Crazy Love You, by Lisa Unger. Touchstone. 352 pages.
Lisa Unger produces another ambiguous is-she-or-isn’t-she tale, set in the relatively unexplored world of comic publishing.
Graphic artist Ian Paine has made his fortune off the character Priss, a tough, sexy chick who wreaks havoc on those who wrong Fatboy (who is definitely modeled on Ian). What’s not public knowledge is that Ian has his own Priss who has been going after bullies for him since childhood. As Priss steps up her game and begins to get Ian in real trouble, Unger still manages to keep us guessing about whether she is real or imaginary.
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. Riverhead. 336 pages.
Never miss a local story.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this new mystery that everyone is talking about. All I can tell you is that everyone’s right. Grab a copy and prepare to lose a day to it.
On her daily train ride to London and back, Rachel passes behind the neighborhood where she was a happy newlywed, before she started drinking and lost her husband to another woman. She watches the inhabitants of her former block and imagines wonderful lives for them.
When one of them goes missing, she tries to help by sharing something she saw from the train, but being an alcoholic she’s not believed, especially when it comes out that she was in the neighborhood on the night in question but suffered a drunken blackout.
This is one of many books being blurbed with some variant of “if you loved Gone Girl,” and I have to say I’m enjoying this much more than when everyone was trying to be the next John Grisham or Dan Brown.
Among Thieves, by John Clarkson. Minotaur. 448 pages.
Here’s a testosterone-fest to balance all the estrogen in the selections above. Fight scenes, guns, cars and noble ex-cons, all told in a solemn style reminiscent of John D. MacDonald.
An ex-con’s young cousin who has made good on Wall Street runs into trouble at her firm, and his posse of tough guys rally round to fight the white-collar criminals on their own turf.
It makes for a very readable blend of caper story and hard-bitten action.
The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson. William Morrow. 315 pages.
Did you ever notice how nearly every episode of the old Alfred Hitchcock mystery show dealt with spouses murdering each other? Peter Swanson writes about a similar world, where homicide seems to be an inevitable sequel to romance. It’s really pure entertainment, watching one character after another plot and carry out murders that for the most part go undetected.
Ted Severson meets a woman in an airport bar and finds himself entering into a “Strangers on a Train”-type scheme to kill his wife and her lover. In flashbacks we learn that in fact his new friend is already no stranger to murder. An unexpected twist spoils their ingenious plan, and before long the twists take over.