Those People by Louise Candlish

Those People

I loved OUR HOUSE last year by Louise Candlish so you can imagine how happy I was to see THOSE PEOPLE coming out today!

This new novel of domestic suspense is set in an upscale London neighborhood that becomes like a war zone for a certain group of seemingly civilized parents and their children. Written with acidic wit and a lot of angst, and even touted as much like Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES,  THOSE PEOPLE will have you in its grip immediately.

A safe neighborhood begins falling apart when a young couple move into a vacant house that they’ve inherited. They begin creating havoc and invading everyone’s privacy by using their property to conduct a disturbing and  highly disruptive business. Everything is turned upside down and the place starts going to the dogs. And then there’s the murder….

While reading this novel I contemplated what it would mean to me if this happened in my very quiet neighborhood. Total disruption. Life turned upside down.  Ugh.

Louise Candlish

My review copy of THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish arrived from Berkley a division of Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. It’s another great suspenseful novel from an English author I’ve come to love.  Super for summer.

The Book Artist by Mark Pryor

paris

The Book Artist

Look at this sparkly photo taken in Paris. Aah.

Hugo Marston is back.  All the books featuring Hugo have been in black and white until this new one. I love how alive the cover is. Good move.

What is a book artist? In this case it’s a young woman who makes art from books. She erects things. And someone is after her. Not in a good way.

THE BOOK ARTIST begins on a rainy and windy winter night in Monmartre, Paris.  Hugo is on his way to an art exhibit featuring books.  He really wasn’t keen on going until he discovered the medium would be books. Right up his alley.

It doesn’t take long to find a dead body and a mystery. After all, this is what Hugo is all about.  Pryor is the master of bringing Paris jumping and leaping high off the page.  The sights, the aromas, and the tastes.. All there for the taking. You will love submerging yourself in the culture of Paris and if you haven’t read Pryor before, well, you are in for a treat.

I am grateful to the publishing house of Seventh Street Books, a division of Prometheus. Thanks again for another stellar Marston novel. It’s a real treat.

 

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews

The High Tide Club

I look forward to reading Mary Kay Andrews every spring. This spring is no exception. She’s outdone herself. Not only are we at the beach, we’re on an island off the coast of Savannah and there’s a murder mystery to boot.

THE HIGH TIDE CLUB has some strong women.  Young and old strong women. These characters are full of pepper and have a back story to “die” for.

” When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000-acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her, Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.”

Millie, Ruth, Varina, and Josephine are the four women of THE HIGH TIDE CLUB. They were all really young when it originated. Varina being the youngest of them all. Two are dead. Only Josephine and Varina have survived. And boy do they have a secret. In fact, this novel is jam-packed with secrets. Plural. 

Mary Kay Andrews has set this new novel in a unique island paradise that houses not just family memories but a murder that has gone unsolved for over fifty years.  One character does not even know who he is. And family members are in the dark about what happened all those years ago on the eve of Millie’s wedding.

I could not turn the pages quick enough. The story goes back and forth in time. Begins in 1941 with the prologue introducing the four women and the body.  Then flips forward to Chapter one where Brooke meets  old Mrs. Warrick. We begin to learn about each of the members of THE HIGH TIDE CLUB and how they fit into the here and now. Sometimes I could not wait and found myself jumping ahead to get back to the earlier story… Oooh, it’s good!

Author

Mary Kay Andrews 

My festive review copy arrived in a box complete with a sippy cup for beverage  and logo saying Summer begins with Mary Kay Andrews.  

Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of Kathy Hogan Trocheck.  For years she wrote wonderful cozy mysteries.  In THE HIGH TIDE CLUB her  mystery telling abilities totally shine.

THE HIGH TIDE CLUB will be on sale May 8. We will have them on my summer reading table at Copperfish Books in Punta, Gorda.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

I have to thank Meg from Tandem Literary and St. Martin’s Press. I loved this book!

