Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book Reviews: "The Girl On The Train" and "Motive"

In addition to watching a lot of television of late, the cold and snow has also been conducive to reading.  Need to curl up for a few hours with a good book?  Try these....

If you check out the best seller list in the Sunday paper every week, you will have seen this novel, "The Girl On The Train", sitting at Number One for the past several weeks.

The book begins with the first person account of Rachel Watson, the girl on the train, as she rides her commuter train into London one summer morning.  Each morning Rachel's train stops along the back yards of several houses that run alongside the tracks, and Rachel fantasizes about the residents that she sees each morning in two particular houses.  Harmless daydreaming?  Maybe for most people, but not for long for Rachel.

We also soon learn that Rachel drinks. Heavily, and this creates some problems for her.  We also soon meet two of the women who live in those houses, Megan and Anna, who tell their first person stories in alternating chapters.

Also involved in the unfolding drama are husbands and ex-husbands, an infant child, a psychiatrist, a couple of police detectives, and one of the women disappears.

Sounds confusing, but once you get into the rhythm of the novel, it moves quickly, and you find yourself involved in one pretty nifty thriller.  It is reminiscent of "Gone Girl", but the characters, most of them, anyway, are much more sympathetic.  Makes you look forward to Paula Hawkins' next book.

Marilyn and I both read this one, and we both recommend it highly.


Every winter also brings about the publication of a new Jonathan Kellerman novel featuring his signature character, Dr. Alex Delaware, a psychiatrist who serves as a consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department, working hand in hand with homicide detective Lt Milo Sturgis.

Like a lot of series, the Delaware stories may have slipped into "formula", but so what?  They are always tense, and they are extremely well written.  Kellerman can write dialogue better than just about any other author in this field.

"Motive" begins with Milo stumped by a particularly brutal killing of a young woman in LA.  There are few leads, and the ones that there are end up going nowhere. This is a case that seems destined for the cold case file as  "unsolved".

A few weeks later, Milo is called out on another homicide, seemingly unrelated, but there is one disturbing similarity to the one that stumped him a few weeks earlier.  Is there a serial killer on the loose?  Milo calls in Alex for assistance, and the fun - for the reader, anyway - begins.

As I say, it is always fun to read the latest adventures from a favorite author about characters that you have come to know over the years, and in "Motive", Kellerman and Delaware have come up with another good story for their fans.

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