Time for a June wrap-up of the latest books I’ve read and my highly subjective remarks about them.
For this reader, June was heavy with domestic thrillers. While many young, besotted men and women said “I do,” I read about wives gone missing, double-crossing husbands, and insurance scams gone wrong.
What a lovely theme! Click each title below to read my full reviews.
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara
This is my favorite book for the month and possibly that I’ve read so far this year. I love it that much. If you’ve seen the documentary Paris is Burning, you’ll recognize the characters in these pages as fictionalized renditions of their real-life counterparts. It ‘s full of glitter and dirt and just so damn good.
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Kicking off the litany of domestic thrillers, Not That I Could Tell shows a neighborhood ill at ease after the disappearance of a mother and her twin children. Everyone is a suspect here, and everyone distrusts the seemingly nosy stay-at-home mom friend with a traumatic past who just wants to help.
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
The mother is beautiful, a former child star, spacey, and disconnected. Her baby: missing. Everyone is a suspect here, and everyone distrusts the seemingly nosy stay-at-home mom friend with a traumatic past who just wants to help (sense a theme?).
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Polly is new to this seedy bar in a small town. She comes without a past, but still with lots of baggage. She knows that the other mysterious newcomer Adam will fall for her. They all do. What she doesn’t know is that Adam has ulterior motives of his own. This noir-ish book is gritty and bittersweet.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Taking a turn to true crime, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark follows Michelle McNamara’s almost obsessive search for the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist. She lost sleep, countless hours, and ultimately her life. His crimes were atrocious, but peeking through the pages is McNamara’s triumph in helping to pin him down.
The Widower’s Wife by Cate Holahan
Husband loses his cushy job, reputation, and any semblance of couth. Wife loses her financial comfort, daughter, and possibly life. The story goes to extremes with both caricature-like people and double-double-crosses. But what a fun trip it is, wondering where the waves will crash next.
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Speaking of going to extremes, this couple seems to be blissfully, almost disgustingly in love. But their jealous friends don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. The truth of their marriage and the monster she has married leaves her trapped in a prison of his making. Literally. BA Paris is great at answering the potential “Why didn’t she?” scenarios.
The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Another blissfully married couple, another lie. This time, a plane has crashed with Iris ‘ husband onboard. As she handles the paperwork and wraps up his affairs, she realizes he ‘s not the man she thought he was. Through her haze of grief, she discovers his shady past while walking deeper into danger.
Bring Me Back by BA Paris
Where Behind Closed Doors is tight and taut, Bring Me Back is wordy and wimpy. It lacks the punch of the extreme scenario in Behind Closed Doors. But beyond that, it over-explains the story and its twists to us instead of giving the reader the joy of discovery (not to mention the joy of brevity).
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
Frank and Eudora were warned not to live in the house he inherited from his aunt. But the pull of starting over in a new place in a free home is too strong. They should have listened. Those Across the River is a nice addition to the horror genre, illustrating the dynamics of small-town life and new, love-laced relationships.
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