Here is a summary of some of the books I have read so far this year, in the order in which I read them, not by favourites. I mostly like mystery novels and hope you can find something that appeals in the book reviews below.
Crime reporter Harper McClain is back on the beat when a troubled musician vanishes. Even in the chill of February, no place touches McClain’s heart like Savannah. She should be walking beneath the historic city’s towering oaks, surrounded by graceful mansions. Instead, she’s hiding miles away on Tybee Island after a mysterious voice on the phone warns her that someone wants her dead. Her escape is her work at the newspaper, where the hottest story in town is the disappearance of Xavier Rayne, a singer with a hit album.
The Familiar Dark
by Amy Engel
Amy Engel is the author of The Roanoke Girls and the Book of Ivy series. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family.
In this book, Eve Taggert has a miserable upbringing along with her brother Cal. They grow up in a trailer with an alcoholic mother who hits them to teach them a lesson. She gets pregnant at 18 and decides to raise her daughter as best as she can away from her mama. She changes her ways and gets a job at the diner but when Junie is 12, she and her best friend Izzy are murdered. This story is about the spirit of a woman who doesn’t give up.
Emily Koch is an award-winning journalist and graduate of the Bath Spa Creative Writing program. She lives in Bristol, England with her husband and daughter. This is her debut novel, and it kept me riveted. The story is original and heart wrenching. Koch is a great narrator.
Alex is in a coma after a climbing accident; that’s what they believed to be the cause until the investigation is reopened two years later. Alex’s family, girlfriend Bea and close friends visit him regularly. They believe Alex will never recover and debate withdrawing life support; what they don’t know is that Alex can hear everything. Even though he doesn’t recall the accident, he slowly remembers bits and pieces of his life with Bea. He pieces clues together from what his visitors are saying and realizes that his life might still be in danger and Bea’s as well. He needs to figure out who tried to kill him and why.
Peter Swanson is a graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Emerson College. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat. He has written five novels so far and The Kind Worth Killing won the New England Society Book Award.
In this 2019 novel, Hen (short for Henrietta) and her husband Lloyd have just moved into a quiet neighbourhood outside Boston. The couple next door, Mira and Matthew, invite them over for dinner. While they are being given a tour of the house, Hen notices an object that brings back an obsession she has about an unsolved murder that happened years ago. When Hen goes back to her neighbour’s house with an excuse to look at the object one more time, she finds out that it’s gone. What does it mean? Was Matthew involved in a murder? Hen starts digging into the cold case and tries to convince the police and her husband of her suspicions. Matthew finds out what she is up to, and that is the beginning of a terrible nightmare that may put her life in danger.
These books and so many more are available at the Ottawa Public Library!
Sylvie Chartrand is a public service assistant at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.