Review Time: The Next Accident

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“We’re all looking for something to believe in, and someone to blame.”

After coming to terms with her demons, Rainie Connor left police life behind in Virginia and made a new home for herself as a Private Investigator in Portland. As she begins the process of figuring out how to actually make a living as a P.I., her old pal Quincy shows up on her doorstep. Quincy’s daughter, Mandy, has been on life support ever since she drunkenly wrapped her SUV around a tree, killing a pedestrian in the process. Quincy, though, doesn’t think Mandy’s accident was, well, an accident. And he’s going to prove that to the world, with Rainie’s help.

Mandy was an alcoholic — there was no denying that. But she was on the wagon, according to all of her friends. So how did she end up beyond drunk at 5AM on a remote road no where near her house? As Quincy and Rainie start to zero in on the answer to that question, Quincy’s life takes a turn for the unexpected. His ex-wife, Bethie, begins seeing a man who can only be described as “perfect” — and who happens to look exactly like Quincy in the moonlight. His remaining daughter Kimberly, still reeling from the death of her sister, is following in her father’s profiler footsteps in New York, though it quickly becomes apparent that she’s not safe there. His dementia-ridden father is checked out of his full-time care facility by a man masquerading as Quincy. Someone is taunting Quincy and they have to figure out who–and why–before they become the next victims.

The Next Accident is the third installment of Lisa Gardner’s “FBI Profiler” series and it is a dark and twisty masterpiece. There are a lot of different angles in this one and a lot of long-held grudges to keep track of, but it’s not an impossible task. Gardner weaves doubt through the whole novel about Quincy’s innocence in the deaths of his family in a way that is both infuriating and intriguing. The book is suspenseful, gory, sad and hopeful–and I loved it, of course. Another winning read from my girl L.G. —  you go, girl!

My favorite scene: Bethie is meeting her handsome stranger for dinner and is giddy about the prospect of dating again. Her giddiness turns into something much more after her stranger showed her his scar, a scar her received as a result of a kidney transplant — Mandy’s kidney. It’s an incredibly emotional scene that showcases just how heartbroken Bethie is over the loss of her daughter and how lonely she is after the loss of her family. Up until now, we’ve only seen Bethie as the over-bearing mother who can’t face reality. Now, though, we get a glimpse of her as a grieving human. If only we had more time with her…

photo via

To Read: July Edition

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The sun is (finally!) out, the birds are chirping and I’m slathering on the sunscreen. I do love the summer in Chicago… Much, MUCH less hellish than the sauna that is summer in New Orleans. This fabulously tolerable weather has put a bit of a damper in my summer reading game though, because instead of being cooped up inside every weekend because it’s just TOO DANG HOT, we’re actually venturing outdoors. And it’s lovely. But it’s sadly cutting into my reading game. Thank goodness for those twice daily–and often tedious–bus rides to get me through my To Read lists. And with that, let’s dive into July’s.

PS – You’ll be so proud! I’m branching out! Not all of them are murder mysteries! Small victories, man. Small victories.

Mischling: This story set in Nazi Germany during WWII is one that came recommended by the Chicago Public Library’s blog. Identical twins that end up in Auschwitz are selected to be part of Mengele’s Zoo, the “experimental population of twins” that serve as the guinea pigs for the awful Joseph Mengele. I’m a sucker for a heart-wrenching WWII novel (hello, The Nightingale), so I’m excited about this one.

Into the Water: By the author of The Girl on the Train, this story follows the happenings of a small English town after a woman is found dead in the “Drowning Pool,” a body of water made infamous after numerous deaths in its depths over the years. It looks twisty and turn-y and spine-tingly and you know I’m about that life.

The Next Accident: As the third installment of what Lisa Gardner has dubbed the “FBI Profiler Series,” this book follows Quincy and Rainie (from The Third Victim fame) as they try to track down what really happened to Quincy’s daughter Mandy. I love all of LG’s books (we’re on a nickname basis at this point), and I imagine this one will be no different.

The Rules Do Not Apply: I really strayed from my usual with this one, but sometimes you gotta reach out of your comfort zone every once in a while. That’s exactly what Ariel Levy does in this memoir about what happens when your life decides it has its own ideas about the future. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a memoir of any sort, and I think this one is going to be the perfect one to jump back in with.

Happy reading, y’all!

Review Time: Find Her

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It only took me almost a year, but I finally made it. Find Her is the most recent addition to Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren series, aka Adult Nancy Drew. The book was actually the reason that I started reading the D.D. Warren series to begin with, so I’m glad I finally got to circle back around to it seven books (and 10 months) later.

Flora Dane, an innocent and naive girl, found herself separated from her friends during Spring Break and nothing was ever the same again. Flora was kidnapped from the sunny Florida beach and held in captivity, inside (and out of) a small wooden box, for 472 days. Miraculously, though, she manages to escape her real life nightmare and tries to return to a normal life.

