Posts Tagged 'Mystery'

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Genre: Historical Mystery

In this fun retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Lizzie is desperate to work for her father’s law firm, but he has kept her to the side working small office jobs because he doesn’t think it’s proper for a young lady to aspire to become a lawyer. Meanwhile, the heir to his estate, a dour Mr. Collins, is working at the firm and frequently takes credit for Lizzie’s work as he seems to have very little work ethic himself. Lizzie’s mom would love to see one of their five daughters marry Mr. Collins so that they will not be turned out of their house when Lizzie’s dad eventually dies. Lizzie has made it clear she has no interest in Mr. Collins and finds him rather repulsive. When Lizzie learns that there has been a murder and a Mr. Bingley has been accused of the crime, she immediately feels this is her shot to prove to her father that she can be a valuable asset to the firm. She goes to the jail to meet Mr. Bingley, but is not there very long before a Mr. Darcy arrives to post bail for his client and good friend. Mr. Darcy is not amused that Lizzie is inserting herself into this case, but Mr. Bingley is desperate for anyone to help him out of this predicament. The man who was murdered was Mr. Bingley’s brother-in-law and it was well known that the two were not getting on very well at the moment and that Mr. Bingley’s sister was planning to leave him. Lizzie decides she needs to prove her ability to solve a case by continuing to investigate and comes across a young man working as a runner named Mr. Wickham who seems very eager to help her. Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy has made it very clear that he doesn’t want her meddling in his case. Who can Lizzie trust to help her get to the truth? What secrets are the Bingley’s hiding? Can Lizzie every prove to her father that she is more valuable than Mr. Collins?

This fun retelling will interest anyone who enjoys historical mysteries. Fans of the original will have fun seeing how each character fits into this version. The mystery itself is very engaging and has some serious twists and turns leading up to its big finale. Mystery fans will not be disappointed by the resolution of the mystery. Lizzie’s character is true to her original nature, but pushes her to be even more forceful in her wish to find the truth for Mr. Bingley. There are several characters who do not play as big of a part as they did in the original, but that doesn’t detract from the interesting plot of the mystery. It was thoroughly entertaining throughout and it will be fun to see more in this series in the future.

Sense and Second Degree Murder by Tirzah Price

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

Elinor Dashwood is greatly saddened when her father suddenly dies working at his desk one night. She has to break the news to her younger sisters, Marianne and Margaret, and their mother. To make matters worse, everything their father owned legally now belongs to his son from his first marriage, and his wife makes it very clear that they want them out of the house. With very little to their names, they must rely on the kindness of a distant relative who offers to rent them a tiny apartment in a bustling part of the city. Marianne, the middle sister, had previously worked with their father in his detective business and very much wants to keep it going, but is denied by her brother and his wife who now legally own the business and have chosen to close it. Before they move out of their home, Marianne notices that the teacup their father was drinking from the night he died contains an unusual substance. Elinor likes studying chemistry and immediately tries to find out what the substance is, but it does not appear to be a commonly known one. As they settle into their new life, they find that many of their old friends have forsaken them now that they are no longer a part of high society and they quickly learn who they can really rely on. Can they trust Edward Farrell, their brother’s brother-in-law, who seems to be eager to help the Dashwoods? Who is this mysterious man Mr. Willoughby who has begun to show a romantic interest in Marianne? Is it possible someone intentionally hurt their father and if so, why?

Fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this fun updated mystery version. All of the main elements are there from the original story, but the sisters seem more modern and savvy in their quest for truth and wisdom. The mystery itself holds up very well considering the characters are already set from the original version. Somehow the personalities of the characters remained in tact even as their role in the story changed to fit the mystery of how Mr. Dashwood died. There are many satisfying twists to the mystery and the resolution seemed fitting for the time period the story is set in. Highly recommended for Jane Austen fans and those looking for a fun historical fiction mystery.

Nothing More To Tell by Karen M. McManus

Genre: Mystery

Brynn Gallagher vividly remembers when her favorite teacher was murdered on school grounds four years ago. The three students, one of whom was her good friend at the time, who found the body all had the same story and none were ever suspected of having anything to do with the murder. Brynn moved away shortly after, but has returned to the school for her senior year and, as an aspiring reporter, managed to get an internship with a true crime podcast and she’s hoping they’ll cover the mysterious death of Mr. Larkin. As she begins to look into the crime with fresh eyes, it’s apparent that many people, including the three students who found the body, all appear to be hiding something and she knows there is more to it than anyone knows. Can she get to the bottom of who killed Mr. Larkin? Can she ever find a way to fit into a school that prides itself on its social hierarchy?

Fans of McManus’s other titles will not be disappointed. The story twists and turns, but ultimately has a satisfying and surprising ending that explains all the questionable choices made surrounding this case. There are so many revealing facts that readers will be left guessing all the way until the end. The character development was pretty good, so it’s easy to see why everyone reacted as they did to this tragedy. Fans would welcome another novel set in this same illustrious school. Recommended for mystery readers.

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Number of Pages: 326

Kennedy Jones survived a horrible family tragedy, but desperately wants to keep her brother’s science equipment functioning now that he’s gone since it was so important to him. Then, one day his radio telescope starts recording some unusual activity. Meanwhile, in a neighboring county Nolan is struggling to find out what really happened when his older brother and family dog went on a dog and never returned. After an eerie dream, he picks up some ghost tracking equipment to see if his brother is trying to contact him in any way and he ends up picking up some odd signals coming from his brother’s room. Kennedy and Nolan eventually meet up to compare notes on these crazy signals they are finding, but the more they dig the more it feels like the two tragedies are somehow connected. Can they find out what really happened to both of their families that has left them both feeling utterly helpless and alone?

