Thursday, August 29, 2019

#49: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

A down-on-her-luck tarot card reader gets a mysterious letter proclaiming a lost inheritance, and ends up in the middle of decades-old family secrets, in Ruth Ware's The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

Ware's novel is a straight-up, reverent (but contemporary) take on the old-fashioned gothic, with a rotting old house, a menacing housekeeper, and a cold attic bedroom (with mysterious bars on the window, naturally), among other standards of the genre.

Even though I started piecing it together about halfway through, the storytelling is engaging throughout, and never takes its foot off the accelerator.

I enjoyed the audiobook reading by Imogen Church, which added value.  I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

#48: Cherokee Lighthorse by Gary McCarthy

After a brush with renegade Confederates, a family escapes from the Civil War with a handful of prize horses and heads west; but problems continue to dog them in Cherokee Lighthorse by Gary McCarthy.

Cherokee Lighthorse is the second in a series called The Horsemen, and is a solidly plotted contemporary western.  The element of raising thoroughbred horses, and a high-stakes horse race that takes place at the story's climax, add interest.

The one thing that took me out of the action a bit was the very poor editing, including characters that went from holding a cigar to a pipe, or even changed names, from paragraph to paragraph, shockingly bad for a mainstream publisher.

This is the first novel I have read from McCarthy, and it seems as if he has been prolific in western writing on a variety of more interesting subjects.  I would look for more from McCarthy.

I checked this out from the Parker City Public Library in Parker City, Indiana and read it quickly.

Friday, August 9, 2019

#47: Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon

In Harlem, a teenager goes to prison for killing his father, but keeps up with his high school girlfriend over the course of years, in Kalisha Buckhanon's epistolary novel Upstate.

Engaging storytelling really floats a lesser-seen literary style, which frames the proceedings in the form of letters.  We see the two main characters grow from unpolished high school students to wiser adults, with compelling twists and turns throughout.

I listened to this novel on audiobook (on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana), and the work was absolutely elevated by high-level performances by Chadwick Boseman and Heather Simms.

I thought this was a really good coming-of-age story, presented in a unique fashion.  Worthwhile novel from Kalisha Buckhanon.

Friday, August 2, 2019

#46: Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

A Minnesota TV reporter is gifted an unsolved murder case by a retired police detective, and in the middle of a ratings war finds the case suddenly heating up, in Julie Kramer's Stalking Susan.

This storytelling is smart and snappy, with believable characters, and a two-pronged mystery--the unsolved murder case, which ends up being tied to others featuring victims named Susan, and what at first seems like a throwaway story about an unscrupulous vet.

I worked in television and television news for a while, starting in Wisconsin, and found a lot of the elements rang true.  A protagonist with an interesting backstory was also welcome.

This is the first in a series from Kramer, and I would be interested in the next one.  I borrowed this in a good audiobook version from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana.