Tag Archives: mystery

Into the Water. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

In case you’ve been living in a cave with no access to electricity or social media, you have probably seen all the promotions about Paula Hawkins newest release, Into the Water. But does it live up to the hype? After listening to her first novel The Girl on the Train (read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher), which I really liked, I was very excited to read her second novel.

Into the Water is read by Laura Aikman, Rachel Bavidge, Sophie Aldred, Daniel Weyman, and Imogen Church, a rather lengthy cast, as there are quite a few characters who make this book twist and turn and throw you for loop after loop. While it started a bit slowly, it did pick up the pace and there were a couple of turns I truly did not see coming. And then I listened to the ending three times because I just absolutely could not believe what I was hearing!

Into the Water. A Propensity to Discuss review.

For over 300 years the Drowning Pool has claimed many lives of Beckford women, whether they were accused a witchcraft and sorcery, adultery or to leave the world of their own accord, and Nel Abott has researched them all for the book she plans to publish.

When Nel dies falling into the “Drowning Pool” that has fascinated her all of her life, her sister must return to the town she ran from so many years before and swore she would never again set foot. This suicide, only months after a teen girl’s suicide at the same place leaves many in the town worried and many quite satisfied. Nel’s daughter knows it was suicide, but her long-lost sister stands at odds against the 16-year-old niece she has never met and swears that Nel had to have been pushed.

This book has quite a few negative feedbacks online. However, the audio version of this book has more positive responses than negative. I find this very interesting because I also listened to The Girl on the Train and loved it, but the people I knew who read the book didn’t like it. I actually have 2 friends who didn’t like The Girl on the Train book but listened to the audio and really liked it. So my suggestion here would be to start reading them and if you don’t like them, then listen to both of them. I really think it makes all the difference!

I highly recommend this book in audio form.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

 

A Madness So Discreet. A Propensity to Discuss review.

A Madness So Discreet

Perfectly sane, Grace Mae leaves behind the life of a wealthy socialite and enters a horror filled existence when she is banished to an insane asylum for a reason thoroughly out of her control. Feeling that she has nothing to live for and certainly nothing to offer, she closes herself and her voice off from those around her.

When she is pushed beyond the limit of what she can withstand, she strikes out and is sent to the dungeon where she meets someone who changes the course of her life forever. Enter a very forward-thinking doctor who uses the clues left behind at the scenes of murder victims to identify their killers. Grace, in her new-found life, the doctor believes, can help him.

From the first few pages of A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, I was completely mesmerized. I hated to put it down and when I had to, I could hardly wait to pick it up again. McGinnis did a remarkable job developing the characters for this story, as well as giving them social and moral dilemmas that show how they react to working for the right reasons, even if they may be morally or ethically questionable.

Add the rich history of the ethics, or lack thereof, in asylums in the late 1800s and you have a story that vividly brings to light what fate those with mental illnesses, those who were easily disposed of by their wealthy families, and those who were chronically ill had to face.  Throw in the beginnings of forensic science and several main characters that you come to know and love and you have one really great book on your hands.

This is an unputdownable, must read!

If you are interested in the audio version of A Madness so Discreet performed by Brittany Pressley, I do recommend this as well. I both listened and read because I did not want to be away from Grace for long periods of time!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products! 

 

 

Not a story I would advise you to visit.

Summit Lake (Charlie Donlea) is a very small, close-knit town of full-time and part-time residents and tourists. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows everyone else and no one’s business is safe from the local gossip mongers.

So when a part-time resident, Becca Eckersley is savagely murdered in her family’s cabin, the entire town is up in arms to find out who killed her and why.

Not a story I would advise you to visit. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When Kelsey Castle returns to work as a crime magazine reporter after a month-long recuperation from a brutal attack, her boss and mentor sends her to Summit Lake for more rest and relaxation and to write a story on the murder. Makes sense, right? She’s trying to get over being raped and beaten, so send her to investigate a case where someone was raped, beaten and died.

She arrives to find that Becca’s family is doing everything they can to cover up some secret, including shutting out the local sheriff and calling in the State Police. Kelsey sets up an appointment with the Sheriff who gives her all of the notes that he and his team have on the case. Just like that. She asks; he gives. That happens, right?

In the meantime, Kelsey meets Rae, the pseudo owner of the town coffee shop and they become instant friends and confidants. Kelsey even opens up to her about her own attack, which is something she wouldn’t even do with her therapist.

