Friday 56, January 13, 2023: Murder Beyond the Grave by James Patterson, Andrew Bourelle and Christopher Charles

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

Danny climbs out of the cab and circles around to the back of the van. Inside sits the wooden box he built, the PVC pipe, a cloudy jug of water, an assortment of candy bars, a car battery, and a shovel. Danny reaches for the shovel and circles back to the front of the van, where the headlights illuminate a section of sandy ground”.

Murder Beyond the Grave by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle, page 56

This book has 2 separate stories, the first called Murder Beyond the Grave. At page 56, Danny, a “reformed” drug dealer, can’t handle the straight life. Where once he had cash to burn, he now has piles of bills with no way to pay them. One day he drives past the house of a rich man with a Ferrari in the driveway and he hatches a plan to kidnap him for ransom money. The passage above is Danny setting up the place where he will bury the man alive in a makeshift wooden box until the ransom is paid. Given the title, I think I know what ends up happening. I cringe just thinking about being buried alive.

It was Bonnie’s parents who’d demanded a traditional service. They had never approved of Jim beyond his finances, especially not his mother-in-law, whose previously snide comments turned downright hostile after her daughter’s death.”

Murder Beyond the Grave (Murder in Paradise) by James Patterson and Christopher Charles, page 184

At page 56 of Murder in Paradise, the victim has already been killed, and we have a suspect, but the killer has not yet been arrested. The author seems sympathetic of the husband, but the above quote also seems to suggest that perhaps the husband isn’t just the grieving widower he is portraying. Could he be acting? Bonnie was cheating, after all. Maybe he suspected, or even knew of her infidelity? Bonnie’s lover had also been shot — he survived, but maybe that was an accident. Let’s see!

Friday 56, January 6, 2023: Took by Mary Downing Hahn

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

They were too busy arguing to pay much attention to either Erica or me. I don’t think they realized how miserable we were. Or how much they’d changed.

Took by Mary Downing Hahn, page 56

At this point in the book, Erica and her brother Daniel have moved with their parents from Fairfield, Connecticut to a small town in West Virginia. The children’s family, a once successful investment banker, has been laid off and is unable to find gainful employment in his chosen career, and since CT is so expensive, they sold their house and move to WV. The kids are outcast, coming from a “fancy” place, and do not make any friends. The parents, obtaining retail jobs, are also unhappy.

I have to say that I am more than a little confused. Why would an investment banker move to WV and take a job at Home Depot? Since this is a children’s middle grade book, maybe that particular detail doesn’t matter (nor would it be picked up by the intended audience?).

Anyway, the set up so far about the girl disappearing from the house Daniel and Erica’s family bought (and that maybe Erica is next) is good and I am interested to find out what happens.

Friday 56, December 23, 2022: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

Terry wondered if any of them would talk on the way back home, and if Alice even could be quiet. She hoped not. She wanted to talk, find out how everyone had fared.”

Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond, page 56

At this point in the book, we have met the four main characters: Terry, Alice, Ken and Gloria. They are test subjects at the lab in Hawkins in 1969. They have already endured their first test, and are on their way back home.

Friday 56, December 16, 2022: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

I listened to the message, over and over, and now that I was hearing it properly I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed before the slight breathlessness of your delivery, the uncharacteristic softness of your speech, hesitant, faltering.

You were afraid.”

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Friday 56, December 2, 2022: American Mother by Gregg Olsen

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

Though concerned about her mother, Stella had other things to worry about. She told her favorite sister she had braced herself for her daughter’s testimony.

‘You watch and you’re going to see one of the greatest performances you’ve ever seen. Cynthia is a good actress. She could make you believe anything.'”

American Mother by Gregg Olsen

This quote is taken from the 56% mark in the e-book. At this moment, Stella has been accused of murdering her husband by poisoning him with cyanide. She is accused of putting the poison in his Excedrin capsules. Cynthia, her daughter, is set to testify against her. Stella has always proclaimed her innocence, at times even blaming her daughter for the death. This quote shows the deterioration of what was once a tight and strong relationship.

Friday 56, November 18, 2022: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

‘She doesn’t have kids, then?’ he asks, and I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but the second the subject of children comes up, I can hear an edge in his voice and I can feel the argument coming and I just don’t want it, can’t deal with it, so I get to my feet and I tell him to bring the wine glasses, because we’re going to the bedroom.”

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This quote is taken from page 56 of the book. At this point in the book, we have met two women, Rachel and Megan, from who’s point of views the story is told. Rachel’s story takes place in the “present”, around July 2013. She is the “girl on the train.” Fresh off a bitter divorce, Rachel has turned to alcohol to forget her troubles, of which she has many. Although fired from her job, she takes the train to “work” everyday anyway, passing by what used to be her old home, where her ex and his new wife and daughter currently reside.

A few doors down from Rachel’s old house lives a woman and a man, who Rachel has named Jess and Jason (real names Megan and Scott). Everyday as Rachel passes by on the train, she gazes out the window and watches “Jess” and “Jason”. Rachel imagines a perfect life — a perfect couple — that is until she sees “Jess” kissing another man.

The other POV in the book is that of Megan (Jess). Her story takes place in the past, starting in May, 2012. Her story is slowly being brought to the present. By page 62 we have made it to January 2013 in Megan’s timeline. I am interested to know how her story progresses, for in July, 2013 (Rachel’s timeline) we learn that Megan is missing.

All in all a great set up for the rest of the story in the first 56 pages!

Friday 56, November 11, 2022: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

‘So,’ Jane says, elbows on her knees, scrutinizing me. ‘What happened out there?’

I shut my eyes. ‘Panic attack.'”

