Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Braven

Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) is the owner of a logging company in Canada. Business is good, and family life as well, except for one thing. Linden (Stephen Lang), Joe’s dad, has dementia, and after an incident at a local bar, it seems time to take the next step in his care. Thinking that the best place to talk to his dad might be the peace and quiet of the family’s cabin, the two head out. Unbeknownst to them, one of Joe’s employees has gotten himself involved in a drug trafficking operation, and after an accident, has stashed drugs in the cabin. Kassen (Garret Dillahunt), the ruthless boss of the drug operation and his guys show up at the cabin to retrieve the drugs, and when they discover the two Braven men in residence, decide to do things the hard way. Now, Joe and his father will have to fight for their survival.

Beautifully shot in the wilds of Newfoundland, this one sets a heart pounding pace almost immediately, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Rated R.

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Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

Duke McKenna is North County’s biggest criminal – meth, guns, murder, you name it, he’s involved. His daughter Harley has been working for Duke since she was 16, but her training to be his successor has been a lifelong process, and now Harley has a reputation as deadly as her father’s. A turf war with rival family the Springfields is brewing. The Springfields were responsible for the death of Harley’s mother, and now they’ve targeted Harley.There’s only one way to end the cycle of violence and protect the ones that she loves – take out both operations.

If you liked Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy, you’ll love this book! Harley is loyal to a fault, resourceful, and hard as nails, and you’ll find yourself rooting for her time and again as she makes the most difficult decision in her young life – freedom or family?


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The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

As a flight attendant, Cassandra’s job offers her the chance to enjoy many of the pleasures that can be found in glamorous locations. This trip turns out to be different. The morning after a date with a very handsome man, when Cassandra wakes up, she’s not in her own hotel room. She can’t remember most of what happened last night, and the very handsome man is very dead. Terrified, Cassandra leaves the hotel without calling the police, and heads out to catch her flight home. She soon finds herself caught in a web of her own lies, afraid to come clean, and unsure of the truth – did she kill him?

As always, Bohjalian has crafted a a compelling and multi layered story. Cassandra is about as unreliable witness as you can get, and yet you keep hoping that she’ll somehow make it through without digging herself deeper, or caught by whoever murdered her date.

Other titles by Chris Bohjalian include: The Guest Room, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, and The Sandcastle Girls.


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Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

When Billie and Jonathan first met, it was love at first sight. Years later, Billie, a typical super mom with an edgy past, and Jonathan, a tech writer, have been busy building their life and raising their daughter Olive. Their life isn’t perfect, but it’s still pretty good, considering they’ve been married for about 17 years. With Olive now in high school, and Jonathan working so many hours, Billie throws herself into outdoor sports – marathon running, long distance hiking, and climbing. While on a hike, Billie disappears, and no trace is found of her. Now, one year later, Jonathan and Olive are still trying to pick up the pieces. Olive begins having trouble at school, and begins having “visions” that her mother is still alive and wants them to find her. Jonathan believes that the trauma caused by losing her mother is making Olive sick, until he discovers that Billie had been keeping some pretty big secrets from him. He begins to doubt that Billie has died, and begins following the trail of secrets she left behind.

If you like suspense that will keep you guessing, be sure to put this one on your list. It pulls you in right from the start, and if you’re like me, you won’t want to put it down until you’re through.


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Final Girls by Riley Sager

For Quincy and her college friends, a weekend away in a Poconos cabin is the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. Out of the six though, Quincy is the only one to survive the horrific events that unfold. Now, ten years later, Quincy is known as one of three “Final Girls” – young women who are the lone survivors of mass killings. Quincy insists that she’s doing just fine – she’s in a solid relationship, a great apartment, and her baking blog is really taking off. She’s moving ahead with her life, not letting herself fall into the role of perpetual victim. But when Lisa, the original Final Girl is found dead, and Sam Boyd, the other Girl shows up on Quincy’s doorstep, the foundation that she has so carefully laid for herself begins to crumble.

As far as thrillers go, this one is pretty intense. Unreliable characters and pulse pounding action ensure that this is one book that you won’t want to put down until the end.


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The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

In this third entry from the dynamic duo Clark and Burke, “Crazy Casey” has just got out of prison for serving a fifteen year manslaughter sentence for shooting her husband, Hunter Raleigh. Despite the disapproval of her mother and cousin Angela, Casey is determined to clear her name and approaches Lorie Moran, producer of TV’s Under Suspicion, Datelinetype show that investigates cold cases, to help.

Lorie is not sure she wants to take on Casey Carter but finally relents, hoping that some of the new potential suspects she has identified might take the case in a new direction. Professing her innocence, Casey claims she had been drugged the night of the gala when Hunter died and that someone had planted the evidence in her purse. Other suspects that Lorie plans to interview include Hunter’s best friend who might have been embezzling money from his nonprofit foundation, Casey’s jealous ex-boyfriend, and Hunter’s father’s assistant, who he had despised for years.

The new episode isn’t the only challenge on Lorie’s plate at the moment. Now that Alex Buckley is no longer on the show, her supervisor has hired a new host and they have gotten off to a rocky start. At home, her romantic relationship with Alex is on hiatus as she figures out what she wants.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer is another solid, reliable entry in the Under Suspicion series. There is nothing really new to comment on here, but readers looking for a nonviolent suspense novel with enough intrigue to keep you engaged would find this series to their liking. These can be read in any order, as each book features the TV show investigating a different case.


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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

On the surface, the small village of Beckford is just a sleepy little town beside a river. But the river has always held some secrets, and has long been the source of a strange fascination for Nel Abbott. Nel is a single mom who grew up in the village, and she’s been working on a book about the river and its sordid past – the drowning of witches, the Drowning Pool, the suicides. When Nel herself is found in the river,  her estranged sister Jules returns to the village to care for Lena, Nel’s teenage daughter, whose best friend was also recently found in the river.  Jules finds herself caught between her duty to Lena and her memories of the past, as the mysteries of the two women’s deaths are unraveled.

In Beckford, Ms. Hawkins has created a creepily atmospheric little village where virtually everyone could have “done it”.  Although uneven in spots, there’s enough intrigue in the story to keep you reading. You might need a character chart though. There are a lot of people in the story – all of them unreliable, and it gets tricky at times to keep track. Definitely well worth reading if you enjoy the psychological genre.