Reading

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian | A Book Review

The Flight Attendant - Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Flight Attendant

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows a flight attendant named Cassandra Bowden who wakes up next to a dead man in a Dubai hotel room. Because Cassie was drunk, she doesn’t remember much of the previous night, so she starts lying to everyone from other flight attendants to FBI agents.

First impressions: The premise made me curious as to how the story would unfold. I liked the beginning as it does a good job of introducing some of the characters.

Characters: Cassie is a flawed but interesting character who goes through a lot and develops throughout the story. Her personality is very different from mine, but at times, I felt bad for her. I found that the other characters are dynamic and not stereotypical.

Quote:

“Even the most successful people in this world make mistakes.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with long and short chapters. There was more description than I anticipated, but the details add multiple layers to the novel. The pacing is slower at the start before picking up at the end.

Final thoughts: Some of the twists and turns surprised me. I wasn’t sure how the author would wrap everything up, but the ending is satisfying and provides closure. If you want to read a mystery thriller about memory and murder, check out The Flight Attendant.


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Reading

Bloodless – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child | A Book Review

Bloodless - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Title: Bloodless

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the twentieth book in the Pendergast series that follows FBI Agent Pendergast and Coldmoon as they investigate a case in Savannah. Fifty years earlier, D.B. Cooper hijacked a flight with a fake bomb and collected a ransom before parachuting from the plane and disappearing into history. The agents try to determine whether the recent murders with the bodies drained of blood are somehow connected to the unsolved skyjacking mystery.

I received a reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise caught my attention because I was curious to see how the two different cases were related. I haven’t read any of the other books, so I didn’t realize this was a series.

Characters: I didn’t fall in love with the characters right away, but both Pendergast and Coldmoon grew on me over time. I thought the authors would tell the story from Pendergast’s perspective, but I like that more chapters are from Coldmoon’s point of view in third person. In my opinion, this choice made Pendergast a more interesting and mysterious character. There are a lot of people and moving parts.

Quote:

“And so I will return to my past—the destiny I was meant to have…”

Writing: It’s 400 pages, and most of the chapters aren’t too long. The writing is descriptive, but the pacing picks up at the end. There are some graphic and violent scenes, especially as the story progresses.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending the most as it answers many questions. This horror mystery blends historical and fantastical elements together. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out Bloodless.


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Reading

A Minute to Midnight – David Baldacci | A Book Review

A Minute to Midnight - David Baldacci

Title: A Minute to Midnight

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the second novel in the Atlee Pine series that follows an FBI agent as she tries to figure out what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, who was kidnapped thirty years ago. Atlee returns to her hometown in Georgia to begin her investigation. When a local woman is killed and a second murder follows, she also has to find a killer before more people die.

First impressions: I always love a good Baldacci thriller. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I could follow along just fine. I liked the premise, so I was interested to see how the story would play out.

Characters: The story revolves around Atlee, revealing her backstory and development. I think there weren’t too many or too few characters. Overall, I enjoyed the different interactions.

Quote:

“The thing is, sometimes you think you know someone, but you really don’t.”

Writing: The book is almost 500 pages with short chapters that sometimes end in a cliffhanger. Some of the twists took me by surprise. I liked the story more and more as the plot unfolded.

Final thoughts: The ending answers some questions while setting the stage for the next book. Now I want to check out the rest of the series to see where Baldacci goes with it. If you want to read a thriller about a kidnapping and a killer in a small rural town, pick up A Minute to Midnight.


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Reading

A Man Named Doll – Jonathan Ames | A Book Review

A Man Named Doll - Jonathan Ames

Title: A Man Named Doll

Author: Jonathan Ames

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It follows Happy Doll who is a private detective by day and a security guard at night for a local Thai spa. When Lou Shelton, an old friend appears at Doll’s doorstep with a bullet in him, he tries to figure out what happened to Lou.

I received a reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’ve never read anything by Ames before, but the premise drew me in. The book is short at a little over 200 pages, so I anticipated it being a fast-paced read. I enjoyed how the author sets up the beginning of the story.

Characters: The novel lives up to its title in that it revolves around a character named Doll. I liked learning more about him, especially his past and seeing how past events shaped who he is today. Due to the short length of the book, there isn’t much space to explore other secondary characters in much depth.

Quote:

“He’d seen the worst in people and thought the worst of people.”

Writing: It’s broken up into 3 parts with short chapters. The story is told in first person point of view from Doll’s perspective, and he has a quirky sense of humour. I haven’t read a lot of noir books, so the different style made for an interesting reading experience. There are some graphic scenes and mature language.

Final thoughts: I had no idea how it would end, but it felt like everything was wrapped up almost too quickly and easily. If you want a quick read featuring a unique character who makes questionable choices, consider checking out A Man Named Doll.


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Reading

Blood Grove – Walter Mosley | A Book Review

Blood Grove - Walter Mosley

Title: Blood Grove

Author: Walter Mosley

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the 15th book in the Easy Rawlins series that follows a Black private detective during 1969. When a white Vietnam veteran thinks he may have killed a man, he approaches Easy and asks him to investigate what happened. Easy decides to take on the case, especially after seeing how traumatized the young vet is from war, but he’ll need to rely on the help of his friends to solve the mystery.

I received a reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love a good crime novel and the setting of this story intrigued me. I didn’t realize the book was part of a series, but I could follow along just fine.

Characters: There are a lot more characters than I expected. It would’ve helped if I had read the previous books. That being said, I appreciate that the author portrays different people and explores how race affects relationships.

Quote:

“You only die once, but giving in to fear was endless defeat.”

Writing: The chapters are short, and the scenes are even shorter. It’s a little over 300 pages, so the novel isn’t a long read. The plot takes a bit of time to unfold at the beginning, but it picks up near the end. Mosley’s writing style isn’t overly descriptive, and more often than not, the dialogue advances the story.

Final thoughts: I had no idea how the story would end because of the different twists and turns. For the most part, the ending resolves the mystery. If you want to read a crime thriller that examines racism in America during the 1900s, you may enjoy Blood Grove and the Easy Rawlins series.


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Nothing Ventured – Jeffrey Archer | A Book Review

Nothing Ventured - Jeffrey Archer

Title: Nothing Ventured

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the first in a series that follows William Warwick. He investigates the theft of a Rembrandt painting that’s currently in the hands of an art collector with an influential lawyer. William also meets Beth, a research assistant at the art gallery, and they fall in love, but she has a secret that she doesn’t want him to find out.

First impressions: I’ve never read anything by Archer before, but I was excited to delve into this story. I thought the novel would focus on just one storyline, but William and his team look into multiple cases.

Characters: I thought the book would mainly revolve around William, but it jumps around a lot. As such, I wasn’t as invested in the characters, especially in the beginning. William and Beth’s relationship develops fairly quickly, but it gets more interesting as the story progresses.

Quote:

“Reputation is the shield of the righteous in difficult times.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with short chapters and scenes. The writing is simple, but there are a lot of different parts to the plot.

Final thoughts: The pace picks up at the end, and there’s a bit of a twist that might entice readers to check out the second novel in the series. While Nothing Ventured is a quick and easy read, I feel like this story could have worked better as a movie than as a book.


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Reading

A Reasonable Doubt – Philip Margolin | A Book Review

A Reasonable Doubt - Philip Margolin

Title: A Reasonable Doubt

Author: Philip Margolin

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the third book in the Robin Lockwood series following a former MMA fighter who is now a criminal defense attorney. When a magician named Robert Chesterfield dies in the middle of his magic trick, Robin finds herself trying to figure out how he was murdered in front of three thousand people.

First impressions: I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I was intrigued by the premise. I was expecting more investigation scenes with Robin in them, yet the beginning goes over what happened more than a decade ago when Chesterfield is accused of killing two people.

Characters: At the beginning, I found myself trying to keep track of everyone involved. I liked Robin but I wanted to learn more about her, and some of the secondary characters.

Quote:

“My job is helping people in trouble, not judging them.”

Writing: The chapters are short with a good balance of dialogue and description. At around 350 pages, it’s a quick read. The story is easy to follow as a standalone, so you don’t have to read the series in order, but there are a few references to events that occurred in the first two novels.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending with Robin solving the case. If you are a fan of magic and mystery with investigation and courtroom scenes, consider picking up A Reasonable Doubt.


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Reading

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Lying Game - Ruth Ware

Title: The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s a standalone novel that follows Isa Wilde who gets a text from an old friend that says “I need you”. At boarding school, Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima participated in The Lying Game, where they lied to teachers and other students. But their lies are coming to light, and they have to discover the truth of what happened seventeen years ago.

First impressions: I’ve read In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, enjoying them both. I love a good thriller as much as anyone, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. The author builds tension in the beginning by withholding information, slowly revealing details of the past.

Characters: I like that Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima are all unique individuals with their own flaws. There’s a bit of diversity with Fatima being a person of colour. I enjoyed Ware exploring friendships between women, especially looking at how relationships change over time.

Quote:

“I don’t want anyone to live in a prison of guilt, so go on: live, love, be happy, never look back.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages long with the book divided into five sections with different rules of The Lying Game: tell a lie, stick to your story, don’t get caught, never lie to each other, know when to stop lying. Some twists and surprises caught me off guard.

Final thoughts: I didn’t predict some events of the ending, so for me, it was fun to find out what exactly happened. If you are a fan of suspenseful mysteries about female friendships, consider checking out The Lying Game.


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