Posts Tagged ‘straightforward language’

Murder in the Sentier

July 30, 2012

Author: Cara Black

Title: Murder in the Sentier

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 325

Geographical Setting: Paris, France

Time Period: 1994

Series (If applicable): Aimee Leduc Investigations (3)

Plot Summary:

Book three in the Aimee Leduc series begins with a recently released prisoner contacting Aimee claiming to have information on her long lost mother.   When her informant winds up dead Aimee finds herself investigating two recent murders alongside burglaries and a kidnapping committed by a radical group in the 1970s.  Tech savvy Aimee also needs to keep up with her day job at Leduc Investigations.  A full cast of quirky characters, including an albino fashion designer, her business partner Renee, government rebels, and a handsome financial advisor, make for an intriguing story that always has something going on. Told from a couple different viewpoints Black’s work has well crafted, yet flawed characters.  With two mysteries converging together, and a vivid description of Paris (and not always the pretty side of Paris), this novel is compelling and suspenseful.

Subject Headings:

Computers, Families of missing persons, Leduc, Aimee, Murder, Murder investigation, Terrorists, Women Detectives


Character-driven, strong sense of place, suspenseful, compelling, flawed characters, engrossing, atmospheric, bittersweet, intriguing characters, series characters, quirky characters, action-oriented, flashbacks, investigative, detailed setting, straightforward language

3 terms that best describe this book:

Strong sense of place, action-oriented, intriguing characters

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century by Tony Judt

Through the lives of three of France’s well known intellectuals of the 20th century, this work discusses politics and moral responsibility.  For those may want to know more about the political motivations behind the radicals featured in Black’s work.

Paris: The Secret History by Andrew Hussey

This book provides a look at Paris’s history, through the lives of Parisians.  This work looks at the well known and beautiful as well as the underworld and gritty.  This work allows readers to see more of Paris than the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame and takes the reader to places like the Sentier.

Metro Stop Paris: An Underground History of the City of Light by Gregor Dallas

The history of Paris told through twelve metro stops, allowing reader to see a more well rounded version of Paris through vignettes. Like Black’s work it does not always focus on the romanticized version of Paris.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George

Part of the Thomas Lynley mystery series this book features detective Sergeant Barbara Havers.  Havers, known for her abrasive personality, is partnered with Lynley, who she doesn’t particularly care for, on an investigation involving the murder of a man by his daughter.  This work, set in England, has a strong sense of place and features of woman investigator.

In the Woods by Tana French

The first book in the Dublin Murder Squad series features detective Rob Ryan.  Ryan is investigating a murder that is eerily similar to one he witnessed as a child.  A compelling mystery with a strong sense of place, it also features an investigator who, like Aimee Leduc, is looking into a mystery involving his own past.

Rough Trade by Dominique Manotti

The first book in the Inspector Daquin series involves the investigation into the death of a Thai girl, at a Parisian fashion workshop.  An action packed gritty mystery, with a strong sense of place in Paris, mainly the Sentier.

Name: Lisa Anne Fisherkeller Barefield

His Wicked Sins

October 24, 2011

Author: Eve Silver

Title: His Wicked Sins

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 343

Geographical Setting: Yorkshire and London, England

Time Period: 19th century

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  When Elizabeth Canham accepts a teaching position at Burndale Academy in Yorkshire, in order to help out her impoverished family, she does not realize the kind of danger she will face.  A serial killer stalks the school, seeking women with curly blonde hair that he can bury alive, scalp, and eventually kill.  Two teachers before Beth have died and a third girl, a maid, is missing.  All seem to be connected to Griffin Fairfax, a charming widower with a reclusive child who Beth befriends.  As Beth gets pulled into Griffin’s seductive ways, and battles claustrophobia and a fear of the dark from a traumatic childhood experience, she begins to feel as though she is being watched.  Her survival, ultimately, depends on whether or not she can trust Griffin Fairfax to not be the man she fears seeks to kill her.

Subject Headings: Serial killers, Yorkshire, England, London, England, boarding school, claustrophobia, childhood trauma, romance

 Appeal: Seductive, atmospheric, fast-paced, romantic, suspenseful, sweet, familiar characters, multiple points of view, cinematic, plot twists, racy, sexually explicit, small-town, straightforward language

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Seductive, atmospheric, romantic

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper by Maxim Jakubowski

This title includes essays about 19th century London serial killer Jack the Ripper and speculations on his real identity.  Each essay is written by a different expert with a different point of view on this hundred year old mystery.

