Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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The Shut-In by James Patterson

Twenty-something Trisha suffers from a disease that causes her to be allergic to the sun. This means she never really levels her Philadelphia studio apartment. Everything she needs she can be ordered online. She even works from home. And she has a way to explore the outside world through Amelia, a drone she sends on flights through her neighborhood.

When Amelia spots a woman murdering a homeless person near an abandoned part of the city, Trisha immediately reports what she saw to the police. Since Amelia had crashed, there is no actual recorded footage of the murder, and the police have a hard time buying her story. Trisha isn’t going to give up and determines to capture the woman terrorizing the city with a new and improved drone, but might end up putting her own life at risk.

Although I’ve read many Patterson novels (and some of his nonfiction too), this is the first of his Bookshots I have read, and I must say that I was thoroughly entertained. Highly recommend for a quick read that captures your attention until the very end. Please note that this book has only been made available as an eBook or eAudiobook by the publisher.

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

In Ware’s (The Woman in Cabin 10, A Dark Dark Wood) latest, Isabel receives a text from her school friend Kate, who she hasn’t seen in a number of years. She takes her newborn baby with her as she travels back by train to Saltan in the English countryside where the school she attended after her mother died resides.

At school, she formed a close friendship with two other girls besides Kate – Fatima and Thea. The foursome would spend weekends at Kate’s house, where her father, Ambrose, a struggling artist, allowed them to behave as they wished. They also played a dangerous game where the goal was to get someone to believe some lie that they told.

Kate has called back all the girls to Saltan because she needs them. A bone of a man was found buried in the marsh. The girls helped to cover up a crime on that fateful night. How far will their lies go to protect one another?

I think most readers will enjoy the fast paced story, but this wasn’t my favorite by Ware. I felt it dragged on and could have been wrapped up sooner.


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Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Paul has planned the “best day ever” for his wife, Mia. Their children are with a sitter for the weekend, and Paul is taking Mia up to their Ohio lake house before the tourist season is in full effect. In fact, he even has a special surprise in his glove box for Mia, which he’ll present at exactly the right moment. Sounds like an idyllic weekend for a typical, suburban couple, right?

The reader is about to learn otherwise. Told from Paul’s perspective, we begin to learn about his growing resentment of Mia, his infidelity and how his abusiveness has a long history. For Paul, the driving force keeping them together is money. Mia comes from a rich New York family and in the event of her untimely death, Paula would benefit greatly.

Mia, however, isn’t the naive woman Paul believes her to be, and she has plans of her own for their “best day ever.”

I enjoyed this fast-paced read. The author didn’t go for the shock value with an implausible ending, so I appreciated the realistic ending, and if you are okay with an unlikable protagonist, this book would appeal to most.


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The Good Widow by Liz Fenton

Jacks has just received devastating news. Her husband, James, has died while in Hawaii. Except he is supposed to be on a business trip in Kansas. And he wasn’t alone. Jacks doesn’t know what to do with this information. She thought for the most part their eight year marriage was good. As the weeks past and she grieves, Jacks gets a visitor. His name is Nick and he claims to be the fiance of Dylan, the woman who was with James.  He wants to go to Hawaii and retrace their steps to see if he can get closure and he wants Jacks to go with him.

Jacks decides to go. As they start to retrace their steps, Jacks is shocked about all the activity they did. Jacks starts to really think about their marriage and isn’t sure if she ever knew James. Nick is having a hard time too. Jacks and Nick start to grow closer and after they leave Hawaii they start a relationship. Jacks really starts to fall for him and couldn’t be happier. But were the deaths in Hawaii really an accident or is something more sinister going on?

I really liked this book. It held my interest and kept me wanting to find out the truth. It had a good twist and I am excited to read more by these authors.


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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

A girlfriend and her boyfriend, Jack, are in the car on the way for her to meet Jack’s parents for the first time. The couple lives in the city, but Jack’s parents live in a rural area that takes a while to get to on country roads. For most of the trip, the girl is reflecting on her relationship with Jack and is contemplating “ending things” with him.

There is a secret the reader knows that the girl has kept from Jack. She has been receiving eerie phone calls in which the individual leaves creepy voicemail message that ask the same question each time. She doesn’t understand the context or what it all means and has yet to tell anyone.

The story alternates between the Jack and the girlfriend and then a group of people talking about someone’s suicide, but who died and how it’s related isn’t relieved until the very end.

This is a short, yet super dark and disturbing read, albeit one with a good twist. Only recommended to certain readers who can deal with this strange tale.

 


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Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Olivia is coming home for Christmas. The only reason is because she has to be quarantined for seven days after providing medical assistance to Haag victims. Joining her in quarantine are her mother, Emma, her father, Andrew, and her sister, Phoebe. They are going to the family estate, which has limited cell service and is in the middle of nowhere. To add to the stress of quarantine, Andrew has found out that he has a son from a previous relationship that he knew nothing about and Emma has just been diagnosed  with cancer.

Olivia also has a secret. She is in a secret relationship with one of the other doctors. And when you are there treating patients, there is a no touch policy, which they repeatedly violated. And now he has the Haag. This Christmas is already stressful without all of the secrets. But when the biggest secret actually shows up at the house, no one will ever be the same.

I enjoyed this book. There was one thing I didn’t like in the end but I guess it was good for the story. You don’t really like the characters but you don’t hate them and they redeem themselves as the story goes on.


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The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

Child psychologist and agoraphobe Anna Fox has been home bound for the last ten months. The only contact she has with the outside world are regular in-home appointments with her psychiatrist and physical therapist and the occasional visit from her tenant, David, who rents the basement apartment of her brownstone. Anna’s passions include overindulging in wine and prescription medications, old noir and thriller film and watching the outside activities of her Gramercy Park neighborhood.

Most interesting to Anna are the Russells, the new neighbors across the park, who are a husband and wife couple with a teenage son who moved here from Boston. When her house is egged by a bunch of kids on Halloween, Anna attempts to take her first steps outside but can’t make it and is rescued by Jane Russell. The women form a friendship when Anna invites Jane inside, and they spend the evening drinking wine and playing chess. When Anna sees Jane being attacked through the window, she suspects the woman could have been murdered. But the real Jane Russell is not the woman who she saw in the window. So who is she? Or is her dependence on pills and liquor having her fabricating events?

I don’t think Finn’s debut totally lives up to the hype, but keep in mind I’m a prolific reader of this genre and it takes a lot to impress me. However, readers who are fans of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and The Girl on the Train (and novels with unreliable narrators) will find The Woman in the Window to their liking.