Courtesy of Minotaur Books

Courtesy of Minotaur Books

Invisible City is about a journalist who discovers her family history by delving into the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community where her mother grew up. But Rebekah Roberts doesn’t start out looking for her past.  She is covering the news of a Hasidic woman’s murder, a tragedy that the private Brooklyn community would rather keep to themselves. Julia Dahl’s novel is supported by her knowledge of working in newspapers as well as her research of the Hasidim living in Brooklyn. Rebekah is straddling both worlds–on the one hand she wants to investigate this murder that is seemingly being swept under the rug, but in the process she is reminded of why her Jewish mother left her and her father, to return to the Orthodox way of life.


5 Reason to Read:

  1. Invisible City gives a small but compelling glimpse into the lives of the Hasidic women who care for their children, are devoutly religious, and have few opportunities.
  2. The details of working as a stringer as Rebekah Roberts does ring true–the waiting, the uncertainty, seeing your byline on a story you investigated but didn’t write–Dahl captures this well.
  3. Rebekah struggles with anxiety and depression while working on a  story that could make or break her career–she is a character who is real and flawed.
  4. You’ll learn a lot from reading this book, whether about journalism or Judaism. It is clear this is a well-researched novel.
  5. This is one of those mysteries that barrels along with such a force you’ll have to hold on, but at the same time it is perfectly paced and carefully written with great precision.

Keep reading…



a dark and twisted tide

Courtesy of Macmillan

One of the best things about mysteries, in my opinion, is how they immerse you in the thick of a plot and pull you along.  All the details come together to reveal the stark reality, however gruesome it may be.  Sharon Bolton’s novel A Dark and Twisted Tide follows Lacey Flint, former London detective who rejoins the police force on the marine unit.  She is living in a boat on the river Thames and swimming in the river every morning, a dangerous and thrilling pastime.  The river is a powerful force and when Lacey finds a body in the water the question becomes: Was it purely a coincidence that a body comes floating towards Lacey or did someone want Lacey to find the decomposing body?


5 Reasons to Read:

  1. Lacey is a classic loner  with few friends, but people are drawn to her–even killers–and you will be too.
  2. The Thames is a charismatic and deadly character in this Lacey Flint installment–its dark waters are the perfect backdrop.
  3. Although all written in the third person, Bolton tells the story from the perspective of Lacey, Detective Inspector Dana Tulloch, and other more mysterious points of view like The Killer, The Swimmer, and Nadia and Pari, two women far from home. This allows for Bolton to reveal a wide range of details and events in a complex, but systematic way.
  4. Bolton’s prose is at times unhurried and expressive, at other times swift and vigorous, much like the tides.  Either way, you’ll be swept away by her writing.
  5. This is a book to savor and reread–even once the murderer is revealed you’ll want to go back and unravel the intricacies of the story.

Keep reading…

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford

pocket wife

Courtesy of William Morrow

I have reviewed a few suspenseful books here on Skyline Book Reviews, but they have all ended up being very different.  There was Crooked River about two young girls whose father is accused of murder.  Also, Big Little Lies about a death at a elementary school fundraiser in Australia.  And Tina Seskis’ One Step Too Far told the story of Emily who leaves her old life behind only to be propelled back into it after a tragic death.  Susan Crawford’s cerebral debut, The Pocket Wife, involves a murder in a suburb of Paterson, NJ and is no exception.




The siren is inside her ears, inside the car.  It screams and pries inside her brain.  She opens the car door and steps outside. She’s forgotten her shoes, but she can’t feel the pavement.  She’s so light her feet are barely touching down.  She looks out at the cars toward the Hudson, and it shimmers, it hums, it sings, eclipsing the sound of the siren with its lovely, lilting song.


5 Reasons to Read:

  1. Crawford’s main character, Dana Catrall, is captivating during her descent into a mental breakdown in the wake of the violent death of her neighbor.
  2. The detective investigating the murder, Jack Moss, is not typical law enforcement–his dedication to his job, his desire to help Dana, and the guilt motivating him to protect his son is very real and multi-faceted.
  3. Crawford’s lyrical and phenic writing delves into Dana’s psyche as she discovers clues that push her closer to the edge.
  4. Clues are pieced together while Detective Moss investigates and Dana racks her memory until ultimately the truth settles to the surface amidst a storm of lies.
  5. This murder mystery won’t disappoint when it comes to suspense and unexpected outcomes.

Keep Reading…

Fall Reads: The Escape Artist

Paris, La tour Eiffel

Paris, La tour Eiffel

Although you may not be heading back to school this fall, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit the books. But figuring out what to read can be easier said than done. So what kind of reader are you? An escape artist, looking to leave the city behind every chance you get? Are you happy-go-lucky and looking for a fun, easy read? Or are you an ambitious go-getter in work, life, love, and reading? Fall is the perfect time to cozy up by the fire and get back to the books!

The Escape Artist

Who you are: You love New York but your wanderlust keeps you dreaming of your next vacation a world away. Jet-setting for you is going climbing in Tanzania, boating in Monaco, exploring in Argentina.  When you are stuck on the subway or taking a lunch break you want to be reading something that will transport you to another city, another world, or another time.

Our rec: Murder Below Montparnasse: An Aimée Leduc investigation set in Paris by Cara Black

5 reasons to read:
1. Aimée Leduc is the perfect private investigator to to usurp Nancy Drew.
2. You’ll want to imitate Aimée Leduc’s French style: Chanel No. 5, a Hermés scarf, a leather jacket, and Converse.
3. Zipping around Paris on her Vespa, the Montparnasse will come alive in this crime thriller.
4. What’s more transporting than Paris?
5. 14 books in the series means you can experience all the arrondissements without leaving New York.

The Long View: Aimée Leduc is a private investigator keeping up the family business at Leduc Detective in Paris, France. She primarily works alone except for her partner Remi who has recently left to accept a job in Silicon Valley, leaving Aimée and hacker Saj to man the office. When Yuri Volodin, an old Russian man, hires Aimée to find his Modigliani painting she never guesses that Yuri will know something of her missing mother.  As Aimée becomes more entangled in the art world and the Soviet secrets surrounding the painting,  she realizes how dangerous the situation is.  Not to mention her personal life is pretty messy: she spots her flic boyfriend, Melac, with another woman, a female Russian bodyguard has the hots for her, and things are complicated with an art investigator named Dombasle. Plus, there is her dog, Miles Davis, to worry about. This jam-packed crime novel will leave you ready to explore all the arrondissements even if only through Cara Black’s series.

The deets: 
SoHo Press
321 pages
January 2013
Order Murder Below Montparnasse (An Aimée Leduc Investigation)