Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig

The Forgotten Room. Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. Penguin Publishing Group (USA). Copyright 2016. 384 pp.; ISBN: 9780451474629.

Dr. Kate Schuyler is treating very wounded soldiers in a New York Hospital in 1945.  She has to deal with a huge amount of resentment and anger from her male colleagues.  One of the wounded soldiers, Captain Ravenel, insists she looks familiar to the woman in the miniature portrait he wears around his neck.  Add to that she’s wearing a ruby pendant that was passed down to her from her mother but one that Ravenel recognizes immediately later on in the story.

Then there’s Olive Van Allen, a maid in the home of the man who once refused to pay the architect bill and therefore ruined Olive’s father together.  Olive’s persistent desire for revenge is palpable; but instead she’s serving as a drudge maid who is exhausted from the pace of cleaning, etc. that this job entails.  Then she meets one of the Pratt sons, and her life begins to dramatically change.  She wonders if her motives will eventually be exposed at the same time she is becoming romantically attached to Harry’s romantic and artistic skills.

Finally, there is Lucy Young, who has come to work in New York but really is seeking out the identity and presence of her father.  She is actually coerced into serving as a companion to someone who just might know about the secret solution Lucy is seeking. 

The three women in this novel live in different times but their stories begin to coalesce.  The discoveries gradually and sensitively revealed are shocking to each of the three women.  Their quests will and will not be fulfilled, but the roller coaster ride is sure to satisfy every lover of adventure and mystery fiction.

These three notable authors have managed to create a smoothly plotted but solvable mystery with a life-threatening, hostile ending sure to send shivers down every reader’s spine.

Very nicely done!

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart

The Newsmakers.  Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart. Thomas Nelson, Inc.  January 2016. 352 pp.  ISBN#: 9780718037673.

Jettisoned!  That’s how Erika Sparks’ news anchor job is progressing!  She’s finally made it to the big time at a cable news network that is also working its way upward.  Her background is wounded and her daughter has become a stranger to her; Erika’s goal is to establish herself financially so that her daughter can become a meaningful part of life again.  She knows that fame can be disastrous if one forgets from where one began, and she’s determined to grow into her position but keep her head on straight in more ways than one.  However, circumstances will test her resolutions in several ways!

To begin with, Erika happens to be in place when a disastrous ferry accident causes numerous deaths and injuries.  She attempts to save the life of one of the victims and the pictures of her desperately working over this woman plus her own coverage propel her to be covered on every news channel, including CNN.  She becomes famous almost overnight. 

Then a potential Presidential hopeful nominee, Kay Barrish, has a heart attack and Erika again attempt CPR to save the life of this brilliant and well-respected woman. All of a sudden, the previously scornful owner of Erika’s news program is promoting her, although someone else had attempted to steal the limelight from Erika.  Add to that her supervisor, Greg Underwood, is showing romantic interest in Erika.

It’s all rather overwhelming, but Erika is still holding on to her level presence and is even planning on her daughter’s first visit.  However, something strange comes to her attention, the possibility that the ferry accident was caused deliberately.  Her independent investigation reveals something startling and frightening, something that gradually reveals a horrific connection.

The Newsmakers is a nail-biting crime novel with a very credible plot that promises fame and success to several people, Erika included, but which should not happen because of its unnatural evolution.  Erika is a skilled, spunky character who deserves every ounce of her success but who is humble enough to know that the nefarious plans of a certain person must be stymied now before it runs out of control and causes more tragedies at the expense of innocent victims.  Highly recommended reading and kudos to the authors for a mystery, criminal story that says a great deal about integrity and injustice – all for a goal that is highly questionable!