Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book #16: Terms & Conditions

This is a book that I'm pretty sure I got for free on a Kindle deal a long time ago and then it sat dormant for a really long time before I got around to reading it. I'm glad I decided to give it a go, because I was pleasantly surprised.  

The story begins as the main character, Frank, wakes up in the hospital after what he is told was a serious car accident. He's banged up, but aside from losing his spleen, he's expected to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, he has no memory of who he is or what he did or who anyone he knows might actually be. 

He slowly returns to his mundane life as a lawyer who specializes in legal small print, and desperately tries to remember his former life. As his memory slowly creeps back, he begins to feel a growing certainty that the people around him are not telling the truth about the circumstances of his accident and that perhaps his life wasn't quite as rosy as they'd have him believe.

The first-person narrative is told in quick vignettes based on the legal terms and conditions that make up Frank's life, and I found it extremely amusing and easy to read. I love books with lots of short chapters, and I finished it in one or two sittings. I'm mentally bookmarking Robert Glancy for future book purchases.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book #15: The Beautiful Mystery

I've written before about how much I love Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, and this one is no exception. I was surprised by just how tense and uncomfortable a lot of this story was, however.

In this installment, Inspector Gamache and his right-hand-man, Jean-Guy, are called to a the Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, a notoriously private monastery, to investigate the murder of a monk. When they arrive, they realize this monastery is home to a famous choir known for their gorgeous chants known as "the beautiful mystery," and the murdered monk was the esteemed choir director. 

I'm not Catholic, but I found the descriptions of the services wonderfully captivating. There's something so intriguing to me about the quiet nature of  Catholicism - the introspection and sacred rituals, the reverence for what (and Who) is holy.

For the first time, I felt like the actual murder mystery in the novel wasn't really the focus of the story. Over the course of the last couple of novels, a story-within-the-story has been woven throughout, and this brings it almost to its conclusion. Jean-Guy's portion of the book was particularly hard to read, even though readers have known his emotional breakdown was imminent. The ending was so unsettling that I immediately bought the next book so I could just feel better about where the characters ended up. 

I've yet to read a Louise Penny novel I haven't thoroughly enjoyed, and I hope she keeps cranking them out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book #14: The Night Sister

I love a good thriller. I love a good ghost story. I had hoped this would be both, but it just wasn't.

I've read several of Jennifer McMahon's books, and I usually enjoy them. They remind me of those spooky, yellow-tinted movies from the 70's - you know, the ones where someone is enjoying a picnic beside a lake and out of nowhere, a vacant-faced dead woman just pops up out of the water and starts gliding towards the picnic basket. Most of her books give me the same creepily nostalgic feel.

This story, about two sets of sisters years apart and a shared dark secret, had all the makings of a good shudder-y read, but it just fell flat. The dialogue was unbelievable, and the ending made me roll my eyes. No spoilers here, but if you've seen "Sleepwalkers," you'll understand how stupid it got.

I've heard really good things about the book she came out with just before this one - The Winter People - and I'm hoping it will be a return to McMahon's earlier style.