Bring on the weather that allows us to read in the sun!  It’s so close. All thrillers this time around.

Book 1:  Strange Sally Diamond By: Liz Nugent

One of the craziest books I’ve read.  If you’re looking for an insane ride of a book that’s disturbing and feels like 308 pages of a Criminal Minds episode, grab this.

WHO IS SALLY DIAMOND?  We meet her as she’s cremating her own father’s body in her backyard, supposedly due to his wishes.  She continues to go about her life until a neighbor catches a whiff of a “bad smell” and brings her therapist, the police, and the rest of the town to her door.   Normally, you’d think this person is quite messed up, and you still might be, but you quickly begin to feel compassion for the main character.   Does she know what happened to her as a child?  Does she understand what she’s done so far?   Can we forgive and move on?  

As you’re flipping through the pages, you’ll most likely wonder how she came to be and why she is like this.   Her background comes into play as she forms relationships with her extended family members, therapist, friends, and even a possible significant other.   Everyone within reach wants to be part of Sally Diamond’s life, and it’s clear that not all have the best intentions.  

Is she odd?  Yes.  

Is she strange?  Yes.  

Are there things in her past that might have made her this way?  Yes.  

Are you along for the ride to hear all about it?  Definitely yes.  

Book 2: The Mother-in-Law By: Sally Hepworth

I’ve read Sally Hepworth’s previous novels – The Soulmate and the Good Sister – and immediately grabbed her newest – Darling Girls – which I also highly recommend.  However, it was a close friend who suggested The Mother in Law , and I thought it was one of the best of the four.  It’s as comforting as a domestic thriller can be – the type of book that you can finish in a couple of days on the MBTA or quick flipping on a single long beach day.  

Ollie is the perfect son of perfect parents in a perfect home, which we know never turns out how it looks on the outside.  Hepworth brings in the main character, Lucy, who lost her mother as a teenager and who is hopeful that by marrying Ollie she will get the family – especially mother-in-law she has always wanted.  We all know that MILs have a reputation and there’s somewhat of an unsaid expectation to meet when you’re in the room.  Diana lives up to that reputation – she’s straight laced, conservative in actions and demands things as she sees fit – without any change.  It’s her way – or no way – that her husband and children have always followed.  However, she’s extremely loyal to them and puts them above all as a mother should.  Lucy comes in and upsets the balance of this family, but will have you wondering why?  What is it about her that Diana doesn’t like and why?    I found myself taking Lucy’s side through much of the book, with multiple scenes where I wanted to jump in and shout out “DON’T LET HER TALK TO YOU LIKE THAT!  TALK BACK AND WALK OUT!”  

I’d love to hear from those who pick this up and/or who have already read it.  What about the ending?  Do we think there’s some worthiness to Diana and her decisions related to her kids?  There were moments when I felt more for her than Lucy!  

Other worthy reads to grab:

  • Kill for Me, Kill for You – Steve Cavanagh (Highly recommend!)
    • I think I’ll keep this one to re-read.  I thought it was an interesting plot I hadn’t heard of before and the twists kept coming.
  • Darling Girls, Sally Hepworth
    • Obviously picked this one up – it focuses on a set of foster children and their time with a very finicky foster parent.
  • Bye Baby, Carola Lovering

Don’t waste your money:

  • The Teacher, Frieda McFadden (Her usual quick type of thriller but as an educator, this was just a bit too gross for me.)

If you got this far, thank you!  Let us know what you’re reading via the comments on @caughtinsouthie or catch me at @glossinbossin / @josiegl on Instagram. 

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