Book Review: Walk Into Silence – Susan McBride

walk-into-silence.jpgTitle: Walk Into Silence
Author: Susan McBride
ISBN: 9781503937628
Pages: 368
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Publicist

Summary

Detective Jo Larsen doesn’t think much of it when Patrick Dielman walks into her office and asks her to find his missing wife. After all, in a small town, people aren’t abducted. But as Jo starts digging into the case, she finds puzzles in Jenny Dielman’s past. Did the woman flee to escape a controlling husband, or is there something sinister in her past that has caught up with her?

Review

Winter is the time I like to curl up with mysteries, so when I first heard about Walk Into Silence I was intrigued. I’ve read a few of McBride’s other books before (though not her crime fiction), so I was eager to delve in and see what this book was all about. And I was surprised—not just by the twists and turns of the story, but how immersed I became in it. It’s really difficult these days for me to become utterly hooked on a crime novel just because I’ve read so many. But McBride’s story had me turning the pages quickly because of her wonderful characterization.

One aspect of Walk Into Silence that I loved was the number of major female characters. They are all imperfect, and not all of them are very likeable, and I loved that. You see so many different types of women in this book; there isn’t just one female character that has to be everything for every woman reading the book. McBride’s characters are well-developed, and even when you don’t agree with their decisions, you are emotionally invested in them.

If you’re looking for a satisfying crime novel to delve into this winter, look no further than Walk Into Silence. It’s well-written and engaging, and will keep you hooked. I’m not sure if it’s part of a series, but I was happy reading it as a standalone novel (though I hope there are more to come!).

Other books by Susan McBride

Little Black Dress
The Cougar Club

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Book Review: A Deadly Thaw – Sarah Ward

Title: A Deadly Thaw
Author: Sarah Ward
ISBN: 9781250069184
Pages: 384
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher

Summary

When the body of a recently murdered man is discovered, it appears to be a routine homicide investigation for Detective Constable Connie Childs and her team. But it turns out to be anything but once the victim is anything but when the ID comes back: It turns out the body matches the identification of a man believed to be dead. Not only that, but he was murdered, and his wife, Lena, identified his body and then served a sentence, convicted of murdering him. Why would Lena identify a body that she knew wasn’t her husband’s? Where has he been all this time?

Review

Fall is the time I love to curl up with a good mystery, after the breezy books of summer, and A Deadly Thaw served that purpose nicely. This meaty mystery is told from varying points of view, including DC Childs’, Lena’s, and that of Lena’s sister, Kat, so you are treated to a well-rounded perspective of the crime, its aftermath, and the investigation into what really happened. Ward is talented at developing her characters; you come to care about each of them, even as you recognize how flawed and imperfect they truly are.

Sometimes the multiple perspective game can be grating, especially in a crime novel, but Ward uses it to great effect in A Deadly Thaw. She knows how to use her different characters to reveal key bits of information without giving away too much. It’s effectively done and serves to heighten the suspense and narrative tension of the novel.

In the last quarter or so of the book, as everything comes together and the deeper answers begin to come to light, A Deadly Thaw moves from believability to pure entertainment. That’s not to disparage it; I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. But the end result isn’t exactly easy to buy into; there’s definitely some suspension of disbelief involved. This novel is atmospheric and well-written, with characters you’ll really become emotionally involved with. If you’re okay with swallowing some disbelief and enjoying the ride, you should absolutely pick up this entertaining crime novel

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Book Review: The Trespasser – Tana French

Title: The Trespasser
Author: Tana French
ISBN: 9780670026333
Pages: 464
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher

Summary

Detective Antoinette Conway has had it up to here with the Dublin Murder Squad. She’s tired of the sexist attitude of her fellow detectives and the fact that she’s expected to just accept their comments and actions. If it weren’t for her partner, Steve Moran, every day would be a nightmare. When Antoinette and Steve receive a case that appears to be a simple domestic, they are the only two that question whether things are what they seem. Are they making more of it than it seems to avoid the reality that they were handed a dead-end case, or is there really more going on than meets the eye?

Review

Tana French. A name that elicits longing from fans of books. Tana French transcends genre; whether you love mystery novels or barely read them, whether you immerse yourself in literary fiction or prefer to avoid it, chances are if you’re any kind of reader, you love Tana French. She has an uncanny gift for spinning incredible yet entirely believable tales that will have you questioning anything and everything around you. Each of her books is so different from its predecessors, yet each is so incredibly good. And The Trespasser is no exception.

Antoinette Conway is a captivating and frustrating main character, so smart and sharp, yet closed in by her biases. It’s not hard to understand why she’s become that way; the things she has to deal with from her fellow detectives are pretty terrible. But it influences all parts of her life; she tries to be entirely self-reliant and jumps to thinking the worst of people. She’s such a rich character; with the way French’s books work (each focusing on a different, yet somehow related, character), I’m sorry we won’t be sending more time with her after this book.

