It's March and the Lakeview Mystery Book Group has read and discussed three titles so far this year. Thus I'm prompted to come to you with a first quarter book report.
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong was our January book and we had a pretty good discussion of this one, mostly because responses were mixed. I really enjoyed this tale of a remote, hidden community in Canada that provides escape to those who need to disappear off the grid. Casey Duncan is a homicide detective who is on the run from a mobster. She's not sure what to expect when she arrives in the very remote town of Rockton but finds herself adjusting to no phones, internet, tv, or any other contact with the outside world. Though the opportunity to hide is welcome, Casey realizes the people who arranged this have their own agenda. You see, Rockton has just had it's first murder, so a new resident homicide detective is just what they need. Our discussion of this became most lively when we started to get into a debate about how such a town with these residents would work and if the author had been able to fully realize her vision.
Next up was Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke. I'll confess up front I had to miss the discussion due to a bad cold, but I did read the book and from what the group has reported they had a great discussion. The book itself is sooo good and tackles some big themes (always helps for book discussion purposes). Here Darren Mathews is one of the very few black Texas Rangers. He's under a bit of a cloud because of his connection to a man who may have committed murder. Though his job is hanging by a thread he is able to get himself assigned to a case in the small, rural town of Lark on highway 59 in East Texas. In Lark the bodies of a black lawyer from Chicago (male) and a young white women are found in the same bayou days apart. Even in this day and age you can imagine which murder is getting more attention. When Darren arrives he realizes that the two murders may be connected, though no one seems to want to admit that fact. This was a title recommended to me by a colleague who runs a "straight" (as opposed to being devoted to crime fiction) book group. So this is a title that has cross book group appeal.
Last week we talked about The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker and of the three so far this year, it's the weakest. That's not to say it's not an enjoyable read, there just wasn't much to discuss - it's a challenge, as those of you who have book groups will know, if a book is just generally pleasant to read. Pleasant is a great description for this one (if I do say so myself). I certainly could see myself watching a leisurely (with great scenery) series on PBS about Police Chief Benoit "Bruno" Courreges and the other residents of the village of Saint-Denis in southern (?) France. There's food and wine here aplenty. Mystery? Eh, not so much. So if you're looking for a nice escape? Here's your book. If you're looking for something meaty for your book group to read? Not so much.
That's just what the mystery group has been reading. You can click on through to see what's next in book discussions (and more) at all of our library locations.