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The Child — Fiona Barton

31 Aug

 

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Released: June 27th, 2017
Genre: Mystery, suspense
Source: Finished copy from publisher

 

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

From Goodreads

 

Oh the twists, the twists, the twists!!!!!

This was an awesome mystery novel and let me tell you, the final twist? I so didn’t see it coming. I literally said “WHAT?” out loud. It caught me completely by surprise and I love that that happened.

It’s hard to talk about it without giving anything away. All of the characters were believable and I love how the author weaves everything together. Everything unfolds at a nice pace and nothing seemed rush or really hectic. The format was more traditional than most of the mysteries I’ve read lately and it reminded me that while I love a mystery with an unreliable narrator, I also love a mystery that moves slower and delves deeper into characters. The pacing and the tone reminded me a lot of the TV show Broadchurch, which is my fave mystery show. I definitely want to read more from this author.

 

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Are You Sleeping? — Kathleen Barber

7 Aug

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: Aug 1st, 2017
Genre: Mystery, suspense
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

From Goodreads

 

My husband and I binge watched How to Make a Murderer over three nights. We were OBSESSED. Looked things up online, talked about the show, the people involved, who was guilty and who was innocent. But never once did I consider the impact the show had on those involved. That people who live in the area or close by would rubberneck and check out the area and the people who were impacted by the murder. And that’s the key thing I took away from Are You Sleeping?.  While it is a mystery/suspense novel, it also deals with how invasive our society can be, how everyone is looking for their fifteen minutes of fame and how commenting online on something that is really happening can be harsh.

It also deals with families and relationships with relatives. The character description and building was spot on. How Josie interacted with people in her hometown was just as captivating as the mystery in the book.

This is the perfect psychological thriller. It’s very twisty and turny and there is more than one thing that needed to be puzzled out and I love that. The plot is very dynamic but there isn’t so much going on that the pacing got bogged down.

I really enjoy books that make me think, regardless of the genre. Are You Sleeping? is the perfect example of this. This is a book with a delicious mystery and other plot aspects that will really make you think.

Our Little Secret — Roz Nay

4 Aug

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: June 6th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, thriller
Source: ARC from publisher

 

 

For fans of In a Dark, Dark Wood and All the Missing Girls comes Our Little Secret, a compulsive and thrilling debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep and the secrets we share.

The detective wants to know what happened to Saskia, as if I could just skip to the ending and all would be well. But stories begin at the beginning and some secrets have to be earned.

Angela is being held in a police interrogation room. Her ex’s wife has gone missing and Detective Novak is sure Angela knows something, despite her claim that she’s not involved.

At Novak’s prodding, Angela tells a story going back ten years, explaining how she met and fell in love with her high school friend HP. But as her past unfolds, she reveals a disconcerting love triangle and a dark, tangled web of betrayals. Is Angela a scorned ex-lover with criminal intent? Or a pawn in someone else’s revenge scheme? Who is she protecting? And why?

Twisty and suspenseful, Our Little Secret is an intense cat-and-mouse game and a riveting thriller about the lies we tell others—and ourselves.

 

From Goodreads

 

If I had to describe Our Little Secret in one word, that word would be delicious. The voice of Angela, the narrator, is one of my favorite this year. It’s so hard to know if she’s telling the truth or batshit crazy and I LOVED it. Not only did I not know whether to believe her or not, I got the sense that she herself wasn’t sure whether or not to believe what she was saying.

I also love how the story is laid out. In a way it reminded me of The Usual Suspects in that there was a back and forth between the actual interrogation and the past.

I felt off kilter during the whole book. It was like I had no problem following the story but I really wasn’t sure what was going on. As I have discovered this year, this is my fave type of mystery.

And I just have to take a moment to talk about the name Saskia. LOVE IT.

I’ve read In a Dark Dark Wood and yes, if you like that then you’ll absolutely love Our Little Secret.

The Woman in Cabin 10 blog tour

9 Jan

woman-in-cabin-10-blog-tour

 

Today I am super excited to be hosting Ruth Ware for her The Woman in Cabin 10 blog tour! My review will be posted below, but first, here’s my Q&A with Ruth.

Lavender Lines: First of all, thank you so much for joining me on the blog today. I’m a super big fan of your books. 🙂

Ruth: Thank you for having me – it’s great to be here!

LL: Do you listen to music when you write?

R: No! In fact I find it incredibly distracting. I used to be able to write while watching TV, but that was years ago. The older I get, the more intolerant I get to interruptions, and now I find I work best in complete silence. In fact my neighbours have building work going on right now (as in, literally, I can hear hammering while I type this) and even that is annoying me, but music gets into my head in a really infuriating way. I find it drowns out what my characters are trying to say. I’m definitely not a writing in coffee shops type person.

LL: Tea or coffee?

R: Definitely coffee! None of my characters are very autobiographical, but that’s the one trait of myself that I put into Nora as a straight cut and paste. I am a coffee addict and find a week without coffee (or even just a week without my preferred type of coffee) really hard work.

LL: Who is your favourite mystery writer?

R: Oooh, this is hard! I have too many, and it changes all the time. I tend to say Agatha Christie just because I really admire her plots and because I think she’s critically very under-rated. But today I’m going to say… Dorothy L Sayers. Strong Poison is probably the crime mystery that I have read and re-read the most number of times.

LL: Your books have the most delicious twists and turns. How do you come up with them?

