May Book Reviews Part One

The reading continues. Five months into the year and I’m going strong. I didn’t expect to read this much, but since I am, I’ve decided to go back to a weekly review schedule. Today’s post is the first half of my May reviews. The second half will be next week. Beginning in June, I’ll post individual reviews.

Thunder Bay

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After feeling a bit let down by the fifth and sixth books of the Cork O’Connor series, Thunder Bay did not disappoint.

There are a few characters from the Cork O’Connor books that have become favorites. Henry Meloux is one of them. The Ojibwe medicine man has been a friend and advisor to Cork throughout the series. Now, we finally learn his story.

At the beginning of the book, Henry is rushed to the hospital and the doctors suspect his issues are cardiac-related. Turns out it is his heart, but it’s not physical. We learn that Henry fathered a son seventy years earlier—one that he’s never seen except in visions. The old Mide asks Cork to travel to Thunder Bay, Ontario to find him.

Henry Wellington has become a recluse and Cork’s meeting with him isn’t pleasant. After Cork returns to Minnesota, an attempt is made on Meloux’s life and evidence points to his son.

The book is written in three parts—the present-day events, back in time seventy years to when Henry was young, and the conclusion. We learn how Meloux met Wellington’s mother and also how he became a medicine man.

There is a secondary story of Cork’s family, and as usual, I enjoyed the family dynamics. In each book, I see Cork’s character grow as he becomes more aware of the most important things in life.

“The biggest word in the human vocabulary has only four letters and no definition that’s ever been adequate… But ask most human beings what they value above all else in this life and, five’ll get you ten, it’s love.”

This book is so far, one of my favorite books in this series.

Amazon Link

Artifacts of Death

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Next on the list is a book from another series, this time by author Rich Curtin.

I read my first Manny Rivera book earlier in the year, not realizing it was the eighth in a series. Having enjoyed that story, I picked up a copy of Artifacts of Death. It didn’t disappoint.

Deputy Sheriff Manny Rivera is assigned to investigate the murder of a ranch hand near Moab, Utah. Eager to please his boss and hoping to redeem himself after an earlier botched assignment, Manny tries to piece together the few clues from the crime scene.

One clue is an ancient Indian potsherd. Manny’s investigation leads him to the story of a man who disappeared in 1938, an elderly woman who pines for her lost love, and a surprising confession that causes Manny to face a moral crisis.

Manny is a likeable character, and I enjoyed learning about his background. He’s a hard worker who enjoys his job, but his insecurity over being assigned a murder case shows through (a perfectly natural reaction). But his determination and perseverance overshadow any feelings of inadequacy.

The author did a wonderful job of describing the southeastern Utah area. It’s a plus for me when a writer makes his readers feel like they are in the setting.

An underlying theme in Artifacts of Death is how money can drive people to do things out of character. Some in the name of a good cause, others for greed. This line really stood out to me:

“The smaller your desire for material things, the larger your happiness.”

The book is well-paced and the ending is satisfactory with a resolution to a decades-old mystery as well as the current events. I look forward to reading more of this series.

Amazon Link

The Girl Before Me

After reading a lot of psychological fiction last year, I’ve focused more on mystery and suspense in 2022. However, when I learned Laura Wolfe had a new release, I had to jump on it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rachel Gleason has a chance to start over, leaving behind an abusive ex-husband and moving from the suburbs to the city. There are times she can’t believe her luck. She gets a great deal on an apartment after the previous tenant broke her lease and disappeared without a trace. Her daughter, Lily, receives a scholarship at a prestigious private school.

Most of her new neighbors are friendly, especially Alex who lives next door, and Bridget, an attorney who lives upstairs. However, life isn’t without problems.

Keith, the ex-husband, is determined to see his daughter outside of court-appointed visiting times. He tracks her down to the city, thanks to Rachel’s neurotic mother. The principal at Lily’s school is also a womanizer, and he makes it clear he’s interested in Rachel, threatening to pull Lily’s scholarship if Rachel doesn’t do what he wants. Then, there is the weird neighbor Drake who is more than creepy.

The biggest mystery is what happened to Annie, the woman who lived in 4B before Rachel moved in. When Rachel opens a card addressed to Annie from her sister in Australia, she begins to question. Add to that the strange noises she hears during the night and the tone is set for a suspenseful read.

“Revenge is the best medicine… Sometimes justice needs a little push in the right direction.”

There are plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing right up to the end. Laura Wolfe is a go-to author for me, and once again she delivered.

Amazon Link

38 thoughts on “May Book Reviews Part One

  1. Artifacts of Death really appealed to me, Joan, since I was just in that area and it’s quite a setting for a story. Thunder Bay is also intriguing. You got some great reads in this month. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These books sound great, Joan. I have several William Kent Krueger paperbacks piled in my bedroom and haven’t started one yet. You’re encouraging me to get into the first one! The other two books sound suspenseful – and the last one a bit chilling. Do I dare? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always enjoy when some supporting characters get to tell their story. I’ve come across plenty in books I’ve wanted to know more about. Sounds like you’re staying ahead of your reading challange, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a good feeling to log into Goodreads and see you are on track with your yearly challenge, huh? 🙂 These all sound great, but Artifacts of Death appeals to me because of the setting and plot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on them, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

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