The Woman in the Window.

window

Anna Fox lives alone — a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies and spying on her neighbours. She has agoraphobia and hasn’t left the house for eleven months.

One day a new family moves in and Anna can see right into their home, the living room, kitchen and the son, Ethan’s bedroom. They seem to be the perfect family. But one day Anna sees something she shouldn’t and she finds her world breaking down, crumbling as she tries to convince others that what she saw was real.

She tries to figure out what is real and what imagined. Who is in danger – is she? Read this book to the end and be surprised at the two twists that are eventually laid bare to the reader.

A great read and one I couldn’t put down. A J Finn is an author new to me but this book will not be the last I shall read from her. As Stephen King says about this book “One of those rare books that really is unputdownable.”

 

Advertisements

The Third Rule

Third rule

This book was hard to read, not because of the author’s writing, but because it shows how quickly power in the wrong hands, can become so badly used.

In this novel, we are introduced to a Britain, ruled by a government with omnipresent surveillance and a despot with great power in his hands. Who was it that said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

We are introduced to Eddie Collins a CSI, his estranged wife Jilly, his journalist, drinking buddy, Mick Lyndon, Ros Banford a workmate and friend of Eddie, a Secretary of Justice, and his son.

Around this group the author weaves his story.

Eddie and his wife are grieving the loss of their son who is killed by a careless driver and Eddie is sliding rapidly into alcoholism. Mick is helping Eddie along this road.

And at this time, new government policy is introduced – The Third Rule. This sets out clearly that offenders will be given a chance to reform and rehabilitate.  If, after they complete their sentence and are released, they re-offend then they will be given a longer prison sentence, and in the event that they then re-offend, the Third Rule comes into play and they will be put to death. Murderers will be put to death immediately.

When a colleague is shot to death Eddie finds himself the main suspect and is now marked with Rule Three status. We follow Eddie and Mick as they try to unravel the secrets surrounding the deaths, the murders and the machinations of the Secretary of Justice, the man who seemingly holds all the power.

I said it is hard to read, but I recommend this book to all who enjoy a complicated story with an almost hero, and many twists and turns.

I was given an advance copy of the book to read by the author and I choose to make this review and recommendation.

 

 

 

 

THE NECKLACE

The Necklace

I said I wanted to read a different kind of book, a different story and I came across this one.  It’s certainly different to those books I have been reading recently.  And it’s a true story.

Jonell, described as a woman of average means, espies a beautiful diamond necklace in the window of a high-class jewellery store. On a whim, she enters the store and asks to see the necklace. She tries it on and it is even more beautiful. She asks the price and gasps at the response – thirty-seven-thousand-dollars. Of course, she knows there is no way she can ever afford such a necklace.

Over the next three weeks she thinks about it often and then one day she finds it has been reduced to twenty-two thousand dollars. It’s still way beyond her means, but what if she shared the necklace with some other women? And so the idea was born.

The jewellery store advertised an auction and Jonell is fortunate to buy the necklace – after much negotiating with the store owner – for $15,000 and she manages to convince 12 other women to invest, including the wife of the store owner.

The story tells how each of the women handles the necklace. Each has it for four weeks, during their birthday month. The necklace is handed around, lent to other friends and quickly it and the thirteen women become known around the town.

It is a real feel-good story, all the more so because it is true.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and read until the early hours of the morning. I recommend it as a light-hearted break in the stories of murder and mayhem that many of us are reading.

 

Lies She Never Told Me

Lies

A new book from a favourite author, John Ellsworth.

It is in this book that we first meet Michael Gresham who appears in several other Ellsworth book that I have reviewed.

This is authentic Ellsworth as he sets the scenes. We are introduced to the Gresham family, the patriarch Knowles Gresham, his sons, Roland and Cleveland and his daughter Cincy and grandson Michael.

We follow Knowles as he progresses to becoming a Senator, his sick wife Natalia with him all the way, to the birth of his two children Roland and Cincy and his relationship with his wife’s nurse.

Then we follow Cleveland, His second son born to Knowles’ second wife, A lawyer who was indicted into JAG duty with the military and later, becomes employed in the county’s State Attorney’s Office. Married to Wendell, a teacher who gives birth to Michael.

Michael gains his law degree and is settling into his life when he is approached by Martha his grandmother’s nurse. She is the only survivor of a horrendous event that resulted in the death of seven student nurses and she wants the murderer apprehended. She looks to Michael to find and to kill, the perpetrator.

The book is full of happy and unhappy events, laughter and joy, and some sadness. But you must read it for yourself to appreciate it.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read prior to its release and choose to make this review.

 

 

 

 

 

Harbour Street

Harbor Street

I have recently started reading books by Ann Cleeves and having seen several episodes of Vera on television, I decided to see what titles were available at our local library. No room for any more books in my small apartment.

I settled on Harbour Street. In this book, Vera’s offsider Joe Ashworth is on the metro with his daughter, Jessica going home after a school concert.  It’s just before Christmas and the train is, of course, crowded with shoppers, people coming from office parties, and kids with nothing better to do,  going into town.

The train is stopped at a station and the train is cleared of passengers who are told there is a problem on the line; the problem is that an elderly woman has been stabbed while sitting in the train.

Vera and Joe are called on to investigate and we are introduced to Harbour Street where the murdered woman lived. As Vera and her team begin to investigate the life of the murdered woman and the residents in and around Harbour Street,  it becomes clear that nearly everyone connected to the case is hiding something.

