The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

woman in the window

Anna has been watching the world from her windows for the past ten months.  A little ironic that a psychologist would develop agoraphobia, but this is the situation she finds herself in.  After she witnesses a probable murder through one of her windows, she tries to convince those around her that someone is in danger but somehow things get twisted and people are finding it hard to believe Anna, considering all that Anna has been through herself.  It’s even getting hard for Anna to believe it herself, but she knows what she saw… or does she?

This is a psychological thriller crisply written and immaculately spun.   There are twists and turns in the plot that would have Agatha Christie surprised and that had me exclaiming out loud to the pages of the book (ask my family – it’s true!).  Those pages had to keep turning or I could not sleep!  The characters are not all that fully developed, except for that of Anna’s, but it’s not that kind of a story.  It just works.

Let’s just say that if you start this book, be prepared to not be able to put it down until you finish it.

Got to give it a “Must Read!” Just for the fun of it!

The Closers by Michael Connelly

the closers

Sometimes you just need to read a good murder mystery – and this one fits the bill.

Harry Bosch is just back on the job with the LAPD after being retired for a few years.  He’s assigned to the group of “closers,” who solve the unsolved cases, left open for years.  His first case is the murder of a 16 year old girl who had been murdered 17 years prior and new DNA evidence has just resurfaced that has given a new lead on the case.  Bosch is back with his old partner, Rider, and they are immediately set into motion.  But obstacles present themselves from both outside and inside the department – will he be able to see the case through?

I can’t say that this is a fun read, because the subject matter is quite tragic, but it is intriguing and challenging and engaging.  The writing is direct and crisp and the dialogue is brusque and realistic.  What is novel here to me is the use by the police of the press in their investigation, which is interesting (and as it happens, grossly unfortunate) – and I wonder how often that actually happens in “real life.”

I am also fascinated by the relationship that builds between police partners.  It becomes somewhat like a marriage of sorts.  There are signals, facial expressions, silent pauses that can be read by the partner that evolve into signals only the partner can pick up like tiny bits of morse code.  It is really like a spouse, because really and truly, survival is dependent on being able to read those glances and eyebrow raises in a split second.  This is referenced frequently in this story.

So while this is not an epic, “must read,” it is still a worthwhile novel if you’re looking for a murder mystery that will successfully capture your attention for a few days.

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

journey to munich

In this installment of the adventures of Maisey Dobbs, psychologist and detective, we find Maisey back in London in 1938, still reeling from the loss of her husband but trying to get back into her life.  Feeling like she needs to do something to help someone else – and possibly that she has nothing to lose – she accepts an assignment to go undercover as the daughter of a British businessman held prisoner by the Germans and now being released to her only.  To complicate her mission, she is also asked to bring back from Germany the one young woman Maisie holds most responsible for her husband’s death.  How will she accomplish both of these feats, especially under the careful watch of the Nazi government?

This book series is part detective novel/part historical fiction, with lots of human sensibility to warm up the mix.  Especially in this book, the kindness and forgiveness that Maisie shows, whether toward the man she is asked to bring home or toward the young woman who she is asked to find, shines so particularly bright compared to the darkness of the Nazi regime.  It is interesting that the timing of the story is actually just prior to the German invasion of Austria – really at the beginning of everything – but still she describes the feeling of foreboding, the pall of darkness that pervades the otherwise lively city.  The hope that Maisie clings to is in stark contrast to the evil that is lurking, that has been set into motion.

This is really not a “Holocaust” book per se, and while it is set in the time and place of the Holocaust it does not take the same emotional toll as those books do.  So if you’re planning your reading based on this, don’t worry that you’ll be taken through the same emotional rigors of that.  There is suspense and sadness, but not to the same extent as you would with other books from this period.

I do recommend this book heartily!  Happy reading!



Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)


Once again, JK Rowling as Robert Galbraith, has written a suspenseful and dark — in truth, absolutely gruesome! – novel that was as fun to read as the first two.  This is the third in this detective series starring Cormoran Strike, the very imperfect, one-legged war hero turned PI.  His assistant/partner, Robin, an equally likable character, receives a woman’s severed leg delivered by courier to her at their shared office, and so this murder mystery begins.

The story is told from the perspectives of Cormoran, Robin and the killer (whose identity is not revealed until the end, but whose intentions and very psychotic way of thinking builds more and more suspense) and each of them brings a very dynamic and very human quality to the story.  You really care about each of them (well, not the killer of course) and you can’t stop reading until you know what happens to each of them.  And in this book, we learn more about both Cormoran’s and Robin’s pasts, which are both tragic in their own ways and really create that much more depth to their characters.

There of course is also an underlying attraction/tension between Cormoran and Robin, who are both determined to keep their relationship purely professional.  They clearly have a mutual respect for each other’s intelligence and finesse and they are a great team.  You can’t help wanting them to get together!

So while this book is not for anyone with a weak stomach, most will enjoy the ride!

The Silkworm by Robert Gilbraith (JK Rowling) (migrated from bookblogger)

Once again, JK Rowling hits it out of the park with this somewhat creepy, very suspenseful and fun murder mystery.  Our detective, Cormoran Strike (introduced in the first book in this series, The Cuckoo’s Calling) is approached by the wife of an eccentric author because her husband, who is known to go missing for a few days at a time, has now been missing for about 10 days.  This is problematic, mainly because their daughter, who has special needs, requires constant care and she is having trouble managing without her husband.  Even while everyone surrounding the author feels as though his absence is routine, Strike is suspicious and in spite of himself cares what happens to the wife, even as odd as she is herself.

The detective and hero of the story, Strike, is a completely fallible and endearing character whose complicated past keeps him very real, even as he solves a very tangled web of a murder.  His assistant, Robin, also becomes a more prominent character in this book and their relationship is quite tender even as it is innocent.  As always, Rowling manages to write an intricate plot even as she develops wonderful characters.  You can’t help caring deeply about what happens because they become your friends!

I can’t wait for the next one!

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Gilbraith (JK Rowling) (migrated from bookblogger)

This is a fun read!

   Cormoran Strike, an endearingly flawed private detective with a complicated past, is hired by a lawyer named John Bristow, to investigate his sister’s death, which had been ruled a suicide.  Bristow, distraught over his supermodel sister’s death, does not believe the suicide theory and convinces Strike to pursue the real killer.

   In usual JK Rowling form, the writing is crisp, witty, and engaging and each of the characters is so genuine.  Strike, in particular, evokes such sympathy, affection, and respect, as he goes about his cleverly conducted inquiry with a Columbo-like air of feigned innocence.  In going into Strike’s own story, Rowling makes the mystery almost personal and gives it much deeper dimension.

   And of course, as it is a mystery, the story itself runs through twists and turns and occasionally takes the reader completely by surprise.  It actually made me wonder why I don’t read mysteries more often!

   I’d hurry and read this one — it’s a great summer read and it’s already the end of July!

Safe Haven (migrated from Bookblogger)

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

I believe I saw a trailer for this upcoming movie, which got me interested in reading this book.  It is very. very suspenseful and I can see it being a suspenseful movie as well.

Katie is a mysterious woman who comes to a small town in South Carolina, setting herself up in a small cottage and working at a local restaurant.  She quickly develops a friendship (and then of course, more than a friendship) with a man who owns the local general store.  He is a widow with 2 young children and gracefully accepts that she has a past she is running from.

The past becomes clear as she gradually sheds her terror of her past coming back to haunt her, in the form of her abusive husband from whom she has escaped.  The story flashes back and forth from her perspective to her husband’s as it builds into a very nail-bitingly scary crescendo.  Even while you can guess at some of the story, there are twists and turns and the writing really does have you on the edge of your seat all the way up to the end.  And while some of the details are somewhat gruesome, I imagine that this is the tragic reality of those who really do experience domestic violence.

Now the question is:  do I see the movie or not??