Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

In this debut novel from actress Krysten Ritter, Chicago environmental lawyer Abby Williams is brought back to her home town of Barrens, a rural community in southern Indiana, to investigate complaints of water pollution. Residents have been getting sick for years, which may be due to the practices of a plastics/polymer company called Optimal, who could be dumping their waste into the reservoir.

Abby and her team are having trouble getting anyone to talk since Optimal pretty much owns Barrens, having built the new community center and employing a large quantity of the residents. Even though she has tried to forget her past, Abby is brought back to her high school years when she runs into some of her classmates, including the best friend of Casey Mitchell. Casey and Abby used to be close until high school when Casey and a group of three other girls became popular and bullied Abby.

Back then, Casey would get sick with unexplained fainting and vomiting, but it turned out the whole thing was a hoax. Casey admitted to faking it for attention, and then split shortly after graduation. No one has heard from her since. Abby’s assignment becomes derailed when she makes it her mission to find Casey. Perhaps she wasn’t really faking it after all. And is Optimal paying people to keep quiet?

For a debut novel by an actress, I was pretty impressed with BonfireMultiple plot strings keep readers hooked and make for a fast and entertaining read.

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The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Running away from her past, Amber has the perfect plan to get the life she deserves.  She stages a run in with Daphne Parrish at Daphne’s gym where she “accidentally” drops a magazine about Cystic Fibrosis.  The disease is an issue close to Daphne’s heart since she lost her sister of CF.  Amber constructs a false story suggesting she lost her own sister to CF as well.

Although they make an unlikely pair since Daphne comes from the rich society of Bishop’s Harbor along the Long Island Sound and Amber claims she comes from a small Nebraska town, the two become fast friends. They are so close that Amber becomes almost like the sister Daphne lost. When Amber loses her real estate job, Daphne is there to help by getting her a job at her husband’s prestigious Manhattan company.

As Jackson Parrish’s new assistant, Amber starts dressing differently, wearing more revealing and stylish clothes and not the mousy attire she used to sport. Amber believes that she can seduce the handsome and powerful Jackson and convince him to leave Daphne. Amber will finally get the luxurious lifestyle that is owed to her, and Daphne, who doesn’t appreciate what she has, will be left with nothing. However, things rarely go according to plan.

This was a page turner I couldn’t put down.  The characters’ actions are dark and shocking, but you’ll want to keep reading to see what she’ll do next and how it will all end.


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Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Joan is at the zoo with her four-year-old son, Lincoln, like she is on many afternoons with him. Lincoln likes to play in the dinosaur dig area with his action figures while making up his “stories.” In the distance, she hears a few loud bangs, but doesn’t think any thing of it. It’s almost closing time, and she has to get Lincoln to start walking towards the exit so they don’t get locked in.

As they make their way towards the exit, something is off.  And then she is it: bloody bodies on the ground, and in the distance, gun fire rings out. She sees at least one man making the shots. Instinct kicks in and immediately she scoops up Lincoln and runs back into the depths of the zoo to find a place to hide. But how do you keep a toddler from making any noise, even if their lives are a stake?

The rest of the novel takes place over the course of a few hours as Joan’s maternal instinct is put to the test at a place where the predators are young, disturbed gun men and Joan, her son, and any remaining zoo visitors are the prey.

Overall, this was an intense read that kept you engaged throughout, and an ending that leaves you with more questions than answers.


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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Stalking and preying on women comes to the London Underground in Mackintosh’s sophomore novel. Zoe Walker and her adult children who still live at home all take the tube to work as any normal Londoner. Zoe reads a report in the news about a women that was assaulted on the tube and vaguely remembers seeing the victim’s photograph in the back of the London Gazette in the advert section.

Strangely, Zoe sees another news report about a woman who was murdered who she has also seen in another advert in the paper. The adverts only point to a website called findtheone.com that requires a password to gain entry. What is most terrifying is when Zoe sees what she swears is her own picture in the paper. Her partner convinces her that although the picture bears a likeness, there is no way it is her. Still, she questions if she is the next victim.

