Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Lifeboat

by Charlotte Rogan
January 20-February 5, 2013

Remember the phenomena around the Titanic when the movie came out? And then the treasure found at the bottom of the Atlantic went on tour to museums everywhere? The passenger I was assigned to on that tour died. I don't remember her name. Out of the 12 or so of us who went to that exhibit, only one was assigned a survivor. I'm oddly fascinated by this stuff. So it was a no-brainer when I read a review about The Lifeboat and it was on sale for the kindle.

Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, Grace and her new husband, Henry, are embarking on a journey aboard the Empress Alexandra. An explosion in the control room begins the demise of the boat, and Grace finds herself aboard an overcrowded lifeboat with no sign on Henry. While the passengers struggle for survival, death is chosen by others for others in order to keep the boat afloat. Told as a flashback through Grace's journal, we discover that Grace is on trial for murder.

Reading about how people were chosen to live or die was crazy and intriguing. I could feel the thirst and hunger these people endured (I won't say here how long they were in the boat; that may be a spoiler). After the rescue, when Grace was on trial for her own life, I may have gotten a little lost. Plus, the resolution at the end was neatly tucked-in and could have easily been passed over (I kind of liked that). I also think that there may have been a bigger picture to the plot, but I'm not sure I fully recognized it. That's OK though, I still found it to be a quick read and a page-turner for sure.

* * * * *

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Defending Jacob

by William Landay
December 2012-January2013

When my mom recommended Defending Jacob to me last summer, I was fairly quick to dismiss her. Most of the time we have the same reading tastes, but where we differ is in the murder/mystery category. She loves them: she's a huge fan of James Patterson. I liked the first few Alex Cross books, but quickly lost interest. I tried reading a few of the other series by Patterson, but yuck. That's it. Yuck. Not my cup o' tea. And while I continually proclaim to my mother that I'm not a lover of this genre, she continues to "persuade" me to read certain novels. She also has much more time to read, so therefore picks up just about anything from library because she can breeze through 350+ pages in a few days. I need to be more finicky since my reading time can be precious and limited. But after a few more positive reviews and the generosity of Joanna, who lent me the audiobook, I succumbed.

The assistant district attorney's son has been accused of murder. All signs point to Jacob's guilt, but isn't it a parent's duty to defend their child under any circumstance? Thus is the crux of Landay's third crime novel. I think what drew me in this time was the fact that I was reading a more character-driven novel with the focus on the family's relationship, unlike the usual whodunit. And although I am terrible at predicting the outcome of any book, I dare say that no one could have seen this ending coming.

Defending Jacob was a welcomed change. It even had me thinking about it for a few days afterward...always a good sign. Can you inherit a "murder gene?" Are you willing to defend a loved one at any cost? At what point does it simply become unbearable? Do you give up?

* * * * *