The Man Burned by Winter by Pete Zacharias

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Investigative journalist Rooker Lindstrom has given up on life. He’s lost everything and is spiraling downward in a house that’s doing the same, threatening to trap him forever in his father’s house of horrors. They’d do more than that too, “People say if walls could talk, these walls would scream.”

This is where Detective Tess Harlow finds Rooker. She looks at the once famous investigative journalist, the empty booze bottles surrounding him, the bones poking out of a frame that obviously doesn’t care about feeding itself, a man whose eyes all but scream that he’s waiting to die and she gives him a chance. Will he help her uncover who is killing women in the same fashion his father once had? Will Rooker have enough life left in him to scrape himself out of his chair, leave the bottles alone and face the life he’d tried so hard to run away from? This is the author’s first novel and if you enjoy a good underdog story, this one is right for you.

Available through the Bridges Library System

When a Killer Calls by John Douglas & Mark Olshaker

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

“This true crime book is an incredibly detailed account of “murder, criminal profiling and justice in a small town.” John Douglas and Mark Olshaker have eloquently infused the denseness of a nonfiction book with enough suspense that it reads like a fiction novel, the reader compelled to keep flipping pages. Inspiration for the show Mindhunter and an account of the birth of criminal profiling, this book details the achievements and defeats of a brand new way of thinking.

Two days before her high school graduation, Shari Smith was abducted from her driveway. The way in which the community, detectives and profilers worked together to seek justice for Shari is incredible. The window into how profilers think is fascinating, as is the process of building a profile of a killer to help catch them. Smith’s story will swallow anyone interested in true crime.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (364.152 DOU)

No Exit (2022)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Fingers white-knuckling the searing wheel in a snowstorm, Darby has hit her rock bottom. A drug addiction has torn her from her family, leaving her to choose between a halfway house and prison. While in the halfway house, she gets a text from her sister; their mom had an aneurism and is dying in the hospital.

Darby has a choice to make. Escape the halfway house knowing it will send her to prison or never say goodbye to her mom. She chooses the former and drives through snaky mountain roads until the storm is so thick she cannot see and forces her to ride out a few hours at a rest stop.

There she accidentally finds a kidnapped girl, tied up and freezing in a van outside the rest stop. The temperature continues to plummet and there’s a medical alert bracelet on the little girl’s arm. Whoever has done this is one of the four people she is stranded with. Darby struggles through truly impossible odds and is faced with her second monumental choice- drugs or, most likely, death?

This movie comes full circle with a heroic protagonist and is well worth the tense, suspense filled ride. Weeks after seeing this film, I’m still astounded and impressed with Darby’s strength.

Check out one of our Roku’s and watch this movie on Hulu!

The Midnight Lock by Jeffrey Deaver

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

I picked up Deaver’s latest title accidentally thinking it was part of his Colter Shaw series- which I highly recommend- however this is the latest installment in his Lincoln Rhyme series. I wouldn’t normally jump into a series on the 15th title but the description sold me. Women are waking up in their apartments to find their things rearranged, a chair pointed right at the bed as if someone had sat there and watched them sleep, a half eaten cookie or glass of wine on the counter. Someone, somewhere is capable of picking the most secure locks in the world leaving the citizens of New York more than a little worried.

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are called to investigate the escalating crimes but when a rift occurs with Rhyme’s prior case, the NYPD question his judgement and become overly concerned with the optics in the public eye. They respond by firing Rhyme, their best chance to solve the case of the man who has dubbed himself “the Locksmith”

I enjoyed this book so much I have checked out the first in his series and am looking forward to many more to come.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC DEAVER)

Parks and Recreation: Leslie for Class President! by Robb Pearlman

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This gem from Robb Pearlman features the cast from the famous TV show Parks and Recreation but as children. Those familiar with the show will appreciate the appearance of objects in the backgrounds that are significant to specific characters like tools for Ron Swanson, waffles for Leslie Knope, calzones for Ben Wyatt, a Little Sebastian pony on a shelf, a raccoon running out of the frame and more.

