I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.
Title: Swiss Vendetta
Author: Tracee de Hahn
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Recommended If You Like: mysteries in isolated locations, books with lots of characters, strong female protagonists
Agnes Luthi, an Inspector in Switzerland, finds herself trapped in a mansion with a blizzard and a murderer. She must put aside the feelings she is still struggling with following the death of her husband, and figure out who among the many family members and guests committed the crime.
What I Liked:
I love mysteries set in isolated settings, so I was immediately drawn to this. It doesn't get much better, creepier, or more mysterious than a mansion no outsiders ever get to enter, snowed by a massive blizzard.
I also really liked that the main detective was a strong, smart, complex woman.
Anything I Didn't Like?
This book tried to do too much. There were so many characters and storylines it was hard to keep them all straight, and many plot points felt like they came out of left field because so much else was going on.
I wanted to love this book, but I just didn't. There was way too much going on, and the solution to the mystery, while interesting, just wasn't strong enough to carry the book.
Title: The Turning
Author: Francine Prose
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Paranormal/Horror
Recommended If You Like: young adult reads, modern takes on classics, gothic horror, the paranormal, books told through letters
In a modern take on The Turn of the Screw, Jack has been hired to spend the summer on an island, in charge of two children. But as Jack spends more time isolated from the outside world, with Flora and Miles and their strange ways, he begins to see things that don't make sense--things that seem to fit all too well into the ghost stories he's been told.
What I Liked:
The Turn of the Screw is one of my all-time favorite books, so I always excited to read any sort of take on it. This was a creepy read that had some very suspenseful moments.
Anything I Didn't Like?
This book just didn't live up to what I was hoping for. This could definitely be due in part to my love of the original source material and how hard it would be for any other take to live up to the original story.
But this book felt rushed to me, as if Prose was making up for the slow beginning by cramming the main events in too quickly. Character changes came so fast, and not in the creepy amazing way the original used to create paranoia of the paranormal. Jack's sudden changes didn't make sense, and the ghost aspect almost felt just thrown in at those parts to explain why Jack was so different all of a sudden. I don't think it was the physical shortness of the book either, as The Turn of the Screw is not a long book itself, and still manages to spin an incredibly complex and suspenseful tale.
The ending also felt cliched, and didn't really live up to the build up.
This is not a bad book, but it's not a great one. It's a quick and easy read if you're intrigued enough by the premise, like I was, but I wouldn't say it's urgent you go out and get a copy.
One of my favorite parts of this series is the relationship between Morelli and Stephanie (I'm absolutely a "Cupcake" girl), and I wasn't sure I liked where Evanovich was going with them in the beginning of this book. But by the end, I was happy with where they stood, and enjoyed the solution to the mystery as well. Grandma and Lula are also hysterically funny as always.
If you haven't discovered this series yet, hurry out and get the first book (I would highly recommend you start at the beginning with One For the Money)!