Category Archives: Mysteries & Thrillers

So Cold the River

TitleSo Cold the River

Author:  Michael Koryta

Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, June 2010

Summary: Once a highly sought after cinematographer, Eric Shaw’s film career is in a downward spiral. He shouldn’t be surprised-punching a famous director in the face will often have that effect. Eric’s personal life isn’t faring much better. He walked out on his wife Claire when he began to feel that she and her father were starting to think of him as a failure. Eric’s gift has always been his innate sense of knowing which pictures or footage would move the audience. His new career is using that gift to make personal memorial videos for funerals, weddings, and other occasions. When the sister of a woman memorialized in one of his videos offers to hire Eric to make a video about her dying father in law, Campbell Bradford, Eric agrees. Armed with his camera and a curious bottle of vintage mineral water that belonged to Bradford, Eric travels to French Lick, Indiana, to begin his project. What he finds there contradicts all he was previously told about Campbell Bradford. This and the fact that the bottle of mineral water he’s been carrying around keeps getting colder and colder to the touch, even as the temperature around him rises, should have been enough to convince Eric that he was heading toward danger. But, alas, Eric plunges ahead and ends up in a fight to save his life and his very soul. This is a fast paced, action packed supernatural thriller with great characters and a very clever plot. I enjoyed this from cover to cover.

Who will like this book? Supernatural and thriller readers.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

The Interpretation of Murder

Title: The Interpretation of Murder

Author: Jed Rubenfeld

Publisher: Picador, May 2007

Summary:  The year is 1909 and Sigmund Freud has arrived in the United States with his protégé Carl Jung for a series of lectures at Clark University.  The same day of Freud’s arrival a young heiress is murdered, apparently by a serial killer. Another wealthy young socialite is suffering from amnesia after a second attack by the same criminal.

Dr. Stratham Younger, a thirty-three-year-old Harvard graduate teaches at Clark University.  He  is in New York to accompany Dr. Freud back to Clark.  Younger finds himself caught up in the murder mystery, being consulted about the use psychoanalysis to help the young woman recall the attack.

The plot is multileveled and intricate and includes a rivalry between Jung and Freud, a conspiracy theory against Freud’s teachings, a fascinating episode on the construction of the Manhattan Bridge, and corruption in the New York city police force. I found the story riveting and the details of that period in New York’s history to be fascinating.

Recommended by: Barbara, Head of Children’s Services

The Tale of Halcyon Crane

TitleThe Tale of Halcyon Crane

Author:  Wendy Webb

Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.,  March 2010

Summary: Hallie James has lived her life believing that her mother Madlyn was killed in a fire when Hallie was a small child. Now 35 years old, Hallie is dealing with her divorce and her father’s terminal illness. When she receives an envelope in the mail, she is shocked to find it contains a letter from her mother. As it turns out, Madlyn has lived the last 30 years believing that Hallie and her father were killed in a kayaking accident on the lake. The letter from Madlyn is accompanied by a letter from her attorney breaking the news that Madlyn has recently passed away. In order to find out why her father went to such lengths to keep her from her mother, Hallie travels to her mother’s home on Grand Manitou, a remote island in the Great Lakes. It isn’t long before Hallie realizes that something supernatural inhabits the mansion and grounds which she has just inherited.

The Tale of Halcyon Crane is an unnerving ghost story that’s setting on a secluded island makes it even creepier.

Who will like this book? Ghost story aficionados.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Last Night in Montreal

TitleLast Night in Montreal

Author:  Emily St. John Mandel

Publisher: Unbridled Books, April 2010

Summary: When Lilia’s father abducts her in the middle of the night, the 7 year old willingly goes with him. Some might say she was rescued, not kidnapped. From that night on, Lilia and her father move across the United States, never staying in one place for more than a few months. Now, as an adult, Lilia doesn’t know how to stay anywhere for very long. She has become quite adept at leaving people behind, and most people have easily let her go. That is, until Eli. Eli’s life seemed so much better with Lilia in it that he cannot bear to think of his life without her.

