Thursday, July 19, 2018

Aftermath

Title: Aftermath
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: May 22nd 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 371 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

When it comes to the aftermath of high school shootings, very little notice is given to the family members of the shooters. Kelley Armstrong opens this door with the story of Skye Gilchrist, a sixteen-year-old high schooler who returns to her hometown, to live with her Aunt Mae, three years after her brother Luka was killed by the police.

Skye had no choice in returning, her mother had spiraled further into her depression and authorities said her grandmother was unable to continue caring for her. That left overworked Aunt Mae who had sworn to Skye that her best friend Jesse, the brother of one of the shooting victims, was not at the school and that Skye could have a clean start since no one would remember whom she was. That was wishful thinking on both their parts given that every person and family member who witnessed the tragedy that day remembered. Her brother’s actions affected everyone and no one will let her forget since you are “not allowed to grieve someone like Luka”.

Bullied and the victim of near deadly pranks, Skye continues to brave each day. Her aunt lied -- Jesse is there. This angry sulking boy is now the school’s track star with a chance at college recognition. This is not his dream; he wants to give his parents a place in the stands, the place they held when his brother Jamil was the family standout.

As Jesse and Skye come to terms with their shared past, and where they now fit in the community, they are faced with the need to bring the truth of the shooting to light. There are unlikely alliances, surprising forgiveness, and compassion in this book. No one at the school wants to listen, these two misfits are just odd attention seekers, but the facts are still there and they need to be seen in a new light. The question is -- who is the person behind the scenes pushing for the truth and if not for Jesse and Skye to do the bidding, who will seek justice?

Told in alternating voices, the reader sees their plight unfold. The truth is out there, why did people lie during the investigation? Was there an intentional cover up? Who wants the police report revealed to the public? Will families finally receive answers and the ability to move forward? There are only two people who can put things right, and while in the midst of a budding romance, find their way to the truth and to each other.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Claws for Alarm

Title: Claws for Alarm
Author: Karen MacInerney
Published: May 30th 2018 by Gray Whale Press
Format: *eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery #8)

While hosting a yoga retreat on Cranberry Island, where everything should be Zen, Maine innkeeper Natalie Barnes is trying to keep the peace amid the retreat attendees who have begun bickering amongst themselves, and new island resident Francine Hodges who is trying to beautify the island to the annoyance of everyone she meets.

Now with Francine dead and Natalie’s best friend Claudette being questioned, the goats chomping their way across the island, mysterious notes, who really knows whom and from where, threats, ex-wives, new affairs, food fights in the island store, arson, and a few recipes. What more could a reader want? It appears Karen MacInerney is literally throwing everything into this fun romp.

It might be summer on the island, but for me, The Gray Whale Inn is a series I enjoy cozying up with. It is returning to memorable characters that entertain and amuse. Characters who are unique and when not solving murders, add a bit of humor to island life and will share a cookie or casserole with those in need. It might be because the islanders are also looking for information, but hey, a cookie is a cookie and if you have to share a bit of gossip to get it-- that still works.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Then She Was Gone

Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Published: April 17th 2018 by Atria Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 359 pages
Genre: Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Not thinking Lisa Jewell could outpace her previous book, “I See You”, she does so and more by taking the reader to the day when Laurel Mack’s life stopped – the day ten years prior when her daughter went missing.

Fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack was preparing for her upcoming exams, she was a bit nervous about the math portion, but as a gifted student, she could handle it. Maybe the help of a tutor would not be so bad, but after a bit, she realized the sessions were not going to work out. She would get through this on her own. While taking a break from her studies, she wanders out only to never return. People wanted to believe she was a runaway, the stress was too much, yet that was not the answer. An answer confirmed years later with the discovery of her bones, clothes, and backpack.

Ellie was Laurel’s golden child, she had two others, but in her mind, they were not Ellie and she found herself drifting away from them and from her own marriage. It was not their fault they could not measure up to the idealized Ellie. They were who they were and when Ellie disappeared, her extraordinary light went with her.

While sitting in a café, Floyd Dunn approaches Laurel and quickly the two begin a relationship. He is charming, but what unnerves Laurel is how much Floyd’s daughter Poppy looks like Ellie. How could the two not only shared physical characteristic, but also have the same mannerisms?

Maybe it is seeing Poppy that triggered Laurel to begin a relentless search for answers, yet it is not until the reader jumps ahead of Laurel that a connection is made and the twisted puzzle comes together. With the final piece in place, she will have her answers and hopefully, one by one, her family will forgive her and allow her to be in their lives again.

Told in alternating accounts, the reader bounces back and forth between Ellie, Laurel, Floyd’s wife, and Floyd himself. The narratives are not difficult to follow as Lisa Jewel is a master at giving each their own voice. Voices that will both disturb and satisfy you.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The 17th Suspect

Title: The 17th Suspect
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published: April 30th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 368 pgs
Genre: Suspense
Series: The Women's Murder Club

As much as I complain about the simplicity of a Patterson book, I always return to the Women’s Murder Club series. I cannot say each book is better than the previous, or even contain attention-grabbing plotlines, but there is something about the camaraderie of these women which brings me back.

Sergeant Lindsay Boxer is itching to get her hands on a series of homicides happening right outside her jurisdiction. Protocol says you do not step on the toes of other investigators even if they are discounting both the number of crimes and the homeless who are involved. Millie Crushing brings her concerns to Lindsay, but it is not until one fateful night when Lindsay can get involved.

Taking a lead from current headlines and flipping the narrative, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is in the middle of a scandalous case, making headlines all over town. Briana Hill, head of an advertising agency, is accused of assaulting a male subordinate at gunpoint. Sure, they had a previous relationship, but this time things went too far and Marc Christopher happened to record the whole thing. Thinking she has an open and shut case, Yuki does not listen to her own nagging doubts and in doing so, allows things to go too far until the truth is too hard for one person to take.

By the end of the book, there is no neat little bow. Decisions have to be made and futures decided. Yet the writing team will not make it easy for their readers. We will have to wait until the next installment to see how the women move their lives forward and how they will come together to support their own.