Tag: thriller

Jun 16

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Mystery 11

Howdy Bookworms!

Wow, you guys! Four posts this week?! I AM ON FIRE! BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! Reviewathon, FTW! Today we’re talking about another one of the books I got at BEA. I was wandering aimlessly by myself (for what purpose I can’t remember) when I saw Florinda standing in line to get a book signed. I hopped in the line to chat up Florinda and got a book signed for myself with no idea who the author was or what the book was about. Turns out, I make pretty solid decisions when I’m oblivious, because the book I picked up was Before the Fall by Noah Hawley.

beforethefallWhen I went to start this book, I read a smidge of the “about the author” segment which informed me that Noah Hawley is a successful television writer and totally writes for Fargo, which Hubs and I watched obsessively last season. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know this beforehand or I’d likely have asked something weird and embarrassing about Kirsten Dunst or The Mother from How I Met Your Mother. Yep. Case in point of how much I suck at life. I don’t know the name of the actress who played “The Mother.” (I just looked it up. Her name is Cristin Milioti. Maybe I’ll remember that now.) Do TV writers even get to meet the cast? I honestly have no idea. But I’d have said something dumb, that’s for darn sure.

I was supposed to be discussing a book, wasn’t I? Alright, Before the FallOne summer night, a down on his luck painter finds himself riding in a private plane from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. The plane belongs to a television mogul and his family, and they’re accompanied by some friends and the crew. Unfortunately, the plane goes down en route shortly after takeoff. The only two survivors are the painter and the four year old son of the television mogul. The book artfully weaves between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew. In the present, a series of odd coincidences cause media speculation to spiral out of control while the two survivors grapple with notoriety and loss.

I’m not usually huge on the whole mystery-suspense-thriller front, but I’ve got to admit I was fully engrossed in this read from page one. I was invested in the characters and MAN did I want to punch Bill Cunningham in his smug horrible face. (Bill Cunningham is a controversial TV pundit who works for the late mogul’s news network and his is absolutely THE WORST.) This is a good one, folks, give it a read!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Who was the last fictional character you wanted to pummel?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receives a small commission.*

 

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May 26

The Girl With All the Gifts by MR Carey

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Psychological, Zombies 12

Holy Macaroni, Bookworms.

I’m not sure how coherent this post is going to be, because I’m still trying to figure out how to get my jaw off the floor. I recently decided to put my Audible subscription on hold because Scribd is a better deal for my voracious audio book appetite at this time. However, before pulling the proverbial plug, I needed to use up one last credit. I checked my “I Want To Read This” list and hunted for something I could get on Audible that I couldn’t get on Scribd and VOILA! The Girl With All the Gifts by MR Carey seemed like a fabulous option.

thegirlwithallthegiftsRemember a while back when I was talking about Zone One (review) and praising the fact that Colson Whitehead took a different approach to the zombie genre? The Girl With All the Gifts did that. Times a zillion.

Melanie is a little girl. She lives in a cell and each day she’s brought to school after being thoroughly strapped into a wheelchair while being held at gunpoint. All the other children in her class are given subject to the same living conditions and restraints. Despite the odd treatment, Melanie is at the top of her class and adores one of her teachers, Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau treats the children kindly, despite the fact that they’re restrained. I don’t know how to discuss this book without getting spoilery, though I don’t suppose it’s much of a leap to guess why the military personnel don’t laugh when Melanie jokes that she “won’t bite.”

This book was SO GOOD, you guys. I was expecting to enjoy it, but egads it was amazing. Elements of the book reminded me at times of The Passage by Justin Cronin (review) and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (review) but it still maintained a level of originality that blew me away. Just pick up the book, dagnabit, words are failing me.

Talk to me Bookworms! What was the last book you read that left you awestruck? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Feb 05

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Psychological 21

Greetings Bookworms,

There’s little that drives me as crazy as when EVERYONE is raving about a book and I haven’t read it yet. Right now, that book is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and heck yes I read it! How could I not? I mean, everyone is calling it the next Gone Girl (review). I wouldn’t necessarily go there, but it’s still a good book, so let’s get to it!

thegirlonthetrainSo there’s this gal named Rachel. She commutes into London on the same train every day. She’s a bit of a sad sack, mourning the loss of her marriage and drowning her sorrows in booze. (Uh, side note. Since when are pre-mixed gin and tonics in a can a thing? Is this only available in England? I love G&T but I don’t drink often so my seltzer always goes flat before I use it up. I need these in my life.) She spends her commute fantasizing about a couple she often sees out on their terrace, as one does. One day, she sees something that shatters her view of the perfect couple and a whole lot of crazy goes down.

