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Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Ghost of Hollow House, Thin Air, and The Night Before

I requested The Ghost of Hollow House from NetGalley, then realized it was the fourth in a series.  I read a little of the first chapter, and decided to go back and read the previous books before reading this most recent in the series.

This is the quote from The Ghost of Hollow House that was in the first few pages and convinced me to put it aside and read the earlier books:

"Mrs. Honeyacre, the second of that name, was the former Miss Kitty Betts, aged thirty but admitting to twenty-five.  She had once enjoyed a glittering careeron the popular stage as Princes Kirabampu the oriental contortionist, but had been looking for something a little more permanent.  Although Kitty lacked great beauty, she more than compensated for this with her cheerful and engaging personality, coquettish charm and a remarkably supple spine."

That quote amused me, perhaps more than reasonably, and I expected the earlier books to have much the same humor. In that I was a little disappointed, but I did fall in love with Mina Scarletti, who never lets her disability determine her life.   The influence of spiritualism provided another reason to continue the series.  

Known as a skeptic, Mina is invited to Hollow House to determine whether or not the house is haunted.  Accompanied by Nell and Dr. Hamid, Mina sets out to discover what is causing the disturbances in the Honeyacre home.  Complications:  her incorrigible brother Richard shows up, Nell's husband has a detective spying on her, a flood that cuts off the road into Hollow House, and the arrival of a character from a past investigation.

Having saved The Ghost of Hollow House until last, I am now caught up with the series.

NetGalley/Sapere Books
Historical Mystery/Spiritualism.  May 24, 2019.  Print length:  320 pages.

Thin Air by Lisa Gray has an intriguing premise: a message about investigating a missing child leads PI Jessica Shaw on an investigation that is intensely personal.

from description:  Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.

Shifting points of view keep the reader adding information a little at a time.

Thin Air was an Amazon Prime First Read book.  The author has a second book planned, and I'd be interested in seeing what happens next in Jessica's life.  I had a few problems with Jessica's character, but the mystery kept my interest.  I'm curious to see what I think of Jessica and of the writing in the next book.  

Mystery/Private Detective.  June 1, 2019.  Print length:  288 pages.

The Night Before by Wendy Walker is certainly a page turner, although at times I would put it down in pure frustration with Laura Lochner.

from description:  Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control. 

Definitely twisty and told from two points of view--Laura's and her sister Rosie's--also partly through excerpts from Laura's conversations with her therapist.  

Events in the past have influenced Laura's life in ways that prevent her from interacting in a healthy manner, especially where men are concerned.

A lot of folks are going to love this one, but Laura's behavior was frustrating and her running conversations with herself became tiresome, slowing down the action.

The Night Before has an intriguing premise, but felt a bit too contrived.  It isn't that the book didn't hold my interest; I definitely wanted to find out what actually happened, but Laura's self-destructive behavior annoyed me.

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Psychological.  May 14, 2019.  Print length:  320 pages.


  1. All the books sound interesting; and I'm really curious with "The Night Before" after all the buzz about this book.

    1. The Night Before is certainly an intense story--I wish I hadn't found Laura so irritating.

  2. I picked up THIN AIR in the Amazon First Read thing and am looking forward to reading it. And I also want to read THE NIGHT BEFORE. I've enjoyed at least one other book by Wendy Walker. Will keep in mind about the annoying stuff regarding the main character. I find that sometimes things irritate me and then in other books, similar issues don't bother me as much. Who knows why? LOL

    1. Sometimes it is just the mood we are in when we read the book. I liked the premise and the plot in The Night Before, but still wasn't ready for Laura's self-destructive behavior. That said, most reviews are stellar. :)

  3. Mina Scarletti does sound like a great character. And I like that time period when everyone got caught up in spiritualism and seances. It makes for a great setting. :)

    1. The time and place for Mina's stories are interesting, especially since the author includes loves the period and all of its oddities.

  4. Isn't it funny how a character's self-destructive behavior can be such a turn off - even to the degree of ruining the whole book for a person. That's exactly what happened for me with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Critics raved about that book but all I could think about was the drug culture lifestyle so wholeheartedly embraced by the main character and his friend. Couldn't wait to finish it, and it was a struggle from about the midpoint onward.

    1. I didn't read The Goldfinch, but had the same problem with characters in The Secret History, which was also one of those books that fascinate and repel at the same time.

  5. Oh I love hearing about new mysteries books. I am reading a Wendy Walker book right now and I'm finding the main character a bit frustrating too but I want to know what happened!

    1. That's the catch, isn't it? We still have to find out what happened and how it happened!