REVIEW: POISON, BY GALT NIEDERHOFFER

 

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass’ two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Seattle—a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

 

My Thoughts: In the beginning of Poison, their lives looked perfect from the outside, and everything seemed to be falling into place according to plan. But when Cass begins to find evidence of her husband’s cheating, everything starts coming unglued.

A nanny who seems too good to be true; a neighbor who appears to be kind, offering assistance; and very strange physical symptoms in Cass that start after Ryan has cooked a tuna dish.

Just when it seems as though she has figured out what is happening, the real battle begins. Proving that Ryan is out to harm her. Finding out who in her world she can trust. Everyone begins to look suspicious, which is dangerous, since Cass learns what she has always known, underneath, that the system is designed to cater to the words of men and to reduce those of women to labels such as hysteria, paranoia, and delusions.

It will take a lot for Cass to finally discover the answers…following her journey kept me captive throughout this book as I could totally relate to how women and victims are treated, even in this day and age. I was on the edge of my seat until I turned the last page, hoping for a resolution. Hoping for justice. A brilliant five star read!***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “RIGHT BEHIND YOU”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today I am delighted to share excerpts from Right Behind You, by Lisa Gardner, one of my favorite authors.  Lisa Gardner’s latest thriller following her runaway hit Find Her takes her wildly popular brand of suspense to new heights.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

Had a family once.

Father.  Mother.  Sister.  Lived in our very own double-wide.  Brown shag carpet.  Dirty gold countertops.  Peeling linoleum floors.  Used to race my Hot Wheels down those food-splattered countertops, double-loop through ramps of curling linoleum, then land in gritty piles of shag.  Place was definitely a shit hole.  But being a kid, I called it home.

***

56:  “Criminologists like to define,” he murmured.  “If we can define, then we can understand.  Hence the proposal of a third label—rampage killer—to cover both spree and mass murderers.”

***

Synopsis:  Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and the blurb grab you?  Are you as eager to keep reading as I am?

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REVIEW: SAFE WITH ME, BY AMY HATVANY

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When Hannah decides that, after a failed relationship, she should pursue her desire for children on her own, she uses a sperm donor and gives birth to Emily, the daughter who is everything she has ever wanted in a family.

But in one pivotal moment, twelve-year-old Emily is killed—struck by a car in front of their house. Submerged in grief, Hannah at first rejects the idea of donating Emily’s organs, but then changes her mind.

Now, a year later, she is still struggling with her grief and loss. She has moved from the Seattle home she shared with her daughter to an apartment over the new salon she is renovating. Her one friend and partner, Sophie, continues to manage the downtown salon.

Then one day, a woman and her teenaged daughter walk into the newly opened salon that Hannah owns, and she feels an instant connection to Olivia and Maddie. How will Hannah discover just what binds them together? And as Hannah and Olivia grow closer, what dirty secrets does Hannah discover are hiding behind the doors of the upscale home where Olivia, Maddie, and her husband James live? What will finally bring the truth to light?

Narrated from Hannah’s, Olivia’s, and Maddie’s perspective, Safe with Me: A Novel was an emotionally engaging read that had me eagerly turning pages. While the coincidences of the story seemed a bit convenient, I absolutely loved the tale anyway, hoping against hope that there would be a satisfactory resolution. Five stars.

A PORTRAIT OF PRIMAL, TANGLED FAMILY TIES — A REVIEW

 

 

In the opening pages of Little Night: A Novel, the reader is thrust into the aftermath of domestic violence, and the consequences for one young woman who risked everything to protect her sister.

Unfortunately, the control Frederik Rasmussen wielded over his wife Anne and their two children is the kind of hold often exerted by men who must monitor every thought, feeling, and action of those he calls “his.” This kind of domination is most effective within an isolated unit such as the one this perpetrator has created.

When Anne follows her husband into his darkness and lies to the police and in court, her sister Clare is sentenced to prison.

What happens in the years that follow sets the scene for some kind of reunion or redemption, but that does not happen. Instead, Clare comes home one day to a letter from her niece Grit, who is announcing her plan to visit.

In flashes backward and forward, the story progresses, showing a bit about how Clare and Anne grew up and how that family dynamic created the secrecy, the tendency to hide, and even the sneaky following of those they loved.

What is interesting in these kinds of families is that not all of the children grow up to be in abusive relationships. Sometimes one or more family members are the designated “rescuers,” like Clare.

How does Grit’s moving in on Clare’s solitude as an urban birder and blogger virtually change the landscape of her life? What will Grit bring to Clare that will help enlighten her about her sister’s life? And how will Anne finally show herself in the end?

Of course Frederik was an obnoxious creature with no redeeming value, in my opinion. He is not really typical of abusers; they often have some charming characteristics that hook their victims. In this way, he was not real to me.

Anne was also not a convincing character to me, but another caricature, like Frederik. The two were drawn in bold strokes of extremes, perhaps to accentuate the hold an abuser has on those around him.

Grit was another unlikeable character with sneaky, intrusive qualities that made it hard to relate to her or root for her. And yet again, her behavior could definitely occur within the framework of such a family home.

An interesting study in family dysfunction, which I enjoyed, for the most part. The ending felt anticlimactic to me. 3.5 stars.