From the desk of: Veronica
I’m not sure what it is about this cloudy, dreary, turn-on-the-heat-in-July weather, but it makes me want to read crime/mystery/thriller novels. You too? Excellent, because I have two book reviews for you.
Read on, and get ready to add both to your library, e-reader, or shopping lists!
First up is one of my new favorite authors: Tana French. French sets her novel Faithful Place in some less-than-desirable areas of modern Dublin, and yet, somehow, reading the book made me want to pack up and move there immediately. When I finished the book and contemplated this, I realized that it was one of the many reasons that I thought this book was simply fantastic.
The summary on the back of the book simply does not do the book justice. The book follows Frank Mackey, who thinks he has escaped the terror and heartbreak that was his childhood home, only to be pulled back in, decades later. A clue about the disappearance of his high school sweetheart brings the detective back to the chaos he thought he had escaped for good. The intersecting circles of lost love, family abuse, and an excellent mystery make this a book not to be missed.
The world French creates is so incredibly real, and while gritty and heartbreaking at times, it is so real you miss the characters (even the mean ones) when you finish the book. From the prologue, I could see Faithful Place, the characters, and the neighborhoods of Dublin. However, (thankfully) she does not accomplish this by spending page after page after page describing these people and places. In fact, I even went back and checked, after finishing the book and feeling this sense of certainty about how every nook and cranny of this world looked, and found that she is definitely not one of those authors who forces you to read laborious and overwhelming details in order to paint the world. I am still unsure how she managed it, but her skill with words puts these images in your head with a minimum of adjectives. Bravo to that!
Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of this novel was the language. As it is set in modern-day Dublin, French uses the dialect to great effect, and I could not help but smile every time I read a “Jaysus!” or “eejit” or “fecking.” Aside from the excellent language and phrases I found myself using long after (“What’s this then, Josephine? You trying to set my heart sideways, are you then?”), the characters were bold, saucy, and the dialogue was sharp as a tack. There is nothing boring about this book, to be sure.
There aren’t too many authors who inspire me to immediately find everything else they have ever written, but Tana French is one of those authors. I recommend this book to anyone, without hesitation.
Next up is Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner. This book is fantastic, fast-paced, and thrilling. It manages to read as both plot-driven and character-driven, and holds readers in suspense for nearly 400 pages without a break.
It’s near impossible to tell you what this book is about without also including spoilers, and these days, almost anything about the plot is a spoiler to me, so all I will tell you is this is a story of a family on the brink of destruction, of cops chasing criminals and trying to save the family, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Alternating back and forth between the family in distress and the large group of police, sheriff, and FBI agents trying to save them, this is nearly impossible to put down. I was biting my nails for the family, trying to solve the mystery, and shouting at the cops to hurry up and quit missing clues all in turns. It made my head spin (in a good way).
But seriously, this book was so fantastic that I took it with me into the baby’s room at night while I rocked her, and strained to see by the very dim light of the hallway coming in through the crack in her door. For real. Thankfully, Lisa Gardner has published quite a few books, because I am putting them at the top of my library list.
I hope you are inspired to get reading. If you have any mystery books you think I should be reading, feel free to leave some titles in the comments!