window to the world

6 Jan

it arrived in my kindle queue in the first days the publishing world started promoting it, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn, destined to be the number one thriller of 2018. this is the one, readers, the promos claimed, the one you’ve been waiting for since Gillian Flynn first turned the genre on its head with the unstoppable book, GONE GIRL

relief, fellow readers, the book is worth its hype. the book however, is more than just a psychological thriller, more than just an ode to Hitchcock and Vertigo and Night Must Fall, and other classic films. the author is well versed in these old films, and the skill in which Finn uses the timing and places of snippets from these stories, and weaves them  within THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is extraordinary.

but, for me, the story is more than just a thriller, a suspenseful mystery. it is in fact an observation of the society we live in  – a paradox of the technology that isolates us but also brings us together. it is a story about the people who turn their back on us in a tough situation, and about those who stay to help. it is a story about family. it is a story about who do we trust, and how do we move forward, and how do we move away…

from the window

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Ferocity

29 Dec

there is a line near the end of Ferocity, the newly translated novel from Strega award winner, Italian author, Nicola Lagioia, “the lipstick was not slutty or childish” and that is really all you have to know about Lagioia as a writer – his female characters are either sluts or children, mostly sluts, though, scantily clad, adulterous and luring any man  into a hotel room.

I had looked forward with ferocity to reading the story and it got more and more dismal as my kindle fire lit the way. Clara is the town tramp (and that’s putting it nicely). her father, Vittorio fits every stereotype of a godfather type presence.  set in Bari, southern Italy it is a story we’ve all heard before, corrupt real estate dealings, toxic land, drug use. Annamarie, the long suffering wife of Vittorio is forced to raise the black sheep son, Michele, of her husband’s mistress when she dies giving birth. there is Gioia, who is another thinly veiled female character depicted sipping water, weaving in and out of pages in her pajamas, running through the yard, and finally taking over her dead sister’s persona on Twitter. Ruggero is the eldest son, an oncologist who tracks his father’s sinister dealings as if he were maintaining a medical chart.

did Clara kill herself? can you blame her, really – just to get out of the plot she is in and find another book!

the prose can be suspenseful. the writing is skilled, but the story line is banal, stereotypical. there isn’t one female character in the story who isn’t humiliated, emotionally, physically or mentally.

#ciao

love a debut

12 Nov

THE LAST MRS. PARRISH is the recent debut by Liv Constantine  and is an ominous title. is Mrs. Parrish missing? is she dead? who is the last Mrs. Parrish? the thriller is fast paced and will keep readers flipping the pages. it is mostly a cloak and dagger mystery with characters trying to outwit one another for personal gain – which may include extreme wealth, or trying to snag somebody else’s husband.

Liv Constantine is the author or authors, who happen to be two sisters and co-authored this sinister story. there is a part in the middle of the book where I could distinctly tell the second writer had written the chapter, the character’s “voice” changed so dramatically as did the storyline.

Daphne is the long suffering wife. Amber is the poor, small town girl who has plotted and calculated to get close to Daphne so she can get close to Daphne’s husband, Jackson, who is handsome and wealthy.

take this book on a plane ride, or when you’re sitting on a beach. most readers will be clever enough to figure out the next move by the first…or is it the last Mrs. Parrish.

 

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don’t let me down

4 Sep

the last couple years it was gone, girl and the girl on the train, and all the missing girls. this summer, I seemed to find myself immersed in lies – THE LYING GAME, EVERY LAST LIE, THE WEIGHT OF LIES. I can’t say I had a particularly good summer of reading, all these lies let me down, the authors crafted suspenseful stories, but did not deliver an ending satisfying to me as a reader.

I keep giving Ruth Ware another chance after her debut, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, which I think was the best of her three novels so far, although some readers will disagree with me. THE LYING GAME holds you as the reader and you want to complete the story, but the ending, really?? I also did not like the description of the townspeople, which I thought was stereotypical, if not a bit insulting.

Mary Kubica’s EVERY LAST LIE was a departure from her previous novels, and wasn’t really a mystery in a lot of ways, so if you think about the story as a character driven novel, it can work, sort of, but I expected a bit more.

THE WEIGHT OF LIES by Emily Carpenter was a freebie in the kindle lending library and proved to be worth a lot more. this book is a quick read and I didn’t guess the twist, which may seem obvious to some readers, but I thought the pacing of this story really helped deliver its final heavy blow. I wasn’t sure I would like the plot within a plot with the horror writer mother character and the book, KITTEN woven in between chapters. I did not like A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS (although award winning) by Paul Tremblay for this reason, not the same plot, but a similar plot device.

B.A. Paris returned with THE BREAKDOWN (see previous post), a double entendre title (woot!), but again left me disappointed in the end.

my favorite book of summer was SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS by J. Courtney Sullivan, one of the most underrated contemporary writers today. I would like to see this book be nominated for a National Book Award. this was not a mystery and a more serious plot, but a plot too that is based on a lie, or shall we say a cover up, and is a family drama about two sisters and the choices made and the decades long consequences.

I am looking forward to Fall into some other genres next- stay tuned!

breaking it down

22 Jul

what I liked about the much anticipated new novel by B.A Paris (BEHIND CLOSED DOORS) was the double entendre title, THE BREAKDOWN. the book starts off with a slow roll  on a rainy night down a deserted winding road where as the reader, you can feel your clammy hands grip the steering wheel as the rain pelts at the window, as the wipers screech achingly across the windshield. the car passes a broken down vehicle and whoa, wait, is that a person inside the car?  will you stop? will you call the police for help?

turn the page and main protagonist, Cass is home with her handsome and understanding husband and they cook a lot of curry, tend to the garden and Cass slowly descends into madness. is she having a breakdown? she can’t remember ordering the deliveries that arrive at her door, oops did she tell people to come for a BBQ today? where did she park the car? 

the cop out pill popping storyline ensues and Cass sinks further into her sofa. 

the plot is thought out, however ordinary it may turn out to be. the writing is good, the parcel is tied in a bow, with all the pieces explained, but there isn’t really a wow factor, and the seasoned reader can see where this road is going from a mile away.

you

11 Jun

I devoured these two books by Caroline Kepnes, YOU and HIDDEN BODIES, both of these stories take you inside the thinking of fictional serial killer, Joe Goldberg, written from the serial killer’s point of view. Joe is a serial killer with emotion, however, and what makes the book(s) a skilled read, is the brilliant commentary about current culture.

Joe basically kills everyone who hurts him in some way, or gets in his way, but as mentioned above, each book peels the rind off the world we live in, from social media to the internet, to the middle class and the upper class, to societal norms and family secrets – what is you, and what is hidden.

you should definitely take these books with you on your summer vacation!

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snowball effect

12 Mar

hunker down with these two books!

both of these books are mysteries and have a common denominator, what I want to call the snowball effect of the decisions made by the mother character in each of these stories.

THE ICE TWINS by SK Tremayne is intense with atmosphere and an icy cold desolate background. one twin is dead or which twin died exactly, but as I mentioned above, this story is really about the slow fall of the choices made by the mother that is the catalyst for this story.

THE PERFECT GIRL by Gilly Macmillan is a page turner and you’re not sure where the  plot will take you next, haunting the reader similar to the style found in  Jessica Knoll’s heartbreaker, THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE.  we follow Macmillan’s piano playing protagonist through her shame and guilt, but it is ultimately her mother’s choices that has got her here.

in both books it is subtle, but you don’t have to look too hard to see this common link and the snowball effect that will take you through each story, full of suspense, yet at the same time filled with a certain sorrow.

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