The Dry

By Jane Harper

Source: Purchased

Series: Aaron Falk #1

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Published by Flatiron Books

My Rating: four-stars

The Dry

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

I was looking for a good mystery to read to fill the Tana French void, now that I’ve read and loved all of her Dublin Murder Squad series. I’d heard very good things about The Dry, so I decided to pick it up and check it out.

This was really good! I loved the way the mystery was connected to a mystery in the past, and even if I thought I had it figured out, it was still a tense, suspensful, twisty story.  I also love reading mysteries set outside of North America, and the drought gave everything an extra air of menace.

Apparently the second book in this series is coming out in early 2018 and I’m very excited to read it! This is definitely a recommended read for mystery lovers.

Week In Review

December 4 – 10

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Happy Sunday! I’m enjoying some coffee and Coronation Street after a lovely weekend.

New books:

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for this ARC of The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson. I’m really curious about this one, and it might be just the thing to read over my Christmas holidays!

Books read:

I finished reading two good books this week:

The Dry, Jane Harper; and

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen.

Current reads:

I’m reading two books right now, but I’m not very  far into either one yet:

The Power, Naomi Alderman; and

Jane, Unlimited, Kristin Cashore.

Reviews:

I posted two reviews this week:

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds; and

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, Melissa de la Cruz.

I also posted about Supernatural: season three, episode three, Bad Day at Black Rock.

 

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Time for more Corrie, coffee, and couch time!

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

By Melissa de la Cruz

Source: Received from the publisher

Series: n/a

Received from the publisher, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Published by St. Martin’s Press

My Rating: two-stars

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Cover and synopsis from Goodreads:

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Oh how I wanted to love this book! I love Christmas, Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve enjoyed a previous book that I read by Melissa de la Cruz.

Unfortunately, this book just didn’t work for me. While there were some cute, fun scenes, I thought the characters were flat, the pacing was off, and the story wasn’t engaging me.

So while I really wanted to love this, unfortunately, I did not.

Project SPN Rewatch: Bad Day at Black Rock

Project SPN Rewatch: Bad Day at Black Rock

(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)

Season 3, Episode 3: Bad Day at Black Rock

Image and episode summary from Wikipedia:

Kubrick (Michael Massee) visits fellow hunter Gordon Walker (Sterling K. Brown) in prison, and is told that Sam must die due to his inhuman nature. Elsewhere, the brothers are alerted to a break-in at one of their father’s storage rooms in Buffalo, New York, where thieves have stolen a rabbit’s foot. Sam and Dean use security footage to track them down and retrieve the item. However, Bobby informs them that the foot is cursed. Anyone who touches it—Sam already has—is granted good luck, but will die within a week if the foot is lost. As Bobby researches a method to destroy it, Sam begins having good luck. Later, however, a waitress spills coffee on Sam to distract him and steals the foot. When Sam begins to have bad luck, they interrogate one of the thieves—the other who touched the foot has since died—and they learn about the woman who hired them, Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan). Bobby knows of her and how she steals supernatural items for profit, and gives them a lead on her location. Dean retrieves the foot from Bela’s flat in Queens, but Sam’s bad luck helps Kubrick and another hunter track him down. They prepare to kill Sam, but Dean arrives in time and uses the good luck of the rabbit’s foot to incapacitate them with a pen and TV remote. Bobby finds a ritual to break the curse, but Bela interrupts before its completion. She demands the foot, and shoots Sam in the shoulder to display her ruthlessness. Dean tricks her into becoming cursed, forcing her to allow the foot’s destruction. However, she gets the last laugh as she stole winning lottery tickets Dean got with the foot. Kubrick later visits Gordon in prison again. Believing the coincidences that helped him to locate Sam were caused by God, he agrees to help Gordon break out of prison.

This is a classic Supernatural episode! It’s also an episode where we meet another new character this season.

We open with a prison visit from Drew to Gordon! We know Gordon as the hunter who wanted to take Sam down in previous seasons. He’s not a fan of the Winchesters.

Drew is telling him about the demons set free after the Devil’s Gate was opened. Gordon is not surprised to hear that Sam Winchester was there, even if Drew’s intel says that Sam tried to stop the gate from being opened. Drew tells him Sam checks out – he’s a hunter, that’s all. But Gordon says he’s not even sure Sam is human.

I guess Gordon told Drew months ago that a war was coming – and it’s here. And Gordon is convinced that Sam is part of it and must die. He tells Drew to track Sam down and look into it for himself.

Meanwhile, on the road, Dean is furious that Sam is friendly with Ruby, who has revealed herself to be a demon. Sam says that Ruby can help get Dean out of his deal, but Dean doesn’t buy it.

