HUSHED by Kelley York
I heard about Hushed by Kelley York from Christa Desir-- I ordered the book in December, I think, and for some inexplicable reason only opened it last week. The premise sounded interesting-- here's the scoop, from Goodreads:
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
I loved it-- it was dark, yes, but also fascinating. York is especially skilled, I think, in leading us to change our minds about the main characters-- to see Vivian and Archer more clearly as time goes on, and to better understand what makes them tick. To really understand the nuances of their personalities. I think what I enjoyed most was Archer's transformation, and his relationship with Evan. It was so heartfelt, so sweet-- just amazing.
Who hasn't been in a place where someone believes in you more than you believe in yourself? Evan believed in Archer so fully-- and it helped transform him.
Okay, so it's a suspense book, and I pick out the personal, sweet relationship to focus on. Go figure. I should also say the mystery was solid, the suspense was spine tingling and completely believable. There's something so interesting about seeing characters get in way over their head, and having NO IDEA how the author is going to get them out of it. York pulled it off in a logical, realistic way.
I highly recommend it.
This is a classic whodunnit in the style of Agatha Christie-- and Roberts has been described as "The American Agatha Christie", though according to Wikipedia, her first mystery was published 14 years before any by Christie. In fact her, Wikipedia biography reads like a book of its own. Her father was a failed inventor, she created a character called "The Bat" that was one of the inspirations for "Batman", and the phrase, "The butler did it" was (inaccurately) based on one of her stories.
Here's the basic premise of The Circular Staircase:
A spinster Aunt and her niece and nephew rent a summer house in the country-- an enormous estate called Sunnyside. Despite the charming name, almost immediately people begin dying off, and there are all kinds of mysterious turns, strangers, odd noises, ghost sitings, and general mayhem. The spinster Aunt, who tells the story, refuses to leave the house until she gets to the bottom of the mystery, despite the dead bodies piling up!
I'm not certain what this cover is supposed to depict-- I don't think the sea or boats are mentioned even in passing.
It was a great classic mystery. The spinster Aunt was an especially fun character-- hard-headed, determined, and no-nonsense in the best way!
So, if you're looking for a classic or a modern suspense for summer reading, check these out!