Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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The Fourth Monkey by JD Barker

Known to the public and Chicago Metro as 4MK (the fourth monkey killer), a serial killer has unleashed havoc on the city by abducting young women and sending their ears, eyes and tongue to their loved ones before eventually killing them. His MO has been the same: he cuts off these parts in particular to represent the Japanese proverb of see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Not many people know that there is a fourth monkey that represents “do no evil,” and this is why he has been given the nickname of 4MK.

When a man is hit by a bus, killed, and had been carrying a package with an ear, Chicago Metro detectives Porter and Nash believe they go their man. But there is still a missing girl out there they need to find before it’s too late.

Besides the ear, the 4MK left behind a diary chronicling his dark upbringing. The book alternates chapters between the race to find the missing girl and their journey into 4MK’s past.

I absolutely loved this book because it was super suspenseful and kept you guessing. The ending wasn’t fully resolved, which is a perfect set up for a series. However, it is important to note that the distributing details of graphic violence might not be to everyone’s taste.


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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

In this Jumanji reboot, a group of high school kids (a jock, a nerd, a popular girl, and a brainy girl) are all in detention together. Their punishment is to go through a storage room full of old magazines that need the staples removed so they can be recycled. When one of the kids discovers an old video game console with the game Jumanji loaded, they connect it to a TV and try to play after they select their characters.

Suddenly, they are magically transported into the real life game and are shocked to find out that their game characters aren’t who they thought they were. The geek is the main character who’s strength is muscle and brawn (played by the Rock); the jock is a zoologist and the main character’s weapon’s valet (Kevin Hart); the brainy girl is a kick-butt woman ninja; and the popular girl is a male map expert (played by Jack Black).

Stranded in the jungle, they have to work together to restore the eye (a precious stone) of Jumanji while fleeing from a group of bad villains and just like a video game, they have to do so with only three lives.

This funny and adventure-filled movie will appeal to the whole family. Rated PG-13

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Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Two sisters go missing outside of a Kmart in Pennsylvania while their mom is inside, and they are supposed to be waiting in the car. Video surveillance shows Kylie Brandt and her younger sister Bailey leaving the car and being greeted by someone they might have known. Witnesses say that they got in the car and left, but other than that, there are no real leads.

Single mother Jamie Brandt has the support of her Aunt Maggie, who has hired private investigator Alice Vega from California. Vega has a reputation of finding missing children, and she teams up with ex-cop Max “Cap” Caplan. Their plan is to use Cap’s relationship with local police enforcement to join their efforts.

Their investigation brings them to a previous cold case of a disabled adult who disappeared years prior. Could this be related to the girl’s disappearance, or is it an empty trail they are following?

Two Girls Down was a decent thriller that I would recommend. There was no crazy twist at the end and although everything wrapped up smoothly, I would love to see Alice Vega make a reappearance in Luna’s next book. It is awesome to see a female lead in such a kick-ass, take no prisoners role. Also, there seems to be a budding romance between Vega and Cap that could be developed further.

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The Shut-In by James Patterson

Twenty-something Trisha suffers from a disease that causes her to be allergic to the sun. This means she never really levels her Philadelphia studio apartment. Everything she needs she can be ordered online. She even works from home. And she has a way to explore the outside world through Amelia, a drone she sends on flights through her neighborhood.

When Amelia spots a woman murdering a homeless person near an abandoned part of the city, Trisha immediately reports what she saw to the police. Since Amelia had crashed, there is no actual recorded footage of the murder, and the police have a hard time buying her story. Trisha isn’t going to give up and determines to capture the woman terrorizing the city with a new and improved drone, but might end up putting her own life at risk.

Although I’ve read many Patterson novels (and some of his nonfiction too), this is the first of his Bookshots I have read, and I must say that I was thoroughly entertained. Highly recommend for a quick read that captures your attention until the very end. Please note that this book has only been made available as an eBook or eAudiobook by the publisher.

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

In Ware’s (The Woman in Cabin 10, A Dark Dark Wood) latest, Isabel receives a text from her school friend Kate, who she hasn’t seen in a number of years. She takes her newborn baby with her as she travels back by train to Saltan in the English countryside where the school she attended after her mother died resides.

At school, she formed a close friendship with two other girls besides Kate – Fatima and Thea. The foursome would spend weekends at Kate’s house, where her father, Ambrose, a struggling artist, allowed them to behave as they wished. They also played a dangerous game where the goal was to get someone to believe some lie that they told.

Kate has called back all the girls to Saltan because she needs them. A bone of a man was found buried in the marsh. The girls helped to cover up a crime on that fateful night. How far will their lies go to protect one another?

I think most readers will enjoy the fast paced story, but this wasn’t my favorite by Ware. I felt it dragged on and could have been wrapped up sooner.

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Happy Death Day

A sorority girl wakes up in the college dorm of a nerdy kid and can’t remember what happened the night before. She goes about her day (and she isn’t a very nice person, by the way). Although it happens to be her birthday, this is not a day she wishes to celebrate, as this is also the birthday of her mother, who died a few years earlier. At the end of the day, she is murdered, but she doesn’t know by who.

The next day, she wakes up in the same dorm room, and it’s the same day, and again she gets killed by the end. She keeps having the same nightmare of a day (Groundhog Day style) but is determined to find out who her killer is, and she learns a little bit about herself along the way.

You’ll find Happy Death Day to be not overly gory but still contains an intriguing premise for a horror flick. I also enjoyed the elements of mystery and humor. Rated PG-13

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Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Paul has planned the “best day ever” for his wife, Mia. Their children are with a sitter for the weekend, and Paul is taking Mia up to their Ohio lake house before the tourist season is in full effect. In fact, he even has a special surprise in his glove box for Mia, which he’ll present at exactly the right moment. Sounds like an idyllic weekend for a typical, suburban couple, right?

The reader is about to learn otherwise. Told from Paul’s perspective, we begin to learn about his growing resentment of Mia, his infidelity and how his abusiveness has a long history. For Paul, the driving force keeping them together is money. Mia comes from a rich New York family and in the event of her untimely death, Paula would benefit greatly.

Mia, however, isn’t the naive woman Paul believes her to be, and she has plans of her own for their “best day ever.”

I enjoyed this fast-paced read. The author didn’t go for the shock value with an implausible ending, so I appreciated the realistic ending, and if you are okay with an unlikable protagonist, this book would appeal to most.