This is a story of obsession and the effect it has on everyone involved. From Lilia who is obsessed with moving on, to Eli who travels to another country to find her. From Christopher, the detective hired years ago to find Lilia, to Michaela, his daughter who he abandoned in his effort to find the missing girl. Michaela is the greatest victim here. Her wounds are so deep and her pain so obvious, it is heartbreaking to know that it was all caused by her father’s obsession to search for someone who did not want or need to be found.

Who will like this book? Anyone.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Collusion

TitleCollusion

Author:  Stuart Neville

Publisher: Soho Press, October 2010

Summary: Stuart Neville, author of GHOSTS OF BELFAST, does it again with this new novel set in New York and Northern Ireland. Ex IRA hit-man Gerry Fegan has sworn to protect Marie and her young daughter Ellen. Marie knows that Gerry is a murderer, that he’s dangerous, and that he’s more than a little crazy. She also knows he would exchange his life for theirs, and so she trusts him above all others. When Marie and Ellen are threatened by the evil from their past, Gerry must team up with Ellen’s estranged father, Jack Lennon, to save them. It is a chance for Jack to redeem himself and for Gerry to finish what he started. Action packed and riveting, this should be on everyone’s to-read list, but read GHOSTS OF BELFAST first.

Who will like this book? Fans of thrillers and crime novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

The Information Officer

Title: The Information Officer

Author:  Mark Mills

Publisher: Random House ,February 2010

Summary:    It’s the summer of 1942 and Malta is quickly becoming the most bombed place on earth. The strategic location of the island, between Europe and Africa, has increased its value to both the Germans who are bombing it, and the Allies who are stationed there. The residents fear a German invasion, but the lack of protection against the constant air raids has weakened their loyalty to the Allies.

British officer Max Chadwick has been given the position of Information Officer. His assignment is to manipulate the news coming in to Malta to buoy the spirits of the troops and the island residents. What the Maltese do not know is that a psychopath walks among them, killing young women and leaving their bodies out in the open to appear as if they were killed during a bomb strike. When another young woman is found dead Freddie, a friend of Max’s and a doctor at the local hospital, discovers the true cause of death. He confides in Max that this is the third murdered woman who has come into the morgue recently. This time, though, a shoulder patch from a British officer’s uniform is found in the dead woman’s clenched hand. Max knows that if this news is released to the public, Maltese loyalty to the Allies may finally be shattered.

The Information Officer is both a love story and a murder mystery, with occasional glimpses into the mind of the killer. The crucial role that Malta played during the war may not be common knowledge, and will certainly appeal to readers of historical fiction. Mills is masterful at expressing a sense of place, with his descriptions fueling the reader’s imagination.

Who will like this book? Fans of  historical fiction and suspense novels.

Recommended By: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

31 Hours

Title31 Hours

Author:  Masha Hamilton

Publisher: Unbridled Books, October 2009

Summary:  Carol Meitzner wakes with a feeling of dread. She knows in her heart that her 21 year old son, Jonas, is in trouble. She doesn’t know what kind of trouble or how much, but he has not been returning her calls. Carol soon learns that his girlfriend, Vic, has not seen or heard from him recently, either. Jonas’s father doesn’t think they should be so worried. Wrong. In 31 hours, their son Jonas and 6 others are planning to walk into key terminals of the NYC subway system and detonate explosive vests strapped to their bodies. Blond haired, white, and from a privileged background, Jonas is set to become the new face of terrorism.

Jonas’s radical mentor has disabled his phone to keep him completely isolated from the people who care about him the most. Throughout this gripping novel we meet some of the potential victims of this terrifying act, many of whom Jonas knows and loves. As we watch Jonas prepare for his martyrdom, without the fanaticism one would expect, it becomes clear that this could really happen. This possibility makes 31 Hours all the more chilling.

