suspense

Review: The Purloined Letter

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The Purloined LetterBook Review
3+ of 5 stars to The Purloined Letter, a short story written in 1844, by Edgar Allan Poe. One of the most interesting facts about this story is that it involves Poe’s detective Dupin, who also appear in The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Unlike the Rue Morgue, this mystery contains not gore or horror; it’s pure mystery without the overall Gothic depths Poe usually goes to in his literary works. At its core, the story is about a letter that’s gone missing, possibly stolen, having changed hands a number of times. Poe’s narrator discussed with Dupin all the potential suspects, ruling out everyone but the obvious one. And so, Dupin sets up a test to prove it. As you delve deeper into the story, you begin to question your own view of thievery and the moral codes of “teaching someone a lesson.” Many believe the mystery remains unsolved at the end of this one… and while I would tend to agree, it’s still a very artful approach to telling the story. It also helped push the mystery genre into more analytical thinking as opposed to true action-based, cut-and-dry physical tracking down of clues. Definite short read for any fans of this genre. And good to compare to other of Poe’s works to see the real meaning of the Gothic style of writing.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

TAG: This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book

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I want to thank Misty at mistysbookspace for tagging me to participate in the “This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours” book tag. It’s a great way to share your love of a whole new area of books for someone else to love. And Misty’s got a great blog full of reviews, author info and book tours — great stuff beyond the normal book review!

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Here are the rules:

  • Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, use the created tag name graphic and link back to his blog. (Also, if you want to learn more about the tag you can see Drew’s post HERE.) He’s also got a fantastic site… lots of humor and valuable insights into life.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.

And now comes the fun part, the questions!

1. What is your favorite genre?

It’s a toss-up between mystery / thriller / suspense. And all three are slightly different. What’s a book junkie to do??? MYSTERY!

2. Who is your favorite author from the genre?

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Agatha Christie wrote hundreds of mystery and suspense short stories, novellas and novels, containing multiple crime solving detectives all over the world She’s highly imaginative, quite clever and a fantastic character developer.

3. What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?

Life can be dull and boring. You may get busy or deal with some weird people who do silly things, but very few of us are ever involved in a murder mystery. In a mystery, you can play so many roles: victim, killer, witness, suspect or detective. It offers you something different from normal life, a way to use your brain for deep analysis and clue-solving. You have wild characters, intense plots and beautiful settings. You get red herrings and direct motives. You always have something to keep your mind guessing and enjoying what you read.

4. What is the book that started your love for the genre?

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Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” You can see my review here.

5. If you had to recommend at least one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader/ someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

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Agatha Christie’s novella “Murder on the Orient Express.” See my review here. It’s a mystery that will perplex you and help you find something you never knew you were missing. It may be nearly a century old, but it’s still so very complex and mysterious.

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For those who need something more current or a bit more thriller and dark, I’d go with Patricia Cornwell’s “Postmortem.” See my review here.

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For those who want a modern almost cozy mystery, I’d choose Sue Grafton’s “A is for Alibi.”

6. Why do you read?

To visit places I’ve never been before. To do things I can’t do in person. To meet people I find interesting. To take a break from every day boring and mundane happenstance. To exercise my creative mind by building images, actions and emotions in my head, despite only reading words on a page.

I’m Tagging:

Kristin

erinthedreamer

Sophie @ Blame Chocolate

alwaystrustinbooks

Nashra Usmani

Mischenko

If you don’t want to do this feel free to just ignore it. If you want to do it but weren’t listed, you should. I picked the last 6 people I interacted with on WordPress. Thanks for reading!

 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

 

Review: The Fall of the House of Usher

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The Fall of the House of Usher3.5 of 5 stars to The Fall of the House of Usher, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, written in 1839. I found myself a slight bit bored the first time I read it. It seemed to only be about some guy that went to go visit an old school buddy. When he arrives, some type of curse or disastrous mood hangs over his house and looms until the man is a bit fearful. Then, his best friend is dying of some odd disease. They watch his wife die, but only when the man is about to die himself does he reveal that he buried the woman alive. She is still down there breathing. It was powerful imagery of the heart still beating and her breaths. It was unlike in “The Tell-Tale Heart” when the heart wasn’t really beating, a figment of his imagination. This time, it was real. Fast forward a few years later, I read the story again at the end of my college years, as a look on mystery and the Gothic origins. And the story is really vivid. It’s not Poe’s best, but you really get a sense of his imagery and his talent for describing things in a most unique way.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.

