Posts Tagged 'Mystery'

The Naturals by Jennifer Barnes

the-naturals

 

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  308

RAC: Yes

Cassie has relied on her ability to read people since the mysterious disappearance of her mother five years ago.  She is surprised, however, when she is recruited to join an elite team in the FBI made up of teens with similar special abilities called The Naturals.  Cassie will be trained as a profiler for the FBI to use on cold cases.  She feels it is important for her to do this since her mother’s disappearance and presumed murder is still unsolved.  Once she starts training, however, she is pulled into an ongoing serial murder investigation in which the killer seems to be taunting the teens in the naturals.  More alarmingly, the case seems to be connected to her mother’s case.  Can they solve the murders or will Cassie become the next victim?

Fans of mysteries will love this new title as it combines an intriguing mystery story with tons of great, albeit mysterious characters so that Cassie does not know whom she can really trust.  The ending is very satisfying and will surprise most of the readers no matter how diligently they have followed the clues leading up to the exciting climax.  The book sets itself up well to become a series which is good because readers will want to see more of these naturals.  Recommended.

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Six Years by Harlan Coben

six years

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  351

RAC:  Yes

Jake Fisher thought he met the girl of his dreams while he was away trying to write his dissertation.  They had a wonderful summer together and he believed they would spend their lives together.  Then, one day she announces that she is going back to her old boyfriend and a few days later Jake receives a wedding invitation to her wedding.  He cannot believe this is happening and has to see it with his own eyes.  When he goes to the wedding she makes him promise not to bother her or her husband ever again.  He promises and does nothing for six years, but then one day he sees the obituary for the man he saw Natalie marry.  He decides to go to the funeral and does not see Natalie as the grieving widow, but instead sees a woman who has been married to this man for many years and they have two teenage kids together.  Where is Natalie?  Why was her husband married to someone else?

Coben has done it again with this exciting mystery.  Jake’s journey takes off immediately after learning that Natalie’s husband is dead.  The more he investigates and looks for her, however, the more dead ends and questions he has.  No one seems to know where Natalie is and some people do not seem to believe she existed in the first place.  The story twists and turns like all of Coben’s best mysteries do and the ending is full of surprises that will satisfy mystery fans.

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

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Genre;  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  350

RAC:  Yes

Nicole is popular, beautiful, and participates in local beauty pageants.  Then one day she is walking down the halls of her high school and someone throws acid into her face burning half of it.  She is horrified and doesn’t know how to continue since everyone has seen her as beautiful her entire life and it has become a part of her identity.  Jay, an outcast who also suffered a terrifying incident at the high school two years earlier, was in the hall during the attack but failed to see who actually threw the acid.  When Nicole and Jay meet in the counselor’s waiting room they begin to start a relationship and Jay becomes obsessed with finding out who attacked Nicole.  He tries not to show it at school, but Jay is actually an accomplished hacker and he begins to investigate who would want to hurt her and the list of suspects is way too long.  Is Nicole safe from any further attack?  Can he help make the perpetrator have to face the punishment he or she deserves?

This is a powerful story that audiences who enjoyed Whatever Happened to Cass McBride or Thirteen Reasons Why would enjoy.  The attack itself was so brutal and personal, but Nicole’s reaction to it is very understandable and almost painful for those around her to watch.  There are many suspects and false leads in the mystery to finding the culprit and the ultimate resolution is both surprising and satisfying, albeit in a sad way.  Issues such as beauty, identity, trust, and even self worth are all discussed in ways that anyone can identify with.

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  377

RAC Book:  Yes

Tansy moves around a lot with her mother and grandfather because her mother is a horror author who needs to feel inspired by her surroundings.  This time they are headed to a small town in Texas where her grandfather grew up.  Her mother even rented out a house that is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a seventeen-year-old boy who committed suicide on the premises many years before.  Tansy does not get too wrapped up in these legends because she is used to it with her mother’s stories, but she does notice a few odd things at this new house.  Her suspicions are further heightened when she looks through the lens of her camera and sees a teenage boy staring back at her.  Can she find out what happened to him all those years ago?  Can she find acceptance in a town that never has newcomers?

