Friday, February 20, 2015

All of us under its spell, we know that it's probably magic.

I zipped through two books lately. Both tied up their plot-lines a little too quickly and easily for my taste, but I still think they are both worth reading... 

I definitely enjoyed the first, the latest novel by Sarah Pekkanen entitled Things You Won't Say. It's the first of her books I've read and after I completed it, I looked back on Goodreads and saw I've had several of her earlier novels on my "to read" list for a while. I certainly liked what I read here enough to go back and explore some of her earlier works. Probably the only thing that prevented me from giving this a 4-star rating (I'd say this is about 3.5 stars) is that the novel wrapped up suddenly and a little too easily.

The novel follows the story of Jamie, a stay-at-home mom with three young kids and a teenage stepson. Her husband, Mike, is a cop. The story is very current -- not long after his partner is seriously wounded in a shooting, Mike finds himself in another dangerous situation. There's another shooting--at Mike's hands.

The story unfolds from the viewpoint of the women in Mike's life: Jamie; her sister, Lou - a slightly eccentric zookeeper and part-time barista; and Christie, Mike's ex-girlfriend, who is night to Jamie's day, but also mother to Mike's eldest son, Henry.

The characters are well-developed and complex. Jamie is a bit irritating at times, but I really liked Lou. The book is a rapid read and a very easy one, as well, even if it's rather stressful. It's certainly a worthwhile and enjoyable read. I'll be curious to see what some of Pekkanen's earlier books are like.

(Note: I received an advance ebook version of this book from Edelweiss in return for an unbiased review.)

Next, came a short book and a very fast read: Michael C. Grumley's Through the Fog. I read it in less than 24 hours. The story is really far fetched, but almost compulsively interesting. Evan hits his head in a bike accident shortly after he turns 18 and starts having strange visions when he falls asleep. His psychiatrist, Shannon, attempts to help him. As she does, she realizes that Evan, using his visions, may be able to help her find her young daughter, Ellie, who disappeared 18 months ago. The problem is that each vision seems to take a crazy toll on Evan, and it seems likely that finding Ellie may kill him.

So, definitely compelling. Evan seems sweet and likable. None of the characters were particularly well-drawn or complex. We meet Shannon's sister, a nurse, who helps find a similar case to Evan's, from many years ago. We don't learn that much about this person, though. And even when we learn more about what happened to Ellie, it all ties up a little easily, with this "aha" moment that seemed a little to neat for my taste.

Paradoxically, a lot is left unresolved with Evan, and I almost found myself wishing for a sequel, so I could learn more about his future.

Still, I was quite intrigued by this one. It was oddly enjoyable.

(Note: I received an advance ebook version of this book from Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.)
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