Wednesday, July 05, 2017

What you're reading: Mystery and Suspense!

A few more selections from among the reading material of this summer's Grown-up Reading Club:

An Obvious Enchantment, by Tucker Malarkey

Reviewed by Fay P. 

Ingrid Holtz is an archaeologist and professor, and her mentor is Professor Templeton. He is on a trip to the island of Pelat off the east coast of Africa. The place is a mixture of Swahili and Islam cultures, and the professor's project is to find evidence that Islam was brought to Africa by an African king, not an Arab. In fact, the people of Pelat do not speak or read Arabic, although some read and learn verses from the Koran. The Swahili culture itself is generations old and is a mix of mysticism, rituals, songs, and dances. The word “Swahili” is an Arab word meaning “the coast.” Some theorize that Persian merchants came to the east coast of Africa to trade, and that the interaction between the two cultures resulted in a mix of the two languages. With this brief background, you can understand what impelled Professor Templeton to go to Pelat to unravel the history and impact of these two cultures on the island of Pelat.

As the book opens, Ingrid is going to Pelat to find Professor Templeton, who is missing. Ingrid arrives in Pelat and searches his room for clues. She finds his passport, a diary, handwritten notes, a crudely drawn map pointing to a river, and, a hand-drawn picture of an amulet. All of these point to his research, but where is he? Thus begins Ingrid’s search, filled with obstacles because she is an unescorted woman in a Swahili/Islam culture. The author also explores relationships of all kinds that develop during Ingrid’s stay in Pelat. It is a fascinating journey, not at all a formula mystery.

The author, Tucker Malarkey, has written three books with a basis in historical fiction. She attended Georgetown University, and before accepting a magazine job in New York, Tucker decided to go to Africa for three months, visiting an island off the coast of Kenya where there were no cars and only the occasional phone; a place that seemed ideal for figuring out a life plan. The trip that was supposed to last three months lasted two years because of her involvement in teaching Moslem boys. It was that trip and her experiences on the African island that provided the background material for this novel.

A Killer Read, by Erika Chase

Reviewed by Connie W.

A fun cozy mystery with lots of clues and red herrings. Lizzie is the reluctant sleuth; she is trying to keep her friend out of prison when a stranger is found shot in a car in front of the friend's house. Lizzie is surrounded by friends who help her on her mission, plus a police chief who is an old high school crush. I enjoyed this one and will look for more by this author.

(This is the first in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries. It looks like there are five so far.)

Her Every Fear, by Peter Swanson

Reviewed by Diane M.   

This book is definitely a page-turner of psychological suspense. I found it scary at times, unnerving and dark, but I was gripped by it. The story follows several characters, and I enjoy novels that give a variety of perspectives that I can piece them together. The story revolves around an art student from London named Kate Priddy, who several years ago suffered a traumatic event that left her with paralyzing anxiety. She is finally getting on with her life when her American cousin, Corbin Dell, offers her a home swap opportunity to live in his Boston apartment for six months while he lives in her London flat. This would allow Kate to attend art school in Boston. On Kate's first night in her cousin's apartment, she discovers that the girl next door has just been murdered. Intense!

Final Fondue, by Maya Corrigan

Reviewed by Valerie R.   

Bayport is having a Tricentennial Festival and Val has convinced her Granddad to rent out rooms in his home. The four renters are members of a wedding party hoping to scout wedding locations while they are there. Things take a scary turn when one of the bridesmaids is found dead in Granddad's back yard! Now Val and Granddad have to figure out if the bridesmaid was the intended victim, or if Val or the soon-to-be bride was meant to be the victim.

(This book is #3 in Corrigan's "Five-Ingredient Mysteries" series.)

If you are not yet registered for the Summer Reading Club for Grown-ups at Burbank Public Library, it's not too late! Go here to do so (scroll to the bottom for the adult program), and then write some book reviews, play our activities game and, when you get tired of sitting at home alone, come to our programs! Summer fun at the library!

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