The Lake House by Kate Morton

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One little boy disappears in the night. The family is devastated. Alice Edevane is a budding teenager with a flair for mystery fiction writing and she’s concocted the perfect crime. When it appears to have come to fruition in real life and the gardener has gone missing, the weight of what she might have put into motion weighs heavily on her for the rest of her life.

Decades later, a young London detective named Sadie Sparrow is taking some time off after she makes a terrible career mistake. She heads to Cornwall and the mystery of the disappearance of the little boy calls to her, piquing her curiosity and prompting her to fill the long days with investigation into what might have truly happened. Two plucky heroines meet in a crossing of paths as they find they both have an interest in whatever happened to the Edevane baby that night at the Lake House party…And the plethora of family secrets held in the walls of the estate are more than anyone could have ever expected from the private, respected family.

The Lake House, by Kate Morton, does not disappoint. I waited years for the release of the author’s most recent novel and as always, I adored the novel. Kate Morton is a genius in all things secretive and long buried, and she crosses time periods so perfectly so the past has no choice but to slowly resurface, creating perfect page-turning intrigue that will leave you reading deep into the night. If you read The Forgotten Garden, The Secret Keeper, The House at Riverton, or The Distant Hours (or in my case, all of the above), you will not want to miss The Lake House. Kate Morton takes long-buried secrets and mysteries to the deepest, and most intricate levels, leaving readers feeling drained and bereft by the end of her novels…And craving more.

If you are a regular follower on my site you probably already expected me to adore The Lake House. If you have the time and energy for a book that will rob you of all your reserves, you will want to pick up The Lake House today. If you don’t…. Too bad for you.

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.

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 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.

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

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Decades ago, terrible things happened in Sadie’s hometown. Two little girls, both at separate times, disappeared, rumored to have wandered into the woods and never returned. These disappearances weighed over the town, ever-present in the parts of the mind where fear resides. The mysteries were never solved. But Sadie may know more about one girl’s disappearance than she lets on.

A mother of two who recently miscarried, Sadie is looking for distraction and struggling with her own demons. Fighting her entire life not to become her mother, she is beginning to find herself walking down that very inescapable path. But she wants more for her children and for herself than the rollercoaster of her own childhood. When a neighborhood boy she once knew comes back to her neighborhood upon his father’s death to clear out the house of its mess, and quite possibly, its secrets, Sadie must face the truth about what happened in her quiet little town all those years ago-with her mother, with the disappearances, with her own dark, hidden secrets.

Will the secrets finally be brought into the open for once and for all? Will Sadie win the battle and gain control over her life? Will she take responsibility for what she did all those years ago?

The Longings of Wayward Girls, by Karen Brown, has melancholy moments, but it is an interesting mystery and emotional journey for anyone who enjoys that sort of literature.

The Mourning House by Ronald Malfi

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Is the house haunted, or is Dr. Sam Hatch haunted by his past?

He has just lost everything dear to him. His wife and baby are killed in an accident and everything is crumbling around him. Nothing is important anymore. Nothing matters. He walks out of his house, climbs into his car, and begins to drive…Away from his life, away from himself. An old, rundown house in a town where he knows no one beckons to him. He decides to buy it and fix it up…

But things are happening in the house. His things are moving around, disappearing and re-appearing in new places. He hears phantom noises, and as he renovates rooms, he is finding reminders of his old life under the floorboards, in the ceilings, in the closets… Is he losing his mind? Is the house trying to tell him something? If so, what does it mean to communicate? Dr. Hatch is trying to follow the horrific clues, but his sanity seems to be slipping away with each little discovery.

How will the story conclude? If you like haunted house stories like The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Hell House by Richard Matheson, The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom, you will enjoy The Mourning House, by Ronald Malfi, which is creepy and leaves the reader guessing until the end.

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.

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Boreal Dreams by Peter Anthony Blush

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Set in the wilderness of Vermont, Sheriff Ray Lackner has been noticing some very strange happenings. People have disappeared, folks have reported mysterious sightings of wild dogs and a Native American man out in the wilderness, his wife has been acting strange lately, and what first appeared to be a snowmobile accident has actually turned out to be a murder in the middle of a blizzard. Ray and his deputy are set on figuring out just what the hell is happening in the quiet town they call home.

When a corporate cover-up with serious environmental and health implications may somehow be involved in the series of events to follow, which include several deaths and attacks, some involving arrows, and the people of the town are happy to blame Native American gang activity for the crimes around the town, it’s time for the slightly corrupt but truth-seeking Sheriff to pull out the “big guns” and put his life on the line. Luckily a “detective” from Montreal shows up and gives him some much-needed information-but what is his angle, and is he who he says he is? Is he playing the good Sheriff to benefit himself somehow?

This is a novel about the secrets we keep, the violence we are capable of, murder, justice (both legal and otherwise), superstition, the things we know and the things we would prefer NOT to know, and the complexity of human relationships.  But to those of you who need a genre category, I would call it a Crime Thriller. Unlike many Crime Thrillers that are out there, this one takes place out in the country, where there really is NO ONE to hear you scream…

If you like Kathy Reichs novels, I think that you should give Peter Anthony Blush a try. The characters are rich and flawed, and you won’t be able to put the book down. I would love to see this one become a movie, and I don’t say that often. Boreal Dreams is available on amazon.com. Check it out!

Pick it up on Amazon.com today!

Miss Me When I’m Gone by Emily Arsenault

Jamie is shocked to learn that her best friend, Gretchen Waters, has died in a fall, but she is even more shocked to learn that Gretchen’s family would like her to put together the pieces of the dead girl’s manuscript so that the book that she was working on when she died could be published post-humously.

When Jamie learns that foul play is suspected in her friend’s death, and she finds out that her best friend was not researching old time country singers, but that she was actually trying to find out the truth about what happened to her mother, who was murdered when she was seven years old, and she may have even discovered who her father might have been…And somewhere in that search, she had likely tipped off someone who wanted very badly for those secrets to stay buried forever.

Strange things start happening around Jamie, making her think that someone wants the manuscript from Jamie  VERY BADLY. Despite the threat to her life and that of her unborn baby, Jamie decides to push forward and get Gretchen the justice that she deserved…But can she discover the truth before something terrible happens?

Emily Arsenault is one of the very best mystery authors I’ve ever written. I was introduced to her when I reviewed “In Search of the Rose Notes“, and “Miss Me When I’m Gone” is just as riveting, in fact, I stayed up deep into the night because I just couldn’t put the book down. You are addicted to the books from the beginning and after you finish the book, you sit there in awe and relay the entire book in your head one more time to see how the pieces fit together.

You will like Emily Arsenault if you liked Katherine Webb’s “The Unseen” or Brunonia Barry’s “The Lace Reader”. They are suspense/mysteries that you won’t want to put down, even to sleep. So don’t miss “Miss Me When I’m Gone” if you love mysteries. It’s a must-read.