There are many secrets in the past in this intriguing book and the murderer is not easy to identify; but as always Vera Stanhope, the quirky DI whose scruffy appearance (note her father’s hat which she wears almost all the time), her age (close to retirement) and her solitary personal life, shines through the book. And the twist at the end was completely unexpected.

Anne ‘s characters are well written and because I knew them from the television series they were absolutely believable. Her descriptions of the fictional town, Mardle and Harbour Street were so vivid that I could picture both very clearly as I was reading.

This is a book I strongly recommend. It is, of course, more detailed than a one or two-hour television episode can be, and I think it better for that.

Watch this space for others in this series and some in the Shetland Series by AnneCleeves

 

 

A Narrow Victory

 

Ex-DI Hilary Greene has just spent a week of her holiday cruising around the Gloucestershire canals on her narrowboat, with her new man, her boss. the dashing Steven Hilary is now a consultant, working on cold cases. Her next case concerns the murder of Society interior designer, Felix Oliphant, but she can find no reason for anyone to want Oliphant dead. He seems to be an all-round good guy, one of the few really decent human beings and one who appears to have been universally loved.

On her return to work, Hilary finds there are two new recruits to the cold case squad. One a dot-com millionaire who claims to want to give back to society, and the other a young woman who gives no reason for wanting to be in the police. These two characters add a clever mix to the plot.

The ending is s a little abrupt, but as usual with Faith Martin,  the murderer comes as a surprise; I certainly didn’t expect this story to end as it did.

The characters are well developed and believable, the plot is well thought out and I recommend this book along with all the others in the series.

The Other Mrs Walker

Mrs Walker

I hadn’t read any reviews of this book, but the blurb made it look interesting. Unfortunately,  that blurb really didn’t lead me to a book I found worth reading.

The premise was good but both the execution of it and the narrative were fragmented, not helped by the constant jumping back and forward in time. I was particularly annoyed by the repetition of motifs, words and phrases that made me want to put my editing skills to work. I got fed up reading about orange peels and particularly the stolen red coat. How often was it necessary to bring these things to the reader’s attention?

I am glad that I hadn’t paid money to read this book, instead, I got it from our local library. I honestly could not recommend it to anyone.

PS – Something good to say – yes, I loved the green dress on the cover.

Thanks to my friend Chris in Kitchener, Ontario for pointing out the mistake in the title. Of course, it should be The Other Mrs Walker.

The Celtic Dagger

 

 

celtic dagger

 

I loved this book and it’s introduction to Fitzjohn. I have read all of the subsequent books which feature the Inspector in a more stellar capacity. I decided to start at the beginning and this time read them in the order they were published.The characters are believable and interesting. There are enough of them to make the brain work to try and determine the killer. James the brother of the murdered Alex Wearing, plays the main part in the story, with Inspector Fitzjohn hovering in the background. A well-told story with a twist to the tail. Who would have suspected the murderer!

THE WATERS OF ETERNAL YOUTH

Eternal Youth

 

Have you discovered Commissario Guido Brunetti, his sidekick Ispettore Vianello, Vice-Questore Guiseppe Patta, Signora Elettra and the other members of the Questura  in Venice?

In this, the twenty-fifth book in the series we find Brunetti involved in a cold case at the request of his Mother-in-Law’s good friend, Contessa Lando-Continui.  Fifteen years earlier the Contessa’s granddaughter had been pulled from a canal late at night, but while she was saved, she suffered severe brain damage and has never moved on from her 7 year old self. This is where the title comes from.  According to Alice Roosevelt Longfellow “The secret to eternal youth is arrested development.”

All the investigations at the time pointed to a tragic accident, but the Contessa is not convinced it was an accident.

Brunetti is not at all sure that there is a case to investigate, but in true form, he finds himself unable to let the case rest. We are swept up in the concerns of contemporary Venetian life from housing issues, to historical preservation, to the African migrants and their effect on the community,  and the posturing and life of those involved in the Questura.  And through it all is Brunetti doing what he does best; he solves the crime.

This is Donna Leon also at her best. She cleverly imbues her stories with literary and musical allusions of which she has a multitude. She takes us on walks through one of my favourite cities And as an added bonus, one can always learn from Ms Leon’s novels.  I strongly recommend this book and indeed the other 24, to anyone who loves thrillers, Venice, and detectives who are slightly different to those who usually reside in books of fiction.

 

 

Vow of Silence

Vow of Silence

 

This was a book that once I started reading, I could not put down.  Having read the first book in the series I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this, the next one.

Once again, we are with Jill Shannon in her new home in Phoenix. Now Jill has met up with the charismatic Conner Manning, the only son of former Arizona Governor, Pierce Manning.

All is going well for Jill.  She has a small daughter born after the murder of her former husband, policeman, Alex Shannon, with whom she lived in Seattle.  Now she has reinvented herself and is planning marriage to Conner when links to her very secret past begin to creep into her present.

She is plagued/hunted/chased by a Phoenix Police Detective, David Shaw, who is convinced that Jill is somehow linked to the recent murder of reporter Joe Gaines.  According to CTV footage, Jill was the last person to speak to Joe and the next morning he was found dead in his hotel room.

We are introduced to Kat married to Luis who is somehow involved with the Mafia and because of this she and her daughter Ana are at risk.

So, another story told with a great plot, well developed and believable characters and all the attention to detail we have come to expect from Chris Patchell.

I strongly recommend this book to those who appreciate a well-told, well-conceived story.

Note – I was given a copy of the book to read by the author, and I choose to write this review.