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Suspense

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older

Things between Tee and Izzy have been becoming strained ever since Sierra initiated her friends into shadowshaping. Izzy's hip hop career is really starting to take off, and Tee's taking the reins of the Bed-Stuy Searchlight, which is currently based in a creepy church basement. To complicate matters, the ghost of a mysterious girl starts revealing herself just to Tee, and then a local teen baseball star goes missing. Izzy needs Tee to help the search party, and Tee needs Izzy to help her understand this haunting. Will they be able to salvage what's left of their relationship in time to get to the bottom of the abduction?

Ghost Girl in the Corner is a brand new (just released yesterday!) novella, set between the end of Shadowshaper and Shadowhouse Fall (due out next fall). I love, love, love the magical side of Brooklyn Daniel José Older has introduced, and this book satisfies the wait between his YA Shadowshaper series and his Bone Street Rumba trilogy for adults. His pacing is perfect for this short fiction, with lovable, flawed characters; on-point social commentary; and bad guys as bad as ever. It is such a joy to dip back into this world...I can't wait to return!

Number of Pages: 
109

The Fever by Megan Abbott

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The Fever by Megan Abbott

A sleepy community is thrown into upheaval when a popular young woman has a violent, mysterious seizure in the middle of class. Rumors spread and confusion grows as the townspeople speculate on the causes and more girls begin coming down with a similar affliction. At the middle is the Nash family: Tom, father and high school chemistry teacher; his son Eli, hockey star and playboy; and his daughter Deenie, friend to many of the victims and perhaps the only person able to figure out just what is happening. Megan Abbott explores all the ways insecurites and half-truths can unravel even the strongest people in this terrifying, fast-paced novel.

I read The Fever in 24 hours! It was such a haunting portrayal of how fragile communities can become when just a little information and a lot of speculation hit it at just the right time. Abbott writes the turmoil and confusion of the teenage years with such immediacy. I loved the frequently shifting points-of-view between the members of the Nash family, which keeps the plot moving at a breathtaking clip. The hysteria ramps up so quickly in this novel, it's impossible not to get caught up in the frenzy.

Number of Pages: 
303

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Alexis, Ruby and Nick all joined the Portland County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team for different reasons: Alexis needs an extracurricular to get into college, Ruby wants an outlet where her obsession with true crime is "normal" and Nick wants to prove he can be a hero like his father. But the three are still just teens beginning their training when they get sent out together to find a man who wandered into the woods and instead find the body of a girl their own age. Though Alexis has her own problems to deal with, Ruby investigates the death and is determined that it is the work of a serial killer, and that the wrong person has been arrested. Ruby drags Nick and Alexis into her own investigation, which takes them into the homeless community of Portland.

This is one of those mysteries where you get bits of both sides -- as the teens try to solve the crime, the reader also sees the killer picking his new victims. The mystery was interesting but not very complex, and it was a quick, not too creepy, read.

Number of Pages: 
263

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

It was just another normal day in 2575 on the icy little planet (and illegal mining colony) Kerenza, and Kady and Ezra are faced with the run-of-the-mill tragedy of breaking up. Then the BeiTech Corporation decides to launch an attack, decimating the population and forcing the remaining survivors to escape to the few ships that answered their cry for help. Kady and Ezra find that it behooves them to get back on speaking terms as they discover that BeiTech's warship is in hot pursuit of their small fleet; that a horrific virus is beginning to infect the evacuees; and that their fleet's AI, damaged during the attack on Kerenza, has begun to develop an autonomy to deadly results. Told as a dossier through a series of emails, chat sessions, voice transcriptions, surveillance summaries, and imaginative word art, Illuminae is the first of a wonderfully terrifying, thrilling, and fascinating new series.

I was intrigued by the concept and format of the book--it is truly a work of art to behold--but felt a little overwhelmed at the beginning trying to understand what exactly was going on and trying to get into the flow of the novel. So I decided to check out the audio as well, listening to the book as I read along. This ended up being a terrific way to absorb everything--the audio features a full cast of readers with sound effects and occasional strains music, which really lends the plot an overall sense of urgency, and the text provides further context and atmophere for the variety of format and layout that you'd otherwise miss just experiencing the audio. I don't believe much would be lost in sticking solely to one or the other, but I know for sure I will continue this dual method when the second book, Gemina, comes out (October 18th!).

Number of Pages: 
599

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

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The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger is a little different from other Lutz novels that I have read, such as the Spellman Files books. It was dark and unpredictable. We meet Tanya Dubois as she is fleeing the scene of her husband's death. We learn that her name isn't really Tanya Dubois and that she did not kill her husband. She is running so that her current life doesn't come under scrutiny. Each section of the book is devoted to the character's new identity as things inevitably go wrong in her life on the run and she has to constantly recreate herself.

I'm not going to say that this was a very believable book. But I like her writing style and can't seem to stay away from books with strong women and their messed up drama. It did feel a little anti-climactic when you finally piece together what happened, but I am still going to recommend this book as a good read when you want something dark and compelling.