But Flora can’t really leave her nightmare behind. Since her escape five years ago, she’s worked to make sure that no one else has to go through what she did — though her tactics are a bit guerilla. One night, while working her recon, Flora finds herself bound and gagged in a dank garage, her only company the exceptionally muscular man that put her there. But she’s not a victim any more, she refuses to be, so she does the only thing she knows how to do. She escapes. Again. And she takes the man down in the process. Enter D.D. Warren.

D.D. is not a fan of vigilante justice, so she has some questions for the girl. But, not long after her run-in with D.D., Flora disappears. Again. And this time, she doesn’t surface in someone’s garage. She doesn’t surface in a seedy motel. She doesn’t surface at all. Suddenly D.D. knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that something is very, very wrong. And it’s her job to make sure Flora the Survivor returns — it’s her job to Find Her. (lol get it? SO corny, I know.)

I love D.D. and I love all of Lisa Gardner’s stories. They keep you guessing, keep you turning the page and keep you up at night because “just one more chapter, Mom!”. The end of this one had a massive twist I didn’t see coming  but that made everything come together magically. So, so good.

My favorite scene: Very early on in the story, Flora is forcefully taken from a bar where she’s doing a little recon work surrounding the disappearance of a young college co-ed. Flora wakes up, bound and naked, in a garage and the race is on to save herself before her captor takes that option away. Flora’s able to find the tools she needs to escape in a bag of rotting garbage in the corner of the garage and she does what she does best — survive. I really liked this scene because it gave you a good sense, right off the bat, of who Flora is and what she’s capable of. You know she’s a fighter, you know she’s resourceful and you know that she’s going to do what it takes. You go, girl.

Grade: ★★★★★

 

To Read: June Edition

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This month, this first month of “summer,” is really where the temptations and nostalgia lie. The skies are sunny. The wind is brutal. And we’re stuck inside all. day. long. It really is heartbreaking. These are the days when I reminisce about the days of old when I used to drag my blanket and pillow into the backyard, set up my own little reading corner and work on my suntan. But now, no more reading corner and definitely no more suntan. Though I’m not sure there ever was much tanning to begin with… I’m pretty sure I could give Snow White a run for her money these days. Though my hair is less perfectly coifed and wild animals don’t like me that much…

BUT. Back to the important things. Even if there are fewer hours to devote to diving into new reads, that doesn’t mean I won’t try my darnedest. So let’s get reading.

Daisy in Chains: A serial killer. A defense attorney turned writer. A claim of a wrongful conviction. A recipe for a page-turner.

Find Her: This one is yet another installment of the D.D. Warren series, the kick-ass Boston detective who don’t take no shit from nobody. This time, a kidnap victim goes missing again and it’s a race against the clock to find her before her demons do. You can do it, D.D.

All the Missing Girls: A decade after one girl’s heartbreaking disappearance, another has gone missing in a sleepy North Carolina town (can you sense a theme here?). And one person seems to be connected to them both. Dun, dun, dun.

Perfect Husband: Because I can’t get enough, I’m diving into yet another Lisa Gardner detective series. And it looks like it’s going to be awesome. In this first installment, a hardened killer has escaped from prison and is coming after the woman who helped put him there — his wife. And she’s going to be ready for him when he gets there.

Maybe next month I’ll pick something that isn’t a murder mystery. Maybe.

To Read: March Edition

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It’s March. Which means March Madness. Which means my boyfriend will be glued to the television for an insane amount of time watching college kids play with basketballs. Which means that I will have SO MUCH TIME for book reading this month. Which means I’m doing my happy dance over here.

And this month I’ve got some books that I’ve been really looking forward to cracking open. Another from my new favorite Mary Kubica. Another from my other new favorite Lisa Gardner. And another World War II saga. Because I can’t get enough of any of those. And also because the library finally decided they would loan each of them to me after a stupid long time. Po-tate-oh, po-taht-oh. Let’s get to it.

Pretty Baby: Heidi Wood spots a seemingly homeless girl and her infant daughter on Chicago’s “El” and can’t shake them from her mind. She works to befriend the girl, but what she learns as their relationship grows could put her and her family in danger. Mystery and intrigue, FTW.

Lilac Girls: This story follows three girls from three very different walks of life as they navigate through Hitler’s tumultuous Germany. The ad copy for the book likens it to The Nightengale, another WWII-era novel that I think I’ve decided is my favorite book of all time. So, I’m a little excited about this one, to say the very least.

Fear Nothing: It’s taken me almost 11 weeks to get this 8th installment of the D.D. Warren series and I’m beyond excited to break into it. A new serial killer is roaming around Boston and it’s up to D.D. to make sense of everything. But, as per usual, the obstacles are stacked against her and it isn’t going to be easy. I can’t wait to see you soon, D.D.!

Happy reading!