I'm always delighted when I read Jasper Fforde. His writing is playful, serious and agile. You never know what is coming until you finish the whole book, sit back and say "wait, did he just combine Dr. Seuss, Peter Rabbit, and interment camps? Yes, yes he did...Satire at it's best. I encourage you to sit back and enjoy the ride!
It's 1617 and a sudden storm has killed all the men in a small fishing village above the Artic circle in Norway. The women must re-imagine themselves and survive in the harsh climate. The language of this book envelops you like a cloud as it builds to it's inexorable ending. The women are kind and cruel as they bring about a storm that they cannot stop. The Mercies brings a little remembered historical event out of the fog.
Do you like police procedurals? Set in foreign countries? A bit on the lighter side? Underdog detectives? Then The Awkward Squad is perfect for you! Set in Paris, this misfit detective squad is assigned cases that other, more respectable units have given up on, or can't touch. Sophie Henaff brings a bit of joie de vivre to the otherwise serious business of solving crimes. I'm looking forward to more cases!
For an avid mystery reader, this book is deeply satisfying. Short stories are picked apart by a young editor and an older author, looking for a mathematical standard to the classic detective novel. Each story depicts a variation of victim, killer, and detective, and contain clues to another mystery. Puzzles within puzzles, and the final reveal...no spoilers from me, but it was unexpected in the best way!
It's not often that an adult author can transition to writing upper elementary age books, but Lev Grossman has nailed it! He hits that delicate balance of letting the kids voices and thoughts sound natural and not over explaining all while keeping the action moving. I was also super impressed by how deftly he snuck in so many animal and train facts. It would make a great book to read to your younger kids as well.
I love a good mystery, and this was a super fun read. I enjoyed all the references to other mysteries, and nods to booksellers everywhere. Since it was a quick read, it was perfect for a day on a plane or on a beach (or at home, if you happen to be stuck there.) Enjoy!
Bruce Holsinger must be a parent. It's the only way that can explain how accurately he captures how complicated it can be. Faced with a new Gifted School opening up (in a town that looks very much like Boulder) the parents vie for spots for their kids. Holsinger really digs down into the emotions and drives of these parents, with real care for his characters. It reads quickly, but will linger with you.
Our hero, S.T, is on a quest to save his favorite things. There is a slight problem — he is a crow, and one of his favorite things is humans and they have all become zombies. S.T. is a delightful observer of the world that he lives in, has a fantastic grasp of the insult, and has a lot to learn about being a bird. I laughed out loud, I cried, and I developed a Cheeto™ habit.
Bless you, Kate Atkinson, for bringing back Jackson Brodie! I have loved all of Kate's works, but I originally fell in love with her through Jackson Brodie. His stumbling through life, relationships, and mysteries with his mix of cynicism and hope touch me in a wonderful way. I love that you are intimate with these characters and through them, see that people are never one thing or the other but everything all at once.
I started Ruin of Kings on an long flight, and I didn't even notice the 8 hours, because I was so involved in the story. Epic and complex world building, dynamic and terrifying characters, political intrigue and blood feuds that have lasted centuries … Very, very satisfying! Reminded me of the first time I read The Name of the Wind.
As a fan of "the Classic Age of British Crime Novels" The Sentence is Death fills me with delight. Anthony Horowitz manages to inject himself into his own mysteries in a seamless and extraordinary way. His writing is cheeky, the concept is daring, and he — as himself — comes off as slightly petulant but somehow charming, just like all of my favorite characters of yore.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is short, tense and wonderful. One sister is beautiful and deadly, the other plain and efficient. Oyinikan Braithwaite gives us a glimpse into how a society values beauty. The sisters seem like two halves of a whole, each supporting and providing something to the other. A lovely little short read that won't take up to much space in your bag, but will take up a big space in your mind.
Kate Atkinson is an amazing writer. I adore her handling of her characters, bringing the little nuances out so subtlety that when you put it down you have to step back to see the whole because you have been IN the story and WITH Juliet Armstrong so intimately. I am always blown away, and this new book was no exception.
Anthony Horowitz takes the Agatha Christie-style mystery and doubles down in this ingenious novel. When an author of a popular detective series is found dead, his editor starts looking for clues and the missing pages of his latest book. Christie reverences abound and the whole set up is wonderfully clever and delightful. Great for fans of British mysteries, both modern and vintage.
Given the unreliable narrator trend, it's hard to really give readers something new. Sometimes I Lie totally hit the mark. Amber is in a coma when the book opens, but she can hear. The story is told in 3 timelines, before the accident, what Amber can hear, and excerpts from a diary when she was a kid. I had to work very hard to untangle myself from the story when it was over, because the end was brilliant.
Long has Kelly Barnhill impressed me with her amazing middle grade novels (winning the Newbery last year). Her wonderful use of language and stunning imagery make her such a delight to read. The way she places each word and emphasis to get every last nuance out of the sentence never ceases to astound. Each of these short stories in this adult collection will surprise and leave the reader breathless.
Meg Howrey takes 3 astronauts, puts them in isolation and shows us remarkable observations into love and life in her new book, The Wanderers. Told from the view points of the astronauts and the people they leave behind, the reader is encouraged to look beyond roles we play and determine what is real and what is a façade. And in the end does it matter? I will be thinking about this book for a long time.
This was my first Colin Cotterill novel, and it will NOT be my last! I have fallen in love with Dr. Siri, Madame Daeng and the rest of the crew. The intertwining mysteries involving various forms of Buddhism can only have happened in Communist Lao, a country as wacky and interesting as the characters themselves. If you like fun, insightful and foreign mysteries, I encourage you to give Colin Cotterill a try!