View all my reviews

Review: Book of the Dead

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Book of the Dead Book Review
3+ of 5 stars for Book of the Dead, the 15th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller series, written in 2007 by Patricia Cornwell. When I saw the title and read the description, I had very high expectations of this book. I really enjoy the series and hoped it would explore a bit of the occult side, perhaps venturing a little into historical Egyptian themes like the movie “The Mummy,” which I love. I won’t spoil anything, but it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. Still a decent book in the series, and worth a read for a fan of Scarpetta, it was not without issues. Another psycho from Kay’s past pops up. Another weird murder with ties to a victim in Rome and a small boy in Charleston, South Carolina. Too many coincidences for me. That said, the detail is great. The investigation is strong. The mystery is OK. But it was too formulaic for me. Characters are always memorable, and Cornwell does a great job at showing the crazed personalities of these serial killers. Trying to come up with new material is not easy and I do give her credit. Has the usual cast of characters… not sure what I think of Benton anymore. I kinda want him to be written out… again… since he came back from the dead at one point. Sensing a theme? :O

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

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Midnight at the Bright Ideas BookstoreBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, a new mystery and thriller novel set to release on June 13, 2017, by author Matthew J. Sullivan.

Why This Book
For all us readers, who wouldn’t love a book with such a title? And when you read the description, learning about a horrific murder from the past, a suicide in the present, and mysterious connections between all the characters, your intrigue and suspense spidey senses will climax. I found it on NetGalley and thought it sounded like a good debut author to take a chance on. And so, I requested it, got approved and dropped it into the reading schedule for this month… as it will be released to the general public in about 3 weeks.

Overview of Story
Lydia’s mother died during childbirth, and she was raised by a father who knew next to nothing about being a parent. Refusing the help from any other family or friends, he did his best to raise his daughter, making a few mistakes along the way. During her childhood, Lydia befriends Raj, whose parents own and operate a gas station & donut shop in their Colorado hometown. Lydia and Raj seem destined to be together in the future. When Raj and Lydia meet another young girl, the three try to maintain a friendship, but something disastrous takes place, changing the future of their lives.

Years later, Lydia works at a bookstore several towns away, but she no longer speaks with her father. One night, her friend Joey, a “BookFrog” released from prison for a childish prank that went wrong, commits suicide. He leaves behind a few clues and notes for her to find, which lead to Lydia finding something that connects Joey to her past and the vicious murder of her friend and her friend’s parents. Lydia begins to realize her own father may have been more involved than he’d led her to believe. Raj re-emerges in Lydia’s life after being absent for nearly twenty years, and together, they try to track down Joey’s biological family, in the hopes they can discover all the connections. And when they do, everything implodes on them.

Approach & Style
The story is told in past tense by a third person narrator, who follows Lydia around for most of the book. It jumps time frames from when she was about ten years old to the present, when she’s in her thirties. The primary story is discovering who murdered Lydia’s friend and her family, when Lydia was a child. It’s also about learning who Joey was and why he chose to leave clues for Lydia about both of their pasts. There are a few romantic elements between Lydia and her current boyfriend, as well as Lydia and Raj, her childhood friend who stirs up feelings again in the future. Woven into the story is the common theme of how the characters all love books throughout their lives.

Strengths
There are a lot of different connections between the primary ten (10) characters, and it keeps you wondering just enough to feel some suspense. The murder scene with the “Hammerman” is dark and grotesque, giving just enough to your imagination while revealing a few core details of the hammer’s physical and emotional impact. I loved the scenes when Raj and Lydia were children. I could see their friendship blossoming. I could sense the growth between them and away from one another when meeting new people. I liked the father / daughter relationship. I felt a little slimy with the friend’s mother who seemed to sleep around a lot before she was killed. Sullivan has great character descriptions and imagination. The people all felt real, usually through their actions and with minimal physical descriptions.

Characters
Lydia is the primary character. She’s strong-willed, but has had some issues with relationships throughout her life. I don’t think she was as flushed out as a character as she should have been. There were a few holes surrounding: (a) why she and her father stopped speaking, (b) why she ran away, (c) why hasn’t she had many relationships beyond the guy she’s currently dating. It almost feels like there are some missing parts of her life which could have led to the suspense of what happened all those years ago.

