Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

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source: purchased
title: Dolores Claiborne
author: Stephen King
pages: 305
genre: psychological thriller
published: November 1992
first line: What did you ask, Andy Bisette?
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
“Everything I did, I did for love…”

When Vera Donovan, one of the wealthiest and most ill-natured residents of Maine’s Little Tall Island, dies suddenly in her home, suspicion is immediately cast on her housekeeper and caretaker, Dolores Claiborne. Dolores herself is no stranger to such mistrust, thanks to the local chatter and mysterious circumstances surrounding her abusive husband’s death twenty-nine years earlier. But if this is truly to be the day of Dolores Claiborne’s reckoning, she has a few things of her own that she’d like to get off her chest…and begins to confess a spirited, intimate, and harrowing tale of the darkest secrest hidden within her hardscrabble existence, revealing above all one woman’s unwavering determination to weather the storm of her life with grace and protect the one she loves, no matter what the cost….

my thoughts:

I found my copy of Dolores Claiborne at a local used book and record shop while I was out Christmas shopping last year. I figured it was time to read this one, I saw the film version many years ago.

As the book starts off, Dolores is a 65 year old widow from Maine who is suspected of killing her employer, a woman named Vera Donovan. Vera was a rich and miserable widow and tough on her staff. She would fire people for any minor thing like stopping to chat. Dolores worked as her live in housekeeper for decades. Towards the end of her life Vera had dementia and Dolores especially struggled to care for her because of Vera’s sadistic mean streak.

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

thenshesource: personal copy
title: Then She Was Gone
author:Lisa Jewell
genre: crime thriller/mystery
published: April 17th 2018
pages: 359
first line: Laurel let herself into her daughter’s flat.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

my thoughts:
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is my first read of 2020. I happily kicked off my new reading year with a great crime thriller. This is my first foray into this author’s work and it won’t be my last.

The book centers around Laurel Mack whose daughter Ellie disappeared ten years ago. Since then Laurel’s marriage has ended, her other two children have moved out and she lives in a small apartment alone and works part time. When a few more clues are found concerning the case, Laurel finally tries to move on with her life. She meets a single dad named Floyd. He lives with his daughter Poppy.

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn was amazing

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title: Dark Places
author: Gillian Flynn
pages: 349
genre: crime thriller/mystery/suspense
published: 2009
first line:  I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.
rated: 5 out of 5!
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Blurb:
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben.

Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

my thoughts:
Sometimes you finish reading a book and you just don’t know what to do with yourself. That was how I felt after reading Dark Places.

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First of all, I breezed through the 349 pages in about one week which is alot of reading for me because I tend to take about two weeks to finish a book. Between work and everything else, there are days I can’t read a single page but Dark Places had me hooked. This is the kind of book that invades your sleep. I was up late the one Friday night reading “just one more chapter” before I finished it up Saturday morning over coffee and toast.
I dove into this one right after I finished Sharp Objects which was amazing as well.

Look at these first lines…

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp it.”

-p. 1, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

And then the story takes right off and twists and turns and doesn’t stop until the very end. I was left speechless and breathless during much of it. I thought about it long after I turned the final page.

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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source: purchased
title: Sharp Objects
author: Gillian Flynn
genre: mystery thriller/ psychological thriller
pages: 396
published: 2006
first line: My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

my thoughts:
I finally read Gillian Flynn. This book had exactly what I look for in a crime thriller; mystery, suspense and grittiness with a few shocking scenes thrown in for good measure.

I don’t even really know where to begin because I enjoyed this book so much and I wanted to make sure I got my thoughts on it posted before I forget the good parts.

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This was a multilayered novel about a woman with psychological issues who is facing past demons and revisiting her estranged family while trying to solve a murder mystery.  This was a tough, gritty read and it was executed perfectly by the author. I read half mesmerized and half in shock most of the time.

As the book starts off Camille Preaker is a reporter with a troubled past who begrudgingly goes back to her hometown in Missouri to get interviews from the locals about two missing girls, one of whom’s body has already been found. Camille lives in Chicago now and does not keep in touch with her family back home.

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Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

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source: review copy courtesy of Meryl Moss Media
title: Sister of Mine
author: Laurie Petrou/ Twitter
pages: 294
genre: psychological thriller
first line: She breaks into a run as soon as she clears the flames.
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
For fans of Sarah Pinborough and Liane Moriarty comes a taut domestic suspense about the lies we tell to hold our lives together.

Sisters, like secrets, are best kept close.

Penny and Hattie, orphaned sisters in a small town, are best friends, bound together to the point of knots. But Penny, at the mercy of her brutal husband, is desperate for a fresh start. Willing to do anything for her older sister, Hattie agrees to help. A match is struck and a fire burns Penny’s marriage to the ground. With her husband gone, Penny is free, and the sisters, it seems, get away with murder. But freedom comes at a cost.

More than a year after the fire, a charming young man comes to town. Hattie and Penny quickly bring him into the fold and into their hearts but their love for him threatens the delicate balance. Soon long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid boil over, and the bonds of sisterhood begin to snap. As one little lie grows into the next, the sisters’ secrets will unravel, eroding their lives until only a single, horrible truth remains: You owe me.

A compelling novel of suspense from a talented new voice, Sister of Mine asks us to consider the bonds of family, what it takes to commit the unthinkable, and how far you’ll go to protect the ones you love.

my thoughts:

Sister of Mine is a multi layered novel about two sisters, Penny and Hattie, who are tied together by a dark secret. This secret rips them apart as the years go by because of resentments, lies, cover-ups and bad memories.

As the story opens, their mother who raised them died in an accident at home while Penny was away at college. Giving up her dreams of finishing school, Penelope comes back home after the death of her mother to take care of her younger sister Hattie. She gets a steady job and marries a local man who turns out to be an abuser. Terrified of her husband and what he is capable of Penny sees only one way to escape him. When her husband is found dead in a house fire, the two sisters just want to get on with their lives and leave his memory behind.

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