Sylvie’s thriller & mystery review  

By Sylvie Chartrand

Here is a summary of some of the books I have read so far this year, ordered by when I read them, not by favourites. I mostly like mystery novels; hopefully you can find something that appeals to you. These books are available at the Ottawa Public Library.

The Last Flight

by Julie Clark (2020)

Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Julie Clark grew up reading books on the beach while everyone else surfed. After attending college at University of the Pacific, she returned home to Santa Monica to teach. Her debut novel, The Ones We Choose, was published in 2018 and has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.

The Last Flight is the story of two women, Claire and Eva, who for different reasons want to disappear. Claire has been married to Rory Cook for many years. Rory has a promising political future but what people don’t know is that he has a temper and takes it out on Claire. For months, Claire has been plotting her disappearance, but a last-minute change of plans has her looking for another solution. That is when she meets Eva at the airport. Eva also wants to flee her old life, so they decide to trade flight tickets and identities. But when Claire lands in Oakland, she hears the tragic news that her original flight to Puerto Rico has crashed. Was Eva on board? Claire’s options are limited and she has to deal with what Eva was running from. Thrilling book!

Still Here

by Amy Stuart (2020)

Amy Stuart is the number-one bestselling author of two novels, Still Mine and Still Water. Shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best First Crime Novel Award and winner of the 2011 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, Amy’s writing has previously appeared in newspapers and magazines across Canada. She lives in Toronto with her husband and their three sons.

In Still Here, Clare has run away from her abusive husband Jason and is trying to start a new life with a new name. She gets hired as a private detective but after an investigation, her partner Malcolm disappears. Detective Somers hires Clare to find him by starting in a small town named Lune Bay where Malcolm lived last. As she starts digging, she realizes there’s a lot of corruption and many secrets in that small town. Jack Westman, a rich and powerful man who owned most of the town, was killed five years earlier, then his daughter Zoe vanished. Malcolm was married to Zoe and he was the prime suspect. Young women have also disappeared. Clare doesn’t know whom to trust and is not making much headway until she starts receiving text messages from someone whom she believes is Malcolm, telling her to back off. When she finally connects the dots, her life is in danger.

The Lies You Told

by Harriet Tyce (2020)

Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University and law at City University in London before working as a criminal barrister for nearly a decade. She completed her MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. She lives in north London.

In The Lies You Told, Sadie Roper moves back to London with her 11-year-old daughter Robin because her marriage has broken down and because of stipulations in her mother’s will that Sadie can only inherit after she has moved back into the house she grew up in and has enrolled Robin in the same prestigious school that Sadie went to. But Sadie wasn’t happy at that school and it looks like history is repeating itself. Robin isn’t making any friends and Sadie isn’t being accepted by the other mothers. Things start to change when Sadie begins to work on a high-profile case and is suddenly befriended by Julia and Nicole, mothers of Pippa and Daisy who become friends with Robin. Eventually, Sadie figures out how Robin got a spot at the school – it was after a girl died under mysterious circumstances. Then Daisy, Julia’s daughter, is found unconscious in her bed. Soon after, Robin disappears. Sadie is frantic and worries that the worst has happened to her daughter. This is a great read with a twist.

If I Can’t Have You

by Charlotte Levin (2020)

Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the Northern Writers’ Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. Charlotte lives in Manchester, and If I Can’t Have You is her first novel.

This great read unfolds with Constance writing a letter to Samuel. She tells him how she sees their love story. Step by step, she tells him how she knew from the first day they met that he was the one who could change her life. She tells him about what she did and why she did it and every emotion that came along with it. The author’s writing is powerful – you will feel both sorry for Charlotte and ashamed for her, but she will leave an imprint on your heart.

Sylvie Chartrand is a public service assistant at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

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