Number of Pages: 
303

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

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Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

Someone is kidnapping people two at a time, and giving them the choice to either both starve to death, or for one to kill the other and be allowed to live. It isn't something every detective would believe, but after hearing the desperation and guilt from the first "killer", Helen Grace must follow her instincts and investigate. She's has solved many crimes, but after the second time this happens, she realizes that she is dealing with her first serial killer. But what is the connection between all these people? Is the killer trying to make a point or just cruel?

This mystery drew me in and was an easy, quick read with its very short chapters, but I'm not sure about all the characters yet. I often find it difficult to connect to the main characters during the first book in a mystery series, so I may try the next one. The concept was interesting, and the bits of memories that give clues into the final answer kept me wanting to understand.

Number of Pages: 
420

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Laura McHugh lives in Columbia, Missouri and grew up in the Ozarks, where The Weight of Blood is set. I like reading books set in local environs, but the Ozarks can be pretty depressing to read about. McHugh does a good job evoking the beauty of the wilderness, caves and hills, but man, poverty and isolation can really make people do horrendous things.

There are parallel stories in this novel, there is Lila, who answered an application for work and ended up being held in sexual slavery. (Luckily not for long.) And there is Lucy who is Lila's daughter and is caught up in the mystery of her friend, Cheri's disappearance and discovery in a brutal fashion. Also, she is always wondering about her Mother's mysterious disappearance shortly after Lucy's birth.

It's hard to read about these things being done to women. It's even harder knowing that it is really happening in our world and not just in the fantasy world of fiction. I want to compare McHugh to Daniel Woodrell, but not having read anything by him yet, I'll just compare their likeness in geography. He also writes about the backwoods Missouri.

I liked McHugh's writing. It was a haunting story. She has a new one just out, Arrowood, if you enjoy The Weight of Blood.

Number of Pages: 
306

Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller

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Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller

Everyone in our book club at the library has read this book without it being assigned reading. Now we need to put it on our reading list for next year so we can all talk about it! Because I have questions about the ending that I don't want to get into here.

Sheldon (Donnie) Horowitz has moved to Norway with his granddaughter and her Norwegian son in law. His wife has died. His son died fighting in Vietnam. There is noone else in his world but Rhea and Lars. He and his wife raised Rhea after his son, Saul, was killed in combat and her mother wasn't capable of caring for her. He isn't thrilled to be in Norway. He would rather be alone in New York where he lived for so long and knew where everything was. Now he is in a strange land with no language or landmarks.

Did I mention that Donnie was a Marine sniper in Korea? He never talked about it, never even told his family what he did. Said he was a paper pusher. In Norway, his sniper career will come in handy.

One morning, Rhea and Lars step out after an argument with Donnie. The upstairs neighbors are in a heated argument that spills out into the landing. Donnie gives the woman and son shelter from the supposed husband/boyfriend but when he comes looking for them, things go horribly wrong. Donnie is able to escape with the child. Thus begins a journey through Norway trying to elude dangerous men.

This book is not just a suspense thriller, though it does a good job being that. There are also leaps in time to these foreign wars, Korea and Vietnam, as Donnie tries to come to terms with how his actions and inactions have shaped his life and the lives of his family members. It is quite good and I look forward to Miller's upcoming novel, The Girl in Green, but we have to wait until January for that title.

Number of Pages: 
292

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed Ruth Ware's first suspense novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood and I have to say that I read The Woman in Cabin 10 just as quickly, though it required a bit more suspension of belief.

Lo (short for Laura) Blacklock is a travel journalist and she is finally given a juicy assignment to go on a cruise in Norwegian waters on the maiden voyage of the Aurora. But just before she leaves on this voyage, she is burgled in her flat and then fights with her boyfriend. She arrives on board not having slept for the past 48 hours or so. That night, when she is alone in her cabin, she hears a woman scream and she hears a loud splash that sounds like a body hitting water.

When she reports what she's seen, no one believes her. But she just won't stop digging until she is the one in danger of being killed or thrown overboard.

Like I said, the conclusion defies belief a bit, but I like Ware's female characters and her books are quick paced with interesting settings so I was willing to overlook some of that.

Number of Pages: 
340

The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

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The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

The Woman in Blue is the newest of Griffiths' series about archaeologist Ruth Galloway. Ruth's friend Cathbad sees a woman in the cemetary near where he's housesitting, assumes she is just a vision, but then she shows up murdered the next day. DCI Nelson is on the case, but Ruth becomes involved as an old friend in town for a conference reconnects. Ruth tries her best not to interfere with the investigation or Nelson's shaky home life, but she becomes worried about her friend and does a bit of research on her own.

Though the mystery surrounds a historic town and its religious origins, this mystery is slightly different than her others. Though Ruth follows the case, there isn't as direct of an archaeological connection as in previous mysteries, and the story follows DCI a bit more. It was still a fast-paced, easy but slightly creepy read, it just had a slightly different feel than earlier books.

Number of Pages: 
358