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Mystery Reading Group

Event Type: Book Discussion
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 6/10/2019
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 8:00 PM
Description:
 Do you enjoy reading "who-done-its" whether they are courtroom thrillers or cozies? Want to discuss these books with other mystery lovers & discover new authors? Join the Mystery Reading Group. This month: Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan.
Library: Fountain Hills Branch    Branch location
Location: Conference Room
Other Information:
 Funded by the Fountain Hills Friends of the Library.

In a quiet Dublin suburb, within her pristine home, Eleanor Costello is found hanging from a rope.

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan would be more than happy to declare it a suicide. Four months earlier, Frankie’s pursuit of a killer almost ended her life and she isn’t keen on investigating another homicide. But the autopsy reveals poorly healed bones and old stab wounds, absent from medical records. A new cut is carefully, deliberately covered in paint. Eleanor’s husband, Peter, is unreachable, missing. A search of the couple’s home reveals only two signs of personality: a much-loved book on art and a laptop with access to the Dark Web.

With the suspect pool growing, the carefully crafted profile of the victim crumbling with each new lead, and mysterious calls to Frankie’s phone implying that the killer is closer than anyone would like, all Frankie knows is that Eleanor guarded her secrets as closely in life as she does in death.

As the investigation grows more challenging, Frankie can’t help but feel that something doesn’t fit. And when another woman is found murdered, the same paint on her corpse, Frankie knows that unraveling Eleanor’s life is the only way to find the murderer before he claims another victim . . . or finishes the fate Frankie only just managed to escape.


Ideas to Consider:
1. How does the author capture the sense of the setting? Does the story feel more or less engaging because of the factual information the author chooses to include?

2. Examine the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

3. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

4. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

5. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

6. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.
a.Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
b.Are they plausible or implausible?
c.Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

7. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

8. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?
a.Is the conclusion probable or believable?
b.Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
c.Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
d.Perhaps it's too predictable.
e.Can you envision a different or better ending?

9. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

10. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?