Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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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.


The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

British travel journalist for Velocity magazine, Laura “Lo” Blacklock, is asked to write up a piece about the Scandinavian boutique cruiseliner, the Aurora Borealis.  Although she is skiddish from an assault by a burglar in her flat, she isn’t going to say no to this important career opportunity. There are only 10 cabins on the ship, and the passengers are wealthy acquaintances of owner Richard Bullmer as well as Lo’s ex and coworker, Ben, who now works for another travel mag.

When getting ready for dinner, she realizes she forgot her mascara and knocks on cabin 10. The beautiful, young woman who answers gives her a mascara and tells her to keep it. Later that night back in her cabin, Lo hears a scream and a splash, which she believes was a body being thrown out of the ship. She reports it to hotel security but the room is now clear and the blood she saw on the privacy screen between their verandas has been wiped clean. To make matter’s worst, she is informed that Cabin was never occupied and the woman she describes has never been seen on the ship. No one is taking her seriously, especially when it leaks out that Lo takes anti-depressants and was drinking a little too much that evening.

Lo believes what she heard and begins to investigate on her own, not knowing who of the ship’s passengers and crew she can trust.  Even the threats she receives threats to “stop digging” won’t halt her determination to fight for the woman she knows she saw. But going too far might cost Lo her very own life.

An over-the-top cruise ship sailing on Norwegian waters is the perfect environment for Ware’s dark novel of psychological suspense.  Although I felt the ending was a bit unbelievable, readers of The Girl on the Train will find The Woman In Cabin 10 to be very much to their taste and should also try The Girl Before by JP Delaney.

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Find Her by Lisa Gardner

As a young college student, Flora Dane was kidnapped and held for 472 days. Locked in a box and completely broken down, Flora has worked hard after her release to take back control of her life – taking self-defense classes, learning everything she can about personal safety. But even with the support of her loving family and her FBI victim advocate, Flora knows she’s not the same girl she used to be. There are just some things she can’t let go…

Boston Detective D.D. Warren meets Flora at the scene of a crime – a dead man and Flora, who killed him. But was it self-defense or vigilante justice? As D.D. tries to track down the answers, the answer to this question becomes less clear. And when Flora herself goes missing, the investigation takes another turn – is Flora on the run or has she been taken? What is her connection to another missing woman?

The latest in the Det. D.D. Warren seriesFind Her is perfect for you if you like your suspense dark and twisty. It will definitely keep keep you up late – I didn’t want to put it down! And even though it’s part of a series, you don’t need to have read the others to enjoy the book – although after you finish it, you’ll probably want to back and read the rest. Lisa Gardner is a new author for me, and I can’t wait to do just that!