Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Joan is at the zoo with her four-year-old son, Lincoln, like she is on many afternoons with him. Lincoln likes to play in the dinosaur dig area with his action figures while making up his “stories.” In the distance, she hears a few loud bangs, but doesn’t think any thing of it. It’s almost closing time, and she has to get Lincoln to start walking towards the exit so they don’t get locked in.

As they make their way towards the exit, something is off.  And then she is it: bloody bodies on the ground, and in the distance, gun fire rings out. She sees at least one man making the shots. Instinct kicks in and immediately she scoops up Lincoln and runs back into the depths of the zoo to find a place to hide. But how do you keep a toddler from making any noise, even if their lives are a stake?

The rest of the novel takes place over the course of a few hours as Joan’s maternal instinct is put to the test at a place where the predators are young, disturbed gun men and Joan, her son, and any remaining zoo visitors are the prey.

Overall, this was an intense read that kept you engaged throughout, and an ending that leaves you with more questions than answers.

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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 findtheone.com 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.


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Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Liza is a successful author whose books haven’t been selling as well as they used to. Now, she has just one month to finish the thriller that will put her back on the best seller lists. Liza’s been distracted though – she’s been trying to have a baby with her husband, but he’s been very distant. And he becomes even more so when his best friend Nick goes missing. So Liza escapes into her writing. Her new character, Beth suspects her husband of cheating, while she’s at home caring for their new baby. Feeling very angry and betrayed, Beth tries to catch her husband in the act, and almost before she knows what’s happened, she’s throwing his lover into the river. Soon, events in Liza’s life take an eerie twist, as they begin to mirror events in the book she’s writing, and it becomes difficult to distinguish reality from fiction.

As far a psychological thrillers go, this one was just ok. The author does a great job capturing Liza’s emotional state, but it was difficult – for me anyway – to connect with her at all. There were twists in the story to be sure, but don’t expect any big gotcha moments. I just couldn’t help but feeling like I’ve read this story before.

 


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Sting by Sandra Brown

Jordan Bennett has just been kidnapped. She is pretty sure it has to do with her brother and his boss, Billy Panella. Her brother, Josh, is going to testify against Billy and is under federal protection. They are both guilty but Josh turned first. Billy has vanished at the same time as Josh and there is 30 million dollars missing. Jordan has no clue where the men are or the money.

Shaw Kinnard and his partner have been hired to kill Jordan Bennett. But Shaw soon realizes that he is also a target. He changes the plan and kills his partner and kidnaps Jordan. He figures she knows where Josh and Billy are and he is thinking he can get more money from the brother if he has Jordan. But not everything is what it seems. The good guys and the bad guys might not be who you think.

Another good one by Sandra Brown. Had a little twist in the middle and the end. I guessed the middle twist but didn’t see that end one coming. I look forward to her next one, Seeing Red.


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Odd Child Out By Gilly Macmillan

Detective Inspector Clemo from Mamillan’s What She Knew is called in to investigate the case of Noah Sadler, a teenage boy who fell into a canal and is now in a coma. After attending his father’s photo gallery exhibit, Noah, diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his childhood best friend, Abdi Mahad, sneaked out at some point during the night. No one knows what they were doing near Bristol’s scrap yard and canal, and Abdi refuses to speak.

Could Abdi be involved in some sort of fowl play that caused Noah’s fall? Tensions are already high in Bristol between residents and the immigrated Somalian population, which includes Abdi and his family. Steven Sadler, Noah’s father, is a photo journalist who has exhibited his work taking pictures of the inhumane conditions of Somalia and some of the refugee camps where Abdi had stayed. Was there something Abdi saw in one of the photos that may have set him off?

As Clemo digs into the investigation, he is confronted with Emma, his former girlfriend and ex cop, who is now working for the media and will do anything to get the story out to the public, even if it jeopardizes the case.

Although mildly entertaining enough, MacMillan’s latest isn’t really a standout in an already crowded psychological suspense genre and pales in comparison to her previous books.


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Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Susan Ryeland is an editor for a small publishing firm in London. One of their top selling authors, Alan Conway, has just turned in his newest book featuring the detective Atticus Pund. Susan spends the weekend reading the book. It is about a small town and one of the villagers turns up dead. And then another one. Atticus Pund is asked to look into the deaths and solves the case. Except Susan doesn’t know how it ends because the last chapter is missing.

Susan calls Charles, the owner of the publishing company, to find out if he has the missing pages. She doesn’t hear from him and when she goes into the office she finds out why. Alan Conway is dead. It looks like he committed suicide and Charles even has a letter that Alan had sent that is basically a suicide note. But Susan isn’t convinced. She starts looking into his “suicide” and finds the village he lives in is very similar to the village in his book. Susan starts to find that the characters are based on the villagers. She is even more convinced that Alan was murdered. Will she figure out this mystery before it too late and the killer takes her life?

This was a very good mystery. It is in fact two mysteries in one book, since we have the book Alan wrote and then the mystery of his death. I really enjoyed how this book was laid out. Sometimes Susan got on my nerves but overall I liked the characters.