Multiple story lines converge in this London thriller. Criminal lawyer, wife and adultress, Alison has a rising career, faithful husband, and adorable daughter and yet can barely keep juggling her out-of-control drinking and lover without her life falling apart. Opening with a drunken scene revealing Alison’s illicit life of drinking and furtive coupling with her lover, Blood Orange introduces Alison’s latest coup- her first murder case. While her husband, Carl, seems almost too good to be true, Alison’s choices seem bound to catch her up in the end. Patrick, her secret lover, treats her badly and is also an attorney assigned to the murder case. As the threads of each story line begin to merge, we learn that although Alison is making bad decisions there are others choosing far worse options that will lead to permanent consequences.
A formidable debut.
The Edgars are awarded to the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television. Named in honor of the master, Edgar Allen Poe, this year’s winners will be announced on April 25 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in NYC. This year the nominees for best novel are:
The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard (Blackstone Publishing)
House Witness by Mike Lawson (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland)
Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (Penguin Random House – Hogarth)
A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
You can read more about the other nominees here. Stay tuned…
The SOE, or Special Operations Executive, was an English intelligence agency that was authorized by Churchill to “set Europe ablaze,” using subversion and sabotage during WWII. Eleanor Trigg is the fictional head of a program within the SOE to train women as radio transmitters, theorizing that they are less likely to be suspected by the Germans than male operatives. But at one point, almost an entire network based in and around Paris begins to disappear, and one operative’s radio transmissions become erratic. Eleanor tries to warn the Director that the girls may have been compromised, but he dismisses her fears. Jenoff does an impressive job of placing the reader in the middle of 1944 Occupied France, with her description of the brutal treatment of the French by the Germans and the French (Vichy) government. She suggests that the network of informants was considered expendable by the English government, in order to mislead the enemy, a horrifying premise. It’s an excellent read for anyone interested in WWII…
The difficult subject of eating disorders is addressed in this novel by Yara Zgheib. Anna Roux is a former ballerina who has anorexia and due to various factors, weighs 88 pounds when she finally seeks treatment for her disease. Her husband has convinced her that she needs help, and she joins other women who suffer from anorexia and other disorders, such as bulimia and binge eating, at the house on Swann St. Anna is fortunate that she has the support of her husband, Matthias, and her father, who lives in France; there are several women at the house that are taken out by ambulance and never return. The author does a superb job of illustrating the life of an anorexic with Anna as the narrator. In a note at the end of the novel, Zgheib cautions the reader to seek help if she recognizes symptoms, or knows someone else who suffers from an eating disorder.
Suspend your disbelief for this thriller set in New York City. Jess is a pretty 20-something make-up artist struggling to get by when she signs up to participate in a research study to earn some extra money. First she answers questions on a computer as ‘Subject #52.’ Later she is asked to perform more involved tasks. But why? She doesn’t know anything about Dr. Shields, the professor in charge of the study. As she digs deeper and gets more entangled, Jess realizes this is more than just a research study. It’s more sinister than anything she imagined. As long as you buy into the premise, you’ll enjoy the twists and tangles.