In Last Night in Montreal, the debut novel by Emily St. John Mandel, Lilia Albert’s entire life has been a series of appearances and disappearances since she was abducted by her father when she was a young girl. By growing up this way, it is no surprise that she continues to weave in and out of other’s lives as an adult. During a short stay in New York City, she meets Eli and swifty moves in with him. Early one morning after telling Eli she is going for coffee, she fails to return and after looking everywhere for her resigns himself to the fact that she has disappeared. Some time later, he receives a postcard stating that she is now living in Montreal and he leaves on a quest to find her which leads him on a strange and unexpected journey. St. John Mandel threads the past and present together with an ethereal quality and tells the story of Lilia and those she has left behind throughout her life. I really loved Mandel’s writing and characters, but I have to admit the ending left me with more questions than answers. St. John Mandel has proven to be a gifted writer and I have just started her second novel, The Singer’s Gun, which I hope to blog about soon.
I recently listened to the audiobook version of Irish author Tana French’s debut mystery, In The Woods. French thrusts the reader into a dual storyline – one past and one present – both inextricably linked by one man, Inspector Rob Ryan of the Dublin Murder Squad. Twenty years before, Rob and his two young school chums made headlines when all three disappeared and Rob was later found alone exiting the woods without any recollection of what had happened to his friends – the case has remained unsolved.
In the current case, Rob and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned to a case involving the murder of a young ballet dancer, Katy Develin - a crime that was committed in the exact same spot as Detective Ryan’s incident twenty years prior (he changed his name from Adam Ryan due to the publicity of his case). Katy’s family begins to exhibit odd and baffling behavior and it peaks the interest of the detectives. Ryan and Maddox realize that someone close to the victim may be involved – but which family member knows more about Katy’s murder than they are admitting?
I am a big fan of mysteries and the ending of In The Woods was a shocker- I highly recommend it.
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