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The favorite daughter: thriller
LOGLINE: The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.
Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in California. Tragedy struck her enviable life when her eldest daughter Mary died a year ago. She is coming out of a haze of depression and anti-depressants. Life has changed. When she gets a note that Mary’s death wasn’t an accident, who is lying?
POV: First Person – sort of an unreliable narrator
I glance at my creation and smile: behold the dining room table. It is critical to create the proper atmosphere when entertaining, the illusion of perfection. As one of the most important hostesses in The Cove, I can assure you I pull together elegant dinners without a second thought. I know all the key ingredients: arrangements from the best florist in town, tonight white hydrangeas nestled in between succulents, and linens from the exclusive small boutique where everyone must shop to purchase ridiculously expensive tablecloths and napkins…
Why I loved it: The narrator has a very engaging voice. Mainly because I didn’t like her, but couldn’t stop listening to her. (Been at that party before? lol). Good twist.
the life she wants: thriller
LOGLINE: You want to save your marriage. She wants to destroy it.
Paula worries that her marriage to Tommy is hanging by a thread so she’s thrilled when he suggests a cruise get away for the two of them. He’s even promised to start talking about starting a family. Then the couple meet Anna, a gorgeous bit of trouble. Is Paula paranoid, or is Anna turning their holiday into a nightmare?
POV: Third Person Limited. Alternates from the point of view of Paula, and then later Anna.
It was a terrible shock to her body, being plunged into the icy water by the lake. At first, she was numb, sinking lower and lower, the weight of her clothes dragging her down into the freezing depths. Moments later, she gasped, her body demanding air but finding water instead. It burned in her lungs, a deep, screaming, searing pain in her chest.
Why I loved it: I didn’t see this twist coming. Not sure my disbelief was totally suspended. And can we talk about why women seem to hold men up as the ultimate prize/goal in their lives? This is one aspect of psychological thrillers that frustrates me. “Winning the man” is NOT the pinnacle a woman can achieve.
the holdout: Legal thriller
LOGLINE: It’s the most sensational case of the decade. Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher Bobby Nock is the prime suspect after illicit text messages are discovered between them–and Jessica’s blood is found in his car. The subsequent trial taps straight into America’s most pressing preoccupations: race, class, sex, law enforcement, and the lurid sins of the rich and famous. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed. Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty, a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.
POV: Third Person, Limited. The story is told from the point of view of Maya Seale, juror turned lawyer. The story jumps back and forth in time.
TEN YEARS IN L.A.:
Maya Seale removed two photographs from her briefcase. She held them face-in against her skirt. The thing was all going to come down to timing.
“Ms. Seale?” came the judge’s voice, impatient “We’re waiting.”
Belen Vasquez, Maya’s client, had suffered terrible abuse at the hands of her husband, Elian.
Why I liked it:
This book wasn’t amazing. But it was good. It reminded me a bit of the classic “10 Angry Men.” It hits some interesting social issues, and entertained while being “woke.” There are a few good twists in it. Parts were a little dry for me, but overall a recommended read.
Rock paper scissors: thriller
LOGLINE: When Mr. and Mrs. Wright win a weekend trip to a spooky cathedral house in Scotland, they will find out exactly what is wrong with their marriage.
Think you know the person you married? Think again… Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secret. And an anniversary they will never forget.
POV: First Person: Alternates between Amelia, Adam, a letter written from Adam’s wife to him that he’s never seen, and then page 70 another character, Robin, is introduced into the mix.
My husband doesn’t recognize my face.
I feel him staring at me as I drive, and wonder what he sees. Nobody else looks familiar to him either, but it is still strange to think that the man I married wouldn’t be able to pick me out in a police line-up.
I know the expression his face is wearing without having to look. It’s the sulky petulant, “I told you so” version, so I concentrate on the road instead. I need to. The snow is falling faster now, it’s like driving in a whiteout, and the windsheild wipers on my Morris Minor Traveller are struggling to cope. The car -like me- was made in 1978. If you look after things, they will last a lifetime, but I suspect my husband might like to trade us both in for a younger model. Adam has checked his seat belt a hundred times Ince we left home, and his hands are balled into conjoined fists on his lap.
