By Julia Gregson
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster. $25.99
Julia Gregson’s historical novels set in exotic settings have garnered readers who seek more than just a captivating story. As with her other award winning fiction, “Monsoon Summer” is about relationships tested by the tensions that often accompany the cultural and personal prejudices experienced when one leaves his or her comfort zone.
In this instance the reader will meet Kit Smallwood who travels to a maternity home in South India with Anto Thekkeden, a young doctor who has just finished his medical training at Oxford.
The fact that the couple’s families are not thrilled with the marriage and the plans Kit has to run a maternity hospital will create some serious tensions that will test the marriage, but they forge ahead with their plans for a new life in India.
A powerful tale of the comforts and frustrations of family, the nature of home and the challenges relocating to a new culture create for a person make this a fascinating read. Inspired by true accounts of European midwives who actually worked in India and set in the late 1940s when a newly independent Indian society was coping Muslim Hindu riots and a deep-rooted suspicion of the English lingered, this was also a period when life in the country was a dangerous proposition for both a native or foreigner.
Downfall: A Brady Novel of Suspense
By J.A. Jance
William Morrow. $26.99
If her personal life isn’t hectic enough there’s also the tragic death of her mother to deal with.
Joanna won’t let her private concerns get in the way of her responsibilities as the county’s top law enforcer, but with this latest adventure she’s going to find that her latest case is going to stretch her almost to the breaking point.
Two women have been found dead in her jurisdiction and although it initially appears to be murder- suicides, the facts suggest something quite different.
The women, a local minister’s wife and a microbiologist, apparently have no connection but there has to be something to link the two victims. Joanna will need to rely on other local law enforcement personnel and the Feds to help solve this strange and troubling case which is one of the more puzzling she has encountered in a while.
Those who have followed this long running series know that Joanna’s development as a character and her personal life are as important as the investigations she oversees. This latest installment will satisfy the reader on both counts. The likable sheriff must weather some demanding changes in her life as she’s called upon to oversee a very challenging and troublesome case.
By Jessica Grose
William Morrow. $25.99
When her husband, Ethan, met a woman in yoga class and then ran off with her, Dana divorced the philanderer and moved on with her life. It is two years later and the successful lawyer has “moved on” and is free of the emotional turmoil the break up caused her.
Just when she believes this sad chapter of her life is behind her, Dana opens a newspaper one day only to discover that Ethan , her ex- husband, and his “yoga strumpet” were found dead in a cave in New Mexico. Although the press speculates this is a murder-suicide and Ethan was the perpetrator, Dana isn’t so sure that’s the case.
Although she is advised to let things be by her family, the young woman’s keen legal mind refuses to let her ignore this situation. Ethan was many things but she doesn’t believe he could ever murder someone.
Heading for the southwest and the yoga resort where the crime took place, Dana launches an informal investigation into Ethan’s final months as well as their marriage and his childhood. What she discovers is surprising and a bit troubling.
Also at the center of this foray into yoga culture is John “Yoni” Brooks, a man whose hold over the enthusiasts at the center is deeper, dark and more sinister than appears at first glance.
Satirizing new-age spirituality and modern mysticism, Jessica Grose’s new thriller lampoons some cherished beliefs about the feel-good culture so many people subscribe to. You’ll get a few chuckles as you read this wickedly captivating novel of marriage, murder and meditation.
As Good As Gone
By Larry Watson
Walking away from his children after his wife’s death and a successful real estate business in Gladstone, Montana, Calvin Sidney moved into an isolated area where he lived a solitary life and found work as a cowboy.
Now it’s decades later (the 1960s) and his adult son has asked Calvin for assistance in keeping an eye on the old man’s grandchildren while their parents head off to Missoula for a medical procedure.
For a reason he can’t even fathom, the aged cowboy agrees to help, so he heads back to the town where he once lived and is still known by the older residents. Ann, the seventeen year old, and eleven-year-old Bill can pretty much watch after themselves, but Calvin will still become involved in some of their problems with bullying friends and an unwanted boyfriend.
All of this is just part of what unfolds as Calvin discovers that the “code of the cowboy”, at least as he perceives and lives it, may not be valued anymore or exist in this western outpost.
An interesting novel about a relic from the past who confronts a world where he of more of a curiosity than a respected icon, Calvin and the other characters in this engrossing novel are all flawed in one manner or another.
But it is these shortcomings that lends the story its authenticity and makes it such an interesting read.
So Say the Fallen
By Stuart Neville
Detective Chief Inspector Serena Flannigan returns to action in this sequel to “Those We Left Behind.” In this case the Belfast police officer investigates the death of the owner of a car dealership who appears to have taken his own life after being terribly injured in a car accident.
Upon close inspection of the evidence, Serena isn’t totally convinced that this is an open and closed case of suicide. Although her superiors suggest she close the case and move on to more pressing matters, the curious detective focuses on the dead man’s widow and what eventually emerges is a picture of a woman who has been hiding some damning and deadly secrets.
Stuart Neville has been recognized as one of the top creators of “Belfast noir” and thrillers like “So Say the Fallen” will only cement his reputation as one of Ireland’s brightest and best young crime writers.