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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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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Kidnap

Waitress and single mother Karla (played by Halle Berry) spends a day with her son at New Orlean’s City Park. What starts as a pleasant day turns into a nightmare when she steps away from Frankie for a moment to take a call from her ex attorney about custody. When she turns back, Frankie is no where in sight. Like any frantic mother, she runs all over the park screaming his name, asking anyone if they have seen her little boy.

At the last minute, she sees a woman shoving Frankie into the passenger side of a sports car. Karla gets in her car and follows it. The rest of the movie is basically a high speed car chase from a mother who will do whatever it takes to get her son back and who isn’t going to wait for the authorities to do what needs to be done.

I didn’t really have high expectations of this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. Kidnap is a a fast paced and thrilling movie that will keep you on the seat of your pants. The only warning is that you may find it bothersome if you have a hard time with stories involving crimes against children, but, it’s just a movie!


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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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The Wrong Man by Kate White

In this standalone (White also writes the Bailey Weggins mysteries) novel, New York City interior decorator Kit Finn is on vacation and scouting out materials for a client in Islamorada, Florida. She runs into an intriguing man, Matt Healy, staying at her hotel who asks her for dinner. The attraction is so hot that Kit even lets him take her to bed, even though he is upfront about their night only be casual.

This is why she is surprised to hear from him back in NYC. He invites her over for dinner, but when she reaches Matt’s apartment, the man who lives there is not the same man who she met in Florida, although the stranger claims his name is Matt Healy. Completely bewildered, she doesn’t know what to think. And now the real Matt Healy wants Kit to talk to his hedge fund firm’s security manager because he believes his identify has been stolen.

Kit has been unwittingly drawn into a crime that has resulted in at least one death. When her Florida man returns on this scene claiming that he is a victim in all this, she questions if she can trust the man who has already deceived her once.

This was an equally entertaining read as White’s other books. My only complaint is that you wish Kit would have gone to the cop’s right away as most rational people would have done, so that might annoy some readers.


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47 Meters Down

Mandy Moore plays Lisa, who is on a tropical vacation with sister Kate, in Mexico. Lisa is down on herself after her recent breakup with Stuart, who she believes got bored with their relationship. Kate and Lisa meet two young men who invite them to go shark cage diving. Although Lisa has never been diving and has never been a risk taker, the men tell her the guy who runs the boat will take them out anyway.

Although highly reluctant and scared, Lisa lets her sister talk her into it, especially when Kate tells her that someone who takes pictures in a shark cage isn’t “boring” like Stuart said. The men go down first and get see sharks circling the cage and then are brought up. Next it’s Kate and Lisa’s turn. They too get to see sharks circling the cage, but after a bit, Lisa has had enough and asks to be brought up. When they go to bring them up, the wench breaks sending them straight down to the bottom of the ocean, trapped in the cage, at 47 meters down.

They only have enough oxygen to last about twenty minutes and cannot communicate with the boat at that depth. To make matters worse, the way the cage landed blocked the entrance to get in and out of the cage.

This movie was extremely intense and offered a few jumps along the way. My one takeaway from this movie was that I sure as heck am never going to go diving, let alone shark cage diving, ever. Rated PG-13


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Final Girls by Riley Sager

Quincy Carpenter lives in NYC and works as a food blogger. She believes she has moved on from her past and is content in her relationship with live-in boyfriend, Jeff. You see, Quincy is what the media has dubbed a “final girl,” or a person who is the sole survivor of a mass killing. Pine Cottage was a rental Quincy and her college friends stayed at in Pennsylvania one weekend for a birthday celebration but it turned into a bloody massacre when everyone was slaughtered, except Quincy. Quincy had been saved that night by a cop named Coop, who was searching the woods for a missing person and shot the assailant. Coop has been looking out for Quincy ever since.

Quincy’s life is about to be turned upside down when she learns that Lisa Milner, another final girl who survived a killing at a sorority in Muncie, Indiana, has committed suicide. And then the only other living final girl, Samantha Boyd, who went off the grid after the Nightlight Inn murders, wants to talk with Quincy. Sam doesn’t believe that Quincy has really moved past what has happened to her and wants her to unleash her pent up anger.

The reader, nor Quincy, know much about Sam or her motive for contacting Quincy. And to be honest, the reader can’t really even trust Quincy, who claims to have no recollection of what happened at Pine Cottage. This of course is one of the hallmarks of psychological thrillers; that is, a narrator who you can’t quite trust.

It kept my interest throughout, although I am a bit jaded because I’ve read so many of these psychological thrillers. Authors now seem to be so intent on including a shocking twist that sometimes is stretches believably a bit, and I feel that has what has been done here. However, overall, readers who can handle creepy and dark plots will like this one.