Joanne’s Mystery Picks

33245502INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins

I’m not sure what those people who’ve put Hawkins’ latest book to the top of the bestsellers list for upwards of 7 weeks see in it.  I found it to be confusing, convoluted, and at times even misleading.  The story revolves around the drowning deaths of a number of women in a British town.  It’s believed by the people of the town that the river has some power that draws women to it – magic, or witchcraft – but this point is never fully discussed or explained.

The novel is peopled with so many characters that it’s difficult to keep them straight and I found that I was constantly flipping back and forth in the book to figure out “whose sister was whose” and where “so and so” fit in the family.  Sometimes a character is mentioned briefly and then never appears in the novel again, leaving the reader to wonder what purpose they even had in the telling of the story.

Hawkins sends us off on tangents that leave us shaking our heads and red herrings that take us nowhere.  I’m still trying to figure out what her reference to “Adam and Eve and dinosaurs” is all about!

This novel left me disappointed and unsatisfied, which are the opposite feelings that I had after reading her first novel, “The Girl on the Train”. Give “Into the Water” a miss – there are many well-written stories out there that will be much more rewarding to read than this one.

29910780THE CHALK PIT by Elly Griffiths

Ruth is in a good place in her life right now.  Work is going well; her daughter, Kate, is four years old and in school; and Nelson has been able to take a small roll (picking Kate up from school on occasion) in both their lives.  Nelson, on the other hand, is dealing with a new Superintendent – Jo Archer – whose main ambition, it would appear, is to put Nelson out to pasture.

When Ruth is called to investigate some bones found in one of the many chalk-mining tunnels in King’s Lynn, both she and Nelson are thrust into a murder investigation.  Meanwhile DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a number of “rough sleepers” (homeless people).

When one of them is found murdered and a woman in the community goes missing under circumstances similar to those of the rough sleepers, the investigation is ramped up.

Then, as so often happens, Ruth’s good luck runs out, leaving her bereft.  Her family has been rocked by sadness and Nelson has given her some upsetting news.  Griffiths provides us with an unexpected twist to the story and I can only wonder where the next book in this series will take us.

If you’re new to this series (Ruth Galloway Mysteries), DO read them in order.  You need the background of each of the characters in order to truly appreciate their relationship to one another.  Between the archeological discussions and the great character development, Griffiths provides us with a cracker-jack read!

St. Albert Gazette Reading

Book picks as published in the August 16, 2017 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

BlackoutBlackout : a novel

By Marc Elsberg

Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electrical grids collapse. There is no power, anywhere. A former hacker and activist, Piero investigates a possible cause of the disaster. The authorities don’t believe him, and he soon becomes a prime suspect himself. With the US now also at risk, Piero goes on the run with Lauren, a young American CNN reporter based in Paris.



See what I have doneSee what I have done : a novel

By Sarah Schmidt

In this riveting debut novel, Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love. Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed.

Summer Reading Game Book Reviews

More ideas for those final entries.

cover_confederationdrive_smConfederation Drive by Janice MacDonald

It’s a story of the author’s road trip across Canada that she made, with her husband, in 2015– using almost the same route as when she did the trip with her mother on the way to Montreal Expo in 1967. The book sometimes felt less like a memoir and more like a project (which it was– she was taking the trip 2 years before 2017, so she could publish it in time for Canada’s 150th and Expo’s 50th), as it sometimes felt a bit rushed, and had a really surprising multitude of editing errors.

But I love road trips and road trip books (and movies), so the book was a treat– I read it with Google Maps open as I traced her route through places in Eastern Canada I have yet to see.

516a9-arlpl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Celtic Lightning: How the Scots and the Irish Created A Canadian Nation by Ken McGoogan

Independence, Democracy, Pluralism, Audacity, Perseverance. This is Canada and us. Yesterday becomes today’s history and I thoroughly enjoyed (a bit skeptical at first) how the author interpreted significant individuals, their actions and personalities which played a significant role in shaping Canada and who we are as a society.
Loved it!

Weekend Picks

Rock’n August Edition

You know the scoop Betty Boop… the hair is gonna be slicked back and shinning in the August sun, just like our chrome dream machines. Be there or be square.

American Graffiti

A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.



A spoof of and homage to 1950s teen rock melodramas. Cry Baby is a rebel with a gang of rough friends. Allison is the straight-laced girl who falls for him.


Rebel Without a Cause

Jim is another kid gone bad and no one knows why. Like thousands of other middle-class kids from the postwar era, Jim is just another rebel without a cause.


Rumble Fish

A street punk worships his older brother, who is the leader of a gang.