The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Young Archivist Elodie Winslow has stumbled upon a satchel containing a photograph of a bewitching young Victorian woman, and a drawing of a gabled house that looks shockingly familiar to her. Her mother, who died tragically in a car accident many years prior, used to tell her a fairy tale which centered around a house that bears an uncanny resemblance to the drawing. In fact, Elodie is certain that the house is the SAME house that her mother detailed to her in her story. She sets out to find out the truth about the Artist and how the house connects to her own mother.

A century and a half earlier, a group of artists shared a house on the river, and one fateful weekend there is a tragic death, a disappearance, and a priceless missing family heirloom. The police wrap up the story in a tidy little box, but those who were the most intimately involved were never satisfied with the conclusions drawn. The mystery was never solved.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter, by Kate Morton, is another example of her detailed and rich story creations. The author has intrigued readers with The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, The House at Riverton, The Secret Keeper, and The Lake House. Readers who love Kate Morton will not be disappointed in her latest work. If you haven’t read Kate Morton, her novels are epic and drawn out, rich in secrets and intrigue. She is not a quick beach read, but a commitment and a long journey you never regret.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

After Sarah’s mother passed away, she struggled to recover and her family was suffering. Her son was evasive and barely spoke, shutting everyone out of his life. Her daughter was defiant and disrespectful, a typical teenage girl but so very angry. Only Sarah’s marriage seemed strong enough to weather the storm…Until her husband declared that he wanted to buy his childhood home at the seaside, where they could all have a fresh start together and the idyllic childhood he always wanted for his children.

The plan would all sound so very lovely if Sarah didn’t know the truth. That idyllic childhood home was the scene of multiple murders. Nearly an entire family stabbed to death. No one had lived there since the incident and it had been waiting in disrepair, dilapidated and neglected for a decade. Sarah tried to resist, but she found herself too weak against the demands of her husband and his enthusiasm for their new life.

Immediately upon their arrival, Sarah begins to wonder if moving into the Murder House was a terrible, terrible idea. The house seems to whisper with the wind, and there are cold spots that make her skin crawl. The children are irritable and surly about the move, and Patrick has been acting strange ever since they moved in. An anger simmers in her husband that she never witnessed before, and the people in the town keep making comments which make Sarah wonder if her husband’s pleasant childhood memories were anything close to the truth. Figures can be seen staring up at the house at all hours of the day, hidden in the shadows and fog at night.

The Woman in the Dark is a psychological thriller which leaves you guessing until the very end. What secrets is Patrick hiding about his life in that house? What does he know about the murders which he is not revealing? Can Sarah save herself and her children from whatever evil resides in the bones of that creaking, moaning old house?

 

The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell

 

Two women from very different worlds meet up in the most unlikely place…Oakgate Prison’s female ward. Ruth is a teenage girl with a tragic history who was thrown into unimaginable treatment at the hands of her mistress before the woman died and Ruth was locked behind bars for her murder. Dorothea Truelove is a lady of society who has an obsession with the macabre which mystifies everyone around her. The interests of the latter bring her to Oakgate Prison, where she visits the prisoners regularly and provides charitable donations to their needs.

Dorothea’s prison visits serve as an escape for her from the trappings of marriage which her father has set for her…Somehow, with Ruth, however, Dorothea finds herself more than just distracted. Ruth’s tale is so heartbreaking and surreal that she’s sure it cannot be true…. Could a simple needle and thread bring forth the curse of death? What could possibly have happened to a teenage girl to make her end her mistress’s life with poison?

As Dorothea’s curiosity mounts, and the hangman’s noose approaches, she decides to do some investigating of her own into Ruth’s sad story. Will she be able to bring the truth forward in time to save the girl? Will she have time to save herself, once she learns the horrible truth about her own life and the death of her own mother?

Two stories cross paths in a tale that is gothic and dark, dancing the line between horror and mystery. What is real? What is coming from the imagination of a very disturbed teenage girl? Dorothea will find out for herself.

The Poison Thread, by Laura Purcell, is not a cozy mystery. If you enjoy darker, more intense psychological thrillers, then this story is for you. Fair warning, however…Once you start this novel, you won’t want to put it down!

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Nine friends book a hunting lodge in Scotland to celebrate New Years Eve and one of them turns up dead… Could it be another strike for a notorious serial killer in the region? The gamekeeper with his dark past? Or perhaps the foreign strangers with their gruff mannerisms and suspicious motives?

The guests of the lodge are about to learn just how little they know about one another. Jealousy, spite, unspoken crimes, torrid affairs….Secrets abound, but who had  motive to kill?

Some people seem to have it all… But underneath the shiny exteriors are realities that even long lasting friends don’t see until the truth is dragged to the surface.

If you enjoy mystery novels of the “Whodunit” style-and you are looking for a new author-The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley, will not disappoint. Be sure to put on one order today!

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel loves to ride the commuter train into the city each day. She loves to look out the windows and see the backyards of the houses which back up to the tracks. She makes up stories about the people who live in the homes, especially the young married couple in one home in particular…so in love, so beautiful, so “together”… Not like her, and her messy life.

