Books this week

1) Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

This is the 2nd book in the Harper Connelly Mysteries. I like this series more than the Lily Bard one, although it's clear a romance is about to blossom between the main character and her brother (step-brother, not related, though if you're actively calling someone your brother, should you really then fall in love with him?), and I don't know how I feel about that. (Protecting those who want to read it from a sort of spoiler! ;))

Harper has the ability to locate dead bodies and see how that person died (though not who killed them). The ability was gained from a freak lightning accident when she was a teenager. People seek out her help, and are at the same time disgusted by her. She travels with her brother, who acts as a sort of manager and partner. Like all Harris' other novels, it's a fast, entertaining read, not something that sticks with you.

2) Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This is Gillian Flynn's 2nd book, her first one was Sharp Objects (which I also loved). She's a fantastic writer, and she's kind of my role model at the moment. She even has praise from Stephen King (although I don't know how hard that is to get). Neither I would call horror novels (Amazon calls them "crime thrillers"), but they do deal with some horrible things. Sharp Objects disturbed me for a while after I read it, this not as much. That's not to say this book isn't as good as her first. It's very good, and had me hooked from the first paragraph.

The main character is Libby Day, and when she was a child, her brother slaughtered her family in their Kansas farmhouse. Circumstances make it so she must reexamine that day... we get to see things from her perspective in the present day as well as the perspectives of her family leading up to the murders.

3) Faithful Place by Tana French

This is the third book following the Dublin police squad, and her third book, period, I think. (French is Irish and her books, so far, are all set in Ireland) Her first was In the Woods, the second was The Likeness and this is the third. I've read all of them, enjoyed all of them, though I think this was my favorite. This would also fall into the "crime thriller" category. The first two books followed Murder Squad detectives - Rob and Cassie in the first, and Cassie in the second. The main character of this book is a detective in the Undercover Squad, Frank. I know he was in the second novel, I can't remember if he was in the first.

This book is the best of the three. I would still recommend the other two, if just to get a feel for the setting. Rob made me hate him in the first book, the second book uncomfortably reminded me of The Secret History - still, I enjoyed them. This book, though, I couldn't put down. If anyone does read this, we need to talk about the ending - I did guess it, but I was sure there was something else going on... but something else never materialized.

The main character is Frank Mackey, who has to revisit his childhood neighborhood, Faithful Place, when a suitcase belonging to a long-lost love turns up in an abandoned house. That woman broke his heart when he was 19 and set to run off with her to England - she never showed. The suitcase suggests that something else may have happened that day, and Frank is determined to find out the truth.


Serendipity said...

Oooo. I will definately have to check out Dark Places, for sure!

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