Consolidation

FYI, The Brown Booknook is being discontinued as a separate blog. All of my posts will now be found on The Brown Bookloft.

Gale Zasada, The Brown Bookloft.

Killman Creek and Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (Stillhouse #2 and #3)

Publication Info: Killman Creek Published December 12th 2017 by Thomas & Mercer. Kindle edition read via Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Wolfhunter River Published April 23rd 2019 by Thomas & Mercer. Kindle edition purchased from Amazon.com.

Summary: Killman Creek and Wolfhunter River continue the nail-biting tribulations of Gwen Proctor and her family.  In Killman Creek, Gwen’s ex-husband, serial killer Mel Royal, escapes from prison and torments his former wife and children. He intends to kill his wife and daughter and turn his son into a killer like himself. In Wolfhunter River, Gwen hopes to get a fresh start but is once again hounded by the Internet trolls and the mainstream media. A woman whose daughter was one of Mel’s victims has decided to make Gwen the target of her well financed anger. She is determined to prove that Gwen helped her husband murder her daughter and others. Gwen not only has to deal with her, but also crooked law enforcement and a deranged cultist.

Comments: These books are “keep you up way too late at night” page-turners. Killman Creek was my least favorite in the series, mostly because Mel Royal is out of prison and a real threat. I swore off serial killer books years ago. The first book in the series, Stillhouse Lake, which I previously reviewed, was a refreshing change in the genre as it focused on his wife and family. It also highlighted the devastating effects of social networking on innocent people. While the shadow of Melvin Royal still hangs over the Proctor family, Wolfhunter River returns its focus to Gwen, her children and Sam, the new man in Gwen’s life. There are twists and turns in all of these books that border on the bizarre, but they are oh-so entertaining anyway.

Readers should suspend disbelief and just enjoy the wild ride.

Recommended for readers of psychological suspense and thrillers.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Publication Info: Published July 1st 2017 by Thomas & Mercer. Kindle edition free from Prime Reading by Amazon Books. Other editions available.

Summary: Gina Royal’s life changed forever when a car ran into her garage. The gaping hole in the building revealed a dark secret that her husband, Mel, kept from everyone for years: he was a serial killer.Stillhouse Lake

Now Gina is on the run with her two teenage children. Initially under suspicion by the police as an accomplice to her husband’s evil deeds, she was exonerated by the legal system, but not by the court of public opinion. Internet trolls, the bored, the crazy and anyone cowardly enough to throw the first stone behind a wall of anonymity attack Gina relentlessly. The threats arrive daily. Some are just disturbing but others cross the line into reality.

Forced to change their identities over and over, Gina, now Gwen, is tired of running. In the quiet community of Stillhouse Lake, she longs to find a place where she and her children can settle down and stay put. Her kids need some solidity in their lives.  But then a murdered woman is found in the lake. The evidence points to Mel Royal’s M.O. but he’s in jail. Gwen knows someone is out to frame her. But can she prove her innocence before she and her family have to disappear again?

Comments: O M G. I couldn’t put this one down. I swallowed Stillhouse Lake whole and got my hands on the second in the series post haste. Several years ago, I swore off serial killer books. But this is different. The focus is on one of the living victims–the killer’s wife. This book also brings into sharp focus the dangers of living in the internet age, in which anyone can be attacked and tracked anonymously.

Fans of psychological suspense should make this book a top priority on their reading lists.

Evans Above by Rhys Bowen

Publication Info: Published November 15th by St. Martin’s Press. I read the Kindle edition courtesy of my local library. Other editions and publishers available. This is the first book in the Evan Evans series.

Summary: The town of Llanfair is nestled between the peaks of Glyder Fawr and Yy Wyddfa in Wales. The mountains are popular hiking spots for tourists and locals. The Everest Inn, run by Major Anderson, rents rooms to the tourists. Evans Above

One day, Major Anderson alerts Constable Evan Evans that a hiker staying at his inn has gone missing. A few hours later, a body is found at the base of a cliff, obviously dead from a fall. But then another body is found nearby, also the victim of a fall. The detectives called in to investigate declare the two deaths as unfortunate, coincidental accidents, but Constable Evans suspects they were murdered. After a third hiker is found a few days later with his throat slit, it is obvious there is a killer wandering the hills above Llanfair.

Comments: Despite the number of murders in this book, it falls on the edges of the cozy mystery category. I’d call it a gentle police procedural. The book is peopled with quirky characters. Between investigating the murders, Constable Evans has do deal with such crimes as trampled vegetable beds and a missing apple pie.

I found Evans Above to be a completely charming story. I’ve reviewed other Rhys Bowen books and am a fan of her writing. When I could finally get my hands on her first book, I was delighted. While it is obviously less polished than her later work, I was not disappointed and plan to read more in the series. (Rhys Bowen did publish a few things before Evans Above under a different name. A list of her works and her bio can be found on her website https://rhysbowen.com).

Recommended for readers of cozy mysteries and mystery fans looking for something a bit lighter. And, of course, for anyone who loves Rhys Bowen’s books!

Tombquest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop

Publication Info: Published January 27th 2015 by Scholastic Inc. Other editions available.

Comments: I don’t usually mention children’s books on my site, but when my nine-year-old grandson, Orion,  told me it was his “favorite book ever” and was very exited about doing a book report on it, I just had to read it. (Book reports apparently aren’t just writing stilted paragraphs anymore. This one included designing and making a t-shirt with the book title and his name in hieroglyphics.)

Tombquest book 1

Tombquest: Book of the Dead is the first in a five book series. Orion discovered book 5 at his karate camp after school program, devoured it, then asked for the rest of them. Considering that he’d rather be computer gaming than reading, I decided to find out what piqued his interest. The book mostly takes place in the Egyptology section of a museum. Orion said he loved the setting and the facts about mummies. (My father, his great grandfather, used to hang out for hours in the Egyptology section of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. as a kid. Gotta love genetics.)

The setting is real but the book is definitely in the fantasy genre. The book is about a boy whose mother works in the museum. The boy has a mysterious fatal illness. After he dies his mother brings him back to life using spells from The Lost Spells of the Book of the Dead. There are serious consequences and evil must be conquered sometime in the next four books.

I admit that despite my rather cliche plot summary, the book had me hooked. Aimed at 10-12 year olds, this book is designed to capture the imagination. Kids don’t get caught up in details the way adults do and forgive plot flaws to just enjoy the ride. I’m glad I’m still enough of a kid to have had fun reading this one.

Thanks for the book recommendation, Orion!