Even if you know nothing about Parks and Recreation, the book merits reading for the empowering message it sends. Leslie’s struggles to become class president introduce the reader to the importance of voting and believing in your ability to make a difference. She introduces the concepts of lobbying and bureaucracy to the reader as she makes promises to her friends in exchange for their vote. She eventually promises so much, she becomes overwhelmed and worries about her ability to make everyone happy. Put this book on hold and see how Ron, Ann, Ben, April, Andy, Donna, Tom, Chris, Jerry and even Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa tackle the class presidency and how the vote turns out!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

What could be more interesting that a diagnosed psychopath trying to settle an old score? How about eight diagnosed psychopaths pulled together for a research panel on the same campus? Chloe Sevre is one of those eight and has prepared and waited for years to exact revenge but as she progresses through the final phases of her plan, she’s hampered by someone else’s agenda. Bizarre deaths begin to occur in the psychology building she frequents regularly for the research panel. Chloe however will not be deterred from the mission her life has become and is forced to contend with a little stalking, some light battery, and many threats. But fear not, she is capable of giving far more than that in return.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC KURIAN)

I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Allie Ross has put considerable distance between herself and her past. Although that’s where she’d like to keep it, it rears its ugly head threatening to ruin her marriage, job and relationship with her son. Allie steadily unravels as she slides quickly into suspect number one. Her neighbors believe she is guilty and she faces insurmountable odds in an effort to clear her name.

I seem to be a pro lately at picking debut books and although this is Aggie Thompson’s first novel and you can’t have more from her yet, it’s a fast-moving and chilling mystery novel worth picking up.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey by Lori Mortensen

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This title was recommended to me by another DPL staff member and as soon as she slid it towards me, I was absorbed with Chloe Bristol’s illustrations. The style just borders on creepy which is the essence of the real life subject of this biography, Edward Gorey. The characters are rail thin with elongated feet and facial expressions that draw you in. They look slightly melancholy at times which embodies what Gorey believed, life isn’t always sunshine, rainbows and happy endings. “To Edward, the world was an uncertain place where anything might happen.” This was the primary reason people didn’t care for his work, they found him and his stories weird.

This biography carries an important message; being different is not bad and that you must keep doing what you love, even when the world tries to dissuade you.

Fans of Tim Burton will adore this book; the characters are reminiscent of those in the Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline and the Corpse Bride.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E MORTENSEN)

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Fabian Nicieza’s debut novel alternates between the perspectives of Kenny Lee, a washed up reporter and Andrea Stern, a retired FBI profiler who is pregnant with her fifth child. Andrea’s tired. She’s the size of a house and desperately missing the career that gave her life purpose when she waddles into the center of a crime scene. With a wildly perceptive eye, Andrea makes astute connections which hint at a crime long buried and with Lee’s help stirring up the media, the unlikely pair seek long overdue justice.

I enjoyed the quick pace and the rawness of both the main characters. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by this author and hope he continues to write more.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC NICIEZA)

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Every Vow You Break is the first novel I’ve read by Peter Swanson and I liked it enough to pick up another of his mysteries to try next. This book begins with a freshly married couple who travel to a private island to celebrate their honeymoon. However, new bride Abigail Baskin feels immediate unease upon arriving at the ostentatious resort which is overstaffed with creepily attentive workers, 99% of which are men. Her nerves are frayed when she encounters the same man she’d been intimate with on the eve of her bachelorette party and all chances of an enjoyable honeymoon vanish when the only other woman on the resort vanishes unexpectedly.

This book heaps the eerie on early but I want to encourage you to keep up with it because you don’t get that I-can’t-put-this-down pull to the title until you’re about a third of the way though. But when it came, it hit me hard. If you have a more of a psychic eye than I do, you may have a guess at the ending, as my good friend did, but I myself didn’t see it coming. That might be why I love mysteries so much, I can see a hundred threads of possible outcomes trailing off like shooting stars but seldom pick the one it turns out to be. I’m always surprised that way!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SWANSON)