Category Archives: Mysteries & Thrillers

Sworn to Silence

Title: Sworn to Silence

Author:  Linda Castillo

Publisher: Minotaur, June 2009

Summary:   Painters Mill, Ohio – Amish Country. Not your typical setting for a serial murder thriller, but it works in this exciting new novel. The backdrop of a quaint, rural town makes the viciousness of the murders seem even more heinous. Kate Burkholder, the new chief of police, is painfully aware that violent crimes can happen anywhere. Sixteen years ago, Kate was a young Amish girl in this very town when it was being terrorized by the “Slaughterhouse Killer”. I think his name says it all, except for his habit of keeping a running tally of his victims by numbering them with Roman numerals carved into their flesh. Now it seems that the Slaughterhouse killer has returned after 16 years, but according to the numbers on his newest victims, he has been busy elsewhere. To find the killer, Kate must look into her past and revisit the terrible event that changed her life forever.

Sworn to Silence is an engrossing, hard hitting, and fast-paced thriller. The characters are realistic, with faults and flaws like everyone else.

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

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Sweeping Up Glass

Title: Sweeping Up Glass

Author:  Carolyn Wall

Publisher: Delta, August 2009

Summary: Olivia Harker was a happy child living with her father in rural Kentucky. Her father, Tate, was her whole world and she loved helping him take care of wounded and sick animals. Olivia’s happiness came to an abrupt end after her mother Ida’s release from the state hospital. Ida’s madness was still evident, and with her father’s attentions focused on her mother, Olivia’s hatred toward Ida grew. An accident leaves Olivia alone with her mother and she turns to alcohol and men for comfort.

Now Olivia is a young grandmother raising her grandson Will’m and taking care of Ida whose madness has been building through the years. After hunters start killing her beloved wolves on her land, Olivia sets out to find the people responsible. Instead of answers, Olivia finds more questions about her childhood, her neighbors, and the mystery surrounding the accident that stole her father from her. The closer she gets to the truth, the closer to danger she places herself and Will’m.

Sweeping Up Glass explores the complexity of family relationships, the damage done by hate and deception, and the strength of the human spirit. This is a wonderful story and would make a great book group selection.

Who will like this book? Fans of To Kill a Mockingbird or Fried Green Tomatoes.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Water Ghosts

Title: Water Ghosts

Author:  Shawna Yang Ryan

Publisher: Penguin Press, April 2009

Summary: According to Chinese superstition, those who die by drowning will seek the living to take their place.

It’s 1928 and the residents of Locke, California and the surrounding towns are getting ready for the Dragon Boat Festival. All is going smoothly until an unknown boat drifts to shore. The boat is carrying three bedraggled Chinese women and seems to have come out of nowhere. One of the women is Ming Wai, the wife that Richard Fong left behind in China several years ago. Richard is now the manager of a successful gambling parlor in Locke and was never able to return to China for his wife. While Ming Wai was languishing in China, Richard was living comfortably as a bachelor in California, complete with his own prostitute.Most of the townspeople are confused about the arrival of the three women but Poppy See, the brothel madam is suspicious. Poppy is a seer and had a premonition of bodies washing ashore before the women arrived. Now strange things are happening to the town and the people living there.

Water Ghosts is a wonderfully written tale of love, loss, and the consequences of betrayal.

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

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Three Weeks To Say Goodbye

Title: Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

Author:  C.J. Box

Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur, January 2009

Summary: Nine months after adopting their daughter Angelina, Jack and Melissa receive devastating news. The baby’s teenage father never signed the adoption papers and now he and his powerful father want the baby back. They have three weeks to prepare to hand their baby back over to her father-three weeks to say goodbye. It doesn’t take Jack and Melissa long to question the true motive of Angelina’s father and grandfather. The deeper they dig into the pasts of these two men, the more frightened they become for their daughter.

Jack and Melissa are convincing as parents facing a terrifying situation. If you are a true fan of thrillers (like me), don’t despair! There are plenty of sick and twisted characters to keep you interested in this one.

Who will like this book?  Thriller and crime fiction fans.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Lush Life

Title: Lush Life

Author: Richard Price

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, March 2008

Summary: I am not a reader of crime stories – but from now on I plan to make an exception for the works of Richard Price. His latest explores the ‘butterfly effect’ of a seemingly random  murder on the Lower East side, and turns a sharp, unflinching eye on the trendy hipsters and the urban poor that live there.

As you follow detectives on the trail of the killer, you meet characters you’ll not soon forget: The getting-too-old-for-this restaurant host simmering with resentment, the grieving father who in his desire to help only hinders police efforts, and a young street kid ground down by unwanted responsibilities.  Written with a gritty, pull-no-punches realism, this book is a haunting story of two worlds that co-exist, but rarely intertwine.

Who will like this book: People who like detective stories that are more about character than procedure. Fans of the HBO series The Wire.

If you like this, try this: Clockers by Richard Price. For a different take on Lower East Side bohemia, try the adventurous No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew it Cauze Bill Bailey ain’t Never Coming Home Again by Eduardo Vega Yunque.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Whiskey Rebels

Title: The Whiskey Rebels

Author:  David Liss

Publisher: Random House, September 2008

Summary: This is a great historical thriller that takes place soon after the Revolutionary War. It follows the lives of two strangers, Joan Maycott and Ethan Saunders, as they try to make a life for themselves in a new and unstable nation. At the center is Alexander Hamilton, Treasury Secretary, who has become the enemy of both Joan and Ethan.

