REVIEW: WHAT THE DEAD KNOW, BY LAURA LIPPMAN

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In 1976, two young girls, Sunny and Heather Bethany, went missing from Baltimore.

Now, thirty years later, a young woman with no identification, dubbed Jane Doe, has an auto accident that leads to a series of statements on her part, and a joint effort by police, a social worker, and an attorney to discern the truth in what she has to say.

Could she, as she claims, be Heather Bethany? If not, why does she know so many details of the events, as well as private information that only an “insider” could have?

What the Dead Know was narrated by various players in the story, from Miriam and Dave Bethany, the parents, to the present day investigators. We also read the narrative of the Jane Doe character, and try to ascertain her credibility.

Flashbacks convey much of the story through these narrators, and as the story unfolds, we are soon trying to decide if we believe Jane Doe’s statements, or if she has conned us.

I found the details about how the character achieved her numerous identities to be fascinating, and much in line with what we know about how such new identities are obtained. I liked this quote: “Like a bird who moved into abandoned nests, she had inhabited the lives of long-dead girls…”

In the final twist, which I did not see coming, the facts and details came together to give us a most satisfying conclusion. While not my favorite book by this author, I still will not forget it, and enjoyed the numerous ins and outs and twists and turns. 4 stars.

TUESDAY JOURNEY: INTROS/TEASERS – “YOU CAN TRUST ME”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today I’m featuring an ARC called You Can Trust Me, by Sophie McKenzie.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Chapter One – Four weeks earlier…)

The text arrives as I’m getting out of the car.  I’m so anxious about the evening ahead that I barely register the beep.  The setting sun is casting soft swirls of pink and orange across the Exeter skyline, thinning and sharpening the tops of the cathedral towers.  The air is warm but I’m shivering, my heart beating hard and loud against my ribs.  Will throws me a worried glance.  I pull my phone from my bag, wondering vaguely if the text is from the babysitter.  But it’s Julia’s name that flashes up.  For a second my anxiety eases a little.  Whatever my closest friend has written is sure to be an offering of support, expressed in Julia’s customary style:  big and bold and full of feeling.  But when I open it, the text is short and terse.

PLS CALL, I NEED TO TALK TO YOU.

***

Teaser:  Life slips back into its old groove:  I ferry the kids around, shop for groceries, and pay bills.  And yet, even as everything remains the same, it is all different. (p. 37)

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Blurb:  On a quiet, gray, Saturday morning, Livy arrives at her best friend Julia’s flat for a lunch date only to find her dead. Though all the evidence supports it, Livy cannot accept the official ruling of suicide; the Julia she remembers was loud, inappropriate, joyful, outrageous and loving, not depressed. The suspicious circumstances cause Livy to dig further, and she is suddenly forced to confront a horrifying possibility: that Julia was murdered, by the same man who killed Livy’s sister, Kara, eighteen years ago.

Desperate to understand the tragedies of her past and hold her unraveling life together, Livy throws herself into the search for Kara and Julia’s killer, who she now believes is someone close to her family. But if that is true, can she still trust anyone? Damien, the man Julia was secretly dating? Leo, her husband’s boss and a close family friend? His son Paul, her husband’s best mate since college? Or even Will, her own dear husband, who has betrayed her perhaps one time too many?

And when Livy finally faces her sister’s killer, and he traps her with one horrible, impossible choice, she must finally decide: is she strong enough to trust herself?

Get lost in the dark, gripping pages of You Can Trust Me.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know I can’t wait to find out more.

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FROM THE INTERIOR: BOOKS, BLOGS, & DEVICES

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As some of you may know, Sparky has been around a while.  And lately there are all these fabulous deals for upgraded Kindles…but shhh, I don’t want Sparky to know that I’m looking.

Has anyone upgraded and transferred their books to the new device?  I know from Customer Service that the books are all available in the Cloud, but how would that work in reality?

