Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Books 7-13

 The Fallen Girls by Kathryn Casey

She didn’t notice the corn stalks shiver a few feet to her right. By the time she looked up, the man towered above her. In a single movement he wrapped one thick hand around her waist, the other he clamped over her mouth, muffling her screams.
Detective Clara Jefferies has spent years running from her childhood in Alber, Utah. But when she hears that her baby sister Delilah has disappeared, she knows that the peaceful community will be shattered, her family vulnerable, and that she must face up to her past and go home.
Clara returns to find that her mother, Ardeth, has isolated her family by moving to the edge of town, in the shadow of the mountains. Ardeth refuses to talk to the police and won’t let Clara through the front door, believing she and her sister-wives can protect their own. But Clara knows better than anyone that her mother isn’t always capable of protecting her children.
When Clara finds out that two more girls have disappeared, all last seen around the cornfields near her family’s home, she realizes it’s not just Delilah who’s in danger. And then she gets a call that a body has been found…
Clara will have to dig deep into the town’s secrets if she’s going to find Delilah. But that will mean confronting the reason she left. And as she gets closer to Delilah, she might be putting her more at risk…
 This story is told mostly from two points of view, Clara and her hunt for Delilah and Delilah and her experiences. It is a great mystery with a twist at the end.

My Name is Eva by Suzanne Goldring

Evelyn Taylor-Clarke sits in her chair at Forest Lawns Care Home in the heart of the English countryside, surrounded by residents with minds not as sharp as hers. It would be easy to dismiss Evelyn as a muddled old woman, but her lipstick is applied perfectly, and her buttons done up correctly. Because Evelyn is a woman with secrets and Evelyn remembers everything. She can never forget the promise she made to the love of her life, to discover the truth about the mission that led to his death, no matter what it cost her…
When Evelyn’s niece Pat opens an old biscuit tin to find a photo of a small girl with a red ball entitled ‘Liese, 1951’ and a passport in another name, she has some questions for her aunt. And Evelyn is transported back to a place in Germany known as ‘The Forbidden Village,’ where a woman who called herself Eva went where no one else dared, amongst shivering prisoners, to find the man who gambled with her husband’s life…

Based on her desire for revenge, Eva makes choices that will guide her entire life, preventing her from ever moving on to form any other romantic relationships. We get to see this slowly unfold. It leads her into danger and there are some scenes that include violence and rape. One thing that becomes very clear is that Eva is a master manipulator who is controlling all those around her without their having any idea that she is doing this.   Some of what happened makes it clear that to some the end always justifies the means.  Years after World War 2, she fakes dementia to keep her secrets safe. Evelyn cleverly convinces those around her that she is losing her mind. The author delves into the not so moral choices made after the war. And, of course, Evelyn has her revenge. This was a very interesting book.

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

Selena Murphy is commuting home on the train when she strikes up a conversation with a beautiful stranger in the next seat. The woman introduces herself as Martha and soon confesses that she’s been stuck in an affair with her boss. Selena, in turn, confesses that she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny. When the train arrives at Selena’s station, the two women part ways, presumably never to meet again.
Then the nanny disappears.
As Selena is pulled into the mystery of what happened, and as the fractures in her marriage grow deeper, she begins to wonder, who was Martha really? But she is hardly prepared for what she’ll discover…
Full of twists and turns and people with hidden pasts, motives, and secrets and it's all closing in on Selena. As this mystery plays out we learn more about Martha, who she really is, how and why she is determined to be a part of Selena’s life. I found the plot fairly easy to predict but there were  lots of dangerous secrets and multiple layers of lies.