Joan and her husband Andrew have sold all they own for the chance at a good life on the Western Pennsylvania frontier. Whiskey, not money, is the currency on the frontier and Andrew has developed a new method of distilling whiskey that is sure to make the Maycotts and their partners a very powerful force. That is, however, until Alexander Hamilton proposes a tax on whiskey that the whiskey producers cannot pay.

Ethan has a different reason for hating Hamilton. Ethan blames Hamilton for the false accusations of treason leveed against him during the war. Accusations that cost Ethan his reputation and his fiancee. The real question is how far will these two people go to exact revenge on their enemies. Though this is a historical novel, the references to the fragile economy and manipulation of the stock market is interesting and timely.

Who will like this book?  Anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

The Bodies Left Behind

Title: The Bodies Left Behind

Author:  Jeffrey Deaver

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, November 2008

Summary: This is a real cat-and-mouse thriller with the usual Deaver twists and turns. It all starts with a 911 call that is mysteriously cut short. Deputy Brynn McKenzie is sent to investigate the call which originated from a vacation home in remote Wisconsin woods. On the way, Brynn is notified that the 911 caller has called back to cancel the call, explaining that the 911 speed dial on his phone was pushed accidentally. Hmmm… Of course Brynn does not turn around and go back home. Instead, she decides to keep going and check it out anyway. The fact that she is desperate to use their  bathroom was a bigger incentive than her need to follow things through.

Brynn discovers a murder scene when she finally gets to the house, and the murderers are still there. One thing leads to another and she soon finds herself on the run in the dense Wisconsin woods, accompanied by the murdered couples house guest. This is a fast paced, and highly suspenseful novel. Don’t bother trying to figure out what’s going to happen next since its seldom what you expect. Just go along for the ride.

Who will like this book?  Any fan of suspense.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Too Close to Home

Title: Too Close to Home

Author:  Linwood Barclay

Publisher: Bantam, September 2008

Summary:  Derek was looking forward to the coming week. He was finally going to have a place for he and his girlfriend Penny to be together without any interruptions. So what if the place was his friend Adam Langley’s house. So what if Adam and his parents didn’t know Derek was hiding in their basement waiting for them to leave on their week long vacation. He wasn’t hurting anyone – he just wanted to have a good time with Penny. Too bad that, 10 minutes into the trip, Adam’s mom decided she didn’t feel well enough to travel that day. Perhaps the next day she would feel better.

As Adam and his family return to their home and Derek scrambles around in the basement looking for a new hiding place, a visitor appears at the Langley’s front door. Derek hears voices, then gunshots, footsteps, and finally silence. Derek ventures upstairs after he hears the shooter leave and discovers Adam and his parents have been shot dead. Frightened and confused, Derek flees the house and runs down the drive to his house set far back from the road. And this is just the prologue!

This is an action-packed page turner that will make you thankful for your security alarm and the two large dogs sleeping at the end of your bed.

Who will like this book?  Anyone who likes a good thriller.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Lost Girls

Title: Lost Girls

Author:  George D. Shuman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, September 2008

Summary: Sherry Moore is a blind woman with a unique gift. She has the ability to see the last 18 seconds of a deceased person’s memory, simply by touching their hand. When Sherry’s best friend. Admiral Garland Brigham, asks her to help rescuers searching for a lost climbing team on Mt. McKinley, she agrees. One member of the team has been spotted on a ridge, frozen to death during an unexpected storm. When Sherry holds the hand of the dead climber, Sergio Mendoza, she is able to direct the rescuers to the cave where the other climbers have taken refuge from the storm. Sergio’s last memories are not only of the deadly climb. While holding his hand she sees visions of a castle in a jungle and young women confined in cages and chained to walls. Admiral Brigham realizes that Sherry has seen the images of victims of human traffickers and Sergio Mendoza was somehow involved.

Now a young, rich American girl has gone missing during an excursion from a cruise ship, and is later found by a boater off the shore of the Dominican Republic. The victim bears the same voodoo tattoo on her cheek that Sherry had seen on the victims in Mendoza’s memory. Sherry is called upon again and the memories this young girl holds are very similar to the memories of Mendoza. It is now up to Sherry, Brigham, the young victim’s mother, and the few people they find along the way who are willing to risk their lives to battle the criminals responsible for the horrible crimes against these women. This is a fast paced story that takes you from the mountains to the jungle in no time.

Who will like this book?  People who like thrillers with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Watchmen

Title: Watchmen

Author: Alan Moore

Illustrator: Dave Gibbons

Publisher: DC Comics, April 1995

Summary: After a summer of blockbuster movies, you might just be sick of superheroes. But soon (pending some legal wrangling) the greatest graphic novel ever is coming to the big screen: Watchmen, by legendary scribe Alan Moore (responsible for such classics as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta.) It is the story of a group of superheroes undone by their all-too-human frailties. Set in the mid-80s, a killer is stalking the former ‘masks,’ who have either retired or been driven underground by anti-vigilante legislation, as the world moves closer and closer to nuclear conflict.

This is a thoroughly post-modern take on heroes, and while characters like The Comedian, Nite Owl, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan might not be as familiar as Batman and Wolverine, their stories are just as unforgettable. If you think you’re too grown-up for comics, read Watchmen. This is a true masterwork that explodes any expectations you might have for the flying and tights genre, named an essential book by Entertainment Weekly and Time magazines. Read it before the movie comes out!

Who will like this book?: Superhero fans who have read it all. People who like stories that expose the humanity, for better or worse, of heroic figures.

If you like this, try this: Anything by Alan Moore, especially V for Vendetta and From Hell. 300 by Frank Miller.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian