Nutshell by Ian McEwan

When my book club pals suggested we read Nutshell, the selling point was “you won’t believe the point of view.” Our club has read books that tell stories from the point of view of a dog, a dead girl, a drunk, and a madman, so sure, I was game to read this book. The other selling point was the author was Ian McEwan. I have a deep readers’ passion for his elegant, breathtakingly beautiful story Atonement. We were all in for the ride.

I suspect the point of view for Nutshell was decided on a dare from other writers, over drinks. Something along the line of, “Bet ya can’t find a new point of view no one has ever done before.”

And McEwan, being the talented award-winning author he is, probably said, “Hold my beer.”

He tells a story of marital discord from the point of view of a fetus. Yes, a fetus.

McEwan has done far more with this story than readers might expect simply because he is a masterful storyteller. There are a few cheats, places in the story in which the main character knows things he could not. And this fetus has McEwan’s vocabulary. I had to look up the meaning of lambent (glowing), cludgie (bathroom), and exequy (funeral rites). Thanks for that.

As a book lover, I had to suspend my disbelief with both hands, high overhead, page by page to the bitter end.

This is my least favorite McEwan book. The literary critics will no doubt hail it as brilliant, groundbreaking, mind-expanding prose. Which will inevitably lead to imitators, heaven protect us. Just as Anne Rice revived interest in vampire stories, should we expect more stories told from in utero? Or will the millennial authors go one step further with stories told from the perspective of inanimate objects, possibly a murder weapon or a pen? Please, no more explorations of life from a womb. Let’s all agree it’s been done and move on.

I admire McEwan’s talent so much I will read his next book, and try to forget about this one for reminding me with every page that the writer was at work.

Bodyguard for Christmas by Carol J. Post

Bodyguard for Christmas (Murphy, #3)Bodyguard for Christmas by Carol J. Post
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forget the stereotypes usually found in romance stories. Award-winning Author Carol J. Post breaks through with originality and taut suspense with Bodyguard for Christmas. This page-turner is big on romance, but even bigger in suspense. A District Attorney with a small child is being hunted by thugs and hires a bodyguard. From there the twists and turns take the reader on a thrill ride of action, investigation, and emotional chills from Atlanta to Murphy, North Carolina.
Don’t start this book in the evening because you’ll say, “Just one more chapter. I have to see what’s going to happen next,” all night long.

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The Rusted Scalpel: A Medical Thriller

The Rusted Scalpel is Timothy Browne, MD’s best book yet! This medical thriller creates a you-are-there feel as Orthopedic Surgeon Nicklaus Hart struggles with sudden blindness. His disability forces him to reevaluate life as he knew it. With his career gone, he struggles with everything he previously took for granted.

cover of the medical thriller The Rusted Scalpel by Timothy Browne MDThis taut, suspenseful medical thriller draws the reader from Montana to exotic Singapore, to India, and to the remote areas of Borneo once known as the land of the headhunters. The memorable characters drive the story from one man’s struggle into the broader human battle between good and evil. Goodness and seductive evil reveal themselves slowly from the gray areas, one decision at a time, to the breath-taking conclusion.

This is the finest story in the Nicklaus Hart series of medical thrillers. Browne has the background as an orthopedic surgeon and as a medical missionary to write vivid thrillers set in the remote and forbidding ends of the earth.

Okay, I confess. Sometimes I buy a book because of the cover. In this case, I bought the book because I love medical thrillers, but wowza, what a gorgeous cover.

Lethal Legacy by Carol J. Post

cover of Lethal Legacy by Carol J. PostAward-winning author Carol J. Post writes romantic suspense that engages the reader. Her clear prose creates memorable images and believably complex characters in this suspenseful story. Andrea Wheaton returns to her family’s cabin in Murphy, North Carolina following the sudden death of her parents. She goes to mull over whether to keep or sell the beloved family retreat and her arrival interrupts robbers. Soon, Andrea is swept into solving the mystery of what the thugs are searching for and why. The neighbor, a police officer, offers to help, but accepting Bryce Caldwell’s help requires setting aside the unhappy ending to their past relationship.

The tense, fast-moving story blends danger and awkwardness as Andrea and Bryce battle threats and follow clues. Suspenseful on many levels, Lethal Legacy entertains and surprises from beginning to end. This is romantic suspense done right.

Lethal Legacy is Post’s twelfth book. Her work has been recognized by Romance Writers of America and the Florida Writers Association for excellence.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

What I love about Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng is the author’s deft use of multiple points of view because the reader sees the events from adult and teen perspectives. Differences between how each character sees the world of their planned community, their families, and themselves are revealed at the breathtaking end. Secrets emerge and loyalties change as the families of Shaker Heights, near Cleveland, Ohio, connect. Small yearnings build as the characters discover and pursue their desires. The smoldering needs of these characters grow one detail, one word, one action at a time. The reader can smell the smoke of the coming fire from chapter to chapter. Who will start it and why?

cover art for Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste NgWhile some characters view the world as they believe it should be and not as it is, others see clearly. The reader enjoys the omniscience of seeing the entire story from a distance and from deep within the minds and souls of the characters. The story explores the meanings of family and loyalty and honesty. This is the kind of book that generates lively discussion at book clubs.

For more books by Celest Ng, see: Celeste Ng’s website.

Fatal Recall by Carol J. Post

view of mountains in North CarolinaFatal Recall by award-winning author Carol J. Post accelerates quickly. It roars through tense action as killers track a woman who knows too much. The killers, unaware she has amnesia, intend to kill her before she regains her memory. The story is set in the Appalachian mountains and includes white-water rafting, hiking, and some of my favorite small towns in North Carolina. In true romantic-suspense style, the chapters alternate between the heroine’s point of view and the off-duty police officer hero’s point of view. The alternating scenes allow the reader to see deep inside the characters, their reasoning, their emotions, and their expectations.

This is Post’s twelfth book. Having read her previous novels, I believe she’s developed a smooth, distinctive narrative voice. Most of her stories have been published through Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint, which means the reader will not be subjected to vulgar language. The faith element of the story rings true as both hero and heroine grapple with their understanding of the value of faith in a dangerous, ungodly world. The struggle with faith is subtle and genuine, never preachy. This is one of the many reasons I adore Post’s writing.

I was especially impressed by how the author crafted backstories of the hero and heroine that conflict and overlap. Under less dangerous circumstances, these two people would be unlikely to meet and yet their chemistry ignites the pages. The killers were crafted as genuine people, more like the odd neighbors down the street than caricature bad guys sometimes pasted into romance novels.

A great book, Fatal Recall arrives just in time for that first summer trip to the beach. Publication release date is June 1, 2018.

I reviewed other books by Post that you can read by clicking on the titles below. Trust My Heart was Post’s first indie title and it runs longer than the Love-Inspired books. Trust My Heart earned Post a RITA nomination.

Reunited by Danger

Trust My Heart