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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

February Buddy Reads

Each month my sister, Donna, and I each pick a book to read at the same time so we can talk about what we read. Our tastes are somewhat similar and tend toward historical fiction and mysteries/thrillers. However, we do try to mix it up every once in a while. The two books we read in February are Find You First, a thriller by Linwood Barclay and The Sun Down Motel, a horror story by Simone St. James.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Genre: Horror / Mystery

Published February 2020, 327 pages

Donna and I agreed that this book is a strong mystery. It has a spritz of ghostly appearances, some murders, and plenty of creepy dark nights that made this a quick and entertaining read. The horror is more about the gritty, grungy vibe and ghosts than about scary.

We've all seen motels like the one described - so run down you wonder how they're still in business. It's definitely the perfect setting for ghostly visions out for revenge to settle a score.

The technique of 2 timelines worked well - one with Viv as a teenager trying to put together enough information and clues to catch a serial killer and one 35 years later with Carly as a 20 year old trying to find her Aunt Viv (first timeline). Both women have a fascination with murder and thrillers and true crime.

“The books I read were the dark kind—about scary things like disappearances and murders, especially the true ones. While other kids read J. K. Rowling, I read Stephen King. While other kids did history reports about the Civil War, I read about Lizzie Borden.”

So when Carly goes to the town where her Aunt Viv disappeared, she makes many of the same discoveries and leads her to also hunt for the serial killer. Plenty of clues, a few misdirections and a very good resolution. Definitely recommended.

Find You First by Linwood Barclay

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published May 2021, 438 pages

Donna and I both have read many Barclay books and usually enjoy them; he writes a good thriller. Donna gave this a strong 4 and enjoyed the book a bit more than me.....3.5 stars from me.

As usual with Barclay, the pace is fast and the twists come fast and furious. Short chapters with lots going on really helps keep your attention. The story centers around a very wealthy man, Miles, who discovers he has a genetic disease and he's worried he's passed it on to his children - all conceived from his sperm donation years ago. He decides he has to track them down and inform them of his disease AND, oh bye the way, I'm your bio dad! Miles is a strong character, a good guy trying to do what he thinks is the right thing (though kind of a weird thing!).

The first one he connects with, Chloe, is a great character - snarky and clever and doesn't take any crap. She agrees to help him find the others but ...... they start going missing and here's where the story loses it a bit for me. It's action filled, but too many characters, too many points of view, criss-crossing characters that make an appearance for a couple of paragraphs, then disappear for several chapters. How am I supposed to remember who that is???? That being said, we both liked the twisty plot and the ending was a strong one.

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

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