Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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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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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Richard is a very successful New York hedge fund manager. His intensity mixed with a lot of charm makes him irresistible, and he seems like the perfect catch. He’s also got a penchant for a certain type of woman, and is ready to walk down the aisle with the next Mrs. Thompson. Vanessa is his ex-wife. She seems to be having a really hard time adjusting to her new circumstances, now that she’s living with her aunt and working at Saks on the sales floor. She is stalking Richard’s fiancée and is determined to stop the wedding at all costs.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I will tell you that I read this book in one sitting – I literally could not put it down. Yes, it does follow the “Gone Girl/Girl on the Train” formula, BUT, even if you’re getting a bit weary of that, I think you’ll find that The Wife Between Us delivers on intensity as well as thrills.

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The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

Child psychologist and agoraphobe Anna Fox has been home bound for the last ten months. The only contact she has with the outside world are regular in-home appointments with her psychiatrist and physical therapist and the occasional visit from her tenant, David, who rents the basement apartment of her brownstone. Anna’s passions include overindulging in wine and prescription medications, old noir and thriller film and watching the outside activities of her Gramercy Park neighborhood.

Most interesting to Anna are the Russells, the new neighbors across the park, who are a husband and wife couple with a teenage son who moved here from Boston. When her house is egged by a bunch of kids on Halloween, Anna attempts to take her first steps outside but can’t make it and is rescued by Jane Russell. The women form a friendship when Anna invites Jane inside, and they spend the evening drinking wine and playing chess. When Anna sees Jane being attacked through the window, she suspects the woman could have been murdered. But the real Jane Russell is not the woman who she saw in the window. So who is she? Or is her dependence on pills and liquor having her fabricating events?

I don’t think Finn’s debut totally lives up to the hype, but keep in mind I’m a prolific reader of this genre and it takes a lot to impress me. However, readers who are fans of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and The Girl on the Train (and novels with unreliable narrators) will find The Woman in the Window to their liking.

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I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Ella is on her way to a conference for florists in London. She is taking the train and is bored. She notices two teen girls, Anna and Sarah, and eavesdrops on them. They are soon joined by two older boys, who have just been released from prison. Ella keeps her eye on them and wonders if she should try to contact their parents, since she overheard their names and where they are from. Ella decides she is being a prude and does nothing. The next day on the news, Anna is reported as missing.

A year later, Anna is still missing and there are no leads. Ella had come forward at the time and the two guys were never found. Ella lives with the guilt that she could have done something.  Now she is receiving anonymous notes in the mail telling her she is being watched. Ella thinks it is Anna’s mother sending the notes. She hires a private investigator to find out what is happening. Also, around this time a new documentary about the disappearance is aired. This brings some new clues to light. Will Anna’s disappearance finally be solved?

This was a good psychological thriller. It kept me guessing until it was revealed what really happened to Anna. I eagerly am waiting for the next book by Teresa Driscoll that comes out in March, The Friend.

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The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Running away from her past, Amber has the perfect plan to get the life she deserves.  She stages a run in with Daphne Parrish at Daphne’s gym where she “accidentally” drops a magazine about Cystic Fibrosis.  The disease is an issue close to Daphne’s heart since she lost her sister of CF.  Amber constructs a false story suggesting she lost her own sister to CF as well.

Although they make an unlikely pair since Daphne comes from the rich society of Bishop’s Harbor along the Long Island Sound and Amber claims she comes from a small Nebraska town, the two become fast friends. They are so close that Amber becomes almost like the sister Daphne lost. When Amber loses her real estate job, Daphne is there to help by getting her a job at her husband’s prestigious Manhattan company.

As Jackson Parrish’s new assistant, Amber starts dressing differently, wearing more revealing and stylish clothes and not the mousy attire she used to sport. Amber believes that she can seduce the handsome and powerful Jackson and convince him to leave Daphne. Amber will finally get the luxurious lifestyle that is owed to her, and Daphne, who doesn’t appreciate what she has, will be left with nothing. However, things rarely go according to plan.

This was a page turner I couldn’t put down.  The characters’ actions are dark and shocking, but you’ll want to keep reading to see what she’ll do next and how it will all end.

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The Second Sister by Claire Kendal

Ella Brooke is still not over her sister Miranda’s disappearance. The ten year anniversary is coming up and Ella has promised her nephew that she will look into his mom’s disappearance. The police have just returned a box of Miranda’s things and Ella is determined to find a new clue. While moving Miranda’s dollhouse to her house, Ella discovers a note. It is the first solid clue to help Ella out. She is also determined to see serial killer Jason Thorne. A newspaper article is claiming that Thorne might have seen Miranda before her disappearance.

Ella is also reconnecting with her first love, Ted and a new man, Adam, who happens to be a doctor at the institute Thorne is living. As Ella continues to investigate, the pieces start to come together. And when she meets with Thorne, she finally gets the clue that will solve this mystery. But in getting the answers she so desperately seeks, will Ella meet the same fate as Miranda?

This was a very suspenseful thriller. I was trying to figure out the ending the entire time I was reading and just couldn’t. And rest assured we do find out what happened to Miranda. I am definitely going back to read Claire Kendal’s first book, The Book of You.

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Stalking and preying on women comes to the London Underground in Mackintosh’s sophomore novel. Zoe Walker and her adult children who still live at home all take the tube to work as any normal Londoner. Zoe reads a report in the news about a women that was assaulted on the tube and vaguely remembers seeing the victim’s photograph in the back of the London Gazette in the advert section.

Strangely, Zoe sees another news report about a woman who was murdered who she has also seen in another advert in the paper. The adverts only point to a website called that requires a password to gain entry. What is most terrifying is when Zoe sees what she swears is her own picture in the paper. Her partner convinces her that although the picture bears a likeness, there is no way it is her. Still, she questions if she is the next victim.

Zoe reports this to the police who don’t take her complaint seriously. However, deputy Kelly, who had been demoted to the underground task force after beating up a rape suspect, inserts herself into the case. This is not only her chance at professional redemption but also an opportunity to bring justice for victimized women, an issue close to her heart after her twin sister was raped on a college campus years ago.

My only complaint is about the twist at the very end that appears in the Epilogue. It seems too contrived as if it was added mostly for the shock value. Even so, that final twist doesn’t detract from another solid novel of psychological suspense.