If every story had a happy ending, then we’d have no reason to start again. Life is all about choices, and learning how to put ourselves back together when we fall apart. Which we all do. Even the people who pretend they don’t. Just because I can’t recognize my wife’s face, it doesn’t mean I don’t know who she is.
“The doors were closed before, right?” I ask, but Amelia doesn’t answer.
We stand side by side outside the shape, both shivering, with snow blowing around us in all directions. Even Bob looks miserable and he is always happy.
Why I loved it:
As an author, it is always interesting to read about a character who is also an author and there are a few of them in this story. There are great twists and the suspense is amazing. A few great Hitchcockian moments.
did I say you could go: thriller
LOGLINE: Two single moms in a co-dependant relationship walk the line between friendship and obsession with devastating consequences.
A suspenseful, gripping novel about families and friendships torn apart at the seams by obsession, secrets, and betrayal with relentless twists and turns that hurtle forward to a shocking confrontation.
POV: Third Person: Alternates between Ruth, Gemma, Bee & Marley. Chronological with flashbacks.
Ruth: Rich, obsessive, controlling. Gemma: Needy, poor, compelling. Bee: gorgeous popular daughter of Gemma, but suffering from depression. Marley: Overweight loner daughter of Ruth.
I am always interested in peeking into the lives of the rich and gorgeous. Especially when bad things happened to them. 😂 There are some very good twists and turns in this book, and the author does a great job of capturing the angst of all four of her main characters.
The other passenger: thriller
LOGLINE: A psychological thriller about a commuter living his supposedly charmed life when his friend disappears.
Jamie lives with his wife Clare in a rich London home she inherited. On his commute to work he meets a charismatic friend called Kit, who also happens to have a seductive siren of a wife. When Kit goes missing from their commuter ferry, dark secrets percolate and Jamie thinks he is safe… until he learns of the other passenger.
POV: First person. From the point of view of the Jamie. As a character, I don’t like him very much. The story has so many twist and compelling turns though, I did not put down the book.
Like all commuter horror stories, mine begins in the mean light of early morning -or, at least, officially it does.
Kit isn’t there when I get to St. Mary’s Pier for the 7:20 river bus to Waterloo, but that’s not unusual; he’s had his fair share of self-inflicted sick days this feative season.
Why I loved it: Very satisfying ending. I thought there was too much money focus, but I was caught up into the vivid description and forced to keep flipping the pages with the suspense.
Chapter 1 Ends with the police meeting him at the boat before he can go to work.
Chapter 2 Ends with Jamie still talking to police, but saying it was the longest year of his life.
Chapter 3 Jamie gets kissed by his wife and we find out he is really attracted to Kit’s wife Melia.
Chapter 4 We find out Kit has a very dark, dangerous side.
Chapter 5 Two more characters are introduced as the police interview him more…
Looker: thriller - unreliable narrator
LOGLINE: A woman becomes fixated on her actress narrator. How far down the road of madness will envy take her?
Two women live just a few doors apart, but the reality of their lives is worlds apart. The actress is a celebrity with a charmed career and perfect family. Our recently separated narrator is unhappily childless and stuck in a dead-end job while living with her ex-husband’s cat. A disastrous interaction with the actress at a block party leads to the ultimate unravelling of our narrator’s life…. and mind.
POV: First person. The obsessed narrator.
It was Mrs. H who started calling her the actress, making it sound like she was one of those old Hollywood legends– Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall. That may have been accurate early in her career, when she was a serious indie star, but now her fiercely sculpted, electric-blue clad body adorns the side of nearly every city bus I see. It’s an ad for one of those stupid blockbusters– and she isn’t even the main star, she’s only the female star — so she’s a sellout, like all the rest. It’s disappointing only because she belongs to us. To our block, I. men.
