Month: May 2013

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

sharp

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Camille Preaker is a Chicago reporter who has been assigned to cover the disappearance and murder of two little girls in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. Camille’s past was troubling and traumatic enough that she has not talked to her mother or half sister in almost eight years, and has not returned to Wind Gap since she left for Chicago.  Instead of merely reporting the story, Camille finds herself digging deeper into the secrets of the small town while trying to solve it, and while also confronting her past.

This novel is deeply dark and disturbing.  At first I didn’t care for Camille, but then as the story unfolds and I learned more about her, I understood her personality and flaws.  Her childhood was destructive, and apparently all those years away has not tempered her mother’s personality and attitude.

Gillian Flynn is clearly a talented writer.  I thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl, well, all but the last 10 pages or so. Flynn’s novels are not lengthy, but she knows how to pack a punch and deliver a story like few other authors.  I do love the fact that Flynn’s female characters are atypical- they are manipulative, deceitful, charming, sweet, and flawed.  That being said, I wish there was more background into Preaker’s hospital stay.  Her backstory seemed a bit choppy, which made her seem relatable some of the times, and absolutely infuriating at other times.

Book Review: Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer

best kept

 

Rating: 4 / 5

Best Kept Secret opens with the ruling on whether Harry or Giles will inherit the Barrington title and property.  Lord Chancellor has decided to the liking of both Giles and Harry, for Giles will inherit the land and title, and Harry is free to marry Emma Barrington.  Harry has pursued a career as an author and together with Emma, they have adopted Jessica, Emma’s half sister.  Giles has taken the political career track.

All is not well, however, with the recurrence of Alex Fisher, a bully and arch nemesis to both Harry and Giles.  Also in this installment is the introduction of Virginia Fenwick, a socialite hellbent on marrying into the Barrington fortune. Best Kept Secret also delves into the life of Emma and Harry’s son, Sebastian Clifton.  While I thought the Clifton Chronicles were supposed to be a trilogy and this the last of them, the ending makes me think Archer will continue this series, which has me excited.
I’ve loved all of Archer’s previous works.  His work is not high-brow, but his stories are warm, rich, and intensely engaging.  He’s a master storyteller, and I truly hope this is not the last of the Cliftons and Barringtons.

Book Review: Broken Harbor by Tana French

broken harbor

Rating: 4 / 5

Brianstown was billed as the perfect new neighborhood for families even though it was in a remote location.  Jenny and Pat Spain bought that spiel, and with their two young children, moved into one the houses.  When Pat and their two children are found murdered, and Jenny wounded and in a coma, Murder Detective Mick Kennedy and his new partner, Richie Curran, are tasked with finding the murderer. When Kennedy inspects the house, he finds holes in the walls with baby monitors nearby and cameras tilted towards the attic. Not only does Kennedy have to deal with this triple murder, but back in the day, Brianstown was known as Broken Harbor, which hold deep tragic memories for him. (more…)

Book Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

storyteller

Rating: 5 / 5

Sage Singer is a professed loner.  She is a baker at Our Daily Bread, working when the bakery is closed, in the middle of the night.  After an accident a few years ago which left a conspicuous scar on her face, Sage has been surrounded by loneliness and grief.  One day Josef Weber walks into her bakery after seeing her at the grief group they both attend.  A friendship is struck, but one based on the fact that Josef has wanted to atone for sins committed decades ago, and not being able to, he wants Sage to help him die.  Josef claims to have been a Nazi SS guard and sent many men, women, and children to their deaths.  Somehow, he has escaped death numerous times, and now wants Sage’s assistance.  Besides the moral complications with fulfilling this request, Sage’s grandmother is a concentration camp survivor. (more…)

Book Review: The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

Signal

Rating: 4 / 5

Nate Silver, for those (like me) who only pay attention to politics when the presidential election is rolling around, shot to fame when he correctly predicted the results of the latest U.S. presidential election.  In The Signal and the Noise, Silver explains the world of probability, and why some predictions are spot on, while others are completely off base.  Although Silver is probably best known in the political realm, in his book, he interviews people in a variety of fields to give the reader a broad understanding of forecasting, probability, and uncertainty.   (more…)