Tag Archives: Mystery

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

With a nostalgia that lends itself to The Breakfast Club, the novel One Of Us Is Lying opens with a detention starring familiar stereotypes:

  • Bronwyn Rojas is the typical brain who is involved in everything from student government to prom committee.
  • Cooper Clay is the jock with college and pro baseball scouts hot on his trail that everyone, from students to teachers to parents, love. He is the all-American boy-next-door.
  • Addy Prentiss is the beautiful blonde homecoming queen with the super hot boyfriend.
  • Nate McAuley is the druggie of the group. You know, the one that no one wants to claim to know.
  • Simon Kelleher is the typical nerd. He is also the one who spreads all the juicy gossip, especially if it will hurt someone.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. A Propensity to Discuss review.

All of the students in detention claim that they are there because they were framed. Someone slipped a phone into each of their backpacks to be found by a technophobic teacher everyone knows searches backpacks for phones, and they all still have their own phones. The story moves quickly to mayhem because before detention is even half over Simon is dead of an allergic reaction.

When the rest of the group is called in to answer a few questions from the police the mayhem begins to look like murder with Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate all at the forefront of the list of suspects.

Simon, you see, had nasty gossip app called “About That” which he used to spread hurtful gossip about fellow Bayview High School students. Of the four suspects, only Nate has ever been called out on Simon’s app and that had to do with a drug arrest that is pretty much common knowledge. But they all have secrets that none of them would want to get out. Except the police don’t know about those, and if Simon had known, he surely would’ve used that against them already. Right?

So why in the world would any of them have murdered Simon? They have no motive, but that doesn’t stop the police from suspecting them. And since the police seem to have tunnel vision toward the four of them, Bronwyn knows they have to find out for themselves who really killed Simon, which may prove difficult since so many students who had been hurt by his gossip had plenty of reasons to hate him.

Karen McManus is quite the storyteller. She is a master of giving just enough information to lead you into the next twist only to bring you to the realization that you still don’t know the truth. For me, these leads and twists intensified my need to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the story.

While I would not classify this as a psychological thriller, it does play mind games with you as you try to figure it all out what actually happened. You may get close to figuring it out, but as the story is told through the alternating points of view of each of the suspects, you are left with only what each character wants you to know or believe and finding out the truth about who did it is quite a shock.

As YA (Young Adult) novels go, this one is a bit lengthy and there is quite a bit to keep up with, but I really came to like and admire the characters. They have so much depth to them and are far more than what meets the eye.  – which I find true to life. So many stereotypical people I have gotten to know I’ve truly crushed my initial idea of them from their stereotype. It is the human equivalent of not judging a book by its cover. Don’t judge a person by their stereotype, get to know them or you never know what you are missing out on!

I highly recommend this book, not only to young adults but also to adults. It is a well-written story that covers issues that we see today often in the real world. People are scapegoats and are “convicted” by the media, their peers, and public opinion without anyone having all the facts or arrests, much less officially in a court of law. It certainly leaves you with a lot to ponder.

Book Details

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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!

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The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

31 January 1976

Three kids watch as one of their friends is unceremoniously buried beneath an apple tree outside their window.

30th December 2014

Susan Sullivan goes to the cathedral across from the Ragmullen (Ireland) Garda (police) station to meet someone who has promised to give her answers about The Missing Ones. Instead, he kills her.

Detective inspector Lottie Parker and her partner Detective Sergeant Mark Boyd are called on to investigate the murder to which there is no evidence, no clues. To make matters even more difficult, Susan Sullivan seems to have no history, no friends or even acquaintances. She went to work, but no one there really knew her.

When another person from her office is found dead the detectives have to wonder if the two deaths are connected and if so, how? DI Parker suspects that it could have something to do with a land development deal but which one? And where is the proof?

With their somewhat incompetence superior, Superintendent Myles Corrigan on their backs about their interviews with his golf buddy, Parker has to tread carefully around those they believe to be involved so Corrigan doesn’t fire her.

Searching for answers to this case brings questions about a very old, very cold case that Parker appears to have a personal attachment to, and Parker comes face-to-face with personal demons that threaten to take her down.

