thrillers august 2021

Mini Book-Reviews, Part Two

 

For the second edition of the mini-book reviews, I have a collection of pretty amazing ones. As I’m falling behind on my reading a little, I only have three for you this time. But three really good ones, in my opinion!

 

A Good Neighborhood, by Therese Ann Fowler a good neighborhood

 

This is the second audiobook I’ve listened to in the last little while, and at times it got me so mad while driving, as I mostly listened to it in my car.

The topics of this book are very current but really unfair and upsetting. I really don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, but it does touch on the subject of racism with a very tragic ending. 

 

Synopsis

 

The characters of the book were mostly unlikeable, except for two of the main characters, students Xavier and Juniper. They seem like the ones who are the more grounded of the bunch and they are not even adults yet. The actual grown-ups, Valerie, Julia, and Brad all seem very self-centered, and they act like entitled brats.

Valerie is Xavier’s mother, an African American professor of ecology. She is widowed and raises Xavier, her biracial son by herself. They manage well on their own, and Xavier is heading out to college in the fall.

The Whitmans, Brad, and Julia move next door to Valerie, and that’s when her problems begin.

At first, Valerie attempts to make friends with Julia, by inviting her to her book club meeting. 

And the two teenagers seem to hit it off.

But when Brad’s contractor cuts down a beloved and historic oak tree from their shared property line, Valerie decides to sue Brad. 

He is somewhat of a local celebrity due to his charismatic personality and his customer service skills, which made him a small fortune. So he is not about to settle. 

Both their stubborn ways, big egos and inability to back down unchain a tragic set of events that could have been avoidable. Unfortunately, no one could have predicted the decisions the characters made.

 

Thoughts

 

In my opinion, the tragic ending could’ve been avoidable. Fowler does have a way of engrossing you in the story and making you feel as if you’re experiencing things firsthand. It was well written from different perspectives, which I throughoutly enjoyed. 

 

The Silence Of The White City by Eva Garcia Saenz

the silence of the white city

 

The Silence of the White City is the first installment in the White City Trilogy, by author Eva Garcia Saenz. The only thing I regret since I started this series is that the following two will be hard to get. Therefore I will have to wait a while before I continue reading it.

But that’s not important right now. Bummer.

The storyline is so good and very well written, and the book gripped me from the first page. Saenz’s style flows, and although there are lots of characters and different timelines, she made it easy to keep up.

 

Synopsis

The city of Vitoria is terrorized by a series of ritualistic murders which start off again after 20 years of silence. The man who was accused of the murders twenty years ago is due to come out of prison in a few days. Everyone still believes that he is the mastermind behind the killings, even from behind bars. 

Inspector Unai Lopez de Ayala, or “Kraken “, as called by his friends, is in charge of the investigation. While he is still dealing with his own personal loss, this investigation is bringing him even closer than he cares to be. He gets personally involved in the murderer’s tangled web.

 

The setting of this book takes place in the beautiful and historic Basque region, where ancient legends, archeology, mythology, and old family secrets are all intermingled in this story.

When the first series of murders took place Ayala was a young adult, still in school, where he is studying to become a criminal psychologist. Even back then he had doubts about the guilt of the accused, as he does now. 

But this killer seems like he’s always two steps ahead, and it leaves the criminal division baffled.

New evidence takes Inspector Ayala and his partner to a surprising and devastating turn of events, that I, for one, didn’t see coming.

 

Thoughts

This chilling investigation is layered and complex, and the ending is truly surprising. I loved every minute of it, and the ending blew my mind  Definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a page-turner. Cannot wait for the next two in this trilogy!

 

The Katharina Code, by Jorn Lier Horst

the katharina code

 

This is another Nordic Noir that I had on my TBR pile for a while. One of my favorite genres, I did enjoy the book a lot, as I knew I would.

 

Synopsis

Twenty-four years ago, Katherina Haugen disappeared. It is one of the most intriguing cases in the area, and it remained unsolved all these years. 

In this cold case police procedural by Jorn Lier Horst, we are introduced to Chief Inspector William Wisting. Wisting visits the woman’s husband on the anniversary of her disappearance every year. This year though, he disappears as well. 

The arrival of Adrian Stiller on the same day as the missing husband causes quite a stir, and the case reopens. There is newfound evidence that points to Martin Haugen, Kathatrina’s husband as the main suspect. Wisting has always suspected him but lacked proof throughout all those years. As they start digging, they realize there is another woman who disappeared around the same time. Nadia Krogh’s body was never found, and the two cases seem like they could be linked.

Wisting’s daughter, Line, a journalist who is just back from her maternity leave gets hired to cover the case. She is a very witty and determined journalist who likes to get to the bottom of things. 

At some point, the father and daughter investigations almost cross as chains of events unfold. 

Thanks to the new technology and a dedicated team of investigators, they finally solve this case. 

 

Thoughts

I found this first book that I read by Horst a well-written Nordic Noir that i definitely recommend.

As you may know already, this is my favorite genre, and it was worth the wait. 

Beautifully plotted and with good follow-through, it offered the reader all the elements of a good thriller: atmospheric themes, suspense, complex characters.   

With a surprising ending, this has become one of my favorite new reads of the year.

 

Closing Remarks

So, I really hope you guys enjoyed my second book review. I really enjoyed those reads, and there’s a good chance at least one of them might make my top ten of the year. We’ll see. I still have a few months, and still, so many books to read.

In the meantime, keep reading fellow bookworms. Let me know which books to add to my neverending TBR list. I always welcome recommendations, as some of you know already!

 

Take care, and I’ll hear from you soon, Anca.

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