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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Nomadland by Jessica Bruder

While we might have a vision of  happy retirees hitting the open road in their RV-visiting all the tourist spots, enjoying their adventures – the reality for thousands of retirement age people post-Great Recession is less rosy. For many, whose savings disappeared, who lost their job and couldn’t get another one due to their age, who lost their home, embracing a nomadic way of life is a creative solution. Journalist Jessica Bruder takes to the road in her secondhand van – christened “Halen” – and follows Linda May and others in their adventures as “workampers”. As the irrepressible Linda roams from job to job, working seasonally as a camp host, an Amazon warehouse temp, and at a sugar beet farm, her can-do spirit is reflective of many people on the road.

Bruder offers a fascinating look at a community that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, full of interesting and diverse characters. For the most part, the common thread in the community is an independent and indomitable spirit – no matter what problems they might be faced with, they just keep on moving. The book also takes a hard look at the economy that has created this community and the impact that the Great Recession and the ever widening gap between the rich and poor has had on a growing population.

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Death of an Honest Man

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I was able to get an advanced copy of Death of an Honest Man through Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley, for an opportunity to read and review this book. My views in this review are entirely my own.

Sometimes being too honest can be a bad thing, which is what the village of Lochdubh and Cnothan find out the hard way, when newcomer, Paul English, moves to Cnothan. He tells the truth no matter how rude or forward he might sound. That is until he is killed.

The issue that Hamish has is not a lack of suspects but too many suspects. As Paul English offended most everyone he met. To top it off Hamish has lost the services of Charlie, his sidekick police officer, who has resigned due to Blair’s bullying ways.

Hamish is back in Death of an Honest Man. I have read all of the Hamish Macbeth series so far and have loved all of them. First off I would like to say something about the series as a whole. One of the major things that sets this series apart from many other book series is the characters that M.C. Beaton has created. They are very unique, each with their own personalities and quirks that add something to the series as a whole. She keeps them consistent throughout the series, having them appear when they are needed to help Hamish with the crime or to add a funny/dramatic moment to the book. Hamish would not be where he is today if not for the villagers of Lochdubh.

It was a fast read with many twists and turns that kept me, the reader, guessing as to who the murderer really was. Normally in most mysteries I have a guess at who the thief and/or murderer is. However, that was not the case this time. With as many suspects that Hamish had during this murder, it is not shocking that this was a tough one even for him. I did wish that more time could have been spent with the newer characters. I have a feeling though M.C. Beaton will bring them back in later books in the series, much like she does many of the other past characters.

I do feel bad for Hamish though. It feels as though Hamish will never find a permanent partner in crime as they are always leaving for one reason or other. I do in some ways wish that they would resolve Hamish’s love life. The random visits by Elspeth and Priscilla seemed strained in the book. The main storyline as a whole was interesting. Once I started reading it I did not want to put it down. This is a must read for any fans of the Hamish Macbeth series or for any cozy mystery fans.

My question for those who read the book- anyone catch the part about Silas?

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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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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.