The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Reviewed by Nick K (Library Patron)

In Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling currently attends the Bureaus behavioral science unit for the FBI. Clarice has been called up to talk to Hannibal Lecter, who is being kept in an insane asylum. Hannibal Lecter is a psychopathic Serial murderer who leaves many to question what to do with his twisted thoughts. The two must work together to find the psychotic killer Buffalo Bill. Through good and evil, Clarice Starling must work around Hannibal Lector’s Psychotic behavior to unravel the truth and get to the bottom of Buffalo Bill before he can kill any more people for his final goals.

Thomas Harris has done a great job to let the emotions and feelings of the characters resemble the real-life situation of solving a crime. Harris has a great feel for involving the written amount of information and story to get the reader deeper involved with the interactions of the characters. Harris makes you question why sometimes his descriptions are so vivid in certain scenes. The emphasis that the description brings travels across the story to important events that shape the plot to an outstanding climax. Having said all that, Harris carries the smallest bits of information until the final scenes of the book where everything else in between is solved. The book is long, but the sheer amount of plot buildup makes the book a page-turner. The only thing that some readers might find odd is the small amount of action that is played out in the book. There are great loads of suspense, but for a book overlaying the two minds of psychotics and psychopaths, there is little action that involves gore. I believe any fan of mysterious or suspenseful novels would love The Silence of the Lambs. I would give this book a 9 out of 10, for the excellent storytelling and plot play through.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC HARRIS)

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Meg Williams thinks of herself as a grifter but she’s far more than that. The ordinary grifter does not retain the skillset to embed themselves in another person’s life as if they’d always been there, the determination to mold themselves into the perfect, believable bait in order to do so or the patience to carry out a decade’s long con. The plan she has in mind must be flawless and in order to be flawless, she must be five moves ahead of everyone around her at all times.

Once you get to know Meg you will understand every word, though most are lies, are bricks she naturally and intricately lays to make you trust her. The reader is drawn backwards from the image Meg creates as the novel unfolds and it isn’t until you see the whole picture at a distance that you realize she really exemplifies the “artist” in “con artist.”

I highly enjoyed reading this novel and look forward to more from Julie Clark in the future.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC CLARK)

The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

The third book in the Quinn & Costa series by Allison Brennan, The Wrong Victim follows the mobile FBI unit as they try to discover if a bomb that exploded on a sunset charter cruise was the act of domestic terrorism , or if someone on the boat was the primary target. Special Agent Matt Costa and Detective Kara Quinn work together with the rest of their team to try to solve the murders.

This book had lots of twists and turns and I enjoyed the trying to solve the case along with the FBI team. I’ve read other books by Allison Brennan, and I enjoyed this one and am glad to know she has lots of other books in different series. So if you are looking for a crime thriller author, check out Brennan.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BRENNAN)

The Retreat by Sarah Pearse

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

After devouring The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, I had high expectations for her second novel titled The Retreat; however I have mixed feelings after finishing it. Was I compelled to finish the book after getting to know all the characters? Yes. Was I thinking all along that the novel seemed suspiciously similar to her first one? Yes. That disappointed me and I can’t mention much so I don’t spoil anything but it seems she stole the recipe from her first novel and just chose the exact opposite setting, a summer beachside instead of winter mountains and in/on a suspicious location.

There was one small detail that surprised me near the very end but I’d say The Sanatorium packs more chills. Of the two Pearse has written, I’d recommend trying that one, or if you already have, skip this in favor of any of the other titles currently buckling your bookshelf. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent mystery but I had higher hopes.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC PEARSE)

What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

What Happened to the Bennetts is Lisa Scottoline’s latest novel about a family who suffers a great injustice and the lengths the father, Jason Bennett, will go to right the scales as best as can be done given the circumstances. Parents have been known to exhibit otherworldly strength in times of crisis and Bennett is one of them. There is an apt quote at the beginning of part two, “The fight don’t stop until the casket drop.”

