Marlene’s October Book Reviews



Moonglow by Michael Chabon. Grandfather is dying and with pain-meds he opens up to his grandson with stories upon stories of his life exploits, foibles, accomplishments and mishaps as well as love and loyalty. The grandfather thinks that he didn’t do anything worthwhile with his life but through the grandson (and excellent prose) we get to know this strong and sensitive man. It’s not a story with plot and action but rather several afternoons of interesting story telling.  There are heart-wrenching stories as well as funny ones and tender ones as well as brutal portrayals.  Chabon’s writing will have you re-reading just to savor the prose. 4.0

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Parks. Oh my, oh my, such a psychological thriller to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a tale of terror, addiction and just pure evil. I kept listening, hoping for something positive to happen but early on the ending HAS to happen, right? I surely hope there are not people like this out in the world. Characters are a bit shallow and it seems implausible that no one had any clues right from the beginning. I am getting chills just writing this review. It makes me want to look more closely at people I know! A fast listen/read and not for the faint of heart. 3.0

A Great Reckoning by Louise Perry.  Perry brings the community of Three Pines, peopled by some rather unique characters into play once more and they will entertain you no end! While these old favorites are a delight we are introduced to some new players, also finely tuned characters. It’s a murder mystery in Quebec at the police academy with many twists and turns. First rate mystery for the cadets to solve while in training for the “real” world.  3.2

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo.  This is another Harry Hole novel with the brilliant, unorthodox murder detective with demons of his own to battle. He is called out of retirement to help solve brutal murders. Be aware that this writer is so talented he “paints” graphic images that just shout out and make the reader wince, the heart hurt and the mind amping up the  plea: will-this-story-please-end-so-we-know-the-culprit-is-caught. This is not a light summer read that will make you feel good. Nesbo, with his excellent character development and intense plot threads  leaves no stone unturned. You will feel the pain and the angst. While this just be over the top with gore and evil, it is the best of Norse Noir and I couldn’t stop listening. Proceed at your own risk. 4.0


Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klin.  Another book I couldn’t stop reading. This story, based on little-known US historical event is tender and sweet while wrenching with your emotions. It’s the story of two women who seems to be so different from one another but the reader, bit by bit, follows along the two time lines to find they are more alike than different. There are some scenarios that are stretching credibility (does anyone searching for seeds of adoption find things in an afternoon at the library?) but I tossed them all aside to continue the journey. Loved the book and read it at one go (helps when I drank tea too late in the day!).  4.3

Whistling Season by Ivan Doig.  I turned my neighbors on to this wonderful author and now they are supplying me with many of his novels.  Marvelous!  We are in the mid-west again in the early 1990s with some unforgettable characters. Doig takes charge in time and place so well that we end up living next door to these delightful, idiosyncratic  characters, each with their dreams and challenges to overcome life’s lessons. It will deliver you right into the midst of one-room schoolhouses and I guarantee you will think differently about them after reading this novel. I may have read this before as parts seemed awfully familiar but I couldn’t find it in my prior reviews.  If I did, it was worth a second read. Doig is a master story-teller!  4.0  I have to admit that The Bartender’s Tale is still my favorite but my dear neighbors have 6 more Doig books!


 “The Glass Castle” Bring your hanky! I almost missed this movie after depressing comments from a friend but then recently we learned from another friend that this could have been her story. I then just HAD to go see it. Here’s the synopsis from “A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.”  The cast of characters were well selected and perform at the top of excellence. The film is based on the true story by Jeannette Walls and you will be cheering the kids on throughout the unfolding of a wild ride with these two inept parents whose eyes are on free-style living instead of providing for their children. Heart-wrenching to say the least! Now I have to go and read the book as we readers all know that the book is always better than the movie.  With a movie of this caliber we know the book will be great! 4.5


Happy reading, listening and viewing.


Ratings: 1-5,

5 = must read

4= good read worth your time,  but not a blockbuster

3=it’s not great, but it’s not bad, cautious recommend

2= some merit but only if you have nothing else to read

1=don’t bother