R: I have no idea! Sometimes they are plotted from the outset but more often they just arise naturally as I write. The final page of The Woman in Cabin 10 (people who’ve read it will know the bit I mean) was a complete surprise to me, and I had to go back and re-write quite a few bits to make it work.

LL: If you weren’t an author you would be _________(and the skies the limit)?

R: Well, I used to work in PR so I guess the prosaic answer is that I would probably still be doing that! Alternatively, I have always really loved numbers (I very nearly did maths at university) and I find accounts and figures very satisfying, so maybe I would retrain and become an accountant? Sorry, I realise those are not very “the sky’s the limit” type answers!

LL: Thank you again so much!

R: Thanks for having me!

 

REVIEW

Okay, I loved this book. Lately I have been reading some awesome mysteries with unreliable narrators and enough twists and turns to pull a muscle and The Woman in Cabin 10 is one of the coolest.

Through most of the book I had no freaking idea what the hell was going on and I often stopped reading to try to puzzle things out. And just when I thought I had it figured out the author threw something else in that made me once again not know what the frig was happening.

The timeline was somewhat wonky and that only added to the WTF feeling I had through most of the book. But it wasn’t so wonky that I was so confused I was frustrated. Nope, this was the best kind of puzzle to try to figure out.

Most of this book takes place on a ship and I’m also starting to love the whole mystery where no one can leave thing. Ware also did this in In a Dark, Dark Wood and once again it works perfectly for the story.

The characters were very believable and I never felt 100% like I had a solid grip on them. Once again, as in all the great mysteries, the good guys and the bad guys weren’t clear at all.

This was a well written, well thought out mystery and Ware is fast becoming one of my favourite mystery writers.

The Twilight Wife — A.J. Banner

22 Dec

twilight

 

Publisher: Touchstone
Released: Dec 27th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, suspence
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

From Goodreads

Ahhhhh a mystery with an unreliable narrator. My favourite! I like a mystery where I feel off-kilter, not really sure if I can believe what I’m reading. And I definitely got that with this book. When the narrator’s memory is touch and go, how can you trust what she’s saying?

Trying to piece together what was real and what was imaginary as Krya was doing the same thing really made for a delicious read. And when I kind of figured out what was going on before she did? It’s like when you watch a horror movie and you know the heroine shouldn’t open the door and you’re yelling “DON’T!!!!” It was that kind of thing. I felt super anxious for Kyra because she was still clueless but I had all the clues lined up.

I can’t really go into much more without giving anything away. This was a quick read for me that really drew me right in.

I really enjoyed The Twilight Wife. It’s an awesome mystery and I definitely recommend it.

 

Jane Steele — Lyndsay Faye

15 Nov

janesteele

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Released: March 22nd, 2016
Genre: Gothic, mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

 

 

A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer.

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement.  Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

A satirical romance about identity, guilt, goodness, and the nature of lies.

From Goodreads

 

I wanted to love this book SO MUCH. I really did. And I did love parts of it. But other parts, not so much. This felt like two different book mushed in to one and it didn’t always work for me.

The first part of the book, before she becomes a governess, was beyond kick-ass. Jane is a straight-forward kind of heroine who doesn’t have a problem getting rid of her problems, be they human or not. This part of the plot was AWESOME. She would fit in quite nicely with the ladies of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango. She’s wicked but still has her own moral compass and I love that about her.

When she takes the job as governess, the story stagnates a bit. If fact, it felt like a different book to me. While it was enjoyable, I really missed the sass of Jane from earlier in the book.

The writing was pitch perfect for the plots and really added to the tone of the book and the gothic feel. I have such high respect for an author who can write in a certain style like this.

Despite my issues with some of the plot, this was a really cool read.

Far From True — Linwood Barclay

26 Oct

fartrue

 

Publisher: Doubelday Books
Released: March 8th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, crime
Source: Review copy from publisher

 

 

After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father’s house. Cal discovers a hidden basement room where it’s clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in….

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound.

As the lies begin to unravel, Cal is headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. Evil deeds long thought buried are about to haunt the residents of this town—as the sins of the past and present collide with terrifying results.

From Goodreads

This was a really weird read for me. While there were some things I really really disliked about this book, I couldn’t seem to put it down once I started reading it.

I didn’t realize Far From True was part of a trilogy (it’s the second book) so at first I was a bit confused when characters referenced things and I had no idea what they were talking about. Once I realized it was a sequel, then I understood why some things were a bit beyond my grasp.

There are A LOT of characters in this book and A LOT of difference points of view(POV). I’m not a huge fan of books that switch POV a lot. I find it confusing, especially if a new POV is introduced later in the book. The various POVs overwhelmed me at times, and I sometimes got confused about which POV I was reading.

There’s a lot going on with the plot, and sometimes I struggled with keeping all of the different threads and connections between the characters straight. But this could have been in part to the fact that I didn’t read the first book in the trilogy. But I did feel that there was just a smidge too much going on.

With that being said, I kind of enjoyed this book. I’m not sure if it was the way the book was written, the main plot or the time that I read the book. Normally when I have issues with POV I don’t finish the book. But I literally parked my butt in my reading chair and didn’t move until I finished it, all the while complaining to my husband about all the POVs and how confusing I found some of the plot.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. But I would suggest reading the first book beforehand.

Am I going to read the final book in the trilogy? I’m not sure yet, to be honest. But if you enjoy complex mysteries with a large cast of characters, then you’ll definitely enjoy Far From True.