Origin by Dan Brown
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology, returns in this mystery. Langdon travels to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain to attend a major announcement by one of his former students, tech billionaire Edmond Kirsch. Kirsch promises the discovery “will change the face of science forever.” But when the event goes terribly wrong, Langdon and the museum’s director, Ambra Vidal, must flee for their lives and rush to make Kirsch’s discovery public before they are caught. Dan Brown’s fifth Robert Langdon novel again deals with the intersection and conflict between science and religion. Having read all of Dan Brown’s previous novels, I can say that this is one of his best. While there is less emphasis on symbology and codes, Origin is entertaining and bold. The simple but compelling prose builds to a provocative climax making the book hard to put down.
The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio
When a member of Amy-Faye Johnson’s book club, the Readaholics, dies under mysterious circumstances, she and her fellow Readaholics are on the case. While there is nothing genre-breaking or novel in this book, The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco has interesting characters and good mystery elements. The first installment of Laura DiSilverio’s Readaholics series is a good read especially for fans of cozy mysteries.
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
After their harrowing case during the fall, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are hoping for a calmer winter break. But when Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing, Watson and Holmes are once again thrust into the dangerous game of deduction and mystery. As they chase clues as to Leander’s whereabouts across Europe, Charlotte and Jamie must also deal with the messy emotions of their unique partnership. Brittany Cavallaro has written another excellent Sherlockian mystery novel as her follow-up to A Study in Charlotte. She manages to balance fun and thrilling adventure with character development and broad drama. It continues to amaze me just how much Jamie and Charlotte are like their namesake characters and yet, still different and have their own personalities. All in all, I’m recommending you dive into Brittany Cavallaro’s latest Charlotte Holmes mystery with both feet.
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
Once again, the game is on. Anthony Horowitz channels his best Arthur Conan Doyle in Moriarty, a novel that tells the story of what happened in the aftermath of the famous struggle at Reichenbach Falls. With the death of Professor Moriarty, a criminal vacuum has opened in London and an American crime lord by the name of Clarence Devereaux has come to fill it. Hot on his heels is Pinkerton investigator Frederick Chase. With the help of Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’ deductive methods, Chase must navigate London’s underbelly to catch Devereaux before he cements his role as Moriarty’s successor. Mr. Horowitz masterfully recreates Holmes’ London with the same atmosphere and twisty plot turns. Athelney Jones and Frederick Chase fill the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson satisfactorily and the mystery unfolds at a good pace. Overall, this novel definitely fills any Sherlock Holmes craving.
Deck the Hallways by Kate Carlisle
The whole town of Lighthouse Cove has turned out to turn an old Victorian mansion into apartments for homeless families. Shannon Hammer, contractor extraordinaire, is leading the rehab and her volunteers include friends, a whole brigade of Santa Clauses, and even her father, Jack, who’s supposed to be retired. But the festive mood is dimmed when a dead body shows up at the work site killed with one of Jack’s tools. Shannon must find the culprit before her father spends Christmas in jail. Kate Carlisle’s stories are filled with quirky characters and interesting storylines. Deck the Hallways is a fun mystery that will help you get in the holiday spirit!
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
What would happen if the teenage descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson met at a Connecticut boarding school and there just happened to be a murder there? Well, obviously Charlotte Holmes and James Watson were destined to become friends and solve the mystery together. A Study in Charlotte is a fun-filled Sherlockian homage with fascinating characters who have both similarities to and differences from their literary ancestors. The plot told, as it should be, from Watson’s point-of-view, is engaging and well-paced. I’m excited to see where Brittany Cavallaro takes her characters next.
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks
Annabelle Aster is unconventional. She prefers to wear vintage Victorian clothes in 1995 San Francisco and seems to just accept her situation when an 1890s Kansas wheat field appears in her backyard. Elsbeth Grundy, on the other hand, is somewhat put out by the purple and gold Victorian house that suddenly appears on her land but after striking up a correspondence with Annie through letters sent to a mysterious brass mailbox, Elsbeth comes to enjoy Annie’s friendship. Together Elsbeth and Annie try to unravel the mystery of their unique situation and in the process discover a murder that they must try to stop. Scott Wilbanks’ time travel story shares a similar vibe as The Time Traveler’s Wife. However, it also has its own particular tone and plot elements. I enjoyed Annie & Elsbeth’s interesting story and how the time travel wove through the story. There was a side plot involving Annie’s best friend that was pretty good on its own but felt somewhat out of place within the larger narrative. But, overall, this novel was above average.
*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review.*