Book review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The year is early, but The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is by far the best novel I’ve read in 2019 so far.

This is not your typical thriller, and I should point out that The Broken Girls has three elements that I enjoy in all novels, regardless of genre: a dual timeline, a creepy supernatural element, and journalists.

When authors like St. James do it correctly, the supernatural element does not impact the core plot events or explain a twist in the story, but rather adds to the tone and setting. And a story that features characters across two timelines who intersect in a thrilling, engaging climax and denouement, is right up my alley.

Both of these elements are masterfully inserted into this murder mystery whose main character, and her father, are journalists.

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Book Review: Where Fools Dare to Tread by David William Pearce

As with many good novels, Pearce introduces readers to a unique and interesting main character in Monk Buttman.

A self-proclaimed “nobody,” he’s forced to play the part of a private investigator after his real job as a courier for a law firm turns deadly. 

Buttman is as funny as his name suggests, but he’s more resourceful than even he might give himself credit for. 

The mystery he must solve gets larger and more complex as the story unfolds, and Pearce does a great job of tying Buttman’s tragic backstory to the mystery, and holding it back until it’s most emotionally impactful. 

And while the plot is solid and engaging, it’s the strength of Buttman’s personality that will carry readers through this novel. 

I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy humor and a charismatic main character in their mystery novels.

Book review: The Scorching by Libbi Duncan

The Scorching by Libbi Duncan is perhaps one of the most relatable YA fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time. Many of you may be disappointed, but I did not love reading The Hunger Games books and felt happy with watching the movies.

But, I am somewhat of a SciFi fan. (Star Trek, not Star Wars. Arguing is futile.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while seeking to expand outside my favored genre (thriller/mystery), fans of YA, fantasy and SciFi are sure to find something to like about The Scorching, which is the first in Duncan’s The Scorching Trilogy.

Madi is an eighteen-year-old who just dumped her douchey boyfriend—who happens to be what amounts to the heir of the human race, which escaped Earth during an apocalyptic event. Events escalate quickly as she finds out her parents, scientists for what she’s beginning to see is an out-of-control militaristic dictatorship, have been killed.

Or have they?

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Book Review: Looker by Laura Sims

In the interest of full disclosure, I must begin my review of Looker by Laura Sims by saying this: My feelings about this novel are likely influenced by misleading marketing.

All over the internet, Looker was billed as one of the next great “thrillers” and the best “mystery” of 2019. The one that finally got me was that Looker was one of Literary Hub’s “Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2019.”

This novel sounded right up my alley.

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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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