Melody

 

Michael Joseph | 6 August 2020 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 

"We are all the same in the dark.
My mother said that to me when she kissed me good night.
She meant that in the dark, all that's left is our souls." ~ Pg 215

Julia Heaberlin really knows how to write a gripping atmospheric suspense. Not only that, her writing has a literary prose and there's an edge and depth in her characterisations that makes this thriller such an exceptional reading experience.

Told from three narratives, this is a slow burn mystery that demands the reader's attention and patience and let me just say it's all worth the wait. The reader is first introduced to Wyatt Branson, who lives alone in the desolation of his old family house. Once tried and sentenced for his sister's disappearance, he is later cleared of wrongdoing due to lack of evidence but he'll be forever associated with the case and remains a suspect in the eyes of the people in his town. His isolated life is then disturbed when he finds a girl dumped in a field of dandelions. Wyatt believes she's a sign from his missing sister, Trumanell; and the more he's some bittersweet sentiments about dandelions. He knew there's only one person whom he could tell about the girl.

And this leads the reader to the next narrative of young police officer, Odette Tucker. Odette and Wyatt have known each other for years and given different circumstances they might still be happily in love with each other but sometimes, things aren't what you expected and unfortunate incidents could tear a person and relationship apart. Odette still think of Trumanell and seeing the girl Wyatt brought to her has once again reminds her of Trumanell and the unsolved case. On top of it, she feels a bond with this girl considering of their handicap - she having lost a leg and the girl an eye. She makes it a mission to unravel the mystery surrounding the girl and why she seems to be fleeing from someone. 

Five years have passed then and Angel/Angie is thankful of Odette for her kindness and for getting a prosthetic eye through her help. In this last narrative of Angel, the reader finally get to know about her past and how the long-buried secrets of the legendary cold case would eventually unearth throughout the years. 

Julia Heaberlin is a new-to-me author and I fell in love with her writing style and her storytelling skills after reading this book. She knows how to get your attention from the beginning and her characterisations are simply outstanding, never mind if they're flawed. Despite the slow burn, there's still an edge of suspense and intensity which makes you curious and feel connected with the characters as the story progresses. Julia's writing is beautiful and poetic at times and she's defined beauty and strength at its best through the portrayal of Angel and Odette. A twisty and an extraordinary psychological thriller which would make you think long after you close the book. 
© 2020 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody
Avon Books UK | 10 December 2020 | 384 pgs
Source: NetGalley 

Amber and her husband, Nick, are preparing for a divorce and they are trying to sell their house quickly so they can move on with their lives. Amber has already found a new relationship and she's looking forward to staying with her new man once the house is sold. Amber's mother-in-law, Barb, isn't pleased with all the arrangements and thinks Amber is a mistake in Nick's life. Needless to say, Amber and Barb couldn't get along although they try to act civilly to each other. 

As much as Amber's real estate agent's efforts in putting Amber's house up for viewing and so forth, there isn't any potential buyers so he's suggested an open house to try and attract more interest. Amber grudgingly agrees seeing there isn't any choice and although she's not comfortable overseeing some strangers walking about her house, she could at least know how many of these potential buyers are going into her house through her doorbell camera app. Amber has counted thirteen people entering her house, but then only twelve leave. Thinking she must have counted or seen wrongly, she dismiss the thought until her two young sons told her they've seen a man in their house. Could it be real or did her anxiety has rubbed off onto them, thus planting this seed of doubt into their young minds? 

The Open House immediately grabbed the reader's attention with the suspense of the missing thirteenth person and whether if we should doubt Amber's belief that there's indeed an intruder in her house. The reader is also introduced to a few unreliable characters surrounding Amber's life; each of them either has an agenda or a secret to hide. There are also subplots and red herrings which are linked to the main mystery but unfortunately the ending fell flat and it was a disappointment as I thought the storyline was grabbing until each twist seems more like a shock value than a plausible outcome. Overall I liked the idea and the suspense of this story but the ending was a bit too much in my opinion. 


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Melody

HQ Digital | 7 January 2021 | 234 pgs
Source: NetGalley 

Attorney Olivia Sinclair feels blessed with her life. With her retirement drawing near, she is looking forward to spending more time with her family until someone sent her a video showing her husband, Richard, sleeping with a younger subordinate. Ironically, Olivia handles many divorce cases herself and she thought she's seen them all and would recognise any marriage in trouble. Feeling betrayed, she is ready to leave Richard but what she didn't expect is that the subordinate turns up dead later and she's being suspected for the murder. 