 

 

 

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman

Sunburn

SUNBURN by Laura Lippman has a very summery cover. Very! Makes me feel the sizzle and heat of the burn.  But it’s the novel’s premise that drew me in and convinced me to read it. I can’t ignore a young mother walking away and leaving her family on the beach. Actually leaving as in I’m out of here leaving!

This fine psychological suspense novel takes place in my old stomping grounds. Most of the story lives in a very small out of- the -way town in Delaware. Lippman has named the town Belleville. I have checked and can’t find a town with that name. And I sure don’t remember that name. However, I grew up in Seaford, Delaware and I know small back-water towns. Towns on the way to the Eastern Shore beaches. Laura Lippman has nailed the atmosphere of these towns like nobody’s business. You have to have lived there to “get” it. And I have.

Adam and Polly meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. 

Yet he stays and he stays-drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him.  Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair.  Still, each holds something back from the other-dangerous, even lethal, secrets. 

” In an unpromising town near the Maryland shore two souls begin a cat and mouse game that will lead to betrayal and murder. One is playing a long game. But which one?”

I don’t read a lot of mysteries. This is more of a psychological thriller. But it is also a murder mystery. Lippman has raised the bar for other mystery writers with SUNBURN.  I truly didn’t know what to expect. And what I got was more not knowing. The characters are complex. The story is compelling. People have already been murdered when the novel begins.   But why, and how?

I know those little no-nothing towns. One diner, a gas station, and a bar. Maybe two old coots at that bar.  Nobody stops unless they have to. So why would a young woman want to live there and start over???

For those of you who want a great mystery for the beach, toss this  novel into your beach bag. You won’t be sorry.

Laura Lippman

author

Laura Lippman

has written a slew of books.  She’s been nominated for more than fifty awards for crime fiction and won more than twenty.  Now a perennial New York times bestselling author, she lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.

My review copy was sent compliments of William Morrow Books, an imprint or Harper Collins. I loved the book!

Strangers In Budapest by Jessica Keener

Jessica Keener

Strangers In Budapest

One glance at this lovely cover and I was pulled right in. STRANGERS IN BUDAPEST by Jessica Keener is not for the faint of heart. I love reading about old European cities. There’s usually a great story waiting to be told. Here, there are many stories.

Will and his wife Annie sell their house in Boston and move to Budapest with their newly adopted infant, Leo. Wow, that’s a lot. They want to live like the locals. Will intends to make a start-up business in communications. Budapest is just coming out of the communist-era and everyone believes there is going to be a big boom.

But Annie isn’t settling in as she had once thought she would. The summer is insanely hot and humid and they have no air conditioning in their central apartment on the Buda side of Budapest. Budapest is divided into two parts: Buda is hilly and Pest is flat. A bridge spans the two at the Danube River. Locally known as Duna. Annie has not made any friends yet even though there is a fairly large expat community nearby.  And the business Will has  been trying to jump -start is not going so well. They have almost blown through their savings.

One day, they get a call from their old neighbors back in the states asking them for a favor. Would they please check on an old man who is staying in their apartment across the river in Budapest. They are concerned about his health since hearing of the oppressive heat in the city. And he has diabetes.

Edward Weiss is a Jewish American WW11 veteran who helped free Hungarian Jews from a Nazi prison camp.  He has come to Hungary to find the person who he believes murdered his daughter.

Annie helped out at a homeless shelter in America and can not resist trying to help Edward. But, things turn weird, then even weirder. And she begins fearing for her own and her family’s lives. Suddenly, the people she thinks she knows, appear to change. And  this story becomes deadly.

There are enough twists and turns in this story to keep you up late at night.  Keener knows the city and manages to show its seedy side as well as its beauty and history.  In fact, this complex city is filled with problems from its pollution and mostly rude and opinionated locals, to its corrupt city officials.  I have officially crossed it from my to-go-to list.

author

Jessica Keener

Jessica Keeneris the author of the bestselling novel NIGHT SWIM. She lived in Budapest in the 1990’s; she now lives with her husband in the Boston area, where she is a writing consultant for Grub Street.

