Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The French Girl ~ Lexie Elliott

Elliott, Lexie. The French Girl. New York, NY: Berkley, and imprint of Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0399586934. $26.00 USD.

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott is a debut novel (I LOVE great debuts!), and I was very pleasantly surprised at the excellent writing, consistent pace, realistic dialogue and well-developed characters.

Kate Channing and a group of friends from an English university take a vacation in France and encounter the mysterious Severine (The French Girl) during their trip who has an impact of each of them in some mysterious way.

Ten years later the former friends are living their separate lives when they find out that Severine's body has been discovered in a well on the property where they were staying on that long-ago disastrous vacation. So begins a mystery that grabs your attention and is hard to put down.

The narrative is told from the perspective of the main character, Kate, and through her we are given access to the other characters' lives; with her, we try to figure out what actually happened all those years ago among the friends.  There are secrets to uncover, betrayals to overcome and ghosts to lay to rest.  One of the best things I liked about this novel was the author's fantastic use of personification in describing the appearances of Severine at various times in Kate's life.  Another excellent debut - keep them coming!

The Vanishing Season ~ Joanna Schaffenhausen (Paperback out on February 27, 2018)!

Schaffenhausen, Joanna. 2017. The Vanishing Season. New York, NY: Minotaur Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 978-1250126047. $24.99 USD

I am so impressed with Joanna Schaffhausen's debut, The Vanishing Season!  I stayed up waaay too late finishing this on a work night, and have already recommended it to several of my library customers who like this kind of story, which I consider a read-alike for Cheslea Cain's One Kick, one of my favorites.

Ellery Hathaway is a police detective in a small town where no serious crime ever happens, which is just the way she likes it. She had a lot of drama in her previous life when she was the only survivor of a sadistic serial killer who was eventually caught and imprisoned. She did not survive unscathed, but is doing her best to put the past behind her under a different identity.

When Ellery realizes that each July for the past three years a local has gone missing, she starts to suspect that her past might be catching up with her, especially when she receives creepy birthday cards in the mail.  She cannot convince anyone that the disappearances are related, so she embarks on solving the crimes herself, with devastating consequences.

The character development in The Vanishing Season is very accomplished, especially for a debut novel.  The pace is pulsating, and the violence depicted isn't too graphic (always a bit of a turn off for this reader). And who wouldn't love the inclusion of a lovable basset hound named Bump?  I did figure out the killer fairly early, but it didn't detract too much from the enjoyment of the story.

The Vanishing Season won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Novel Competition, and I think you will enjoy this debut thriller.  In an over-flowing field of psychological suspense novels this one stood out for me.  Well done!

Burn Bright ~ Patricia Briggs (Pub. Date March 6, 2018)

Briggs, Patrica. 2018 Burn Bright. New York, NY: Ace Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0425281314. $27.00 USD

What a great way to spend a weekend - escaping into the amazing Urban Fantasy world Patricia Briggs has created in the latest title in the Alpha and Omega series. And the cover art is amazing!

In this title, the leader of the werewolves known as the Marrok has disappeared and his son Charles is in charge of the Aspen Creek pack, including the "Wildlings," werewolves who are too anti-social, and probably too dangerous, to live among the rest of the community. When Charles gets a call from a fae mate of one of the Wildlings, he and his wife, Anna, embark on a perilous adventure that involves rogue werewolves, shady government enemies, witches and, worst of all, a traitor in their midst.  Not a great time for Charles' father to be out of touch, as he is the only one who can control the Wildings.  You are in for a lot of action, paranormal elements and new characters in this spin-off series originally begun in Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels.

As a side note, I learned that this author lost her husband last year, who was very involved in her writing process, as well as a loving partner.  She continues to write her excellent Urban Fantasy novels, just maybe not as quickly, but her fans are grateful for her efforts, as hard as it must be.....