Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If You Like This, Try That Reviewlettes

 Remember when I used to talk about books instead of frantically trying to get rid of them before moving?  I figure I can marry up these two pursuits by reviewing some books that have been spending a bit too long on my desk.  I've got two great books to tell you about today, both of which put me in the mind of a couple of my favorite TV shows.  If you like your books to occasionally complement your TV-watching habit, today's post is for you! ;-)

 If you like Orange is the New Black, try....

Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co. by Maria Amparo Escandon - Libertad Gonazalez, ironically, is in Mexican prison.  Even more ironically, it's the first time she's ever had female friends and a home that's not on wheels.  Finding an unlikely family in the cells of the Mexicali Penal Institution for Women with its bizarre class structure and warden with a heart of gold, Libertad still finds it difficult to tell the story of her life and crime to the women that surround her, so she unconsciously decides to read it to them.  Pretending to read the library's books to her fellow inmates at her newly established Library Club, Libertad shares the tale of her life with her father, a man on the run from the Mexican authorities who drives truck to keep them off his trail, even though they became an imaginary threat long ago.  Escandon weaves a charming, unique modern day fairy tale of Libertad's parents' love story, her rootless life on the road with an overprotective dad, and the love she found that made her so desperate to leave life on the road behind that she ends up in prison.  Gonzalez and Daughter is a clever read about a woman who has to go to prison to find freedom.  Bonus points because the prison community comes to life and definitely smacks of the uneasy camaraderie found among the inmates on Orange is the New Black.  Definitely give this one a try!

If you like Criminal Minds, try...

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood - I thought The Killer Next Door was a fascinating combination of literary fiction and mystery with a super-creepy serial killer that only a Criminal Minds fan could love.  Marwood's book brings the denizens of sketchy South London house full of pay by the month flats dramatically to life.  There's an immigrant, a runaway, an elderly woman unwilling to part with her rent control, a woman on the run from a moment in the wrong place at the wrong time, and, oh yeah, there's the normal looking guy that's actually a serial killer hard at work mummifying the remains of his kills within the confines of his flat.  If you're looking for a thrill a minute, twisty sort of book that you won't be able to put down, this might not be it.  It's no difficult task to guess the killer.  However, The Killer Next Door is a convincing story of how a houseful of strangers with secrets becomes a family, united against their scumbag landlord, all with a side of perfectly twisted serial killer.  I loved these characters, was taken in by the fringe of society where they exist, and loved the black humor that added a little levity to a dark story that doesn't end up seeming so dark at all. I love Alex Marwood's unique deeper take on the traditional crime thriller and look forward to whatever she comes up with next.

(Thanks to the publisher for my copy of The Killer Next Door in exchange for review consideration.  Gonzalez and Daughter is from my own stacks.)


  1. I haven't read any of those books. :(

  2. Okay, I love both those shows, and I definitely think I'd love both those books too! Neither of which I'd heard of before, so thank you, Megan dear!

  3. The Killer Next Door sounds really good. I've seen maybe one part of one episode of Criminal Minds. I never really got into that show.

    I do like Orange is the New Black and so will definitely be checking out Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co.

  4. I haven't heard of either of these books, nor have I watched the t.v. shows you compared them to, but they both sound really good. The first one, especially. I'm definitely going to look them up at my library.