This mystery has a bit of a science fiction feel to it since they are following radio signals, but the heart of what really happened lies with the people who were there when both tragedies occurred. Both Kennedy and Nolan have struggled to deal with their lives in the last few months and haven’t always been the easiest to get along with, even to those people trying to help them. Nolan must even face the hardship that the police think he may have been involved in his brother’s disappearance. It really does show just how complicated family tragedy can be, unlike many procedural mystery shows. Mystery fans will enjoy this title, but the setup takes a little longer than some.

The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Genre: Mystery

Arden was known around her hometown as a sleepwalker well before she was accidentally swept away in a storm one night. The town searched for her for three days before someone miraculously found her six year old fingers clutching a sewer grate. The media attention after her amazing rescue became so insane that she and her mother had to move to a new town. By the time she reached college, however, Arden was tired of being the girl who was rescued from Widow Hills and changed her name to Olivia. She lost touch with her mother and was therefore startled many years later when she was contacted because her mother had overdosed. Shortly after learning about her mother’s demise, Olivia starts sleepwalking again. She doesn’t want anyone to know about her past so she tries to keep this quiet too, but since she works as a hospital administrator everyone knows everyone else’s business. One night, Olivia is horrified when she wakes up injured, in her yard, next to a dead body. She feels pretty confident she did not kill this person, but she also doesn’t remember how she got outside either? Has her past caught up to her? What really happened all those years ago when she went missing at six years old? Can she trust anyone around her in this new life she has begun for herself?

Fans of mysteries will enjoy this title, which is by the same author as The Safest Lies. There are many red herrings to keep the reader guessing, but the clues are all there to figure out what is really happening with Olivia. She had such a troubled childhood where many people wanted to take advantage of her that she has trouble trusting others as an adult. Many of her friends seem very hurt they didn’t know about her past when it comes out, but she doesn’t talk about it with anyone, and that keeps her feeling even more alone as she feels the past catching up to her. The ending is very satisfying and exciting with surprises all the way until the end.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages: 356

Sylvie, Vincent, Jules, and Sam are all lured to a late night escape room they believe to be mandatory for team building at their lucrative investment firm.  All of them have places they’d rather be, but after losing two major clients recently they are all concerned about their positions going forward.  Once they arrive, they soon get stuck in the elevator in the abandoned building and they quickly find a few clues that makes them realize the elevator is actually the escape room.  It’s very hot and dark, however, so they struggle to find clues.  They soon realize that there is no getting out of here unless they find their own way out and each clue reminds them of what they have given up and who they have hurt on their way up the corporate ladder.  Who is behind the escape room and will these four escape alive?

The person behind the escape room becomes clear fairly quickly in the story, but the why and the how take awhile to unfold.  Each of these people has a complicated backstory and it takes awhile for everything to come out.  Fans of mysteries such as The Woman in the Window and the Woman in Cabin 10 will enjoy this fast paced, high energy mystery story.  Even once the reader figures out who is behind the escape room, there are still many surprises ahead.

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.

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.

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  288

RAC Book:  Yes

Ellie, named after Elaine of Astolat, has just moved to the east coast with her parents.  Her parents are professors who have taken a year of sabbatical in order to write books.  Her dad is writing about a medieval sword and her mom is writing about Elaine of Astolat and the connections to King Arthur’s legend.  As Ellie starts at a new school she meets Will, who is the class president and all around a perfect guy.  Unfortunately, he has a girlfriend, Jennifer, so Ellie decides to forget any notions of romance.  When she finds out that Will’s best friend, Lance, is messing around with Jennifer, however, she must decide how to handle the situation.  Should she tell Will?  Should she protect Will?

Although this story seems like a typical teen romance, Cabot adds some mythical literary references, which will keep teens guessing.  The story of King Arthur has been told and retold for many years, but no one really knows the truth behind the legend.  Cabot’s story tries to enlighten her young readers and definitely adds a unique twist to the usual stories these readers enjoy.  The added mystery and action will be welcome to anyone who likes this type of tale and it is unlikely that anyone will guess how this story will end. 

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Genre:  Romance/Mystery

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  236 p.

Other Books in the Series:  I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

RAC Book:  Yes

Cammie Morgan is on her way back to Gallagher Academy for the second semester of her sophomore year.  At the Gallagher Academy, Cammie is required to learn multiple languages, defensive strategies, and covert operations since it is a school for spies.  Unfortunately, Cammie is still nursing a broken heart from the first semester when she befriended a local boy and was told to end the relationship when it was found out by her superiors.

Cammie has more on her mind than just Josh, however, as she notices some changes around her school.  She knows there is something the headmistress, her mother, isn’t telling her but never in her wildest dreams imagines what it could be.  That is until the day that a group of young men from another spy school move into her school!  If that weren’t bad enough, one of them is the boy who foiled one of her covert operations assignments.  Now this boy, Zach, won’t leave her alone and Cammie isn’t sure what she thinks of him.  Does she trust him?  Is there something he isn’t telling her?  As the semester pushes on, Cammie and her friends must investigate many different possibilities for why the boys are there while passing their courses and attending mandatory events, like a big ball.  Can Cammie save her school from a possible breach of security?  Can she figure out who her allies and her enemies are?  Is she cut out to be a spy after all? 

For fans of the first book in this series, this book will be a hit.  The adventures of Cammie and her friends are interesting and unusual to say the least, but are all described in ways that seem plausible.  There is a lot of room left open for future books since we still do not know what is planned for Cammie in the future and which boy she will end up with.  A fun read with some romance, humor, and mystery.

 

 


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