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The Lost Girls
by Heather Young
This novel is told through the voices of two women: Justine and Lucy Evans telling of their bloodline connection to a lakeside Minnesota summer vacation home that holds a family mystery. During the summer of 1935, 6-year-old Emily Evans, the youngest of three daughters, vanishes from her parents' remote lake vacation home into the nearby woods. Emily is her parents' favorite and her disappearance devastates her mother so much she vows to spend the rest of her life at the lake house waiting for Emily to return. Now, sixty years later, Lucy, the shy middle daughter has been living in the lake house alone writing stories in a notebook about the summer her sister disappeared. When Justine, Lucy's grandniece, is informed that her great aunt has died and left the lake home and all of her possessions to her, she abandons her unstable life in San Diego, uprooting the lives of her two young daughters and drives cross-country to the remote Minnesota lake country only to find a long-neglected house that reveals a family mystery and holds memories that will affect the current generation. Will we find out what really happened to Emily in this intense novel that builds to a haunting climax? Readers will be swept into The Lost Girls in this multi-layered story that I couldn't put down. I recommend Young's debut novel and look forward to seeing more from her in the future. (William Morrow, $25.99). Reviewed by Carol
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House of Thieves
by Charles Belfoure
This is a story of choices proving there is no honor among thieves...or gentlemen, it seems. The story opens with an explosion and the author's skillful imagination with deft descriptions of characters and settings that will propel the reader through the story from page one to its surprise conclusion. Belfoure, following his recent sensational bestseller, The Paris Architect, again proves himself to be a literary genius. Set in 1886 New York, you will be plunged into the world of high society, Lower East Side crime, survival instincts learned in the slums, and thievery crossing the lines. When architect John Cross is approached by James Kent, the mastermind of a crime organization, his life is upended by a choice only he can make: to save the life of his son who has become indebted to Kent for heavy gambling losses. How does Cross's knowledge about the wealth within high society mansions, museums and banks set off robberies that even the smartest detectives won't be able to solve? The choice Cross makes first results in causing fear, but soon turns to excitement, and then to exhilaration. Meanwhile several family members are leading their own secret lives hidden from their father. Belfoure, himself an architect, is so capable of offering the architectural history and setting of New York during the 1880's which he weaves into his novel, a fictional thriller filled with captivating intrigue. Highly recommended. (Sourcebooks, $15.99). Reviewed by Carol
The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware
32-year-old Lo Blacklock is a journalist for a London travel magazine when she accepts an assignment for a week-long Nordic cruise aboard the Aurora, a small luxury ship with just ten plush cabins occupied by elegant guests and a handpicked crew. The Aurora begins its voyage in the North Sea amid sparkling dinner parties, but as the week wears on, frigid September winds begin to whip the deck and gray skies invade the atmosphere. As Lo's longtime anxiety problems follow her, she now experiences a terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem however is that all passengers and the crew are accounted for. The ship sails on despite Lo's attempts to convey to the captain that something has gone terribly wrong. As Lo digs deeper, she is warned to "stop digging" in spite of evidence that indicates she has stumbled onto a possible murder aboard the ship. Modern twists and turns echo classic Agatha Christie novels as a woman insists a murder has occurred while everyone else says she is crazy. Who is the mysterious woman in Cabin 10 and will Lo put herself in danger as she pushes to find the answer? This intense thriller will grab you from the start and hold you to the final chapters, For readers who enjoyed The Girl on the Train, this is one not to miss! Highly recommended. (Scout Press/Simon & Schuster, $26.00). Reviewed by Carol
by Fiona Barton
Yes, this is a Carol pick, which I listened to on audio. The Help, but focuses on a young Irish girl, taken as an indentured servant when her parents died on the crossing and hadn't yet paid for their passage. Her brother was sold off and the Captain brought Lavinia home to the Kitchen House to live with the slaves and learn to serve. As she grows up she is accepted into the big plantation house to help care for the Captain's opium addicted wife as well as being educated for the time she will become a free person. This was a fascinating look at slavery, class, race and family and Southern plantation life in the 1800's before the Civil War. You really come to care about the characters. Don't miss this one, which is great for book clubs. (Touchstone, $16.00). And Grissom has a sequel, Glory Over Everything, Beyond the Kitchen House. (Simon & Schuster, $25.99), which I haven't had time to read, but am looking forward to the continuing story of these characters and their futures.
Press Start to Play
Edited by Daniel H. Wilson & John Joseph Adams
This short story collection is aimed at gamers and sci-fi fans, but if you enjoyed Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (who does the forward), take a chance and pick this up. There are a lot of sci-fi writers I have wanted to read and this collection has a great sampling of writers: Holly Black, Daniel H Wilson (Robopocalypse), Andy Weir (author of The Martian), TC Boyle and Charles Yu and lots more. There is a wide range of ideas here and many different styles. Check it out! (Vintage, $15.95)