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Book Review | Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

From the publisher: Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold. Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

I grabbed this for airport/plane entertainment because I wanted an adrenaline rush and I’m really good at freaking myself out, and I’m a local woman! But… no adrenaline rush. Bummer. This required way too much suspension of disbelief…

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Book Review | Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

From the publisher: If you’re on the list, someone wants you dead.

Creepy yet oddly mesmerizing mystery with an unusual narrative style. Nine people are on a list that is mailed (or in one case, hand-delivered) to them. Then it becomes clear that someone is killing the nine people on the list. There is a lot of jumping around in point-of-view. We hear not just from the people on the list but from law enforcement and a hired killer. Some of the people on the list are not nice people. Some are. Two form a relationship because of the list. And then their points of view stop adding to the story as each is killed in turn.

It’s kind of a weird way to tell a tale, but it worked for me as a reader. The book pays homage to Agatha Christie’s classic mystery And Then There Were None. I’ve read it before…

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Book Review | White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

From the publisher: The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson!

White Smoke is about a blended family who moves from California to the Midwest to get a fresh start after main character Marigold’s drug problem messes up their lives. Unfortunately, their new house seems to be haunted, and something – or someone – wants them gone.

Former track star Marigold has a serious phobia of bedbugs, which drives her to obsessively clean every surface of her home, regard all specks of dust or…

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Book Review | The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz

From the publisher: Everyone has the same questions about best friends Owen and Luna: What binds them together so tightly? Why weren’t they ever a couple? And why do people around them keep turning up dead? The Accomplice examines the bonds of shared history, what it costs to break them, and what happens when you start wondering if you ever truly knew the only person who truly knows you.

This book has a hook. I still can’t identify what it is, exactly, but once I started reading I wasn’t going to stop. Luna and Owen have a frankly strange relationship. They are very good friends who make Luna’s husband say that he and Owen’s wife Irene “had a similar sense of being the third wheel in our own marriages.” (p. 157 of the Advance Reader Copy)

Luna and Own have both been on the periphery of more deaths than is normal for a…

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Book Review | A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

From the publisher: When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath. Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren’t actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?

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Book Review | They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

From the publisher: Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, Dr. Clark searches for the worst man at Gorman University—professor, student, or otherwise—and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself…but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Dr. Clark insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year…

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Book Review | The Guest List by Lucy Foley

From the publisher: On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

I remember a lot of hype and buzz about this book last summer, and now that I’ve (finally) gotten around to reading it for a “mystery” Halloween bingo square, I see what all the fuss…

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Book Review | The Last Guest by Tess Little

From the publisher: A glamorous birthday dinner in the Hollywood Hills ends with the famous host dead and every guest under suspicion in this dark, cinematic suspense debut.

The Last Guest is a different kind of psychological thriller than most I’ve read lately. It’s not so much about “who done it” as “what happened” and “what led to this.” It’s about the unraveling of relationships, the consequences of one’s actions, and the fakeness of Hollywood.

I’ve seen The Last Guest described as a locked room mystery, which I think will, unfortunately, lure in some readers who won’t like it. While the murderer (if the party host…

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Book Review | Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

From the publisher: When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past. Both a brilliant satire on the world of books and writers and an immensely enjoyable locked-room mystery, A Line to Kill is a triumph—a riddle of a story full of brilliant misdirection, beautifully set-out clues, and diabolically clever denouements.

Anthony Horowitz is the author of a popular teen spy series, adult mysteries, and a number…

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Book Review | While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

From the publisher: From celebrated national leader and bestselling author Stacey Abrams, While Justice Sleeps is a gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

While Justice Sleeps is an intricately plotted thriller. Sharp and fast paced, it covers a lot of ground. The author clearly knows her way around DC, the federal government, and the Supreme Court. Main character Avery Keene is biracial and has a drug addict mother, allowing Abrams to touch on issues of race and family, addiction and loss. Avery is smart…

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