Joey dies almost immediately, so you don’t get enough time with him. There are a few scenes that will immediately draw you to him, but not enough to warrant seeing him as a tragic man. He’s suffered, and he suffers a lot more when you learn in the last few chapters what became of him in the days leading up to his death; however, I wanted a longer story to have a better understanding of his lonely life.

Lydia’s dad became a recluse too quickly, and I didn’t buy his “love” for one of the other characters. Needed more story and detail around this section. He felt like two different people when looking at where he began and how he ended up.

Open Questions & Concerns
Although the motive and the killer became obvious about two-thirds thru the book, I felt there were too many open holes. I thought there were other murders happening, which confused me as to why the killer murdered anyone but the ones whom (s)he had a vengeance against.

The time gap left too much to my imagination. I wanted to know what happened in Joey’s life and in Lydia’s life to turn them into who they became. There were some details, but I often was left to my own devices, which is not always a good thing!

The ending in the epilogue was weak. It should have explored more about the immediate after-effect of all the drama.

There was another hole (until the ending cleaned it up a bit) failing to truly cover why the person who knew what the killer had done never stepped up and said anything to the police afterwards. Even if (s)he was scared, this was one of those situations where the police could have protected him/her from the killer. It seemed too much like a plot device, especially given everything else that was going on.

Author & Other Similar Books
Although the author co-wrote another book, it’s his debut as a single author of a thriller and suspense novel. It’s a typical suspense novel, jumping around between time periods and characters, dropping clues about the murderer along the way. I cannot think of anything it directly compares to, but has strong elements of family and trust.

Final Thoughts
The book is worth a read. It’s a good mystery, full of drama and emotionally-crippling scenes. It’s got a little horror and some suspense. Think of it like a good piece of cake, but it’s a bit dry at times and is missing a little more filling that would have held it together before we devoured it. As a result, you’ve got some crumbs on the floor, a funny little taste in your mouth and a bit of a thirst to read some more. I like the author’s style and would definitely read another book by him, assuming the plots are tidied up a bit more and the ingredients are fully flushed out.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Scarpetta

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Scarpetta Book Review
3 of 5 stars to Scarpetta, the 16th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller series, written in 2008 by Patricia Cornwell. In this book, Kay takes an assignment in NYC, where she’s handling another crazy potential killer, but one who claims to have a connection to her — again. The past keeps creeping up in these novels… and sometimes it’s just too unbelievable. I enjoyed the book, and it’s better than the last few… but I’m being harder and harder on authors who write lengthy series. It has to be about more than putting out a book a year to make fans happy and to earn more money. I want depth. I need creativity. I want something new.

The good things about the book: lots of gore, detailed autopsy-type info, crazy loons for killers… it’s a good alternative to the norm of a cozy mystery or a historical fiction novel. I like how the books take me away from reality to a place I don’t believe exists, but I’m sure there are some people who deal with murderers like this every day. The other good aspect is the delving into cyber space. Given I work in technology, I love seeing all this stuff, assuming it’s well done. Sometimes it’s dummied down too much, sometimes it’s too detailed. Can’t make everyone happy all the time.

A decent book to read in the series, but still not back on track yet.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Top Reads – Age 13 to 24 – Mystery

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Now that I’ve been blogging about books and writing a review for everything I’ve ever read, curiosity brewed over how people choose to read what book at which age, especially when they are younger and getting familiar with different genres. With so many genres out there and so many places to look for books, I thought I’d put together my own list of when I would recommend choosing a certain book.

Of course, everyone has a different maturity level and might be ready to read certain books sooner than others, as well as vice versa. It’s only meant as general guidelines with a fun spirit — and not any sense of indicating someone isn’t capable of reading something sooner. Since mystery fiction is my favorite genre, I am starting here with the best age to start reading a mystery… and it was not easy… there are so many to choose from! I tried to pick classics to show different styles, but also have a few more current ones. Maybe it should be a “3 per age” with a vote in the future…

Rules

  1. Pick a genre. You can get very detailed and go into sub-genres, e.g. cozy, classic, etc. I’m starting general and may work my way down into the details.
  2. Pick an age range, roughly covering 12 years. You can add more or start with less, but I figured twelve ages seemed like a good one to start with.
  3. Pick a book for each age that you’d recommend to get someone situated with the genre.
  4. You can’t repeat an author within that age range.
  5. Explain why that author, book and age.
  6. Either show a book cover or provide a link to the book on Goodreads, or if you’ve read it and have a review, link your review.
  7. Start a discussion with everyone, e.g. is it the right age, is something missing…
  8. Tag others if you’d like, but I open it to everyone.