You know thrillers aren’t normally my thing so I don’t have a much in the way of grounds for comparison, but I thought The Girl on the Train was pretty great. I wasn’t wouldn’t say I was fully gobsmacked at any point during the book, but I certainly didn’t see where things were going until Hawkins was good and ready for me to know where things were going. It really irks me when I figure things out way ahead of time, so this was a HUGE factor in me digging this book. Well played, Ms. Hawkins! If you’ve got a hankering for a little psychological thriller goodness, you need to check out The Girl on the Train

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do you ever make up stories for people you regularly pass? Perhaps people watch and make up lives for folks? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Which I will spend in my quest to find canned Gin and Tonics stateside!*

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Nov 06

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK is a saucy minx)

Audio Books, Mystery 23

Howdy Bookworms!

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I don’t typically go in for thrillers and mysteries. I do, however, go in for all things JK Rowling. If I didn’t know that Robert Galbraith was JK Rowling incognito, the odds of me ever picking up The Cuckoo’s Calling were nil. Luckily, someone leaked Robert Galbraith’s identity, and I’m confirmed in my suspicions that JK Rowling can write anything. I’m also confirmed in my suspicions that my library’s selection of digital audio books is completely awesome.

thecuckoo'scallingThe Cuckoo’s Calling begins by introducing a down-on-his-luck private detective named Cormoran Strike. After having his leg blown off in Afghanistan, he left his military career behind and went out on his own to decidedly disappointing effect. He’s just split up with his emotional roller coaster of a fiance and he owes money to just about everyone and their mom. It’s almost cliche, really, but somehow it stays out of of kitschy place. Just as Strike is on the verge of complete collapse, he’s visited by the distraught brother of a recently deceased supermodel. Though Lula Landry’s death has been ruled a suicide by the police, John Bristow begs Strike to investigate the case. He simply doesn’t believe his adoptive sister jumped to her death from her apartment balcony. He thinks foul play must be involved.

I can’t help but think that Rowling’s own fame influenced the way she portrayed the paparazzi-hounded Lula Landry. I imagine press coverage has died down a bit since Harry Potter has been a (mostly) a closed book in recent years, but I think that insight was helpful in imagining what super A-list celebrities deal with on a daily basis.

I should probably dabble in thrillers more often, because I found this book quite a lot of fun. Dark and twisty characters, mysterious motives, scandals, and a lovely variety of English accents? (Did I mention the narrator was brilliant?) What’s not to love? A colorful cast of quirky characters and varying degrees of dastardly behaviors made The Cuckoo’s Calling a winner for me. It also made me happy that I’m not obscenely wealthy and constantly photographed. I would TOTALLY end up on the cover of a tabloid picking a wedgie… Or my nose. Siiigh.

Talk to me, Bookworms! If you were a celebrity, what embarrassing situation would you most likely be caught in?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Mar 26

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Book Club, Coming of Age, Psychological 24

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

Remember last month when I got all philosophical about choosing a book for book club because last month’s selection in my neighborhood book club (cleverly named My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors) hit a sour note? You can click HERE if you’re interested. But you’ll be happy to know that this month’s selection worked out infinitely better for me. This month we read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, and WHOA.

ReconstructingAmelia hc c.JPGKate is a high powered lawyer living with her teenage daughter Amelia in Brooklyn. Kate has raised Amelia on her own since unexpectedly finding herself pregnant in law school. Kate has done her best to balance her career and single motherhood, though she feels guilty much of the time that her career has won out. When she’s called to Amelia’s hoity toity private school in the middle of an important meeting, she is frustrated. The situation that awaits her is more tragic than she ever imagined. Amelia fell to her death from the school’s roof.

Because dealing with the death of your child isn’t horrifying enough, Kate begins to get mysterious text messages saying that her daughter didn’t commit suicide. Kate embarks on a journey into investigating what was going on in her daughter’s life leading up to her untimely demise and what she uncovers is a whole lot more than she bargained for.

