Kidnappings Galore!

Is it just me, or are kidnappings suddenly popular again?  At least in pop culture.  The past two months, in my Book of the Month box, I’ve picked out two books.  Both books involved kidnapping.

Last season also had the show, “The Family” on ABC about a boy who was kidnapped and “returned” to his family years later.  Just as things started getting interesting in the show (was he the kidnapped boy?  how did he escape?), it was cancelled.  This plot is similar to the first of the kidnapping books I got these past two months.


Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

The story is told from different perspectives, mainly the mother of the kidnapped girl and the kidnapped girl herself.  The story begins by showing what the younger sister of the kidnapped girl saw when her sister was taken in the middle of the night at age 13.  Years later, the mother answers the door and finds what seems to be her daughter returning from her ordeal.  Or is it?  Dun-dun-dunnnnnnn!!!  The story follows the mother as she tries to piece together what happened, and if the woman who shows up at her door is her daughter.  The reader is constantly second guessing as well.  The story of the young woman kidnapped, Julie, is told backwards until you finally see the night that she was “taken”.  The book is so engrossing that I finished it in one day.  One full day of reading.

On the more traditional side, the second kidnapping book focused on a baby being taken from her family home while the parents are next door for a dinner party.


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The couple in the story are married with a new baby.  While battling post-partum depression, the mother is having a hard time adjusting to “normal life” with her husband.  One night, they head next door for a dinner b-day party for the couple next door (see what I did there?).  The wife is a flirtatious lady who spends most of the night with the other husband trying to entice him to cheat on his wife.  Finally the wife has enough and decides to go home.  Although they had a baby monitor and checked on the baby every half hour, the baby is no longer in the crib when they arrive at 1 in the morning.  The story follows the voices of the married couple as they try to determine who did this to them (or who could benefit most, or if one of them might have killed the baby by accident).  It’s a twisty novel with a big reveal at the end that was pretty surprising.  The clues are there the whole time, but you don’t really add them up until the final few chapters.  It was another book that I had a problem putting down b/c I wanted to know what happened and who took the baby!

So two thumbs up on both of these twisty books.

The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal

As I’ve talked about before.  I love a good historical mystery.  Most of the time, it’s pre-WWI mysteries, tend to be in Victorian times, sometimes pushed towards the Edwardian Era (did that make me sound smart?)


The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal

This series of books by Susan Elia McNeal takes place in the midst of WWII, mainly in London (although Scotland figures in greatly, and there is a lovely diversion trip to the US in the last book).  Maggie Hope is an American who spent most of her time in London during the Blitz.  She has become a Londoner by rights and is also one of the countries best intelligence agents (even if not everyone knows it).  She spends her days since her return from America translating code from field agents, and trying to help women get a fairer shake during the war.  Women agents were at a decided disadvantage.  If they were caught, they were immediately executed, while men had the protections of the Government behind them.  There was also the respect factor.  Many women joined the service to help their country, but they were still treated as second class individuals by those in charge.

In this particular case, Maggie gets called by MI-5 to assist in a case involving crimes similar to Jack the Ripper.  Young, unmarried, “working” women are kidnapped and then placed in a ritualistic fashion through London.  Maggie works with a Scotland Yard detective, who learns that women are just as competent as men in the investigation field, and a budding friendship is developed.

The book also touches on several minor characters that we’ve met through the series (Starting with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary), and we learn more about the relationship between Maggie and the Royal Family (who we met in previous books as well.)  Her relationship with her family gets further complicated.  (Is her Nazi spy mother still alive?  Will her German half sister accept her help?  Will her father try to reconcile with his daughter?)  So many questions!

My only regret about this book is the cliffhanger at the end!  I cannot wait for the next installment!

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but women are funny.  I know!  Shocking!

J/K…of course women are funny.  In fact, lately we’ve gotten a lot more of smart female comedians writing books about life than ever.  Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and (my personal favorite) Mindy Kaling have all release books in the past few years dealing with life, career, and love.

As part of my Book of the Month club membership, I picked up Amy Schumer’s new book.  Not a strict  autobiography, but a series of essays about her life and her career.  Now, I was never a HUGE Amy fan.  I mean, I just started watching her show the past few months.  When she gets a little “edgy” she’s at her funniest.  The sex stuff is not my jam….but when she gets a little bit political, she really hits the mark.


The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Her book was very similar to her stand-up.  Talks about sex, talks about politics, and a heavy influence of her family.  She talks about living with her father’s MS diagnosis.  She also deep dives into how she got started in the comedy field and how her family shaped the way she views things.

Starting at a young age, she always knew she wanted to be a performer.  It wasn’t until college when she started to go to Open Mic’s and “bringer” shows (where you essentially bring your own audience).  At the same time, she’s dealing with her parents divorce, her father’s illness, and her love life.

While her standup can tend towards raunchy, and don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of those moments in the book, in her private life she tends to be more of an introvert.  As a fellow introvert, I can relate.  I would much rather spend the day by myself reading or writing sometimes than dealing with other people.  She talks about that need as well.  While she loves entertaining people, it’s her job.  When she’s done with the job, she’d rather be at home writing or enjoying her solitude.

She also goes into her relationship with her mother in a particularly good essay.  It’s about when she learned to see her mother realistically and not as a super human figure.  Now they are closer than ever and it was really important to read.

When her movie Trainwreck came out last year, there was a lot of press about how it flipped the rom-com on its head.  The woman didn’t want commitment!  The man was needy!  Blah blah blah.  She talks about how her experiences and the experiences of her friends were all the same as those in the movies.  Just no one was making movies about them.

Then came the devastating shooting at the movie theater in the South during a screening of her movie.  Two young women passed away.  The man who shot them was a serial domestic abuser, deemed mental unstable, yet still had access to purchase a gun legally.  This spurred Amy on to fight for gun control  (not taking your guns away people, just regulating who should get one).  Guess what, if you’ve got a domestic violence record, you probably shouldn’t have access to firearms.  Just a thought.  She talks about going to the White House for a bill signing and talking with the families of the Everytown movement.  Many of these families were those that lost kids (kids!) in the Sandy Hook shooting.  It was deeply affecting reading about how they go through each day and how it is to talk to them.  The last list at the end of the book is a list of those in our elected offices who voted against gun control regulations.  It’s an important topic and should be discussed.  If someone like Amy Schumer can bring it the masses, so be it!


Okay, and as a side note, I’m at 48,000 words in my cozy mystery!  Just sent out my query to get critiqued (thanks Bouchercon!) and hopefully I’ll be ready to shop it around soon!