Two new books for fans of of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris (Behind Closed Doors) is a “first-rate psychological thriller” (Publishers Weekly). School teacher Cass Anderson decides to take a shortcut home from a party through dark patch of woods. When she reaches the road, she encounters a parked car with a woman inside. She passes by, but is horrified to learn the next day that the woman has been murdered. Then the creepy phone calls start coming. “Tension builds to a crescendo as Cass’s fears become palpable.” In a similar vein, The Lying Game by Ruth Ware unites four friends at the boarding school they once attended , whose 17-year pact of silence is about to be broken.
Just as some boaters prefer to explore side channels and bays rather than sail up the broads, so some readers like to explore books that fly under the bestseller radar. Here are three crime novels (2 debuts) that are worth a look. In The Force by Don Winslow (The Cartel), veteran PD sergeant Denny Malone’s task force bends rules to the limit, until a multimillion-dollar heroin bust gets the attention of the Feds and puts Malone on the hot seat. The Dry by Jane Harper is a “stunning debut” about an apparent murder-suicide in a small outback town. Little Deaths by Emma Flint is based on a 1965 case about a single mother who becomes the prime suspect for her children’s abduction, told with “feverish, summer-sticky” suspense.
Two films from across the waters that should compel your attention. The Salesman is a “complex, compelling drama” about a two actors in Iran. When the wife is assaulted, her husband becomes a bull in his attempts to find the attacker, while she struggles to cope. This is a “powerful expression of lives, and dreams, interrupted” (Fort Worth Star). Frantz is a survivor’s drama set the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Anna (Paula Beer in a breakthrough performance) is a young woman who lost her fiancé in the trenches. Her solitude is broken by the arrival of Adrien, a French veteran who comes to pay respects at Frantz’s grave. ”A fine cast, haunting period detail and a provocative, twisting story” (Globe and Mail) make this worthy viewing (Globe and Mail)
Sam Shephard, playwright (True West), director (Paris Texas, Far North), sometime actor (The Right Stuff, Days of Heaven) and chronicler of Bob Dylan’s famed Rolling Thunder Revue, slipped the mortal coil on Th, July 27. His work is represented at the library by Paris Texas (writer) and Days of Heaven (actor). More of his work can be accessed through NH’s inter-library loan system.
In The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a late-night morgue receives the body of a Jane Doe that is remarkably well preserved and shows with no visible signs of trauma. As they piece together the cause of her death, the two men begin to uncover the disturbing secrets of her life. The results are “enjoyably twisty” (Boston Globe).” In Money, two businessmen have nearly pulled off a $5 million heist. An uninvited house guest, however, has other ideas. This is “an effective and very professional thriller.” . In Aftermath, a plane crash kills a construction worker’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) family. Brooding on his loss, he decides to confront the air-traffic controller whose error caused the crash.
Alone in Berlin features Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson star as a working class couple whose son is killed fighting Hitler’s wars. They pour their rage and grief into postcards emblazoned with anti-Nazi slogans. This is a “deeply moving film and a worthy monument to a pair of decidedly unlikely war heroes” (Daily Mail). The Zookeeper’s Wife tells how a zoo becomes a sanctuary during World War Two. After the Warsaw Zoo was destroyed during the early days of the war, the staff began using the empty cages as hiding places for Jews fleeing the ghetto. Although “it doesn’t haunt you like Schindler’s List, director Niki Caro recreates the final years of the war on the European front with a convincing accuracy that is deeply touching” (New York Observer). In Land of Mine, is a dram based on German POWs who were forced to clear minefields along the Danish coast. This is “a little-known story, powerfully told.”
The Sense of an Ending effectively brings Julian Barne’s 2011 novel to life. Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), an aging divorce, runs a camera shop in London. His quiet life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of his ex-wife and a letter from a former flame. What follows is a “compelling tale about regret, remorse and redemption” (Toronto Star). In The Shack, based on a 2007 novel by William Young, a man overcome by grief receives a mysterious letter urging him to go to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. A Dog’s Purpose is based on a 2010 novel by Bruce Cameron about a canine whose relations with his people evolves over several incarnations.