Have you overdosed on Ludlum and Forsythe? Then give Zander your full attention. THE SWIMMER is fast paced with a strong female lead character. The book takes you to Brussels, to Stockholm, to Paris leaving the reader breathless and wanting more. After Steig Larsson, watch out for this new voice in Scandinavian crime fiction, Joakim Zander.....

THE SWIMMER by Joakim Zander

Klara Walldeen, orphaned as a child and brought up by her grandparents on a remote Swedish archipelago, is now a political aide in Brussels. And she has just seen something she shouldn’t: something people will kill to keep hidden. 

On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action: so dedicated to the cause that he abandoned his baby daughter to keep his cover. Now the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool. 

Then, on Christmas eve, Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out...
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I recently read the following review on and simultaneously received an email from a blog reader who expressed similar sentiments. M.O. Walsh has written a heartfelt, old fashioned Southern novel, ruptured by an unspeakable crime. According to both readers this is a compelling and unforgettable book.


I was lucky enough to read MY SUNSHINE AWAY back in the spring of 2014, as I interviewed M.O. Walsh for the BEA Book Buzz session last May. When I read the title, I started humming the song “You Are My Sunshine,” which I learned is one of the state songs of Louisiana. Then I read the first line of the book, “There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson,” and I stopped thinking sunny thoughts.

In the summer of 1989, Lindy was a girl who caught boys’ eyes, but while she was turning heads, she never seemed to notice. Then she is attacked one night, and the world changes for both her and those in the neighborhood around her. The “safe” world became a lot less innocent.

MY SUNSHINE AWAY is a brilliant, beautifully written coming-of-age story that has a mystery rolled into it --- a mystery that is not resolved until the last few pages. (


CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger 

Lisa Unger has a knack for writing the kind of edgy psychological thriller that lures you in and wraps itself around you. Then, just when you think I got this story nailed, she whooshes you off into another direction. When you settle there, you know you better not get comfortable. This is a light read, a twisted tale, suspenseful and fast paced....mixed reviews.

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THE THREE M's (February 2015)

Who doesn't like a good psychological thriller...with emphasis on the good?  Reviewers are labeling THE POCKET WIFE a compelling novel of "intrigue and white knuckle pacing." 
You've got a multitude of M's in this one...murder, marriage and madness...sounds like a must-read...or at least a maybe-read! Mmmmm, probably a Maybe.....

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford

Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.

Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her...or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

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I commend Oprah for influencing people to read...a major accomplishment!  I don't always like her selections but hopefully this current choice will be a good one. I'm glad she's chosen a new author, that's a departure...although the focus of the novel is vaguely familiar. Anyway, I'm downloading Ruby and have high hopes.


The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her—this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.
Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York.

Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city--the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village--all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood.

With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. 
(Reviewed by )

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This historical tale portrays a quintessentially powerful woman, ruling at the beginning of a century in which powerful women practically sprang from the earth. Like most important historical subjects, she is little known or thought of outside of narrow academic circles. She's a woman you won't forget.

The author writes well, and does a creditable job of telling us what we need to know about Isabella and her world without getting too far into the weeds of late 15th and early 16th century politics.  The book is especially good at putting Isabella into her context, whether the self-absorbed lassitude of various northern European rulers, or the politico-religious intensity of Spain and other Mediterranean lands that were facing the shatteringly real threat of Muslim Turkish aggression. 

The seismic upheaval of the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the conquest and rape of the Balkans, incursions into Hungary and southern Italy and the threats to Sicily and Spain itself were a powerful element in shaping the life and times of this momentously important queen. The down side? This is a LONG book, coming in a little under 700 pages. Still, worth the read.....

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. 

The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France. 

Two blog readers recommended these books which are recipients of great reviews and positive comments. If you like a history book that reads like a novel, try one of the above. 

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OH NO!! (February 2015)

Over the past 50 years Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Anne Tyler has published 19 novels, including Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, An Accidental Tourist and Digging to America. The 71-year-old author has revealed the title of her latest work, A Spool of Blue Thread, after announcing that she would not write another novel...OH NO!...I've read all of her novels. I'm an Anne Tyler groupie!  Say it isn't so............

A Spool of Blue Thread


The Whitshanks aren't "a melodramatic family," Tyler tells us at the outset of her luminous 20th novel. But Abby and Red Whitshank and their four children do have their share of secrets and jealousies, some of which will resurface as Abby and Red face the challenges of aging in their rambling Baltimore home. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Tyler marks the 50th year of her writing career with another remarkably convincing look at the push-and-pull of family life.

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A Simple Plan by Scott Smith 

In this wholly realistic novel, two brothers and a friend come upon a crashed plane in whose shattered ruins they find an enormous sum of money. Before that moment, none of these men has ever needed to concoct a simple plan to keep and conceal a fortune that quite obviously does not belong them. 

In the midst of doing just that, they become criminals, as well as victims of crime. The story builds steadily as the wages of sin become more and more costly. Here is a classic cautionary tale about the penalty dishonesty may exact upon ordinary, and largely innocent, human beings.

Blog readers and critics are raving about this new suspenseful novel by Scott Smith.
I hope it's better than Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which is #2 on NYTIMES Bestseller list, not sure why...

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