Book Review: Ten Dead Comedians (Fred Van Lente) @RandomHouseCA @fredvanlente @quirkbooks

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.07.43 AM.pngWhen nine washed up comedians, including a late night T.V host, an improv instructor, and a Vegas icon, are invited to the island of a legendary Hollywood funnyman, each selfishly take up the offer.   However, once they arrive they find they lack cell phone signal, the island is deserted and a dead body is swinging from the balcony.   As the plot progresses, and each member of their party is systematically killed, they must figure out who is doing the killing.

A take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and elements of the game Clue, Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery by Fred Van Lente reads like a classic. A partial satire of the genre and an intricately weaved plot made this one stand out from the pack of books releasing this summer.

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Book Review: Two Nights (Kathy Reichs) @SimonSchusterCA

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Being a crime fiction fan, it is not easy to peruse any sort of crime shelf without seeing a book by Kathy Reichs.   When I read the synopsis for Reichs’ newest standalone thriller, Two Nights, I knew that I would have to give this one a read. As soon as I started reading Two Nights, it became very clear why all of her books do well. Reichs can weave a serious story!

Two Nights opens with the introduction of Sunday Night. Sunday is a woman with a tumultuous past, a grudge on her shoulder and some serious killer instinct. After leaving the police force after some misconduct, she is drawn back to the scene privately after a wealthy woman approaches her to look into the disappearance of her teenaged granddaughter. As Sunnie begins her investigation, she comes into more danger than she ever believed and not only fights to save the missing girl but also her own life as well.
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Book Review: The Child (Fiona Barton)

The Child.pngThe Child, by Fiona Barton, is a book that is topping many people’s TBR lists for summer. After Barton’s hit, The Widow, which hit shelves last summer, people were demanding a follow-up. I, however, wasn’t a huge fan of The Widow (you can check out my review for that one here) but I figured I would give The Child a chance. Unfortunately, Barton’s sophomore novel didn’t really do much for me either.

In this novel, Kate Waters, the journalist from The Widow is back and in the pursuit of a new story when a baby’s skeleton is discovered buried in a construction site. Several women, including Kate, who is after the hard-hitting story, are affected by this finding. Angela, still reeling from the disappearance of her baby girl years earlier, would love answers and closure to what happened to her child. Emma, a woman holding several secrets from her past, is drawn to the case with morbid curiosity. Emma’s mother, Jude, is trying to repair her broken relationship with her daughter, but is finding that difficult.   As each of the women’s lives is disrupted a twisted maze of secrets are revealed.

So, it sounded okay but this novel moved at a snail’s pace.  I am talking slower than slow. Glacier speed. Molasses dripping. You get my drift?   The plot seemed so redundant and the characters were flat. I didn’t really feel like any of them had much development.   I didn’t find anything particularly suspenseful or thrilling.   It felt more like a family drama or contemporary women’s fiction.

Now don’t get me wrong, the last twenty pages or so of this novel were absolutely brilliant. I loved how Barton tied everything together and the final plot twist actually had me whispering, “well played!”

Was this book worth the read? I don’t really feel like it.

I would skip it. 2/5 stars.

Did you read this one? Is it on your most anticipated list?  I would love to hear your thoughts on it, especially since I am feeling I could potentially be in the minority with this one!

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This novel was also a #cjsreads pick, so, keep reading to see if Jessica and Chandra felt the same about The Child or if it fared better for them!

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Sitting Down with J.D Barker: Author of The Fourth Monkey @jdbarker #4MK @HMHbooks

 

I am so excited the day is finally here!  One of my most anticipated summer reads is releasing today!   I am thrilled to be wishing a big, Happy Publication Day to The Fourth Monkey by J.D Barker.   When I read this book (in case you missed it, you can find my review for The Fourth Monkey here) I was left in complete awe of Barker’s ability to craft such a brilliant story; for lack of a better word,   I was basically obsessed.  I knew that I had to have the author, J.D Barker, on Clues and Reviews to answer some of my burning questions about the writing process, the book and what is next!

First off, The Fourth Monkey is absolutely insane.  I was glued to the pages.  What inspired to write it?  

Well, thank you!

I’ve known I wanted to write a serial killer thriller for a long time but the story had to be just so.  The formula has been done to death and I needed something fresh. Years ago, I decided if I wrote this book, the killer should die at the beginning of the story. That created a few complex problems, the least of which was where to go from there. The story sat patiently waiting in my subconscious until a day back in 2014 when I was in line at the grocery store. There was a rather rotund woman in line ahead of me in one of those electric carts and a boy of about eight years old standing behind me with his father. The boy said something about the woman, I didn’t hear what exactly, then his father leaned down and said, “Speak no evil, son.” As soon as I heard that, a number of thoughts flooded my head – Who says that? What exactly is happening back at their house? By that night, I had the basis for my killer’s childhood and the story found its way to paper quickly.

I’ve always been fascinated with serial killers and the overall psychology behind them. What causes a person to kill? Is that urge hardwired from the moment they’re born or is it somehow a learned behaviour fueled by environment and upbringing? A combination of both? The more I studied, the more I realized that even the experts don’t really know. They love to pretend they do, psychologists love their labels and find peace in the various boxes they feel they can drop people into but that appearance of knowledge is nothing but a mask. I’ve known good people who grew up in bad places and bad people who grew up under the best circumstances. There are a lot of sociopaths out in the world and only a small fraction of them kill, not all killers are sociopaths. The world isn’t black and white but filled with gray and it’s within that gray 4MK was born. My goal was to write a book that not only entertained but blurred the line between innocent and guilty – I hoped people would not only empathize with the victims but also the killer.

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