I spent the morning creating Word docs. with my various collections, so that if all the books are downloaded in one big heap—that’s how I visualize it!—I would know what I’ve read and when.

Or I could leave the books I’ve read in the Cloud.

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I’ve noticed recently that this blog now has 400 followers!  Thanks to all of you who have signed up here.  This was my first Word Press blog…and since I have eleven blogs, my followers are spread among the sites.

 

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Today I got two new e-books that I had pre-ordered  Can’t wait to read them!

 

Crazy Love You, by Lisa Unger, is another psychological suspense read, which I seem to crave lately.  And nobody does it better than Unger.

 

 

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Love hurts. Sometimes it even kills.

Darkness has a way of creeping up when Ian is with Priss. Even when they were kids, playing in the woods of their small Upstate New York town, he could feel it. Still, Priss was his best friend, his salvation from the bullies who called him “loser” and “fatboy”…and from his family’s deadly secrets.

Now that they’ve both escaped to New York City, Ian no longer inhabits the tortured shell of his childhood. He is a talented and successful graphic novelist, and Priss…Priss is still trouble. The booze, the drugs, the sex–Ian is growing tired of late nights together trying to keep the past at bay. Especially now that he’s met sweet, beautiful Megan, whose love makes him want to change for the better. But Priss doesn’t like change. Change makes her angry. And when Priss is angry, terrible things begin to happen…

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The First Wife, by Erica Spindler, promises thrills galore.

 

 

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As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grows older, those dreams transform, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who will sweep her off her feet and whisk her away from her ordinary existence. Then, suddenly, there he is. Despite the ten year difference in their ages, her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history she knew nothing about surfaces, plus whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife, True, and rumors about the women from the area who have gone missing—and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband’s involvement.

At first Bailey ignores the whispers, even circumstantial evidence against Logan mounts. But finally, Bailey must make a choice: believe what everyone says—or bet her life on the man she loves, but is realizing she hardly knows.

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And from Amazon Vine later this week, I will be getting Second Life, by S. J. Watson, who brought us Before I Go to Sleep.

 

 

 

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Julia’s life is comfortable, if unremarkable, until her sister’s brutal murder opens old wounds. She finds solace in her sister’s best friend, Sophie, but when Sophie reveals the extent of her sister’s online life, Julia becomes convinced that the truth about her death lies deep in the dark, sordid world of online chatrooms and internet sex.

What begins as Julia’s search for the truth about her sister quickly turns into an exploration of herself and her own desires. After all, the internet is her playground, and why be just one thing when you can be as many as you like? What could possibly go wrong? After all, it’s only cybersex, isn’t it? No one’s going to get hurt.

But then she meets the dark and mysterious Lukas in an online chat room, and things begin to get very dangerous indeed.

***

What does your bookish world look like today?  What books are you anticipating?  And how have you dealt with upgrades on your Kindle?

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REVIEW: THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES, BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN

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CeeCee Wilkes was a vulnerable, sixteen-year-old girl who had lived in foster homes after the death of her mother when she was twelve.

The letters she carried with her, the ones her mother had written to serve as a guide to her as she matured, would be her only touchstone. But nothing in her mother’s letters or the life she’d lived could have prepared her for the charming, manipulative Tim Gleason.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes begins with a prologue in the present, with a young woman named Corinne, who watches as the woman she knew as her mother confesses a horrendous secret in front of TV cameras.

We then flash back to 1977, and to an event that changed CeeCee’s life forever.

In alternating narratives told by Corinne, by CeeCee, and then Eve Elliott, the persona she took on while in hiding, we learn about the fear and vulnerability the young girl faced one terrible night in a remote cabin, and how she spent the next period of her life in hiding. And tried over the years to be the best mother she could be to the baby she “stole” in order to protect her.

What really happened in that remote cabin? What would finally bring the truth out? What price would CeeCee (Eve) have to pay for telling her story? And how would Corinne bury the bitterness and anger she feels in order to reach out to the woman she knew as her mother?

