Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Book Of You by Claire Kendall

     The Amazon.com description of The Book Of You says this: "His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go." This book was recommended to me because I enjoyed "Before I go to Sleep" by  S. J. Watson. I loved that book and with the description above, paid full price for the kindle version. I am not sorry. 

     The reader sits through Clarissa's six weeks of jury duty, which she believes will help her have less contact with her obsessed University co-worker, Rafe. Here she sees herself in the rape victim being brutally cross examined and begins recording the evidence she believes she will need to convict Rafe as a stalker and, perhaps, serial killer. This notebook of information becomes the core of The Book of You.

     Outside the courtroom, gifts arrive at her apartment, as well as pictures from that one night she hardly remembers, spent with Rafe. But she fears she will not be believed. She continues to record in The Book of You as her terror, and ours, escalates. 

     Impossible to say more without ruining the suspense. 

     Loved this book.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

     When you pick up an Alice Hoffman book you always find things you never thought of finding. You are gifted with people, places, prose and thoughts that linger long after the book is finished and back on your book shelves.

     This is the story of Coralie Sardie and Eddie Cohen, living in early 20th century New York City. Coralie, who's father owns the Coney Island attraction called 'The Museum of Extraordinary Things' where human oddities, as well as natures wonders, are put on display. These oddities include Coralie, displayed in a tank as a mermaid. Eddie is the son of a Russian Jewish emigrant, who turns his back on his father and his religion to become a street informer and then the apprentice of a photographer.

     The lives of these two people gradually merge under the skillful hand of Hoffman as they learn to love life and each other - an unlikely pair. Along the way we meet the Butterfly girl, the Wolfman, thugs, heirs and heiresses. We also find Eddie photographing the horrible Triangle Shirt Factory fire and meet those touched by the tragedy. And most importantly Maureen, whose strength saves Coralie.

     I highly recommend this book, if for no other reason than a reminder of how our lives, and people, are not always what they seem.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blue Damask by Annmarie Banks

     WWI has ended. Elsa Schluss, who served at the front as a trained nurse, is working on her desertation. She intends to get her Phd in psychology and is employed under a noted Austrian Psychologist. Elsa reluctantly agrees to treat a traumatized war veteran as they travel toward Damascus where he is to perform one last service for his country. She plans to use him as a case study. This patient turns out to be the son of an English Lord, whose real father is an Arab Chieftain.  The government needs Lord Sonnenby - Henry - to influence his desert family, guaranteeing British oil interest in the area.

     This one week case study for her dissertation and treatment of Henry turns into attempted murder on the Orient Express. The entire trip becomes deadly and Elsa, Henry and assorted diplomatic men and displaced characters fight to stay alive and make sense of a world populated by persons who all seem to have ulterior motives and something to hide.

     Annmarie Banks succeeded in creating characters that I became truly fond of, afraid of or hated. Strong emotions. She also made me laugh out loud and sit on the edge of my seat as I shared, what turned out to be, a great adventure through the Arabian desert with a beautiful, smart, strong Elsa Schluss.

     I had so much fun reading this book. Escapism at its best!

     And I think I am a little in love with Henry . . .

Friday, January 17, 2014

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

    "People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread-and-butter to journalists. 
     Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars. 
     Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations. 

     If by some extreme fluke you are a historical romance reader and have not read this book, do so now. This was how Diana Gabaldon began the book 'Outlander'. That easily, I (and millions of others) was hooked. Of course, there was Jamie . . . I read the entire series and cursed the author for making me wait for the next book.

   We begin with former WWII army nurse Claire Randall finding herself moved back in time to 1700's Scotland which is in the middle of border wars with the English. This book has always been more historical than romance to me, but the romance is there. Boy, is it . . . Poor Claire loves her 1945 husband, but it is hard to resist a man like Jamie. Gabaldon offers us adventure, intrigue, history and romance. What more could we ask for?

     In my youth, LONG ago in the 1960's, I was a Gothic Romance fan.  I loved all of the slightly edgy men. My first favorite was Ross from Jane Aiken Hodge's 'Watch the Wall My Darling.' I loved the mysterious 'Master of Back Tower' given to me by Barbara Michaels.  I was a little older when the Historical Romance appeared - with REAL sex. My favorite slightly 'bad' men from these books were Nicholes in Lindsey's 'Love only once' and Ian of McNaught's 'Almost Heaven.' 

     But Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser . . .  Jamie rivaled Mr. Darcy. And Claire Randall was a woman worthy of him.

     I am about to reread 'Outlander.' I want to do it before STARZ debuts their 'Outlander' TV series this summer. They claim the show will stay loyal to the books and if this is true, it MUST be good.

     I have my fingers crossed.






Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cold Killing by Luke Delaney

     British noir. Love the stuff. It was at its best in this book by Luke Delaney.

     Detective Inspector Sean Corrigan and his murder crime unit are assigned to the case of a young man found brutally murdered in his London flat.  The scene is completely clean. Not a clue, hair or even DNA is found. Cause of death is a blow to the head, but the victim was carefully stabbed with an ice pick mutable times all over his body. Then another murder, and another, but the killer changes his MO at each crime scene.

     DI Corrigan has a past that makes him strangely able to sense things about the killer and the crime scene.  This ability is respected by his fellow investigators. This ability, and his past, haunt Corrigan. He desperately tries to keep his home life separate from both.

     The killer narrates from his point of view, giving few clues and this keeps you guessing as to who the real killer is, despite a suspect. Very tense. Chilling at times. Extremely hard to put down. 

     I thought I had figured this one out - but then I wasn't so sure.

     This is Delaney's first book. Excellent crime fiction. I can not wait for the second to be available for Kindle!