“The Octopus” by Tess Little

Genre:  Murder MysteryThe Octopous
Publisher:  Hodder &Stoughton
Pub. Date:  August 20, 2020

Mini-Review

In this unusual whodunit along with eight party guests, a pet octopus is also a murder suspect.  The octopus may just be the most interesting and emphatic character.  Our long-suffering protagonist is a woman attending her ex-husbands 50th birthday party.  He is now living with his male partner. There is lots of boozing and drugging going on.  They all pass out.   When the guests wake up the birthday boy is dead. Early on, the ex-husband is outed as a nasty guy.  The author ensures that you won’t feel much sorrow about his death.  After all, what sort of person, just for the fun of it, traps and watches a living creature constantly attempting escape? This is a murder mystery. There should be tension but because there are changing timelines with no warning of the change, the tension is dulled. Although I didn’t particularly care for Little’s debut novel (she has published two short stories), it is hard to miss that she is talented. I look forward to her future work.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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“The New Husband” by D.J. Palmer

Genre:  Mystery and ThrillerThe New Husband
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date:  April 14, 2020

Mini Review

After minor hand surgery, I wanted an easy read to keep my mind off the discomfort. (Please forgive me if this review is not up to par; typing is still a challenge).  I wanted easy, but this book is, well, sophomoric.  I know many other ARC reviewers enjoyed this one, but once again, I am in the minority.  However, this time I am not completely alone. As Goodreads reviewer Meredith puts it, this book reads like a Lifetime movie.  Those were my exact thoughts on this one.  (I had already written this before reading her review). You know what I mean, with movie titles such as “Sleeping with the Devil” or “Escaping My Stalker,” etc. you know you are watching a film that will be somewhere between a weepy melodrama and a campy thriller focusing on the various ways women suffer by men who first charm them until they show their true colors.

“House” revolves around a single mom with two kids.  Her husband has been missing for two years.  His family and the police assume he is dead.  The wife lets a new man into her life.  He moves in, gets along with her teenage son, but not with her middle school-aged daughter. That is really all you need to know because, from the moment, the new husband begins keeping her from her friends, you know exactly what you’re reading. Of course, there are twists, though, in my opinion, unbelievable ones.  Like a Lifetime movie, this novel can feel like mindless entertainment to be read when you want to keep your mind off real life.  Since the novel accomplished this for me, as lame as it is, I feel obligated to give it two out of five stars.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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“My Girl” by Jack Jordan

“My Girl” by Jack Jordan

Publication Date: July 8, 2016

It seems that having the word “girl” in the title is the norm for summer books. After reading “Gone Girl” “The Girl on the Train” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, etc. it is becoming a bit old.  But this is hardly the only reason that I give a two out of five-star rating for this book.  The beginning of the story has so much potential.  The reader meets a broken down, middle-aged woman living in a fog of drug and alcohol abuse.  We learn that her teenage daughter was kidnapped and considered murdered and that years later her husband committed suicide. The author paints the perfect picture of a woman understandably on the brink of suicide.  I was hooked.  And then I wasn’t.

I knew the story-line was a mystery thriller so I was not surprised when our heroine (during her few moments of daily clarity) starts noticing strange happenings in her home. The major reason for my less than stellar rating is that the protagonist goes through so many far-fetched and often physically abusive encounters that I felt that I was reading an R rated version of “The Perils of Pauline.” In other words, there were so many shocking moments that I ceased to be shocked; I just wanted to get to the end of the book.   This is a shame because the novel starts off with a bang.  It ends in a whimper.