If you’re looking for a unique tale in a unique place, this is your book. I thank Algonquin Books for the gorgeous finished hardcover in exchange for an honest review.  I enjoyed it and I think readers of suspense will be talking about this one for a long time.

The Harvest Killings by A.K. Goode

Africa

The Harvest Killings

THE HARVEST KILLINGS, by A.K. Goode, takes us to Africa and into the middle of a complicated mystery surrounded by a more complicated cover-up. For those of you who are mystery hounds, this is right up your alley.  It is quick-paced and darn hard to figure out.

Dan Becker is is sitting in a plastic chair in the Nassau airport, anticipating a much-needed vacation. He’s got his fishing rod and a big smile; all he needs to relax and let the worries of his world pass him by. That is until a small man dressed in a blue uniform confronts him with a note.  After making sure Becker was the man he was seeking he tells him he has a phone call at the counter. Great. It’s his partner, Piper, annoyed that his cell  phone had been turned off. And then,  of course it’s bad news;  his mentor Leonard James has been murdered .  His mind immediately fled back to the summers he’d worked on the Uganda coffee farm with Henry, Leonard’s nephew.  Why would anyone want to kill a kind old guy like Leonard. So, knowing he was needed, off he flew to Uganda get to the bottom of it all.

Even though there are some things I would have liked to have heard more of, this first novel is tightly plotted and does become a page-turner.

So, who is Dan Becker? He’s an American Intelligence Officer. And now he finds himself mired up to his last hair in more more than a mere “murder.” Everyone’s lying. No one’s telling the truth.   Another murder occurs quickly after the first: a CIA agent, killed the same way. As they say; the plot truly is thickening. And the British Government’s M16 is involved in this messy business. Definitely raises the bar.

Piper is Dan’s sidekick. She’s a real pistol.  Goode chose the right character for the part. However, I would like to have more depth to her. As well as Dan.

I love reading about Africa, and I am deeply interested in coffee. There have been some  serious documentaries recently about how coffee is harvested in foreign countries, and how BIG a business it’s become.  I thought at first that the coffee aspect would be brought into place. Maybe in the future.

I would say that  A.K. Goode is a writer to watch. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

A.K. Goode  was born and raised in Virginia.  This is her first novel. Goode sent me a review copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. This is as honest I can get. It is very good for a first novel.

author

A.K. Goode

 

The Reluctant Matador by Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor

The Reluctant Matador

THE RELUCTANT MATADOR, by Mark Pryor, is is the latest of the Hugo Marston novels, mostly set in Paris, France. I love that they are set in Paris. The first one: THE BOOKSELLER, won me over immediately. And, now with THE RELUCTANT MATADOR, Pryor is branching Hugo out into Spain. And it’s a part of Spain that I actually have visited and gotten a feel for the lay of the land: Barcelona.

Hugo Marston is the security chief at the US Embassy in Paris. He has connections, as you can imagine. So, when his friend, Bart Denum, asks for help finding his nineteen-year-old daughter who has been aspiring to model in Paris, and disappeared, Hugo is off and running.

Taking his old friend, former CIA agent Tom Green, along, they head for Barcelona where they have it from a reliable lead that Amy may have been seen with a shady character. Was Amy modeling, or was she an exotic dancer? Things are getting sticky already.

Unfortunately Amy’s father has gotten himself involved in a murder, and now Tom and Hugo are looking for more than they bargained for. Their escapades along the way, and the challenges they face will have you both grinning and grimacing. I love the alleys and avenues of Barcelona.  And totally enjoyed feeling myself back in that lovely city.

If you have not read any of the Hugo Marston novels, run right out and buy THE BOOKSELLER. You will not be sorry. It’s wonderful. A great start to a great series.

I received my review copy of THE RELUCTANT MATADOR, by Mark Pryor, from Seventh Street Books. The opinions are all my own.