Why I loved it: It’s like looking into the void of true madness and riding on the roller coaster of losing everything… but you can put the book down. (though that is a tough one, lol.)
An anonymous girl: thriller
LOGLINE: Seeking women ages 18 – 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
POV: First person. From the point of view of the woman who goes on the study, takes another’s identity.
You’re Invited: Seeking women ages 18 – 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality conducted by a prominent NYC psychiatrist. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. Call for more details.
It’s easy to judge other people’s choices. The mother with the grocery cart (yells at kid but then you find out she’s lost her job.) driver in expensive car rushing to see son in play, etc… (this the protagonist in first person telling us not to judge her.)
Friday November 16
A lot of women want the world to see them a certain way. It’s my job to create those transformations, one 45 min session at a time. My clients seem different when I’ve finished helping them.
Why I loved it: The inner life of the narrator is done so well here. Interesting how the authors weave the backstory into her actions.
the girl before: thriller
LOGLINE: An enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune and another woman’s mysterious fate through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive – and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant – and it does.
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street, she is instantly drawn to the space – and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror as the girl before.
POV: First person. Alternating between Jane NOW. and Emma THEN.
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
It’s a lovely little flat, the agent says with what could almost pass for genuine enthusiasm. Close to the amenities. And there’s that private bit of roof. That could become a sun terrace, subject of course to the landlord’s consent. Nice, Simon agrees, trying not to catch my eye. -they decide the flat is terrible, we find out about Simon and his personality-they are looking together. We find out Emma was attacked and threatened two weeks ago, so she is very picky about the safety aspects. Then the agent tells them about a particular unlisted property.
Now: JANE “That’s the last one.” The agent whose name is Camilla, drums her fingers on the steering wheel of her Smart car. – Jane is also picky but because she just lost a baby. Can’t be close to a school. Then she is also told about this peculiar place. The chapters go on with them having the same basic experience… Then the plot starts to build – one thing happens to her, then E
Why I loved it: I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I empathized so much with both women. And the situation is so odd… but so perfect. Who wouldn’t want that elusive affordable perfect place to live?
My dark vanessa: psychological fiction
LOGLINE: This odd, yet deeply thought-provoking book explores the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher. Basically he’s a pedophile and she’s his student.
POV: First person. From the point of Vanessa. Each chapter jumps between now and the past.
I get ready for work and the post has been up for eight hours. While curling my hair, I refresh the page. So far, 224 shares and 875 likes. I put on my black wool suit, refresh again. I dig under the couch for my black flats, refresh. Fasten the gold name tag to my lapel, refresh. Each time, the numbers climb and the comments multiple. You’re so strong. You’re so brave. What kind of monster does that to a child?
I bring up my last text, send to Strange four hours ago: So, are you okay…? He still hasn’t responded, hasn’t even read it. I type out another– I’m here if you want to talk.
Why I loved it: Kate Elizabeth Russell takes child predation and turns the way you look at it completely upside down. It’s not that you think it’s not terrible, it is still the most appalling of crimes. But the look into the mind of a victim and how she rationalizes what happened to her. Just brain bending. It’s also interesting how the book addresses the magnitude of social media in our lives.
lucy foley: British author of contemporary, historical fiction and mystery novels.
The Hunting party: Murder mystery
LOGLINE: There’s a new year’s reunion in the remote Scottish wilderness. The beautiful one. The golden couple. The volatile one. The new parents. The quiet one. The city boy. The outsider. One of these friends is a murderer. And won’t make it out alive. Join the party now.
POV: Multi POV – all first person. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a character. Including the victim and the murderer.
OPENING LINE: I see a man coming through the falling snow, From a distance, through the curtain of white, he looks hardly human, like a shadow figure. As he nears me I see it is Doug, the gamekeeper. He is hurrying towards the Lodge, I realize, trying to run. But the fallen, falling snow hampers him. He stumbles with each step. Something bad. I know this without being able to see his face.
