Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

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Unbecoming

by Rebecca Scherm

published by Viking Adult

January 22, 2015

I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

My Review

I usually enjoy books I receive as ARCs, and every once in a while, I love them!  I felt this way about The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, The House We Grew Up In, and The Boston Girl.  And now I feel this way about Scherm’s debut novel, Unbecoming.  I picked this book up in the morning, and finished it 12 hours later.  It is not only a fast read, but captivating.  It flows at such a nice pace, keeping you interested and moving along.  We meet Grace in Paris, where she is know as Julie, working as a restorer of antiques at a not so reputable business.  She is hiding from her boyfriend and his friend, who are being released from prison in Tennessee, for a robbery that she was somehow involved in, yet was never implicated.  To go beyond this point in the story would be to spoil some really great plot twists, and there are quite a few!  This is the first book in a long while that I devoured in a day.  When I put it down, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it.  I hope you will give this wonderful book a try soon.

 

Summary

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

About the Author

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Rebecca Scherm is the author of Unbecoming, a novel. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was also a postgraduate Zell Fellow. She lives in Michigan, where she is working on her second novel, Beta.
Find her on Twitter @chezscherm or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rebeccascherm
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The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

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The Killer Next Door

by Alex Marwood

published by Penguin Books

2014

I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I haven’t yet read this author’s The Wicked Girls, but had heard very good things about it, so I was excited to receive and ARC of her new work The Killer Next Door.  I am usually a little creeped out by serial killers- maybe it is due to overexposure to James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell in my formative years?  When I began this book, I felt it was going to be a drag, but by the second chapter I was totally hooked.  Marwood gives an array of interesting and well written characters, Cher, Collet, Vesta, Hossein and Thomas.  All from very different walks of life, they find themselves neighbors living in small rooms in a suburb of London.  The author takes us back and forth between these characters and the killer living in the building with them.  The parts with the killer, called the Lover, actually made my skin crawl-but in a good way!  Marwood has given us an amazing story- wonderful, rich characters wrapped in a mystery.  Read this book!  You will not want to put it down.

Summary

Alex Marwood’s debut novel, The Wicked Girls, earned her lavish praise from the likes of Stephen King, Laura Lippman, and Erin Kelly, and was shortlisted for an Edgar Award. Now Marwood’s back with a brilliant, tightly paced thriller that will keep you up at night and make you ask yourself: just how well do you know your neighbors?
Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash—no credit check, no lease. It’s the kind of place you end up when you you’ve run out of other options. The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don’t know is that one of them is a killer. He’s already chosen his next victim, and he’ll do anything to protect his secret. (from Goodreads).

Fear Nothing

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Fear Nothing

by Lisa Gardner

published by Dutton Books

2014

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Summary

My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.

The last thing Boston Detective D.D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear… She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.

My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D.D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain, doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.

D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women; he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:

Fear nothing.

My Review

I have read all (I think) the books this author has written, at least all that have D.D. Warren in them, and they are really crime thrillers.  Warren is an interesting MC- always tough and on the job, very rarely letting her guard down.  Like other books that follow a main character, the stories all follow a similar plot, but they never feel formulaic.  In this book, Warren works along with a very interesting character, Dr. Glenn, a woman who can not feel pain.  At first this seems vey convenient, until you realize how dangerous it might be.  I really enjoyed Adeline Glenn.  Hers was an interesting storyline.

I would recommend this book if you enjoy a good thriller

 

Rating

4 out of 5

 

He’s Gone- a review

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He’s Gone

by Deb Caletti

published by Bantam Books

2013

The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

(from Goodreads)

My Review

I enjoyed this book.  It was interesting and well written.  Beyond that, it neither wowed me or bothered me, except left me feeling a little sad.  The premise of the book is simple at first- wife wakes up Sunday morning, bit of a headache after too much wine the night before.  Where is hubby?  She assumed getting coffee and bagels-great.  She reads, makes a cup of coffee, and waits.  Walks the dog and waits.  Figure maybe he ran errands.  Maybe he was working.   Hours later, when he still hasn’t gotten home, she gets worried and starts making calls.  Where is he?  I thought the author moved the story long nicely and kept it interesting enough, though there really wasn’t much action.  As the days go by, we are given a glimpse into the marriage of Dani and Ian, and we realize slowly how unhappy it was.  Not until you are almost done with the book do you realize you aren’t reading a mystery, but rather a story about marriage.  This book actually reminded me a little of Gone Girl.  Give it a try!

Rating 3.5 out of 5

“There was no question that it was a necessary divorce, but that didn’t make it less painful. You don’t think it will hurt, leaving a marriage like that, do you? But it’s the same misguided thinking that makes people ask, after your mother dies, how old she was. If she was ninety, the bereavement isn’t supposed to be as crushing. But of course it is. Of course. There’s no equation for loss.”
― Deb CalettiHe’s Gone

About the Author

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Deb Caletti is an American writer born in San Rafael, California. She was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the recipient of other numerous awards including PEN USA finalist award, the Washington State Book Award, and SLJ Best Book award.
Deb went to Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, Washington, U.S.A., and graduated in 1981. She earned a BA in Journalism/Communications from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1985. She currently resides in Issaquah, Washington.
A series of television films based on Caletti’s novels is currently in production.

The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King

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The Bones of Paris 

by Laurie R. King

published by Bantam Books

September 10, 2013

I received an advance ebook through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Summary

Paris, France; September, 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie Bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the cocaine that is suddenly available on every rue andboulevard.

As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the thriving, decadent ex-patriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare & Co’s Sylvia Beach to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to brutal effect in short, gut-churning acts. Depravity as art; savage human nature on stage.

Soon, it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grace is to be rendered in blood and gore. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris. (from http://www.laurierking.com)

My Review

When I requested this book, I thought-ok, fun little mystery.  WRONG!  It was so much more.  There is the mystery, but it is wrapped in amazing layers of history!  The author makes you feel as if you are looking directly into Paris at the end of the 1920’s.  She introduces you to real people of the era-painter, singers, and authors.  As the main character, Harris Stuyvesant, searches the city for a young missing American, we meet and hang out with the famous artist Man Ray, singers Brictkop and Josephine Baker, along with Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, and Kiki of Montparnasse.   It is an intricate story, that unfolds slowly, but I found myself unable to go slowly, instead plowing on ahead even when I wanted to take a break.  I loved the way the author brought me right into the different neighborhoods of Paris in 1929.  You can hear the Jazz and taste the champagne right along with Harris.  As Harris comes to grips with the starkness of the Surrealist and Dada movements and the horror of the Grand-Guignol, you are right there also.

I really recommend this book-while it had some pretty intense parts, it was a fast read and kept my interest the entire time.  I really didn’t want it to end.  I hope the author, who also wrote The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (which is now on my TBR list), writes more books with these characters and in this setting.

rating

4.5 out of 5

EXPATRIATES: PARIS 1920S

EXPATRIATES: PARIS 1920S (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)