Audio Books
Vacuum in the Dark
By Jen Beagin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Vacuum in the Dark by Jen BeaginVacuum in the Dark is the new novel by Jen Beagin, and is a sequel to her acclaimed Pretend I'm Dead published in 2018. The lead character is Mona, in her mid-twenties. Mona cleans people's houses and that lets her see their lives and learn their secrets. This novel does not explicitly rely on its predecessor, and we learn about Mona's past life as the story proceeds. It's an episodic novel that doesn't have a strong narrative arc. Mona is funny but she also has a troubled history, and she has an unconventional life. She is also unhappy, even suicidal, but she leads a frantic li
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The Boy at the Keyhole
By Stephen Giles
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 30th 2019.
The Boy at the Keyhole is a psychological mystery about a nine-year-old boy and the housekeeper who is looking after him. Set in the UK in the past, maybe the 1950s, it presents a rather bleak picture of Samuel's life as he pines for his missing mother. She has gone away, and she left in the middle of the night, so he didn't have a chance to say goodbye to her. He has been on his own being taken care of by Ruth, and he is very unhappy because he misses his mother. He looks for clues about where she is. Ruth tells him that she has gone to America for business, but he is suspicious. He gets
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The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles

Still in Love
A Novel
By Michael Downing
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 16th 2019.
Still in Love by Michael DowningDespite its title, there is remarkably little romance in this academic novel. It is written in the third person, from the point of view of Mark Sternum, who teaches at a New England college. His one class is a small seminar in creative writing, and he doesn't even teach that on his own. His co-teacher is "the Professor," whose identity is only revealed late in the game. The book starts at the beginning of the semester, and follows it through. There are many threads in the plot, both in Mark's own life and in his following the progress of his seminar students. His boyfriend has gone off to Ital
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Marlena
A Novel
By Julie Buntin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Mar 26th 2019.
This is a story of high school, of teen friendship and family problems. But it is not a YA novel, being darker than that. The writing is more self-conscious and literary than most YA novels too. Cat is 15 years old when she moves to small town Michigan, and she makes friends with Marlena, who is a little older and more messed up. We know from early on that Marlena will die and that Cat will move to New York and have a successful career but she will also have many difficult times. Cat narrates the story from the perspective of many years later, but also recounting the events as if they are in t
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Marlena by Julie Buntin

Asymmetry
By Lisa Halliday
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Mar 5th 2019.
Asymmetry by Lisa HallidayThere are two main stories in this work. The first is called "Folly." Alice is in her twenties, working at a publisher in Manhattan, when she starts an affair with a famous novelist near the end of his career, hoping to get a Nobel Prize before he dies. The relationship happens without fanfare and apparently without thought on her part. Alice seems blank and if not naïve, then certainly lacking in sophistication. She does her job and she sees the novelist. He is affectionate to her and she seems to enjoy being with him, but there are no emotional depths examined. She provides a foil for h
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Oh My Goth
By Gena Showalter
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 19th 2019.
Gena Showalter is a prolific author of romance, fantasy and young adult novels, who has published more than 25 books in the last 17 years. Her latest publication is The Darkest Captive: Lords of The Underworld. Oh My Goth was first published by MTV Books in 2006. It has now been revised by the author and republished by Harlequin Teen, released in multiple formats, including an 8.5 hour audiobook version performed by Katie Koster. Strangely, even though originally released by a publisher associated with MTV, Oh My Goth has no reference to Goth music -- no Cure, no Sist
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Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter

The Witch Elm
Tana French
By Tana French
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 5th 2019.
The Witch Elm by Tana FrenchThe Witch Elm won high praise in 2018 from critics, but was received less warmly by fans of Tana French's previous crime novels. It's a long book at over 500 pages, with the audiobook version at over 22 hours. Toby, a young Irishman, narrates his horrific story with its multiple twists and turns, leading to a particularly dark ending. There is a crime at the center for the story, but it does not fit neatly into the category of crime novel. It's both psychological and ethical, exploring Toby's fragile self-understanding and constantly prodding the reader to assess Toby's moral character. T
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The Summer Children
By Dot Hutchison
Review by Christian Perring on Thu, Dec 20th 2018.
This is a lightweight crime novel with a serious theme. Detective Mercedes Ramirez works for the FBI unit in Quantico Virginia that deals in crimes against children. She lives with her girlfriend: the two women come home one night to find a child covered in blood on their front porch. The young boy says that an angel killed his abusive parents. It turns out that this is just the first episode in a series of murders of adults who have been suspected of child abuse who managed to keep hold of the children in their charge. This vigilante murderer always sends the children to Mercedes, showing som
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The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison

 
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