Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag (♦♦♦♦)

It’s 1986…

Marissa Fordham was a talented artist in the town of Oak Knoll, California. She was beautiful and dated frequently but not seriously; was well regarded in her community and had a few good friends. Marissa had an idyllic life with her little girl Haley, until one morning a neighbor found her brutally murdered and her daughter fighting for her life.

Detective Tony Mendez, a potential recruit for the FBI, and Vince Leone, a former FBI’s Crime Investigator now consulting with Oak Knoll’s Sheriff Office, started the investigation with very few clues. The crime itself appeared to be of a personal nature and Marissa’s dating list provided a list of potential suspects. However, Haley Fordham, who was recovering in the hospital, was a witness to the crime and expected to ID the perpetrator.

The only problem is that Haley’s subconscious had stored away the memories and only an expert in child psychology could retrieve them with the least damage possible. Enters Anne Leone, a former teacher, now a child advocate who herself had been the victim of a serial kidnapper and killer a year prior. Under Anne’s careful promptings, Haley starts to surrender bits and pieces of the day her mother was killed, which eventually puts them both in the path of Marissa’s killer.

I really liked this book. The characters are utterly human, multidimensional, with dark and light natures. I liked the banter going on at the Sheriff’s Office: it was funny and distracted at times from the gritty plot. The story was magnetic, compulsively readable, true detective’s work in the pure sense of the phrase. The mystery endured for most of the book. I tried hard to anticipate without success the curveballs Hoag threw at the reader.

Overall, Secrets to the Grave is a very accomplished murder mystery. I want to read more by this author.