Saturday, April 18, 2015

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

News of the newborn baby's discarded remains by the  Essex Bridge spreads quickly in this affluent university town of Ridgedale, New Jersey. Unfathomable that a child could be tossed away like a piece of trash. Everybody has an opinion. Yet questions remain. Who is responsible?

Molly Sanderson finds herself in an enviable position. The editor of the local paper, the Ridgedale Reader, wants her to cover the breaking news of the infant's sordid death. Up until recently, she's only handled light and fluffy columns. Now she has a chance to sink her teeth into big news, even over the objections of her husband, Justin, a university professor. He feels the story of a deceased child hits too close to home. Months earlier, Molly lost a daughter in the late stages of pregnancy. After intense therapy, Molly has made great strides, but still feels she was somehow responsible for the stillborn death of her child. How she ached to give daughter Ella a sibling. It wasn't meant to be.

Molly begins her investigation. At first treading softly, she soon becomes absorbed in the case, realizing that there there is a trail of deceit related to this baby's untimely death. The deception goes back years ago to another death of a popular high-school star athlete near the Essex Bridge.  Molly begins to delve into the past. No longer can anyone stop the lies and cover-ups. It's too late. The upstanding citizens of Ridgedale are about to be exposed, and everyone is going to pay the price.

Three different narrators tell this story of pain and tragedy. How can they possibly know how much they have in common?  Bold, raw, and dark,  author Kimberly McCreight's second novel explores the profound repercussions of betrayal, but not without a glimmer of hope.

"Not everything about where you're going has to be about where you've been".


Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Stranger

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

The stranger whispers in his ear. "She lied, Adam. Corrine was never pregnant. She made it all up." Chilling, unsettling words from an unknown man with a face that somehow conveys credibility, like he was doing you a big favor. And Adam believes him.

Life in suburbia is pretty much the same in every small town in America. Today is no different in Cedarfield, New Jersey. Adam Price joins his buddies to finalize the draft for his son's sixth-grade all-star lacrosse team. Typical politics permeate the selections as to who makes the cut. The good news is that his son Ryan is on the A team. But none of that matters at the moment because Adam Price is reeling from a few shocking words spoken in haste. As he runs to the parking lot to follow the stranger, he sees a woman with long blonde hair behind the wheel of the "getaway" car. It's time to confront his wife, Corrine.

Corrine's reaction to Adam's questions is troubling. Rather than deny the stranger's allegations, she asks for time to explain. Adam reluctantly agrees, only to find after much probing, that her behavior in the past few weeks is totally out of character. She is no longer showing up to teach at the local high school, and her friends admit that her recent patterns have been perplexing. Then Corrine disappears, simply sending a text pleading for Adam to take care of the kids. A picture-perfect life is shattered.

Once again, this author manages to take the reader on a thrilling ride. Adam is just one of many characters touched by the stranger's words, a mysterious individual intent on righting wrongs. What appears on the surface to be a story of marital disharmony, turns out to be so much more. Complex and intriguing, it's a tale where computer hacking meets the wealth, secrets, and lies of suburbia. The results are explosive.

Harlan Coben at his best.