Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

With college graduation around the corner, Harry Ackerson is called home to Kennewick, Maine after learning of his father’s unexpected death.  Bill’s body was found on a walking path, a path he took every day on his way home from work. At first Alice, Harry’s stepmom, believes that Bill had fell and hit his head, but the police are treating it as a suspicious death.

Harry was already in high school by the time his father married Alice, so he doesn’t really know her, and she is the only family he has left now. He feels a responsibility to take care of Alice and to help out at his father’s, who specialized in rare books, store. Shortly before the funeral and then later at the funeral he sees a suspicious woman that no one seems to know. He wonders what this woman’s connection to his father was and what she wants now.

The story alternates between present day and Alice’s disturbing past, as we learn she isn’t the perfect wife she is initially painted to be. As the investigation continues, Harry also learns how little he actually knew about his father and what lies he had kept.

A strong contender for thriller lovers – although nothing shocking, there are plenty of twists to keep the pages turning. Recommend!


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Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Although Kate’s ex-boyfriend, who committed suicide, haunts her nightmares, she is ready to go out on her own and agrees to an apartment swap with Corbin, a cousin who she never met. While Corbin stays at her London flat, Kate will live at his Boston place. Shortly after arriving, Kate learns that Corbin’s neighbor, Audrey, has been murdered in her apartment.

Police have searched Corbin’s apartment and haven’t found much to help in the investigation. Another tenant across the way, Alan, has been watching Audrey’s apartment and witnessed Audrey and Corbin being intimate, but Corbin says he really never knew her. Kate is approached on the street by a man named Jack who claims to be Audrey’s close friend, but something seems off.

As Kate is struggling with her own fears, she is caught up in investigating what happened to Audrey and doesn’t know who she can trust. Meanwhile, the reader learns about Corbin’s disturbing past that involves a “friendship” from his college days. He may not be as innocent as he claims.

This is the second Swanson thriller I’ve read, and it’s my favorite so far. There are enough plot strings to keep you engaged until the end. It is supposed to have a voyeuristic feel similar to Hitchcock’s Rear Windowso fans of Rear Window and A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window will find Her Every Fear to their liking.

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Amber is in a coma. She can hear her sister Claire and her husband Peter visit her in the hospital but can’t communicate with them. They appear to be bickering about something, and Amber learns she was in car accident, although she doesn’t believe she was driving.

The story unravels through a diary from their childhood, to the week leading up to her accident, to present day. As a child Amber always hated her mother.  And after her grandmother died, the only person she formed a bond with was her school friend, Taylor.  The reader learns, however, that her actions as a child make her into the psychotic individual she is today.

Meanwhile, Peter is a suspect in the accident, especially when they find marks on Amber’s neck. Amber knows her husband is innocent but cannot communicate to vouch for him. And then there is a doctor who visits her in the night who is making her even sicker.

Sometimes I Lie is a strong addition to the ever-growing psychological suspense genre. There is enough twists to keep the reader guessing, even at the very end. You will be left wondering what really happened.

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The Sandman by Lars Kepler

When 23 year-old Mikael is found wandering in the countryside outside of Stockholm, it comes as a shock to many. Mikael and his sister Felicia have been missing for 13 years, and were thought to be the victims of serial killer Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence inside a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive, and that they were being held by The Sandman, but he’s unable to give them any details about their captor, or the location.

13 years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna sacrificed everything to try to catch Jurek, always certain that he had an accomplice. Now, it becomes imperative to get Jurek to talk as time runs out for Felicia. Joona brings in the only officer he trusts to be able to infiltrate the hospital, and be able to stand up to Jurek’s mind games – Saga Bauer. Saga will have to go deep undercover in the psychiatric facility where Jurek is being held, and she’ll have to get to him before he gets to her.

To label this book as a “thriller” is an understatement. It is a never ending roller coaster ride of non-stop twisty action that never lets up, even at its conclusion. Even if you’re not a fan Swedish crime fiction, definitely put this one on your TBR list!


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A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

While her father lays dying in the hospital, Elsa Myers is called in to assist NYC detective Lex on the case of a missing high school student Ruby, from Queens, NY.

Ruby’s last whereabouts were her shift at a local coffeehouse where the last footage on security cameras is ruby reaching under the counter to turn the cameras off, which makes authorities think she might have known her abductor. Neither her boyfriend nor her friends are offering up any information.

Being in Queens brings Elsa back to her own childhood home that her father recently sold. And that causes memories of her own dark past, one that she still hasn’t forgotten as evident by the scars on her arms. As Elsa is trying to solve the case and bring Ruby back home, alive, she learns of other abductions that might be connected to Ruby’s disappearance. But everything comes to a head for Elsa as she struggles with her past and the events of the present.

Overall, a solid first crime novel and hopefully the start of a new series. We need to see more of Elsa and Lex.

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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Lily and Ted meet on a plane back to their hometown of Boston. After connecting and getting to talk, Ted mentions his disdain for his wife, Miranda, who is cheating on him.

Her affair is with their contractor who is building Miranda’s dream home in Maine, and Ted is footing all the bills. Lily suggests that she can help Ted murder his wife and get away with it. When Ted asks if she has ever killed before, Lily promises to tell him everything about her past once Miranda is gone.

Ted takes the bait and devises a plan of how to get rid of Miranda with Lily’s prodding. But unbeknownst to him and Lily, there is already a plot in place to murder Ted. Riddled with twists, the story alternates between the present day and then Lily’s upbringing and her past victims.

Several people have recommended this book, so my expectations were high.  It wasn’t bad, but nothing particularly memorable either, just your run-of-the-mill thriller. However, I would be willing to try another one of Swanson’s books to see how that compares.

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The Fourth Monkey by JD Barker

Known to the public and Chicago Metro as 4MK (the fourth monkey killer), a serial killer has unleashed havoc on the city by abducting young women and sending their ears, eyes and tongue to their loved ones before eventually killing them. His MO has been the same: he cuts off these parts in particular to represent the Japanese proverb of see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Not many people know that there is a fourth monkey that represents “do no evil,” and this is why he has been given the nickname of 4MK.

When a man is hit by a bus, killed, and had been carrying a package with an ear, Chicago Metro detectives Porter and Nash believe they go their man. But there is still a missing girl out there they need to find before it’s too late.

Besides the ear, the 4MK left behind a diary chronicling his dark upbringing. The book alternates chapters between the race to find the missing girl and their journey into 4MK’s past.

I absolutely loved this book because it was super suspenseful and kept you guessing. The ending wasn’t fully resolved, which is a perfect set up for a series. However, it is important to note that the distributing details of graphic violence might not be to everyone’s taste.