I read #2 in this series, A Beautiful Foolish Endeavor, before #1. That’s not usually a good
idea, but in this case, it may have helped. On one side, I knew and appreciated
the characters better. On the other side, I already knew how the story would
I probably didn’t judge April May as harshly as I might have
if I read this book first. She’s quirky, self-centered, and addicted to fame.
She’s young and foolish, makes stupid mistakes, and mistreats her friends. But
overall, I found her amusing, believable, and somewhat likable. April May
believes in humans, and she believes the alien Carl is good, not threatening.
Her goal is to convince the world of both. But she gets sidetracked trying to please
her huge social media following and stay in the spotlight.
I liked the book, but #2 was better. If I’d read #1 first, I
would have been irritated by the ending, which leaves you hanging. The two
books are obviously one story. The fact is, I enjoyed this book even knowing
the plot in advance.
In addition to her great characterization, Fox gives us a crocodile-filled picture of the setting in Queensland, Australia, a complex and twisty plot (a locked room mystery), emotions (head, heart, and humor), plus coverage of some themes such as wrongful crime accusations, bad police behavior, parenting, truthfulness (or not), and more.
When I read several books in a series, sometimes the main
characters begin to lose their attraction for me. Not so with Candice Fox’s
Crystal Lake series. PI partners Ted Conkaffey and Amanda
Pharrell, both with dark pasts and quirky personalities
(especially Amanda), continue to fascinate. Fox’s coverage of all her
characters—villains, suspects, police, extras, etc.—is thorough and
Gone by Midnight is my favorite in the series. Looking for #4.
There is something about a good British police procedural
that captures my imagination. Lodge gives a step-by-step description of the
police unraveling the clues to find the killer of a young woman, Zoe. The crime
looks like a suicide, but Zoe’s boyfriend is watching via Skype when someone creeps
into her apartment and her bathroom. He anonymously reports it to the police.
The author follows the four policemen on the case and
several of the victim’s friends, who are all suspects, giving us insights into
all the characters and their relationships with the crime and the victim. She
also goes back in time for the story of Zoe’s time leading up to her murder.
The writing style is methodical and detailed but holds your
attention from beginning to end. I had a vague idea of who killed Zoe before
the reveal at the end.
Good writing, good plot, good characters.
Krueger transports us to a different time and place in this
saga of four orphan children traveling the rivers of the Midwest in 1932, the
middle of the Great Depression. They have escaped a cruel Native American
training school where Odie and his brother Albert were the only white children.
Their river “family” includes Emmy, a young girl whose mother was killed in a
tornado, and Mose, a Sioux who speaks only sign language. They meet helpful and
dangerous people as they travel the river, trying to stay ahead of the owners
of the school and the law.
Excellent writing with interesting characters, good story,
and settings that make you feel you are there. Written from the point of view
of an old man telling the story of his adventures as a twelve-year-old, young, naïve
boy, Odie sometimes seems too wise for his age.