Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Publisher: Algonquin, March 2009
Summary: Robert Goolrick resurrects the Gothic romance! This book is so dark, suspenseful, sensual, and scary that I’m not quite sure how to begin to explain it, accept to say that is absolutely fabulous. It’s 1907 Wisconsin, the dead of winter, and everything is dark, frozen, covered with snow. Ralph Truitt stands on the platform of the train station, awaiting the arrival of his new wife-to-be under the watchful eyes of practically everyone who lives in his small rural town (that is everyone who hasn’t gone murderously insane.) Catherine Land sits on the train, having answered Truitt’s ad in the newspaper, on her way to marry him. She says goodbye to her past, literally throwing the remnants of it out the window of the private railway car he has sent for her (yes, he’s that rich). We don’t know much, but we know that Catherine is definitely not who she’s pretending to be, and that’s only the beginning of all of the terrible secrets buried in this book.
Part DuMaurier, part Poe, part Bronte (and even a little bit part Stephen King), Goolrick has masterfully created a suspenseful tale that will leave you breathless, really. He writes for all of the senses, and brings us to a world that is simply tragic and utterly beautiful.
Recommended by: Mary, Branch Reference
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
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