In her debut novel, Patricia Gibney sets up what I think will be a really good career for Lottie Parker and for Ms. Gibney as well. As this was a really very good book I look forward to reading more of the Lottie Parker series which includes The Stolen Girls and The Lost Child. I do, however, have to say buyer beware. If you have a hard time with books that include harm coming to children, this one may not be for you, but just remember, this is a work of fiction.

Book Details:

Lottie Parker Series:

  1. The Missing Ones
  2. The Stolen Girls
  3. The Lost Child

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

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 wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Split Second by Catherine Coulter. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Split Second by Catherine Coulter

I decided to read a book from a series that I haven’t read in a while and it honestly is like meeting up with dear friends I haven’t seen in a while. What a welcome surprise! Split Second by Catherine Coulter is actually the 15th book in the FBI series, but I read the others before I started blogging and reviewing books.

Let me just say if you like murder mysteries and police procedure novels, these are all really, really good. They remind me so much of Criminal Minds and that is a good thing! FBI agent Dillon Savich is a computer whiz and when you add his skills in logic to the logic skills of his wife, FBI Agent Lacey Sherlock no criminal is safe.

The stories, though, go much deeper than just the crime fighting. You get to delve into the hearts and minds of so many of the characters in Coulter’s writing. She has a way with words that pulls you in and allows you to connect with Savich and Sherlock, as well as the other agents with whom they work.

In Split Second Savich stops a robbery in a convenience store close to his home, but something about the scene feels off to him. Meanwhile, there is a killer on the loose who meets women at bars, takes them home and then garrotes them with wire. All of this at the same time that Agent Lacy Carlyle’s father passed away, with an ominous message just before he died. Bringing all of these stories to full circle takes so much skill in writing and Coulter handles it all with the flourish that is a trademark of her writing.

This is a great addition to this series and one that I highly recommend!

Catherine Coulter’s FBI Series in order leading up to Split Second:

  1. The CoveA (1996)
  2. The MazeA (1997)
  3. The TargetB (1998)
  4. The EdgeB (1999)
  5. RiptideC (2000)
  6. Hemlock BayC (2001)
  7. Eleventh Hour (2002)
  8. Blindside (2003)
  9. Blowout (2004)
  10. Point Blank (2005)
  11. Double Take (2007)
  12. Tailspin (2008)
  13. KnockOut (2009)
  14. Whiplash (2010)
  15. Split Second (201)
  16. Backfire (2012)
  17. Bombshell (2013)
  18. Power Play (2014)
  19. Nemesis (2015)
  20. Insidious (2016)
  21. Enigma (2017)

Omnibus Editions:

  1. The Beginning. 2005. (containing The Cove & The Maze)
  2. Double Jeopardy. 2008. (containing The Target & The Edge)
  3. Twice Dead. 2011. (containing Riptide & Hemlock Bay)
  4. Second Shot. 2014. (containing Eleventh Hour & Blindside)

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

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 wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

A mystery and a bookstore. What more could a thriller-reading bibliophile ask for? Well, according to this book, a lot more. Like 3 mysterious story lines all coming together at the end to explain, very feasibly, why a young man who spent almost all of his time in the Bright Ideas Bookstore decided to hang himself in the one place he felt most at home.

Around Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Lydia is beginning to lock up for the night when she finds Joey, one of the “BookFrogs” (sad and lonely people who spend all of their free time in the bookshop) hanging from the rafters. Added to the horror, she finds a picture of herself at 10 years old in his pocket.

Having been hiding from the world in plain sight for the last 10 years, she is shocked to see that someone has made a connection between her and “Little Lydia.” Twenty years ago Little Lydia’s picture in Life magazine shocked a nation and since then she has done everything she can to free herself from her past.

But Joey’s death and the items that he left for her in his room at the boarding house send her reeling back to an unsolved case that has haunted her for 20 years. As she works to unravel the clues that Joey left, her own past unexpectedly comes crashing in around her.

Matthew Sullivan’s Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a look into the lives of so many people, including the BookFrogs and will make you take a serious look at the lonely people that we encounter daily, and at the lives that one individual life can touch. Soulful, sometimes heartbreaking, and a bit mesmerizing, this book is a really good read.

An audio version of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is also available.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.  

This post may contain 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 wholeheartedly recommend these linked products!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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 by Mindy McGinnis

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! 

 

 

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

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.