Why I loved it: It was fast moving. The murderer was a surprise and someone you empathized with.
The Guest List: Murder mystery
LOGLINE: An exclusive wedding on a remote Irish island. The bride. The plus-one. The best man. The wedding planner. The bridesmaid. All have a secret. All have a motive. But only one is a murderer.
POV: Multi POV – all first person. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a character. Including the victim and the murderer.
Now. The Wedding Night.
The lights go out. In an instant, everything is in darkness. The band stop their playing. Inside the tent the wedding guests squeal and clutch at one another.
Why I loved it: Lucy Foley has found a format she can work with and she is very good at it.
our little secret: thriller
LOGLINE: Our Little Secret, a compulsive and thrilling debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep and the secrets we share.
The detective wants to know what happened to Saskia, as if I could just skip to the ending and all would be well. But stories begin at the beginning and some secrets have to be earned.
Angela is being held in a police interrogation room. Her ex’s wife has gone missing and Detective Novak is sure Angela knows something, despite her claim that she’s not involved.
At Novak’s prodding, Angela tells a story going back ten years, explaining how she met and fell in love with her high school friend HP. But as her past unfolds, she reveals a disconcerting love triangle and a dark, tangled web of betrayals. Is Angela a scorned ex-lover with criminal intent? Or a pawn in someone else’s revenge scheme? Who is she protecting? And why?
POV: First person. From the point of view of Angela. Starts with a page that says FRIDAY. She is telling her story to a police detective.
I’ve been the police station all morning while they ask me questions about Saskia. Every hour the cops come to me, one after another, with a new pad of paper and a full cup of coffee. They must pass off the same brain at the door when they leave, hand it over like an Olympic baton, because not one of them strays from the script.
Why I loved it: Addictive and dark. This book kept me guessing. Very compelling prose.
eight perfect murders: Murder mystery
LOGLINE: A bookseller compiles a list of fiction’s best unsolvable murders. The FBI knocks on his door when eerily similar killings start happening. Mal has to find the killer as the victims pile up, and Mal has some secrets.
POV: First person. From the point of view of the bookseller.
The front door opened, and I heard the stamp of the FBI agent’s feet on the doormat. I has just begun to snow, and the air that rushed into the store was heavy and brimming with energy.
Why I loved it: Peter Swanson claims this story is mostly true.
the silent wife: thriller
LOGLINE: Jodi & Todd are at a bad place in their marriage, and everything is at stake in their affluent life. She eventually murders her cheating husband. Follows the deception and descent of their downward spiral.
POV: Third person. Told from her point of view and then his point of view. Alternating chapters.
OPENING LINE: HER
It’s early September. Jodi Brett is in her kitchen, making dinner. Thanks to the open plan of the condo, she has an unobstructed view through the living room to its east-facing windows and beyond to a vista of lake and sky, cast by the evening light in a uniform blue.
HIM. He likes getting an early start, and over the years he’s pruned his morning routine down to the fundamentals. His shower is cold, which kills the temptation to linger, and his shaving gear consists of canned foam and a safety razor.
Why I loved it: It was addictive. Even already knowing the ending I couldn’t put it down. Sadly the author died after writing this book, so I can’t read more of her work.
Ruth Ware: British psychological crime thriller author
the woman in cabin 10: thriller/mystery
LOGLINE: Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong
POV: First person. From the point of view of the journalist.
Prologue: In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves nd the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depths of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrated into rags.
Chapter 1: Friday September 18 The first inkling that’s something was wrong was waking in darkness to find the cat pawing at my face. I must have forgotten to shut the kitchen door last night. Punishment for coming home drunk. “Go away,” I groaned. – she pushes cat away then realized she should not be in the room cause of how the door opens. She gets up, opens door and a man is there. He steals her expensive bag and phone. Then traps her in the room. Chapter 2. -more of the fall out and getting out of the room. 22 pages Chapter 3 she attacks her boyfriend in her sleep. And we find out he wants to marry her, but she is dragging her feet. chapter 1 and chapter 4 ended with the word “fuck.” Chapter 5 she is on the way to the boat.
