Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
This book isn't a thriller. It's not even close. It's a character study. It was also extremely slow. It's the longest it has taken me to read a book in months. Still, I did like Manon, which made me want to keep reading the book. I didn't like that it was told in multiple points of view. I just didn't think the other people added much to the story, especially Davy. It was so slow that I lost interest in finding out what happened to Edith and was more interested in Manon's life. I don't really see myself picking up the next book in the series, especially since the epilogue made this book work as a stand alone novel.
The Girl Before by Rena Olsen
I couldn't put this book down. It's disturbing, complex, and riveting. It's not a traditional thriller in that you know what is going on at the beginning. The book starts with a raid, and "Clara" being told by her husband Glen not to tell the police anything. As her story slowly unravels, Clara isn't sure what to believe about her husband and her past life. The "Now" and "Then" alternations were well done, and Clara made a great main character (though I struggle to believe she was that naive about the fate of her "daughters.") I was really impressed with this debut novel and will be curious to see what Rena Olsen writes next!
The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I didn't like the beginning, and I didn't like the ending, but the middle was fairly interesting. The Cresswell children are severely abused controlled by their father, who thinks he hears visions from God and has created an insane book of rules the children must follow. The story is sad and interesting, but the plot has major points that randomly drop off and really lacked the emotion I thought I would feel. This is a decent read, but I am not going to go out of my way to recommend it.
Karolina’s Twins: A Novel by Ronald H. Balson
I love Ronald H. Balson's writing. Last year, Saving Sophie was one of my favorite reads of the year, and I liked Karolina's Twins just as much. Lena's story of her life during World War II and her current search for the twins was beautiful and heartbreaking. I guessed the big "twist" early on in the book, but that didn't detract from the novel. If you're a fan of World War II historical fiction, this one is a must read!
The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
I don't know if it's because I've been reading a bunch of thrillers lately or it was that easy to tell, but I figured out the "big twist" about 10 percent into the book. I would have been much more surprised if it wasn't what I thought. It was still interesting to see how the author got the reader to the twist, but the book lacked suspense for me. I did think the ending was done well.
Margherita’s Notebook by Elisabetta Flumeri
I know this is a translation and things are often lost in a translation, but the writing was too bad for me to handle. The whole story and plot was mediocre, and comparing people to food all the time was strange. I think this book had potential, but the execution was poor.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I think it's almost impossible to review this book without spoilers, so I'm going to be super generic. Jason Dessen is kidnapped one day heading home from the bar and wakes up in a totally different life. This book sucked me in. It's intense and overwhelming at times (the physics parts weren't my cup of tea). I thought the twist was unique, and the ending was interesting.
The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis
I have really liked the other two Susan Lewis books I have read (Too Close to Home and Behind Closed Doors), so this one was a bit of a disappointment. I really liked the second half of the book, but the first half was super slow. Also, this book is definitely not a thriller, and more about a family's journey to healing after the brutal murder of their only child. It was a good read but would have been even better if the first part of the book was condensed a bit.
The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen
I had a hard time getting through this book. I usually like women's fiction, but the author tried to make this too dramatic. It did get better for me as it went on, but it never really impressed me. I think there are better reads in this genre out there!
Favorite reads in September: The Girl Before, Dark Matter, and Karolina's Twins.