The Day of the Dead

By Nicci French
Adult Fiction, 2018

Reviewed by Susan Gamberg, Youth Services

London psychologist Frieda Klein has worked with and helped the police solve their most incomprehensible cases. Serial killer Dean Reeve falls into this category and has eluded capture for ten years. Frieda has been in hiding from him but then another series of murders occur with the same method of killing used by Reeve, which means he is back on the scene. This forces her to come out of seclusion and track him down. Frieda is determined to put an end to his murdering but will she succeed and more important, will she survive?

The Only Story

By Julian Barnes
Adult Fiction, 2018

Reviewed by Ann Doubleday, Adult Services

Now middle-aged, Paul, the narrator, looks back on the time of his first love and asks: “Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less?” Paul was nineteen at the time and the woman he fell so madly in love with was forty-eight and married.  As one might guess, they do not live happily ever after.   While acknowledging that our lives are made up of many events, Paul asserts that there is only one life story that really matters. This novel is Paul’s self-defining “only story.”

There may be only one story here, but there are several important themes:  memory, self-destruction and self-sacrifice, what constitutes a meaningful life, the choices we make, and how we create and interpret our own life stories. Perhaps the deeper question Barnes asks is whether we would rather risk living fully or safely retreat from life. Although not as strong a novel as his masterpiece, The Sense of an Ending, Barnes knows how to hold his readers’ interest as we watch Paul’s story unfold.