24in48 Readathon

A couple times a year, the good people at 24in48 produce a weekend readathon where participants are challenged to read for 24 hours out of a 48 hour time period. This weekend was the winter version of the event. I was not at my best as I was down with a cold, but I did manage to get in about 16 hours of reading time. Here are the books I read:

lastwomanThe Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets – What would you do if you suspected the person you loved was a sociopath? Not really a question we encounter often in our lives, but Diane Les Becquets does a masterful job of imagining how that might go. She has written a suspenseful and surprising story that starts out with a kick-in-the-gut scene that is every woman’s worst nightmare – when your car breaks down on a lonely road in the middle of the night and you have a bad feeling about the handsome guy who stops to help. I admit, though, that the tense and horrifying prologue set me up to expect that same tension all the way through the book. That didn’t happen in quite the way I expected. It’s a little like the difference between “Criminal Minds” and “Sherlock” – the beginning is raw and physical, while most of the rest of the book is more cerebral. However, all that thinking and worrying and doubting evaporates with a big twist towards the end. Recommended for fans of Lee Child.

Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Published By: Berkley Publishing Group
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

williamThe Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen – Is there anything more fascinating than the Dead Letters Depot? That’s where all the letters and such that go astray in the mail end up, and where our protagonist, the titular William Woolf, works. All those letters to Santa, God, and Elvis Presley. Those heartfelt love letters with the incorrect address. The wedding invitations and birthday cards. All those lost words and feelings, collected and cared for by 30 Letter Detectives. What a smashingly cool job!

I would have liked this book much more if it had focused on telling all those stories waiting to be told. Instead, we are treated to a rather uninteresting marriage on the verge of collapse and one woman’s search for her Great Love. William and his wife Clare are written as though they are middle-aged, but their ages were never clear. At one point, Clare is upset at how her lower body has grown since she turned 30 when she was so “effortlessly slim” in her 20’s. She may be in her 30’s, but she’s having a mid-life crisis.

The “Great Love” plot line is more interesting, but about halfway through I realized it was really just William fantasizing about the perfect woman. And we all know how that ends. You finally connect and (surprise!) the person you have idealized is really just a messy human like the rest of us.

Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Published By: Graydon House
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Daisy Jones daisyand The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This one is getting major love on Goodreads, with lots of 5 star, essay-length reviews rhapsodizing over the brilliance. It’s been picked up by Amazon for a series and will be produced by Reese Witherspoon, so it’s got all the earmarks of a cultural phenomenon. For me, this is a solid 4 star book. Plenty interesting, especially for those of us who grew up in the 1970’s, but it doesn’t hang together as a novel mostly due to the text being presented as a series of interviews. It felt like a refreshed version of Almost Famous.

Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Published By: Random House/Ballantine
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy