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Harriet Stay has commented on (5) products.

Say You're Sorry by Michael Robotham
Say You're Sorry

Harriet Stay, January 1, 2013

If you haven't been reading Michael Robotham's thrillers, you've been missing some of the best crime fiction being written. His plots are clever while his characters and their relationships complex and well-developed. What makes all of his books especially delightful is that they are not cookie-cutter look-alikes. Out of his seven novels and one novella, it's difficult for me to decide which is my favorite, but this one is by far the best book I read in 2012.

As the story opens, Piper Hadley is eighteen but she was fifteen when she and her best friend Tash, Natasha McBain, were kidnapped. We know this because Piper is a chronicler. She's been writing everyday since her capture. In alternating chapters, clinical psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin is about to embark on a father-daughter bonding weekend in Oxford. His daughter Charlie is fifteen and has found a twenty-something-year-old of whom mom disapproves. Joe is required to do or say something about the situation. Before the weekend activities begin, Joe is summoned to examine the original police investigation of the missing girls. After all that time, the police and the community gave up looking, deciding the girls were runaways. Then the body of Natasha McBain is found drowned near a farmhouse where two more dead bodies are discovered.

After forty years of reading crime novels, and enjoying every moment, please believe me when I say that you won't be able to put this down. It's that mesmerizing.
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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Harriet Stay, January 3, 2012

The title caught my attention, and made me smile remembering the tricks we used in grade school to memorize long words. And you don't have to love mysteries to appreciate this captivating novel; it was shortlisted for the Best Edgar Allan Poe Award. I read them all and considered it the best of the lot.

It begins with a shooting in Gerald County, Mississippi. What Tom Franklin brings to life is a festering in the Deep South moving his story from the 1970s to today. The protagonists, and there are two, Larry Ott, white boy, and Silas Jones, black boy, experience events that follow them forever. One runs from them; the other is perpetually shunned and withdraws from society.

Franklin draws vivid pictures of the beauty and squalor of the South and externalizes the injustice that permeates a mind-set of those raised on television, cola, and beer. Two disappearances, assumed to be murders, are at the core of this story, one a quarter of a century ago, one nine days prior to the opening of your first page.

Weeks after reading this, the story still lingered; it was thought-provoking, dense with details but never grandiose. It was and is poetry...and a darn good whodunit to boot!
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Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt
Forty Words for Sorrow

Harriet Stay, January 19, 2011

This was the 2001 winner of the CWA Silver Dagger Award so it was not a 2010 publication, but I read it last year, at last, and so pleased I did. It takes place in Algonquin Bay, Ontario, Canada, where Blunt depicts the atmosphere to the point I felt I needed to put on my coat. He draws vivid characters, all of them, none perfect, all fallible, with a mix of good and evil, conflict and compassion.

Detective Lisa Delorme brings word to Detective John Cardinal that a body has been found in an abandoned mine shaft. As Cardinal had insisted back in December, thirteen-year-old Katie Pine was not a run-away, but still missing are three more teens. And so their investigation begins. In a parallel story, we are introduced to another teen, Keith London, and follow him through his ordeal when he innocently meets-up with Edie and Eric ... not sane people as you'll discover.

I found the story plausible and scary; the writing superb. This may not be to everyone's reading pleasure but over the years I've convinced myself I'm reading fiction and I'm reading for the writing. I don't understand why I waited so long to read this and Blunt's other books. My TBR stack is getting unruly.
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The Reversal by Michael Connelly
The Reversal

Harriet Stay, January 2, 2011

Edgar Award winner Michael Connelly is a master storyteller and the finest novel writer today. His stories need no introduction. Suffice to tell you this is another Michael Connelly novel.
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Drowning Man Uk Edition Aka Lost by Michael Robotham
Drowning Man Uk Edition Aka Lost

Harriet Stay, September 29, 2010

U.S. publishers have an annoying habit of changing book titles. I read this under the title LOST. And it was as fantastic as his first, SUSPECT. That, too, is different in a paperback edition, THE SUSPECT. It would be unfair to say that Michael Robotham is writing a series. Both are written in first person but each with a different protagonist. In SUSPECT, clinical psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin tells his story and you meet Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz of the Serious Crimes Group, England. In this, it is DI Ruiz who takes the lead. The opening scene begins with Detective Inspector Ruiz being pulled from the Thames River - incoherent, bleeding profusely from a bullet in his leg, his vital signs fall flat - and the feeling I have is that I'm privy to his pain from the defibrillator paddles, what he views, though muddled, and what he thinks (his imaginary Marilyn Monroe). It is Robotham's sense of humor that sprinkles delight and tickles your funny bone even in very serious situations.

If dying and being brought back to life isn't enough to go through, after eight days in a coma, Ruiz awakens with a memory loss. The path the story follows is with Ruiz going back to places or persons he can last recall and working forward in time. It is the missing person case of seven-year-old Mickey Carlyle that dominates the heart of his search. Howard Wavell is in prison for Mickey's murder, despite the fact no body was ever found.

Do you know how every now and then you pick up a book and from the first paragraph you're hooked? You feel an immediate attachment to the characters and the author's voice. That's how it is with this and all of Robotham's books. This one received the Crime Book of the Year Award. Just for reference, what I read and enjoy are police procedures and thrillers written by mystery authors world-wide. Michael Robotham has become one of my most recommended authors, along with Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum, Michael Connelly, Carol O'Connell, to list a few.
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