I’ve been reading and not blogging due to a wide variety of … reasons? excuses? At any rate, some of my long-time favorites have new books out. Therefore, this set of three short reviews!
Harlen Coben’s up to 30 books, both series and standalone, and I’ve been reading him since his Myron Bolitar days. (I like humor, and snark as well.) Don’t Let Go features New Jersey detective Nap Dumas, whose personal life has been pretty much in a holding pattern since his senior year in high school. That’s when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were killed on the train tracks outside of town, and Nap’s girlfriend, Maura, disappeared from his life. Now, Maura’s fingerprints show up at a murder scene – is she back? And the person murdered is a cop, a high school friend. What the heck happened? And does it connect back to that senior-year mystery? No surprise, it does. What happened, why, and who was involved all becomes clear, and the “who” is a special twist. Coben is a reliably good read and this outing lives up to that reputation.
Also back is Kathy Reichs with Two Nights. She writes the popular Temperance Brennan books, but this one features Sunday Night, a kick-ass but haunted investigator. Sunnie’s been hired to find the four people who set off a bomb outside a school, killing kids and adults. There’s also the matter of Stella, a teenager who went missing at the bomb scene. Sunnie has reasons of her own to want to rescue Stella, and her dogged pursuit of the home-grown terrorists pays off in a surprising twist. Reichs keeps the suspense up with a parallel plot from another perspective, a young girl caught in a web of intrigue – will she free herself and her friend? If you like a female protagonist with an edge, you’ll like Sunnie.
Finally, Anne Perry is back on the mystery scene with An Echo of Murder, of her William Monk/Hester Latterly series. This is one of the most engaging historical series out there. There is a compelling backstory for each of these two protagonists, great character development, and an intricate whodunnit to solve. This time around, Perry demonstrates how the fear of outsiders – in this case, Hungarian emigres in Victorian London – can lead to suspicion an violence. There are a series of murders, and solving them is extra twisty, since Monk is convinced that there is a copycat at work. As is often the case, the solution comes down to motive. A very engaging read, although if you’re like me, you will be disappointed in the dramatic, but easy “out” at the end.