Educating Women: Schooling and Identity in England and France, 1800-1867 by Christina de Bellaique

This scholarly volume discusses the education of girls in boarding schools in both England and France during the early 1800s, and the female school teachers who taught them.

Too Scared to Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood by Lenore Terr

This title discusses childhood trauma and how it affects the children who experience it.  The author discusses this in the context of a 1976 abduction of a group of children and her work with them as they continued to heal from the experience.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This classic novel tells the story of a young orphan girl as she becomes a governess, falls in love with her brooding, villainous employer, and discovers the secrets that exist in her new home.  Fans of His Wicked Sins may enjoy it due to the similarities between Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Canham and their love interests despite Bronte’s more literary style of writing.

Rules of Surrender by Christina Dodd

This historical romance features a governess who is hired by a woman who wants instruction for her grandchildren and training in manners for her son.  As expected, however, the son, Wynter Ruskin, has other ulterior motives for the governess.  Suggested for those who enjoy historical romances about teachers or governesses and their somewhat dangerous lovers.

A Kiss to Die For by Claudia Dain

This historical romance novel takes place in the American West and features a bounty hunter, Jack Scullard, on the trail of a serial killer targeting young women.  Anne Ross, a woman he meets while on the trail, disdains the idea of ever getting married even though she is being courted by the man that Jack believes to be his strongest suspect.  Suggested for those who enjoy romances where the female lead is being stalked by a serial killer.

Name: Christi H.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

October 12, 2011

Author: Jeff Lindsay

Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 288

Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): Dexter series

Plot Summary:  Dexter Morgan moonlights as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami police department, as a dear brother, and as a devoted boyfriend.  In real life, Dexter devotes himself to researching, stalking and dismembering his prey.  As a psychopathic serial killer, Dexter may seem inevitably a not-so-nice guy, except for one small thing: he limits his prey to other psychopathic serial killers.  This devotion is not based so much on some twisted vigilante morality, but rather on a respect for his deceased, police officer, foster father, Harry, who taught him to be careful and to never kill the innocent.  His resolve is tested, however, when a new serial killer comes on the scene with a mode of operation not unlike Dexter’s, tantalizing him and tempting him into playing the game with much more innocent victims.  Dexter details his dashing deceit, dark dreams, and deadly demons with a sarcastic wit and a humorous tone despite his obvious character flaws.

Subject Headings: Serial killers, psychopaths, forensic analysis, Miami, blood spatter analysis, prostitution, dismemberment

Appeal: Disturbing, darkly humorous, compelling, sarcastic tone, complex characters, chilling, psychological, suspenseful, series characters, flawed characters, explicitly violent, urban, straightforward language, witty

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Disturbing, darkly humorous, compelling

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Blood Secrets: a Forensic Expert Reveals How Blood Spatter Tells the Crime Scene’s Story by Ron Englert

This book details the true science of blood spatter analysis, Dexter’s day job.   Englert looks at real cases and shows how scientific analysis of the way blood behaves can provide information about how a person died.

I: The Creation of a Serial Killer by Jack Olsen

Jack Olsen allows serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson, or the “Happy Face Killer,” to tell his own story in this book which details his early childhood and his murders, similarly to how Dexter tells his own story.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

This account discusses real life psychopathy, the condition Dexter claims to compel him to kill.  It discusses the implications of psychopaths being more prevalent than realized, and the damage they can wreak, not only in the sense that some are serial killers, but also as those in positions of political, corporate, or religious power.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey

The first in a series of novels about serial killer Serge Storms, operating in Florida with a group of murderous friends.  The series has a darkly humorous tone, similar to the Dexter series.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

This psychological suspense novel begins a series about Tom Ripley, a con man and a murderer, who uses his resourcefulness to evade the law, similarly to Dexter.  Also a novel with a darkly humorous tone.

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

This novel tells the story of a woman suspected of murder, held in a psychiatric hospital, as she tells the story of how she became part of a covert organization dedicated to killing “irredeemables” with weapons designed to look like death of natural causes.  Employs a darkly humorous tone, similar to the Dexter series, and also features a protagonist who believes in killing those deemed not deserving of life.

Name: Christi H.