Tomato Readers Books Reviews
Our Tomato readers have picked three novels this week, all with very different themes, but you will want to add them to your summer read list.
A Page Turner at Its Best! A Five Star Read.
Her Sister’s Death by K. L. Murphy is set in Baltimore, Maryland between current time and 1921. Val Ritter, a crime investigative reporter for the Baltimore Daily has just learned of her sister, Sylvia’s death. Her sister was found dead in the Franklin Hotel. Val thought her sister was out of town on a business trip. The police believe it was suicide because an empty pill bottle was found by her bed. Val does not believe it was suicide, she has many questions about what has happened to her sister.
At the local library Val meets Terry Martin, a retired detective. He currently runs a security firm at this library where they have just met. Val begins to share the details of her sister’s death with Terry, he also thinks it may not be suicide. After realizing how upset Val is about her sister’s death, he decides he wants to help her find out what happened to Sylvia.
Terry tells Val that the Franklin Hotel has a history of deaths that have happened there. He does not tell her everything he knows about the hotel, especially about the story of a young woman named Bridget Wallace who stayed there in 1921. Bridget had married a much older man and her honeymoon night ended tragically in 1921 in the same suite that Val’s sister was in.
Author K. L. Murphy does such a wonderful job of a slow building and very suspenseful mystery story. It is written in first person narrative that follows Val and Terry’s investigation into her sister’s death. The third person narrative that follows the story of Bridget Wallace’s stay at the Franklin Hotel in 1921.
The characters are so well written, rich in personality. I was hooked on this book from page one. This is a page turner at its best. K. L. Murphy is one of our brilliant local authors here in Richmond, VA. I can’t wait to read her other books. Loved this one, it was a five star for me. Highly recommend. GET THE BOOK.
~Francene Katzen, Richmond, Virginia, advocate for parents who have children with drug addictions.
A Poignant, Significant Literary Work
The Alchemy of Noise by Lorraine Devon Wilke is a poignant and significant literary work with a level of artistry that is hard to achieve even by the best novelists. Lorraine’s colorful and multi-layered articulation of the many facets and nuances of her dynamic and lovely characters, Chris and Sidonie, is perfection. Her intimate and deft portrayal of Chris and Sidoni’s journey together and the deep love between and around them, as well as the devastating challenges and negative outside influences they experience as a couple was compelling and kept me thoroughly engaged.
You’ll love these people, and you will root for them as they experience the roller coaster ride of their relationship in the modern and, often times, cruel world in which they live. Chris’s life experience as a Black man before and during his relationship with Sidonie, and the life experience of Sidonie as a white woman before and during her relationship with Chris, was stunning, illuminating, and devastating but never without hope and humor.
The incredible love story, rich characters and the important issues of today presented in this beautifully written novel reminded me what a highly skilled, sensitive and intuitive writer can achieve. Not only did “The Alchemy of Noise” entertain and excite me, it also enlightened and changed me… for the better. And that’s a big “Wow” in my humble opinion. You should do yourself a big favor and read it ASAP.
~Debbie Zipp, The Three Tomatoes LA Life Editor, actress & producer
A Fun Beach Read
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes is a good beach read. A madcap story about two women, who couldn’t be more different, who find themselves experiencing the other’s lives – all due to a pair of red crocodile-skin Christian Louboutin sling-back high heels.
A gym bag containing the heels are mistakenly switched in the locker room by Sam Kemp, a hectic woman who is rushing for a business meeting. Sam is desperately trying to keep her household together. Sam is the sole breadwinner for her daughter, a teen with an attitude, and a husband who lost his job and has been in a near catatonic depression for the past year. Speeding away from the gym with colleagues for the meeting, Sam discovers her mistake and has no choice but to wear the shoes – which transform her into a confident woman who now gets noticed and she closes nearly every sale.
The rightful owner of the shoes, Nisha Cantor, is the spoiled second wife of a ruthless, very wealthy man who, unbeknownst to Nisha, has taken advantage of her brief absence from their hotel suite to lock her out, block her access to bank accounts and cancel her credit cards. Nisha now finds herself without a home, clothes, or any means to survive – all while wearing what was left in the bag Sam left behind, a pair of very tired, ugly block heel pumps.
Sam uses the Louboutins to give her confidence and power while Nisha takes a job as a maid in the very hotel in which she used to occupy the lavish suite with her ex, who has taken up with his assistant. As the reader anticipates, the two women’s paths eventually cross. They conspire to resolve the mystery of the shoes (I won’t go into all the twists and spoilers) and exact revenge on the cheating spouse.
While the book is not a heavy lift, it is fun and you’ll keep reading to see what the next “Scoobie Doo” like plot twist will be. GET THE BOOKS.
~Peggy Conlon in the retired CEO of the Ad Council. An avid golfer and reader, she resides in Ponte Verde, Florida.