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Books for All Seasons
- The Hunt
- Written by Faye Kellerman and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- William Morrow (August 23, 2022)
- ASIN: B092VVNNRW
- Also available in Hardcover & Paperback
Thugs, Wealth, and Undying Love
Do you know anyone who is all good or all bad? Neither do I. The multi-faceted characters in Faye Kellerman’s The Huntare both good and bad, but some actions are far worse than others. This is the last in her series of Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus books, but everything you need to appreciate the conflicts, characters, and events is included in this excellent ending to a series of books I once read quite regularly. This is about aging, jealousy, sex, conflicting emotions, and the evolving complexities of love and life.
Teresa McLaughlin, the biological mother of Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus’s foster son, Gabe, has fled to Los Angeles with her two children in tow. Two thugs find her, beat her, and kidnap her younger son by a second marriage. They take him to India to live with his dad, who financed the whole operation, so she will capitulate in the divorce proceedings.
With nowhere else to turn she calls her son, Gabe, who contacts his biological father, Peter Donatti, Teresa’s first husband. He now runs a brothel in Nevada and has acquired huge wealth, but he never stopped craving a life with his only true love, Teresa.
His love comes at a price, though. He rescues her, and basically locks her up in the private suite of his brothel while he negotiates the release of her son from her second marriage. The price? She must agrees to appear with him and be his fiancée, and then the stakes escalate: He’ll rescue her son if she’ll marry him. What is Teresa, who carries all kinds of baggage around self-esteem issues to do, and how does this all tie in with Peter’s last missing person’s case?
A skilled author of over 30 books, Kellerman has crafted a novel that will break your heart and keep you turning pages far into the night. Intelligent, crafty, complex characters drive this story. Keep in mind that intelligent characters are not always wise. Almost every character in this book is being hunted or haunted by someone or something. How will justice be served in this original look at winners, losers, and negotiations? Don’t stay up too late finding out.
- All the Best Liars
- Written by Amelia Kahaney and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN #: ISBN-13 : 978-1250312709
- Flatiron Books
True Friends Until …
Looking for a story with teen protagonists who take the manipulation to a new level when two of their parents who get rich? You’ll love Amelia Kahaney’s All the Best Liars.
Sid, Rain, and Brie are best friends, but their friendship becomes strained when Brie’s dad buys a car dealership and Rain’s mom wins $6,000,000 in the lottery. Three best friends realign their loyalties as Brie takes Rain on and teaches her how to spend, as if she needed training. One day Rain literally gives Sid the shoes off her feet. There friend Syd is happy for them even though she grew up in the poor desert neighborhood where they both live. They are two weeks from their high school graduation when a fire destroys their plans as thoroughly as it destroys Brie’s house.
More than a murder mystery, this is a story of friendships twisting because one of the three is a liar desperately trying to find her way despite her existing successes. I hope I haven’t said too much.
From the beginning Amelia Kahaney does an outstanding job of creating mood, atmosphere, and underlying unease. As she shifts from one character’s point of view to another, you’ll be drawn into each girl’s world, and you’ll sympathize with the issues each one faces. Graduation will be the beginning of a whole new life, but no one can leave her past behind.
Amelia Kahaney is the author of All the Best Liars and The Brokenhearted series. Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, One Story, and Crazyhorse, among other publications. She teaches writing in New York City, where she lives with her husband and son.
If you’re a writer struggling with plot, characterization or mood, read this book. If you’re a reader who loves seeing all sides of a character, read this book. If you’re curious about senior year, read this book. It’s fiction right now, but it could happen. Get yourself a copy today.
- This Tender Land
- Written by William Kent Krueger and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN-13: 978-1476749303
- Atria; Reprint edition (May 26, 2020)
Journeying Down the Minnesota River
Life is a journey and it’s not always fair. Just ask Huck Finn, a kid who went on an adventure up the Mississippi and learned about honesty in the process. In William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land, there’s another river journey, and new explorations of injustice. The time, place, circumstances, and character growth are all quite different, yet the idea of life as a journey remains strong.
Two orphaned brothers are kept at The Lincoln School, a cruel institution where Native American children are being indoctrinated into the white man’s world during the Depression. These brothers are Irish; the state has no place else to put them, and their isolation and lack or resources help them fit in as much as anyone can fit in that world.
After committing a terrible crime, the narrator and his brother escape along with a Native American whose tongue was cut out, leaving him mute, and a little girl who lost her mother in a tornado. The girl doesn’t yet realize that when she has nightmares, they predict the future.
Their adventures involve citizens of Hoovervilles, camp meetings with an open-hearted leader, and vigilance. They’re always ready to escape from those who’d like to earn the reward offered for Odie and his companions. The four deal with the brutality of man and the beauty of nature daily.
Krueger digs deeply into misunderstandings, confusion, and survival skills with empathy and insights. In a video about the book he admits that this is his Huck Finn, and he does an excellent job of exploring universal themes as he helps each of these characters find their voice and their way. While it’s partly about loss and greed, it’s also about hope and determination and how these contrasting emotions mix.
Author William Kent Krueger is the New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land, Ordinary Grace (winner of the Edgar Award for best novel), as well as eighteen acclaimed books in the Cork O’Connor mystery series, including Desolation Mountain and Sulfur Springs. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family. Because of the wide variety of characters Odie and his new family meet and because of the ways these characters grow and change, there’s something for everyone in this story. Buy it to help support the author or check it out from your library if you’re on a tight budget.
