Database Part 2

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Since We FellConspiracy or madness, Rachel Childs’ life may be on life.

Title: Since We Fell
Author: Dennis Lehane
ISBN: 
0062129384 (ISBN13: 9780062129383)

Genre: Thriller
Series: No

Publisher: Ecco
First Publication Date: May 9th, 2017 (419 pages)

Available Formats on Amazon:

  • e-book $12.99
  • Hardback $16.38
  • Paperback $16.99
  • Audio CD $19.99
  • audiobook available through audible

Why I chose this book: 

One of my Goodreads groups read this as a group read and it has good reviews, so I wanted to read it. 

Author Interviews:

The Guardians
LA Times

Significance:

This is written by a decently well known writer with a shut-in as the main character, which is somewhat unique. 

Awards: 

Library Reads Favorites 2016
 

Synopsis:

Rachel Childs has had a pretty rocky childhood with a mother who didn’t understand her and won’t tell her who her father is. Through her journey trying to find her father she meets people who will change her life, some for good and some for bad. An on-air breakdown while she is a journalist covering natural disasters in Haiti, has her looking her job and becoming a virtual shut-in. 

Besides being afraid to leave her house, Rachel has an ideal life. She has a caring husband and hobbies to keep her occupied. Until an encounter on one of her rare days out of the house stirs things up. Now, Rachel has been sucked into a conspiracy that she may not get out of alive. 

Review: 

This book honestly felt like two different books in one. The beginning is background information on Rachel’s life. By beginning, I mean the first 20% of the book. Most of this part of the book has nothing to do with the rest of the story, so calling the beginning of the story slow, almost seems like overkill. The real heart of the story starts about 60% in, so the rest of my review will be in regards to that, because after that, the story is fantastic. 

The only character we get to know deeply is Rachel. We know all about her childhood, her career, and what has made her who she is. Besides her all of the other characters feel weak. No one else is important in this story and it shows. Although as the story progresses we do learn more about Brian and who he is. He is the second strongest character, but he is shrouded in mystery. Therefore the characters are not what connects the readers to this story, but the mystery and unease that surrounds Rachel’s life. 

The unfolding of the story and the way it is written is intriguing. The way these huge events and reveals relate to previous parts of the book are well done and shocking. I found the drama and intrigue to be exciting, but some of the writing and events may seem a bit over-dramatic to some.

Considering the whole book again, this is one for someone with deep patience or a love of character-driven novels, yet also enjoy the thrills of action novels for the end of the book. 

Other Reviews: 

NY Times
Washington Post

Appeals: 

intensifying pace, character-driven, menacing tone, complex characters

“Clues for the Future”

Con men, shut-in, Rachel, Brian, Caleb, fake identities, journalism, psychology, action thriller

Rating:

  • Quality: 3★
    I feel this book should edited some more or focused
  • Popularity: 4★
    By a well-known author this will be read by many, but might not liked by them all

Read-alikes

We Could Be BeautifulA Reliable WifeThe Woman in Cabin 10

  • We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley
    Both have intensifying plots with complex characters and a menacing tone
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
    Both books have problems, deceit, and unease surrounding ill-advised marriages
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
    Both are psychological thrillers featuring intricate plots, female journalists, and compelling writing. 

Booktalking Ideas

This is a book I would booktalk to a mystery/thriller book group and try to make it a group read because there is much that can be discussed. 

I would focus on Rachel since the beginning of the book is so character driven and try appealing to the audience that way, but hint that Rachel is still in trouble. 

Another way would be to get people’s blood pumping with the information from the last part of the book. I would talk up the unease, the lies, and confusion. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think about the way the book was written? Would have have changed anything, and if so, what? 
  2. What do you think about Brian’s ultimate plan? Do you think Rachel would have stayed with him if everything had gone according to plan? 
  3. Is there a good or bad person in this story? 
  4. What did you think of the end? Did you predict anything? 
  5. Brian claims to love Rachel and that is why he has kept her around and went through with his plan. Are his actions not the greatest show of love? Or is it not love but obsession? Do you think they will stay togeher? 
Database Part 1

Angels Burning by Tawni O’Dell (2016)

Angels Burning

A murdered girl in a small town, a missing brother, and the man Dove set up for murder is back to haunt her. 

Title: Angels Burning
Author: Tawni O’Dell 
ISBN: 1501132547 (ISBN13: 9781501132544)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Psychological Suspense
Series? No

Publisher: Gallery Books
First Publication Date: January 5th, 2016 (279 pages)

Available Formats on Amazon:

  • e-book $11.99
  • Hardcover $4.30
  • Paperback $7.14
  • Audiobook through Audible

Why I chose this book: 

I wanted to expand my thriller and suspense repertoire and I also wanted to read a book with an older protagonist since most books I read have a main character within the range of 16-30ish years old.

