Our House – Murder and Mayhem Monday

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There is nothing that I love more than a good noir read and Our House, by Louise Candlish, is domestic noir at its finest.

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Fiona “Fi,” arrives home from a trip to find her house is being occupied by a new couple and her kids are missing! Immediately one would think the worst – home invasion, kidnapping…. but no, this couple claims to have purchased Fi’s home from Fi and her husband, Bram. After this foundation is laid, the book continues the story of Fi and Bram told retrospectively: Fi tells her woeful tale via a podcast and Bram tells his version of events via a suicide note. This method of storytelling actually works and is an interesting way of presenting both sides of story.

Fi and Bram’s lives are so convoluted that, at times, it made it difficult to connect with the characters. On the other hand, Candlish created a character, in Bram, who was so well developed that I came to despise the man. It has been a while since I have felt so strongly about a book character. In the end, there is a twist – not one for the sake of twisting – but something we, as readers, should have figured out from the clues but I suspect most, like me, do not and will not see this coming. And then there is the ENDING. The last paragraphs of the book were brilliance. Nope, never ever would I have suspected that ending but, again, it was perfection.

Yes, I am being somewhat vague regarding the plot and storyline. There are too many reviews out there with subtle spoilers and this book is better read blindly with no preconceived ideas of the storyline. I am not going to be the reviewer that ruins the noir element for you.  Our House is one fabulous book for readers of noir fiction, especially if you like a darker domestic tale.

I am so appreciative of the book that I received from the Berkley Publishing Group and Louise Candlish.

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Revelation

What a flashback! I felt as though I was reading the origins of Charles Manson throughout the entire book!

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In Revelation, Carter Wilson brilliantly captures the mind and actions of a socio-psychopath on his rise to greatness and power and ultimately illustrates the carnage of broken human lives that are left in their wake.

When three college students invite a fourth to share their apartment, they had no idea of the darkness that was lurking in his soul. This is not a religious book; it is a book about mind-control, leaders and followers and of those who dare to question the leaders’ power and validity.

Wilson giftedly crafts a tale of a man, Coyote, who is a charmer, a charlatan, a mystic who easily get others to follow him. But this isn’t just the story of Coyote but also of Harden, a man who wants to like Coyote but who sees through his act into the evil that is always there. What happens when these two men cross each other is a story of horror, suspense and even surprise.

I want to tell you that this is a “can’t put down” read but, for me, it was more of a rush read. I had to know what happened to these four men, I had to know how the story would end. I wanted to read all of the minutia that comprised Coyote’s demented but brilliant mind but there simply was too much filler. There were times when I felt as though I was reading the same paragraph over and over when, in fact, I was not. Had there been better editing, some of the repetitiveness cut from the book, it would have been a 5 star read. Instead it is a stellar 3.5, rounded up to 4 star, with high points for originality and character development.

Sunburn

iuLaura Lippman is one of my go-to authors for good crime fiction with a strong female lead. I assumed that was what I would be reading when I picked up her latest work, Sunburn. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the best works of modern Noir with a classic touch that I have read in a long time. Lippman has created a femme fatale character that stands her ground with any of Chandler’s characters and then some!

The book opens with two strangers in a bar – yep – a gorgeous woman with a sunburn and a handsome man who cannot stop watching her. You would think that this is a set up for an old classic movie but you soon find that the peeling layers of skin from Polly’s sunburn are metaphors for the multiple layers after layers of secrets, lies and deceits that these characters have brought to the table.

Polly, a mother of two abandoned children – or is she? A murderess or battered wife protecting herself and her child… And who is Greg really? An admirer? Her savior or another pawn  who Polly is willing to use in her machinations of deceit?

This is a hard-boiled classic noir tale of domestic intrigue that will have you rapidly turning pages to discover the truth – if you can. 5 golden stars and high recommendations for this incredible book.