But one day Rachel is looking out the window and she sees the lovely blond woman kiss another man in the backyard-a man who isn’t her husband. The next day, the woman is in the news. She has gone missing. Rachel tries to tell the police she saw the woman with another man, but they don’t believe her. They think she’s just a bored, sick woman who wants attention. But Rachel can’t let go. She knows something terrible has happened to the woman and she sets out to find out what happened that night…Because Rachel was in the neighborhood that night, but she can’t remember what happened. She was inebriated and only remembers patched, blotchy memories. Did she see the missing woman that night? Or is she losing her mind?

Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, is a psychological thriller set in England, in the vein of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Everything She Forgot (Lisa Ballantyne), The Lace Reader (Brunonia Barry), and You Should Have Known (Jean Hanff Korelitz).

If you love edge-of-your-seat reads with unreliable narrators (I sure do) then Girl on the Train should absolutely be on your t0-read list.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

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The Flavia de Luce series is a special favorite of mine. If you love cheeky british heroines and a good murder mystery, you don’t want to miss it. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley, is the 6th novel in the series, which started with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

In the 6th installment, Flavia has been sent to some kind of mysterious finishing school in Canada, Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, where her deceased mother Harriet went to school. The first night, unfortunately, a singed body falls out of the chimney like a blackened mummy, right onto the floor of her bedroom-and no one wants to talk about what might have befallen the poor victim-or who it might be. Something is very suspicious right away, her chaperones to the school are very strange and she can’t make heads or tails of the cryptic messages she keeps getting from her teachers and fellow students. Is there a conspiracy in effect? Who is in on the secret? Who can she trust? What will happen if she asks the wrong person the wrong question?

Our cheeky little heroine isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, however…She’s determined to shake out the truth no matter what danger befalls her in the process.

This series is a top recommendation from me to you…Don’t miss it! And if you do audiobooks, the audiobook for this series is perfectly narrated and very enjoyable. No excuses, start this series!

The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters

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Ivy Rowan wakes up one day after being struck with Influenza. An epidemic has taken over the town and before she got sick, her father and brother had committed a terrible crime. Deep in her gut, something is telling her that it’s time for her to leave home and go out on her own in life.

Out in town, everything is in turmoil. In addition to the epidemic, soldiers are being sent to fight in the Great War overseas, dying in battle, coming back wounded, leaving behind widows and wives to fend for themselves. Ivy finds a place to board in town and seeks out a German man who was wronged by her family members-she wants, more than anything, to help him in some way.

Ivy finds herself confused, nothing is as it should be, the world is such an ugly place and she wants desperately to find beauty and warmth in it. She wants desperately to make a difference in someone’s life…But there is one terrible hitch-women in her family have always had a “gift” of seeing spirits after they have passed, right before something terrible happens to someone close to them….And she keeps seeing the spirits of the departed all around her.

What are the spirits trying to tell her? Is someone close to her in danger? Can she help enough to make a difference to someone? Can she form a connection with the German man that will give him comfort in his time of misery?

The Uninvited, by Cat Winters, is a psychological thriller sprinkled with ghosts and set in the time of the Great War. A combination of so many genres makes for an addicting and intriguing read. If you don’t like “ghost stories”, I would steer clear of this one, but if you can handle a touch of the supernatural in your reading, The Uninvited is very strange and interesting. If you like books that twist your perception and reality, The Uninvited is for you!

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah

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Nicki Clements is a housewife with a lot of secrets. When she isn’t buzzing her kids around and running errands, she likes to have a secret life…It seems harmless at first, but when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder investigation, she realizes that she may be in much more trouble than she ever imagined. But how could her innocent cyber activities have caused a murder? And how did it relate to her?

The police have more than enough suspects-the crowd of enemies surrounding Damon Blundy, the murder victim, was vast and full of colorful and eccentric personalities. Nicki may not be the only person of interest, but the way the murder took place, its odd details planned out perfectly…Something is nagging at the back of Nicki’s mind…Something oddly familiar. She can’t tell the police everything, for risk of exposure, but she knows she must try to find out the truth, and how it might be connected to her.

Woman with a Secret, by Sophie Hannah, is a psychological thriller from the Spilling CID series-but I’ve never read the series before this book and I felt like I was reading a stand-alone novel the whole time. I may try to hunt down some more of the series, because this was a page-turner! I read it every chance I got because I couldn’t wait to see what Nicki Clements has been up to that could land her in so much trouble.

If you like psychological thrillers, Woman with a  Secret is impeccable! Get it today!

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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Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

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The setting is a New England prep school. Everything seems squeaky clean and controlled from the outside…But there are too many secrets. One night, the unimaginable occurs. Sixteen-year-old Nica Baker is killed, her body found in the nearby cemetery. What reason would anyone have to kill a rebellious teenage girl? Her sister, Grace is determined to find out what happened to her sister, determined to find closure so she can fight her own demons.

The sleepy little prep school is hiding some very toxic secrets, ranging from drugs to sex scandals, possibly even leading to murder and suicide. Can Grace sort out who is responsible for the death of her sister? Can she sift through the unimaginable sordid details and find a common vein? Is the killer still out there? Are her own parents somehow involved?

Dark Rooms, by Lili Anolik, will appeal to readers in the Gillian Flynn genres (Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Gone Girl). Definitely for adults only, definitely dark and heavy suspense, uprooting the most miserable aspects of human nature and revealing all that people try to hide from the world. This suspense novel is a top pick for 2015, so if you are in the mood for creepy, thrilling suspense, order Dark Rooms today. If you are sensitive and prefer more “cozy” mysteries, steer clear.