Category Archives: Mysteries & Thrillers

Help for the Haunted


Title: Help for the Haunted

Author: John Searles

Publisher: William Morrow, Sep. 2013

Summary/Review: Since I am not a fan of ghost stories, I was reluctant to read a book titled “Help for the Haunted” for worry that I would not sleep afterward, but I wanted to conquer my fear of the unknown. Although this book focuses on the paranormal, it becomes clear that you see what you want to see and believe what you chose to believe.

The Masons are quite successful in taming the unusual behavior of those possessed by spirits but are incapable of handling and helping their disobedient older daughter, Rose. When they agree to drive during a snowstorm to meet her in a church to talk, they do not know this encounter will end their lives. As their younger daughter, Sylvie, awaits their return to their car, she ends up being the only witness to the murderer. As Sylvie struggles with the past and present she starts putting together the pieces of her parents’ work and the events preceding their murder, which eventually lead her to the person who pulled the trigger.

“Help for the Haunted” is a good choice for book groups as it features interesting characters, including an evil doll named Penny, and provides several topics for discussion.

Who will like this book: Anyone who enjoys reading about mysteries with dark family secrets.

If you like this, try this: “The Returned” by Jason Mott

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

Summary/Review: “Help for the Haunted” is the story of two girls – Rose and Sylvie Mason – whose parents were helpers of the haunted (I kept thinking of the Warrens throughout).  Sylvie is the “good one”, always responsible.  She plays counterpart to her older sister Rose, whose bad temper, negative attitude, and overall rebellious behavior put a deep strain on the family.  When Sylvie’s parents drag her out of bed to drive to a church to meet Rose, who has left the house angry, she is awakened by gunshots only to find her parents dead in the church.  But what happened?  Who would have killed them?  Why did Sylvie tell the police she knew exactly who it was? And who is keeping the light on in the basement, waiting for her parents’ return?

I started this book, unfortunately, late one night while I was home alone.  What was I thinking?  The first half is extra creepy, laying the foundation for why the Masons became involved with people like Lynch (who Sylvie points to as her parents’ killer) and their pasts.  The book focuses on 14-year old Sylvie throughout, and the second half deals more with her sister, their relationship and past, and her desperation to find the real killer.  I found the book compelling and wanted to know, exactly, what happened to her parents and why.  While the ending didn’t come together as well as it could have (it’s clear Searles is an extremely talented writer, who I will definitely read again), I was pleased to find I was surprised at the unexpected finale.

Who will like this book? : Someone who’s not afraid of a little creepiness.  The book comes out in September and would make an awesome Halloween read.

Recommended by: LB, Library Assistant

If this looks like the type of book you’d like to read when it’s released, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and place a hold!

Just what kind of mother are you?


Title: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? 

Author: By Paula Daly 

Publisher: Grove Press, 2013 

Summary/Review: The words that no woman ever wants to hear. “Just what kind of mother are you?” Lisa Kallisto is sure people are asking that question of her. She has been asking that same question of herself ever since her 13 year old daughter’s friend, Lucinda, went missing. You see, Sally’s friend was supposed to be sleeping over Lisa’s house to work on a school project with Sally. When Sally got sick, the sleepover was cancelled but someone forgot to tell Lucinda or her mother Kate. No one even knows she’s gone until the next morning when Sally doesn’t see Lucinda at the bus stop and calls her to ask about the project.

Lisa knows she doesn’t have it all together-not like Lucinda’s mother, Kate Riverton, anyway. Kate has always been more of a hands-on parent than Lisa could ever hope to be. Now their differences couldn’t be more glaring. One little misstep and a young girl is gone. Overwhelmed with guilt, Lisa promises Kate that she will find Lucinda. As family secrets are exposed and another girl is abducted, it becomes obvious how little everyone knows about their neighbors, friends, and even their own families.