Age / Book / Author

  • Age 13: The Tower Treasure with the Hardy Boys by Franklin Dixon
    • The introduction should start with something where someone young is doing the investigating, as it will help build the connection between the reader and the investigators in a book. This one offers a good, clean introduction to the world of mystery.
  • Age 14: The Secret of the Old Clock with Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
    • It’s only fair that if you have a team of boy investigators, you also need to have a girl investigator. I put the Hardy Boys first only because it was a family doing the investigating… now it’s time to branch out on your own and understand things from the opposite perspective.
  • Age 15: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
    • Once you’ve got the basics under your belt, let’s add a mystery that adds the fear without being too overwhelming. And if you’re gonna read in this genre, you need to learn all about the potential for ghosts and the after-life.
  • Age 16: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
    • Families keep secrets. But that’s not the first thing you should learn. Once you start investigating, you need to understand what happens when you don’t even realize there is a mystery going on until far too late… plus there are a few touchy topics (incest, poison) that probably require a bit older of an audience.
  • Age 17: The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
    •  The master needs to be incorporated, as well as the true intentions of a murder. A true mystery, an introduction to the concept of a morgue and where dead bodies go for an autopsy… the stage is set for horror to grow from here, too. It’ll help you determine if you like a little bit of gothic gore or you want to stay far away from it.
  • Age 18: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
    • The Queen of the mystery is perfect right as you’re graduating from high school. When you’ve got 10 potential killers all locked on a single island with no escape, you need to learn how to deduce the killer before you are killed yourself. You survived high school but now you’ve got a world to conquer without a real sense of who to trust.
  • Age 19: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
    • Many don’t think of Henry James as a mystery writer, but he’s a classic, and often taught in first year English college courses. This one takes the leap into the psychological aspects of a family wondering if there is a ghost or if someone is just playing games. At 19, you need to be careful who you allow yourself to be around, especially when you go out on your own… time to learn some lessons here about “what you see isn’t always what you get.”
  • Age 20: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
    • Ah, the classics. Before 20, you’re often not very interested in anything that’s nearly a century old.  This isn’t always true, but for folks just getting introduced to the genre or even reading, it likely could be accurate. Yes, many of the others on the list are fairly old, but this one is one of the earliest introductions to the <i>classic</i> private investigator of the 1930s, where the format and formulas were established and the movies were in the Golden Age of mystery. It’s great to kick back and read a classic one weekend when you don’t want to focus on your job or studies.
  • Age 21: Who’s Body? by Dorothy Sayers
    • Now that you’ve read the hardcore PI style with Hammett, take a gander at the counterpart with the British version of the classic detective. Plus you have an opportunity to to learn more about the concept of body doubles, perception and the art of throwing off red herring clues. With a focus on British government, structure and the slightly cozy direction, you’ll know if you want to stay this route or go a little more dark. Plus, once you can legally drink, this one may just push you there a little bit sooner.
  • Age 22: A Study in Scarlet with Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Another fine classic, possibly something you should watch even younger, but I’ve saved it for the early 20s when you’re mind is sharper, you’ve had some solid reading under your belt and it’s time to decide if you’re ready for a true series with multiple film adaptions or you’re more of a solid single stand-alone mystery. Having dual sleuths is an important introduction, too, as well as the art of the foil when you “meet” Moriarty.
  • Age 23: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
    • The truest form of a psychological mystery at nearly 100 years old. You’ve had a few of these ghostly books under your belt by now, but this one will truly ignite a passion for how a mystery book is narrated. Do you want first or third person? Do you know who the narrator is? Is he or she reliable? You’ll determine if you want to continue down the fantasy and sci-fi mystery realm, or look towards the cozy or the thriller suspense.
  • Age 24: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    • And when you choose the thriller and suspense route, I can think of none better than something you can relate to… we all have a good and bad side to us, but which will win out? And though Brown’s works are more fun-reads, rather than a true-to-form traditional investigator solving crimes, it’s the introduction you need to the fast-paced, page-turning read you won’t be able to put down. And then you’re ready to head into formal “adulthood” with the next step of books that will rock your mid 20s to your mid 30s.

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About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.