Folks, let's talk about the fiction novels first! Have you read Verity by Colleen Hoover? Did it keep you at the edge of your seat? Well, then you are in for a treat!!! The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell has the suspense of Verity times 10!!! I read this book in one sitting--I just couldn't put it down! Yes, it was THAT good! It took me on a crazy emotional roller coaster ride!
The book tells the story of Roz, a young lady living in Ireland who, as it happens sometimes, ends up pregnant with the wrong guy and at the wrong time. She wants to be the perfect mother to her baby, but feels that this is not possible in her situation. Determined to do right by her child, she joins an elite adoption service and ends up meeting a celebrity couple who already have a child, but are desperately looking for another child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel live in New York and are wealthy and glamorous--pretty appealing to a pregnant mommy with basically nothing to her name and no baby daddy, right? So, Roz agrees to move into the couple's basement suite until the baby is born because, ya know, the couple is pretty private about their life as future parents. Once Roz moves in with them, alarm bells start ringing left and right for her. Something just doesn't seem right! (1) Roz finds out that she is not the first woman to move in with the couple and that the first woman has been missing since; (2) Sheridan acts pretty strange right from the start and is very controlling; and (3) Roz can't have any contact with her own family and friends or let them know who she is living with because of a non-disclosure agreement or be seen by the couple's friends. You get the gist? Sounds pretty creepy already, doesn't it? At some point, Roz realizes that her unborn baby may be the only thing that is keeping her alive and that she has walking into a celebrity Bates Motel.
What made this book absolutely fantastic is that the author, Caroline Mitchell, is a former police detective and not only that, she also specialized at some point in roles dealing with victims like Roz. This means that her police procedural descriptions are amazing and authentic! She knows how to make you feel what Roz feels, she creeps you out with her writing from Sheridan's POV, too. I could absolutely relate to the characters. I was scared for Roz, I was scared of Sheridan, I was frustrated with Sheridan's husband Daniel, and felt for and tried to understand family friend George. Just when I thought I had figured everything out, Caroline Mitchell adds another twist...and ooooooh, what a twist it is!!! Folks, I love everything about this book! In fact, I believe that this will be one of my favorite reads in 2020 and is definitely the best book I have read so far in this year.
The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell was released on January 14. It is available to purchase or--if you have Kindle Unlimited--free to read on your Kindle!
This book tells is set in Fairview, a town that seems to have a whole bunch of secrets. The murder of Andie Bell doesn't seem to be one of them. The police believe they know Sal Singh did it and everyone in town knows he did it. Now here comes Pippa Fitz-Amobi, Pip for short. She has grown up in Fairview, but unlike everyone else in town she isn't sure that Sal did it. She decides to use this topic for her final year project and has no clue that she is about to uncover secrets that apparently shouldn't be uncovered. Is Sal innocent after all? If so, the killer is still out there and Pip is poking her nose into stuff that can get her killed herself.
Here we have a popular high school senior who was murdered. Then we have Sal Singh, her boyfriend, who is the prime suspect and then kills himself. Five years later, the town is still haunted by this case. But not everyone is as keen as Pip, who knew Sal as a child, to shine a new light on the case. At first, Pip just wants to discuss some doubts that have come up over the years...about Sal's guilt, about his suicide, about the original investigation. But soon she discovers some evidence that might prove Sal innocent after all. This story is definitely full of twists and turns! I listened to the audio while reading along and that gave the book a fantastic feel! But even without the audio, the book would have drawn me in. The story was great and reminded me of a cold case I watched recently on Investigation Discovery--a case still unsolved. Fortunately, Holly Jackson doesn't leave us hanging...her book doesn't leave questions unanswered. Using a college application project as the format--with transcripts and recorded interviews--was ingenious! The audio made this format even more interesting since there were different narrators for the different characters in the college application paper. I loved the dynamics in the relationship that Pip and Ravi (Sal's brother) have and, most of all, I loved that there was not only one simple answer to the question: "Where is Andie and what happened on that Friday, the 18th?".
The last chapter also made me think that this would make a great first book in a series. There are a lot more secrets in Fairview than just this Andie mystery. Let's have a sequel, pretty, pretty please!!!
I'm a huge fan of forensics and CSI. I used to binge watch CSI, Criminal Minds, and every show on Investigation Discovery. So, I was super excited to see a book like this being released. From the perspective of a forensics fan and everything related to detective work, this book was super interesting. I had no clue how much forensic medicine has progressed because of this one lady and how little progress we have made since we lost this powerhouse of a woman! Shows like CSI and Medical Detectives make it look like we are really advanced in our methods. While we have made a lot of progress in this field, I can see from the historical perspective after reading this book that we have actually only made baby steps since the 1950s. That is a surprise, considering all the technical and medical milestones we have achieved, such as in DNA technology, hair analysis, etc. This book is really an eye opener as far as that is concerned.
I have to admit that some of the chapters went too much into detail. It is interesting to learn about everything that this amazing woman has done for STEM and forensic medicine in particular even without a college degree and in-depth medical expertise, but the author lost my interest a few times when there was too much mention of every minuscule detail in the communication with Harvard University and others. That is the only reason I gave this book only 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Other than that, I really loved the book.
I love the cases and the description of those involved, the way the cases were solved, the description of the motives of the perpetrators, the fact that the author didn't lose focus of the victim, and how Heinrich (the forensic scientist and MC in this book) was involved in the case. Just as with 18 Tiny Deaths, I had no clue that, while we have made great progress in the field of forensic science, we are still nowhere near to solving enough cases without a shadow of a doubt. It was interesting to read how unreliable some methods such as handwriting analysis and even ballistics are that I thought were basically 98% fool-proof in court.
This book made me get on Google to find out more about some of these cases. It is great both for those who love reading about the scientist behind the milestones and cases and those who love reading about actual cases and how they were resolved. This book was like episodes of Medical Detectives with biographical interludes.
Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities--beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books--sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the "American Sherlock Holmes," Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest--and first--forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural.
Heinrich was one of the nation's first expert witnesses, working in a time when the turmoil of Prohibition led to sensationalized crime reporting and only a small, systematic study of evidence. However with his brilliance, and commanding presence in both the courtroom and at crime scenes, Heinrich spearheaded the invention of a myriad of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious--some would say fatal--flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation.
Based on years of research and thousands of never-before-published primary source materials, American Sherlock captures the life of the man who pioneered the science our legal system now relies upon--as well as the limits of those techniques and the very human experts who wield them.