Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Looking for a book to read for your vacation at the beach?

Or perhaps a book to read for your next flight across country or abroad?

The woman in the windowThe Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, published by Harper Collins, New York, New York is a spellbinding novel that I was unable to put down from start to finish. Written in a diary-like format, the book takes you into the life of Anna Fox, a psychologist who is a recluse in her New York City home.

I’m not going to keep you in suspense, but this author will right to the very end.

A.J. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window earns a 5-HOOT rating from this reader.

Anna Fox is a psychologist who has  agoraphobia. She exists day by day peering through the windows of her home examining and often photographing the lives of her neighbors. When she’s not studying her neighbors, she binges on watching old movies, drinks too much red wine that she mixes with a small pharmacy prescribed by her therapist.

A new family, the Russells move in across the park. In addition, Anna takes in a somewhat mysterious tenant who resides in the bottom of her multi-level home. Together, these new inhabitants in her small world create a havoc for Anna, who believes something tragic has happened in the Russell home. Her agoraphobia complicates her discovering if what she thinks is real, her imagination or what others believe is just a case of paranoia brought on by her diet of wine and pills.

Author A.J. Finn is poetic in his weaving of his psychological thriller. The writing is beautiful and the tempo of building the suspense is spellbinding. What a grand debut novel. I cannot wait for his next book. Please, Mr. Finn don’t make your new fans wait too long.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Murder, Crime

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn earns a 5-HOOT hoot rating.

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

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Review: The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

I like watching Jake Tapper as anchor of State of the Union on CNN. He is also CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the anchor of The Lead Jake Tapper. Not only is he a respected reporter, he is also the author of four books, including the New York Times bestseller The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.

The Hellfire ClubTo be honest, I have not read his previous four books, but I like Jake Tapper. I think he is an honest reporter and a capable anchor, so I was interested in reading his debut political thriller, The Hellfire Club published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., New York, New York.

The book, The Hellfire Club is set in the 1950’s about a secret society and a freshman Congressman by the name of Charlie Marder. Charlie Marder is a World War II veteran and academic that clearly seem in over his head or perhaps just naïve unlike his father’s connections who helped him attain his unlikely seat in Congress.

Charlie’s wife, Margaret pregnant with their first child. She is not your average 1950’s housewife, but a zoologist who is studying the wild ponies on Susquehannock (in reality, the island name is actually Assateague) Island in Maryland. Little does Charlie and Margaret know that both of their worlds will collide as this political secret society has their own ways of getting things done in Washington.

A Slow Start

Firstly, when I read a book, any book, I do not flip through it nor do I read any portion of the book before I begin reading the first page through to the last page. (I’ll explain in just a moment.)

Jake Tapper’s debut thriller starts out slow, so slow that in this reader’s opinion, the reader doesn’t begin to feel the tension mount until about two-thirds of the way into the book. But I must confess I took issue with Mr. Tapper’s liberties with history. In fact, I have a bone to pick beginning on page 124:

“They stopped at the crosswalk of Independence Avenue, where the driver of a red convertible Mustang honked at them.”

Do you see the transgression in that sentence?

The automobile, the Mustang did not make its’ debut until April 17, 1964. The story was set in the 1950s. Do you know why that bugs me so much?

I grew up in Michigan. I live right outside of Detroit, The Motor City. My father worked for a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company and we only had Ford cars and trucks in our driveway growing up on the farm. Another reason this faux pas annoys me is that I have always wanted a Mustang convertible, 1964 model painted Ford blue. (Are the readers in Maryland a little miffed about Assateague Island miscue?)

Another point I took issue with was the name of an industrial company that Charlie Marder did not want to receive federal funds because of the company’s rubber seal failed in the gas masks by soldiers in France particularly one young private named Rodriguez.

The name the author gave that company was Goodstone. Obviously, a name merged from two real tire companies named Goodyear and Firestone. A little cheesy in this reader’s opinion.

