Saturday, December 7, 2019

'Tis the Season...for New Books

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Thursday is married to Seth---who is also married to two other women whom they refer to as “Monday” and “Tuesday”.  He visits Thursday on Thursdays in Seattle but lives in Portland the rest of the time.  Thursday knows very little about his other wives, though she is under the impression they are both okay with the less than orthodox arrangement.  When Thursday finds a piece of paper in Seth’s pocket with the name of one of his wives, Hannah, on it, she decides she needs to find out more about who she shares her husband with, and then becomes more curious about the third, and most elusive wife.  When, after befriending Hannah, Thursday sees bruises on Hannah’s arms, she becomes convinced Seth is abusive and things quickly spiral out of control as Thursday doesn’t know who she can trust, least of all, her husband Seth in this twisted cat and mouse game where the truth is elusive and reality is what you---or Thursday---make of it.

The Network by L.C. Shaw

This stand-alone, written by one-half of the pseudonymous Liv Constantine is the story of investigative journalist Jack Logan who has been asked by Senator Malcolm Phillips to take care of his wife Taylor if anything happens to him; of course he is found dead, and Taylor believes what looks like an allergy attach was in fact murder, and he and Jack find themselves on the run, but from whom they do not know, nor do they know what their connection to the Institution means to Malcolm’s death and how it will affect their futures.  This fast-paced techno/medial thriller is in a different vein than readers have come to expect from the sisters Constantine, but is an engaging read nonetheless. 

Thin Ice by Paige Shelton
Bestselling author Beth Rivers escaped from a kidnapper who held and tortured her; as soon as she was well enough, she signed herself out of the hospital and disappeared to Benedict, Alaska with only a rucksack and a typewriter.  Trying to keep a low profile, Beth finds the people in the town curious, but willing to give her the space she needs; the police detective assigned to Beth’s case contacts the local police chief, asking him to keep an eye on Beth, difficult to do when one of the locals, Linda Rafferty is found dead.  With her background as a writer, Beth finds herself running the local newspaper, such as it is, and when the chief learns of the skills Beth learned being an aide her grandfather who was also a small town police chief, he asks for an outsider’s view point.  Beth is still skittish, though, as her kidnapper has not been caught, and some of the details of this murder make her wonder if her assailant is closer than she realizes.  This mystery is a little grittier than Shelton’s Scottish Bookshop series, with a strong, desolate, isolated setting, comfortably peculiar characters and a backstory that will be a strong backbone for the series.

Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn

Cedar Valley, Colorado detective Gemma Monroe is a month away from her wedding to the father of her daughter and wants nothing more to enjoy a night of trick or treating with her family and then get back to wedding plans.  A quick break to see longtime family friend retired Judge Caleb Montgomery ends with an explosion that kills Caleb, an investigation that will quickly shatter Gemma’s world.  Gemma is told to stand down from the investigation as she is too close to it, Caleb being a longtime friend of her grandfather, Bull, who raised her, but she insists on being involved, especially as Caleb confided to her just before the explosion that he had been the recipient of some explicate death threats, not uncommon in his field, but very specific and disturbing, especially as her was retired.  When a second man is murdered, Gemma finds herself turning her attention to a local theater group who is about to debut their newly renovated theater with a production of Macbeth which is proving to live up to its cursed legacy.  Gemma, hoping to wrap up the investigation before she says “I do” agrees to an interview with a convicted murderer in prison, who may have shed more light on the murder than he realizes, as Gemma soon draws parallels with murders that were committed in the past.  A solid entry into this series featuring a strong female detective who has settled down and matured, the plot is as complex and compelling as Gemma.

Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard
Natalie Lockhart is a newly promoted police detective in her hometown in upstate New York when a beloved teacher Daisy is found murdered in her kitchen.  Daisy’s husband Brandon is on the force with Natalie and is devastated by the loss of his wife; he immediately identifies a suspect, one of Daisy’s students, Riley Skinner, and flies off to confront him; Riley collapses before Brandon reaches him, but places Brandon under suspicion.  Natalie also has a personal connection to Daisy, who was one of the group of friends who included Natalie’s older sister Grace, and a now homeless woman Bunny.  The case has eerie echoes to the death of Natalie and Grace’s older sister Lindsey, ten years ago, but, Natalie thinks, may also be connected to a string of unsolved local deaths of young women over the last ten years.  This complex, heartbreaking start to a new series is filled with compelling characters, especially Natalie, whose makes peace with her family and their past, looking forward to a hopeful future.

Don't miss the Top 10 Books of 2019 as voted on by librarians across the country: