Sunday, November 26, 2017

Faithful Place

Dublin Murder Squad series number three by Tana French. Back in 1985, Frank Mackey and Rosie Daly are set to run away together: go to London, marry, get good jobs, leave inner city Dublin and their dysfunctional families behind. But on the night they were to leave, Rosie doesn't show. Frank, at nineteen, thought his family was too crazy even for her and she'd given him the brush-off. He never went home again. Neither did Rosie. Everyone assumed she went to England on her own. Until her suitcase shows up in a run down house 22 years later. Now Frank is back in Faithful Place with his family and old neighborhood trying to figure out what happened to Rosie. But he's a detective now; the neighborhood doesn't trust the police on principle. The police handling the case won't talk to him, in case family and neighborhood loyalty make him a liability. What will Frank sacrifice to discover the truth?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Painted Veil

A wonderful work by Somerset Maugham, this tells the story of vain, shallow Kitty Garstin, who marries Walter Fane just to beat her younger sister to the altar and to get away from her overbearing mother. It is the 1920's and Walter is a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Kitty soon is bored with Walter; she conducts an affair with Charles Townsend, a junior official in government in Hong Kong who owes his position to his wife. Walter discovers the affair and issues an ultimatum: come to the cholera-ridden Chinese interior with him, or face scandal as he names Townsend co-respondent in a divorce proceedings. She goes. And grows, thank goodness. None of the characters are likeable at first. The second half of the book is much more compelling than the first. Kitty begins to volunteer in an orphanage managed by a group of French nuns. She experiences some self awareness, though it doesn't help her marriage. Eventually she must retrace her steps to Hong Kong, then to England. We are left with the hope that she finds the freedom and peace she desires.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Likeness

Number two in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Cassie Maddox has transferred out of the Murder Squad, but gets an urgent call to attend a crime scene. The murder victim is Cassie's double and is identified as Alexandra Madison. However, Alexandra Madison doesn't exist; the name and persona was made up for Cassie in an undercover assignment. Cassie once again goes undercover to find out who this girl was and who killed her. She may just lose herself along the way.

In the Woods

Tana French's debut of the Dublin Murder Squad series. In the summer of 1984, the police are called to search for three children who didn't come home when called. They find only one, wearing blood-filled sneakers, terrorized and unable to remember anything about the day. In 2004, that child, Rob Ryan, is a detective who keeps quiet about his past. The only one who knows is his partner and best friend, Cassie Maddox. Now they are investigating the murder of a 12- year old girl found in the same wood with haunting similarities to the old case. Ryan has only bits of memory, but feels he may be able to solve this case and that of his own past.

A Fatal Grace

Number two in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. CC de Poitiers, a newcomer to Three Pines, made herself disliked by everyone, even her spineless husband and pitiful daughter. She was disliked to death, electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake in front of the whole village during the annual curling tournament. Who could be so crazy, diabolical, and brilliant as to commit this murder with no one seeing anything?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Secrets of the Interior Life

By Archbishop Luis M. Martinez,  translated by H. J. Beutler, C.M. S.T.L. I read this fabulous book as part of my morning devotions. Bishop Martinez stresses faith, even when, especially when, one is in desolation and believe God is far away. In the obscurity of faith is where one will hear Him (not in feelings). I found so many truths and helps in here! I will be reading it again, aloud, to my children.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book

Put together by Diane Muldrow, this is really kind of a sweet book. Each page has a word or phrase designed for motivation, set against an apropos illustration from a Little Golden Book. Nice to remember those books being read to me and, in turn, reading them to my children.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window

And Disappeared. Debut novel by Swedish writer Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury. Allan Karlsson is in a nursing home, and wakes on his 100th birthday desiring a drink. However, Director Alice has decreed there to be no drinking in the nursing home. While plans for his birthday party are underway, Allan escapes to get some vodka. Thus begins what would be the journey of a lifetime for most people; but Allan has lived quite an eventful life, participating in world events for most of the 20th century. Quite a tale of what a friendly, apolitical person can accomplish (wink).

Tell Me Three Things

Julie Buxbaum's first YA novel, and it's fabulous! Jessie's mom died two years ago and her dad, a pharmacist, comes back to Chicago from a conference married again. To a film producer. With a teenage son. Who lives in Los Angeles. So now Jessie is trying to navigate her junior year at an intimidating prep  school in the Valley when everything about her is wrong. Then she gets an email from Somebody/Nobody promising to help her. Can she trust S/N? Is it an elaborate hoax? In a leap of faith, Jessie trusts, and S/N soon becomes a close ally. Will she meet him/her in person? A great tale.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Maybe in Another Life

A great novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Hannah Martin, 29, has no clue what to do with her life. She's been city-hopping, with meaningless jobs since college. But now, after a horrible breakup in Manhattan, she's coming home to Los Angeles. To Gabby, her BFF. Who takes her to a bar to celebrate her first night back. Many of her old friends show up, including Ethan, her high school boy friend. Just after midnight, Gabby asks if she's ready to leave. Ethan offers to take her home if she wants to stay. In concurrent storylines, the author takes us through what happens to Hannah with each decision. How much of our lives is determined by chance? Is there one, true soulmate for each of us? Are things just meant to happen? These are some of the questions tackled in this book.

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

This is a Veronica Mars mystery by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. I wasn't familiar with Veronica; never watched the series on television or read any of the other books. This was a nice bit of fluff to read in waiting rooms, etc. Keith Mars is recuperating from a shooting, so when the Neptune Chamber of Commerce comes looking for someone to investigate the Spring Break disappearance of a young co-ed, Veronica gets the job. Then another girl disappears, from the same party house, and this young woman strikes a little too close to home. A Mexican drug cartel and a long con are also included.