Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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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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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In the future, life is pretty bleak. Take high school student Wade, our protagonist, for instance, who lives in a trailer stacked upon lots of trailers with fifteen other people outside Oklahoma City. He attends school virtually in the Oasis using his avatar Percival.

The Oasis is a virtual world created by James Halliday, a video game inventor who has passed away and his life’s fortune is up for grabs. In his will, he left a video message saying that he has hidden an Easter egg in the Oasis and whoever finds it will be heir to billions of dollars.

Gunters, or egg hunters, need to find three keys first before they can attempt to locate the egg. Wade is the first to locate the first key and now that his name is plastered on the scoreboard, people are after him, including the Sixers, a group of gunters working for the IOI, a greedy telecommunications conglomerate who would destroy the Oasis if it gets into their hands.  Eventually, Wade joins forces with fellow gunters Aretemis, H, and Shoto to take down the Sixers and save the planet.

Smart, clever and richly detailed on video game trivia and 1980’s pop culture, Ready Player One is sure to appeal to nerds and non-nerds alike. I hear the movie is drastically different than the book and not in a good way. So definitely opt for the book first.


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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.


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Death of an Honest Man

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I was able to get an advanced copy of Death of an Honest Man through Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley, for an opportunity to read and review this book. My views in this review are entirely my own.

Sometimes being too honest can be a bad thing, which is what the village of Lochdubh and Cnothan find out the hard way, when newcomer, Paul English, moves to Cnothan. He tells the truth no matter how rude or forward he might sound. That is until he is killed.

The issue that Hamish has is not a lack of suspects but too many suspects. As Paul English offended most everyone he met. To top it off Hamish has lost the services of Charlie, his sidekick police officer, who has resigned due to Blair’s bullying ways.

Hamish is back in Death of an Honest Man. I have read all of the Hamish Macbeth series so far and have loved all of them. First off I would like to say something about the series as a whole. One of the major things that sets this series apart from many other book series is the characters that M.C. Beaton has created. They are very unique, each with their own personalities and quirks that add something to the series as a whole. She keeps them consistent throughout the series, having them appear when they are needed to help Hamish with the crime or to add a funny/dramatic moment to the book. Hamish would not be where he is today if not for the villagers of Lochdubh.

It was a fast read with many twists and turns that kept me, the reader, guessing as to who the murderer really was. Normally in most mysteries I have a guess at who the thief and/or murderer is. However, that was not the case this time. With as many suspects that Hamish had during this murder, it is not shocking that this was a tough one even for him. I did wish that more time could have been spent with the newer characters. I have a feeling though M.C. Beaton will bring them back in later books in the series, much like she does many of the other past characters.

I do feel bad for Hamish though. It feels as though Hamish will never find a permanent partner in crime as they are always leaving for one reason or other. I do in some ways wish that they would resolve Hamish’s love life. The random visits by Elspeth and Priscilla seemed strained in the book. The main storyline as a whole was interesting. Once I started reading it I did not want to put it down. This is a must read for any fans of the Hamish Macbeth series or for any cozy mystery fans.

My question for those who read the book- anyone catch the part about Silas?


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Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Two sisters go missing outside of a Kmart in Pennsylvania while their mom is inside, and they are supposed to be waiting in the car. Video surveillance shows Kylie Brandt and her younger sister Bailey leaving the car and being greeted by someone they might have known. Witnesses say that they got in the car and left, but other than that, there are no real leads.

Single mother Jamie Brandt has the support of her Aunt Maggie, who has hired private investigator Alice Vega from California. Vega has a reputation of finding missing children, and she teams up with ex-cop Max “Cap” Caplan. Their plan is to use Cap’s relationship with local police enforcement to join their efforts.

Their investigation brings them to a previous cold case of a disabled adult who disappeared years prior. Could this be related to the girl’s disappearance, or is it an empty trail they are following?

Two Girls Down was a decent thriller that I would recommend. There was no crazy twist at the end and although everything wrapped up smoothly, I would love to see Alice Vega make a reappearance in Luna’s next book. It is awesome to see a female lead in such a kick-ass, take no prisoners role. Also, there seems to be a budding romance between Vega and Cap that could be developed further.