Tag Archives: Murder

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

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

Columbine

Title: Columbine

Author: Dave Cullen

Summary: On April 20, 1999, two boys entered their high school and proceeded to unleash the most unforgettable school shooting of the modern era. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were troubled outcasts in black trench coats, picked on by jocks and preps, who, after years of listening to angry music and playing violent video games, finally snapped.

Or were they? Actually, none of these accepted facts about the young killers are true. In this absorbing book, a reporter who was on the scene that day and followed the story long after the tragedy of school shootings became seemingly commonplace, dispels the myths behind the shooting, its perpetrators, and even its victims. Everyone knows what you mean when you say ‘Columbine,’ but not one of us has ever heard the whole story until now.

Who will like this book: True crime readers. Anyone who remembers that day would be benefited by reading this important book.

If you like this, try this: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. A fictional work that deals, in part, with Columbine and it’s aftermath, The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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 Lindbergh Child

Title: A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child

Author/Illustrator:Rick Geary

Publisher: Comics Lit, February 2009

Summary: After his transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh became an international hero, icon, and to his chagrin, celebrity. In the early ’30s, he and his wife moved to a new home in New Jersey in an attempt to live a private life. Little did they know that the tragic events that followed would thrust them even futher into the spotlight. Rick Geary begins his Tales of XXth Century Murder series with the story of the kidnapping (and murder) that led to ‘The Trial of the Century.’

We follow the events of the kidnapping, meet the various players in the investigation, and witness the trial and execution of Bruno Hauptman, who maintains his innocence throughout. Geary also discusses several of the alternate theories of the crime that persist to this day. Like his previous true crime graphic novels, this book is concise, informative, even-handed, and impossible to put down.

Who will like this book?: Fans of true crime and non-fiction graphic novels. Anyone interested in this famous crime, or the exploits of Charles Lindbergh.

If you like this, try this: Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Books in Geary’s A Treasury of Victorian Murder, including Jack the Ripper and The Borden Tragedy. The Plot Against America by Philp Roth.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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

Serena

Title: Serena

Author: Ron Rash

Publisher: Ecco, October 2008

Summary: Have you ever read a book that is so good, you just don’t understand how the author isn’t more well-known? For me, that book was the astonishing One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash. This talented author’s words are so devastatingly beautiful that they make you stop and re-read the same sentence over and over again. His latest book, like his previous efforts, is set in Appalachia, this time in the Western North Carolina’s logging fields of the late 1920s. It is there we meet Pemberton, the owner of a lumber company racing to clean out the forest before he loses his land to a planned National Park, and his wife, Serena.

Pemberton is an ambitious man, and Serena is more than his equal. Her unrelenting drive allows no questioning, and certainly no opposition. The violence and danger of life in a lumber camp is mirrored by the treacherous actions of Serena, who may be the most memorable female villain since Lady Macbeth. This fabulous book opens a window into a forgotten past, and will resonate with historical fiction fans, as well as readers who enjoy a good thriller.

Who will like this book? Fans of regional fiction. People who enjoy thrillers that aren’t procedural or formulaic.

If you like this, try this: One Foot in Eden and The World Made Straight, both by Ron Rash.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Title: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Author: David Wroblewski

Summary: I could have lain in the hammock for hours on end with the new book by first-time author David Wroblewski.  What a storyteller! The story takes place in 1970′s Wisconsin at the Sawtelle farm, whose owners, Gar and Trudy breed a wonderfully smart, unique dog — the Sawtelle dog.  But a child is missing in their life and a son is finally born to them. Although Edgar is mute, even as a young boy it is obvious that he is a keen and intelligent observer of people and dogs, and he communicates with both by signing.

Gar’s brother, Claude, shows up at the farm one day (Edgar is now 14) and his father puts Claude to work on the farm. But the tension between the brothers is palpable.  It is clear that two brothers are very different and have unspoken grudges dating all the way back to their childhood. Unexpectedly, Gar, Edgar’s father, dies, apparently of an aneurysm, but Edgar suspects murder. And Claude continues to insinuate himself on the life of the farm and into the affections of Edgar’s mother.  The parallels to “Hamlet” occur throughout the book and culminate in a fantastic scene where Edgar’s dead father appears to him in a sheet of rain.

David Wroblewski has woven together a coming-of-age story, combining fiction and the supernatural to drive you to a pulse-pounding end.  Even though the book is about 550 pages, it is worth the investment.

Recommended by: Susan Z, Reference