High Tide Club
May 7th, 2018 by diane92345

Romance, history, southern charm, friendships, family and secrets swirl in the High Tide Club.

At 99, Josephine is dying on her half of an island off the coast of Georgia. She calls Brooke, an attorney, to help search for her best friends, Ruth, Millie and Varina, from over 80 years earlier. Josephine had a falling out with her friends but now wants to deed her island home to them or their descendants. She also wants Brooke to stop the state from taking her home under eminent domain.

Brooke is a single mother with a 3-year old son and has a past as a runaway bride. She also has plenty of bills that are barely covered by her one-woman law firm. She needs to keep Josephine as a client despite the ethical issues of one of the friends being her grandmother. To setup the trust for Josephine, Brooke asks her old boss and mentor, Gabe, for help.

Alternating between the 1940s and current day, the reason for the friends’ schism and the disappearance of one’s finance is slowly revealed. The High Tide Club is a perfect beach read: light and frothy with a murderous undertow. It is recommended for both mystery, thriller, historical fiction and especially romantic suspense fans. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers, Romance Tagged with: , ,

Then She Was Gone
April 17th, 2018 by diane92345

Then She Was Gone is recommended to thriller rather than mystery readers. Mothers especially will relate to this moving family story.

Fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack disappears one day. Did she run away or was she kidnapped? Her disappearance tears apart her family. Laurel, Ellie’s mom, has two older children and a husband but she is obsessed with finding Ellie.  Ten years later, Laurel finally meets a man, Floyd, almost as nice as her ex-husband. Floyd has two daughters.  The younger daughter, Poppy, bears an uncanny resemblance to Ellie. Poppy’s mother left Poppy with Floyd one day and was never seen again. When Laurel discovers the identity of Poppy’s mother, the plot really takes off.

While this was a thriller, it was not successful as a mystery.  Almost from the beginning, it was obvious what was going to happen next.  The format of alternating narrators and time periods was used well.  Most of the characters were interesting, if not very likeable or relatable. Some of their actions seemed contrived. However, the gripping plot still resonates long after finishing Then She Was Gone.  Even though I guessed the plot twists, I was still compelled to finish the book as quickly as possible. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Thanks to the publisher, Atria, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

 

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

After Anna
April 13th, 2018 by diane92345

Maggie and Noah were married and happy as they could be
After Anna arrived, chaos occurred as all will agree
Range Rovers, sexual allegations
Inappropriate pics on vacations
Within the court and out, there are two sides to the couple’s tale
Hopefully this one won’t end with Noah locked up in a jail
Ultimately who was Anna’s killer?
To find out read this excellent thriller
#FrugalFriday’s short review is being presented this week
In rhyme for National Poetry Month-I’m just a word geek!
Even if this poem’s gobbledygook,
The author deserves 4 stars for the book!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Last Equation of Isaac Severy
March 6th, 2018 by diane92345

Complex and completely different from other thrillers, the Last Equation of Isaac Severy is highly recommended.

Isaac Severy is a famous mathematician.  Now retired, he is still working on his last equation: how to use chaos theory to predict Los Angeles traffic.  As the book opens, Isaac is preparing a breakfast for two in his home. The next day Isaac is found dead in his hot tub along with a set of live Christmas lights with a single bulb crushed. His death is accepted as a suicide. At his funeral, his adopted granddaughter, Hazel, opens a cryptic note from Isaac mailed the day before his death. Isaac tells Hazel that he is only the first of three people soon to die.  He commands her to destroy the work he left behind in a mysterious room 137 and deliver his last equation to the elusive John Raspanti. Hazel is advised to not involve other members of the family or the police. Isaac states that he selected Hazel for these tasks because she would be the least likely to be suspected. He says that he cannot do the tasks himself because he is being followed.

Isaac’s note leads Hazel on a merry chase through literature, mathematics and physics. Hazel works with various family members while trying to follow the instructions in Isaac’s puzzling letter.  Neither Hazel nor the reader can identify who is a hero and who is a villain.  This book has a multitude of side plots.   What is the elusive and wealthy P. Boone Lyons after?  Why is a physicist who has been dead for sixty years attempting to contact Hazel?

Ostensibly a thriller, the family dynamics are almost more intriguing. Phillip is a tenured physics professor at CalTech.  However, his opportunities of winning a coveted Nobel prize are slipping away and his best years are behind him. Tom is released from a long prison term.  Why was he in prison and how does that relate to Hazel and Gregory’s fear of his release?

Since the family relationships are rather confusing, I created this handy family tree.

Severy_Family_Tree

Since Isaac’s work is with chaos theory, it follows that the reader truly doesn’t understand what is going on until almost the end of the book. It is reminiscent of the movie Chinatown, where there are a multitude of plot layers that don’t cohere until the end. I like that uncertainty but some may not. However, the resolution definitely is worth the wait.

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is a brilliant tour-de-force from a debut author.  It is highly recommended to thriller readers.  It would also appeal to fans of quirky family dynamics like those in movie, The Royal Tenenbaums. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Touchstone Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , , ,

Need to Know
January 25th, 2018 by diane92345

While doing your job as a CIA Analyst, you find something that will rip your family apart. Do you reveal it to your superiors?

Vivian is a counterintelligence agent with the CIA. While employed, she developed a new program to find Russian sleeper cells inside the United States. She is married with a perfect husband and four kids including a set of infant twin boys. Without providing spoilers, Vivian discovers something that may rip her family apart.  Even with confirmation, she decides to approach the problem from a unique angle leading to a twist-filled tale of conflicting loyalties.

The author was formally a CIA Analyst so she knows of what she writes. To be honest, that is actually scary since the security at the CIA seems remarkably lax.

Need to Know is an enjoyable fast-moving read.  The best part is the fantastically unexpected ending. It has been optioned to be a movie with Charlize Theron. I can’t wait! 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for the review copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , , ,