Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Phyllis Whitney is one of those Gothic type novelists who write what is called 'Romantic suspense.' This book has been on my shelf forever (circa 1981). This was one of those novelists that was one of my first adult reads back in the day. This was actually a very good story with a plot that moved rapidly. The Gothic feel of strange voices from an imaginary friend that made you wonder if the main character was truly mad. When Lindsay travels to Sedona because of a suspicious note from her father's past, that made her want to get to the bottom of his murder. Surrounded by the beautiful red rocks and the mysticism of the Hopi Indians, Lindsay is drawn into family dramas that she never knew existed but slowly become revealed. The romantic interest was a little predictable but still believeable and an important part of the story. The only part that I thought was contrived was a red herring ill placed near the end of the book which all but screamed "I DID IT." While talking to my mystery reading friends about revisiting Phyllis Whitney, we talked about dated content and plots. While there are no cell phones, computers, or CSI gadgetry, this is old fashioned mystery at it's best and I would highly recommend the trip down memory lane and read a Whitney novel for the fun of it.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
The Kill Fee by Laura Van Wormer
Sally Harrington, part-time sleuth and full-time news broadcaster is the protagonist in this ongoing series. She has the ususal broadcast anchor jealousy, boyfriend, elderly relative and even stalker issues going on. Far into the book, it also comes to light that some rather horrifying characters are in pursuit of land owned by her great-uncle. Sadly, I was disappointed in this book. I did not care at all about the any of the characters, most were incredibly selfish. The sprinkling of implict and apparently obligatory sex scenes throughout did not do a thing to liven the action. Van Wormer has had many books published, this is the fifth in a series about Harrington. I might try another just to double check my reactions, but then again maybe not.
Altered identities seem to be a theme in my latest mystery reads. "Die for You" by Lisa Unger lets the reader know before the book is even opened that one character is not who he says he is. The mystery is: Who is he? and Why did he hide? The protagonist, the unknowing wife, quickly finds clues to the deception in retrospect. Unger neatly ties together financial deception with ethical deception and wraps everything up in a bow called "love is blind" (often on purpose). Following deception, as a theme is abandonment as both the wife, Isobel, and her sister, cope in very different ways with the suicide of their father when they were very young. Suicde is, of course, the ultimate abandonment. Not asking questions in a relationship, not being financially independent or even aware are just some of the issues Unger covers while portraying Isolbel's quest to solve the mystery of just who her husband was. Isobel was a well drawn and evolving character, her husband despicable, her niece and nephew amazing. Most of the characters were well drawn to depict them is specific ways. Jealousy raised its ugly head more than once.
This book was a definite page turner and left me with the urge to read more of Unger's work. "Die for You" was featured in 2009 as a Today Show Top Summer Pick, and Parade Magazine, Good Morning America, Good Housekeeping and USA Today all picked it as a top summer read.