When numerous people in positions of power turn on Bennett instead of helping him, which, by law they are required to do, he feels hopeless to protect the ones he loves. He’d been a relatively complacent man before his family’s tragedy, he didn’t rock the boat, he chose a safe life. However, his hopelessness morphs into anger and anger can be productive. Jason has never in his life had more of a reason to fight and he needs to rise to the occasion because this fight really won’t stop until someone’s casket drops. The book asks the reader to consider, would you shelter in place waiting, hoping people will do the right thing to save the lives of your family or would you do anything you could to fight back?

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SCOTTOLINE)

The Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

My fingers were itching to get Fabian Nicieza’s newest title, The Self-Made Widow after reading his first novel, Suburban Dicks. What can I say? The man has a way with catchy titles.

Andrea Stern is a former FBI profiler who’s been juggling five children and a growing sense that she chose the wrong direction in life. Stern lives and breathes profiling. A tragic incident in her childhood forever altered her outlook on the world, she approaches things with a hard cynicism and couldn’t change the way her mind is wired even if she wanted to. Stern takes in all details, each angle, considers every possibility and does so in seconds flat. Her husband does not see her anymore, seems to be up to something nefarious, again, and discourages her from following the work she was born to do. When Andrea is confronted with the shady circumstances of her friend’s husband’s sudden death, she has to choose if finding the truth is more important than steamrolling all the people it will hurt in the process.

I like this novel because it’s honest and gritty. Parents don’t like their kids all the time, relationships are messy and hard work, time changes how people feel and, sometimes, it’s all you can do to hold still long enough to ask yourself if your life is what you want it to be.

If you liked Suburban Dicks, you will enjoy the mysteries in The Self-Made Widow. If you haven’t read either one, read both!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

I eagerly picked up Local Gone Missing after reading Fiona Barton’s earlier novel The Suspect. That one I struggled from page one to put down and I did get to that point with this novel but it took 1/3rd to ½ of the book to reach it. It is steeped in mystery, a seaside town split into “the locals” and “the weekenders” at odds with each other over the town’s aesthetics. When one of their own goes missing, fingers point in all directions and it was that overarching mystery that kept me reading however the onslaught of characters at the beginning made it difficult for me to identify with a specific one. There’s one thread of the story I still wonder about, for the character’s sake, I wish she had addressed before the end.

Barton’s novel is unique in that the reader gets to know one of the main characters fairly well before he dies. My usual murder mysteries present a dead body right away and the reader works backwards to understand who they were and what happened to them. This involves the death of an incredibly flawed character, one running from one problem to the next and the author did a fantastic job drawing the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions while following him. Though I’d rank it second to her earlier novel, this is still an exciting mystery to spend the weekend with.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BARTON)

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

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Reviewed by Jess B (Library Patron)

This is a rollercoaster ride of a book. The beginning is dark and grim, I wasn’t sure if I would read on but I am glad I did! Local Woman Missing is the story of two women and a six-year-old girl who goes missing, are the disappearances connected? Why these particular people from this otherwise peaceful town? The story bounces back and forth from the present day to eleven years ago when the people go missing. After eleven years the six-year-old girl shows up alive, what answers does she hold? The storyline keeps you guessing, are the women alive? If not who killed them and why? As you read, several individuals may be suspects however, be ready for a big plot twist you probably won’t see coming. This book is a page-turner and you become connected to the characters. A true thriller novel.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC KUBICA)

The Island by Adrian McKinty

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Heather Baxter recently married a widowed doctor who has a young son and teenage daughter, and while they live in Seattle, they all decide to go on vacation to Australia. While out searching for some native animals, they stumble upon Dutch Island which is off-limits to outside visitors. Somehow they talk their way onto the ferry and head to the island but after an accident occurs, the family is thrust into an absolute nightmare with no way to escape. Heather must use all her childhood knowledge of surviving in the outdoors to stay one step ahead of the locals and make it off the island.

This was a suspenseful novel full of terror around every corner. Heather originally came off as weak and naïve, but as the story continued you were able to see how she is smart, strong, and capable. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I would recommend it for the perfect summer/fall quick read!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC MCKINTY)