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

This quote is taken from page 56 of the book. At this point in the book, we know a few things about Anna:

  1. She used to be a child psychologist, but now is confined to her home due to agoraphobia — Anna spends her time watching her neighbors through the windows and/or watching old black and white movies.
  2. She drinks way too much, mixing it with her prescription medication.
  3. Anna and her husband are separated, and Anna’s daughter is with the husband.

There has been some sort of trauma in the recent past which caused the agoraphobia, but we do not yet know what it is.

The first 56 pages is a lot of set up to show us that Anna is a hot, unstable, mess. Based upon the Goodreads synopsis, we know that soon Anna will see something through the window she shouldn’t have, and there will be a question as to whether it was real or imagined, a byproduct of her pills and the alcohol.

I’m waiting with bated breath to find out what it is.

Friday 56, November 4, 2022: Snow by Ronald Malfi

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

She looked at the rows of houses they were passing, silent and dark and brooding. ‘Like there are people in there watching us.'”

Snow by Ronald Malfi

This quote is taken from page 57 of the book. Ronald Malfi is fast becoming one of my favorite horror writers, and of the three books I have read (two of which I have already finished), this one is my favorite so far.

Todd was on his way to visit his son for Christmas when a massive snow storm grounded all flights for the foreseeable future. Todd, who lives in NYC, gets stuck in Chicago and his luggage gets stuck on the plane. Instead of waiting for another flight, which probably wouldn’t be until sometime the next day, Todd decides that he is going to drive from Chicago to Des Moines, a distance of around 300 miles. He promised his son that he would be there in the morning, and he is hell bent on keeping that promise.

While waiting in line at the rental car counter, he runs into a woman who was supposed to be on the flight with him, and they decide to brave the storm in a rented SUV, along with an elderly couple.

Things take an unexpected turn for the worse when they encounter a man walking alone on the snowy highway. Todd barely misses hitting him with the car and they crash into a snow embankment, damaging the radiator. The man is frantically looking for his missing 8 year-old daughter, and the quartet decide to bring him with them to the nearest town to get help. But what they find in this town is nothing they could have imagined. It looks deserted, but then strange things start to happen….

Friday 56, October 28, 2022: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

Two years in, I was hardened and ready to protect my sister, who I was sure would receive the same treatment that I had. Maybe hers would be even worse. She would come to each day weeping and I would wrap my arms around her and soothe her. It would be us against the world.

Rumor has it that she was asked out on her first day, by a boy in SS2. It was unprecedented. Boys in the senior classes didn’t notice juniors, and when they did, they rarely tried to make it official. She said no. But I received the message loud and clear.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The above quote is taken from page 56 of the book. Our two main characters are sisters, Korede and Ayoola, who live in Nigeria. Korede, the elder sister, is a plain, average woman who works at the hospital as a nurse. Ayoola, the younger sister is beautiful — sometimes harmfully so. I’m actually not sure what she does for a living, but she seems to post a lot on social media. Men are always fawning over her, and this sometimes leads to tragedy.

At this point in the book, Ayoola has already killed her third boyfriend with their deceased father’s knife, officially making her a serial killer. Korede has helped Ayoola clean up after each murder. The sister’s seem to have a messed up bond, created by their abusive father. Korede feels the need to protect her little sister, even from her own crimes. Ayoola says that it was in self defense, but Korede often wonders if this is the case. Can it always be in self defense? Will she kill again?

One day Ayoola makes an appearance at the hospital where Korede works and meets the doctor, Tade, that Korede has feelings for. Tade is immediately overcome with want for Ayoola and Korede worries that he will become her next victim.

I really like this book so far. It’s easy to read and its an interesting topic.

Friday 56, October 7, 2022: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

For a moment, I considered the idea of throwing in the towel; maybe it was time to find a sandwich and plan a real itinerary.

The moment this thought crossed my mind, I shook my head. That sounded exactly like something James would say. As rain continued to batter the glass windows of the library, I willed myself to ignore this voice of reason–the same one that had told me to rip up my Cambridge application and encouraged me to take a job at the family farm. Instead, I asked myself what the old Caroline would do–the Caroline of a decade ago, the zealous student not yet dazzled by a diamond on her finger.”

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

By page 56 of the book we have been introduced to the 2 main characters of the story, Nella and Caroline.

Nella is the owner of a hidden, secret apothecary shop in 1791, which dispenses poisons. Nella only sells to women, often times to dispatch the misbehaving men in their lives. We don’t know too much else about Nella at the moment, other than she used to have a reputable Apothecary (once owned by her late mother), but after a betrayal at the hands of a man (we don’t really know the details of this betrayal yet), she turned to the dark side of potions, elixirs and herbs.

Caroline’s story takes place in “present day” England. An American history major, Caroline has spent the past 10 years preparing to be the dutiful mother. She set aside her dream of going to Cambridge to pursue a higher level education in history, when she accepted the marriage proposal of her then boyfriend (now husband) James. Unable to find a job with merely a bachelors degree in history, Caroline settled into a cozy / stable job at her parent’s farm, where she remained for the last decade. On the other hand, over the past 10 years, James, a brilliant accountant, has risen through the ranks and is close to becoming partner of the firm. It was never the right time to have a baby, but with James’ career finally where it should be, the time has come, and they start trying.

Caroline couldn’t be happier, that is, until she finds out James has been cheating on her. The next day she hops on a plane to England to go on the trip that should have been their 10 year anniversary celebration.

So far, I don’t like Caroline very much. I don’t see why she couldn’t have gone to Cambridge, if they were going to wait to have children anyway. Or why wait to have children, when Caroline was just going to work at the family farm anyway? The whole premise seems silly to be honest. The author has written her to be someone who seems to think that motherhood and a career are somehow mutually exclusive things.

Let’s see how things progress.