Friday, April 4, 2014

A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante and Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante

Wow, this is a fast page turner/psychological novel/ thriller/almost mystery from the author of the very popular Turn of Mind (2011). Dr. John Taylor is a trusted, respected plastic surgeon who devotes his life to reconstructing the faces of damaged children.

When he is found dead in a hotel room, the detective reaches out to his wife for help and discovers that he has several...wives that is. Deborah, his wife for several decades, is the one everyone knows: a local society figure. She knew about - and gave her tacit approval to - wife #2, MJ, an accountant. Then there is a third wife and each wife is in a different city. All three wives are suspects in the mysterious death of Dr. Taylor because...(I can’t tell you! Read the book!) The narration moves from wife to wife with each chapter, building suspense.

I really enjoyed reading this, and I could not put it down.

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Shotgun Lovesongs by Nicolas Butler

This debut novel is a treat for those of us who want to read a really good story with good writing, a compelling plot and great characters, but don’t want to read about anything that will give us nightmares.

Shotgun Lovesongs is set in fictional Little Wing, Wisconsin, a small town of 1,500 without a stoplight outside of Eau Claire. The main characters, guys, have been friends since childhood; attended the same school and church, sang in the same choirs, dated the same girls. As teens, they dream of getting out – to a big city like Minneapolis or Madison or even…Chicago. But those who do leave - the rodeo rider, the rock star, the commodities trader - all come back, to reunite with their friends, recharge, and find their bearings again. At the center of the book is Henry, one of the original group of guys who has stayed in town to farm the family land, marry his sweetheart Beth, and father two children. Henry and Beth are happy, stable, and serve as the touchpoint for the rest of the group.

The author, a graduate of The University of Wisconsin and The Iowa Writers Workshop, is a skilled story teller who excels at characterization. Men and women have enjoyed reading Shotgun Lovesongs, and I plan to use it for book discussions. Highly recommended.

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