Raise Me Up. In some ways, this is your stereotypical whodunit, straight down to most of the action happening in some remarkable-yet-unremarkable Midwestern town with a coda in the Caribbean. In others, it takes some fun risks, even if most of them are off screen. All in all, this is arguably to CPAs what John Grisham’s books – particularly his earlier ones- are to lawyers. And considering that Grisham’s early books were perennially best selling books of the year through the 90s and even early 00s… I’m pretty sure Mejia won’t exactly mind the comparison. 😉 I had the ultimate culprit pegged somewhere between 50 and 66% through, though the endgame was a bit shocking and the epilogue even moreso. Excellent book, again, particularly for Grisham fans, and very much recommended.
This week we’re looking at what is quite possibly the first modern book I’ve ever read that was originally written in another language. This week we’re looking at Letters To A Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado, translated by Jennie Erikson.
This was an interesting read. The mystery is solid and compelling, and the writing is excellent (at least in the English, and presumably in the Spanish – though I barely read or write Spanish and thus read the English version). But the book itself is all about loss, and that depressive state pervades this book almost from the first words to the last. (Though to be fair, the last words are a bit cliche, a slight mar to the finish of an otherwise outstanding work.) So as I note below, you’re almost going to be begging for a zany and hilarious romantic comedy as a palate cleanser after this one.
But there *is* a love story embedded within the loss, as well as a pair of redemptive arcs that play out on different time scales. These provide just enough levity to allow the gravitas of the loss to settle without being overbearing, and these show just how adept at her craft Maldonado is. This seems to be the first of Maldonado’s works to be translated into English, but this reader for one is hoping that more follow – I’m not quite so desperate to read more of her work that I would learn Spanish just to be able to do so, but I would indeed like to see more. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release of the Week: Letters to a Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado, Translated by Jennie Erikson”
Structurally, this book is told from three perspectives – a woman on the run, a husband she is running from, and a cop investigating the disappearance. And this structure very much works for this tale to keep the reader guessing until the point the author wants to begin to clue the reader in on what is really going on.
The tale itself is a tad too similar to Gone Girl up front, with a missing wife and the husband being targeted by police and media. And honestly, through this section I was looking at a 4 star review based on that. But instead of the mind-warping shift at the middle of the book presented in Gone Girl, instead here we get a more gradual revelation of what is really going on – and that is very much appreciated by at least this reader. And what is actually happening is enough to get the book its 5th star – truly great work. While it does have its issues along the “content warning” level, I don’t really do those and to my mind revealing what they are would go into spoiler territory in this particular tale.
At the end of the day, if you enjoyed Gone Girl or at least didn’t have particularly strong feelings against it, you’re probably going to enjoy this book. If you hated Gone Girl, you’re probably not going to like this one much either. If you’ve never heard of Gone Girl… what rock have you been living under for the last several years? 🙂
This was my first book from this author, and it won’t be my last. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release of The Week: Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle”
White Peak is a book from “debut author” (at least under this pseudonym) Ronan Frost that starts out with a literal bang and becomes an adventure race across much of the northern hemisphere. As of this post, it releases in just a couple of days, on May 21, and can be preordered from any of several outlets via this link.
My Goodreads/ Amazon review shows a few of my thoughts on this book:
Who Knew A Fictional Character Could Write This Well? In this debut work by fictional character Ronan Frost, we get a solid action/ adventure tale of a man haunted by being on the other end of the phone when his wife is killed in a mass shooting being recruited to find a mysterious map for one of the world’s wealthiest men. The action is taut, the mystery is compelling, and the locations include some rarely if ever used in novels before. Truly an outstanding work. Particularly for a fictional character.
Here’s hoping we get a sequel from this new author far faster than we got the sequel he appears in. 😉
Yes, Ronan is fictional and a pseudonym for a real-life long time friend. Ronan is actually one of the primary characters in a book that has been reviewed on this very blog last year, though for now I’m still playing into the mystery and choosing not to reveal him (even though it isn’t an actual secret). All will be revealed on Weds, May 22, when I post a Q and A #HypeTrain post about this same book with the real life friend… that we conducted through St. Martin’s Press’s official channels, as said official channels are actually where I was invited to this blog tour from. 🙂
For now, how about I let you check out the explosive first chapter of the book that I describe in the review above?
Continue reading “#HypeTrain: White Peak by Ronan Frost”
This week we look at a book chat continues to build its world while using a legendary tale in a modern setting to ask questions about the modern world. This week, we’re looking at Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve.
It is difficult to speak about this book without spoilers, particularly since the biggest thing that resonated with me was the biggest spoiler of the entire book. But I’m not going to do that. I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible on this site, and I’m not going to start spoiling books now. So all I’ll say about what I really want to talk about is that there is a singular book I’ve read more than twice in my eReader exclusive era of the past 7 yrs or so. I love this particular book and what it stands for so much that I literally have a version of the heading of one of the parts of this book tattooed on my left wrist. And this particular book’s take on the spoiler subject of Perfectly Good Crime is pretty well diametrically opposed to the presentation Ms. Meserve gives the topic. Which is not to say that her presentation isn’t stellar, it is. And if you subscribe to the dominant beliefs of our era, Ms. Meserve actually presents this topic in a very balanced fashion and brings out some very interesting points about it in the process. But my own feelings there are simply… atypical may be a gentle way of putting it. 😉
All of that said, this is a great crime/ reporter mystery that continues with solid world building and tells an excellent tale of a reporter struggling to find just what she wants for herself. The personal aspects of Kate Bradshaw’s life are interwoven with the professional in a very satisfying manner and continue to show local journalists even in large markets such as LA as the true professionals yet also “normal people” they are. Truly an excellent work, and I look forward to more from this author and this series.
As always, we end with the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of the Week: Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve”
Take Flight. This was a very interesting character driven book centered on Jessica Penn. We follow Jess over the course of nearly a decade as she is awoken to the news that her wife has died in some form of plane crash and we follow her through all that is revealed in the aftermath. The story has a major swerve about 50% in, as the narrative of the first half changes and a new villain emerges – with direct ties to the original. Great story excellently written.
This One’s a Keeper. Maybe not the smartest idea I’ve ever had to read this one on a Bahamian cruise, as it is extremely emotionally intense. But an amazing story that I’m glad to have finally read, and presents an interesting twist that I had never seen a story really delve into. Very much looking forward to finishing out this trilogy and seeing where the author takes it.
Reacher Being Reacher. This is Reacher number 23, and kind of in the middle of the pack overall. Not the best Reacher story, but not the worst either. Third person again, and while the bad guys are truly bad, they aren’t quite as bad as I was fearing – I thought early on Child might be going for more current headlines ala the last Reacher tale, and instead he shifts into something that is rumored online but which I’ve never seen actual evidence of. Don’t start with this book if you’re new to Reacher, but if you’ve read even a single Reacher reading this one out of order won’t be a problem other than introducing certain new wrinkles that could be interesting going forward, should Child decide to pursue them.
Fun Hawaiian PI. Even if PI/ detective books aren’t really your thing, this book is awesome. Fun mystery on Hawaii that keeps you on your toes – I didn’t see the endgame coming until it played out, though I was at least partially correct in my early presumptions. Really hoping to see more of this character in future books.
Let’s put it this way: I finished this 41 chapter book in less than 24 hours. The summary had intrigued me, and the story itself didn’t let me down. I was 20% through the book without realizing it and felt like I had barely scratched the surface (and at that point, knowing what I do now, you really *have* barely scratched the surface). Easily one of the best of the now 25 books I’ve read in 2018, which is saying quite a bit.