TopShelf Magazine February 2017 | Page 15



John Lescroart puts Dismas Hardy and company aside for the time being in the beautifully executed Fatal , a terrific mystery that moves the action from the courtroom to the squad room in the person of Detective Beth Tully . What ’ s a cop to do when she fears her best friend might be a murderer ? That ’ s the
John Lescroart dilemma confronting Beth Tully when she takes on an investigation that may lead straight to her best friend . Getting to the truth means stripping back the blinds over the windows belonging to a host of suspects , not to mention the victim himself .
FATAL is a mystery-thriller of the highest order , played out across an ever-darkening landscape that


threatens to swallow Tully in a sinkhole of moral depravity .

the orphan ’ s tale

~ TopShelf Reviews


AVAILABLE February 21 The Orphan ’ s Tale is a story of survival during World War II from the point of view of two women : one a German trapeze artist hiding from the Nazis because she is Jewish , the other a Dutch teenager who has rescued a Jewish baby from a boxcar full of babies bound for a concentration camp . Each has found refuge in a traveling German circus whose owner is quietly doing his best to save whomever he can .
Both women narrate the story in first person , alternating chapters , and we get to know them well . Each has


painful secrets she keeps from the other for reasons of selfpreservation , and at times they clash more than they get along . But their survival depends on the teenager , Noa , becoming a passable aerialist to justify her presence in the circus and to give Astrid , the professional , a partner for her act . Forced into cooperation , they eventually become fast friends , tying their survival and their futures together , although the road to friendship is a bumpy one .
The author has done a good job of conveying a sense of circus life as it applies to the story , including the difficulties of life on the road complicated by the shortages of war , the dangers of traveling through occupied France , and the financial decline of the circus itself . Her characters are believable , flawed individuals who make mistakes , hold grudges , and distrust others , yet long to connect for they know they cannot go it alone , either through this war or through life . Nothing about this book was predictable , and the ending was a complete
Pam Jenoff surprise , yet plausible . Jenoff kept my interest throughout , the teaser in her prologue driving me to read late into the night to find out what that was all about .
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TOPShelf magazine FEBRUARY2017