This was a fantastic story. If I didn’t have to break for sleep, I would have read it cover to cover. This debut novel has it all-great writing, setting, and story, and engaging characters, some of whom I would love to see again.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a gripping, non-stop mystery thriller.

 If you like this, try this: This is a debut novel, but be on the lookout for more Paula Daly coming soon after this success (it was named as one of Publisher Weekly’s top 10 Fall Thrillers!). If you’re looking for a gripping thriller featuring women, try Gillian Flynn’s super-popular “Gone Girl” or the author Heather Gudenkauf.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

Does this look like your type of read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold.




Title: Mistress

Author: James Patterson

Publisher: Little Brown, 2013

Summary/Review: I know what you’re thinking: “another book by Patterson”.  It seems like he writes one a month!!!  The way I look at it is he is helping out other authors who are co-writing with him.  In this case, the co-author is David Ellis.

I really enjoyed “Mistress” because it was very intriguing. The main character, Ben, has some obsessions, a little OCD,  AND he is in love with Diana Hotchkiss (who works in the White  House).

When Ben witnesses her falling from her balcony in an apparent suicide, Ben is not convinced that it wasn’t a cold-blooded murder. He becomes obsessed with finding out the truth at any cost…including outsmarting federal agents, assassins, and even himself!  It is a roller coaster ride with a lot of twists and turns, like only Patterson can do. It also has an explosive ending.

Who will like this book: If you like quick reads, politics, and murder mysteries you will surely enjoy this book.  Anyone interested in trivia – a quirk the main character has is to spout off trivia in order to relate to the case.

If you like this, try this: Patterson has a huge repertoire of books to choose from, as does his co-author, David Ellis. If you’re looking for some authors that will kick-start your love of thrillers, try Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum, or Tom Clancy.

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If you’d like to give this book a try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold with your library card!

Hey! Did you know you could search for books by “tag”?   For example, you could look for books that are tagged with “crime” or search for some of the newest books by clicking “2013 releases” .  Tags are located on the right-hand side of the screen – check it out!

Let Me Go


Title: Let Me Go

Author: Chelsea Cain

Publisher: St. Marten’s Press, 2013

Summary/Review: “Let Me Go” is the sixth book by Chelsea Cain featuring Detective Archie Sheridan, journalist Susan Ward, and Psychiatrist Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen was a consultant for the Portland police on a case involving a serial killer. During the investigation, Archie had an affair with her but only to find out that she herself was the killer. Archie spent 10 days of his life being tortured by Gretchen, only to let him go. Gretchen is captured but soon after escapes leaving Archie always wondering when she will show herself again.

In Cain’s latest novel, “Let Me Go”, Archie is working on a case involving Russian drug lords, a dead DEA agent, and an undercover CI named Leo Reynolds, Susan’s boyfriend. While Archie attends a party thrown by Jack Reynolds, Leo’s drug dealing father, a murder is committed. Upon reviewing the property’s surveillance video, Archie discovers Gretchen in attendance.

Now Archie must find Gretchen who has abducted Susan all the while trying to solve a murder. With time running out, Archie carelessly and desperately seeks Gretchen’s help to solve the most recent crime so Susan can be released.

Who will like this book?: If you love repeating characters, fast paced stories, and devilish crime novels, this book is just what you are looking for.

If you like this, try this:Heartsick” (reviewed previously on the blog), “Sweetheart”, and “Evil at Heart”, the first three Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell novels by Chelsea Cain. Starting at the beginning of this journey between Archie and Gretchen will give the reader a greater insight as to their twisted and complicated relationship.

Recommended by: K.C., circulation assistant

Does this look like something you’d like to read? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check its availability and/or place a hold!



Title: Poppet

Author: Mo Hayder

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, May 2013

Summary/Review: A thriller set in and around a psychiatric hospital? Creepy cover? Sign me up!

