Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Maud may hold the only clues to the case of a missing woman… But she suffers from dementia, and the clues fade in and out of her consciousness. No one seems to want to help her find her best friend Elizabeth and no one believes her when she tells them the woman has gone missing.

But things are not all as they seem in Maud’s world, and the past keeps stirring up into the present. Maud’s sister disappeared decades ago and was never found. Can the two mysteries be related in some way? Why do specific images and memories keep coming to her mind, so close but then sliding back out of reach before she can connect the dots? Does the truth about the missing women live inside a grandmother with advanced dementia who will stop at nothing until the truth resurfaces for once and for all?

Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey was a special read for me because I too have loved a grandmother who suffered much like Maud. The unreliable narrator tests your patience brutally, and the choppy stream of consciousness is highly irregular for a mystery novel. But if you love women’s fiction and suspense novels, and you think you have what it takes to follow endearing, sassy, confused Maud through her story, I highly recommend the book.

The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

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Dana Catrell wakes up after a night of drinking with her neighbor friend, only to find that in the night, the woman has been brutally murdered. She was the last known person to see Celia alive, and the police are highly suspicious that she can’t seem to remember clearly what happened the night before. With the pressure of her friend’s death and the suspicion that her husband is having an affair hanging over her, she begins to unravel, losing a little bit of her sanity around every corner. What is real, and what is imagined? Does she really remember her neighbor showing her a picture of her husband with another woman, or is her subconscious just trying to tell her that her husband is a cheater?

The lives of several broken people cross paths in this psychological thriller that will have you reading late into the night. Did Dana kill her friend? Or has she been framed? Can she figure out what happened before she is wrongfully arrested for the crime? Can she trace her own steps? Can she hold on to her sanity long enough to find the truth?

The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford, is a psychological thriller in the vein of The Silent Wife or Dark Rooms. The suspense will keep you guessing until the end, and wading through the main character’s unreliable narrative will leave you dying to find out the solution to the mystery. If you like psychological thrillers, The Pocket Wife is for you.

Crystal Falconer
LibraryCrystal
Book reviewer, Librarian, Tech geek wannabe
Crystal Falconer graduated with her B.A. from Western Oregon University, followed by her M.L.I.S. from University of Denver. She was born in Oregon but currently resides in Colorado with her husband, son and trusty canine counterpart.
Boulder, CO
USA
falconercrew@gmail.com

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

This book will creep you out. I mean seriously. I read Gone Girl a couple years back and when I saw that the movie was coming out this year, I decided to check out what else Gillian Flynn has been up to. Sharp Objects came onto my radar since it was available in audiobook from my library and I was in need of some new listening. So here it is:

Camille Preaker is a journalist who grew up in a small southern town. She is mostly estranged from her family, but her boss sends her home to cover story-girls keep going missing and when the bodies appear, they are missing teeth. Camille will stay with her overbearing, narcissistic mother and horribly spoiled half sister while she talks to community members and the police about the missing/dead girls.

Going home is never as simple as it seems to be, however. Things aren’t quite right in the small town, there are secrets and somehow Camille can’t help but feel they are somehow tied into her own past. And Camille may not be what she originally seemed, either. What is true and what is warped out of focus? Who is telling the truth and who is hiding something? Who would kill a young girl? Multiple young girls?

I like mysteries, and I LOVE unreliable narrators. If you liked The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry, or if you enjoyed Gone Girl as much as I did, let this book leave you sleepless and horrified. I’m pretty tough and I have to say, Gillian Flynn, you really know how to leave readers looking for psychopathic killers around every corner. If you think you can handle it, pick up Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn today.

The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey

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Kate has finally escaped from her miserable life and found the man of her dreams (on the internet, of course), and after a passionate courting, she finds herself married and moving to Iowa to be the lady of his farmhouse. Except when she arrives, she has a rude awakening. Her new husband Joe wasn’t as forthcoming about his living situation as she would have desired. Her marriage is off to a very rocky start, people keep insinuating that her home is haunted, and she is about to learn that the wives of Braxton County face struggles that she never could have imagined, going back generation after generation.

Can Kate solve the mystery of the farmhouse and the murder that once occurred within its walls? Will she face the same fate as the previous owners? Is the family cursed? Can she find her place in Braxton County, or will she be defeated? What secrets are locked away, just out of Kate’s reach?

The Widows of Braxton County, by Jess McConkey, is a novel about old family secrets, the trials of marriage and the complicated relationships between women, and asks a very serious question : Is it possible for a man to avoid becoming his own father, in the end?

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

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Ruby Rousseau dropped out of her all-girls university less than a year ago, and thought she would never have to look back. But one day, a suitcase was delivered to her by mistake-a suitcase belonging to a girl from her old dormitory, Beth Richards. She finds herself pulled into the mystery of a missing person, and forced to deal with the ghosts from her recent past, including a love affair with a Professor that went terribly wrong.

The Butterfly Sister is a mystery novel with a distinctly feminine flair, and for those of you who love literature or poetry, the references to Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Virginia Woolf, and other notable female literary geniuses (who were deeply disturbed) is a refreshing and intellectual pleasure, especially for a mystery novel.

I will confess that I was probably the perfect reader for this novel, being interested in tragic literary figures, feminism, and also being an avid mystery reader. This novel may not be for readers who do not share my interests. But if you do, you do not want to miss The Butterfly Sister, by Amy Gail Hansen.

