Tag Archives: Crime

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Synopsis: A brainy high school senior narrates the events that led to the death of her charismatic and disturbed teacher. Review: I stayed up until 1:30 am last night blazing through the last 200 pages of the book, in a state of amazement (and not a little jealousy) over the superb plotting Pessl married to her delicious prose and intriguing characters. Share on Facebook

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The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Synopsis: Aimless Tom Ripley has been dispatched to Italy to bring feckless playboy Dickie Greenleaf home, but when Dickie rejects Tom’s friendship, Tom chooses a darker course. Review: I have read and enjoyed several books by Highsmith, but stayed away from the Ripley books because in the crime and mystery genres, I tend not to like the recurring character, like Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford, to give another example from an author I admire, and when I heard about Ripley, I assumed the same. I learned…

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Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Synopsis: When a dead baby is discovered in an Amish barn, a Plain girl finds herself on trial for murder. She says she can’t remember… then all she wants to do is confess. But is she actually guilty–and of what? Review: This is the book I was referring to yesterday when I said I was reading a salty book with no umami. The main reason I don’t like courtroom books is that they’re so formulaic. No matter how intriguing the setup or tantalizing the scenario,…

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A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine

Synopsis: When a true-crime writer comes to Faith Severn asking for corroboration of the details he’s unearthed about her murderess aunt, Faith’s reminiscences build a very different portrait of the family that has been both dear and alien to her over the years, casting new light on very old secrets. Review: I have read several books by Barbara Vine and her alter ego Ruth Rendell, and this is by far my favorite. She excels at characterization; none of her creations can be neatly encapsulated by…

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