Book review: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

About two-thirds of the way through Hunting Annabelle, I knew I’d found one of my new favorite characters. I also knew whodunit.

Then I kept reading, and I realized I had no idea who’d done it and was introduced to perhaps my new favorite character.

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard is one of the best debuts I’ve ever read, certainly in the same conversation as Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn) and Carrie (Stephen King).

Of course, by the time I’d settled on what I thought had been taking place behind the scenes, I had already gone through three hypotheses that did not work out. And even after the major reveal just before the climax, I still thought I knew what the next few twists would be.

I’ve never been happier to have been so wrong.

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Book review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water has one of the best opening chapters of any book I’ve ever read.

I only wish the twist hadn’t been quite so transparent and easily deduced.

And, while that didn’t ruin the novel for me, it did keep it from being one of my favorites. But it was certainly close to rising to that level.

The story starts with Erin digging her husband’s grave. It describes the ritual in brutal, what I can only assume is authentic detail. As readers find out, it’s not the start of Erin’s story. I don’t always love frames like this one, but this was absolutely the best way to start this novel. I wonder if that was Steadman’s original idea, or whether a great editor teased this opening out of her. Since Steadman is an actress, and TV/film often uses frame stories like this, either way would make sense.

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Book review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kakufka

Girl in Snow drew me in with its premise and beautiful writing and did not disappoint.

Unlike many suspense novels, I felt myself caring about and searching for the answers to all of the mysterious plots, both main and sub.

And there were plenty of them.

The main mystery, as the title implies, is finding out who killed Lucinda Hayes, who was found in the snow of a small Colorado town’s school playground.

There are many people who could have done it, including a couple of narrators. But somewhere along the way, I almost stopped caring about whether or not one of them did it. Getting to know teenagers Cameron Whitley, who may or may not be a budding sociopath, and Jade, a girl who envied Lucinda but had worse problems than a romantic rivalry.

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Book review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I wanted to read this novel because it was, as the cover indicated, a No. 1 Bestseller, and the movie was about to be released.

Though it was a good read, it was not one that I felt was worth the hype.

Without giving any spoilers, I will say the main “mystery” was not hard to solve early, and the getting there did not completely make up for knowing whodunit. In addition, I did not create a strong emotional connection to any of the characters.

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Book review: My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

I have recommended, and will continue to recommend, My Sister’s Grave to everyone I know who reads novels.

The novel introduces the world to Tracy Crosswhite, a sharpshooting Seattle detective whose kid sister was murdered in their youth.

As many procedurals do, the novel has two cases to solve. There’s the immediate murder that Crosswhite and her partner, Kinsington Rowe, are working. Then there is Crosswhite’s sister’s murder, which was solved long ago, but hurriedly and without a body.

As you might’ve guessed, the discovery of that body in her long-hidden “grave” decades later is what sets the events of My Sister’s Grave in motion.

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