Cul-de-sac by Joy Fielding

Joy Fielding is a new author to me – I have never read anything written by her before, but she is fairly popular with patrons at the library. Her latest title Cul-de-sac is a twisty psychological suspense thriller that focuses on secrets hidden within one community.

At the end of a quiet suburban cul-de-sac live five families. Someone in this cul-de-sac will be shot dead in the middle of a hot July night. Who is responsible? What drove them to murder? What secrets live in each of the five houses?

Maggie and Craig are recent arrivals to Florida. Maggie is a jumpy perfectionist, while her husband Craig could never quite be what she needed. They packed up their two kids and moved from California to Florida hoping for a new start. Maggie wants to leave behind the bad memories that destroyed their perfect California lives, but she finds that even sunny Florida can’t fully dispel the shadows she sees lurking everywhere.

Nick is a respected oncologist. His wife, Dani, is a successful dentist. Even though she is a doctor in her own right, others look down at her and treat her as just Nick’s wife. Dani and Nick have their own deep secrets that they have even managed to hide from their two children for years.

Julia is an elderly widow. Her son and his fourth wife want her to sell her house and move into an assisted care facility. To combat this, Julia’s troubled grandson has recently moved in to help her, much to her son’s chagrin. Her grandson’s bad habits have followed him to Julia’s house though.

Olivia and her husband Sean are going through a rough patch. Sean recently lost his job at a prestigious advertising agency, meaning that Olivia has had to find a job to support the family. Sean resents his wife, has started drinking heavily, and his depression is getting worse. Despite searching for a job, he is unable to find one. He spirals out of control, leading to increasingly violent fantasies.

Aiden and Heidi are newlyweds. They recently moved into their house, which Aiden’s mother purchased for the two. Their marriage is already floundering and is made even worse by Aiden’s mother’s constant intruding. Heidi has repeatedly expressed her displeasure to Aiden, but he is reluctant to stop her since his mother controls all of the money.

Each house has their own secrets, while each also has access to guns. This makes for a deadly combination. Someone will not survive the night.

This book is also available in the following formats:

No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot has long been a favorite author of mine for a number of years ever since she released her Princess Diaries series in the early 2000’s. She released a new book in the fall of 2019 called No Judgments that peeked my interest from the swirly cover and the main character’s pink hair on the cover.

No Judgments by Meg Cabot is the first book in the Little Bridge Island series. Bree Beckham moved to Little Bridge Island to escape her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend only to find herself in the path of a massive hurricane. Not believing all the hype, Bree doesn’t think that this hurricane is going to be as bad as everyone says it will be. Working at the local diner, Bree is privy to all the happenings of the locals and the news talking about the hurricane. While the locals are boarding up their homes and businesses, Bree is busy dodging calls from her famous worried mother and her intrusive ex-boyfriend.

When the hurricane lands and Little Bridge Island loses all power and cell service, as well as its connection to the mainland, the little peace that Bree made for herself begins to unravel. Not able to get back into her place, Bree’s mind wanders and when she realizes just how many islanders are now stranded off the island with no way to get back to their pets, she has to help. She can’t leave those pets to suffer in the heat with no food or water until their owners come back. She has to do something.

As Bree begins to make a plan, she has no choice but to accept that she needs help. Enter Drew Hartwell, her boss’s seriously sexy nephew. As the two travel across Little Bridge Island looking for lost pets, Bree finds herself falling for Drew. Are her feelings real? Is this island fling the result of them being thrust together by the hurricane? Could Bree and Drew last past the cleanup of the hurricane and the power being turned back on or is it just a stormy relationship meant to kill time? Bree isn’t sure what to believe in, but she knows that those pets need her help.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

badmonkeyI have an embarrassing admission…

I’ve never read anything by Carl Hiaasen before.  I’ve never read Hoot or Skinny Dip or Native Tongue.  And I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I picked up his newest novel, Bad Monkey.  With reviewers calling the novel a “misadventure” and described Hiaasen as a “premier humorist”,  my expectations were high.  I was not disappointed.

Bad Monkey introduces Andrew Yancy, a former Miami Police detective and soon to be former Monroe County sheriff’s officer, who now spends his days counting the cockroaches in local restaurants as a restaurant inspector.  Wanting to leave behind his “roach patrol” duties, Yancy believes he may have found his way back onto the force when a tourist fisherman pulls in a human arm and the scandal adverse county sheriff declares the arm’s loss an accident.  Yancy believes that there is more going on than meets the eye, so he begins his own investigation.

There is a lot going on in this book, but it never feels weighted down or overly ambitious.  The stories weave together in a way that feels natural, and Yancy is perfectly imperfect in the way of all the best anti-heroes.   Employing a dark sense of humor, Bad Monkey is moralistic without ever coming off as preachy and weird without forgetting reality.  Revenge fantasy at it’s best, Bad Monkeyis a seriously fun read.  I feel kind of lucky that I have such a backlog of Hiaasen books to read until his next book is released.