The House Keeper by Natalie Barelli

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Once there was a wealthy girl named Claire. Claire lived in one of the most expensive parts of NYC. A future debutant. Claire has a younger brother. While Claire was enjoying her early teenage years, Claire’s parents hired a nanny from Canada for her younger nine-year-old brother. The nanny only lasted a week.

Claire is 24 and living in a different part of NYC. Her life fell apart. She lost everything. Never getting to be a debutant leaves her very bitter. Claire coincidentally sees the nanny who she is positive is responsible for ruining her life—basically causing her to be a lonely, poor inconsiderate young woman. Claire can’t believe this coincidence. Claire’s mission in life is now to get to this person somehow and force her to reveal what she did to Claire’s family. Claire is positive; this nanny, who is married, wealthy with a baby, has stolen her life. She devises a plan to get the person who destroyed her world to tell the story of what took place during that one week this nanny worked for Claire’s family. The following months after this nanny left were horrid. Claire was sure that nanny told lies, which involved lawyers and the unfortunate death of both parents. The 24-year-old hasn’t moved past what went on when she was 13. Claire is a 24-year-old but viewing the world through 13-year-old eyes.

The characters are well defined. The House Keeper is a stay up all night page-turner. This book has unexpected—surprises throughout the book. I enjoyed The House Keeper.

The Mask by Dean Koontz

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Who are we really? This is a concept explored in The Mask. Who is actually Uber a face. Is there reincarnation. Can a person be haunted. Are mentally ill people more than that.

This is a Jane Doe story. The central character has complete and total amnesia. A girl without any idea how she wound up where she was. Luckily a psychiatrist finds her and works with her to uncover who she is.

The Mask starts out with a story about a young girl from a very long time ago. A little about her short life. Does this have anything to do with Jane Doe? Only the reader knows about this other girl from long ago. It’s a side story.

Jane Doe is sweet but a bit scary sometimes. Weird things start happening around her. Scary weird things. Deep in Jane Does subconscious there are things she needs to do. No one figures this out. The psychiatrists husband is the one who really feels the danger. He puts together something from nothing. Jane Doe has a past. Revenge is her future.

Leaving the husband as the voice of reason was an excellent idea. The psychiatrist trying to help Jane Doe is dooming them all. Very original story. Quick and easy read.

Crooked River by Preston & Child (FBI Special Agent Pendergast #19)

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The Pendergast series is one of my favorite series. You can read the books in any order. Each book is a stand-alone novel. Crooked River finds FBI Special Agent Pendergast

on vacation in Florida with his ward Constance. Another agent is recouping from injuries in another part of Florida. A case washes up on the shores of Florida.

The tide started washing up severed feet. The feet just kept coming. Fortunately for the local sheriff, these two FBI agents are there to take on the case of the severed feet. Pendergast is a very wealthy man. For this reason, he can go beyond the means of a typical special agent. He has unlimited resources, so anything is possible.

Pendergast gets himself in over his head in this one. The ever mysteries ward, Constance, is a significant part of this book. The reader learns a lot about her abilities, but Constance is still a mystery in many ways, as is Pendergast. That’s part of the draw to this series. The reader never knows what hidden surprises lie within each book about the reoccurring characters. They are a series of characters. Overall as a stand-alone book, the reader gets everything they need for this to be a fantastic stand-alone novel. No one reads just one. Preston & Child are an excellent writing team.