Category Archives: Mystery- Fiction

Shadow Game by Christine Feehan

imagesCAXSCWV1 $7.99, 352 pages, Paranormal Romance

Lily and Ryland meet through a science experiment, share psychic abilities and fall in love.

Author’s Website

Reviews:

Red Hot Books Blog

Romantic Times Book Review

Ryland is a GhostWalker and possesses special abilities that make his participation in an ongoing scientific experiment heightened.  Lily’s father began the scientific research on Ryland and other men in various branches of the military.  And when Lily’s father is murdered, she is tasked with taking over his research while determining and finding her father’s killer.  All the while, the passionate energy and attraction between Lily and Ryland cannot be overlooked.  This book is the first of 10 in the GhostWalkers series by Christine Feehan.

Depending on your “heat level” for romances, Feehan’s GhostWalker series is a must-try for any romance reader.  The paranormal elements, including psychic abilities, only add to the allure as Lily and Ryland can read each other’s thoughts.  Working together, their relationship allows them to discover answers while experiencing mind blowing passion.

Appeal Factors: Fast-Paced, Romance, Paranormal

According to Novelist, read-alikes for this book include: Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz, Pandora’s Daughter by Iris Johansen and Raintree by Linda Jones (accessed May 4, 2013).

Awards: Nominated for the 2003 Romantic Times Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal, NY Times Bestseller List, USA Today Bestseller List

Discussion Questions:

1. Are you a fan of paranormal romance?

2. Would you read this author/genre again?

3.  Did you find Shadow Game to be too sexually explicit ? Do you think it was an important to the plot/story?

4. Is Lily and Ryland’s relationship based on love and mutual attraction or is it based on sexual attraction?

5. Do you think Lily’s character was indicative of her upbringing?

6. Did Lily’s father love her?  Did he know how to show/express love? If yes, how?

7. As he is dying, Dr. Peter Whitney reaches out to his daughter Lily and implores her to destroy his secret laboratory and his research. Do you think he was unaware how dangerous his research was? Did he maintain his laboratory and records as a source of pride or do you believe he truly wanted his daughter to learn about her history?

8. Do you think the Ghostwalker experiment is plausible?

9. Do you think psychic abilities are a reality?

10. Which paranormal/psychic ability would you choose and why?  A few examples to get you started: levitation, telepathy, dreamwalking and psychic abilities.

11. Where do you think the series goes from here (this is the first of ten books in the series)?

I selected this book due to the popularity of the paranormal romance genre.  I became familiar with Christine Feehan through the owner of a small bookstore.

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The Dinner by Herman Koch

dinner $24.00, 304 pages, Mystery-Thriller-Suspense

A suspenseful mystery unfolds over the course of two couples sharing dinner.

Author’s Website

Reviews:

NY Times

Two couples sit down to an elegant and expensive dinner at a restaurant in Amsterdam.  The men are brothers and throughout the many courses of dinner, a mystery unfolds.  The story involves the sons of these couples and choices they made.  A shameful crime has occurred and the atrocity was videotaped on a cellular phone.  It becomes evident the each set of parents are devoted to their own sons.  And yet….how will they deal with the pressing matter at hand?

I enjoyed the suspense behind this book.  I read and continued to guess at what the parents were avoiding.  I found it incredible that the entire book is set throughout the course of a single dinner.  Without spoiling the ending, I found the crime that was revealed tragic and incredibly sad.  Overall, the book was interesting….not great.  It makes a reader question the lengths they would go to help a child in desperate need of parenting and help.

Appeal Factors: Suspenseful, Sobering, Dramatic

According to Novelist, read-alikes for this book include: Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, Next by James Hynes and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (accessed May 4, 2013).

Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2013
11 Weeks on NPR Bestseller List

Discussion Questions

After finishing Gone Girl for this class, I read several book reviews that touted The Dinner as the “European Gone Girl.”  A friend also posted a review of this book on Goodreads and I was intrigued.  During my site evaluation assignment for this course, the title was recommended to me at as a readalike for Gone Girl.

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The Boyfriend by Thomas Perry

boyfriend $25.00, 288 pages, Suspense/Mystery Fiction

A homicide detective tracks a serial killer who changes locations and targets high-end call girls.

Author’s Website

Reviews:

NY Times

Kirkus Reviews

Jack Till is a homicide detective who has been hired by a family after their daughter is discovered dead.  What unfolds is a city-to-city adventure in which Till is tracking a serial killer.  The victims are high-end prostitutes…but are they really the target?  Just when Till thinks he has the suspect in his grip, he discovers he is a few steps behind.  The mystery involves layers of research and the realization of other victims throughout the cities Till visits.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new book from suspense author Thomas Perry.  I loved the fast pace, change of location and the main character of Jack Till.  Easy to read and hard to put down, this book leaves you guessing to the end.  In fact, I had to read the ending twice!

Appeal Factors: Fast-Paced, Suspenseful, High-Drama

According to Novelist, read-alikes for this book include:  Michael Connelly’s The Scarecrow, Linda Howard’s Killing Time and Blood Game by Iris Johansen. (accessed May 4, 2013).

Read Chapter 1

I chose this book after viewing it under the “Coming Soon” books on the front page of our library district’s website.   The brief synopsis grabbed me and I was hooked.

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Mice by Gordon Reece

41t4142W7zL $24.95, 336 pages, Mystery-Fiction

Shelly and her mom seek privacy after a bullying incident…and yet, they are attacked once again.

Author’s Website

Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

The New Yorker

After being horrifically bullied by classmates, Shelley and her mom begin a new life in the countryside.  The parents divorce, Shelley is left with deep scars, and the teenager and her mom start life anew.  Homeschooled and with a simple routine, Shelley’s new life seems both protected and secure….until she and her mom are visited by a stranger one night.  What unfolds is a suspenseful story of fear, horror and working to protect the ones you love.

I really enjoyed this book and was quite surprised.  I have never been drawn to stories about bullying as I find it despicable how mean kids can be to one another.  And yet, I was drawn to Shelley and found myself rooting for her, her mother and their new life together.

Appeal Factors: Character-Driven, Issue-Oriented, Suspenseful

According to Novelist, read-alikes for this book include: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Godless by Pete Hautman and Bystander by James Preller (accessed May 4, 2013).

Reading Guide

I selected this book after I saw it on our library district’s website.  I was intrigued by the suspense and mystery angle.  Having never heard of the author, I was curious to try something new.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

$25.00, 432 pages, mystery/suspense fiction

A gripping, page-turner filled with mystery, romance and manipulation!

Author’s Website

Reviews:
NY Times

Kirkus Review

A  young married couple (Amy and Nick) embark on their fifth wedding anniversary.  And yet, Amy turns up missing and the clues left behind leave Nick on a desperate search for her.  What unfolds is a story wrought with lies, deception and marital misdeeds.  The result will leave you guessing into the final pages of this riveting story.

I loved this book and the format—chapters rotate in voice between Nick and Amy.  The book was well written and had me guessing what would happen next.  Jaw-dropping at times, I loved the unpredictable nature of the characters and the manipulation that plagued them both.  This book appealed to me as I have seen the cover everywhere—airports, bookstores, magazines and countless book reviews.  I wondered what all the buzz was about and wanted to check it out for myself.  I also thought it would make a great addition to our collection in the jail library.

According to Novelist, read-alike books include: Lisa Unger’s Die for You, Minette Walters’ The Breaker, and Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (accessed March 3, 2013)

Appeal Factors: Character-Driven, Fast-Paced, Disturbing, Haunting

Book Discussion Questions

Lists Gone Girl has appeared on:
38 weeks and counting on the New York Times Bestseller list, Amazon’s June 2012 Best Book of the Month

If you are looking for a book that leaves you guessing and wondering who is telling the truth, consider Gone GirlI chose this book because several of my Facebook friends have raved about it.  Also, my book club chose this selection for its March book.

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