Friday, May 28, 2010

Kick off your summer reading

Since it's the holiday weekend, I've been thinking about books that would be great on a summer reading list and I've read two books recently that would be good to read by the pool or at the beach.

I finally picked up Robert Goolrick's A RELIABLE WIFE after seeing it everywhere. I kept picking it up and putting it down, not sure about the historical thing but the description was incredibly intriguing: A man puts an ad in the paper for a "reliable wife" and a woman responds, but neither of them realize the other has an agenda.

Even though Ralph Truitt realizes that the woman who steps off the train in the cold Wisconsin winter in the early 1900s is not the woman in the picture he received with her letters, he takes her home anyway. He knows this is starting out as a lie, but he shrugs it off. Catherine has secrets that are revealed slowly throughout the book, and Ralph's son Tony plays a role in their fates.

I really can't say much more because there are twists and turns I didn't expect and don't want to ruin it for anyone. But I can say this: while none of the characters are sympathetic, they are incredibly well drawn, the book is written beautifully, and the story is so compelling I read it in two days. The online reviews of this book have been mixed, but I couldn't put it down. It's also great for the summer, because if you're having a heat wave, reading about that frozen, white Wisconsin weather might cool you off a little.

I ordered THE PERFECT WOMAN by James Andrus because it sounded intriguing, even though I'm not into serial killer books. I usually find them cliched, and I don't much want to be inside the head of a serial killer. But I took a chance on this one and am glad I did.

William Dremmel fancies himself a scientist and he likes to conduct pharmaceutical "experiments" on young girls who are usually runaways. Sadly, though, they may die, and he puts their bodies in suitcases and abandons them. John Stallings, a detective with the Jacksonville (FL) Sheriff's Office, looks for runaways, because his own daughter has been missing for three years. This book really isn't about the serial killer. It's about Stallings, his partner Patty, the homicide detective Mazzetti, and the way police work. I found it more a police procedural, and all the details about police work are fascinating. Andrus is identified in the back as a pen name for an active duty police officer in the Southeast, and I found the sharing of insider knowledge is one of the reasons why I loved the book. Not to mention that all the characters are extremely well drawn, even the victims. I loved the setting of Jacksonville, since my brother lives there and I could smell the coffee from the Maxwell House factory when Stallings did.

Do you have any summer reading recommendations?

2 comments:

AnswerGirl said...

You and I have talked about A PERFECT WIFE, which I loved as well — but I actually found myself sympathizing with both of the book's main characters, simply because they seemed so heartbroken and maimed.

I'm halfway through Christopher Farnsworth's BLOOD OATH, about a vampire sworn to protect the President of the United States. It's a great beach read, and seems tailor-made to be adapted for TV, so if you read it now you can say you got to the party early. I've also recently read and loved Declan Hughes' latest, CITY OF LOST GIRLS, and Lisa Lutz's THE SPELLMANS STRIKE AGAIN. Lisa Lutz's Spellman series is so much fun I might go back and reread all four books from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I just finished my ARC of ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen this weekend.

My "bite-sized" review:

Gerritsen is at the height of her storytelling powers here, and has crafted a page-turner that demonstrates both her command of medical procedure and of the human psyche. Det. Jane Rizzoli and Dr, Maura Isles return in a case that will chill readers to the core, and surprising new layers of these familiar characters are revealed.

Now, I am on to an ARC of Lisa Gardner's LIVE TO TELL. I'm only about 40 pages in, but it is absolutely absorbing, and I am in awe of how each book keeps getting better. Her last few releases have been fantastic.

Oh, and the Gerritsen book is set largely in the snowy mountains of Wyoming, which is a welcome distraction from the weather we've been having lately!

John