August 10, 2019

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The novel opens encountering Abbie awakening from a deep sleep and finding her husband Tim by her side. He is there to take her home and care for her there.

When they arrive at their home, he relates an incredible story to Abbie. What she must grasp is that five years ago Abbie disappeared suddenly. Tim became completely distraught and finally began looking to fix the problem as only he is able to. It seems that Tim owns a company that has made millions via the building of robots for various uses by people. He looked to fix his problem by creating a robotic Abbie to live with him. A fascinating concept and of course the basis for a great read.

But there is more making the story even better. The story narrated by the artificial Abbie begins to build by slowly creating an image of Tim as not quite the man he pretends to be. In examination the reader will realize that there is much more to be told and will continue to read and change opinions about what is really going on several times.

Delaney, in an afterward, indicates that he and his wife have an autistic son that they are raising as best they can and continually looking for advances in treatment. Abbie, before her disappearance, and Tim have an autistic son and are doing in the fictionalized account everything possible to work with him. The robot Abbie has many of the original’s memories implanted and does encounter a maternal feeling for the child continuing to care for him.

Without delving further into the plot of the book (in order to not spoil it for the reader) I can only indicate that is a fascinating novel and one that will keep the reader glued to the pages until finished. Certainly the idea is a different approach to writing a book and one that will keep any reader on the lookout for further novels by Delaney.

8/19 Paul Lane

THE PERFECT WIFE by J. P. Delaney. Ballantine Books (August 6, 2019). ISBN  978-1524796747. 432p.



MY LOVELY WIFE by Samantha Downing

March 26, 2019

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From the publisher:

Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.

“The thriller we’re most excited to stay up with all night.”—Entertainment Weekly

“[A] dark, disturbing exploration of family, marriage and murderous compulsions”The Washington Post

“You might want to read this one during the daytime.”Woman’s Day

“A knockout…an effortless page turner.”—Publishers Weekly

This was a dark but super fun read. The comparison to Dexter (by Jeff Lindsay) is because Dexter is a serial killer that we can’t help but root for as he only kills other serial killers, people who need killing. The couple in this book are also serial killers, yes a married couple, but they are not killing people who need killing, they are killing for the fun of it. Super creepy. That is a hard thing to get around yet somehow Downing convinces us to root for them. It’s like magic. Or talent. Or both.

There are some excellent twists in the story for sure, and the ending was a real surprise for me. It was truly unputdownable, and sure to make my best books of the year list. I loved it! Oh, and librarians across the country loved it as well, it is the number one pick for the March Library Reads list.

3/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MY LOVELY WIFE by Samantha Downing. Berkley (March 26, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451491725.  384p.



RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben

March 19, 2019

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There is a truism involved in reading any of Harlan Coben’s books. I have found it so over the years that I have had the pleasure of reading them. And that is one has to begin to read his latest novel early on an otherwise free day. And that is because the author captures you quickly and it is impossible to put it down before finishing it. “Run Away” is no exception although it does involve a stretch of the imagination to accept the plot closely adhering to what might be real life. But that is the author’s job: telling a good story in a way that captures his or her reader’s interest and attention. And that is what Coben does and does well with this novel being no exception.

Ingrid and Simon, husband and wife, live in Manhattan with their three children. They are both successful in their individual careers; Ingrid a pediatrician and Simon a partner in a lucrative counselling service advising others how to invest their money. Due to their professions an upscale life style is attained. It would be perfect except for a conflict with their eldest child: Paige. She has had many strong arguments with her parents and the opening of the book is at a point where Paige has run away from home. She has not returned nor even called during that period. Simon misses her very much and has taken to sitting in a section of the nearby Central Park at a spot that his daughter loved thinking of her.

About six months after Paige disappeared and while Simon is sitting in that spot he sees his daughter playing the violin for money from the onlookers there. He attempts to talk to her, but she runs from him. The remainder of the book sets up Simon and his wife’s search for Paige. They run into drug dealers, a cult, DNA testing and it’s consequences, two murderers and the killing done by these people. Yes. a search such as is being described would most likely not have all the depicted events occur in real life. But in the hands of Harlan Coben these become a necessary part of the plot and termed the author’s literary license to tell his story. Well done and engrossing novel.

3/19 Paul Lane

RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben. Grand Central Publishing (March 19, 2019). ISBN 978-1538748466. 384p.



PIECES OF HER by Karin Slaughter

August 29, 2018

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From the publisher:

The #1 internationally bestselling author returns with a new novel in the vein of her New York Times bestsellers Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter—a story even more electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful than anything she’s written before.

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .

This was so good! I made the mistake of starting it rather late in the evening and had to go to bed halfway through it. What a mistake! I kept thinking about it all night, wondering…I woke up several times and had a hard time falling back asleep. Guess I should have just gotten up and finished reading but I had to go to work in the morning so not an option.

Laura and Andrea are at the mall when a mass shooting starts. Andrea is shocked when her soccer mom of a mother calmly approaches the shooter, disarms and kills him. The suspense escalates from there and doesn’t stop. I really liked how Slaughter developed these characters and we get to watch them change and grow.  It is a breathless, twisty story that moves at breakneck pace.

This was a truly riveting read. Don’t miss it.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PIECES OF HER by Karin Slaughter. William Morrow (August 21, 2018). ISBN 978-0062430274.  480p..