Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: Never Coming Back, by Tim Weaver

Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver book cover and review
Although it took a while to get going, Never Coming Back kept me guessing until the end.

If you read the blurb, you find out the premise--that a family has gone missing, and the sister has asked Raker (an ex-boyfriend) to look into it. Well, that doesn't happen until chapter 10, page 38. This is also the fourth book in the series, so you hear a lot about how Raker almost died and is recovering. And this character, Healy, who is Raker's friend is in this book -- but not really for any reason. I assume he's been featured in prior books, but in Never Coming Back, he didn't play much of a role.

Also, the first part of the book switched POVs from one that is first-person to third-person. It took me a while to figure out who "I" was for the first-person chapters. Soon the third-person perspective ends.

So, I got the bad stuff out of the way. The setting is on the coast of England. The story moves slowly, but it kind of needs to because it is a very tangled web. Not only has the family been missing for seven months, but a body has been found washed up on the rocks. Raker has come to England to escape his past and forget about finding missing people. But of course, that is not to be.

The villains are particularly brutal. And some are surprises. I liked that when it seems like Raker is getting things all sorted out there are still 100 pages left, so you know there's more figuring to do. I think I would have been more attached to the main characters if I had read earlier books, but I still enjoyed the story. Lots of twists and turns, and a bit of luck -- which always seems to happen in these kinds of books.

All in all, Never Coming Back is an entertaining read that kept my interest -- and kept me guessing.

Published by Plume, 2013
Copy obtained from a friend
372 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

AudioBook Review: The Plea, by Steve Cavanagh

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh book cover and review
I continue to be captivated by Cavanagh's Eddi Flynn books after having read the second, The Plea

Just like the first book, The Defense, the breakneck pace keeps your heart pounding. David Child, a multimillionaire, swears he didn't kill his girlfriend. But the evidence -- camera footage of him being the only one in the apartment, the gun found in his car, and gunshot residue found on his clothes -- makes it impossible to believe he didn't commit the crime. But Eddie Flynn believes him.

Eddie is being pushed by the FBI to force Child to take a plea, but Eddie can't do it. Even though Eddie's wife is going to be charged with a felony if he doesn't.

It all takes place in about 24 hours and ends with Eddie being shot. That isn't a spoiler, because that is the first thing that happens in the book.  Then we flashback. 

I really enjoy the audio version of this series, read by Adam Sims. I think there is a bit of over-the-top drama, but I can forgive it for the story.

If you like adrenaline-pumping, "how is he possibly going to get out of this" -type books, you need to check out this series. It isn't necessary to read them in order, but why not?

Published by Flatiron Books, 2018, Macmillan Audio
Audiobook obtained from
368 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Book Review: The Searcher, by Tana French

The Searcher by Tana French book cover and review
It is interesting how The Searcher grabbed me. I really didn't think I was liking it much, but I kept going back and soon couldn't put it down.

Cal is an ex-cop who moved from the United States to a remote Irish village after his career and his marriage ended. It isn't clear what happened, but details are slowly revealed throughout the story. He's purchased a fixer-upper, and the locals are taking bets on how long before Cal gives up and leaves. It isn't easy to build relationships in this tight-knit community, but Cal is working on it.

A local kid starts hanging around, and Cal very gently begins to let this very quiet and seemingly poor kid help him work on his projects. It turns out, the kid, Trey, is very good at this work. But Trey also has an ulterior motive, knowing that Cal is a cop. Trey's brother has disappeared, and Trey is convinced he is a victim of foul play. Because Trey's family has a reputation, the local authorities just assume Trey's brother has just left the family for other pursuits.

Cal begins to look into the disappearance and meets with resistance from his local pals. He's puzzled by this but slowly begins to uncover what he thinks happened. And it's dangerous. He tries to get Trey off the path by telling some made-up story. But that only makes things worse.

I don't want to say too much more. The small-town Irish moors atmosphere is intriguing. Cal's character is what kept me turning pages -- he's deep and reflective. The Searcher is a slow-burn, but compelling story.

Published by Viking, 2020
Copy obtained from my MIL
464 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Book Review: Bluebird, by Genevieve Graham

Bluebird, by Genevieve Graham book cover and review
Books about World War I are much less common than WWII, so Bluebird caught my interest.

In the present day, Cassie is interested in the history of her little Canadian town, where during prohibition, the rumrunners ferried illegal whiskey across the Detroit River into the United States. When bottles of Bailey Brothers' Best are found in an old home, she is eager to help the recent owner of the home. The home also happens to be her family home, the one in which Cassie grew up. I must admit, I lost interest during these parts of the book. Fortunately, this part took way fewer pages than the historical part.

In 1918, Adele, a "Bluebird" Canadian nurse is stationed in Belgium at a field hospital.  Jerry, a tunneler also from Canada, is brought in after a cave-in at the tunnel that he and his brother are helping to dig under enemy lines. He's badly wounded, and during his recovery, Adele and Jerry form a very close relationship. Turns out they live very close to each other back in Canada, near the Detroit River.

From that, you can probably figure out the storyline. They both return home and eventually meet up. Jerry becomes involved in whiskey production and rumrunning. The story is fascinating. We think we have it hard now, but when they came home from the war, the Spanish Flu was running rampant. And there was also prohibition.

Bluebird really kept my interest, and I love the historical aspect of both the horrible atrocities of war and the interesting manifestations of prohibition. Like I said, I didn't think the present-day story was really needed, but it was okay.

If you are interested in WWI, and/or prohibition, Bluebird is well worth your time.

Published by Simon & Schuster, April 5, 2022
eARC obtained from NetGalley
352 pages

Rating: 4/5

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