Friday, May 27, 2022

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy


The setting is Lough Glass in Ireland and it's the early 1950s. The story follows Mary Katherine McMahon's life as a child and the approximately ten years after her mother Helen disappears. It's thought her mother drowned but Mary (known as Kit) worried her mother killed herself.  She had a note from her mother but burned it without reading as if it was a suicide note she couldn't have a church burial.

Kit misses her mother very much and leans on friends and distant family to help her. She gets into a pen pal relationship with a woman named Lena Gray who claims to have known her mother.  There is certainly a surprise lurking for Kit in that relationship!

If you want to submerge yourself into 1950s Irish culture this will be a good book for you. It's dated in references but I liked it. The themes are loss and love.  I liked the comparison of English life vs Irish life from Kit's perspective.
 This is another book I am clearing from the shelves in my mission to read more books from the stacks at home.  It's already in the mail to a friend who may enjoy it!

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday and Marg at The Intrepid Reader for the 2022 Historical Fiction challenge.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

"If you're on the list someone wants you dead."

The beginning of the book starts with a cast of characters and a small biographical introduction.

 For instance: 

Matthew Beaumont - a suburban father stressed by the complexities of family life in Dartford, Massachusettes.

Ethan Dart - a singer songwriter in Austin, Texas.

Caroline Geddes - an English professor at University of Michigan, lives in Ann Arbor with two cats.

Each person receives a letter without a return address and a simple list of nine names, their name included.  The individuals seem to have nothing in common.  They mostly live in different geographical parts of the country from Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Texas, Maine, Connecticut and New York City.  They don't know one another.

One of the characters is Jessica Winslow.  She is a FBI agent and her name is also on this list. Obviously the FBI does a search to see if the names are connected in any way from arrests, previous cases or relationships.  There isn't a connection yet one by one the people on this list are killed.  Some have police protection yet the killer finds a way.  The final few chapters reveal the slim thread of connections and I certainly had not figured it all out.  That's always fun if you're a frequent reader of mysteries and the ending is a surprise.

I would defintely read more by this author.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The River and The Guide - two books by Peter Heller

“They had paddled many rivers together in the two years they’ve known each other, and climbed a lot of peaks. Sometimes one had more appetite for danger, sometimes the other. There was a delicate but strong balance of risk versus caution in their team thinking, with the rules often fluid, and that’s what made them such good partners.”

This is the first book I'd read by Peter Heller.  I was initially attracted to The Guide but Beth Fish Reads made the suggestion I start with this one. Great suggestion as you need the background of Jack and Wynn for the followup book.

They are two adventuresome young men, friends with so much in commmon and a bond that makes them feel like brothers.  A disaster happens while they are fishing, away from civilization and phone contact.  There is a possible murder, a missing woman and  a forest fire rapidly approaching their area. Jack has already experienced tragedy in his life and the way his character is written, you can just feel it.  Loss, grief, love and endurance are themes here.  Excellent book. I then grabbed a copy of the next book, The Guide.

The Guide - You can read it as a stand alone novel because the tragedy Jack had experienced is rehashed a little bit.  But, would highly recommend starting with The River.

Jack is contracted as a guide at an exclusive fishing lodge and his assigned client is a famous singer. She is down to earth and grew up in the country fishing and hunting so, no diva behavior from Allison.

It's soon apparent this is a very expensive lodge where the very rich come to relax, be it fishing or enjoying the country setting.  The rules are rather strict about leaving the property and where the boundaries of the property end.  There is a point near a bridge where you could get shot by the adjacent land owner or mauled by dogs.  

Something sinister is going on and Jack unwittingly gets himself caught in the middle. There is quite a bit about fly fishing and descriptions of the natural beauty surrounding the property.  Not a fast paced book until the very end but I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

 I am so happy to have discovered this author as I now have a new-to-me series to catch up on.  Police procedurals and mysteries are one of my favorite genres as are books set in Ireland.

Cormac Reilly was once a detective at an elite Garda station in Dublin.  He transfers and demotes in rank to a police agency in Galway as his partner Emma relocates for her work. For someone with his experience and skills the Galway posting is wasting his talents on cold cases.  One case in particular is a blast from his past.

The prologue tells how twenty years earlier Cormac was young officer sent out to a rural home for a domestic violence call.  What he found was Maude, a neglected thin 15 year old girl who was taking care of her 5 year old brother Jack.  Their mother was dead in an upstairs bedroom, liquor and drugs surrounding her.  

Then chapter one starts us in present time when Jack, now 25 years old, has commited suicide.  His partner Aisling is not convinced Jack took his life. The past has a way of being interjected in this investigation. There are so many facets of this story that are interesting and Cormac is now one of my favorite detectives.  I am very much looking forward to the next few books in the series and seeing the character development.

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday and Marg at The Intrepid Reader for the 2022 Historical Fiction challenge.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Hatchet Island by Paul Doiron


The setting is Puffin Island off the Maine coast and I enjoyed reading about the area and the bird colonies. Mike Bowditch is a game warden and investigator but off duty, taking a kayak vacation with his girlfriend Stacy. 

Stacy did an internship on the island and is very careful about docking where the endangered species are nesting.  A friend who works on the island asked Stacy to come see her as the founder of the project is missing. The tension between the volunteers and head of the research project is tangible. Stacy hopes to connect with the founder and mentor who is currently missing.

Camping off another island one night they hear a gunshot and that's when the action begins.  Three researchers are found murdered and posed in odd positions.  (This is not a spoiler but in the description).  Bowditch starts working with a few former coworkers in Marine Patrol, Coast Guard and Environmental Protection and some of those men have secrets. 

I liked the slow reveal on many mysteries and plan to read more in this series.  I did not know this was #13 in the Mike Bowditch series so I have catching up to do.  Publication date is June 28, 2022 by St. Martin's Press.  Genre: Mystery and Thrillers.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book.  I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine.

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Roundup

 I had signed up for the book challenge at Shelleyrae's site  Book'd Out  and went for the Nibbler category of six books.  Here'...