Mystery readers will enjoy the intrigue of this ghost tale.  The way Tansy is able to interact with the ghost is very interesting and unique compared to other similar stories.  Some of the details will feel obvious to readers, but they will still find the delivery of the clues captivating.  Tansy’s feelings about moving and insecurities about starting a new school will resonate with other teenagers.  Overall, a very exciting mystery read.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  289

RAC Book:  Yes

Award Winner:  Iowa Teen Award 2009-2010

Jeremy Fink still mourns the loss of his father five years ago, which is why he is so happy when his father sends him a wooden box for his thirteenth birthday.  A lawyer had been holding it for him all this years.  The box claims to have the meaning of life in it, but requires four keys to open and unfortunately, they are lost.  As Jeremy and his best friend, Lizzy try to find the keys they end up meeting a lot of interesting people and Jeremy becomes very interested in their views of the meaning of life and what everyone’s purpose is on earth.  As the journey goes on Jeremy wonders if he is meant to open the box or if he is supposed to learn the meaning of life for himself.

Jeremy Fink’s story seems rather simple at first, but as the story evolves the reader sees that there are in fact many layers to this story as Jeremy learns about himself and all of the people he has developed relationships with.  The characters are interesting in a way that they are easily remembered and the reader cares what they have to say to Jeremy and Lizzy as they go on their quest.  The ending was very satisfying and leaves the reader thinking about Jeremy’s quest and his final conclusions.  Highly recommended for anyone from junior high to adulthood.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

 

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  15 and up

# of Pages: 322

Storm Front is not a new release, but has recently come to my attention.   Fantasy fans should be aware of this series that follows a wizard names Harry Dresden.  He lives a difficult life in which he tries to make a living as a wizard while constantly being monitored by the wizarding counsel who are looking for any excuse to destroy him.  In this first installment, Harry becomes involved in two cases at the same time.  One is a housewife simply looking for her husband who has gone missing, but Harry soon finds that there may be some magic involved in this disappearance.  There have also been some gruesome murders involving magic and everyone automatically assumes that he is to blame since he is the only self proclaimed wizard around.  As he tries to clear his name he becomes aware that he is now the killer’s next target.  How can he compete with someone he has yet to identify?

This story is a lot of fun and includes a basic private investigator theme with magic and fantasy creatures.  There are some sophisticated topics and adult language, which readers should be aware of, but most fantasy readers will enjoy it nonetheless for its intricate plot and carefully integrated details.  It is easy to see why this has been a popular series and I’m glad I was introduced to it.

Demons are Forever by Julie Kenner

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  292

RAC Book:  Yes

Kate Connor has been a demon hunter for a great deal of her life.  Her and her first husband were both demon hunters until they decided to start a family, when they both retired.  Some years later Kate’s husband was mysteriously murdered and she suspected that maybe he had come out of retirement without her knowledge.  Since then she has remarried and had another child, but lately she has been unable to remain retired as demons start infiltrating her safe suburban town.

Kate chooses to tell her daughter, Allie, the truth about what she does and of course Allie wants to become a demon hunter too.  While this causes some stress for Kate her main concern is finding out why there are so many demons around and how she can protect her family from them.  She believes the key to everything might be in her late husband’s possessions that she put into storage, but as she begins to uncover clues she also puts herself and her family into more and more danger.

This humorous tale about a soccer mom who also fights demons on the side has fantasy, mystery, and witty elements that many readers will enjoy.  The story seemed fairly simple at first, but ended up being more complex which makes it a fun ride to the end.  On top of everything else, Kate seems real and flawed in many ways making the story that much more believable.  She is not a superhuman perfect wife and mother who can do it all, which most people can relate to.  Instead, she has to make priorities and hope she is doing the best for her family.  Strongly recommended for those who are fantasy fans.


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