Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has been sitting on my to-read list for 3 years. Glad I didn’t read this in the depths of pandemic quarantine. The story is centered around isolation, identity, and pretending to adult but failing at all the parts that matter. Not quite balanced enough by the “just let weirdos be weirdos and stop bothering them” message. Didn’t hit me the way I expected because there are too many themes and ideas that don’t quite come together for high impact. That being said, it’s a solid book, especially if you like strange crime and detectives who are determined to the point of obsession.

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The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway, #2) by Elly Griffiths

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted more Ruth, I went and got myself more Ruth. I can’t get enough of this kick-ass forensic archaeologist who is always thrilled when someone shoves some bones in her direction (even when it’s another child, and looking likely their death is a sad story). Ruth seeks truth, justice, and history, and I’m here for it. She’s also living her best life and being smart and scrappy, which will keep me reading. Stories about thresholds, the gods that rule them, and transgressions creating uncanny domestic spaces are always welcome.

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The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1) by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Give me the liminal places, the fog and the ocean, the friendships gone sideways and the ex-lovers. Give me the sublime coastal causeways, eerie bird calls, ancient skeletons, and hauntingly-vanished children. Give me several possible villains against a sarcastic and self-possessed woman, and I won’t even care that I figured out the whodunnit of it all halfway through, because all of those possible villains were pushy and dangerous and didn’t want to take no for an answer, and the satisfaction wasn’t in the reveal, it was Ruth saying no and shutting them down one by one. Give me more Ruth.

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The Stranger Diaries (Harbinder Kaur #1) by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a sucker for literary mysteries and modern gothic. Bonus points to this one because I’ve actually read M.R. James, the renowned Victorian ghost-story writer who inspired Griffith’s R.M. Holland, and all the point of view characters are women that are taken seriously and treated with respect by colleagues, friends, and family.

Multiple POVs in a mystery story can be a trap for too much retelling or too much hiding things from the audience because–gasp–one of the POV characters is actually the killer(!), but Griffiths avoids both of these potential pitfalls. I actually enjoyed the different characters’ perspectives on each other, and the re-treading of events was kept to a minimum, and only to provide me with additional information, not self-indulgent or unnecessary wandering.

Twisty, spooky, thrilling, and smart, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable, fast read that has me already reaching for more of Elly Griffiths’s work.

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