Friday, September 23, 2016

Dark Matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

From the creator of the Wayward Pines trilogy (which became a Fox TV series) comes a provocative science-fiction thriller sure to please aficionados of this genre everywhere.

Life as Jason Dessen knows it, will never be the same. He leaves the warmth of his Chicago home on a chilly October evening, fully intending to return soon to wife, Daniela, son Charlie, and domestic contentment.  Admittedly, there are times when those nagging questions of what might have been plague him. Like why is he teaching at a small college when he was once revered in the scientific world of quantum physics? And why is Daniela teaching private art lessons when she could have her own show at a prestigious gallery?

Jason is about to find out what might have been when he is viciously attacked by a grotesque masked man who seems to know him very well. The masked man takes him on a harrowing trip to an unrecognizable place. Could this be a dream?  He soon finds himself frantically struggling to reunite his family, while trying to escape a multi-dimensional world where countless versions of himself exist; a world he created during his days as a scientific genius.

"....we're more than the sum total of our choices, ..all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity."

Bizarre, unearthly, and eerily thought-provoking, this one is for readers who think outside the box.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

To friends and family, Jack and Grace are indeed the "perfect" couple. He's an incredibly successful attorney, defending bruised and  battered women who are the victims of domestic abuse. She's the lovely, demure partner by his side, flawless in every way.
Devoted to her mentally disabled younger sister, Millie, Grace appears to have the marital bliss she's dreamed about for years.

Esther and Rufus are new acquaintances that are lucky enough to be invited to one of Jack and Grace's impeccable dinner parties. It's Esther who can't help but notice the vacant look behind Grace's eyes, or the fact that Jack never leaves her side. Why would Grace abandon a successful career, cancel luncheon dates, and spend lonely days by herself in this shrine they call a home?  Could this pretense of happiness be a sophisticated show, designed to fool everyone?

With her debut novel, British writer B.A. Paris tells a terrifyingly frightening story, guaranteed to make you shudder.  As the plot nears the end, she tends to unnecessarily draw out events, but overall, this thriller is a chilling reminder of how easy it is to trust the wrong person, how vulnerable we can be to false promises, and how appearances really can be deceiving.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Chinese Lanterns

Chinese Lanterns by Margie Hiermer

Chances are if you lived in the Georgesville, Ohio area in the mid 1970's,  you may have heard of the irascible, one-of-a-kind, Leona "Loany" Rice.

Even if you didn't spend time in this little community where the Little Darby and Big Darby Creeks meet, you can read about her colorful life in this memoir written by her grand niece, author Margie Hiermer.

 And what a life it was. This rags to riches story (and back to rags) is told with warmth and humor by someone who knew Loany well. Additional anecdotes from extensive research, are peppered throughout the book, passed down over the years from friends and relatives, revealing a strong, vibrant lady.

Loany's escapades included buried slot machines near Paradise Alley, the home she shared with Okie, the forbidden love of her life whom she refused to deny. Chapter after chapter describe in detail her life as a bookie (oh, how she loved the racetrack), a suspected murder (never proven), a penchant for the sparkling beauty and mystery of  fireworks (thus the book's cover), and the crude, rude language that somehow made her all that more endearing. Maybe that's because people recognized the kinder, softer side of Loany. When her beloved son died, her grief was agonizing. When she worked with her "tickies", the mentally challenged individuals she supported and loved, she beamed with pride. When friends were down and out, she reached into her own pocket to help. Yes, there were two sides to Loany.

There's an audience for this debut book written by an author who finally saw her labor of love come to fruition.  Written with tenderness from the heart, it must have been quite the experience to have known the exuberant Loany Rice.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Watching Edie

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

An obsessive friendship turns deadly.

There was a time when Edie's future was bright and she dared to dream. Attractive with a captivating smile, heads turned when she walked into a room. Edie enjoyed being a rebel, living a bit on the wild side, answering to no one.

Now she's working a menial job, struggling to raise her daughter as a thirty-three-year-old single mother. Suffering from severe depression, she's finding it hard to function. So when her former best friend, Heather, shows up at her doorstep after all these years, Edie hesitantly welcomes her help, even though it seems suspicious that her schoolmate just happens to reappear when she's so vulnerable and needy. Has Heather been stalking her? What's the motive behind Heather's return after all the deception, jealousy and secrets from the past that the two of them vowed never to speak of again?

British author Camilla Way takes the reader down a winding path full of unnerving twists and turns. Frightening and hair-raising, this psychological thriller with a surprising ending will have you looking over your shoulder wondering...

Who's watching you?