There is also Dr. Peter Ambrose, a surgeon in town who is ready to do anything at all, including Breaking and Entering to help this reporter he has only just met. Not to mention the fact that having been brutally attacked 6 weeks before she was willing to just go out and commit not one, but 2 B&Es with this man she has only met three times. How does that make sense?

In the end, of course, the reporter is able to break the case that neither the local nor the state police were able to even get any leads on. And it leaves you asking why the family would try to cover up the murder anyway. Wouldn’t they want to see their daughter’s killer brought to justice?

Sorry, this one just didn’t do it for me.

And if I may add another warning: Do NOT purchase the audio of this book! It is really bad. Shannon McManus has recorded quite a few books, but this one is an absolute mess. Her inflection is completely wrong. Her voice goes up at the end of most sentences, the way it should when asking a question. She has no grasp of cadence in moving from one sentence to another. Thank goodness I only paid $2.95 for it! If I had paid more, I would be sick over it.

1 Star. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. 

Behind Closed Doors anything is possible…

Unputdownable. I have used this term before, but boy, oh boy, just ask my family about this one! I had headphones in my ears at every opportunity this weekend so that I could get to the end of this book and see the characters safely to the other side! There was no way for me to let this one sit unfinished for any length of time.

Jack and Grace are the perfect married couple. Just ask Adam and Diane, they see it every time they share a meal with them. Jack is always so attentive to Grace, doesn’t let her lift a finger without his help. They reminisce about their trips and the way they met. Friends Esther and Diane would love to get to know Grace better, but she just seems to be joined at the hip to Jack. You never see her without him.

Grace always finds a reason to cancel plans to meet Diane and Esther alone for lunch. They never see her in town. She doesn’t have a cell phone or even her own email address. Add to the fact that she quit her job to be a stay at home wife and Esther just doesn’t believe the fairy tale is real. There is something that just doesn’t sit right in her mind.

Behind Closed Doors anything is possible...A Propensity to Discuss review.

Then there is Millie, Grace’s sister who is 17 years her junior and has Downs Syndrome. Esther and Diane are amazed that Jack is so excited to have Millie come to live with them. It is so unusual to find a man whose love is so unconditional. But Behind Closed Doors, something nefarious lurks.

Is the fairy tale real? Or is something sinister about? On reading/hearing the first two chapters, a feeling of ill-will hits you and you know that all is not as it seems. But there is no way of guessing just how evil one person could be.

The character development in this book is so rich and so intense that I found myself cringing and holding my breath. Torment comes in all shapes and sizes, in all manners of people. And if no one would believe the truth, where is a person to turn for help?

This one is an absolute must read! Or a must listen! I chose the audio version which was read impeccably by Georgia Maguire. She brings every character to life with amazing skill, variation, and inflection. You can almost see the characters in your mind as you listen. This is a great book to listen to if you have never tried an audio book before. With a run time of 8 hours 23 minutes, it won’t take a ton of time, but trust me, you’ll wish it went on for longer!

On a side note, I have seen this book compared to Gone Girl, but I have to disagree. While the psychological thriller aspect is much the same, there are characters in this book to whom you can actually relate and pull for and fight for and love. Not so with Gone Girl. So while the idea of someone pulling off a psychologically heinous act on someone else is there, this book has many more redeeming qualities. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Gone Girl, I just really LOVE Behind Closed Doors!

Interested in other psychological thrillers? Check out this post….7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night

By now you know exactly how much I love to read. Anything and everything, but if I had to pick, my favorite genre has to be mysteries. (Or maybe my favorite genre right now.) I love trying to figure out the “whodunit” of a good mystery. But what I really like are the warped minds of the people involved. I know I probably shouldn’t admit this because now you are probably thinking that I am a crazy person.

And you are probably right. I think I may have a warped mind myself when it comes to these books. I am not really sure that I like them more for the resolution of the problem or for getting into the minds of the bad guys. I promise I am not harboring a secret desire to be one of these people. I am just intrigued by the idea that there are people in the world who actually have this type of depraved minds.

On that note, there are a few that I have read that have actually left me a little freaked and made me check over my shoulder a time or two. These are the books that make you lose a little bit of sleep listening to the things that go bump in the night. If you are faint of heart and very easily scared, you may want to bypass these!

