Thursday, January 31, 2019

THE GIRL IN THE GLASS BOX by James Grippando

This review first appeared in Library Journal and is published here with permission. 

In The Girl in the Glass Box, James Grippando’s fifteenth in the series (after A Death in Live Oak, 2018), Miami attorney Jack Swyteck is asked by his beloved Abuela to defend Julia Rodriguez, a less than forthcoming El Salvadorian immigrant facing deportation after entering the United States illegally to escape an abusive husband. The case is complicated by a hardline United States attorney, Rodriguez’s troubled teenaged daughter and unsympathetic sister, and several murders that implicates them all. Grippando weaves immigration law and policy, domestic abuse, and other current social issues into a story that will quickly capture and keep the attention of readers who may be compelled to read the book one sitting. A plot-driven legal thriller that subtly but effectively highlights modern social issues, certain to entertain today while highlighting issues of our time for future readers.  

VERDICT: A solid addition for fans of Swyteck that works well as a stand-alone for those unfamiliar with the series that will appeal to fans of Phillip Margolin, Alafair Burke, and William Bernhardt. 

Grippando, James. The Girl in the Glass Box, Harper Collins, February 5. 2019. 

A copy of The Girl in the Glass Box was provided by the publisher via Library Journal. No compensation was provided for this review. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

THE CURRENT by Tim Johnston

     Caroline and Audrey were on a road trip. Audrey on the way to see her father, a retired small-town Minnesota Sheriff, who was dying of cancer. And Caroline running from an embarrassing encounter with a professor and a broken relationship. But a spinout on the way sent the car through the ice of the Black Root river, leaving one girl dead and the second badly injured. The incident was reminiscent of the death of another girl ten years earlier, found in the same river. The case was never solved, and it haunted the whole town, especially Audrey’s father.  As the dying Sheriff started looking into what happened to his daughter, others started asking questions, too, about what happened years earlier to destroy not only the life of the girl found in the river, but the spirit of the town that lost her.
     The Current is more than the title of the second adult novel by Tim Johnston. It is a theme throughout the book: the current of the river, the wind, of thoughts, a tingle in the air, even in “the wings of [the doctor’s] open labcoat riding his currents.” 
     The writing had a strong, free-thought, poetic flow, pulling the reader into the story, pushing characters from the past to the present in their quest to find the truth that has eluded the town for so long, that ten years are anchored by the two deaths. 

Because life was organic and that was one kind of energy, ashes to ashes, but there was also energy between living beings, currents that traveled between them and outside of biology, and that energy could not be buried, and neither could it fade into nothing, because energy never just ended, it transformed and recycled and you felt it even if you didn’t believe in it…Whatever you called it there was a current and you were in it always and you couldn’t bury it.”

     The Current is about regrets and shame, doing the right things, or sometimes the wrong things for the right reasons. A death ten years ago that a town, a parent, a sheriff never overcame, and a recent death that could offer them all redemption. 
     Maybe the girl the current didn’t take could figure out what happened to the ones it did.

Johnston, Tim. The Current, Algonquin Books, January 22, 2019. 
ISBN: 978-1616206772

A copy of The Current was provided to The Thirty Year Itch by the publisher via; no compensation was provided for this review. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

HOW IT HAPPENED by Michael Koryta

     Rob Barrett is a rising star in the FBI, assigned to assist a small-town Maine Police Department solve the disappearance of a young couple, one the son of a prominent politician. Rob gets a jail-house confession from the a young, less than reliable drug addict, but despite Rob’s certainty that she’s telling the truth, her information doesn’t pan out, leaving Rob’s credibility with the local police and his superiors damaged. 
     But this case is more to Rob than a bad confession. The small town is Rob’s hometown and his childhood problems resurface almost as soon as he arrives. Despite his best efforts at reinventing himself, his past does its best to reclaim him, endangering relationships and possibly his career! 

     Michael Koryta fans and new readers will not be

disappointed by How it Happened. A great story that blends a good mystery with the personal battles we all face: overcoming our greatest weaknesses to become our best selves, but also knowing that our past will always be part of us. Koryta, as always, develops characters well, leaving readers to see a bit of themselves in each of them.

Koryta, Michael. How it Happened, Little, Brown & Company, May 15, 2018. 
ISBN: 978-0316293938

A copy of How it Happened was provided to The Thirty Year Itch by the publisher via No compensation was paid for this review.