 

 

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

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Sylvie Mason does not live a normal life. Her parents are in the business of paranormal activity-they offer “Help for the Haunted” to those in need, offering prayer and peace to souls in torment. They call themselves demonologists. This, of course, means that Sylvie has never been able to hold onto friends, and she has a hard time fitting in. Critics constantly attack her and her family wherever they travel, and they travel regularly to do talks about the paranormal at conventions and events. Strange people are always seeking the help of the Masons for loved ones who are “haunted” or “possessed”. Sylvie accepts the life she has been born into, but her sister, Rose, is not only skeptical, but highly rebellious and confrontational. Life is strained in the Mason household, and on a night like many others, the Masons receive a phone call and tell Sylvie she is to load up into the family car, without much explanation. Her parents left that car, but they never returned. When Sylvie wakes up, she finds that her entire world is gone, and the mystery surrounding the deaths of her mother and father hangs over her heavily.

When the man originally cleared for the murder of her parents is suddenly cleared by an alibi, Sylvie goes on a mission to find out what truly happened to her mother and father that night, and what has been kept from her by everyone around her for her entire life. This takes her down a path with a conclusion so shocking, readers will be stunned. If you like the paranormal, you will be enthralled by Help for the Haunted, by John Searles, through to the very last page. Readers who love the mystery of Emily Arsenault (Miss Me When I’m Gone and In Search of the Rose Notes) will also enjoy this wonderfully eerie novel. Top marks from this reviewer.

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

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Flavia De Luce is back in this 5th novel in the Flavia De Luce series, which some of you may know is about a precocious young girl who is in love with crime solving and chemistry, and who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Historians are coming to Bishop’s Lacey to dig up the remains of a Saint who is buried there, and Flavia can’t stay away-of course, the dead body of a church member wasn’t something she was expecting to sight when they opened the tomb. A murderer is at large, quite possibly a church member she sees every sunday, and a stranger has come into town who shares her love of botany and detective work, and somehow knows her father from deep in his murky past.

Who is the killer? Is Bishop’s Lacey safe? Does the murderer have unfinished business? Strange things are happening about town, and strange characters are around every corner. With Flavia on the job, however, things are sure to sort themselves out in the most entertaining way possible.

These Alan Bradley novels are humorous and a little dark, and the cast of characters in the novels is rich and diverse, creating a novel full of entertainment that will entertain mystery-loving anglophiles world-wide. If you have read other novels of the Flavia De Luce series, the 5th installment, Speaking from Among the Bones will not disappoint. If you have not read the novels, you can definitely start them out of order, but I would recommend starting with the first novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and working your way through.

Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs

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Forensic Anthropologist Temperance Brennan is back with the 15th installment in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs, which many of you already know has been in the inspiration for the television series called Bones.

This novel explores Canadian Diamond mining, the underworld of drug dealing and prostitution, and a lineup of dead babies that will leave you in shock and dying to find out what really happened. A simple-minded woman disappears, leaving a dead baby in her apartment, and Temperance and the investigators who make up her usual team have set out to find the woman before the bad guys get to her first…Or perhaps before they realize Temperance is sniffing around and decide to take her out of the equation.

The novels of this series are full of interesting facts and very well-researched, each novel takes Temperance into a new avenue of crime and corruption, bouncing around between Canada and the U.S. and even venturing overseas on occasion. If you like forensic science, you will love this series, and if you have read other novels in the Temperance Brennan series, Bones are Forever will not disappoint.

Sleeping in Eden by Nicole Baart

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The suicide of a local drunk in Blackhawk, Iowa, holds very little suprise for the residents of the town. Doctor Lucas Hudson, a local physician, is called up by the police to fill in as coroner and witnesses a true horror when the body of a possible murder victim is found in the dirt of the barn, underneath the original body. Does the body belong to the missing daughter of the local man, Angela, who disappeared 8 years ago? If so, was she murdered by her own father? If not, who could she be? The missing girl has ties to his wife and he finds himself being pulled into the mystery when he finds a ring at the crime scene and is compelled to find out for himself to whom it belongs. With his marriage in tatters, Dr. Hudson begins an obsession that is very dangerous and holds the potential to solve or ruin his entire life.

Sleeping in Eden, by Nicole Baart,  is very like Miss Me When I’m Gone: a Novel and In Search of the Rose Notes, by Emily Arsenault- Mysterious, unexplained death and an obsession to solve the crime endangering  the hero/heroine who wants to see the investigation to it’s surprising end. Dark secrets are revealed. If you like a good murder mystery, or if you enjoy Arsenault, you will want to buy or download this one and try it out.

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs

Temperance Brennan returns in this forensic anthropology mystery, Flash and Bones. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Kathy Reichs’ work, Flash and Bones is the 14th novel in the Temperance Brennan series, which circles around a Forensic Anthropologist who helps to identify bodies that are damaged beyond recognition or skeletons in the U.S. and in Canada. This series brought about the very popular mystery television series called Bones.

Flash and Bones takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina, during Race Week. A body is found in the local dump, near the race track, and some unsolved mysteries from decades past resurface. It’s up to Tempe to sort through the clues and find an identity for the body, despite the fact that the FBI seems to want her off the case. Some very shady individuals are hanging around the race track lately, and one man claims that his sister who disappeared decades ago was murdered, and it has something to do with the last place she was seen-the track.

Will Tempe solve the murder before the murderer gets his hands on her to keep her quiet? What is the FBI trying to cover up?

True to the author’s usual style, you won’t find out the solution until all of the shady characters and clues have been laid out before you…And a sexy Private Investigator is starting to show some interest in the Forensic Anthropologist too…

If you like murder mysteries and don’t mind reading about them from a Forensic/Medical Examiner kind of vantage (it can be very descriptive), then you will want to check out this series. I suggest you start at the beginning, however, if you want to give them a try. (Otherwise her love life doesn’t make much sense).