#allthewayswesaidgoodbye #ritzparis #beatrizwilliams #laurenwillig #karenwhite #helensadler #nicolabarber #saskiamaarleveld #thehouseguest #markedwards #willmwatt #stinanielsen #thelastflight #julieclark #khristinehvam #laurenfortgang #legacyoflies #robertbailey #ericgdove
On this last day of the 2020 Hurricane Season, I suppose it would be fitting to have books about hurricanes, but I’ve already done that so this month’s listens share a plot device that is common to many novels of mystery and suspense and that is twists – you know . . . that thing authors love to use to keep readers and listeners on their toes. From mildly suspenseful to dead-on “what the heck just happened?”, these books will keep you hooked until the last word!
All the Ways We Said Goodbye features three very different women from three very different generations written by three authors with three narrators. I’ll say upfront that, in this case, good things do come in threes. So what do these women have in common? The Ritz Hotel, of course! I’ve come to enjoy author Beatriz Williams’ novels very much and her collaboration with Lauren Willig and Karen White is a refreshing departure. Each of the narrators, Helen Sadler, Nicola Barber, and Saskia Maarleveld, has her own character and if you listen carefully, you will begin to connect all the dots outlining a satisfying, but not surprising, ending.
The phrase “oh what a tangled web we weave” might easily be used to describe The House Guest by Mark Edwards. This is a twisty tale that will hold your attention and keep you guessing until the very end. If you were house-sitting and an ordinary-seeming woman came to the door claiming to be a friend the owners had invited to stay with them if ever she was in town, would you let this woman in? Well, if you’re ever in this situation….don’t do it! This is another of those books that does a 180 just when you think you have it figured out so hang on! Will M. Watt and Stina Nielsen give a very good performance of the assortment of voices and accents.
The Last Flight by Julie Clark comes in a close second for the Twist of the Month Award. We have two women in very different bad situations who make the decision to swap identities as a way out. Both women are in physical danger – Eva James is not only in physical danger from a powerful drug dealer, but she is in legal jeopardy. Claire Cook is also in physical jeopardy, but the source of her threat is an abusive husband who is about to announce he is a candidate for the Senate. My compliments to the author and to narrators Khristine Hvam and Lauren Fortgang for conveying the constant tension these women experience that they will be found out. The road to the conclusion has many curves and the one twist I was expecting didn’t happen. However, I do give the author credit for knowing where she wanted her story to go and choosing the right direction to leave listeners with a good feeling at the end of this dark tale.
And the winner is . . . Legacy of Lies! I’m awarding the Twist of the Month Award to author Robert Bailey for an ending that sneaks up on listeners in the most delightfully chilling way. I was a little bit leery about this book because it is the first of a series in which the lead character, Bocephus Haynes, comes to listeners by way of a book in another series, so the author has to do a lot of tap dancing to keep us up to speed on the past events which play a role in this story. Fortunately, it all works and is skillfully narrated by Eric G. Dove. There are many of my favorite types of characters – those I love to hate – in this one and I defy anyone to tell me they had that ending figured out!