A novel that combines romance and suspense in an unexpected but credible way.

A SERIES OF EVENTS

In Crapo’s debut novel, two therapists fall for each other in Paris and meet with hostility—and maybe something more sinister—after they return home.

Romantic sparks fly when the male psychologist Carson Arrowsmith and the female psychiatrist Morgan Alar meet through friends in Paris. They continue their affair after they return to the U.S., but seemingly random developments impede it: a psychologist named Gloria’s near-fanatical envy of Carson’s relationship with Morgan; the sudden appearance of an old friend of Morgan’s long-missing father; and a strange man who makes an evening appointment with Morgan and asks personal questions instead of answering them. These events spiral into violence that endangers the couple in a story that, despite its mystery/thriller elements, works best as a romance. Crapo defines the main characters convincingly and treats their professions realistically, if sometimes with tongue in cheek; the couple psychoanalyzes everything and diagnoses Gloria’s meddling personality before Morgan decides, “I don’t like her.” Their relationship unfolds naturally and believably, particularly in a scene of buoyant anticipation, when Carson patiently waits for Morgan at a cafe, though she’s nearly 30 minutes late. They refer often to their Paris liaison, even in the name of their practice. If the story’s antagonistic forces arrive at a crawl, the measured pace remains effective. Tensions rise as Morgan’s history emerges, and Omar, her father’s former acquaintance, turns out to have a link both to the bizarre patient who made an appointment with her and to a man who’s a stranger to both doctors—“Mister X.” The more romantic interludes give way to Morgan’s making the “rounds,” ensuring each night that the house is secure and the alarm is set. But the relationship keeps its feet planted in the foreground, and the story becomes one of a couple struggling to maintain harmony. The ending, for a romance, is atypical, but it succeeds and rounds out a solid book.

A novel that combines romance and suspense in an unexpected but credible way.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-1466245242

Page Count: 366

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2012

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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