Mo Hayder has outdone herself with her newest Jack Caffery thriller, Poppet. Psychiatric nurse AJ LeGrande believes that something, or someone, is causing some of the hospital’s least popular patients to cause themselves harm. When one of the survivors talks about “The Maude”, a dwarf-like creature rumored to be roaming the halls of Beechway High Secure Unit, AJ must get to the bottom of the strange goings-on before anyone else falls victim to the superstition. Detective Jack Caffery is called in to investigate and what he discovers will shock everyone.

If you’re looking for a great thriller that will keep you reading ‘til all hours of the night, you should definitely try Poppet. With twists and turns throughout, you won’t want to put it down until you finally find out what was really going on at Beechway.

Who would like this book?: Someone who’s not afraid of being afraid or creeped out.  Someone looking for a fast-paced book they won’t be able to put down.

 If you like this, try this: Mo Hayder writes a number of other books, some of which include Caffery.  If you were interested in the content, try Victor LaValle’s “Devil in Silver” or, for something less creepy, Dennis Lehane’s “Shutter Island”.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

Does this look like a book you’d like to read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!


What Dies in Summer

what dies in summer

Title: What Dies in Summer

Author: Tom Wright

Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co, 2012

Summary/Review: This is a debut novel that is packed with so much emotion and surprises you won’t be able to put it down. The story is narrated by one of the main character James- also known as Biscuit. He, along with his cousin Lee Ann (also known as L.A.), and their Grandma live together in Dallas Texas. They were brought together by unfortunate circumstances. The story begins with the two cousins just doing what normal teenagers do, hanging out and trying to stay out of trouble. They soon discover a dead body in the woods and then everything seems to start spiraling out of control.

Family secrets are revealed, and more dead bodies are found. You will not want to put this book down until you have read the very last page. It brings everything together-family bonding, first love, and terrible secrets.

Who would like this: Anyone who enjoys books with a lot of characters and different stories.

If you like this, try this: Books by Mary Higgins Clark. She always has a bunch of characters but they’re easy to keep straight.

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If you’d like to put a hold on this book and/or see if it’s available, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog!

Rage Against the Dying

rage against

Title: Rage Against the Dying

Author:Becky Masterman

Publisher: Minotaur Books, March 2013

Summary/Review: If you’re looking for a fast paced thriller that you just can’t put down, look no further. Rage against the Dying, the debut thriller by Becky Masterman, will not disappoint you.

Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn is adjusting to her new life as a newlywed in Tucson, Arizona. Forced into early retirement after shooting an unarmed suspect, the 59 year old Quinn has seemingly moved on. That is until the Route 66 Killer, the case that has haunted her for years, becomes news once again. Not only the most frustrating unsolved case of Brigid’s career, the Route 66 Killer cost the life of her protégé Jessica Robertson. Now a suspect has confessed and Brigid is once again drawn into this disturbing case. Laura Coleman, the new FBI agent assigned to Route 66, has asked for Brigid’s help but no one can foresee the horror that lies ahead.

This novel has everything: suspense, dark humor, and of course some blood and guts. I sincerely hope Brigid’s story does not end here. Unlike any character I’ve ever read, she is strong, smart, funny, and a little bit of a loose cannon. I can’t wait to see her again.

Who will like this book?: Anyone who’s not afraid of a little gore.  Someone looking for a thriller that they won’t be able to put down.

If you like this, try this:  If you liked Masterson’s writing, be on the lookout for more from her: this is a debut novel, but the story leads itself to more.  If you liked the intensity, try Chelsea Cain, who has a number of books including “Heartsick” and “Sweetheart”.  If you’re looking for the same level of darkness without the gore, try Neil Gaiman.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

This book isn’t quite out yet, but we still have it on order, so visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to place a hold!

Defending Jacob


Title: Defending Jacob

Author: William Landay

Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2012

Summary/Review: Andy Barber has been a well-respected assistant district attorney in Massachusetts for many years until his 14-year-old son Jacob is accused of killing former classmate Ben Rifkin. As the community presumes Jacob’s guilt before the trial starts, Andy and his wife, Laurie, struggle internally and externally to maintain their son’s innocence. Even after evidence points toward his son, Andy sticks to his belief that the neighborhood pedophile is responsible for this murder.

