fan! So Amy Schumer and I have the same guilty TV pleasure…who knew! And while I don’t watch Inside Amy Schumer, I loved her movie Trainwreck. So the release of her new book was on my radar and I’ve waited since JULY to get it as an audiobook! And I have to say, if you’re at all interested in this book, get the audiobook. Amy narrates her book and it’s like hanging out with her for 6 hours. It’s funny, entertaining, interesting and enlightening. But yes, there’s language and at times she can be VERY crude so I can see that could be an issue for some people.

I really didn’t have any idea what this book was going to be about so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Amy Schumer covers a wide range of topics, some really funny, some self-depracating, and some very serious. Some of my favorite chapters were: “I am an introvert,” “Things That Make Me Really Furious,” “On Being New Money,” and the “Excerpts From My Journal” where she reads from her journals starting at age 12 to mid-20’s and then adds “footnotes from 2016.” Too funny. There were also serious chapters involving her dad and mom as well as gun violence which I found enlightening.

So for the past few days, whether out walking my dog, running errands, making dinner etc I’ve had headphones glued to my ears listening to this audiobook and on several occasions laughing out loud. I’ve gotten strange looks from my family as well as other drivers but that’s ok because I really enjoyed listening to this book. And I appreciate the fact that she shared some really personal stuff with us. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t fast forward through some kind of boring sections (there were a couple)  but for the most part I would recommend this and say if you don’t mind some bad/crude language and the occasional graphic description of some of her “mess-ups” then you might enjoy The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

4/5 Stars

REVIEW: SIDNEY SHELDON’S CHASING TOMORROW by Tilly Bagshawe

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Goodreads Blurb

Once upon a time, Tracy Whitney made the people who destroyed her family account for their sins. Now someone is looking for payback . . .

Sidney Sheldon has always been one of my favorite authors. His books were intriguing, suspenseful, full of twists, and transported us to exotic locales. Tilly Bagshawe has brought back the much loved character, con artist Tracy Whitney, from IF TOMORROW COMES,  along with the love of her life, Jeff Stevens. In fact, CHASING TOMORROW begins right where its prequel left off, so readers are immediately drawn back into Jeff and Tracy’s world.

Tracy and Jeff start their new life in London, settling down as law-abiding citizens living in (initially) domesticated happiness. Tracy’s focus becomes starting a family while Jeff plunges into his antiquities work at the British Museum. As time goes by and Tracy’s desire for a baby doesn’t happen, she begins to question her identity and happiness living life on the straight and narrow. It is about this time that an enigmatic stranger enters their lives and shatters their stable marriage. Consequently, Tracy abruptly disappears, leaving Jeff devastated and searching for answers.
In true Sidney Sheldon fashion, the plot continues at breakneck speed, taking us to Paris nine years later where we meet Jean Rizzo, a steadfast Interpol inspector who’s investigating the brutal murder of a prostitute. We soon discover that this is but the latest murder in a string of prostitute killings (11 to be exact) taking place in 10 different cities over the past nine years, all with the same clues left behind. It just so happens that these are the same cities where Tracy executed some of her most impressive heists. Coincidence?

Bagshawe effortlessly switches plot direction, taking us back to Jeff and Tracy, and we discover what has become of them over the past nine years. While Jeff has never made peace with Tracy’s disappearance, he has managed to go on with the help of his old friend, Gunther, who has encouraged him to rekindle his passion for the con. We then learn that Tracy may have also reignited her love of the con in the name of retribution. There seems to be a lot of secrets going on.

Meanwhile, Jean’s investigation takes him to an unexpected place: Tracy’s doorstep. It seems there’s a serial killer on the loose with mysterious ties to her. Questions arise. Which ghost from her past is out to get her and why? And how does Jeff Stevens, the man Tracy never stopped loving, figure into the killer’s plan? As another prostitute is found murdered, time becomes of the essence, and Tracy must step out of the shadows to help stop a killer.

*****

In CHASING TOMORROW, Bagshawe has brought back two characters readers grew to love in IF TOMORROW COMES. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to read this first book before the new one (Bagshawe provides thorough backstory throughout the story), I would highly recommend it. Part of the fun of getting to know Tracy and Jeff is their life stories told in IF TOMORROW COMES. In both books, they have their own brand of vigilante justice that makes you root for them as they take down the bad guys, while at the same time disregarding the fact that they are breaking the law by committing some really clever heists. While it may be necessary to suspend your disbelief in places with respect to the heists, that really didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book.

While the pace of the story led me to keep flipping pages to see what would happen next, what I liked best about CHASING TOMORROW is Bagshawe’s ability to write so vividly that I truly felt I was gazing at the mountains in Colorado or surrounded by the humid air in Asia. Overall, this was a fast-paced sequel to IF TOMORROW COMES. Keep in mind, though, just when you think you know how it will end, you may be in for a bittersweet surprise.

