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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Winter Thrillers

Reprinted from the Citizen:

Now that winter has finally shown itself, it’s a great time to hunker down and read a good book. Here are three mystery/thrillers that will have your heart pounding, your pulse racing and your mind working overtime to figure out what happened.

A.J. Finn’s debut novel, “The Woman in the Window” hit the bestseller list on the first week, which is quite an accomplishment. This book has had a lot of buzz since last spring, and it lives up to the hype.
The Woman in the Window

Anna Fox sits in the window of her Harlem brownstone, watching the neighbors go about their daily business. She hasn’t left her apartment in ten months, and her husband and eight-year-old daughter no longer live with her.

She spends her days playing online chess, dispensing advice on agoraphobia message boards and watching old black and white movies, like Alfred Hitchcock’s classics. Anna is also drunk most of the day and night, and takes numerous prescription pills.

We slowly get that something traumatic happened to Anna ten months ago, but exactly what is unknown to the reader. She is quite frankly a mess.

One day Anna sees new neighbors moving in- a mom, dad and teenage boy. The son comes to visit, and then later his mom stops by and she and Anna spend an enjoyable, drunken afternoon together.

Then Anna sees something disturbing happen at the new neighbors. She reports this to the police, but no evidence is found and Anna is not believed because she is such a mess. Anna is not even quite sure if she saw what she believes she saw.

Slowly, Finn reveals to the reader what happened ten months ago to Anna, and what happened to the neighbors. The last third of this crackerjack of a book will keep you up at night to finish. You will gasp in astonishment as events unfold. This book will be a blockbuster in 2018.

Lisa Scottoline’s thriller “One Perfect Lie” begins with Chris Brennan applying for a job as a high school teacher and assistant baseball coach in a small Pennsylvania town. But Brennan is also up to something more nefarious. 
One Perfect Lie

He needs to recruit a young male student for something bad, something that will happen on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. He insinuates himself in the lives of three of his students- one a boy whose father died last year, one who never knew his father, and one a rich, spoiled young man.

Everyone loves Coach Brennan, and he works hard to quickly gain the trust of the people in this small community. 

Just when you think you know where this story is going, Scottoline turns everything upside down halfway through the story. It is a brilliant turn of events, and one I did not see coming. It turned what was a pretty good story into a crazy great story.

Other than a scene at the end of the book that was really over-the-top, “One Perfect Lie” is a fantastic ride of a book, and I tip my hat to the author, she really fooled me.

If you like your mysteries set in days of yore, Lauren Willig’s “The English Wife” is set in Cold Springs, NY in 1899. Bay Van Duyvil, a wealthy American heir, had a replica built of his English wife Annabelle’s family home on the banks of the Hudson River. 
The English Wife

On the day of their big Twelfth Night Ball to show their new home to the elite, Bay is stabbed and Annabelle is missing. Did she run away with the architect of the house, with whom she was rumored to be having an affair? And how to explain that Bay’s sister Janie saw Annabelle’s body floating in the Hudson?

Janie teams up with a newspaper reporter to find out what happened to Bay and Annabelle. The story shifts back and forth in time, from 1895 London where Bay and Annabelle met to 1899 Cold Springs. 

There are so many great characters here-  Janie, London dance hall performer Georgie, Bay’s nasty mother Alva, and Bay and Janie’s cousin Anne who stole Janie’s fiancee and was a bit too close to Bay.

There are also lots of secrets and secret alliances in “The English Wife” that keep the reader on her toes. The attention to period detail is also so well done here, you’ll feel like you are in 1899 as your read this terrific novel. 

1 comment:

  1. I read The Woman in the Window and thought it was terrific!