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Big Little Lies – Lianne Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night ended with one parent dead and the community in an uproar of he said/she said. Told from alternating points of view, at times humorous, at times very sad, Big Little Lies* (click for my full review) is amazing. While it isn’t very scary, it will keep you up because you fall in love with the characters, the writing style and you will find that you must know what happens next.

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in what came to be called “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas”. Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing snow and later testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben is still in prison, and Libby is living off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long since forgotten her. Dark Places,* from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, is just as macabre as it’s predecessor and the ending almost as twisted.

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Moving between the building of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cold and calculating serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death, The Devil in the White City tells a true story. The research into the history, along with suspenseful storytelling, Erik Larson has written this tale that reads like fiction and leaves you at times terrified as well as educated about things that we have and use to this day because of that event. The things that will keep you up, however, are the gruesome acts of the serial killer who found himself with hundreds of victims at the same time in the same place.

The Grant County Series by Karin Slaughter

Set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, Georgia, (in the fictional Grant County) This series, which consists of 7 books, including BlindsightedKisscut*A Faint Cold Fear, Indelible, Faithless , and Beyond Reach. The seventh book in the series is Broken, which is the 4th book in the Will Trent series (discussed below). There are 3 main characters: Sara Linton, the town’s pediatrician and part-time coroner; her ex-husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, who is chief of police; and detective Lena Adams.

All of these books keep you on the edge of your seat hoping that you never run into anyone as atrocious as the villains portrayed here!

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You – Paula Daly

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

Lisa Kallisto is not-so-perfect, and an absolutely realistic model of the modern woman. In Just What Kind of Mother Are You?* one chaotic day Lisa takes her eye off the ball for a slight moment and her world caves into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter missing, but it’s Lisa’s fault. In a world where we all sometimes find ourselves with too much on our plates, this book sends chills down your spine as you think, “This could be me.” Trust me, it is one of those things that will keep you awake worrying about all of the people involved.

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Pretty Baby – Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby by  Mary Kubica

What begins as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated. When Heidi Wood, a woman who works for a nonprofit and takes in stray cats catches sight of a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old Pretty Baby* stranded in the rain, she cannot resist the need to take them in, as well. What comes after will rip your heart out and stomp on it a few times. Your lack of sleep, however, is well worth the read.

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Claire, the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. Julia, the sister who disappeared. In Pretty Girls* Julia, the sister of Claire and Lydia, is the only tie that Claire and Lydia still share. But when horrific events bring Claire and Lydia face-to-face, they very well may have to bury the issues that separate them in order to stay alive. Just when you are ready to put this book down and go to sleep, everything you thought you knew is thrown upside down and rendering you unable to put it down.

The Will Trent Series by Karin Slaughter

The Will Trent series takes place in Atlanta and with Will Trent as the lead character. Trent is a GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) special agent. The series also features his partner Faith Mitchell and Angie Polaski. The first two books in the series are Triptych and FracturedIn the third book of the series Sara Linton (from the Grant County Series) joins the series that also includes Undone, BrokenFallen, Criminal, Snatched, a novella that is included with Criminal, Busted, a novella included with Unseen. Broken can also be categorized as the 7th book in the Grant County series.

You by Carolyn Kepnes

7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

You – Caroline Kepnes

For Joe Goldberg and Guinevere Beck, it is love at first sight. Only “Beck,” as she is known to her friends, doesn’t know it yet.

in this amazing book, You*, Joe inconspicuously and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he succeeds in bringing Beck into his waiting arms. Transforming from stalker to boyfriend, Joe morphs himself into becoming Beck’s perfect man, even though sometimes he must remove the obstacles that stand in their way. You’ll be awake long after you finish this one checking all of your social media and examining your online status to make sure no one like Joe has found you the least bit attractive.

If you are looking for really good books with a bit of spine-chilling suspense, any of these books should do the trick. By way of murder and mystery, these are some of my absolute favorites. I hope you enjoy them!

*Denotes original book reviews previously published on Propensity to Discuss

Do you have a favorite I need to read? Let me know. I am ready for another scary night!

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

What you see isn’t always what you get.

They’re back…Jake Brogan and Jane Ryland together again. And oh, how their stories twist and turn to create a tale of suspense, intrigue, and manipulation.

The central theme in this 3rd installment of the Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan series, What you see by Hank Phillipi Ryan is family.

