Penance by Kanae Minato

Penance by Kanae Minato Penance by Kanae Minato
Published by Mulholland Books on April 11, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Crime Fiction
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
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When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.

Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren't able to accurately describe the stranger's appearance to the police after the Emili's body was discovered. Asako, Emily's mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter's murder. PENANCE is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless.

The novel revolves around a group of friends in a small, rural town. The town is known for its fresh and clean air, which results in a company which makes precision instruments moving there. The workforce is not thrilled with the move, most come from Tokyo and don’t fit in well with the locals. One of the newcomers’ children, Emily, makes friends with a group of local girls – Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko. As the blurb states, one holiday the five schoolgirls, who were 10 at the time, are playing when they are approached by a man who chooses Emily to help him with a task. An hour or more later, Emily is found violated and murdered.

At the time of this book, there was a statute of limitations during which criminals could be charged and so there is fifteen years to find the murderer. When the girls are thirteen, Emily’s mother invites them to her house and informs them that they have a choice – they must either discover who the murderer is or she will expect a penance from them, otherwise she would get revenge on them.

As the statute of limitations draws near, each of the four survivors tells us her story, both how she saw the event then and how her life has turned out. No one is unscathed, but the mother’s curse is as damaging to the girls as the actual murder was. It’s an absorbing story, both fascinating and disturbing. It’s not just about the crime, but about culture and identity, about family relationships, about rural life versus city life. It’s also about secrets and how they can haunt us.

About Kanae Minato

Kanae Minato (born 1973) is a Japanese writer of crime fiction and thriller.

She started writing in her thirties. Her first novel Confessions became a bestseller and won the Japanese Booksellers Award.

She has been described in Japan as “the queen of iyamisu”(eww mystery), a subgenre of mystery fiction which deals with grisly episodes and the dark side of human nature. Readers blurt out “eww” when they are reading iyamisu novels.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Fox and O'Hare #5
Published by Random House Audio on June 21, 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Crime Fiction
Length: 7 hrs 24 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Nicolas Fox, international con man, thief, and one of the top ten fugitives on the FBI’s most-wanted list, has been kidnapped from a beachfront retreat in Hawaii. What the kidnapper doesn’t know is that Nick Fox has been secretly working for the FBI. It isn’t long before Nick’s covert partner, Special Agent Kate O’Hare, is in hot pursuit of the crook who stole her con man.

The trail leads to Belgium, France, and Italy, and pits Nick and Kate against their deadliest adversary yet: Dragan Kovic, an ex–Serbian military officer. He’s plotting a crime that will net him billions . . . and cost thousands of American lives.

Nick and Kate have to mount the most daring, risky, and audacious con they’ve ever attempted to save a major U.S. city from a catastrophe of epic proportions. Luckily they have the help of an eccentric out-of-work actor, a bandit who does his best work in the sewers, and Kate’s dad, Jake. The pressure’s on for Nick and Kate to make this work—even if they have to lay their lives on the line.

Is The Pursuit good? Probably not – but it’s entertaining and action-packed and funny. It’s got sex (off-screen) and explosions and life-threatening situations. You know the good guys, presuming you consider Nick Fox a good guy, and the bad guys are going to lose. It’s a perfect quick summer read.

The Pursuit is the 5th in the series and I’ve read them in order, which I honestly think is best. Yes, they probably work as stand-alones, but this one picks up right where #4 left off and you get to see how Nick and Kate’s relationship develops. Also, most of the secondary good guy characters appear in each of them, and I do love Kate’s dad. He is awesome.

If you read the blurb you have a bit of an idea on the plot and it’s so short I don’t want to give away any spoilers. A few things I did enjoy – underground Paris, the melodramatic patriotism, and the lack of high heals. It’s over the top, but in a good way. It’s a great caper.

I listened to the audio and Brick does an excellent job. I love how much of the character’s personalities he puts in the voices and how you feel like he’s how ridiculous the story is and loves it as much as you do. It’s a great distraction while you’re doing the dishes or taking the dog for a walk. I would add running to that list, but I’ve been really lousy at getting any workouts in, let alone longer runs.

About Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

About Lee Goldberg

New York Times Bestselling author Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar Award and two-time Shamus Award nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits “Spenser: For Hire,” “Monk,” and “The Glades.” He’s also the author of the Fox & O’Hare series with Janet Evanovich, “The Walk,” “Watch Me Die,” “King City,” the “Dead Man” series, as well as the “Diagnosis Murder” and “Monk” series of original mystery novels.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Published by Random House Audio on August 26, 2014 (first published May 24, 2012)
Source: Gift
Genres: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller
Length: 19 hrs 11 mins
Format: Audiobook
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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Gone Girl was all the rage a couple of years ago, but I didn’t get around to listening to it until now. I shouldn’t have put it off. It was unique, well-done, definitely attention-grabbing, maybe not quite unputdownable, but close.

Nick and Amy are not nice people. Neither is really the good guy, although you do sympathize with Nick. The audio had two narrators, one for Nick and one for Amy, which I thought was a great choice. It always takes me a while to get used to anything different than one narrator of the same gender as the main character, but this format worked so well with the story it was the perfect choice. Both narrators did a great job capturing the points of view, the dark humor, the nuances in the phrasing. I think that listening to it probably made it even better than reading it in print would have.

I can’t say much about the plot without ruining it, but it did keep me guessing, wondering what the truth was, who the bad guy was. I knew it wasn’t as straight forward as it first appeared, mostly due to the hype when the book and then the movie came out, but I wasn’t sure how it was all going to fit together. I have to say I love how Flynn plotted the whole thing. And the ending was perfect for the rest of the story.

Now, I have to convince my husband to watch the movie with me. One of the guys at work told him not to watch it because it would make him paranoid.

About Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn is an American author and was a television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her first novel, Sharp Objects, won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller. Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

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