Idaho

IdahoIdaho by Emily Ruskovich
Published by Random House on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 320
Genres: Literary Fiction, Suspense
See it @ Goodreads
four-stars


Synopsis


O.Henry Prize-winner Emily Ruskovich tells the story of a woman piecing together the mystery of what happened to a family. Idaho is a debut novel about love, forgiveness, and memory—the violence of memory, and the equal violence of its loss.
Ann and Wade have carved out a living for themselves from a rugged landscape, but they are bound together by more than love. In a story told from multiple perspectives—Ann, Wade, Wade’s first wife Jenny, now in prison for murder—and in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn of the shocking act that originally brought Ann and Wade together, and which reverberates through the lives of every character in Idaho.

My thoughts on this book

When you read a book about murder especially a horrific murder you expect a resolution, an explanation, something to ease the pain. In Idaho Emily Ruskovich gives you none of that.

Ann knows when she married Wade that he has early on-set dementia and that his first wife murdered one of their children. The beauty of the story is not about the murder, but how Ann goes about bringing closure to an act that was so brutal. We don’t often get a glimpse of the aftermath of a tragedy, it goes against our sensibilities not to know what happened but the author is more concerned with how life continues after such a tragedy. The book spans a thirty year period, moving from present to past, back and forth from character to character each giving us just a bit of insight always moving forward never back.

Idaho is beautifully written book but, challenging as it does not move in the direction you expect, it will move you from comfort zone.

Wolf Lake

Wolf LakeWolf Lake by John Verdon
Published by Counterpoint on July 12th 2016
Pages: 375
Format: ebook
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
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three-half-stars


Synopsis


Could a nightmare be used as a murder weapon? That’s the provocative question confronting Gurney in the thrilling new installment in this series of international bestsellers. The former NYPD star homicide detective is called upon to solve a baffling puzzle: Four people who live in different parts of the country and who seem to have little in common, report having had the same dream—a terrifying nightmare involving a bloody dagger with a carved wolf’s head on the handle. All four are subsequently found with their wrists cut — apparent suicides — and the weapon used in each case was a wolf’s head dagger.
Police zero in quickly on Richard Hammond, a controversial psychologist who conducts hypnotherapy sessions at a spooky old Adirondack inn called Wolf Lake Lodge. It seems that each of the victims had gone there to meet with Hammond shortly before turning up dead.
Troubled by odd holes in the official approach to the case, Gurney begins his own investigation — an action that puts him in the crosshairs of not only an icy murderer and the local police but the darkest corner of the federal government. As ruthless as the blizzard trapping him in the sinister eeriness of Wolf Lake, Gurney’s enemies set out to keep him from the truth at any cost — including an all-out assault on the sanity of his beloved wife Madeleine.
With his emotional resources strained to the breaking point, Gurney must throw himself into a deadly battle of wits with the most frightening opponent he has ever faced.
Wolf Lake is the page-turning new work by a writer hailed by the New York Times as “masterly” — and it furthers the adventures of Dave Gurney, a detective reviewers have compared to Sherlock Holmes.

My thoughts on this book

This is the fifth Dave Gurney book. Other than the fact that a retired NYPD would be drawn into such complex cases is a little far-fetched, the stories are very interesting and well plotted. I like the tension that Verdon has created between Gurney and his wife, this is something one would expect for a couple that is continually drawn back to a life they have given up.

I look forward to the next Dave Gurney book.

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

The Last Painting of Sara de VosThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
Published by Macmillan Audio on April 5th 2016
Format: audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
See it @ Goodreads
four-stars


Synopsis


A masterful new story charts the circuitous course of the sole surviving work of a female Dutch painter.

This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can't shake them, even long after the reading's done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth. In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain—a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.

My thoughts on this book

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up this book, I thought that maybe Sara de Vos was a real person, now I know she is a composite of Dutch women painters from the 1600’s – silly me! This was an absolutely charming story, rather bittersweet.

Dominic Smith has with a mixture of history and deft storytelling woven the lives of three people into a wonderful story of love, loss and redemption. I enjoyed Edoardo Ballerini reading of this book, I felt he was perfect.