Dec 31, 2021

Book Review: The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

The Long Weekend 
by Gilly Macmillan is to be published March 29, 2022 by Century. 

This thriller/mystery/suspense novel has a setting that so many other mysteries have adopted. An isolated place where people go for a quick trip or vacation; their lives then upended and threatened, where they can't trust each other. In this book, the Dark Fell Barn in the wilds of northern England in the middle of a heavy rain storm, is the perfect setting for fear, paranoia, and the sense of danger.

Three women arrive at the Barn for a long weekend getaway, and wait for their husbands to arrive the next day. But the husbands are threatened in a mysterious letter that waits for the women at the Barn. They are told that one of the men would be killed before they can arrive.

The women panic, suspect each other of harboring secrets, and flail around in the barn and outdoors in the storm, without access to wifi or cell phone connection, or an easy way to leave in the storm. 

Makes for a perfect situation for a mystery.  

What makes the suspense: 

A writer can also throw in personal failings, such as health, physical or mental, to gum up the works and prevent smooth sailing for the characters in the book. 

In The Long Weekend, you can find creeping dementia, alcoholism, dyslexia, dissasociative mental disorder sprinkled among the main characters, and of course, psychosis in the killer.  Add all these together in a mix, and there is a pot of suspense boiling for the reader. 

Other thrillers: 

I am finding that mystery writers are becoming more adventurous and creative about throwing people into situations and creating personalities that are out of the norm, to foster suspense in their books. But you can ask, what is out of the norm these days? 

I gave the thriller five stars, just for doing all the above reasonably well. 

Dec 26, 2021

Sunday Salon: Au Soleil Redoute by Michel Bussi

 Reading books in French: 

I've cleared my ereader of tons of books borrowed, but am buying new ebooks to keep. One is by a favorite French author, Michel Bussi, whose series of thrillers take place in Normandy and all the exotic places overseas that are overseen by the French Republic. 

In Au Soleil Redoute we go to Hiva-Oa, the largest island in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia, where French painter Paul Gaugain and singer-song writer Jacques Brel both lived and died. 

In the story, five would-be writers, all female, are chosen to attend a writer's retreat in Hiva-Oa, a small, isolated, but beautiful island. Each of the five women have their own cabins at the island hotel chosen for the event. However, a la Agatha Christie, the writers begin to be methodically picked off, by an unknown murderer or murderers. First, the leader of the retreat, a well known but controversial author, mysteriously disappears, and then the writers' begin to be killed. 

Young Maima, daughter of one of the writers, teams up with Yanna, a former policeman and husband of another of the writers, to investigate on their own, dangerous as that may be, and protect their family member. 

The unique culture, geography, and atmosphere of Hiva-Oa form the background of the novel, and Marqeusian traditional beliefs and religion form contribute much to the mystery and intrigue of the book.

 A well devised plot, original and diverse characters, and superb story telling made this one of the best in the author's series, in my opinion. It was published in 2020. 

Newly arrived book: 
Venice Beach 
by William Mark Habeeb, was released August 17, 2021, published by Rootstock Publishing. Courtesy of Wiley Sachek Publicity.

"Venice Beach" is a moving tale of the resilience of youth and the importance of reflecting on our stories (publisher). 

A 13-year-old boy without a name travels cross country to Los Angeles, and finds himself in Venice Beach, at a shelter for runaway and homeless youth. The story unfolds of his finding a life for himself. I'm on page 34 and eating it up so far. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday Salon   

Dec 12, 2021

Sunday Salon: Murders and a Saint

 Currently reading: 

Murder at the Porte de Versailles by Cara Black, March 1, 2022, Soho Crime, ARC. The 20th in the Aimee Leduc Investigations series set in Paris. 

A Saint from Texas by Edmund White, August 6, 2020, Bloomsbury. Acquired.

Identical twin sisters born in Texas: one becomes famous in Parisian society and the other approaches sainthood in the Catholic Church. 

Finished reading:

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny, August 24, 2021, Minotaur. The 14th in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series set in Quebec.

My comments: 

A police procedural and investigation par excellence.

 The time is contemporary, post-pandemic, and the plot revolves around a proposal by a well known statistician to force euthanasia on all of society's elderly, sick, and disabled. 

But is the violent murder of a woman in the small village of Three Pines a case of mistaken identity and was the controversial statistician the real target? 

The book has us guessing and being convinced of one or another of at least four different suspects before the reader is led away in another direction, in each case.

Well crafted plot and writing, this novel is filled with thought provoking questions on the value of family life and of human life in all its forms and stages.  I thought this to be one of the best, if not the best book in the series. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday Salon   

Dec 5, 2021

Sunday Salon: A Cozy Mystery Christmas

 Holiday and Christmas mysteries anyone? 

Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women by Emily Brightwell, October 17, 2017, courtesy of Berkley.

A man is shot under cover of fireworks at a Guy Fawkes party. With Christmas almost here, Inspector Witherspoon and everyone in his household is upset at the possibility of having to cancel their holiday plans—all to solve a case that seems impossible. (publisher)

Trimmed With Murder: A Seaside Knitters Mystery #10 by Sally Goldenbaum, published November 3, 2015 by NAL

Wreck the Halls: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves, October 2002, Bantam 
Who can get anything done during the holidays, when there's a killer on the loose? And in someone's house!

What holiday books are you planning to read?

New arrival:

Murder at the Port de Versailles by Cara Black, March 1, 2022, Soho Crime, ARC

I've been following Aimee and her investigations in Paris since the start of the mystery series. This is her most recent. 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday Salon   

Travel Can Be Fun or Not: Sunday Salon

Books read and to-be-read The Trip by Phoebe Morgan, May 25, 2024; HQ, NetGalley Genre: mystery, adventure, travel fiction, adult fiction B...