It’s almost time for the best holiday of the year, ie: Halloween, so I think it’s also time for another edition of “Mysteries to Devour” with three new great mysteries that I’ve been reading lately. And by lately, I mean the past few months since PhD-ing and Blogging have gotten in the way of reading. But it’s definitely worth taking a break from whatever is taking up your time and spend a few hours devouring a good book!
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I’ll be honest, I never would have picked up The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone if a very creepy review package hadn’t landed in my mailbox. Seriously–check out how this book arrived. That said, If you are looking for a mix of horror, thriller and science fiction and don’t mind a few spiders, this debut novel with multiple points-of-view may be just what you’re looking for.
In The Hatching, flesh-devouring spiders show up in various places throughout the globe: a jungle in Peru, a car crash in Minneapolis, an isolated region in China. Meanwhile, a professor and spider expert, Dr. Melanie Guyer, in Washington, D.C. just had a package arrive from an archaeological dig in Nazca, Peru. Inside is a an ancient wooden box and egg sac. With an unknown, but possibly ancient, species of spider threatening the world it’s up to Melanie to figure out how to stop them–before they devour everyone.
I’m not scared of spiders but there are definitely some creepy scenes in The Hatching. I did find there were just a few too many perspectives, but I think a lot of that is to emphasize that things are happening on a global scale–and it does leave room for many more storylines in future books, especially if a few characters are, umm, eaten. This is definitely a book that feels movie-ready, and while I enjoyed the thrilling ride I was definitely a bit annoyed by the open-ended ending. I really wanted a few more answers, but I guess those will have to wait for the sequel, Skitter, coming in May 2017.
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One of the mysteries I most enjoyed last year was Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay, and luckily 2016 meant the release of the second book in that series. In Far From True by Linwood Barclay a drive-in movie theatre screen collapses and kills four people in Promise Falls, but that’s only the beginning. Private investigator Cal Weaver is looks into a break-in at one of the victim’s houses, only to discover a hidden basement room with missing DVDs. There’s also two unsolved murders that appear to be connected that Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve.
As I’ve come to expect from Barclay, there are plenty of layers to both the characters and the plotlines in Far From True, with excellent pacing and even better twists. There was a bit more time than I would have liked on a subplot or two I didn’t care quite as much about, but overall it’s extremely well-done. Far From True also strikes a great balance between answering questions from Book 1 in the Promise Falls Trilogy and leaving questions unanswered for the final book, The Twenty-Three, releasing in November. I will definitely be picking up The Twenty-Three and given when I am posting this review, it’s perfect timing for you to grab all three books for a reading marathon!
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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena begins with a dinner party, where one couple, Anne and Marco, leave their baby at home while visiting the neighbours. While at the party, the baby disappears. As Detective Rasbach works to uncover the truth, it soon becomes clear that Anne and Marco are hiding something, but is it too late to find the baby?
If you’re a fan of dark thrillers like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, The Couple Next Door is definitely the kind of book that would interest you and I definitely enjoyed reading it. Lapena’s writing is easy to follow and the pacing of the story is great. If you are easily frustrated by characters making dumb decisions, then this book might make you a bit angsty. I did find it very obvious who the kidnappers were but I was still kept turning the page. My biggest complaint about the novel is the very last “twist” which was definitely not necessary and just felt like overkill. Ultimately, even though it had some issues, based on the first 80% or so of The Couple Next Door, I would still pick up another mystery by Lapena.
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Whether you’re looking for the dark and creepy (The Couple Next Door), or the really dark and creepy (The Hatching) or just a classic, well done mystery (Far From True) there’s something in this trio of mysteries for you to devour. What have you been reading lately? Let me know if you have another good mystery to recommend!