Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Release Date: January 26, 2021
THE IN-BETWEEN is an enjoyable middle grade mystery-fantasy combo with relatable characters and intriguing twists!
Cooper has had a lot on his young shoulders since his father abandoned the family three years prior. His mother works two jobs to support them, and often he’s left in charge of managing his sister Jess’s medical issue. He has a difficult time connecting with old friends, and often feels invisible. Then suddenly a strange girl moves in next door, and all she wants to do is stare at him from her swing. What’s her deal?
Cooper and Jess get wrapped up in trying to solve a century-old train crash mystery involving an unidentified boy. Things get really strange when they suspect a connection between that tragedy and their new next-door neighbor. The quest to discover the truth teaches them a lot about friendship, loss, grief, and finding a way to move forward, even though things may seem out of their control. THE IN-BETWEEN is a beautifully written story with plenty of excitement to keep mystery lovers of all ages turning the pages! — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪
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Publisher: ECW Press
Release Date: October 2, 2018
This was a haunting cautionary tale! Set in northern Canada, MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW is a character-driven, slow-burn thriller about what happens in a remote Anishinaabe community when the unthinkable happens. Their power goes out, their phones quit working, and suddenly they’re cut off from the rest of the world. Winter is setting in, food supplies are low, and word from the south is that the chaos is widespread. When an outsider arrives seeking shelter, their precarious situation gets worse.
I’m not usually a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction, BUT something about the premise of this book pulled me in. I’m so glad I took a chance and read it. The wonderfully tense, ominous atmosphere kept me glued to the pages. What a terrifying situation to be in, and I felt like I was a part of it, wondering what was coming next.
One of the most memorable moments was when main character Evan talked to an elder about the meaning of “apocalypse,” and how their world had already ended when they were forced off their land and had their children taken away.
If a dystopian novel can be realistic, then this was it. In the end, I was left with a lot of unanswered questions, but in an actual apocalypse, would you have all the answers? I just read that there will be a sequel coming out (next year, maybe), and I can’t wait to find out what happens next! — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪
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Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: January 19, 2021
If you’re needing a chilling winter thriller, SHIVER is it! This gripping locked-room mystery is set in a deserted ski resort in the French Alps, and Milla & four friends, all former snowboarding competitors, are invited to a reunion weekend there. The only one missing is the sixth member of their group who disappeared at that same location a decade ago and is presumed dead. (OK, right away, what a disturbing place for a reunion!)
I loved the frozen, desolate, and desperate atmosphere the author created. It may be off-season, but the weather is still bitterly cold and deep snow abounds. The friends quickly realize that something is wrong. Their phones go missing, the cable cars stop running, and there are no staff members to be found. Someone is clearly messing with them, and trying to remind them of Saskia, gone these past 10 years. Is it an outsider, or one of their own group?
Overall, this was a fantastic nail-biter that flipped back and forth between present day and ten years earlier, in the time leading up to Saskia’s disappearance. My only quibble was the large amount of snowboarding details, which slowed the pace down somewhat. If you enjoyed ONE BY ONE by Ruth Ware, you’d probably enjoy SHIVER — same atmosphere, yet its own unique mystery. — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪
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Publisher: Ecco Books
Release Date: August 25, 2020
WINTER COUNTS is an impressive debut novel from David Heska Wanbli Weiden. It’s a gritty and often dark crime thriller that follows Virgil Wounded Horse, a hired vigilante living on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. When tribal police and the feds fail to deliver justice, Virgil takes the law into his own hands. He finds himself personally involved in a dangerous case when his nephew falls prey to hard drugs being pushed on the reservation.
This was a compelling slow-burn mystery, as well as an eye-opening look at the hardships Indigenous people face in this country. Lakota traditions and history are woven throughout this story. I loved the well-drawn cast of characters. Virgil struggles with his Lakota identity, and I greatly enjoyed watching his character grow as he fought to save his nephew. — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪
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Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: 1974 (first published 1950)
Very good! DO EVIL IN RETURN is a mystery/domestic suspense novel first published in 1950. It was considered controversial at the time because the victim in this case is a young woman seeking an abortion (which would be illegal for another two decades in the United States).
Protagonist Dr. Charlotte Keating is torn — she wants to help Violet but doesn’t want to break the law. Violet runs away in frustration, but later Charlotte tries to track her down to see if there’s some way to improve her circumstances. Unfortunately it’s too late for Violet, and Charlotte’s interference puts her career and safety in jeopardy.
The mystery was twisty and surprising. I thought I had it figured out, but no! Some of the language and attitudes are dated, of course, but I thought that Charlotte was a compelling heroine. — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪
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