The hoity toity private school is a hotbed of elitism, secret societies, bullying, and all kinds of psychological warfare. Reading about this school, I have never been so grateful to have been raised thoroughly middle class. I went to high school where nobody gave a crap. Seriously. Heck, my school could barely even muster the energy for a traditional social hierarchy, never mind an elaborate set of secret social clubs.

As you probably know, psychological thrillers and murder mysteries aren’t typically my jam, but the addition of the scandalous school elements, really sucked me in. Two thumbs up, kiddos!

Alright Bookworms, I’ve got to know. Was your high school experience ANYTHING like what you’ve seen in pop culture?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Aug 01

The Silent Wife… Says Farewell

Book Club, Mystery, Psychological 36

Hey There, Bookworms!

In case you’re new here, you should know that I’m an equal opportunity bookworm. Much as I absolutely ADORE you, my digital community, I sometimes interact with people face to face. In fact, I am a part of not one but TWO in-real-life book clubs. I refer to one as “Wine and Whining” and the other as “My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors.” I’m very literal in my descriptions. Anyway. This month’s selection for My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors was bittersweet.

That’s right, one of my neighbors is moving and shall no longer be my neighbor… Except in spirit, obviously. I don’t know that she’d be pleased with me using her actual name, so I’ll give her a pseudonym. We’ll call her Agatha. Agatha is a fabulous neighbor and a great book club member. She is retired now, but she used to work as a psychologist (or something closely related) PLUS her brother lives on a mountain with goats. You really can’t beat a book club member who can speak with authority on the human mind AND goats. (Alright, she’s not a goat expert or anything, but any time you can work goats into conversation, you do it!)

silentwife

Since Agatha is moving, she chose this month’s book. She toyed with the idea of choosing Gone Girlbut since most of us had read it already, she opted for The Silent Wife: A Novel by A.S.A. Harrison. (No lie, I totally Freudian slipped while typing that and put in A. S. S. I wouldn’t mention it if it weren’t COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE for this book. Seriously, the dog was named Freud!) Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, “So and so would LOVE this!” The Silent Wife is SUCH an Agatha book.

So here’s the deal. Jodi and Todd are married. Well, married-ish. They’ve been living together 20+ years and consider themselves to be in a common law marriage. They live in Illinois, which is NOT a state that recognizes common law marriage (this fact becomes rather important.) Jodi cooks, keeps house, and sees patients in her part time practice as a psychologist. Todd is a real estate developer who divides his time between his comfortable “marriage” and his busy adultery schedule. He likes ’em young, and sometimes, professional (oh yeah people. I’m talking hookers.) Jodi’s not dumb. She’s aware of the infidelity, but since Todd always comes home to her, she’s willing to overlook it. A very modern approach, if you will.

This all works out fairly well, the denial, the cheating, the cute dog named Freud… Until Todd knocks up his young chippy (who happens to be the daughter of his best friend.) Todd is SUCH a slimeball. I mean, he’s got a back story that explains WHY he’s a slimeball, but still. Gross, right? So, the pregnant side girlfriend throws a major monkey wrench into the whole business, and craziness ensues.

Freud also suffers from Snarky Eyebrow Syndrome. (Source)

Freud also suffers from Snarky Eyebrow Syndrome. (Source)

The Silent Wife was billed as the next Gone Girl. I think the blurb writer was aiming too high in that description. That’s probably part of the reason this book fell flat for me. There were some twists, the occasional turn… But overall I felt like I could see them coming. I had too much knowledge of each character’s past and motivations to be well and truly SHOCKED by anything. Plus, well… This isn’t typically my genre. Psychological thrillers (really, thrillers in general) tend not to be my cuppa. That said, to a receptive audience, this book would be great. It’s solidly written and well characterized, just not really my bag. It is, however, a TOTAL Agatha read. If you gravitate toward this genre (Charleen of Cheap Thrills, I’m looking at you. And Lyssa of Psychobabble. You too.) The Silent Wife might just be a winner.

It makes me a little sad to know Agatha won’t be around in the coming months to push me out of my reading comfort zone. Perhaps we can just Skype her into the meetings. Just because we’re an IRL book club doesn’t mean we can’t utilize technology, right?

Since we’re on the subject of neighbors, I’m sure you’ve ALL got stories. Good neighbors, bad neighbors, apartment neighbors who regularly bring home strange men and give you fleas (oh wait, was that JUST me?) Tell me your neighbor stories!

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