This was a story that spotlighted many issues of morality and choice, and which allows the reader to root for CeeCee despite her wrong choices. I could not stop reading or caring about the characters, flawed though they were. I loved this story and would recommend it for all who enjoy family stories and for those who are fans of Chamberlain. 5.0 stars.

REVIEW: COPPER BEACH, BY JAYNE ANN KRENTZ

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A story that features psychic/paranormal energy, the power within crystals, and family legacies, Copper Beach (Dark Legacy Novel) grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the final page.

Offering up a rich variety of interesting characters and settings, primarily in the Seattle area and on one of the San Juan Islands, the author gives us the Coppersmiths, like Sam and his parents, along with Abby Radwell, who has been blackmailed into searching for a mysterious lab notebook. One that holds valuable formulas, but must be unlocked via psychic energy. Then there are a number of nefarious characters, like Lander Knox, not to mention annoying ones like Orinda Strickland, Abby’s step-grandmother. Another interesting subplot involved Abby’s father Brandon, his third wife Diana, her stepbrother Dawson, and Brandon’s focus on his “perfect family” image that led to Abby being placed in a school for troubled teens when she was younger.

And why are all of these people seeking the notebook? What can it bring to any of their lives? And how does a seemingly disturbed young man named Grady Hastings set everything in motion? And who has hypnotically controlled him?

I was intrigued by the puzzling elements, but the romantic aspects added a lighter note to the story. There was an obvious connection between Sam Coppersmith and Abby that shows promise for the future. And let’s not forget the contributions of Abby’s dog Newton. A delightful romantic suspense novel with a twist, I recommend it to all fans of the author. 4.5 stars.

FROM THE INTERIOR: ANTICIPATING “WAIT FOR THE RAIN”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

I missed last Wednesday, so I am eager to check off one of the books on my list.  One of the eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

In the past couple of years, I have discovered a fairly new author whose work I eagerly await.  Maria Murnane has given us such captivating titles as Cassidy Lane and Katwalk, among others.  So her newest offering, Wait for the Rain, immediately went on my list.  Coming on 2/24/15!

 

 

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Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

***

I love the sound of this…and the title makes me think of blissful moments.  What do you have to share today?  Come on by and leave your comments and links.

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REVIEW: ALL DAY AND A NIGHT, BY ALAFAIR BURKE

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When a Park Slope psychiatrist, Helen Brunswick, is murdered in her office, some similarities seem to exist between the killer’s MO and that of a convicted murderer serving time in prison. And as a result, an attorney known as a media hound, Linda Moreland, has taken on the case of trying to free that man, Anthony Amaro, after receiving an anonymous letter spelling out those similarities and suggesting that Anthony was wrongly convicted.

Carrie Blank has taken on the job of associate on Moreland’s team, which means that she will be forced to return to her home town of Utica, where five of the murders took place. Will there be a conflict for her, since once of the victims was her half-sister Donna? And will her close connections to the Police Chief there, and with his son, prove problematic for her?

Ellie Hatcher and J. J. Rogan, detectives for the NYPD, are assigned as the “Fresh Look” team that will try to prevent Amaro’s release from prison on wrongful conviction grounds. And since he was only convicted, after a guilty plea on his part, of one of the murders, will they be able to find out who killed the others? And, if not Anthony, who?

So much of the story of All Day and a Night: A Novel of Suspense (Ellie Hatcher) hangs on a race between the parties to prove or disprove events and to knock holes or substantiate facts in the original case. Why do anonymous letters keep showing up, pointing the detectives toward certain individuals? Why does the head of the Utica PD, Will Sullivan, seem less than thrilled with the upheaval? And what, if anything, connects Joseph Flaherty, a disturbed resident of the town, with what happened in the past and what is happening now?

The story was a twisted page turner that held my interest throughout, although there were more than enough “huh?” moments to make me question some of the theories and actions of the police and attorneys. However, the final reveals were satisfying and made the book an enjoyable read. 4.0 stars.