Megan Goldin brings a modern twist to the murder mystery novel with her 2020 novel The Night Swim. After uncovering the truth and setting an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is feeling an immense amount of pressure to perform in her true crime podcast’s new season. Rachel finds herself in a small coastal town reporting on a rape trail that has divided its population. After arriving, she finds herself receiving cryptic notes from one of the town’s previous residents begging her to investigate their sister’s death 25 years prior. After a little investigation, Rachel finds that not everyone in town wants this mystery solved.
Goldin’s addition of a True Crime podcaster adds and interesting twist to the traditional mystery novel. As podcasts and true crime become more popular, it seems obvious to adapt the genre to fit this growing trend. Goldin does this perfectly in Night Swim. Her alternation of perspectives and her addition of podcast transcripts create a addicting narrative that no reader will be able to put down.
Fiction can be used as a tool to shine a light on real world problems. The crimes committed against K and Jenny are interesting in their own way. Why is it that K had been seen as more of a legitimate victim, whereas Jenny was ridiculed and demonized in her own murder? Goldin’s novel, she does raises a tragic but important question: Who deserves justice?
Shea Ernshaw creates a mystery for all readers in, A History of Wild Places.We meet Travis Wren a psychic detective tasked with tracking down Maggie St. James, an author who has gone missing after her recent novel leads to the death of a young teenager. Just as he finds a hot lead and is right on her trail, he disappears just like the woman he has been tasked to find. It’s not until a man (Theo) living in a near by community in the woods finds an abandoned truck and becomes curious that we begin to get some clues. Soon we are led down new path full of unanswered questions. Questions about: the missing man, the missing woman, and all the secrets that lie within a small town hidden in the woods.
Our main characters: Theo, Calla, and Bee each have a unique character arch. As a reader, it was quite the journey to see how each characters relationships with each other, their community, and their community’s leader changed over the course of the novel. Watching each of them work through the mysteries and questions they each encountered took me on a journey that surprised me at every turn. I particularly enjoyed how Ernshaw tackled the main characters “de-programming” themselves from their leader and community’s teachings and lifestyle. Every time I thought I could guess where the story was going, I was surprised. Nothing about Ernshaw’s work was completely un-predictable and I found that to be very enjoyable.
A History of Wild Places is a journey of secrets, tragedy, and self growth. A great read for any true crime or cult documentary enthusiast….just be careful not to get lost along the way.
Mystery and tragedy find themselves in A Flicker in the Dark, a thrilling novel by Stacy Willingham. We meet Chole Davis a young psychiatrist who happens to be in the final stages of planning her upcoming wedding to the man of her dreams. All her worst night mares come true when a local girl goes missing…Then another girl goes missing. Nearing the anniversary of her fathers crimes, she finds herself fearing that a copycat killer has begun to terrorize her hometown. With no one to trust, she fears the worst in everyone around her and begins her own investigation. Eventually she finds that the real monsters can be hiding silently behind any corner.
I frequently found my self “on the fence,” with the character of Chole, she is a character who often has very questionable or unethical judgment. In all, she is far from the typical, “perfect heroine,” which made her much more interesting character. However, all her faults and previous mistakes made her much more thrilling to follow in the story. However, Some of her character flaws were a bit too much and not always believable. She was stupid at times and it wasn’t always endearing. She made some poor and illegal choices that sometimes took the story to unnecessary and some times irrelevant plot lines.
A Flicker in the Dark is a very thrilling read. Each twist and turn of the story was completely unpredictable. Even with all of the main characters flaws I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a thrilling mystery. I wont give away any spoilers but if you give Willingham’s work a try you will find yourself completely engulfed in her story, unable to put it down.
Hamlet as you have never imagined before, The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye is a modern retelling of Shakephere’s classic with a plethora of modern twists and turns. Centered around three lovers and friends: Ben, Lia, and Horatio as they confront their changing relationships, addictions, and illnesses all the while working to solve the mystery sounding the death of Ben’s father.
The King of Infinite Space, is like no other Shakephere reboot that you have read or watched before. All of Faye’s characters are so rich and dynamic with mysterious backstories, it leaves the reader yearning to keep turning the page. Each chapter of Faye’s work is so uniquely formatted that I provides a dynamic view into the mental state and development of the star cast. Each chapter centers around a singular characters plot line and hints about their future plot collisions.
Faye’s writing style is engaging and dynamic. Each chapter is uniquely written to allow the reader to become better acquainted with each of the characters mental state, conflicts, and plot lines. Every reference to Hamlet is a pleasant little tidbit to be enjoyed by any Shakespeare fan ( previous reading of Shakespeare is not a requirement for enjoying Faye’s work). The King of Infinite Space keeps even the most well read Shakespeare fan on their toes and repeating, “just one more chapter…”