Author Interviews: 

My Bookish Ways

Significance: 

Written by an author whose book was featured on Oprah’s book club.

Synopsis:

Dove Carnahan is the chief of police is the small town she’s lived in for 50 years. She does right by her community, doing all she can to help them. Underneath her helpful and clever exterior, Cove hides a dark and life-altering secret she’s kept since she was 16.

When a teenage girl is found beaten, burned, and dead in a fiery sinkhole, the small town is rocked. Dove must solve the worst murder in the history of the town, since her own mother’s murder. Along with the man put away for murdering her mother all those years ago now finally free and claiming his innocence, Dove can’t help but draw parallels between the trauma dealt to the families in both crimes.

While trying to keep her secret hidden, deal with her own family drama, and help a family that doesn’t seem to want her help, Dove must find a way to find the murderer and bring justice to the dead.

Review:

Trigger Warning: child abuse, pedophilia, suicide

Dove Carnahan is a 50 year old female police chief with only six officers under her command. The young and mostly mentioned duo are 23 years old, only two years younger than myself, so that was definitely an interesting aspect for me. Hearing someone around my age being called young and when it got boring one summer “used a magnifying glass to burn ants” was a bit weird. Firstly because I don’t feel young, and secondly because sometimes they seemed to be written younger than they were. I just really needed to get that out there.

This book really dived deep into the life of Dove’s family and the Truly family. The mystery is there, but even though Dove is the chief of police, she isn’t focused on the police procedure. She actually does more leg work than I thought a police chief would do, from all the episodes I’ve seen of Law & Order. Now, this isn’t all to say the book is not interesting, because OH, it is. There are depths to characters and no one is really a stereotypical ‘good person’ everyone has multiple sides of them and even bad or dangerous people have decent sides to them. I thought the writing and characterization was done extremely well.

I did have a problem with Dove as a character, who seemed a bit all over the place to me. Some of her actions did not make sense to me or her responses to people would blow me away with her rudeness. She is not a bad cop, but at the same time in the real world her badge would have been taken away. Her thoughts of not being the other woman while sleeping with a married man made me roll my eyes. So, not liking the main character did make this a bit aggravating to read.

All in all it was an entertaining book, a great story with an emotional ending, and gave me some food for thought.

Other Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

Appeal: 

Intricate-plot, no clear line of good and bad people, small town, police, compelling

This is for people who care more about the drama, the people, the who and the why of a crime, and don’t mind officers not following the rules. This is not for the faint of heart — not because of the violence or grisly nature of the main crime, but because of everything else going on in the book. Those who want some food for thought or a more complex read should check this one out.

“Clues for the future”

murder family for family, change your fate, what is love?, no entirely good or bad people, beauty and age is important and is difference between sexes, older protag.

Rating:

  • Quality: 4★
    A few moments I thought could have been improved
  • Popularity: 3★
    Not many reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, but pushed to the right person, it could be a great match.

Readalikes:

All the Missing GirlsThe Stranger You Seek (Keye Street #1)Walking the Perfect SquareEvery Last SecretDéjà Dead (Temperance Brennan, #1)

  • All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is psychologically thrilling with that overarching threat of danger and suspense. There is a crime both past and present that need to be solved.
  • The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams has a strong female investigator who is affected by a past personal murder that influences the current case.
  • Walking the Perfect Square by Reed Farrell Coleman features a crime in the past that needs to be solved. It becomes more complex as the story enfolds, drawing the reader in.
  • Every Last Secret by Linda Rodriguez has a small town vibe with a strong female cop with family problems.
  • Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs is another thriller involving crime which involves family members in a grisly case.

Booktalking Ideas: 

I think I would focus on the past and present parallel and how Dove is haunted by her past.

Quote from page 19: “All I want to know is why you and Neely lied and sent me to prison for something I didn’t do”
I don’t flinch. I stare him down, saying nothing, until he finally gives up and leaves.
I will never tell him that I’ve often wondered the same thing.

A police chief must solve a horrible murder of a teenage girl while trying to keep a 35 ear old secret hidden.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Sexism is still prevalent today, especially in the police force, but is it being over done in media? Does it just seem mandatory to put in for police novels?
  2. P. 41, the difference of opinion of college and jail. What are the implications of a family so against college and do you think this made Camio into an outcast of the family?
  3. This book provides us with many different examples or ways of love. What do you think Love means? Are there different levels of love? Are there different meanings in different scenarios? If so, should we have different names for those?
  4. In this time period where police are very visibly taking liberties with the law and their power, here we have a main character who at times, abuses her power as well, yet we are in the position of sympathizing and agreeing with her actions. If you saw a cop shoot a teenager’s motorcycle tires, would you think that is acceptable behavior? Do you think the passage could have been written differently or a different action could have been taken to get to same results?