All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage & Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo
I love murder mysteries, even when they aren’t super intense psychological thrillers with serial killers. This quieter story, looking at the darkness in people that leads to murder. You meet a whole cast of characters, some you love, some you feel bottomless pity for, and others you despise. You leave the book knowing that you were right all along, and wondering how people end up in the situations that they end up in.
I found the book to be a fast read, I loved the cover design, and it kept me interested the whole way through as I wondered if the husband really did murder his wife, or if it was one of the other characters in the book. The story follows, at the core, the life of the Clare family, who bought an old farm house that the previous owners were forced to give up. The farm house has some bad history, and some townsfolk think it’s cursed, I mean, look what happened to the next couple that moved in. You open the story learning that George Clare’s wife was murdered while their child is at home, it’s hard to tell the time of death, and the husband is immediately suspected, but no proof can be found, and he wasn’t home around the time that the police suspect the murder occurred. From this point, you go back in time and learn about the inter workings of their lives, and the lives of their friends, all leading up to the moment of truth.
It’s dark. You see the terrible side of human nature. You see pain and suffering, and the way people view each other in a small town. You learn that you can’t fake it and make, and that eventually someone will find out the lies that you told. You go through a whole slew of emotions: sadness, grief, pity, hatred, anger, happiness at the small things, and satisfaction. For something that I picked up because I liked the cover and saw the word “murder” on the back cover, I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I read it back in March, I can still recall specific details about the book, which is something I consider important. The more time passes, the more things fade, and if I look back at a book on my shelf and can’t remember anything about it without turning it over to read the back, I know it didn’t really move me too much. You know?
In addition to being a huge King fan, I’m also a pretty huge Nesbo fan as well! This is a sequel to Blood on Snow, but not a direct sequel, in the idea that the lead character has changed. Now we follow a failed hit man, who is on the run. He’s completely paranoid, jumping at every shadow and is certain that every time he falls asleep will be his last.
It’s a short novel, and I blew through it! Jon, our failed hit man, finds himself getting more involved with a local woman in the village (though he knows it’s a bad idea) and is still hiding out in a remote hunting cabin. All he has is a rifle, some food, and the money he stole. Although, he can’t hide there forever, because it’s a fact that the Fisherman never lets anyone who betrays him live.
I feel like I can’t talk too much about it, or I’ll give it away! But I’d suggest reading Blood on Snow first, which is another great short novel about a different hit man (one who is actually good at his job). Though this one is about what happens when a hit man, who knows too much, is now the one who needs to be offed. It’s a good read, great characters, and I for one just enjoy Nesbo’s writing style. Though, I’m still patiently waiting for the next Harry Hole novel!! How dare he just have the last chapter be a HORRIBLE CLIFF HANGER?! You can’t just do that to me!