Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mini-Reviews: Crime/Domestic Suspense Three Ways

From Goodreads:
Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. 

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past. 

This time there’s nowhere left to run. 
Perfect Chevy Stevens fare.  If you're in the mood for suspense that features heavy emphasis on relationships and family, always turn to Stevens.  She's known for psychological/domestic suspense that has high stakes and moments of thrills, but is largely about the people and how they relate to each other.  In this case, we get to know three sisters who experience a horrific childhood and traumatic events that will change how each of them see life.  And of course, the stakes are revealed as the sister grow up and have to face their past.  It's well-done and makes for great easy, if not necessarily light, reading.  It's not going to take more than a few sittings to get through and I recommend it if you're a fan of the author or genre.  There isn't anything particularly groundbreaking or original here, but it was a fun and diverting read.  Fair warning: sexual violence plays a role in the book and is seen "on screen", not just alluded to.

From Goodreads:

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.
It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them. 
Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense...
I'd say this is the literary equivalent of Criminal Minds or SVU.  In my mind, this is a compliment.  I absolutely devour long-running crime dramas with an episodic emphasis and maybe a few recurrent plot lines.  It's what makes up my idea television programming.  So the book equivalent is something I enjoy just as much.  Both, of course, are for pleasure viewing and not really about edification of the mind.  If tv crime isn't your thing, compare to a UK version of Karin Slaughter or Jo Nesbo.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be continuing the series as it's released.  This is the one exception to my "series must be complete before I begin" rule - anything so episodic that I don't need to reread previous titles for important information.  I think this will be a perfect series to add to my collection.  Some violence, some sex, but no sexual violence that I can remember.

From Goodreads:
A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. 
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past—what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died? 
If you're looking for straight up domestic suspense without the crime angle, this is going to be a perfect fit.  No crimes are committed, you're not going to be faced with gore, sex, or overt violence, but it's still a creepy, unsettling story.  I love me some creepy kids, and Kirstie/Lydia is definitely a creepy kid.  Angus and Sarah are also on the creepy spectrum and make for great unreliable narrators - you never really know whose version of events to trust.  Add in a mysterious and secluded island and I'm hooked.  I think I read this in two nights and probably could have done it in one sitting if I didn't have to work the next day.  I enjoyed the ending, but it's somewhat ambiguous and those who need a concrete explanation for every little thing may be disappointed.

Thanks to a combination of NetGalley and my public library for providing me with access to all three of these titles!

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