Author: Alex North
Published: July 7, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Dates Read: July 28- August 6, 2020
You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.
Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.
It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.
It wasn’t just the murder.
It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…
After last year’s The Whisper Man did not work for me, I was not going to read North’s newest. But then I read the description, and I decided to give it a chance and this was the wrong decision for me. The Shadows had everything I would be interested in, but it didn’t work out for me. When we found out what happened to Charlie… Ok …. Whatever.. No big deal for me.
The one thing I did actually like was the reference to The Whisper Man in The Shadows, these books are in the same universe! And the covers both just belong together.
I think some of what might not have worked for me was the back and forth nature along with all the lucid dreaming stuff. These boys think they were having the same dream/can make things happen in their dreams.
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but all books/authors are not for everyone and sadly, after both of Alex North’s book failed to deliver for me I have decided he is an author I need to just stay away from.
Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Books for granting an audiobook copy to listen to and review via Netgalley.
A Good Marriage
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Published: May 5, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
Dates Read: July 17-27, 2020
Big Little Lies meets Presumed Innocent in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, in which a woman’s brutal murder reveals the perilous compromises some couples make—and the secrets they keep—in order to stay together.
Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.
No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.
The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.
As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.
This was another so-so thriller that had promise. The description is intriguing, but it did not totally deliver for me. It does show one thing that people do their best to hide: Things are not always how they appear. You think your friend has a great marriage? You better think otherwise!
We have multiple points of views for this novel: Lizzie who is an attorney, Amanda the murder victim, grand jury testimonies from the night of the murder, and confidential memos. They normally would all be interesting for me, especially the testimonies where people HAD to be there because they were subpoenaed. It’s all about the secrets people have!
Amanda was murdered after she attended a ‘special party’ of the wealthy in the area. This is where secrets are known and what happens upstairs stays there. Amanda’s husband Zach is arrested for assaulting a police officer after finding her dead, and he is being held under suspicion of Amanda’s murder. He contacts Lizzie as they were old law school buddies: He wants her only her- and only her- to defend him.
Things are far from what they seem and everyone has many secrets. There is even a little side story of cyber-crime where certain people’s (even their teenager’s) secrets may be exposed.
I honestly don’t know what this one did not totally intrigue me, as it has everything that usually does work for me. Maybe I am in a ‘thriller slump’ as the last few I read have not worked for me. I do have several more thrillers upcoming that need to be read, and I am hoping maybe one of those will ‘bring me back’ to really enjoying them again. Maybe it was because this was an audiobook and it just didn’t work well in that format; perhaps this is one that should actually be read. It’s not the book’s fault, it is me in this case. I would definitely give the author another try.[Top]
The Safe Place
Author: Anna Downes
Published: July 14, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Dates Read: July 5-July 20, 2020
Emily is a mess.
Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.
Emily is desperate.
Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.
Emily is perfect.
Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.
Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downs’s debut is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.
Welcome to paradise…will you ever be able to leave?
This one was an average read for me. We had multiple points of view (both Emily and Scott with Nina thrown in from time to time) which I always enjoy.
From the beginning we see Emily have a really bad day which starts with losing her temporary job and agent. Then we have a chapter with Scott’s POV and we know from then that something is not right, we know he has something planned and that plan involves Emily.
Needing a job and now her former boss comes to’ her rescue’ with another job offer (The warning bells should have been going off right there Emily!) Emily takes it. She ends up in a secluded home with Scott’s wife Nina and their child Aurelia. But they are in the middle of nowhere with no phone reception or internet, and Nina will not let Emily into the family home. Emily is cut off from everything/everyone. Once Emily realizes things are amiss, it might already be too late.
I did not figure out the twist, but I should have as the signs were there. . It would be a bit of a predictable novel and the ending did not totally deliver. This is a first novel for Anna Downes and I would give her another try.
**Many thanks to the publisher Minotaur Books for sending me a copy to read and review**