The Perfect Neighbors

perfectneighbors“Drivers Beware! A friendly reminder that school starts today, so please be on the lookout for the students, especially the wee ones… – Remember, a normal speed meets every need! Sincerely, Shannon Dockser, Newport Cove Manager”

The Perfect Neighbors
By Sarah Pekkanen

Welcome to Newport Cove, one of the 20 safest communities in the U.S. as praised by Parenting Magazine. There are fun-filled block parties, beautiful homes and your neighbors are your friends.

Susan, Gigi and Kellie are friends who meet on a regular basis and when they meet a newcomer to the community they quickly embrace her and hope she’ll join them for drinks and friendly gossip. Tessa likes the women but she’s reserved and it’s hard for the women to get to know her.

While Tessa may seem the most remote, as the story develops it is clear that each of the women have struggles in their lives. There’s Gigi whose husband is running for political office and is learning to deal with being in the spotlight. For Susan, it is hard to let go of her ex-husband and meanwhile Kellie is joining the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom and finding it hard to resist a work flirtation.

Still as the women share some of their lives with Tessa, it is clear that what Tessa is trying so hard to keep secret could really rock their community if they knew about it.

I really enjoyed the humor, especially in the listserv digests that open each chapter, and thought that was a nice touch to the story and made me feel like I was part of the community. With regards to the secrets the women keep, although one is supposed to be the shocker I was more intrigued by Susan and Kellie as I felt that their situations just seemed very real. Definitely check this one out if you are looking for an entertaining Summer read.

Source: Advance Review Copy

The Mystery Edition

magglassI mentioned that I went to my book group last week and we discussed Night Life by David C. Taylor. This one felt like one of those reads we nitpick and nitpick and yet we all really liked it. I think we can all see that this one has a lot of potential for being a great series.

Anyway next month we will be reading The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry. I already put this one on hold at the library so I’m sure I’ll have a l library haul to share with you soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been adding more mystery books to my radar and wanted to mention those here.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. A comic crime caper about five Swedish pensioners who break out of their retirement home and become criminals. The cover for this one is a hoot.

The Kingdom by Fumninori Nakamura. Yurika is a freelancer for an obscure criminal agency who poses as a prostitute in order to sedate and take embarrassing pictures of important men. I read one of Nakamura’s books last year and thought it was definitely a provocative read.

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. During a record-setting heat wave in the summer of 1976, the unthinkable happens. Mrs. Creasey has disappeared. Set in England, the quiet cul-de-sac of the Avenue is abuzz with speculation of her where-abouts. Young Grace Bennett decides she and her best friend Tilly can find Mrs. Creasey. I don’t know if I want to read about heat right now but this sounds kind of charming in a way with the young sleuths as the protagonists.

Let me know if you have heard of these and what do you think.

That Darkness

thatdarkness“Jack Renner knew about the cat. He knew about Brian beating his ouster mother with a golf club in the sixth grade. He knew about the man’s recruiting method, his ways of increasing territory, how his guys branched out into armed robbery and home invasions when the local economy tightened up. He knew because he had read every form, every note, and every report written on Brian Johnson.”

That Darkness
By Lisa Black

Maggie Gardiner is a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department. When the body of a young girl is found in a cemetery, Maggie is called to help find out who did this. It bothers her that there are little clues but she is determined to find out who killed her. At the same time she’s also working some other cases that share some striking similarities and she beings to wonder if there is a serial killer at work.

What Maggie doesn’t know is the officer who is working with her, Jack Renner, is a killer. He doesn’t kill innocent people, but those who have not been punished for their crimes. If you are thinking doesn’t this sound like the character of Dexter from the Lindsey novels, then yes there is some of that but Jack Renner is his own character.

As this is the first book in the series it is still too early to really get to know what brought Jack Renner to this point in his life and how he’s managed to avoid capture for so long. I liked Maggie’s stubbornness and found that Maggie and Jack were well matched characters. They are both smart and feel the need for justice, they just have different ways of pursuing it. Can Jack keep working with Maggie and after what she’s learned of him how does that reconcile with her feelings on justice.

I especially enjoyed seeing how page after page Maggie is getting closer to the truth and Jack is barely able to keep ahead of her. Despite what Jack does I really liked his character and I am anxiously waiting to see how the two will work in the sequel. I think there’s a lot of potential here for a great new series.

Source: Advance Review Copy