Years ago a girl was brutally murdered, dismembered, and her head placed in a backpack for unknown reasons. What the reader does know, is that the crime, although solved, is really probably unsolved. That is the beginning of The Chalk Man by new author C.J. Tudor. The novel uses a familiar pattern of past and present to engross the reader in the youth of Ed and his childhood buddies and Ed as a middle aged man still struggling with what happened in his town and a recent piece of mail that includes a stick of chalk. Everyone, I mean everyone, has secrets in this novel. And it is a fast paced, page turner. I am excited for this author, mainly because breaking into the publishing world seems so hard, but also because this is a fascinating trip through the strange and creepy, the horrible and evil, the truth and lies, and of secrets that won’t stay buried.
After Anna is the latest novel from Lisa Scottoline. The story is about how Maggie is suddenly reunited with her daughter, Anna. It was years before that Maggie was declared an unfit mother, but now Maggie has the chance to be in the life of the daughter she has always loved. Things go bad almost immediately, and Anna is murdered. Wow, right? Maggie is crushed, no, she’s beyond crushed, when her husband Noah is arrested for the crime. The book is a quick read, and I did have my suspicions about events, which nearly never happens to me. My main complaint about the book? I feel the ending is abrupt. I wanted another chapter to blend and wrap up this traumatic novel. But, it started fast, so maybe it’s okay for it to end fast too. I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this novel. This is my honest review.
The fact that author David Housewright is living somewhat locally, in relation to me, is what originally caught my eye about this novel. In fact, the cover art of What the Dead Leave Behind depicts a park that is somewhat of a local landmark. The book starts off quick, with retired police officer McKenzie being asked to investigate an unsolved murder. Which, of course, he does. As readers we follow along as characters are introduced and secrets revealed. I did manage to follow McKenzie’s path, although I have decided I would be a terrible detective, as nothing seemed to provide any clues to the murder to me. Good thing the author had that all under control.