May Book Reviews Part Two

In case you missed last week’s post, I’ve decided to go back to a weekly schedule with individual reviews beginning next week. In the meantime, here are the second half of my May book reviews.

Pretend You Don’t See Her

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I got hooked on reading Mary Higgins-Clark back in the 1970s when I picked up a copy of Where Are The Children from my favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore. (Those were the days!) Recently, I learned that her books are now on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re a fan, now is the time to catch up on the ones you’ve missed, or like me, reread some you’ve enjoyed in the past.

I first read Pretend You Don’t See Her when it was released in the late 1990s. I had forgotten a lot of things, so I was eager to read it again.

Lacey Farrell is a Manhattan real estate agent. She receives a call from a woman named Isabelle Waring about listing her deceased daughter’s apartment. Isabelle is obsessed over Heather’s death, convinced it isn’t an accident, much to the dismay of her ex-husband, Heather’s father.

When Lacey shows the high-rise to a prospective buyer, Isabelle tells her she’s changed her mind about selling it. Later, when Lacey agrees to meet the woman to discuss the matter, she arrives at the apartment to find Isabelle has been shot and the killer still inside. Lacey narrowly misses death herself when she hides in a closet while the perpetrator leaves.

As Isabelle lies dying, she gives Lacey her daughter’s journal, pleading with her to give it to Heather’s father. She reluctantly agrees and justifies her decision to withhold it from the police as a way to keep her promise to a dying woman. What’s worse, Lacey can identify the killer, which puts her in grave danger.

She ends up in the Witness Protection Program and is relocated to Minnesota. But is she safe there? When she tells her worried mother she’s in Minneapolis during a secure phone call, Mona Farrell vows to keep it a secret, but inadvertently leaves clues as to Lacey’s whereabouts.

It’s a race against time for the feds and the Manhattan police to find the murderer and bring him to justice before Lacey ends up being his next victim.

Despite the changes in writing styles since the 90s, I enjoyed this book. The pacing is good, and suspense is weaved throughout. I also find it refreshing that MHC’s books don’t have a lot of gore and foul language, something that is often overdone in today’s novels. I recommend Pretend You Don’t See Her if you enjoy reading a lighter mystery.

Amazon Link

Red Knife

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Continuing with book eight of the Cork O’Connor series.

Kristie Reinhardt, the daughter of an Aurora businessman, dies from meth addiction. Her father vows to get revenge against the prime suspect Lonnie Thunder, who is a member of an Ojibwe gang known as the Red Boyz. Alexander Kingbird, the gang’s leader calls on Cork to deliver a message to Kristie’s father promising him justice.

By the following morning, Alexander and his wife are dead—shot execution-style. The Red Boyz suspect Buck Reinhardt, and tensions begin to mount between the whites and the Ojibwe. Cork is caught in the middle, and Lonnie Thunder has disappeared. Will Cork be able to locate him before there are more deaths or all-out war?

The plot of this book is a little more complicated in that there are several things happening. Potential drug trafficking by the Red Boyz. Kingbird’s younger brother, a classmate of Cork’s daughter Annie, is bullied at school. A sniper kills Buck Reinhardt. A house belonging to the mother of one of the Red Boyz burns to the ground at the hands of an arsonist.

While there is plenty of tension and action, I had a couple of issues, one of which is Cork’s involvement in a Tribal matter. (I won’t say what to avoid a spoiler.) There was a surprise ending that almost seemed to be an afterthought as there were few clues pointing in that direction.

Lastly, the final chapter looks into the future and “tells” the reader about a major decision in Annie O’Connor’s life. I would have much rather learned this in one of the following books.

Amazon Link

The Fallen Man

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Okay, maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but this was my first time reading anything by Tony Hillerman. It won’t be my last. This is the second book I’ve read this month that was first published in the 1990s.

The Fallen Man is book twelve of Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee series, but I found it worked as a stand-alone novel.

There are two mysteries to unfold. The first begins when climbers find human remains on Shiprock or Tse Bit’ a’i in the Navajo language. It turns out the skeleton belonged to a man who had vanished over a decade earlier. Did he fall to his death or was it murder?

Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is hired by the man’s family to investigate. When a Navajo guide dies from a sniper’s bullet, Leaphorn becomes convinced the incidents are related. He had worked on the missing person’s case years earlier, so he has a vested interest in solving the crime.

Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee has his own issues to deal with. His captain wants him to investigate a string of cattle thefts in the area. He has to deal with Dick Finch, a New Mexico brand inspector. Finch is arrogant and rubs Chee in the wrong way. Chee is determined, with the help of Officer Bernadette Manuelito to learn the identity of the rustler before Finch does.

The story is well-paced and keeps the reader in suspense. While this was my first introduction to the main characters, I had no problems connecting with them. After reading The Fallen Man, I’m interested in the other books of the series.

Amazon Link

That’s it for this week’s reviews. I’ll be back next week with another review.

24 thoughts on “May Book Reviews Part Two

  1. Great reviews, Joan. Red Knife really appealed to me. I like stories nuanced by culture and history. Not to mention the beautiful cover. It’s too bad it struggled on a couple of levels. Thanks for the recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t want to give anything away, but the surprise event at the end hit a little too close to home. The book wasn’t bad, but I enjoyed several of the others in the series a lot more. Reviews are subjective. A lot of people would love the book. Thanks, Diana.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun to go back and read Marry Higgins Clark. I plan to do that too someday, my shelves are full of her books. Great reviews, Joan 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read a few MHC mysteries but found them hit or miss for me. I always enjoyed Tony Hillerman when I read him. I tried William Kent Krueger because his books have an underlying Indian feeling that reminded me of Hillerman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked Mary’s earlier books. Honestly, I haven’t read some of the later ones. Got to hand it to her to have still been writing in her 90s. As you know, I enjoy the WKK books. I’ve almost finished the next in the series, Heaven’s Keep. It’s a great one. I enjoyed the Hillerman book and plan to read more.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry the Krueger book wasn’t up to par with the other in the series. It’s hard to hit home runs every time with a long ongoing series. There area a few so-so books in the Pendergast series, too. Fortunately the vast majority are exceptional.

    I used to read MHC back in the 90s, too. I think I have two of her books on Kindle right now (I discovered them while browsing my selections the other day).

    I loved Tony HIllerman’s books. I think I probably read 5 or 6 of them, and always found them excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the way it goes with a series. So far, I’ve enjoyed most of the ones I’ve read. I’ll certainly be reading more of Hillerman.

      Isn’t it nice to find books we’ve forgotten about? Thanks for stopping by, Mae.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was obsessed with the Navajo when I was young. (My story in Unshod focuses on them.) My kids attended Ojibwa Elementary School when we lived in Michigan (oh so many years ago). And I always enjoyed MHC. All three of your reviews spoke to me for one reason or another today.

    And it is interesting how writing styles change over the years. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember your Navajo story. I really enjoyed it. Cool about your kids. Glad you liked the reviews. It is interesting to notice the changes in writing styles. Maybe I just pay more attention now that I’m a writer.


    1. Like most writers, some of her books are better than others. I recently read a book from a current NYT bestselling author. I hated the book, but I decided to give him another try. The second book I read ended up being one of my top reads for last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A good collection of reads from differing times. It seems you had a mixed bag with these. It’s interesting to see how much writing styles change over the decades. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joan. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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