Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review - Never Buried by Edie Clair

Never Buried (Leigh Koslow Mystery, #1)Never Buried by Edie Claire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This mystery starts out with Leigh Koslow finding an embalmed body in the hammock in her cousin Cara’s yard.  It's not a recently deceased person.  This find is followed by several other unsavory events that basically lead to warnings for the girls to get out of the house.

Leigh is staying with her cousin, who is pregnant, while her husband is overseas. While it starts out with somewhat of a bang, it doesn’t carry through.  Leigh comes across as a bit wimpier than her cousin, who she’s constantly trying to reign in because she’s pregnant.  Because of the warnings to get out of the house, Cara is convinced that there is something in the house that someone doesn’t want them to find (apparently she found a ledger of sorts when remodeling the house).

Believing that the body is related to something having to do with the house, Leigh does a little research and comes up with an 50 year old murder.  However, all of this is intertwined between stories of missing mother’s with Alzheimer’s and Cara’s false contractions.

Overall, the mystery was okay, though I felt like the wrap up was quick and the guilty person sorta came out of nowhere, but the clues were there.  Sorta.  I just couldn’t really get a feel for any of the characters.  I liked the relationship between Leigh and Cara until the husband came back and then I felt like he was a bit heavy handed in how he handled things.  Leigh is supposed to be friends going back to college with one of the cops on the local police force, Maura, but it didn’t always come across that way.  I don’t feel like I really got to know any of the characters and at the end it didn’t matter much to me.

I read this on my Nook and it was either free or less than two dollars.  I’ve given it three stars because the mystery was basically good and it moved at a nice pace.  Not sure if I’ll be reading other books in this series.

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Book Review - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book tells the story of many people - Vida Winter, brother and sister Charlie and Isabelle, twins Adeline and Emmeline, Aurelius, and Margaret.

Vida Winter is a very well known writer who has spent her life keeping others from knowing the story of her life.  As she is dying, she asks Margaret, a twin and someone who seems to live a good portion of her life through books rather than in the “real world,” to write her biography.  Thus begins the story of twins Adeline and Emmeline.  Vida’s story of the past is interspersed with Margaret’s current life and her research to verify what Vida is telling her.  This research brings her to the current day home of the twins and to Aurelius, who it turns out, in the end, is part of the story.  He also becomes a friend to Margaret, which it appears is something she doesn’t have.

This tale has classic elements - big houses and gardens, family secrets with a few twist and turns.  All is not what it seems.   What it doesn't have is romance and not everyone has a happy ending.

To me, this was a story of people who fell through the cracks.  I wondered if someone had intervened on behalf of Charlie and Isabelle, and later for the twins, how different their lives might have been.  I felt like the telling of the story gave Vida Winter closure with her past and in some ways allowed Margaret to make peace with her feelings about being a twin and to actually start living her life.

The end answers some questions, but raises others that can never be answered.  And, maybe they shouldn’t, because life doesn’t always give us answers.  All in all, I enjoyed this book and recommend it.