Sam says they can use Ruby, though. There’s a demon war and Ruby knows more than they could ever find out on their own. It’s a risk they need to take.

Someone’s phone rings – it’s their dad’s old cell! Dean says he keeps it charged in case any old contacts call. Sam takes the call, telling Dean that apparently their dad kept a storage container outside of Buffalo. That call was to say that someone broke into it.

Drew is on the road too, in an RV with another hunter. They’re talking about how good a hunter Gordon is and if Gordon says Sam Winchester is dangerous, Drew believes him, despite the lack of evidence to support Gordon’s assertion.

Sam and Dean show up at their dad’s old storage container, which is full of stuff. There’s blood on the floor, along with a booby trap John Winchester had set up. Dean finds two sets of boot prints.

Dean finds an old 1995 trophy on the shelf – Sam’s division championship soccer trophy. He can’t believe their dad kept it. And Dean finds his first sawed-off shotgun that he made himself in sixth grade.

Moving towards the back of the container, they find a trove of their father’s weapons, including land mines and guns – none of which have been touched. The thieves seem to have known what they were after.

Sam notices several boxes with symbols on them for binding magic – curse boxes. Built to contain the power of the cursed object. Sam says this place must be his toxic waste dump, and notices that one box appears to be missing.

We cut to the two thieves, one of whom has been injured from John Winchester’s booby trap, debating whether to open the box they stole. One of them says that they took all the risk, why should they just hand it over to her? They could make more selling whatever is in the box themselves.

One of them (Grossman) opens the box, and finds a rabbit’s foot inside. He is not impressed. His friend picks it up, in disbelief that this is what they risked their lives for.

Suddenly there’s a knock at the door and thief 2 puts the rabbit’s foot back. The man at the door is telling them it’s 6 am and they need to keep it down. He goes over to investigate thief 2’s injuries, and tells Grossman there’s a medical kit under the sink. He tells him to get water boiling.

Sam and Dean drive up, having tracked down the thieves from the security camera. Inside, thief 2 keeps winning at poker. Sam and Dean enter and make their way down the hall as thief 2 realizes he can’t lose. He picks the rabbit’s foot up again and says there’s no way they’re handing it over. Sam and Dean come in, guns drawn, and tell the thieves to give them the box. Sam sees that they opened it and this pisses Dean off. Dean asks what was in the box and, looking around, he sees the rabbit’s foot.

Thief 2 takes this opportunity to push Dean away. Dean drops his gun, which lands on the ground and shoots, the bullet ricocheting around the room several times. Sam and Grossman lunge for the gun, and the four guys start to brawl, with Sam and Dean getting their butts kicked. Sam reaches out and grabs the rabbit’s foot, and manages to kick Grossman off of him.

Suddenly thief 2 is in front of Sam with the gun pointed right at him. He pulls the trigger, but nothing happens. Backing up, he trips over furniture and falls back, hitting his head and passing out. Grossman fumbles the gun and a bookshelf falls on top of him, knocking him out as well. As he falls, he lets go of his gun, which flies through the air and lands perfectly in Sam’s hand.

I am not doing this scene justice. It’s pretty great to watch! I was cracking up!

Dean says that was a lucky break, and the two brothers finally get a good look at the rabbit’s foot.

They go out for food – Biggerson’s!!! – and sit in the car together. Sam can’t find anything about the foot in their dad’s journal. Dean pulls out lottery scratchers, at which Sam rolls his eyes. Dean says that was his gun being aimed at Sam’s head. His gun doesn’t jam, and that was a lucky break, as was the thieves taking themselves out. He tells Sam to scratch the tickets, but Sam insists the foot must be cursed somehow, or else their dad wouldn’t have locked it up. But Dean is distracted by Sam’s lottery ticket winning $1,200 dollars.

Back in the motel room, the thieves are coming to. They stand up and see the damage done to the room. Thief 2 tells Grossman to get up. As he walks around the room, his foot taps a beer bottle that had been lying on the floor, which rolls around the room. Thief 2 makes his way to the kitchen, narrowly missing the bottle now lying on the kitchen floor, and grabs dishes out of the sink. He runs the water, washing his face. Drying his face with a cloth, he continues to yell for Grossman, who has not answered yet. Thief 2 turns back to walk over to Grossman and now slips on the beer bottle. The commotion rouses Grossman, who finds thief 2 impaled through the back of his throat via what looks like a barbecue fork that he had placed in the dishrack with the other dishes.

Seeing this, Grossman freaks out – understandably.

