The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware (2018)

Mystery
Adult
The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth WareThis new mystery from British writer Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood) is a lot of fun from start to finish. I keep thinking it’s like a grown-up Nancy Drew mystery (in a good way!), with a more realistic and nicely flawed heroine caught in a web of deceit and murder. Hal Westaway is 21, living alone in Brighton three years after her mother was brutally killed by a hit and run driver. With no income and few options, she picks up her mum’s tarot cards and continues her business on the pier. Read More »

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Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlin (2018)

Mystery
Adult
Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlinLast week I reviewed a book by a librarian and teacher turned author; this week it’s a lawyer/judge turned author! Another Canadian novel, this one is a mystery by Beverley McLachlin, who recently stepped down as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, featuring young defence lawyer Jilly Truitt. Once a foster kid who teetered on a life on the streets, Jilly graduated law school and now heads a small but aggressive firm in Vancouver where she owns a condo,  drives a Mercedes, and regularly spends weekends with her longtime boyfriend Mike St John. She fights hard for underdog clients, knowing she could easily be in their shoes, had she not gotten a couple of breaks. Read More »

People Like Us, by Dana Mele (2018)

Mystery
14-18
People Like Us, by Dana MeleSo I guess boarding school murders are a thing! This is my second review for today, as I couldn’t help bundling these together given their plot similarities. This one is set in the U.S., on the east coast. Bates Academy is a boarding school for privileged girls from elite families, with a scholarship program that gives Kay Donovan a spot, despite her humble background. As this is her big break, Kay befriends the right group and despite a habit of stocking her closet with borrowed clothes she “forgets” to return, her sharp wit and withering comments quickly earn her a coveted spot in the leadership clique. Now in fourth year, the girls put on the Skeleton costume dance for Halloween, and the book opens as the dance ends and the girls meet at the lake for the annual skinny dip. To their shock, they discover a body in the water, a student named Jessica Lane. Read More »

S.T.A.G.S., by M.A. Bennett (2017, 2018)

Mystery
13-16
S.T.A.G.S by M.A. BennettWhat is it about boarding schools that both fascinates and horrifies? I suppose the nostalgia of stories from Enid Blyton to J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts lets us imagine them as a place of besties and grand adventure; the reality of spending every waking moment with the bullies and beasts that populated my high schol is probably more realistic! This novel definitely skews toward the nasty. The subtitle on the North American edition of this British mystery says it all: “Nine students. Three blood sports. One deadly weekend.” From the start, we learn someone dies, and that someone is Henry de Warlencourt, leader of the school’s prefects known as the Medievals. And our protagonist calls herself a murderer, or at least one of them. Read More »

Murder on Brittany Shores, by Jean-Luc Bannalec (2016)

Mystery
Adult
Murder on Brittany Shores, by Jean-Luc BannalecThree bodies wash ashore on a remote and uninhabited island off the French shore in Brittany after a storm. Despite the fact this is almost certainly an accident, Commissaire Georges Dupin is obliged to abandoned his beloved morning coffee and croissant at the local cafe in order to investigate. The islands fall within his area of responsibility. And to make matters worse, his boss, the hated Prefect, is using the helicopter, and so Dupin must travel by speedboat. He, a man who does not swim, who loves being AT the sea but not being ON the sea. It’s an important distinction. Robbed of his morning caffeine, Dupin heads off in full-blown cranky mode, and sure enough, gets thoroughly wet. Read More »

Broken Promise (Promise Falls #1), by Linwood Barclay (2015)

Mystery
Adult
Broken Promise, by Linwood BarclayNewspaper journalist David Harwood finds himself back in Promise Falls, New York, working for the local rag. It’s a step down from the job he quit at a Boston newspaper in order to spend more time with his teen son Ethan. But when The Standard folds on David’s first day on the job, he and Ethan are forced to stay at his parents’ home, where his mother is increasingly forgetful and his father growing distant. Despite his desire to stay out of his parents’ lives, David is soon caught up in the family drama when he is sent to deliver a meal to his ailing young cousin Marla, who recently lost her baby during childbirth. Imagine David’s shock when he finds Marla with a babe in arms, delivered, she tells him, by an angel. Turns out the baby’s mother was savagely murdered, and Marla is now the prime suspect. Read More »

The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch (2018)

Science Fiction
Adult
The Gone World, by Tom SweterlitschFirst, take your time in reading this book. It is not one to rush. It’s to be savoured, taking time to ponder the latest plot twists as you try to figure out what the heck is going on! It’s at heart a mystery set in a science fiction world, not unlike the film Inception. In fact, I predict you’ll be seeing this story on the big screen in a year or two. Shannon Moss is a criminal investigator for the U.S. Navy. It’s 1997, and she’s called into the case of what appears to be a domestic murder involving a Navy SEAL. A wife and two children are dead, and both the eldest daughter and the husband are missing. But what the police don’t know is that the husband is actually an astronaut whose spaceship Libra and its entire crew is missing, lost during a secret trip to the future. Read More »