Suspense

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Hercule Poirot, a charming and quirky retired Belgian police chief, is asked by his friend Hastings to assist in the unravelling of a confusing turn of events. An elderly, wealthy lady has been murdered; the suspects: her new husband, spiteful family, or long-time companion. The solution: one that nobody was expecting. Follow the unofficial detective and his friend as they tear apart the details of this murder at the Styles Estate in a race against the unknown murderer and the English court of law.

I would recommend The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie for ages 16+. This book is a classic whodunit complete with bumbling police chiefs, nighttime murders, dapper detectives, and family intrigue. There are a few mature details to watch out for, including some minor profanity; overall, a well-written and attention-grabbing mystery. 4 out of 5 stars.  

Dust and Shadow

The year is 1887, and Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous detective, is hot on the trail of a notorious killer who has taken the bloody epithet Jack the Ripper. Mr. Holmes is determined to run down this fiend and take him to justice, but when the great detective is laid low from a dreadful injury, he must entrust this case to the hands of his faithful friend Dr. John Watson and their new associate Miss Mary Ann Monk. To make matters worse, the press begins an investigation of their own, with Sherlock Holmes as the main suspect and the object of their suspicions. Beset on every side with distrust, scorn, and outright malice; the three friends must hasten to stop the killer known as “the Knife” before he strikes again, at all costs, for the good of all London.
I recommend Dust and Shadow, written by Lyndsay Faye and published in 2009 by Simon & Schuster, for ages 17+. This book falls under the mystery and thriller genres, and is an engaging and suspenseful read, true to the voice of the original Holmes stories. There is some mild language and mature elements to watch out for, as well as gruesome details that could disturb younger readers. All in all, a well-written story with a thrilling plot, Victorian drama, and a dash of menace. 4 out of 5 stars.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. *

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, written by Ransom Riggs and published by Quirk Books in 2011, is a dark tale of strange photographs, evil monsters, and peculiar children. This New York Times bestselling novel would fall under the dark fantasy genre.

The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After. *

After a terrible incident occurs in Jacob Portman’s life, he and his father journey to a distant island off the coast of Britain, hoping to set some old photographs and lies straight. What he discovers there is definitely not what he was expecting…

“I thought I could protect you,” he said. “I should’ve told you a long time ago…” *

I would recommend this book for ages 17+. It is a remarkable book with a spine-chilling story, memorable characters, and moving scenes-however, there is some mature content and language to watch out for, as well as some teen romance, violence, and gory details. All in all, 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

*All excerpts taken from Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, written by Ransom Riggs and published in 2011 by Quirk Book.

The Eye of Minds

Michael and his friends are gamers. Entering the Sleep every day, they hack and code their way through games, levels, and programs, intent on their goal-to enter Lifeblood Deep, the ultimate level for gamers of all ages. But not everything is fun and games in the Sleep. A new cyber-hacker has emerged on the scene, and his designs are more sinister than thieving food from cafeterias and bringing weapons into different games. This hacker holds gamers hostage, and then forces them to remove their cores-which kills them both in the Sleep and makes them brain-dead in the real world. The VirtNet Security is unable to track down this hacker, so they hire teams of coders to find him and stop his evil schemes once and for all. Michael and his friends Bryson and Sarah are chosen as one of the teams-but the hacker already knows who they are. He has targeted them, and they have only a short while before he finds them. Can the friends escape the KillSims, hack through the Firewalls, and discover this hacker’s identity before it’s too late?
The Eye of Minds, written by James Dashner (New York Times best seller and author of The Maze Runner Series) and published by Random House Children’s Books in 2013, is a highly imaginative, edge-of-your seat read. This book falls under the sci-fi and virtual reality genre.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 14+. There is some mild mature language, a few inappropriate jokes, and intense violence to watch out for. This book is very well written with no dull spots and colorful descriptions. A gripping read with fun cyber-world delving and gritty action scenes. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Young Unicorns

Written by Madeline L’Engle and published in 1968, The Young Unicorns is a beautiful suspense\intrigue featuring an endearing family known as the Austins. We meet the Austins as they are adjusting to life in the bustle of New York City. Originally from a small county town, they are innocent to the evil that surrounds them in their new home; gangs, riots, and radical movements. Over time, the once close family begins to slowly drift apart. The children spend more time with friends than they do each other, and the father-Doctor Austin-is spending more time at his work than with his family. As a result of this, when strange things start happening to the different members of the family, they keep them secret. The mysterious appearance of a genie, the unusual actives of the Alphabat Gang, strange questions by strangers, and the secretive doings of the Head Bishop all are connected in some sinister purpose. If the Austins don’t realize what’s going on and start communicating, it might be too late to stop that evil purpose-and might even cost them their lives.
Madeline L’Engle is a remarkable author. Her writing style is very unusual; she uses little detail in the actual story but makes up for it by using plenty of detail in her dialogue. The Young Unicorns flows very well; it is not fast paced but something new is always happening to further the intrigue. I would say this book is an easy to medium read.
I would highly recommend The Young Unicorns for ages 13+. It is an outstanding story; however, there are some universalist and good versus evil themes that are difficult to grasp at times. All in all, a delightful read with excellent literature qualities and deep subject matter. 4 out of 5 stars.