A Side of Murder by Amy Pershing
The first Cape Cod Foodie Mystery opens with a huge infodump, telling the reader all about the protagonist's childhood home and her friends and how crushed shell driveways are made... and it immediately turned me off. I didn't care about any of that, but as soon as the book got to the present and what was actually happening now I warmed up to Samantha Barnes and her surroundings and friends. Now I'm wishing this was an established series so that I could jump right into the next book. Samantha had left Cape Cod years ago to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional chef. It was all going well until that last blowup with her now ex-husband went viral on YouTube. Now she's inherited a dilapidated house and a huge puppy and is writing restaurant reviews while she tries to figure out what comes next. What happens is that she discovers a dead body. I love the characters, the setting, the complex mystery, the chemistry between Samantha and her first love who is now the harbormaster. And I absolutely can't wait for the next book.
Flowers of Darkness by Tatiana de Rosnay
I thought this one was right up my alley -- a thriller about a writer moving into an apartment in a high tech apartment building. It's the type of book I gravitate towards but this one just felt slow. And confusing. It's set in Paris in the near future and is deliberately vague about things like "the attack" until chapters later when it finally reveals what was attacked, but not by who. There are no more bees, or gardens....I guess due to global warming? But that's all a vague background to the events of Clarissa's life. Her too-good-to-be-true apartment is starting to make her uncomfortable. Maybe if I was more familiar with the works of Virginia Woolf or had ever heard of Romain Gary I would have appreciated the book more. Instead, I'm left wondering why someone would knowingly move into an apartment filled with cameras and then decide that being watched is sinister.
Posession by Katie Lowe
Hannah remembers almost nothing about the night her husband was murdered. Ten years have passed. The killer is in jail. She's built a new life for herself and things are going well...until a true crime podcast begins covering the case, questioning whether the man convicted of her husband's murder did it or maybe Hannah herself was responsible.
There's a lot going on in Hannah's life and the book jumps back and forth from before her husband's death to the present day. She visits the former asylum where her own grandmother spent time, works at an in-patient treatment facility for young women with eating disorders, sees visions of her dead husband critiquing her actions, and listens to each new episode of the podcast with her new lover and her now teenage daughter. As public opinion against her worsens, she steadily unravels.
It took me a while to get through this one, although my interest picked up once I thought I knew what turns the plot was taking. (My guesses were wrong.)
Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links.