Okay, I know this all sounds silly but these examples annoyed me for a good portion of reading the book. It interrupted the pleasure of reading what could be a good story.

A Fast Finish

I finally got over those two issues along with some other historical facts and timeline liberties about two-thirds of the way through the book when the story really began to build tension and suspense. Although as a mother and without giving anything away regarding the ending, I once again had to extend my belief of a pregnant woman sloshing through the deep water alongside galloping horses.

Sources

Jake Tapper comes clean at the end of the book in his epilogue of sorts in which he states, “To state the obvious, The Hellfire Club is a work of fiction.” While I knew that the book was a work of fiction, I was still miffed about the liberties he took in creating his novel. It is in this Sources section that he goes chapter by chapter outlining such liberties.

Okay, now I feel better, at least he is going to confess to the reader how he really does know the Mustang made its debut in 1964. Wrong!! But he does share with the reader the other historical liberties and sources he used in creating his political thriller including the ponies of Assateague Island.

I forgive you, Jake Tapper. I do think this is a good debut novel and perhaps it would not have seemed too slow of a beginning or too fast of an ending had I not been so incensed about the Mustang convertible.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Historical

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper earns a 3 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale 3 one half hoots

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter@TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

 

Review: The Outsider by Stephen King

I debated whether I should post a book review on author, Stephen King’s latest book, The Outsider, published by Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York. This celebrated author is the master of his craft. Yet, my book review followers said, “Yes! Review it!” when I asked them on my personal Facebook page.

The Outsider.jpgWhile he and I are not quite from the same generation, I have read every book by Mr. King including books under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman, his collaborations with other authors and his book, On Writing published in 2000. I have been a die-hard fan since I began reading his books in the late 1970’s, however, I must confess even as a die-hard fan of Mr. King I have not always given him a 5-Hoot rating. For example, The Dark Tower Series, beloved by others, but not so much by me. And I thought it took him a couple of books after recovering from his car accident to get his writing mojo back – the online serialized horror novel, The Plant and his digital novella, Riding the Bullet. They were good novels, but not what this reader came to expect from one of my all-time favorite authors. Gratefully, however, that Mr. King abandoned his ridiculous idea of quitting writing all together.

The genius of Stephen King

What amazes me about Stephen King is how he can grab the reader’s attention from the first sentence to the last sentence. The second thing that amazes me about him is how he can write over 500 pages (in small type, no less!) keeping the reader totally engaged right to the very last word. This reader always goes into an immediate depression when finishing a Stephen King novel.

His writing is so damn good! 

So why review The Outsider? Read on…

The Outsider

As a parent, I was a little leery of reading a crime, horror story about the murder and violation of children. The Outsider is a riveting ‘whodunit’ tale of two opposing stories of a despicable murder of 11-year old, Frankie Peterson.

With all the botched child murders and trumped up charges against innocent men and women in today’s world, the reader is caught between empathizing with the outraged murdered son’s family, The Petersons, Detective Ralph Anderson, who believes without a doubt who the killer is, and the alleged killer himself, Terry Maitland who believes there is a case of mistaken identity…. But DNA doesn’t lie, does it?

Then enters private investigator, Holly Gibney. Stephen King’s writing genius is on full display with introducing Holly to the reader. Even though reader can thoroughly understand Ralph’s initial opinion of Holly and what she is asking them all to consider and believe as a possibile explanation of the inexplicable, this reader found herself rooting for this meek, anxious, praying character, Holly Gibney.

Stephen King fans, and I believe even readers who may not be rabid horror, supernatural fiction fans will enjoy his latest book, The Outsider. While there is certainly tension and suspense, I found the level of such not as riveting as some of his past novels, although I would put The Outsider in the same class as his novel, The Green Mile… and worthy of a movie too.

Stephen King is a master at his craft. No doubt.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers & Suspense, Crime, Murder

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, The Outsider by Stephen King earns a 4 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 4-half stars

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter@TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved