Film editor Marissa Dahl has had a string of less than stellar assignments, owing, perhaps to her quirky personality and behavior; she has a good eye for editing, though, and is hired as the replacement editor for legendary director Tony Rees on a film depicting the unsolved murder of a young starlet decades ago. Marissa doesn’t learn much about the assignment other than it requires her to travel to Kickout Island, a small island off the coast of Delaware and a long non-disclosure agreement. Once she arrives, she doesn’t learn much else about the production, other than it has been riddle with accidents, firings, and more rumors than she would normally expect on a movie set. At the hotel she meets two teenage girls, Grace Portillo and Suzy Koh, intent on solving the murder, drawing Marissa, who they realize can access “insider information” under the guise of research for work, into the investigation. Full of movie references and industry gossip, this sophomore thriller intersperses a post-production podcast providing additional details into Marissa’s time in on the set and subsequent film references.
Over a decade ago, FBI agent Reed Markham rescued a then Now, that teenager is Ellery Hathaway, a policeman from Boston who has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation deeming her fit for duty. Reed, having just learned that the man he thought was his adoptive father, State Senator Angus Markham, is actually his biological father and decides it’s time to investigate his mother’s murder, a crime that occurred over forty years ago with a young Reed, then Joey, lying in a crib in the next bedroom. With a clear calendar for the foreseeable future, Ellery agrees to travel to Las Vegas, where the crime occurred, with Reed to discover what happened to Camilla. At first, Reed gets a lot of cooperation from the local law enforcement, but soon gets pushback, though he’s not sure if they don’t want their resources going to a decades old murder, or if someone knows something they want to hide. One thing is clear, what Reed learns along the way is enough to destroy certain people and the lives they’ve created for themselves, including his own. At the same time, Ellery’s long estranged father is reaching out to her and she must decide if she is willing to let him back into her life, and for how long. A growing relationship adds to tensions between Reed and Ellery as they each struggle to overcome their pasts and shape their futures. This outstanding second entry into a series with strong, complex, compelling characters will appeal to fans of Julie Keller.
teen aged Abby Hathaway from a killer.
Ten years ago, an LA jury acquitted Bobby Nock, an African American teacher of killing his 15-year-old student Jessica Silver, with whom he was having an affair. Maya Seale, now a defense attorney was the only original not guilty vote, and was able to convince her fellow jurors to acquit. Now, the jurors are reassembling for a docuseries on the case and fellow juror Rick claims to have evidence refuting their verdict, even though Jessica’s body has never been found. Rick’s body is found in Maya’s hotel room and she becomes the number one suspect and not investigates with all the zeal of an attorney in order to clear her name. Told in the present through Maya’s eyes, and in the past by each juror, this legal thriller has plenty of twists and turns, and drawn out tension until the very end.
On the way home to her family one rainy night, veterinarian Cassie Larkin sees a man attacking a woman on the side of the road; Cassie calls 911 and then jumps out of her car to help the woman with little disregard for her own safety. The attacker threatens Cassie to leave the woman alone, and then steals Cassie’s car. Cassie is shaken as the attacker has her car and can find where she and her husband Sam live with their two children Leo and Audrey. The next night, Sam is trick-or-treating with Audrey, calls Cassie and says “we need to talk” and then disappears. It seems to Cassie Sam has been having an affair and wants out of their marriage; but then threats begin, and someone is very close to her family, but why and who, has something against Cassie, she cannot fathom. One thing is clear, Carver Sweet hates her: but who is he, and why does he hate Cassie so much? Desperate, Cassie turns to her somewhat estranged father Red who provides the answers Cassie needs to locate her husband and children, and to unlock a past that has been kept well hidden. This well paced-plot slowly reveals the necessary details until everything falls into place for Cassie, a strong protagonist, who summons everything she has to save her family.
Helicopter Mom Julia Abbott lives for her children in the upscale neighborhood of Liston Heights, Minnesota; all her energies and activities are channeled toward her children, so much so that when she pops into school to see if her son Andrew has made the cast list for the upcoming musical, she accidentally elbows a student which is, of courses caught on a phone and goes viral, sending Julia into a downward spiral. English teacher Isobel Johnson is loved by the students, but not so much by the parents; Isobel’s progressive curriculum pushes the envelope with the conservative community as she explores social issues such as the motherhood penalty, white savior complex, and explores queer theory alongside The Great Gatsby. A pop-up Facebook group for parents of Liston Heights High gives the parents an open forum to complain about teachers, and each other, proving that it’s not just the students who can be the mean girls in high school. West lets no one off the hook as she explores parents, school administrators, and teachers, all profess to have the best interests of the children at heart, but who, under a microscope are all being pulled in many directions, not all of which align with the students’ needs. A frank portrait of an elite high school and its community shown through the eyes of the adults.
