Books & Blog: April 3, 2019

Books of the Week:

  • In Her Sights, Katie Ruggle
  • The Liar’s Girl, Katherine Ryan Howard
  • Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Visions and Omens, Kelley Armstrong
  • That Ain’t Witchcraft, Seanan McGuire
  • White Silence, Jodi Taylor
  • Get in Trouble, Kelly Link

In this new Katie Ruggle series about five bounty-hunting sisters with a law-breaker mother (this mother vies with any of the mothers in the Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville books as the worst mom ever), In Her Sights focuses on Molly Pax, the oldest sister, who runs the bounty hunting business that provides the sisters with an income. (Missing is an explanation of why the sisters picked bounty hunting, but maybe that will be in a future book.) Molly’s mother has been arrested for stealing a valuable necklace. Since the necklace hasn’t been recovered, all kinds of people are trying to break into Molly’s house to find it. If Molly’s mother doesn’t show up in court, the house may be forfeited. Enter John Carmondy, another bounty hunter who’s been trying to catch Molly’s attention for some time . . . trouble, love, and fun ensue.

The Liar’s Girl is primarily set in Dublin. When Alison is in college, she falls in love with Will, another student. She’s horrified when Will is arrested as a serial killer, and even more horrified when he confesses. Unable to face anyone, she finds a job in the Netherlands and walls that part of her life away. But ten years later, police show up at her door and tell Alison that another murder exactly like the first ones has taken place. What could Will know about this? He will only talk to Alison. So, reluctantly, she returns to Ireland to face her past. This is a very satisfying and twisty tale.

Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing is also set in Ireland, but it’s nonfiction. However, it has even more twists and turns and indelible characters than The Liar’s Girl. During “the troubles,” Jean McConville, thirty-eight and a widow and the mother of ten, is abducted from her home in front of her children. They never see her again. During Patrick Keefe’s investigation of this horrific crime, the story of what happened to McConville is inextricably entwined with the activities of some of the major figures of the IRA. Keefe’s dogged tracking down of clues and his thoroughness provide a fascinating picture of a terrible time in Irish history and the solution to the mystery of McConville’s disappearance.

Visions and Omens are two books in Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series. Olivia has believed all her life she is the daughter of wealthy parents. She’s been brought up in luxury, though she’s no spoiled brat. Then she’s outed as an adoptee. Furthermore, her birth parents are convicted serial killers who have been in jail for over a decade. DO NOT READ THESE BOOKS OUT OF ORDER as I did. It’s Omens, Visions, Deceptions, Betrayals, and Rituals. Armstrong is a very talented writer with an impressive bibliography, and I’ve enjoyed all her books. This is an intriguing series.

This Ain’t Witchcraft is Seanan McGuire’s newest Incryptid novel, and I almost feel I need say no more. The Incryptid books are great. Since the protagonists are all siblings in the Price family, we get to see all of them through the eyes of their siblings. This is the third book (I think) featuring Antimony, the youngest of the sibs, and the one with the darkest story, in my opinion. Antimony is incredibly resourceful and loyal, and most of her decisions are made between a rock and hard place. McGuire always has an underlying theme; that of the Incryptid books is the bewildering fact that some people are compelled to destroy what they don’t understand.

White Silence is another book about a woman who finds that everything she thinks she knows is not true. I didn’t pick out the theme before, but I’m seeing it now. It’s by Jodi Taylor, who writes the wonderful Chronicles of St. Mary’s novels I adore, but this is Taylor in a different vein. Elizabeth Cage, as a child, finds out she can see things others can’t . . . and those things can see her. She conceals this ability for her own sanity and safety, and she grows up to have a happy marriage. But when her husband dies, her life falls apart when she discovers she wasn’t going undetected and her husband wasn’t who he said he was. Many people want to enlist Elizabeth in their cause, and all she wants is to live her life. That may not happen.

Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble is the best short story collection I’ve read since Shirley’s Jackson’s. I really can’t give it any higher praise than that. It’s stellar, and I’m in awe.

 

Charlaine Harris