Monday, November 20, 2017

Julie's Journal : What I've Been Reading

Yesterday, I finished The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware.  I have read both of Ms. Ware's two previous books, In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10.  Of the three, I enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 the most.  In the psychological suspense genre, I expect a little more suspense than I got in The Lying Game.  Isa is a new mother and a civil service lawyer.  She lives in London with her partner, Owen and their child.  One day, in the middle of the night, she receives a cryptic three word text - "I need you".  It is from her childhood friend, Kate.  She immediately packs up her baby and heads for Salten, where she had gone to boarding school for one brief summer the year she was 15.  At Kate's home, she is reunited with their two other boarding school friends, Thea and Fatima.  They have supposedly come back for their 15 year reunion dinner, but in fact a body has been found.  They must figure out what their story will be about the night Kate's father disappeared.  The suspense in this book has to do more with the why's of the events rather than the events themselves.  I felt like too much was revealed too soon, and the suspense never had a chance to build.  I never felt like I was hanging onto the edge of my seat.

Another recent read, Emma in the Night, by Wendy Walker, was a more satisfying psychological suspense book.  Three years ago, Emma and her sister, Cass, disappeared.  Emma's car was found along the shore, along with a pair of her shoes.  The only trace of Cass was a single hair in the car.  The authorities never discovered what happened to them.  Now, only Cass has returned.  She begins telling a story of an island and a home with a couple who advertised that they "help" teenage runaways.  Her constant refrain to authorities is "Find Emma; you must find Emma."  We also get Cass and Emma's backstory.  We learn of their very dysfunctional childhood.  Their mother is narcissistic and after their parents divorce, life with their new stepfather and brother is anything but idyllic.  I enjoyed the way the past and present were woven together to give the reader a full picture of what happened. 

Do you watch Homicide Hunter on the ID channel?  Joe Kenda is a retired detective from Colorado Springs, and tells the stories of his most interesting cases.  His book, I Will Find You, gives details about his life, how he became a homicide detective, and the toll working on murder cases for over 20 years took on him.  He gives additional details about some of the stories that have aired on Homicide Hunter as well as telling new ones.  The book is full of his trademark dry, somewhat morbid, sense of humor.  I enjoyed this book, but be aware that it contains very bad language, and graphic details from crime scenes.

After finishing The Lying Game yesterday, I picked up The October List by Jeffrey Deaver.  I am reading it based on the recommendation of Reavis Wortham during his author visit last Tuesday.  The books is written completely backwards. It opens with the climactic chapter.  Gabrielle is sitting in an apartment waiting to find out if her daughter Sarah is safe.  Sarah was kidnapped about two days before and a ransom is being paid.  Each chapter goes back in time anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.  We see several different view points and begin to put together the events that have led up to the final moment.  I am about halfway through this quick read, and beginning to wonder if any part of what I think I know about Gabrielle, Sarah, and the people helping them is correct.  Mr. Wortham said that as soon as he finished the book, he reread it, this time looking for clues as to the outcome he knew was there.  He says it is a masterful book.  I am trying hard not to succumb to temptation and read the last (first?) chapter early. 

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