As the story unfolds, it brings up many questions, such as how well do parents know their own child, how far would they go to protect him, what role do genes and family history play in influencing an individual’s destiny, and do childhood actions indicate future behavior?

Defending Jacob is a compelling novel with a shocking ending. Once you start it, you can’t put it down.

Who will like this book?:  Someone who is interested in crime dramas but who is more interested in the psychology of crimes and the criminal mind.  Someone who is interested in
family bonds and how far someone will go to protect them.

If you like this, try this:  If you’re interested in novels about the criminal mind, try “Hannibal” or “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris, which both focus on the question of mental insanity.  If you would like a newer novel that focuses on criminal minds, try any Chelsea Cain book.

If you are more interested in the suspense/thriller aspect, try Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” or the popular Stieg Larsson novels.  Michael Connelly and John Grisham are also well-known for their legal thrillers.

If you’re interested in this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]

Finally, this isn’t William Landay’s first book- his historical novel is focused on the Boston Strangler, entitled “the Strangler”, and he also writes other fiction such as “Mission Flats”.

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation Assistant

Don’t Ever Get Old


Title: Don’t Ever Get Old

Author: Daniel Friedman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2012

Summary/Review: “Old age is not for sissies”, “Old age isn’t so bad – when you consider the alternative”, (and the more optimistic) “every day I wake up on this side of the grass is a good one.” Aging is inevitable, and if you hit eighty seven with the sharp mind and wit of Baruch “Buck” Schatz, you’re doing fine.

Don’t Ever Get Old is Daniel Freedman’s debut novel about the cigarette smoking, gun toting, wickedly funny former police officer, Buck Schatz, who finds himself drawn into the hunt for a former Nazi war criminal and a fortune in gold. Buck is assisted by his grandson, Tequila, who has a lot to learn from his caustic grandfather. It’s easy to see the tough guy, take no prisoners cop that Buck used to be as he stalks his prey with the help of his more technologically savvy grandson, but Friedman never lets you forget that Buck is closing in on ninety and is facing the serious health and independence issues that old age brings. Rose, his wife of many years, is slowing down and there is the great fear that he will no longer be able to care for her at home. The issues that come with aging are never trivialized yet you know that Buck will definitely not be “going gentle into that good night.”

It would be great to see a Buck Schatz series, though given his age it might be a short one.

Who Will Like This: Anyone who likes a fast paced thriller, no matter how old the protaganist.

If you like this, Try this: I couldn’t help but think of Miss Marple, only a lot edgier, and packing a .357.

Recommended by: Sue D’Num, Library Assistant

Does Buck Schatz sound like your kind of guy?  If so, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to take a look at its availability and/or to place a hold [link will open in a new window]

Death Echo


TitleDeath Echo

Author:  Elizabeth Lowell

Publisher: HarperCollins, June 2010

Summary: Emma Cross, former CIA agent now working for St. Kilda Consulting, must rustle with Russian spies and a terrorist plot in Elizabeth Lowell’s latest book.  Emma needs to chase down “The Blackbird” a yacht that could have explosives attached to it… enough explosives to blow up a major city. The story moves from the Puget Sound to Vancouver Island.   Interestingly, a “twin” yacht went missing never making it to its port. Are the two connected somehow? Did they have the same owner?

Fortunately for Emma she doesn’t have to work alone. Enter Mackenzie Mac Durand, a former Special Ops guy, and the transit captain for “The Blackbird.” Sparks fly between the two and a romance blossoms amidst all of the turmoil.

They are in for a bumpy ride in this romantic suspense novel, fighting off Russian Spies, CIA agents, and a very hazardous sea –  and time is not on their side.

Recommended by: Nancy, Deputy Town Librarian