November Book Reviews by Robin

ChicksInstruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson. Complicated historical fiction mystery. A little sluggish here and there, but for the most part enjoyable. The story includes the usual women’s rights, by way of Harriet Westerman, the unconventional head of a household with a husband at sea. Harriet teams up with her eccentric neighbor, Gabriel Crowther, who just happens to study “specimens” in an effort to tell the hidden story through early evidence examination. There are a LOT of characters in this book and at times I had to flip back and take note. I was glad I was reading it in the old fashioned hard copy, not on my ipad or Kindle. Apparently there are more novels featuring Westerman and Crother and I plan to read them. Rate: 4.0

All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg. A timely, if difficult read. The story of three women who meet in an online support group for Breast Cancer victims. It was strange, a book about women and their internal thoughts, written by a man. He does a good job, but I felt the shadow of the male interpretation all while I was reading. Would I have felt this if I didn’t know a man wrote it? Who knows? Anyway, it is an “okay” novel, pretty cliche as far as love and struggles go. Rate: 2.5

Trial by Fire by J.A. Jance. Another paperback mystery, but I needed it! Love how quick and easy a read this one was. I enjoyed that it took place in Sedona, Prescott and Phoenix, places I have some knowledge of. I like the Ali Reynolds series – they are consistent without being repetitive. This novel jumps from the victims POV to Ali’s, increasing the tension in a delightful way. Rate: 3.5

The Invisible Ones by Steff Penney. My mother, avid reader and library book store volunteer, passed this one along. I really liked it! Private Investigator Ray Lovell starts us off from his hospital bed, so there is a double mystery – how did he get here and where is Rose Janko, the woman he has been hired to find. This book had good flow and good introduction of “clues”. Rate: 4.0

The Secret Place by Tana French. Sadly, I always forget to mention Tana French as one of my favorite writers. Her stories are police/detective mysteries, but so much more. French has a certain unique way of drawing you so very deep into multiple characters, it is sometimes hard to say who the main character is! (Well, not really, but you get it.) I also like how she often uses one of the supporting characters from one book to become the main character for the next. Of course, when a few years has passed between reading this leads me to go back and read again! In this story Detective Stephen Moran jumps into action, long with Detective Antoinette Conway, to investigate a year old murder which took place in an exclusive girls school. I love how French drops hints and clues, but I also know that she is fantastic at leading the reader in the wrong direction, my favorite kind of mystery! Rate: 4.5

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