Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

killer instinct

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Green starts her debut YA novel off with a bang, telling readers the book’s narrator not only studies serial killers, but may be one herself.  “Interesting thing is, I am those profiles.  I have urges.  I plot ways to violently make people pay for what they’ve done to others.”  Sounds a little like the HBO tv show Dexter, right?  When the “Decapitator” starts stalking victims in Lane’s own hometown, her FBI mother is right on the case, with Lane secretly reading the files in her mom’s home office at night.  She even installs a nanny-cam to get in on the phone conversations!  When the killer starts contacting Lane personally, she takes it as a challenge to find the killer herself, even if it means becoming the next victim!S.E. Green

This was a fun book–fast-paced, lots of clues about the identity of the killer, and good insight into the protagonist Lane through the use of the first person narration.  I personally found Lane’s voice a little annoying, but was able to let that go when the story began to get exciting.  I would recommend this title to mystery fans, readers who like Dexter and true crime stories, and fans of Jazz Dent books by Barry Lyga.

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i hunt killers          game

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The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

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The Well of Lost Plots  by Jasper Fforde

This title is the third book in the Thursday Next series, focused on a woman who tracks down criminals in the literary world in an alternate universe. Spec Ops Literary Detective Thursday Next has entered the Well of Lost Plots, where unpublished books wait for publication. In an alternate universe of the United Kingdom, Thursday has vanquished master criminal Acheron Hades and fought the all powerful but vicious Goliath Corporation. Having become an agent of Jurisfiction in the Book World, Thursday learns there are schemes and villains in Book World, just as in the Real World. Apprenticed to Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, Thursday uncovers a plan to pervert Book World, limiting the number of times a book may be read, among other nefarious plans. How she works with both fictional and real characters to thwart the plot provides an exciting adventure, laced with much humor.

Those who know me are aware that I have become a huge fan of Jasper Fforde, whose zany plots remind me of Terry Pratchett, another favorite author. How they invent these worlds and populate them with such imaginative characters, both good and bad guys, amazes me. I can recommend these books to all readers looking for unusual reading.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

suicide

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

This engaging thriller is being marketed as  Gone Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why.  I suppose it is a thriller like Gone Girl and does, at least potentially, have a suicide like Thirteen Reasons.  But in my mind, it wasn’t nearly as good as either of those titles.  Not to say it didn’t catch my interest and keep me turning pages, at least for the first half.   June’s former BFF Delia has burned herself to death in a shed behind her house.  At least that’s what the authorities are saying.  But June doesn’t buy that explanation and goes on a hunt to find out who murdered Delia.  Along the way, her boyfriend and Delia’s boyfriend also get involved and there are rumors of conspiracy, illicit sex and betrayal.

While I really enjoyed the first part of the book, the last half sort of dragged by.  And I personally found the end disappointing, but maybe that was just me as a reader.  I would recommend this with caution to readers who like mysteries.

Review by Ms. Provence

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


url-1The Girl on the Train
written by Paula Hawkins is a psychological thriller that takes us throughout the life of Rachel Watson post divorce. Rachel was a drunk and was always described as having an overactive imagination. She finds herself to have a fascination with this young, active couple. Megan, the woman in the relationship was perfect in Rachel’s eyes. Young, attractive, happy. She watched them idly from the train she rode every morning, and she watched as their bond grew and flourished. She envied their new found love until one day, she catches Megan kissing another man. Rage consumed her, she didn’t understand how she could allow her perfect relationship to slip through her fingers. She drowned her rage in alcohol and the next morning she finds herself bruised, and bloodied with no recollection of what happened the night before. She turned on the news and noticed that the headline of the day was that Megan was missing. Rachel finds her world flipped upside down. She is questioned by police, and all fingers point to her being the one who did it. She is fed memories of her actions from her ex-husband Tom but none of it adds up. Did Rachel have something to do with Megan’s disappearance? Or is there a secondary source contributing to this thriller?

Review by Sydney

 

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Image result for lost in a good book by jasper ffordeLost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next, a literary detective in the Special Operations division, has become famous for her work trapping a villain in the pages of Jane Eyre. Set in an alternate universe centered in England, Thursday and he husband Landon start noticing bizarre coincidences that put their lives in danger. Thursday’s father, a renegade time traveler being hunted by the ChronoGuard, keeps finding her in the past and future to warn her about a mysterious substance that will destroy the world if she doesn’t stop it. At the same time Thursday keeps meeting Miss Havisham from Great Expectations to be trained as a book jumper. As the plot threads begin to merge and the characters keep meeting, the book becomes even more engaging. The second in the Thursday Next series, Lost in a Good Book continues Jasper Fforde’s wildly inventive and humorous universe created in The Eyre Affair. While having read the works of literature mentioned is not necessary, familiarity with their plots gives the reader a deeper understanding of this book. Fforde even brings in a character from his Nursery Crime series. This book is great fun and well worth the reader’s time.

Lost in a Good Book sub index

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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All Fall Down  by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #1)

Ally Carter, author of the popular Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series, has written the first book in a new series: Embassy Row. Sixteen year old Grace has been sent to live with her grandfather, the American ambassador to the European county of Adria, while her Army father is deployed. Grace has not been to Adria for 3 years, when her mother died in front of her. While Grace has been told her mother died in a fire, Grace is sure she was shot by a man with a scar. Grace has resolved to stop reckless behavior from her younger years so her grandfather will be proud of her, but can’t seem to change her habits. Grace and other “embassy brats” whose parents represent different countries follow suspicious characters through ancient tunnels, sure they are on the track of a nefarious plot. What they find surprises them.

I have been a devoted fan of Ally Carter’s two series and am waiting for the next installment in this series.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

MR MERCEDES

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Setting aside his usual horror tropes for this title, King shows readers he’s not afraid the take on the detective novel.  It’s still scary, but this time in a crazy human way with no help needed from the supernatural.  In the early morning hours of a depressed Midwest city, the promise of one thousand jobs has hundreds of unemployed folks lined up at the civic center for a job fair.  Some of them have been there since the previous evening, hoping to be some of the lucky ones who may be able to pay next month’s rent.  Just before 5 A.M., a gray Mercedes sedan plowed into the crowd, backed up, ran over more innocents, then somehow escaped off into the early morning mist.  The escaped mass murderer is nicknamed Mr. Mercedes and still haunts the lead detective from the case, even though Bill Hodges retired months ago from the police force.  Like so many retired police officers he knows, Hodges now has little to live for and spends his days in front of the television, toying with his father’s old Smith & Wesson 38 service revolver.  “On a couple occasions he has slid it between his lips, just to see what it feels like to have a loaded gun lying on your tongue and pointing at your palate.”  His suicidal thoughts stop quickly when he receives a crank letter from someone identifying himself as the Mercedes Killer, and taunting Hodges about spying on him and his now-empty life.  While the letter claims that the killer has had his fill of violence, the former detective knows that’s not how serial killers work, and the book becomes a fast-paced, high stakes hunt as Hodges tries to find the shrewd killer before he strikes again.

If you are expecting another fabulous horror story like The Stand or It, you will not find it here.  That being said, I still think this is a super fun book and was hardly able to put it down.  King is a master of suspense, and this latest title proves that in a new way.  I highly recommend this to Stephen King and mystery/suspense fans.

running man          joyland