Books I have read … January 1st

The Trespasser by Tana French

French’s novels are interconnected and best read in order to fully understand the interplay between continuing characters. This is her sixth in the line of Dublin Murder Squad novels. But they all can stand alone and be enjoyed separately. This story brings the team of detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran back together to solve a murder. The killer appears to be her boyfriend, Rory Fallon. But the obvious is too easy for the suspicious Conway. And her suspicions et stronger when a more experienced detective takes an interest in the case and wants Rory charged. I really like French’s writing. It’s tightly plotted and character-driven crime fiction. If you take “crime” out of that sentence, the description is right up my alley for all my favorite reads. Read an excerpt here.

Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato

Lucy and her son, Edgar, have lived in New Jersey with her mother-in-law since her husband killed himself. Lucy is not a responsible mother, but Florence takes care of Edgar, a strangely intelligent, hypersensitive eight-year-old with a case of albinism. Lucy is a hands-off kind of mom – hairdresser by day, drinker and flirt by night. She loves Edgar, but treats him more like a roommate than a son and has willingly ceded his parenting to her mother-in-law. Edgar is deeply connected to both women, and acutely afflicted in his loyalties. “To be alone with either of them was sweetness itself. But combine them and things tightened, a constriction Edgar felt in his sensitive, divining throat.” When Florence suddenly dies, things fall apart. Edgar is kidnapped by a mysterious, lurking man and Lucy becomes frantic with worry. Turmoil is familiar territory for Lodato, who is also a playwright and a poet. Even in the darkest moments, when his characters are being their worst selves, Lodato shows them in an tender light. Read an excerpt here.

This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I like Maggie O’Farrell, but this story was a bit to long and wide in events to hold my focus. The characters did not seem real and the situations seemed manufactured. “The points of view and temporal and geographical jumps multiply rapidly, with Daniel and Claudette as narrative anchors, their sections interspersed with others seen from many different perspectives: those of their children and stepchildren, former friends, employees, lovers, siblings, mothers, even a semi-random fellow traveler in Bolivia in 2015, an aging woman fleeing her marriage who carries her own losses but whose chief function seems to be to serve as unofficial, bus-seat therapist to Daniel as he shares his relationship and addiction woes” (Elizabeth Graver, NYT Book Review, 5 Aug. 2016). Read another O’Farrell novel, The Hand that First Held Mine, that I enjoyed much more, available in the HCCC Library collection. Excerpt of This Must Be the Place here.

Send us your favorite book & film suggestions!