4/5 STARS 

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Many Thanks To Amy @Novelgossip for her Saturday Shoutout: Renee @itsbooktalk — novel gossip

This week I wanted to give a shoutout to a new book blogger, Renee from It’s Book Talk and welcome her to our fantastic bookish community! Though her blog is new, she’s been reading and reviewing books for ages. Read on to find out more about Renee in her own words. It’s Book Talk: Renee Here’s a little […]

I want to thank Amy for featuring my blog today on her Saturday Shoutout! I’ve had so much fun getting my blog up and running these past three weeks as well as connecting with so many awesome book bloggers and authors.

Thank you all for taking the time to visit and read my blog, and for commenting and sharing on Twitter!! I had no idea when I started I would encounter such supportive people.  Such a great surprise.  Please check out Amy’s fantastic blog Novelgossip.com where she features thoughtful reviews, Blog Tours, Author Spotlights and more.

via Saturday Shoutout: Renee @itsbooktalk — novelgossip

FRIDAY FINDS

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Friday seems like a good day to share some of the top picks I’ve added to my rapidly growing TBR pile. I’ve come across so many books I want to read this week from other’s blogs, Twitter and Instagram that it’s hard to narrow them down to just a few for this post! I’ve included the Goodreads Blurb so you can see if you’d like to add any to your own TBR list.

****

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Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

 

 

 

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Life is strange for Patrick Fort; being a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t come without its challenges–and that’s before he is faced with solving a possible murder. Because the body Patrick is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things. And now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery–while he dissects his own evidence

 

 

 

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*Releasing December 27th

For fans of Jo Nesbo and The Bridge, The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .

 

 

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A brutal triple murder in a remote northwestern crofting community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There’s no question that Macrae is guilty, but the police and courts must uncover what drove him to murder the local village constable.
And who were the other two victims? Ultimately, Macrae’s fate hinges on one key question: is he insane?

 

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve already read any, feel free to let me know what you thought in my comments. Happy Reading!

 

REVIEW:THE TRESPASSER by Tana French

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“Atmospheric and unputdownable.” – People

From the hardcover edition

In bestselling Tana French’s newest “tour de force,”* being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

***

Enough said! That is literally all you need and should know before starting this stellar read by Tana French. And you might also find this advice helpful…If you start this book in the evening, be prepared to be up until all hours of the night because you won’t be able to put it down.

The Trespasser is Tana French’s sixth novel, coming after The Secret Place in 2014, and continues on with the Dublin Murder Squad. This time, the focus is on its two newer detectives,  Antoinette Conway and Stephan Moran. I have to say I didn’t read The Secret Place so I was coming in with no idea about the two detectives but I really don’t think that hindered my enjoyment in any way. This is a whole new story and it starts off with a bang.

We are immediately immersed in the goings on of Antoinette as she is the narrator of this story. And boy does she have her hands full. She’s the only female on the Murder Squad and suffice it to say not that well liked. Her only “friend” is her partner, Stephen, and they soon get called out on a seemingly slam dunk domestic murder case.  When they arrive at the scene, however, things quickly become murky; suspicions arise and people associated with the case seem to be holding things back or outright lying. Question is: WHY??

Of the many things I liked about this book, two things kept me turning the pages as fast as possible…the dialogue and the layered plotting. I can’t remember the last time I was so immersed in the dialogue of a book! I felt like I was sitting in on the conversations of all the characters…just like a fly on the wall. It was dynamic yet nuanced, sometimes sarcastic and snappy but always entertaining. I didn’t want to miss a single conversation for fear of someone letting a clue slip!

As far as plotting goes, can I just say the web that Tana French has spun is genius. We are presented fairly quickly with Aislinn’s new boyfriend as the go to suspect but is he too perfect a suspect? And why is her supposed best friend being cagey with the detectives? That’s just the tip of the questioning ,who’s lying, who’s telling the truth iceberg.

In a 2014  interview, Tana French talks about wanting to offer readers both gripping plots and good writing and questions whether she has managed to offer readers both. I say hands down, no doubt she has managed to give readers both and I for one can’t wait for the next stand alone or installment in the Dublin Murder Squad.

5/5 Stars   

Other Recommendation

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RECOMMENDATION:STEPHEN KING’S MR. MERCEDES TRILOGY

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As Halloween approaches , I was thinking about books I’ve read that gave me the creeps yet had more to offer than just said creepiness. I immediately thought of this trilogy by Stephen King which you might automatically think of as horror because ..well …it’s Stephen King but you’d be wrong on that note. This series, starting with Mr Mercedes, is part mystery, part thriller and part horror in the sense that King introduces us to Brady Hartfield who does some pretty horrible things and has some pretty horrible thoughts circulating in his psychopathic head!

With an interesting and colorful cast of characters, my favorite being detective Bill Hodges, King takes you on a wild ride with each book, building to a bittersweet finale with End of Watch. I would highly recommend reading this series in order so you can follow the story from the catastrophic beginning when we first get introduced to nutty Brady to the much anticipated finale in End of Watch. If you love mysteries and/or thrillers with supremely developed characters, you’ll love this trilogy.

Mr Mercedes:  5/5 Stars

Finders Keepers: 4/5 Stars

End of Watch : 4/5 Stars