Back at the car, Dean can’t believe their luck with the lottery scratchers. Sam is on the phone with Bobby, admitting that they touched the rabbit’s foot. He says their dad never told him about this thing, and gets upset that Bobby knew about the storage locker. Looking down, Sam sees a gold watch laying in the parking lot. Bobby tells him the rabbit’s foot is real hoodoo, old-world stuff. It’s not a luck charm, it’s a curse, made to kill people. You touch it, you own it. You own it, you get a run of good luck. You lose it, that luck turns so bad that you’re dead inside a week. Sam tells Bobby he won’t lose it then, but Bobby says that everyone loses it. He says he doesn’t know if you can break the curse but he’ll look through his library and make some calls. He tells them to sit tight, as Sam puts the rabbit’s foot in his coat pocket.

Dean tells Sam they’re up 15 grand on lottery scratchers, but Sam doesn’t look impressed. As they walk into Biggerson’s, Dean tells Sam not to worry, Bobby will figure out a way to break the curst. He suggests they hit up Vegas in the meantime. Sam says to lay low, but as they get a table, they are congratulated and told they’re the one millionth guests at Biggerson’s, and win free food for a year as ballons fall and they have their pictures taken. Dean looks so happy and Sam looks so unimpressed.

Sam tells Dean how dangerous and cursed the rabbit’s foot is. While Dean stuffs his face, Sam explains that you can’t just got a foot off any rabbit. It has to be in a cemetary, under a full moon, on a Friday the 13th.

The waitress brings Sam more coffee, spilling a little. She cleans up the spill, and Sam and Dean seem to think she’s pretty cute. Dean tries to tell Sam that if he was ever going to get lucky…As Sam goes to drink some coffee, he drops his cup, spilling coffee everywhere. He stands up, and knocks over a server with a full tray of food. He puts his hand in his coat pocket and finds it empty. Cut to the waitress, taking off her wig and apron, who has stolen the rabbit’s foot from Sam.

Dean and Sam run out to look for her in the parking lot, and Sam immediately wipes out. Hahahaha!

Back in the RV, Drew and his friend get hungry. They look up the Biggerson’s menu and see the pictures of Sam and Dean, the lucky one millionth customers!

Grossman is having a drink, mourning the loss of his friend, thief 2, when Sam and Dean walk in. Dean says that they know a woman hired them to steal the rabbit’s foot, and they know because she just stole it back from them. Sam takes a step into the room and immediately wipes out, taking the lamp down with him.

Grossman won’t give up the woman’s name. Dean explains that the rabbit’s foot is responsible for his friend’s death. When you lose the foot, all that luck goes south. Dean says that Sam is next, and who knows how many innocent people will be after that. Does Grossman want those deaths on his head? He may be a thief and a scumbag, but he’s not a killer.

At Biggerson’s, Drew and his friend learn that no one saw which way Sam and Dean went, and since their food was free, there’s no credit card trail. Drew doesn’t seem too worried though – he says that there’s a higher power at work here, and they’ll track Sam and Dean down.

The brothers leave Grossman’s, having gotten the information they need. Bobby calls, right as Sam steps on gum that gets stuck to his shoe. Bobby tells Dean that he may have found something to help Sam, and Dean has to tell Bobby that the food was stolen from them by a young woman. Meanwhile, Sam is trying to scrape the gum off his shoe over a storm drain. Bobby realizes that the woman who hired the thief is Bela Talbot. She is not a hunter, but she knows her way around the territory. In the background, Sam’s shoe has fallen off into the drain. Bobby tells Dean to look out for Sam.

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The boys roll up to their motel and Dean tells Sam that Bela lives in Queens, and it should take Dean 2 hours to get there. Meanwhile, he is leaving Sam at the motel so his bad luck doesn’t get them killed. And it looks like Drew and his buddy have tracked them to the motel.

Dean tells Sam to sit down and do nothing. Sit down, don’t move, don’t turn the lights on or off, don’t scratch his nose. Then he leaves.

Dean breaks into Bela’s (Maggie from The Walking Dead!!), who is handling the foot with tongs – she has not actually touched it, so she clearly knows what she’s dealing with. Noticing her front door is ajar, she grabs a gun and sees her security system has been tampered with. She turns around as Dean steps out, each pointing a gun at the other.

Back at the motel, Sam is just sitting in his chair, doing nothing, when the air conditioner unit in the wall starts to smoke. As he stands up to investigate, it catches catches fire! Sam tries to smother the fire with the bedspread, but then his jacket catches fire! He uses the curtains to put them out, and falls back, revealing Drew and his friend outside the room.

