With memories of summer vacation fading faster than my tan and the kids back to school and so organized that I’m hardly needed in the mornings, I had great plans of conquering my to-do list in record time, all while re-establishing a semblance of routine.
Ah, the best laid plans, all felled by a single sentence, an opening chapter, a stack of to-be-read thrillers and crime fiction. You got it. Little has been ticked off of my to-do list except for going to the gym, and I’ve had to add “drink coffee” and “read 6 chapters” to that list just to be able to tick something off. It hasn’t helped that these books have left me bleary eyed from staying up to late because of “just one more chapter”.
The upside of my profound lack of get-up-and-go is that I have two awesome tales to share with you, so let’s call this the LATE night edition of What I’m Reading Wednesday in honor of the late nights I’ve spent curled up on the sofa, glued to these books.
I’ve been gobbling up everything I can get my hands on in the mysteries and thriller sections, and this weeks picks are two of my favorites from my recent reads.
First up this week is She’s Not There by P.J. Parrish.
“She’s not there” are the words uttered by Alex Tobias upon the discovery that his wife had disappeared from her hospital bed after a car accident leaves her battered, bruised and with amnesia. However, while Amelia Tobias may not remember how she came to be in her current state, among other things, a sense of unease and fear she feels when she first sees her husband sends her running.
But who is she? Why does she want to run? With amazing fortitude she goes on the run, fleeing Fort Lauderdale and winding up – at least for a while – in Brunswick, Georgia where she meets feisty Hannah who rents her a room while she tries to figure out who she is.
Meanwhile, her husband has hired Clay Buchanan (doesn’t that name sound heroic?), a skip tracer who is very good at his job: finding people who don’t want to be found. Is Clay the bad guy? Is he the good guy? Amelia tries to stay one step ahead of Buchanan as she slowly but desperately begins to put together the pieces of her broken memory – and begins to figure out why she went on the run and feared her husband.
I loved this book – not only did it have twists and turns and a truly interesting take on the “woke up with amnesia and am afraid of my spouse but I don’t know why” plot line, but it was also filled with some sympathetic characters that gave me the warm fuzzies and some powerful players that make you wonder if there is any way out for Amelia.
This one kept me up late and face down in my oatmeal in the morning because I had to know how it ended. Clear your calendar for this one, friends, because P.J. Parrish (in real life, a two-sister writing team) has written a doozy.
She’s Not There by P.J. Parrish is published by Thomas and Mercer and will be released on September 8, 2015. You can connect with author P.J. Parrish (ok, there are two of them) on Facebook and at www.pjparrish.com
My second pick this week is also a thriller but in a different vein – more a psychological thriller than a crime novel. The Girl in the Maze by R. K. Jackson has been compared to Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn and Tara French, and I supposed I can agree…and disagree. Tara French is awesome at developing mood and this one swims with it, but one that isn’t quite as oppressive; Flynn and Hawkins do great things with a wholly unlikeable cast of characters or characters that will cause you to vacillate between pity and disgust, and while I agree that Martha Covington has a certain stigma hanging over her head, I like her and never find myself doubting her.
So the story in a nutshell: Martha Covington is recovering from a nervous breakdown of sorts, and a work placement lands her in Amberleen, Georgia to help with recording local Geechee history for the Historical Society.
However, she soon starts the doubt the success of her treatment as she starts to hear voices again. Is it mental illness seeping out, or is she hearing voices of the dead? Either way, she lands herself in the middle of trouble brewing in the town as developers and some town bigwigs make plans to take the land that the Geechee community reside in, and her recent history makes her the perfect scapegoat.
What did I love about this book? The intertwining of Geechee history – descendants of slaves who have lived in the area and tried to preserve their culture for over 300 years, the intriguing cast of characters, Martha herself, and the fast-moving plot all combine to create a gripping, twisty-turny tale that will leave you holding your breath to see if Paula can escape this attack on at her sanity and her life.
The Girl in the Maze by R.K. Jackson is published by Random House Publishing Group and will be released on September 8, 2015 as well. R.K. Jackson can be found online at randalkjackson.com
That’s it for this week’s “What I’m Reading Wednesday”. Check back in later this week as I hope to bring you a couple of fun books for your middle schooler!
In the meantime, you tell me:
What books have you read lately that have kept you up too late?
Many thanks to Netgalley, Penguin Random House and Thomas and Mercer for providing me with advanced reader copies in exchange for my honest review! All thoughts and opinions herein are entirely my own.