Today, Hartford Books Examiner offers up another serving of “bite-sized” book reviews…
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman –This is an interesting book in that it explores the lives of those who make a living reporting on the lives of others. Set at an English-language newspaper struggling to stay afloat in Rome, it blends social commentary with human (if fictionalized) drama, and the results are equal parts amusing and somber. Rachman’s debut serves to remind us that it’s the everyday stories that go unnoticed that are often worthy of the most attention.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn — Flynn has a gift for creating atmospheric settings that are both palpable and believable. She also has a knack for taking an initial truth and, in revisiting places and characters, reconstructing it until a new reality presents itself. Dark Places is an admirably gritty thriller that will keep readers turning pages late into the night.
Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter — The author’s debut crime thriller is reminiscent of the works of Patricia Cornwell in that it establishes several memorable characters (that have since become fan favorites) while also meticulously deconstructing the forensic evidence of a particularly horrific crime scene. Intense and assuredly written, it established the aptly named Slaughter as the powerhouse she has become…
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer — This short book is quite long-winded. There are no chapter breaks, and so the reader is not provided the opportunity to come up for air. And while that strategy might work for some stories, it only brings attention to what’s lacking here. Much of the dialog seems forced, and the story, though interesting in the sense that it provides background to the events of Eclipse, is unnecessary. Still, Meyer should be praised for her charitable efforts, as a donation from the sale of each first edition hardcover is made to Red Cross.
Hush by Kate White — A fast-paced thriller, Hush also explores the plight of the (soon-to-be) single mother. White, who is the editor-in-chief of Cosmo magazine, knows women’s issues, and she believably creates a likable protagonist who finds herself at the center of a murder investigation involving the goings-on at a fertility clinic that she has been hired to consult for. The mystery is satisfying, and the facts behind the fiction enhance the overall reading experience.
The 9th Judgment by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro — Yet another blockbuster from Patterson, the latest in the Women’s Murder Club series is a quick read–perfect for the beach, travel, or nighttime. The two “bad guys” here are a killer that preys on women and children and a thief who steals from the rich and gives to…the girlfriend. Of course, the stories intersect, and Patterson brings them to a relatively satisfying conclusion. The final plots twists (related to characters, not crimes), however, are jarring and unnecessary–and might leave some fans calling foul.
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross — One of the most talked about books of the summer, Mr. Peanut broaches the subject of what happens when the dark (and deadly) fantasies we have about our spouses become reality. More than just a mystery, the book is a nuanced exploration of marriage and how relationships often deteriorate over time. The fictionalized Sam Sheppard storyline and interwoven Hitchcock trivia are fascinating elements and serve the story well.
You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again by Heather McDonald — McDonald, who is a stand-up comic and full time writer/producer for Chelsea Lately, offers an amusing account of her quest to lose her virginity. (She finally did–at 27!) Her reflections are funny, and you often feel embarrassed for her–and pained for suitors. While a favorite phrase (and activity) seems to be “dry humping,” this book is deliciously juicy…
What would you recommend for those in search of summer reading?
Related articles from Hartford Books Examiner:
Bite-sized book reviews, volume one
Bite-sized book reviews, volume two
Bite-sized book reviews, volume three