Zoe reports this to the police who don’t take her complaint seriously. However, deputy Kelly, who had been demoted to the underground task force after beating up a rape suspect, inserts herself into the case. This is not only her chance at professional redemption but also an opportunity to bring justice for victimized women, an issue close to her heart after her twin sister was raped on a college campus years ago.

My only complaint is about the twist at the very end that appears in the Epilogue. It seems too contrived as if it was added mostly for the shock value. Even so, that final twist doesn’t detract from another solid novel of psychological suspense.


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Odd Child Out By Gilly Macmillan

Detective Inspector Clemo from Mamillan’s What She Knew is called in to investigate the case of Noah Sadler, a teenage boy who fell into a canal and is now in a coma. After attending his father’s photo gallery exhibit, Noah, diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his childhood best friend, Abdi Mahad, sneaked out at some point during the night. No one knows what they were doing near Bristol’s scrap yard and canal, and Abdi refuses to speak.

Could Abdi be involved in some sort of fowl play that caused Noah’s fall? Tensions are already high in Bristol between residents and the immigrated Somalian population, which includes Abdi and his family. Steven Sadler, Noah’s father, is a photo journalist who has exhibited his work taking pictures of the inhumane conditions of Somalia and some of the refugee camps where Abdi had stayed. Was there something Abdi saw in one of the photos that may have set him off?

As Clemo digs into the investigation, he is confronted with Emma, his former girlfriend and ex cop, who is now working for the media and will do anything to get the story out to the public, even if it jeopardizes the case.

Although mildly entertaining enough, MacMillan’s latest isn’t really a standout in an already crowded psychological suspense genre and pales in comparison to her previous books.


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The Wrong Man by Kate White

In this standalone (White also writes the Bailey Weggins mysteries) novel, New York City interior decorator Kit Finn is on vacation and scouting out materials for a client in Islamorada, Florida. She runs into an intriguing man, Matt Healy, staying at her hotel who asks her for dinner. The attraction is so hot that Kit even lets him take her to bed, even though he is upfront about their night only be casual.

This is why she is surprised to hear from him back in NYC. He invites her over for dinner, but when she reaches Matt’s apartment, the man who lives there is not the same man who she met in Florida, although the stranger claims his name is Matt Healy. Completely bewildered, she doesn’t know what to think. And now the real Matt Healy wants Kit to talk to his hedge fund firm’s security manager because he believes his identify has been stolen.

Kit has been unwittingly drawn into a crime that has resulted in at least one death. When her Florida man returns on this scene claiming that he is a victim in all this, she questions if she can trust the man who has already deceived her once.

This was an equally entertaining read as White’s other books. My only complaint is that you wish Kit would have gone to the cop’s right away as most rational people would have done, so that might annoy some readers.


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Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

After the brutal murder of their father in a home invasion, the Locke family moves across the country to his family home in Lovecraft, Maine. As the family settles in, odd things begin happening in Key House. Nina is wrapped up in her grief after her husband’s death, and doesn’t take much notice of the strange happenings around her. Teens Tyler and Kinsey just aren’t paying much attention to their little brother as Bode discovers the magical keys to the house and what they can do. As they soon find out though, there’s a demon who wants the keys, and he’ll stop at nothing to get them.

If you’re looking for the perfect October read, this 6 volume series, plus the 2 prequel volumes, is just the ticket. It’s got the perfect blend of magic, horror, and adventure. Plus Joe has built some really great characters – maybe he took some lessons from mom & dad (Tabitha & Stephen King)? The artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez sets just the perfect tone, and I really hope that Mr. Hill & Mr. Rodriguez will collaborate on other projects. This series is in development for TV by Hulu, and will feature Danny Glover and Nate Corddry.