What you see Hank Phillipi Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss Review

What you see Hank Phillipi Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss Review

Having left her job at the newspaper because of improprieties that she could not accept, Jane is still looking for her next opportunity. So when, during an interview with the news director for Channel 2, a breaking story needs attention, Jane jumps at the chance. Heading to Curley Park to the scene of a murder, Jane is sure she’ll run into Jake. And how will she explain that they may have to go back into clandestine dating mode.

Melissa, Jane’s baby sister, is marrying Daniel in a week and has come to Boston to pick up her soon-to-be stepdaughter, 6-year-old Gracie for the wedding and her 3 month summer stay with them. Robin, Gracie’s mom, seems to be confused about where her husband, Louis is with Gracie. It seems a bit odd, though Melissa can’t quite put her finger on exactly why she feels that way.

What you see Hank Phillipi Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss Review of What You See

What you see Hank Phillipi Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss Review of What You See

Catherine Siskel is the Mayor of Boston’s Chief of Staff with an office overlooking Curley Park. She has arranged a summer job for her daughter, Tenley, manning some of the city’s traffic cameras. The death a little more than a year before of Tenley’s sister, Lana, sent the family into a downward spiral that is close to tearing them apart at the seams. And now the murder at Curley Park involves someone very close to Catherine and Tenley.

While at the murder scene, Jane is becoming more and more confused by the phone calls from Melissa concerning Gracie. She doesn’t know where she is, then she does, then she doesn’t. At dinner that night, where Melissa is finally being introduced to Jake, the question of Gracie’s whereabouts is still unclear.

What you see Hank Phillipi Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss Review of What You See

Hank Phillipi Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss Review of What You See

Over the next 48 hours, Jake and Jane are both drawn further into the confusion of the cases before them and as the confusion unfolds, the drama and intrigue increases with every turn of a page. In this novel, Jake and Jane are more at peace (YAY!) with their career/relationship status, mainly because of Jane’s lack of a full-time job.

With quite a few twists and turns, the ending will certainly surprise you.

I got to know Jake and Jane in Ryan’s first novel, came to love them in the second, got a little angry with them in the third, and became very proud of them in this one. I can hardly wait for the next one! Chalk it up to the good guys. And in this case, the good guys are awesome!

 

Run for your life.

Run for your life. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Run for your life. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Detective Michael Bennett made his first appearance in James Patterson‘s (with Michael Ledwidge) novel Step on a Crack.

In Run for your life, Michael Bennett is back with a vengeance.

At home his kids are sick. All 10 of them have succumbed to a nasty virus and chaos ensues. Except when nanny Catherine is there to keep them all in line. Including the detective.

Mike’s grandfather, the Monsignor Seamus Bennett is brought in to help with the ailing brood. He does so grudgingly. He is, as usual, angry with Mike. This time because Mike won’t spare a battalion of New York’s finest to help catch the thief who is stealing from the Church’s poor box.

In the midst of this epidemic (that’s what it is when a house has 10 kids and all of them are sick) a madman who calls himself “The Teacher” is terrorizing New York with his “lessons.”

Working from a list of names, he is killing people to put them out of their miserable existences that make them believe they are better than others. Snobs, basically.

Before Mike can stop him, he has to figure out who The Teacher is. And he has to do this before more victims are “taught a lesson.”

Run for your life brings Michael Bennett into the forefront as a caring man who is grieving the untimely death of his wife. A loving father worried that he is “in over his head” as a dad. And a detective that every police force needs on their squad.

As with all Patterson/Ledwidge novels, there is enough family to make it into your heart and enough mystery to make it into your head.

The audio version is read by Bobby Cannavale as the voice of Mike and the most of the rest of the cast, while Dallas Roberts portrays The Teacher in a hair-raising and chilling characterization.

Bobby Cannavale, you may remember as Vince from Will and Grace, or perhaps Blue Bloods’ Charles Rosselini.  Cannavale brings Mike to life in a way that makes you wish you knew him in person. Warm, funny, hurting, and caring.

Dallas Roberts, is the somewhat lovable Owen from The Good Wife. For me, this performance shows his ability as an actor, because it is very difficult to match this voice with Owen. Let’s just say that I may or may not now be afraid of Owen.

As usual, a completely satisfying listen and read.

**If you want to see what all 10 of Michael Bennett’s kids look like, go to Images of Michael Bennett’s kids