Why I loved it: This story really speaks to me. I’m a journalist.I love the voice of the main character. The plot twists and turns. Lots happens. You know she is very mixed up. Might be interesting to dissect this story and find all the little hints Ruth Ware leaves.
the turn of the key: suspense/murder mystery
Rowan gets a job as a live-in nanny, working for a wealthy couple in their technologically-advanced home. However, the longer she’s there, the more she can tell there’s signs that things feel a little off, from the misbehaving kids to the creepy garden of poisonous plants in the back. Soon, she hears from the locals and other people about the many stories of death and murder in the home’s enigmatic past.
By the end, Rowan will find herself awaiting trail for the murder of a young child, but how she ends up where and why are the questions at the heart of this haunted house mystery.
POV: First person. From the point of view of the nanny. The first few pages are her writing letters to someone called Mr. Wrexham. Then it slides into the story, no delineation from letter to pure narrative. – but you realize she is still telling the story to the barrister.
3rd September 2017
Dear Mr. Wrexham, I know you don’t know me but please, please, please you have to help me — you find out that he is a barrister and she wants his help getting out of jail.
-more pleading letters, each giving a little more info. Then on page 12, “When I came here, the other women – I can be honest with you, Mr Wrexham – they felt like another species.
Why I loved it: Scary and smart. Not your typical murder mystery.
One by One : murder mystery
LOGLINE: Eight co-workers at a tech start-up get snowed in at a rustic ski resort during a team building week long trip. There is a storm brewing inside and outside… and people are dying one by one.
POV: First person. Each chapter is a different character. The whole novel starts with a cast of characters. Then a news article. From the BBC News website: 4 BRITONS DEAD IN SKI RESORT TRAGEDY
Each chapter with a Snoop ID: Listening to: James Blunt Snoopers: 0 Snoopscribers:0
I keep my earbuds shoved into my ears on the minibus from Geneva Airport. I ignore Topher’s hopeful looks and Eva, glancing over her shoulder at a me. It helps, somehow. It helps to shut out the voices in my head, their voices, pulling me this way and that, pummelling me with their loyalities and their arguments to and fro. Instead I let James Blunt drown them out…
Why I loved it: Ruth Ware is a master of building suspense.
big little lies: murder mystery/thriller
LOGLINE: A novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
POV: Third person.
Prologue: the book starts with an anti-bullying slogan from a public school.
That doesn’t sound like a School trivia night,” said Mrs. Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette. “That sounds like a riot.” The cat didn’t respond. She was dozing on the couch and found school trivia nights to be trivial. -opening continues with this lady talking to her cat. Doesn’t like angry voices – an older lady who lives by a primary school. We see the snotty moms and view of the school from her POV. (3rd) And then we realize a murder has happened. Then it looks like the police are taking statements from a multitude of characters.
Chapter 2: Third person Six Months before the Trivia Night. Forty. Madeline Martha Mackenzie was forty years old today. “I am forty,” she said outlaid as she drove. She drew the word out in slow motion, like a sound effect, “Fooooorty”. She caught the eye of her daughter in the rearview mirror. Chloe grinned and imitated her mother. “I am fiiiiive.”
Why I loved it: One of the best books I’ve read this year. Lots of twists. Hard to put down. The mini series was also fantastic.
Foe: Horror/ science fiction/ psychological thriller
We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.
Junior and Hen are a quiet married couple. They live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with surprising news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Hen won’t have a chance to miss him at all, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Hen will have company. Familiar company.
POV: First person. From the point of view of the bookseller.
Two headlights. I wake to the sight of them. Odd because of the distinct green tint. Not the usual white headlights you see around here. I spot them through the window, at the end of the lane. I must have been in a kind of quasi slumber; an after dinner daze brought on by a full stomach and the evening heat. I blink several times, attempting to focus.
