Review: The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter - Book ReviewTitle: The Good Daughter
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Suspense
Synopsis from William Morrow

Review: Full disclosure: THE GOOD DAUGHTER is my first Karin Slaughter book and I know I’m not the first to admit I wished I had started reading her work sooner!  This book is not for the feint of heart – it’s violent and gritty and Slaughter’s descriptions are boldly graphic and necessary.

Pikeville, Georgia attorney Rusty Quinn has defended his share of lowlifes and has gotten a bad name.  The story opens up at his home where two masked intruders create a gruesome scene killing his wife Gamma, shooting his daughter Sam in the head and burying her alive while his other daughter Charlie escapes.  The fallout creates a rift between sisters and memories they never forget.

Twenty eight years later, the sisters have put their lives back together; Sam is a successful patent attorney in New York and Charlie is a criminal defense lawyer in Pikeville.  Charlie is witness to a school shooting and her role in the shooters defense brings rise to the memories all those years ago.

The characters are complex and multilayered – Slaughter creates a small town vibe with townspeople who are raw, emotional and real.  The plot is a labyrinth of deep dark turns fluctuating between two storylines and timelines while weaving in and out of each other.

This book is difficult to review without giving too much away.  If you can handle graphic violence then I highly recommend you pick this one up!

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Review: In the Grip of It

In the Grip of It - Sheena KamalTitle: In the Grip of It
Author: Sheena Kamal
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Suspense
Synopsis from Witness Impulse
Book provided by Edelweiss & HarperCollins

Review: Nora Watts returns in the novella, IN THE GRIP OF IT, on assignment to surveil a boy in a child custody case on Salt Spring Island.  Cheyenne has taken her son, Trevor from Vancouver to the island’s Spring Love yoga retreat but her ex-husband, Ken is convinced there are more sinister activities taking place in the commune.

Nora joins Spring Love run by Vikram and Wanda, to investigate what is happening on the inside.  The islands typical welcoming community does not extend to the commune and Vikram and Wanda are suspicious of Nora from the get-go and the intensity builds as they take measures to oust her once and for all.  But Nora’s connection to Trevor reminds her of the daughter she never got to know and she vows to get him back home safely with his father.

This story lacks the same intensity Kamal delivered in her suspenseful debut, The Lost Ones, and I’m not entirely sure how this novella fits into the series, but I’m committed to it and will read It All Falls Down, which releases this summer.

Review: Here and Gone

Here and Gone - Haylen BeckTitle: Here and Gone
Author: Haylen Beck
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Suspense
Synopsis from PRHC
Book provided by Broadway Books & PRHC

Review: Audra flees her New York lifestyle and abusive husband with her two children in tow for a better life in California.  In the middle of Arizona, Audra is pulled over by a small town sheriff who plants marijuana among her belongings, arrests her and hauls her into the station.  Meanwhile his deputy takes her children to an undisclosed location.  During questioning Audra demands to see her children and is met with, “What children?”  The sheriff convinces the feds into thinking Audra has killed her own children.  She becomes headline news and everyone thinks she’s crazy.

Unbeknownst to Audra, the sheriff has arranged to sell her children to an underground group for a sizeable payout.

Meanwhile, a man in San Francisco hears Audra’s story, a story similar to his – his daughter was taken from his wife by authorities and never found.  The only person who believes Audra is innocent, he immediately heads to Arizona to help her.

Here and Gone is a chilling story of every mother’s worst nightmare.  I found the plot fairly predictable but enjoyed the fast pace and strong female lead.

Bookmail Friday

*Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, Flatiron Books, HMH Books and Raincoast Books for these free books.

Bookmail Friday is a place where I share with you the books I received this week.

Here and Gone | The Family Tabor | The Vanderbeekers

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck – It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them… Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.  I have been disappointed with a lot of suspense / thriller books lately especially those with big name endorsements likening them to ‘Into the Water‘, ‘Gone Girl‘, and ‘The Girl on the Train‘, which I think is the kiss of death.  I don’t like those types of books because they all have a misogynistic angle and portray women as mentally imbalanced.  They are so dark and depressing.  The synopsis of Here and Gone makes me think the main character is pulling herself out of a deep, dark slump to protect her children, which takes so much strength making her a strong and likeable lead.

The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas – Harry Tabor is about to be named Man of the Decade, a distinction that feels like the culmination of a life well lived. Gathering together in Palm Springs for the celebration are his wife, Roma, a distinguished child psychologist, and their children: Phoebe, a high-powered attorney; Camille, a brilliant social anthropologist; and Simon, a big-firm lawyer, who brings his glamorous wife and two young daughters. But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn’t been sleeping through the night, Camille can’t decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn’t know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built.  I have been holding onto my copy of the revered The Resurrection of Joan Ashby since September and when I saw Wolas’ followup, The Family Tabor I immediately started reading Joan Ashby, which I’m fully invested in.

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden – Return to Harlem’s “wildly entertaining” family in this funny, heartwarming sequel. When catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbors, the Vanderbeeker children set out to build the best, most magical healing garden in Harlem–in spite of a locked fence, thistles and trash, and the conflicting plans of a wealthy real estate developer. I read The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street to my daughters before Christmas and the whole family fell in live with this adorable family!  I’m super excited for the sequel, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden, which we will read as a family also.

What I’m Reading

In the Grip of It | Here and GoneAfter a string of women’s fiction novels, most recently The Wedding Date (one of my favourite fiction sub-genres!) I’m reading two thriller / suspense books this week.

In the Grip of It by Sheena Kamal (Nora Watts Series #1.5) – A novella that falls between Kamal’s debut, The Lost Ones and soon to be released It All Falls Down, (July 3, 2018).
Synopsis from HarperCollins: On a surveillance assignment for a child custody case, PI-in-training Nora Watts finds herself ensconced in a small farming community on a beautiful hippie island in the Pacific Northwest, a place with a reputation for being welcoming to outsiders. But when she arrives there, she discovers her welcome quickly wears thin. Perhaps too quickly.

Salt Spring Island, with a history as a refuge for African Americans fleeing the bonds of slavery, is not a place of refuge for her—and, she suspects, may not be for the people who live there, either.

As she investigates, nothing about this remote community seems to add up. It gets personal as Nora confronts her own complicated feelings toward her estranged daughter and becomes increasingly concerned about the child she’s been tasked to surveil. She discovers that small, idyllic communities can hide very big secrets.

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck – Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.
Synopsis from Penguin Random House: It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.