Last week I was on my annual summer vacation! I spent seven days in the woods, without cell phone service, in Northern Wisconsin. It’s the time each year that I can binge read, sit outside, and do plenty of kayaking. This year, the weather was damn near perfect, and I tackled some great reads.
The first book I finished was I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. I had started this book about two weeks ago, and devoured most of it, but due to some work things, hadn’t had the chance to finish it. I started hearing about the case of the Golden State Killer from a friend, and we watched some shows about the case together. When Joseph DeAngelo was arrested, my phone blew up! My mom and some friends were all texting me, the CNN alerts were coming through, and I knew that I needed to read McNamara’s book.
Her writing is incredible. I appreciated that McNamara’s husband and researchers did not try to finish the book after her death – instead, they pieced together what she had already written to finish the book. The story of McNamara’s process was just as fascinating as the story of how one man got away with such horrific crimes for so long.
Under the Harrow is Flynn Berry’s first novel, and I’ll be looking to read anything else she publishes. I do not usually talk to people about what I’m reading, but this week I said at least ten times, “I’m reading a book that is really effing with me.”
This book really got into my head. It stuck with me. It took me one week to read, but I could have read it much faster if it hadn’t freaked me out so much. This story is about a young woman named Nora who goes to visit her sister for the weekend. She expects her sister to be in the kitchen of her house in the countryside making dinner, but Nora finds her brutally murdered. Through the book Nora tries to sort out who killed her sister, while telling us about how her sister had been attacked when they were teenagers.
Nora’s search for her sister’s murderer, coupled with her pain keeps this book moving quickly. We get glimpses into Nora’s history with her sister, her current life, and the struggles that every family faces. Nora learns that she does not know every aspect of her sister’s life as she thought she did.
A few months ago I had a realization that there is a vast difference in the books that I read versus the shows that I binge on Netflix. I am Netflix-obsessed with shows that contain an whodunnit component. Give me a show where someone is murdered and we have to figure out what happened over the course of a season, and I am hooked! I love the suspense, and I love trying to sort it all out before the detectives do. If you’re into this, be sure to watch: The Killing and Broadchurch. Actually, I should just give you my Netflix password so you can see the whole list of these.
I had the realization, however, that I have not ever really read a truly suspenseful novel. So, I picked up The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel. And it sat on my shelf for ages. Until two weeks ago!
I really liked the story of a 15-year-old boy who has gone missing coupled with other mysteries that are revealed as the book moves on. I jumped into this series of Louise Rick novels, and I think that I should have started at the beginning, or at least I should have read a few of the earlier books first. This one had so much hype, though!
While I liked the story and the mystery, I was not impressed with Blaedel’s writing. However, it may have been the translator? If I do read another of her novels I will be looking for one with a different translator, and at the start of a series.