- The Last Thing He Told Me
- Written by Laura Dave
- ISBN # 978-1788168595
- Published by Simon & Schuster
Who Is the Man She Married?
How well do you know your spouse? My husband tells me that the secret to a marriage is no secrets. I smile when he says that. He knows I have one or two, and he accepts that, despite his rule. Maybe it’s because he feels he believes I can be trusted to tell him in time.
But what if you’re starting over? What if the past is no longer relevant? After all, “for better or for worse” could have so many meanings. The implications abound when Owen Michaels disappears, leaving a two-word message for his second wife, “Protect her.” Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me is a mystery that’s revealed in ever-deepening layers. Hannah, his wife, peels those layers back with help from her teenage step-daughter, Bailey, who has now lost both a mother and a father.
Owen is accused of embezzlement, and when two FBI workers show up at her houseboat, Hannah doesn’t have a clue who to trust or what to believe. Are these people really FBI agents? And what about the odd reactions of his boss?
Should she help them or take her sullen step-daughter, Bailey and flee in order to protect her as her father requested? Who is this man she was married to anyway? How much of his story is lies? And why is he so concerned about his daughter? What has he done, if anything, and what will it take for Hannah to discover the whole truth?
This is the story of the unexpected surprises that love can bring as well as Hannah’s ability to dig for the truth. It’s also a story of earned loyalty that shows the true meaning of family. It’s tightly written, and even though some things are improbable, they’re definitely possible.
Author Laura Dave piles one suspenseful moment on top of another in this family driven mystery. With admirable skill she makes the improbable seem real in this page turner. My heart went out to both the stepmother and her teenage daughter. The book reaches into the depths of love and loyalty.
Dave is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. Her fiction and essays have been published in The New York Times, ESPN, Redbook, Glamour and Ladies Home Journal.
If you’re looking for an atypical mystery, grab a copy and settle in. You might finish it before dawn.
- MERMAID CONFIDENTIAL: A Novel
- Written by Tim Dorsey and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN # 978-0063211285 & ASIN # B093H46FTS
- Harper Collins 2022
Offbeat Hero Takes On the Florida Keys
What does it take to make a person happy? If you say it’s trying out condo life in the Florida Keys, following your instincts, and trusting your guts, you might have something in common with Serge A. Storms. He’s the hero of Tim Dorsey’s Mermaid Confidential.
Living in a condo is just the right change of pace for this unusual investigator, who’s been traveling around with his boozer friend Coleman, and living in his car and cheap motels, while fighting for the underdog. In this creative plot-driven comedy, Serge is in the right place at the right time to thwart illicit drug shipments, foreign drug gangs, medical malfeasance, and some outrageous ne’er-do-wells who’ve traveled to Florida to cash in on a tip. While he’s fixing the world, he also handles a tenant who’s driving the owners of his condo crazy and wins every board game challenge from his neighbors.
There seems to be no situation too convoluted for him to handle. Thank goodness he uses his talents for good instead of evil.
We see Serge’s openness with his always-drunk pal and a woman who cares for her father and disabled children. He takes every person he meets at face value, but if they trick him, watch out.
Serge and Coleman are a two-some floating through life—almost like a modern Huck Finn and Jim—in a contemporary world where the stakes seem much higher than they were in Huckleberry Finn—especially when it comes to the illicit drug activities off the coast of Florida. The story is deftly steered by Dorsey’s engaging, offbeat hero. In his own unique way Serge makes sure justice happens.
I’d never read a Tim Dorsey story before, but I recognized immediately that he’s an author who’s found his niche and probably loves moving Serge in and out of trouble. He was a writer and editor for the Tampa Tribune before writing 24 previous novels about Serge A. Storms and his adventures and misadventures. If you like unusual detective stories, zany capers, or both, you should read Mermaid Confidential.
- The Diamond Eye
- Written by Kate Quinn and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN # 978-0063226142
- William Morrow, March 29, 2022
A Point of View You May Not Have Considered
Life takes some strange turns, and an unfamiliar point of view can open eyes. Nowhere is that more evident than in Kate Quinn’s latest novel. The Diamond Eye explores what happens when a woman, sickened by her evil husband’s insistence on teaching their son to shoot, learns to do it herself.
Her aim was remarkable, and Lyudmila Pavlichenko becomes a skilled marksman who puts her steady hand and deadly aim to work as Lady Death, the Russian sniper who killed over 300 German Nazis during WWII. This is the slightly fictionalized story of a real woman sharing real moments in history as the Russians fought the Nazi’s in Ukranian territory during World War II. After going far beyond her goal, which was to teach her young son, Slavka, to shoot, she volunteered for the Russian Army, training and commanding men to help Russia defeat Nazi Germany.
Married too early to a narcissistic chauvinist, in love with another man she couldn’t legally married, and trusting her shooting partner, with whom she has a platonic relationship, she is a complex, determined woman. In a diplomatic exchange, she travels to the United States, where she meets Eleanor Roosevelt before the President. The two women come to admire each other’s strength and courage. Outspoken and confident, she travels to major cities giving speeches, but longs to return to her Russian roots and her son.
With Russia now waging war in Ukraine, devastation that looks like World War II is back in the news. Regardless of the eerie similarities, and despite the stark differences in motivations, this is a stirring look at war involving female heroes.
Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, The Rose Code, and The Diamond Eye.
The author has outdone herself in this well-researched story of a woman most Americans have never heard about. Even those of us who hate war are drawn into these lives thanks to Quinn’s multi-faceted details and suspense.