Monday, October 13, 2014

The Nightstand Diaries #2: Halloween Edition

It is OCTOBER y'all! Where in the world did the time go? I have already succumbed to the deliciousness that is pumpkin. I have bought every one of Trader Joe's new pumpkin products, so it's safe to say that I am in pumpkin heaven. But with pumpkins, comes thoughts of Halloween. And when I think Halloween, my first thought is not candy. Instead, I dream of mysteries and scary stories. I've gone through THREE of them in the last month. So, I thought I'd dedicate this entry of the Nightstand Diaries to some of my favorite mysteries and/or creepy stories.

I know that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is all the rage right now. I've read it. Loved it. BUT. Read Sharp Objects if you have not done so. Creepy does not begin to cover it. The premise is that Camille, the narrator and a journalist, returns to her hometown to cover the story of a missing young girl. This is not a "fun" book, by any means, but it is gripping. From the get-go it is revealed that Camille struggles with her own demons. Flynn explores the causes of Camille's mental illness and the illnesses of those within the case she is working so hard to solve. If you want to be disturbed, this is your book.

I've read all of Gillian Flynn's books and wanted to read more books that were equally as twisty and turny. I found several websites that recommended reading books by Tana French. Many call her the Irish version of our own Flynn. Tana French's first book, In the Woods, had me hooked from the first page. One afternoon in 1984, three children do not return home from playing in the woods. When the police arrive, they find one child gripping a tree with blood filled sneakers and two missing bodies. Fast forward twenty years and we meet the found boy, Rob Ryan, a detective for the Dublin Murder Squad. When he and his partner, Cassie, are called to the scene of a twelve-year-old girl murdered in the same woods where Ryan was found, they must uncover the truth of the mystery at hand as well as confront the ghosts from Ryan's past. I literally could not put this book down. I have also read French's second novel, The Likeness, which is just as amazing, but is told from Cassie's point of view. French currently has five books out, each one following the story of a different Murder Squad detective.

One of my favorite mysteries that I've read is Social Crimes by Jane Stanton Hitchcock. I haven't read this book in years, but it sticks out to me whenever I think of books that are FULL of surprises and had me addicted from the start. Additionally, everyone that I have recommended this book to has loved it. If you love New York, socialites, and intrigue, then you will love this book. Jo Slater, a New York socialite and patron of the arts, is knocked down the social ladder after she befriends a mysterious French Countess, who is new to the city. In an effort to regain her fortune and place in New York society, Jo uses her knowledge of one of the most historical swindles of all time - a true story involving Marie Antoinette. This book is clever, savvy, and fun. Trust me. You will not be disappointed. If you love it, be sure to check out the follow-up, One Dangerous Lady.

Over summer vacation, I was craving books that would allow me to travel to far away places without actually going there (yet). This led me to buy Book Lust to Go, which gives great book recommendations based on geographical location. What I found, was a wonderful mystery series written by Dorothy Gilman The Mrs. Pollifax series contains 14 books. The first one was written in 1966 and the last one was written in 2000. The first book, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, follows Emily Pollifax, a retired widow who is tired of attending garden club meetings. Naturally, she decides to become a CIA agent to give her life some excitement. Her first assignment takes her to Mexico City where her simple job goes terribly wrong. Mrs. Pollifax is quite delightful and very entertaining. I have ordered several of the other books in the series and can't wait to read them. Mrs. Pollifax's dangerous escapades take her around the glove to Turkey, China, Sicily, Morocco, and more, so if you like learning about history and new places, these books are excellent.

I LOOOOVE being from the South. And I love mysteries. So the combination of a good southern mystery makes me want to grab a glass of sweet tea and stretch out on the front porch. I just finished reading Bones of a Feather by Carolyn Haines. These Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries are smart and funny. Between Sarah, her beloved hound dog Sweetie Pie, and friendly ghost Jitty, this series has me hooked. I might have even gone to the used book store this morning and bought most of the series (for under $15!!!). If you love a little laughter and southern drawl with your mysteries, this series is a must.

Hope you have a spooktacular October!

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