As a child, Alice Fine was kidnapped from her backyard, but rescued within 24-hours by her policeman father who immediately moved his family to Chicago where he joined his family construction firm; Alice hasn’t forgotten the ordeal and feels there is something she knows about her kidnapping that is just out of her reach and volunteers for the Doe Pages, a site dedicated to finding missing people hoping to remember an important piece of her past. When she recognizes the man she believes to be her kidnapper as a recent missing person post, Alice knows it’s time to step up her search. At the same time, Merrily Cruz is searching for a man she knows as her not-quite-step-father. When Alice and Merrily’s searches and paths ross, old lies and secrets are revealed and the two must detangle a web of deception that has been been with them almost their entire lives in this twisty thriller, the latest from Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark winner Rader-Day.
Seventeen-year-old Juniper Whitman and her family, mother, Julie, step-father Brad, and younger sister Lily, have moved to the Oak Knoll neighborhood in North Carolina; they had, what the neighbors consider, an extravagant house built on a lot they cleared, to the distress of their backyard neighbor Valerie Alston-Holt, all the trees, and possibly have damaged her oak tree in the process: an oak tree that becomes a metaphor for her son Xavier. Julie, who came from a poor background, and was a single mother for almost ten years, often seems almost grateful to Brad for choosing her; Brad is gregarious and outgoing, the owner of a successful HVAC company he built from the ground up, but he has an edge to him, such as mistaking Xavier, who is half-black, as a hired hand when Brad sees him cleaning up his yard, which his family either fails to see or overlooks. Juniper, who has taken a pledge of purity, and Xavier are drawn to each other, a relationship they keep from the Whitmans; when Valerie sues Brad Whitman and the company that built his house over her dying oak tree, things Brad’s true personality emerges, and things spiral out of control to the point of no return. Family dynamics are complicated, relationships with neighbors are complicated, and many social issues are touched upon: ecology, modern day race relations, and sexual harassment, in this first modern day novel from Fowler; back stories and commentary is provided by a first person plural narrator, much like a Greek chorus, claiming to represent the neighborhood. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Southern family fiction will enjoy this; book groups will find a lot to discuss.
Marcie is Jason Maddox’s second wife and knows how hard it is to be accepted into the elite social crowd of Georgia, all the while under the scrutiny of the legacy Southern belles, yet she can’t help but feel a little superior to Keisha when her husband, William Radford, many years her senior, returns from London with his new bride. Marcia begins to suspect Jason and Keisha have a mutual attraction and befriends Keisha if for no other reason, than to keep an eye on her. Keisha has her own agenda, encouraged by a ragtag assortment of relatives, con men and voodoo women, and very few people are surprised when William is found near death. The surprise comes when they learn who else is a suspect in the attack, and who sides with whom, all leading up to a final evil twist that some readers might think they see coming, but as with Pinborough’s earlier novels, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
What begins as a quiet story of a vacation in paradise turns deadly when a teenage girl’s body is found in a cay and two local men arrested, but then quickly released; years later in New York, Alison’s sister Claire searches for answers as to what happened to her sister on the island and learns more about the sister she realizes she never really knew as she follows one of the men arrested in connection with her sister’s disappearance.. This family drama slowly draws readers in as a search for the truth that turns into an obsession. This debut novel will be hard to put down, but it deserves to be read slowly so as not to miss a thing.
Late one night, Aidan Poole is Skyping with his girlfriend Zoe when he hears sounds of a struggle off screen. Aidan is desperate to learn what has happened to Zoe, but delays in calling the police and reports the incident anonymously. Detective Jonah Sheens is suspicious from the very beginning and wants to find out who reported the incident certain it will lead to a suspect. As the police investigate, they uncover many suspects who might have killed Zoe in a fit of passion or in a jealous rage. The months leading up to her murder are told from her point of view, exploring the relationship between her and Aidan, her roommate and best friend, Maeve and Angeline, and a co-worker Victor who was carrying a torch for Zoe. As each person and their relationship with Zoe is revealed, it becomes even more unclear who may have murdered her. The narrative is effective, told in alternating timelines, making a good case for several suspects, but only one was crafty enough to almost get away with murder. This sophomore effort from Lodge is every bit as compelling as her first thriller, She Lies in Wait.
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