The mystery at the core of The Trespasser is, quite frankly, crazy. Not because the circumstances are unbelievable—it’s as straightforward as the summary of the novel claims—but because of the directions French takes it in through her two main characters Antoinette and Steve. I never know what to expect with Tana French, but this was just insane in the best way. I loved every twist and turn, every unexpected occurrence, every random stray thought that the pair decided to entertain. It was shocking and entirely satisfying.

If you haven’t read Tana French yet because you’re afraid expectations are too high, trust me they aren’t. I know there’s a lot of hype surrounding her books, but it’s because they’re just so good. As I said, the books are connected through characters, so it’s worth reading them in order, starting with In the Woods, but if you don’t care about minor spoilers, then you can pick up whichever of her novels strikes your fancy (though I would read The Secret Place before this novel, just because of the characters in common). They are so worth reading, and you can join the legions of fans who salivate every time they hear word of a new Tana French novel.

Other books by Tana French

In the Woods
The Likeness
Faithful Place
Broken Harbor
The Secret Place

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Book Review: The Ghost Fields – Elly Griffiths

Title: The Ghost Fields
Author: Elly Griffiths
ISBN: 9780544330146
Pages: 384
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher

Summary

When a World War II-era plane crash is discovered in Norfolk, it’s a curiosity to be sure. But when the pilot is found in the cockpit, shot through the head, it becomes a criminal investigation. The police call in Ruth Galloway, who discovers more than one strange piece of information about this decades-old corpse. Who was this man, why was he murdered, and how did his plane end up in the middle of a field, if he was shot in the head?

Review

 There are a few series I can’t get enough of, and Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mysteries are among those few. Too often, series get boring as they progress. It’s another dead body (too often, a pretty young woman who’s been the victim of horrific violence), another case that’s really indistinguishable from what came in previous books. I keep reading them because I enjoy the escape that mysteries bring, but there are few series where each book sets itself apart, and each installment gets better and better. This series, however, does just that.

I love the blend of history and crime that Elly Griffiths brings to each of the Ruth Galloway novels, and that’s absolutely present in The Ghost Fields. Ruth is working on a Bronze Age dig when the novel begins; she’s called in to consult on a World War II-era body. These books jump back and forth through Britain’s past, bringing different areas of history to light. It’s fascinating and informative, and I love how Griffiths jumps between macro histories—periods of time—and micro, to focus on how a period in history affected one person or family. It’s so well done.

But these books aren’t just about history. In The Ghost Fields, Griffiths continues developing the characters that readers have come to know and love over the past years. It’s an eccentric cast of characters, to be sure, but one that the reader feels is family. One of the themes of this novel is personality flaws, and specifically how women are forced to be so much stronger than the men surrounding them. While it’s explicitly said in regard to the family involved in the murder investigation, the reader sees how Ruth is surrounded by imperfect, flawed men, and is forced to rise above them for herself and her daughter. These characters are not perfect, but they are realistic.

I absolutely adore this series, and if you haven’t given it a chance, I hope you will. Even if mysteries and crime fiction aren’t your favorite genre, the history and strong characterization will draw you into these books. I can’t wait to read the next (and most recent) in the series, The Woman in Blue.

Other books by Elly Griffiths:

The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea’s End
A Room Full of Bones
A Dying Fall
The Outcast Dead

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Book Review: Only the Hunted Run – Neely Tucker

Title: Only the Hunted Run Author: Neely Tucker ISBN: 9780525429425 Pages: 288 Release Date: August 30, 2016 Publisher: Viking Genre: Crime Fiction Source: Publisher Summary Washington Post reporter Sully Carter is in the U.S. Capitol Building when the unthinkable happens—a gunman enters the building and starts to shoot innocent bystanders. Sully is a witness to […]

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Book Review: City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong

Title: City of the Lost Author: Kelley Armstrong ISBN: 9781250092144 Pages: 416 Release Date: May 3, 2016 Publisher: Minotaur Books Genre: Crime Fiction Source: Publisher Summary Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret in her past that she’d like to make sure stays hidden. But when her past catches up with her, and […]

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Book Review: A Murder in Time – Julie McElwain

Title: A Murder in Time Author: Julie McElwain ISBN:9781605989747 Pages: 499 Release Date: April 11, 2016 Publisher: Pegasus Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction Source: Publisher Summary Kendra Donovan might be young, but she’s making a name for herself at the FBI. That is, until something goes horribly wrong on a raid, and Kendra wakes up […]

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Book Review: Murder, DC – Neely Tucker

Title: Murder, DC Author: Neely Tucker ISBN: 9780670016594 Pages: 304 Release Date: June 30, 2015 Publisher: Viking Genre: Crime Fiction Source: Publisher Summary Billy Ellison, the son of one of the most prominent black families in Washington, DC, has been found dead, and the location of the body? It’s a park with a bloody history, to […]

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