Why I loved it: This story took every genre I love and put them all in one story. The ending blew my mind (I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t).
the temp: Thriller
LOGLINE: Carrie is a successful TV producer in a high pressure job. She’s talented, liked, and well-respected. She and her husband, Adrian, an award-winning screenwriter, decided years before that they didn’t want children. But now, just as they’re both at the pinnacle of their careers, she has discovered she’s pregnant, and is shocked to discover that she wants to keep the baby. But in a competitive industry where time off is seen as a sign of weakness, Carrie looks at the prospect of maternity leave with trepidation.
Enter Emma, the temp, who is everything Carrie could wish for as her cover: smart, eager, and charming. Carrie fears that Emma is manoeuvring her way into Carrie’s life, causing turmoil in both her work and her marriage. The problem is everyone else adores Emma…
Increasingly isolated from Adrian and her colleagues, Carrie begins to believe Emma has an agenda. Does she want her job? Or is she after even more?
POV: Part One is Carrie. Part Two is Emma. Third person limited.
One: Sunday 14 May. ‘Eight’s your lucky number,’ murmured Carrie in Adrian’s ear, making sure her lips were hidden from the TV camera that was pointing at them. She kept her expression humble and nonchalant while she gazed up at the screens showing clips from he shows nominated for Best Screenplay. This was a live broadcast and you never knew when the director might cut to your face.
Why I loved it: Bright and sparkly women who aren’t what they appear to be. Lord, I love this storyline.
don't you cry: thriller
LOGLINE: In downtown Chicago, Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her roommate Quinn Collins to question how well she really knew her friend. Meanwhile, in a small town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more sinister.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell.
(a discussion about the surge of alcoholism in women would be interesting considering the usage of cocktails in mainstream media.)
One thing should be clear: I don’t believe in ghosts. There are logical explanations for everything: something as simple as a loose lightbulb. A faulty switch. A problem with the wiring. I stand in the kitchen, swallowing the last of a Mountain Dew, one shoe on and one shoe off, stepping into the second of the black sneakers, when I see a spasm of light from across the street.
Why I loved it: I can’t remember why I loved this story. I will have to reread it! Buy Mary Kubica is a queen of drawing you into, and helping you see, a scene.
still life: thriller
LOGLINE: Beautiful, happily married and the owner of a successful interior design business, Casey Marshall couldn’t be more content with her life until a car slams into her at almost fifty miles an hour, breaking nearly every bone in her body and plunging her into a coma. Lying in her hospital bed, Casey realizes that although she is unable to see or communicate, she can hear everything. She quickly discovers that her friends aren’t necessarily the people she thought them to be–and that her accident might not have been an accident at all. As she struggles to break free from her living death, she begins to wonder if what lies ahead could be even worse.
POV: Third person. Limited. Casey.
Less than an hour before the car slammed into her at a speed of almost 50 miles an hour, throwing her ten feet into the air, breaking nearly every bone in her body and cracking her head against the hard concrete, Casey Marshall was sitting in the elegant narrow dining room of Southwark, one of South Philadelphia’s more popular white-tablecloth restaurants, finishing lunch with her two closest friends and stealing glances at the beautiful, secluded courtyard behind their heads. She was wondering how long the unnaturally warm March weather was going to last, whether she would have time to go for a run …
Why I loved it: Another one of these thrillers about sparkly women with seemingly perfect lives… that aren’t. The voyeur in me loves peeking behind the veil.
station eleven: science fiction/literary
LOGLINE: One snowy night, a famous Hollywood actor dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theatre troupe known as the Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend and a young actress with the Travelling Symphony caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
POV: Third person, omniscient.
The King stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored. This was act 4 of King Lear, a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Earlier in the evening, three little girls had played a clapping game onstage as the audience entered, childhood versions of Lears daughters, and now they’d returned as hallucinations in the mad scene…
Why I loved it: This story was like a chocolate cake. I couldn’t get enough of it. I love science fiction when it is subtle and contemporary. One of the best books ever.