Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. Kate Atkinson is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I was very excited to hear that after a few novels’ hiatus, she was returning to write about the detective Jackson Brodie. She is such a skilled author that reading her books is a treat – you can relax, knowing that you are in excellent hands, and enjoy the mystery as it unfolds. Jackson has moved to be closer to his ex, Julia, and his son, Nathan, and as per usual, crimes seem to find him. He is hired by a woman who thinks she is being followed, plus he witnesses a young hitchhiker picked up by a suspicious older man and his wheels start a-turning. It is a fast, fun, and suspenseful read.
Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. I first read this a few years ago when it came out and loved it. I got it out to loan to Sean because I thought he might like it, but then I took it back because I wanted to read it again. I did and it was just as good as the first time. Haupt is very knowledgeable about birds, and it is a book about seeing crows in the urbs and suburbs, but it is also about living on this planet amongst birds and animals, the changes to our planet, and life in general. I don’t always agree with Haupt, but her writing is intelligent and thought-provoking and I highly recommend.
He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly. This was an excellent train read, except that I got so involved in it I kept almost missing my train stops. Laura and Kit are a new couple back in the nineties when they go to watch an eclipse in Cornwall and end up stumbling upon a rape in progress. They help the woman and, as witnesses, later testify in the trial of the rapist. The book goes back and forth between the events of the past and the current time, in which they are living undercover so that the woman who was being raped can’t find them. It goes back and forth from Laura’s story to Kit’s, both of whom are keeping secrets from each other. It is well planned and a really good read.
The Darkness and The Island by Ragnar Jonasson. I read two Icelandic mysteries by Jonasson featuring a detective named Hulda Hermansdottir. They were both good, light reads – light not in subject matter but in depth. They read quickly and don’t have much variety of detail. In the first, Hulda is on the job, when she is told by her boss that she is being forced to retire. She has two weeks left to work and is told to pick a cold case to work on. She does, and starts finding out information about an immigrant whose death was declared a suicide, but who Hulda expects was murdered. Hulda has many past traumas which are brought to light as she works on the case. It has an ending which keeps the reader hanging. Then I read the second book in the series (there are only two books so far), but it begins chronologically many years before the events of the first book. It’s similar to the first: an okay mystery with interesting scenery, but nothing spectacular. A young woman was killed ten years ago and a group of her friends get together to reminisce, when things go awry.
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda. This was a really fun read and I recommend it. It takes place in a fictional town in Maine; Avery is a townie who has a career as a property manager for rentals owned by a wealthy family who summers there. The time swings back between a year ago, when Avery’s best friend, Sadie, was found dead, to now, when Avery begins to find out things about Sadie’s death which she finds perplexing. It’s a good mystery and very well written. Miranda is great with detail and she does a very satisfying wrap-up at the end.
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I liked The Last House Guest so much that I moved straight on to another of her books (she has many! Yay!), and liked this one even more. Leah is a journalist, who has become a teacher and randomly moved to Western Pennsylvania with an old friend who was relocating there. The friend, Emmy, has a night job, and it takes awhile for Leah to realize that she hasn’t seen her in a few days. She is finally concerned enough to contact the police, and when she does so, the police, after investigating, don’t quite believe this person exists. Leah then sets out to both find her friend and figure out what has happened. It is so well done and well written and was an excellent read.
Conviction by Denise Mina. I love all of Denise Mina’s books, but this one is definitely one of her best. It was such a good read and a good idea. The main character is Anna, who begins her day looking forward to listening to a podcast once her kids are off to school. When she does so, she realizes that the true crime podcast features someone that she used to know. When her current life situation is upended unexpectedly, she decides on a whim to figure out what really happened to her old friend. She keeps referring to episodes of the podcast, which are printed out, and then ends up starting a podcast of her own, while now totally mixed up in the mystery featured in the original podcast. It is really suspenseful and such a good read. I highly recommend!