As Olivia races against time to try to find evidence to prove her innocence, a cold case twenty years ago is being brought up due to the similarity method of murder. Olivia has already lost her faith and trust in her husband but would he had gone so far as to commit a crime and lead the accusation to her? 

This was a fast paced read and the author has captured the setting and the characters' emotions perfectly as the story progresses. From the beginning, the reader learned that Olivia is a strong character who would never let herself go down without a fight; partly due to her profession and that she believes in equality and justice. Richard's infidelity has further fueled her fighting spirit and most importantly, she has to find out the truth, including the cold case and why there are similarities between the two murders? While the plot isn't new and it's not hard to guess the perpetrator if you read carefully, the strength of this story lies in the characters, their narratives and the fast pacing which all makes this a captivating read. At the end, the author stated that this is the first book in the Olivia Sinclair series and although I couldn't think of the direction where Olivia may take us, I suppose we shall all have to wait and see. 


© 2020 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Melody

St. Martin's Publishing Group | 27 August 2019 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 

This is the 4th installment of Vivien Chien's Noodle Shop Mystery series. In this book, the reader learned that the protagonist, Lana Lee, has already settled nicely in her role as a manager at her parents' restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House set in Cleveland, Ohio. Her relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau has blossomed and they're planning for a romantic getaway. The Asian community in their neighbourhood is organising its popular Night Market festivities in which a variety of food trucks and the likes would line up the streets for their businesses. Lana is excited to man the booth with their head chef, Peter Huang, and she's looking forward to the evening until there's an explosion. 

It turns out that a nearby food truck, Wonton on Wheels, was the one getting hit and the explosion has killed one of its proprietors and injures a few others in the nearby vicinity. There are a few speculations surrounding the accident. While some have pointed out that there's family dispute between the couple, there are others who speculated that it might be due to money matters or even an insinuation for insurance claim which has gone terribly wrong. Regardless of whichever it claims to be, the suspect falls onto the immediate family members and one of their relatives who just showed up in town. 

As Lana digs into the case, she also find herself being caught in her own family drama when her mother's sister, Aunt Grace, comes to visit. Now Lana's mother and Grace's personalities don't really click and Lana always find herself being caught in the middle. 

There seems to be a common theme in this installment (family relationship and drama) and Lana, together with a few of the regular cast, continue to be a delightful read and it was a pleasure seeing their developments as the series go. For this reason, I'd recommend reading from the first book though it isn't a must and the author managed to cover the background well so it could be read as a standalone too. All in all, it was an enjoyable read and I've to say the covers always make me crave for the food. 

© 2020 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody
Bookouture | 21 October 2020 | 326 pgs
Source: NetGalley 

It's been a year since young Abi was missing from the neighbourhood in Teddington. Ava only left her young daughter in the pushchair for five minutes to check on her phone and by the time she returned, she found the door of their house opened and Abi was nowhere to be seen. No one had seen her on that fateful day and till present, her body is never found, leaving Ava and her husband, Matt, in unresolved grief and the difficulty of not knowing. 

When their neighbour, the Lovegoods family, decided to throw a housewarming party after their renovation project, Ava doesn't want to go as she doesn't know the Lovegoods well on top of her grieving. Matt eventually managed to get her to go; plus their good friends, Bella and Neil, are invited too. And little do they know that the party would be the beginning of a catastrophe as no one would imagine a little throwaway comment could lead to distrust and suspicion among the couples. Is it really Ava's negligence that is the cause of Abi's disappearance? Or did someone know more than that but is not telling? 

I've to say The Housewarming is a combination of mystery and domestic drama more than a psychological thriller as it focus more on the dynamics between Ava and Matt, as well as their good friends, Bella and Neil. We also read about Ava's emotional behaviours and how her life has been ever since Abi went missing. It's a nightmare for every parents, and Ava's fear and anxiety was palpable throughout the book though it could be seen as slow pace and repetitive to some. The tension was then raised towards the middle as suspicion started to pile up, and this is where things started to get a bit exciting and there are moments that will make you reflect and think about how one's decision made under a circumstances might change the course of events thereafter. While the story isn't what I expected, it was an emotional-gripping book that made me feel for the characters.

© 2020 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.