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner

Timothy O’Day knew the woods. Yet when he disappeared on the first night of a bachelor party camping trip with his best friends in the world, he didn’t leave a trace. What he did leave behind were two heartbroken parents, a crew of guilt-ridden groomsmen, and a pile of clues that don’t add up. 
Frankie Elkin doesn’t know the woods, but she knows how to find people. So when she reads that Timothy’s father is organizing one last search, she heads to Wyoming. Despite the rescue team’s reluctance, she joins them. But as they hike into the mountains, it becomes clear that there’s something dangerous at work in the woods . . . or someone who is willing to do anything to stop them from going any farther.
Running out of time and up against the worst man and nature have to offer, Frankie and the search party will discover what evil awaits those who go one step too far . . .
Everyone is hiding something. Everyone knows a bit more than they're letting on. does one of the group know what happened to Tim?
It's super fast-paced, enjoyable and a bit scary, to be honest, the tension was unbearable, suffused as it was by the threat of constant danger. I would definitely recommend this book.

The Sunny Side Up Cosy Mysteries by Rosie A. Point
This is a set of 5 books but I only read the first two.  Maybe I'll read the others at a later date.

1. Murder Over Easy
When Sunny arrives in Parfait, Florida, she's set on sun, sand, and rejuvenation after a messy divorce. She’s done dealing with her flaky ex, and the criminals he worked with. But when Sunny arrives at her quirky Aunt Rita’s cottage, all she finds is a grumpy cat and a note waiting for her...
Sunny’s expected to take over her aunt’s Sunny Side Up Café while Rita’s on vacation, and Sunny’s never managed a mood swing let alone a restaurant.
Before she knows it, she’s up to her neck in trouble, fielding complaints from a snobby food vlogger, serving cold chicken noodle soup, handling the eccentricities of the local baker’s club and… dealing with murder cases?

The mysteries are mounting, and they all revolve around her according to the local detective.
With so much to lose, her aunt's café included, Sunny has to figure out whodunit before it's too late.
The main character, Sunny, is kind of ditsy and annoying. How does a grown woman not know how to make eggs? And her aunt, who raised her, is a cook and runs a cafe!
Sunny frequently found trouble and got involved where she should not have. At the risk of loosing all things her Auntie had worked so hard for, Sunny was often trying to bail herself out of trouble and get right with people of the town.

2. Muffin But Murder
Sunny Charles has only just gotten used to running her aunt’s café. It’s been a learning curve, what with the moody customers, the eggs over easy, and now, her chef leaving for a baking course for five full days. With him gone, she’s in charge of everything ‘food’—and cooking is not her strong suit.
Sunny’s got to hire outside help, but when she goes over to her aunt’s best friend’s house looking for advice, she walks in on a dead body instead. And the murderer, shrouded in darkness, mid-escape… If only she’d seen his face. Sunny’s convinced that she knows whodunit, but with the tension mounting in the small coastal town of Parfait, Sunny’s got to decide what’s most important to her: her friends or her life.
Sunny became more annoying in this second book. She didn't seem too bright when it came to exposing the treasure map and she was very nonchalaunt and careless with the notebook walking around reading it in the street when she knew that people are after the book. She was encouraged several times to give the information to the police but she always felt she knew better and consequently found her getting into more difficult situations and almost killed.
I have to remember these books are cozy mysteries and are always very predictable and events are usually unrealistic.  The 2 books were quick, light reads but I don't think I'll be reading the other 3 any time soon!!

Too Late by Rylie Dark
Morgan Stark, 25, is finishing her Ph.D. in forensic psychology, doing her residency at a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane that contains the worst of the worst—when the FBI urgently summons her: they need her help tracking down her most brilliant patient, an elusive serial killer who has managed to escape.
Morgan, as brilliant as she is, knows she is up against a mastermind with no equal. This killer will stop at nothing to outwit them all, and going too deep into his mind may be just the thing that undoes them all.
Morgan’s skills are put to the ultimate test in this harrowing cat-and-mouse thriller, as new bodies pile up, and as Morgan realizes that she, herself, may just be the target.
Morgan has great instincts but little self control to the point of being extremely annoying and frustrating. He didn't listen to anything people said to him and it was always all about him. This is the first book in a series so hopefully his character will become more likeable as time goes on.