Happy Tuesday! I have two books today, both from authors I depend on for awesome stories. Sadly, both fell short of what I’ve come to expect from them, based on knockouts they’ve written in the past. As always, my reviews are opinions only, and others might rate these five stars. I consider each a three star read, or an average diversion, just not something I’ll shout about from the rooftops, or read again. That said, both of these authors will remain auto buys for me.
I’m not including blurbs for brevity, but feel free to follow the Amazon link to check those out in detail.
This is a quick mystery read with a few twists along the way. I’ve always enjoyed Mark Edwards, and while this book kept me interested, I wasn’t fully enamored, especially of the last half. The story wasn’t on par with what I’ve come to expect from this author.
A lot of that is personal preference. I’m not a fan of the central plot thread (no spoilers). By the time I realized where the story was headed I was too invested to back out.
Adam, an aspiring writer, and his girlfriend, Ruth, an up and coming actress, are house sitting for a couple they met on a cruise, when a stranger (Eden) shows up at their door, claiming to be friends of the couple. In short order she inserts herself into Adam and Ruth’s life. After a night of heavy drinking, Adam wakes up to find Ruth and Eden have disappeared.
As Adam tries to discover what has happened to Ruth and who Eden really is, he’s met with obstacles at every turn. Many of his actions frustrated me, especially when he was interacting with the detective investigating the case. There were times I had to grit my teeth.
The ending has a clever wrap, but even then I’m not certain how I feel about the final resolution, especially as related to Eden. Many fans of mystery and suspense will certainly gobble this up. It reads quickly and has more high notes than low, but having read Edwards before, this one didn’t quite deliver on the scale I expected.
This is a good murder mystery with plenty of subjects. Fred and Shelia Merton invite their three children, along with their spouses (or in the case of the youngest, a boyfriend) to Easter dinner. The next morning both Fred and Shelia are found dead, Fred’s murder particularly gruesome. Because the Mertons were extremely wealthy the case is thrust into the spotlight, along with the surviving children, each of whom (along with others) has motive to want their parents dead.
The premise is great, and the pace is swift but be prepared the characters are highly unlikable, especially the parents. Unlikable characters aren’t always a problem for me when I read a book, but the more this one progressed, the more frustrated I grew with the behaviors of each.
If you enjoy a soap-opera type book with greedy, money-hungry siblings (and others), this is for you. The title speaks volumes about the family and the resulting relationships. There was really no “oomph” when the murderer is unmasked, but that revelation is followed by a quasi-clever twist which makes the ending a bit more satisfying. I will continue to read anything Shari Lapena writes, but this particular book didn’t resonate with me.