Back at Bela’s, she tells Dean there’s a lot of money to be made in objects like the hunters use to stop big bad monsters. So she knows the truth about what’s really out there, and this is what she does with that knowledge. She procures items for a select clientele. Dean calls her a thief.

Back at the motel, Drew and his friend tape Sam to the chair. Sam asks who they are and what they want, but Drew stops him. He says he used to think that Gordon sent him, because Gordon asked him to track Sam down and put a bullet in his brain. Sam says great, that sounds like Gordon.

But Drew now thinks he’s on a mission from God. And then he proceeds to punch Sam, knocking him out.

Dean tells Bela that Sam touched the foot, and now that Bela took it, Sam’s luck has changed. Bela says she knows how it works, and Dean can have the foot – for 1.5 million dollars. Dean asks how she even found it, in the back of the storage locker In the middle of nowhere. Bela says she asked a few ghosts of the people it had killed. She tells Dean hunters are no better; we’re all going to hell and might as well enjoy the ride.

Dean reveals that he has the rabbit’s foot and makes to leave. Bela fires the gun but, with the luck from the rabbit’s foot, she can’t hit Dean. He escapes, telling her that if it’s any consolation, he thinks she’s a truly awful person.

At the motel, the hunters splash water on Sam’s face, reviving him. Drew accuses Sam of being part of the demon plan to open the Devil’s Gate and of knowing what the demons are going to do next. Sam denies it all, but Drew doesn’t believe Sam, hitting him. He says that Gordon told him about his powers, but Sam says it’s all gone now. Again, Drew hits him, not believing him. Drew says that there’s an army of demons out there, and they can’t take chances. He pulls a gun on Sam, but the other hunter – Creedey – protests. Drew tells him that they weren’t just lucky to find Sam – which Sam says he can explain – it’s the rabbit’s foot – but Drew tells him to shut up. Drew tells Creedey God led them to Sam, to do His work. It’s destiny.

As Drew pulls the trigger, nothing happens. From behind them, Dean says, “Nope”. Not destiny, just a rabbit’s foot. He has a gun pointed at Drew, who tells Dean to put the gun down. Dean obliges, picking up a pen and telling Drew there’s something about him that Drew doesn’t know. As Drew turns to Dean, Dean throws the pen, which lands right in the barrel of the gun. “It’s my lucky day.” Creedey and Drew both try to take Dean out, but fail, getting knocked out.

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Dean and Sam prepare to burn the rabbit’s foot in a graveyard, ending the curse, but Bela shows up, gun drawn. She tells them to put the foot down. Dean says that she won’t shoot anybody, starting to give her the same speech she gave Creedy, but she aims at Sam and shoots, getting him in the shoulder. She tells Dean that he has the luck and she can’t hit him, but she can’t miss Sam. Dean is furious, but Bela says who here hasn’t shot a few people?

She tells him to put the foot on the ground, but Dean throws it at her, and she catches it instinctively. Realizing her error, she agrees to the brothers destroying the foot. She’s pissed though – out 1.5 million and on the bad side of a psychotic buyer. The brothers don’t feel bad for her though, and she walks away, wishing them a nice night.

The foot and its curse are gone, and Dean says they’re back to normal, no good luck, no bad luck. Except for the 46 thousand dollars in scratch tickets – which they realize Bela has stolen on her way out of the cemetery.

“Son of a bitch!”

Back in prison, Drew tells Gordon that he was right about everything: Sam Winchester is more than a monster. He’s the adversary. Gordon asks what it was that convinced Drew, who replies that God led him to Sam and His will is clear. Even Gordon seems to think Drew is a tad nuts, but says he’s glad to have him on board. First thing’s first, though: they’ve got to get Gordon out of there. And Sam Winchester must die.

Lore:

-Cursed object

Overall Thoughts:

This is a classic Supernatural episode. It’s so funny!! There’s a lot of visual humour in this episode.

I like that Gordon is still in the picture as an antagonist, and I like the introduction of Bela. I’m on the fence about her character as a whole, but in this episode I thought she was great and the character had a lot of potential.

These first three episodes are, so far, reinforcing my belief that season three is one of the best of the early seasons!

Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds

Source: Library

Series: n/a

Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Published by Atheneum

My Rating: five-stars

Long Way Down

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Wow! This book is so good. It’s such a quick, absorbing read and as soon as I finished, I had to go back and read through it again.

I am usually not a fan of novels written in verse, but I had heard that this book is so great, and I knew that I just had to check it out. And it turns out that I loved the format of Long Way Down.

And that ending…it’s a real gut punch. I was not ready for it! I definitely recommend Long Way Down. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down.