Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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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.

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Nocturnal Animals

Susan (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner. One day she receives a package from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). It is a draft of the book he has written that is about to be published. As Susan reads it, the book stirs up the past. How Edward and Susan met, got married and eventually divorced. In the book, Edward tells the story of Tony and his wife, Laura (Isla Fisher) and their daughter, India (Ellie Bamber). They are driving to their vacation destination when they become victims of a roadside attack. Laura and India are separated from Tony and later found dead. Susan is very disturbed by the story and reaches out to Edward. She also starts to wonder if she made the biggest mistake all those years ago letting him go.

I really didn’t care for this movie. My biggest problem was that it left questions unanswered. Or maybe it was just over my head and I missed the answers. Also starring, Armie Hammer, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Laura Linney, and Michael Sheen. Rated R

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Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

1e3c0cb68882781b9a0f6a7067000e6bA private jet flying from Martha’s Vineyard to New York goes down in the Atlantic and no one knows why. The only survivors are artist Scott and a toddler JJ. After hitting his head in the crash, Scott comes to in the water, sees the boy, and swims to shore.

Among the crash victims are the flight’s pilot and crew, the CEO of a big-time news show and his wife, Maggie, their daughter and another wealthy couple. Scott is only an acquaintance of Maggie’s who he met at the farmer’s market and invited him to fly with them to NY since they both were going at the same time.

As the authorities look for clues to learn what happened, the reader is introduced to each character, their background, and possible reasons for wanting the plane to crash. Meanwhile, Maggie’s sister and her husband have custody of JJ, and Scott seems to be the only one the little boy will talk to.  Furthermore, Scott’s avoidance of the media has them questioning what he was really doing on that plane.

This 2016 bestseller is a page-turner that keeps you guessing until the very end on the cause of the crash. Besides a deliciously good read, this book will make you think about media and how it influences our lives.

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Michèle is at home letting her cat in when a masked man pushes his way into her house and assaults and rapes her. Michèle doesn’t report the attack and carries on with her life as though nothing has happened. She slowly starts suspecting her co-worker might be her attacker but doesn’t have proof. Then she starts to receive texts from the intruder. Now more suspicion, Michèle turns to her married neighbor for comfort. But when the intruder comes back, will Michèle get her revenge?

This was a very intense, keep you guessing kind of movie. I can see why Isabelle Huppert won the Golden Globe for Best Actress. I think I liked this movie. I am still trying to decide! And I am not sure I even liked Michèle. But if you like a good thriller and don’t mind reading subtitles, then I would recommend this one. Rated R

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Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Chevy Stevens does great “woman in peril” stories, and this book is no different. Lauren and her daughter Sophie tell this story in alternate chapters. Lauren’s POV also covers the history of what happened to bring them to the present day.

Lauren was married at 19 to a seemingly great guy, Andrew. It didn’t take long for him to prove that wrong, becoming abusive, possessive and an alcoholic. Lauren takes 6-year-old Sophie and runs away one night. Something happens when Andrew goes out to look for them, and he is out of the picture.

Years later Lauren thinks he is stalking her when she finds things moved around in her house. Meanwhile, daughter Sophie is secretly meeting with her dad. He was a good father to her before they left and mom had shielded her from the worst of his behavior. Sophie also meets a boy and is a typical teenager, making stupid choices, lying to her mother and being moody. Lauren has made a new life for herself, running her own cleaning business and dating a nice guy.

Andrew swears to Sophie that he isn’t stalking her mom. But if not him, then who?

I found the danger in this book was not as ramped up as in previous Stevens books. What I really enjoyed were the characters, especially the relationship between Lauren and her teen daughter Sophie. It seemed like a very realistic portrayal of the mother/daughter dynamic. I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

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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!



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Shut In

Mary (Naomi Watts) is a child psychologist who lost her husband six months ago. She has been taking care of her teenage stepson, Stephen (Charlie Heaton), who is basically catatonic. He was in the car accident that killed her husband. Mary is very overwhelmed and has decided to put Stephen in a home. She is also worried about a young patient of hers, Tom (Jacob Tremblay), who is deaf and has run away. She starts having nightmares about Tom being dead and haunting her house. Pretty soon she is no idea what is real and what is in her head. A big storm is coming and Mary needs to figure out what is happening to her before it is too late.

When I started watching this movie, I thought it was going to be a ghost story or horror movie. Boy was I wrong. This was a thriller that kept me glued to my seat. I didn’t see the twist coming and I am glad it surprised me. Also starring Oliver Platt and Peter Outbridge. Rated PG-13