Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A baby’s body is found on a construction site. Fiona Barton’s The Child follows several characters as they react to this discovery, including a newspaper reporter and the mother of a missing child.

More than anything, I read The Child because I needed something to read. I didn’t love Barton’s The Widow, but I clearly enjoyed it enough to read the author again. I was pleasantly surprised by The Child. I guessed the ending early on, but even that did not diminish my enjoyment. It was a fast and engaging story—a good pick for a summer read.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Jane Steele

Lindsay Faye’s Jane Steele is an interesting play on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Jane Steele is fan of Jane Eyre, and her life in Victorian England often parallels that of the other fictitious Jane. Their paths differ, though, from the beginning of the book when Jane Steele confesses to the reader that she is a serial killer. Despite this confession, Jane is generally a sympathetic main character and the situations she finds herself in, including her romance, are interesting and unique. I wouldn’t consider Jane Steele must-read fiction, but it certainly does the job of entertaining a reader on a summer afternoon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Sherman Alexie's collection of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven deserves a lot more intellectual effort than I was willing or able to give it. The stories follow different residents of the Spokane Indian Reservation. Each story has a unique focus and voice, and I felt like each invited discussion appropriate for one of my graduate-level literature courses. The book does not shy away from topics such as racism, alcoholism, and mysticism. This collection takes work to read, understand, and appreciate, and I wish I were still that kind of reader.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Into the Water

The first few chapters of Paula Hawkins' Into the Water reminded me of Hawkins' The Girl on the Train and similar books in the genre. Someone was dead, but I didn't understand who, why, or how. I felt deliberately disorientated, confused, and frustrated over how obfuscated the writing was. Fortunately, that feeling did not last long, and Hawkins let me in on enough secrets of the river that had taken more than one life to keep me satisfied. For this reason, I ended up enjoying the novel much more than The Girl on the Train. Into the Water was engaging, interesting, and a page turner from start to finish.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Death of a Ghost

Death of a Ghost is the 32nd installment of M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series. Ghost finds our Scottish hero once again dealing with murder, slightly inept underlings, completely inept supervisors, and botched relationships. Hamish, though, seems to handle everything with amazing dexterity, managing to solve murders without losing his cozy position to promotion. I have felt frustrated the last several books with Hamish’s stagnation and lack of growth as a character. However, Ghost gave me a glimmer of hope that these books might finally be moving out of the mire. For Hamish fans, let’s believe that is the case.