Robin’s September Book Reviews

img_1126In the Not Quite Dark: Stories by Dana Johnson Straight to the heart, these stories describe the “normalcy” of real life, the strange feelings about who we are, who we become, where we live. Of course there is nothing normal about any of it. Johnson has great Voice and took me into a world that is not my own with a burst of emotion. Rate: 4.0

The Three Weissmanns of Westport. by Cathleen Schine. An entertaining novel, much more humorous than serious. A fun read, but lots of gaps if you are into deep or meaningful fiction. The story of poor Betty Weismann, who has just been dumped after 38 years of marriage. She moves to Westport with her adult daughters and we get love, impulsive behaviors, inner turmoil, all in a funny tone. Rate: 3.5

The Last Detective, by Peter Lovesey I really enjoyed this book. Each section comes from different character’s point of view, with very smooth transitions. The psychology of leading the reader here and there to solve the mystery was great (although I did have an aha moment early on, because the foreshadowing is nicely done). A nude female corpse floating in a lake, soap opera stars, college professors, and just for good measure a touch of Jane Eyre. Rate: 4.0

The Good Sister by Drusilla Campbell. By all rights this should have been a good book. I can’t put my finger on exactly why it fell flat for me. It is the story of two sisters, one who battles mental illness, wrapped in the tale of a trial when she has attempted to kill her children. Sounds a bit like a thriller with that description, but it is not. It could also be a deep emotional exposition, but it is not that either. It isn’t a bad book, just kind of there for me. I can only rate it a 2.5.

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith. I never could get into his series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, but I really liked this book. Which is not part of the series. He has a clever way of taking us on a train journey with four strangers and providing stories of love, loss and personal choice. Well done. Rate: 4.0