Who will like this book? Fans of  suspense novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Abandoned

TitleAbandoned

Author:  Cody McFadyen

Publisher: Bantam, October 2009

Summary: Smoky Barrett is a special agent with the FBI, leading a team that specializes in hunting down and capturing serial killers. While Smoky and several other agents are attending the wedding of one of their own, a woman is pushed from a vehicle in full view of the guests. The victim looks ghostly with a shaved head, pasty white skin, and an undernourished body. Staggering into the wedding party, she lets out a wail and doesn’t stop. The victim is Heather Hollister, missing for more than 7 years – just long enough to be declared dead. As details of Heather’s abduction and captivity are revealed, Smoky realizes they are hunting a killer more cold and calculating than any they’ve seen before.

Abandoned is the fourth in the series by Cody McFadyen, though this is the first that I’ve read. When I started this book, I thought it was a little over-the-top with more sex and violence than needed. Not Quentin Tarantino over-the-top, just a few more details than necessary. As I continued to read, and yes, I continued to read, I found myself drawn into this story and the lives of its characters. I started to believe that it was possible, probable even, that every member of Smoky’s team had a loved one murdered by a serial killer. I realized that it wasn’t really too far-fetched that not only was Smoky’s first husband and daughter murdered in front of her eyes, but she was now raising the daughter of her best friend who was also a victim of murder. In other words, after the first few chapters of this book I was hooked and no longer questioned whether it was realistic or not. I just wanted Smoky to catch the monster before anyone else was killed or, “gulp”, lobotomized. If you like your thrillers with a little more blood and guts than usual, you’ll like Abandoned.

Who will like this book? Fans of  thrillers and suspense novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Evil at Heart

Title: Evil at Heart

Author:  Chelsea Cain

Publisher: Minotaur, September 2009

Summary:  This is the third book featuring detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen, also known as the Beauty Killer, is on the loose. Archie is in a mental health facility attempting to recover from the physical and psychological wounds she has inflicted on him. The media has glamorized the vicious murderer and now Beauty Killer fan clubs are springing up left and right. When body parts start turning up at previous murder sites, Archie is called upon to help capture Gretchen once and for all. Is it really Gretchen leaving these gruesome calling cards? After all, she did promise Archie she wouldn’t kill again, right? If you can’t trust a serial killing psychopath to keep their word, who can you trust?

Evil at Heart is a thrilling cat and mouse chase, although you’re never really sure who the cat is and who is the mouse. From eyeballs to spleens, no part of the anatomy is safe from this scalpel wielding lunatic so you might want to read this on an empty stomach, unless you’re a seasoned veteran of grisly thrillers like me. Fast-paced with page turning suspense, this is a great book.

Who will like this book? Fans of  thrillers and suspense novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

The Weight of Silence

Title: The Weight of Silence

Author:  Heather Gudenkauf

Publisher: Mira, July 2009

Summary:  Martin Gregory wakes one morning to find his seven year-old daughter, Petra, is missing. Although it appears that Petra left the house on her own accord, her parents are starting to panic. When Deputy Sheriff Louis and Martin question Antonia, the mother of Petra’s best friend Calli, they discover that Calli is missing also. Antonia is convinced that the two girls have just ventured off into the woods that border their property and will be home soon. We know better.

Thirteen years ago, Antonia made the decision to marry Griff Clark instead of “Lou” Louis, the current Deputy Sheriff. That decision resulted in two children- 12 year old Ben and 7 year old Calli. It also resulted in a life of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse for Antonia and her children.

In the early chapters of the book, Calli has been dragged into the woods by her inebriated father in search of her “real” father, Deputy Louis. Of course that’s the liquor talking paired with Griff’s intense jealousy of Antonia and Lou’s past relationship. Calli has been mute since the age of four when she suffered from an as yet unknown trauma and now cannot call out for help. This is not hard to believe with a father like hers. So, we know what is happening to Calli, but what happened to Petra? Is Griff even more of a monster than we thought?

This story is told in the alternating voices of Calli, Martin, Antonia, Ben, and Lou. The story grabs you from the beginning and never lets go. I could NOT put this book down! Crimes against children are never pleasant to read about, but the details are handled very well. I cared so much for these characters, and especially those little girls that I had to find out what happened to them. If you want a story that stays on your mind and characters that make a place in your heart, you should read The Weight of Silence.

Who will like this book? Anyone who likes fast paced action and a great story.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator