By Gini Rainey
“The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins
If you like a really good mystery, this book is most definitely for you. Amazon.com’s Book of the Month for January 2015, “The Girl on the Train” is one terrific psychological-suspense thriller. With a mix of obsession, instability, and deception, the story line leads to danger, suspense, and mystery. There are so many unexpected plot twists, it becomes completely absorbing.
The story is basically told by three different points of view. Rachel’s, the main protagonist – and also the girl on the train – Megan’s, the woman she watches from the train, and Anna’s, Megan’s ex-husband’s new wife. While I found that none of the characters are particularly likable, likable is not what the story line is about. It’s more about the inner workings of the human mind and how twisted, confused, and sad people can become.
The mystery aspect of the plot is done very well, as the suspicion of who did what moves around all the different characters. The suspense and character development was executed brilliantly and keeps the reader guessing and working out the clues to what really might be going on beneath the surface. You might feel that I’m being fairly vague about this outstanding piece of literature, but anything more specific would need to carry several spoiler alerts.
I will say, though, that poor Rachel is a bit of an alcoholic, and that fact alone makes her memories of the events that happen somewhat unreliable. With the obvious comparison to the movie “Rear Window,” the mystery definitely came to life for Rachel as she hovered in her train window over and over while passing her old home. Because of her natural connection to the neighborhood, she finds it difficult to remove herself from it and finds herself completely immersed in the mystery.
Artfully crafted and utterly riveting. this book’s clever structure and expert pacing will keep you on the edge of your seat, but it’s Hawkins’s deft, empathetic characterization that will leave you pondering this harrowing, thought-provoking story about the power of memory and the danger of envy.
Rating: 5 of 5; Copyright 2015 – Riverhead Books
“The KFC Murders – A News Account” by Jacque HIlburn-Simmons and Kenneth Dean
Written by two members of the news team from Tyler Morning Telegraph, this account pulls together the details of the murder of five people at the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the quiet town of Kilgore, Texas on fall evening in 1983.
If you’re like me, you will appreciate the investigative reporting that the authors did in order to pull together all of the facts related to this tragic event. Although always in the back of my mind, as events would occur over the 22 year time span, it had been difficult for me to follow or sort out all of the details on my own.
Although there a general feeling that the investigation is over and that all of the guilty parties have been found, tried, and convicted, there is also the feeling that there could possibly be one more person who was involved in the vicious murders that took place on September 23, 1983. With that thought in mind, perhaps there will be a sequel to this book down the road.
With the seemingly insurmountable volume of paperwork that accompanies a crime of this magnitude, Dean and Hilburn-Simmons did an amazing and commendable job of reducing it down to a tight, easy to read manuscript that absorbed my attention straight through to the finish.
While there are plenty of murder mystery novels on the market these days, there is nothing more chilling than reading a book that is grounded in reality – and if you’re from the east Texas area – there is nothing more chilling than the reality that the all of this happened in our own back yard. Definitely a must read if you are a fan of true murder mysteries.
Rating: 5 of 5; Copyright 2015 – TBB Publishing
“Seeking the Star” by Traci Borum
When Traci asked me if I would be interested in reviewing her new book, I jumped at the opportunity. This is the third book of her Chilton Cross series, and I had fallen in love with the town and characters she has created. I was anxious to return to them. Set in the Cotswolds area of England, with her latest book we are taken back to Chilton Cross for a Christmas adventure.
You would never know that Traci, a writing teacher at Tyler Junior College, was a native Texan, as her grasp of the people and countryside of England is able to transport you completely to Chilton Cross with only a few paragraphs. A person who loves everything English, Traci fills her writing with an authenticity that makes it difficult to believe she doesn’t have roots in the Cotswolds.
“Seeking the Star” introduces the reader to Mistletoe Cottage and its owners, Mary and George, who discover a stranger on their doorstep in the middle of a snow storm. As you would expect, they introduce him to the warmth of their home and village, and before Ben knows it, he is an integral part of their family and community. Having all suffered great losses, Mary, George and Ben find that they are able to help fill the voids in each other’s lives.
My suggestion is to buy a copy of “Seeking the Star,” find a comfy corner and immerse yourself in this wonderful Christmas story that is filled to the brim with grief, acceptance, love, joy, community, Christmas, hope, and faith.
Rating: 5 of 5; Copyright 2015 – Red Adept Publishing