A Spark of Light (Jodi Picoult)

A Spark of Light is a novel by Jodi Picoult.
Finished on: 19.11.2021

Content Note: abortion, anti-abortion terrorism

Plot:
A hostage situation at the last reproductive health clinic in Mississipi that performs abortions is coming to an end. People have died and the situation is tense, as one can imagine. For hostage negotiator Hugh McElroy they are even more tense than usual – because he realized that his own daughter, Wren, is one of the patients held captive. And his sister Bex, who accompanied her, was already brought to the hospital with a potentially deadly gunshot wound. As Hugh desperately tries to find a connection with hostage taker George, and as the hostages inside – all in the clinic for different reasons, as patients and workers and even as spies for the anti-abortion camp – try to get through the terror, things start to move very quickly.

A Spark of Light is a really good read. A layered look at the complexities around the topic of abortion that gives everyone a say, but still remains firmly in the pro-choice camp. And it chose an interesting structure to tell its story.

The book cover showing the title on an off-white background. At the very bottom are three blots of color.
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Cold & Deadly (Toni Anderson)

Cold & Deadly is the first novel in the Cold Justice: The Negotiators series by Toni Anderson.
Finished on: 28.10.2021

Plot:
Ava Kanas always wanted to become an FBI agent and she just became an agent. When the one guy who has always helped and mentored her along the way dies, Ava is convinced that there is more to it. But nobody seems to believe her – until there is an attack at the funeral service. It is there that Dominic Sheridan, experienced hostage negotiator and friend of the deceased, starts to believe that Ava might have a point. As the two start to investigate, they realize that there might be a target on their own backs. And things get more complicated still when they admit their growing attraction to each other.

Cold & Deadly isn’t the kind of thing I usually read. While I definitely like romance novels, crime thrillers are not so much my thing. But this was included in a free set of romantic suspense novels I downloaded a while ago, and I thought I’d give it a go. For it not being my cup of tea, it worked pretty well, but overall it didn’t quite win me over.

The book covre showing a man in a suit and with an FBI badge embracing a woman in a sparkling top of dress from behind. There is a red filter over everything and shards of broken glass.
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Spellman Six (Lisa Lutz)

Spellman Six (aka The Last Word) is the sixth and final novel in the Spellman Series by Lisa Lutz.
Finished on: 18.4.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the series.]

Plot:
After Izzy Spellman took over the family business in what could be considered a hostile take-over, her parents have started to be hostile right back. Izzy’s management has generally caused a bit of trouble for the business, and it doesn’t help that she is being accused of embezzling a client. With her bookkeeping skills, Izzy might actually have spent some money that she shouldn’t have, but that’s not the point. The question is whether Izzy will actually run the family business into the ground.

Spellman Six gives us a nice ending to the series, albeit not a simple and clean happy end. But then again, when has Izzy ever given us something clean and simple? In any case, it’s sad but also okay that the series has ended now.

The book cover showing blinds being pulled apart in the shape of an eye, behind it a big pupil.
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The Shaved Man (Anatoly Marienhof)

The Shaved Man is a novel by Anatoly Marienhof. I read the German translation by Brigitte van Kann and Gregor Jarcho.
Finished on: 3.1.2021

Plot:
Mishka and Leo have been friends for a long time. Although friends may be the wrong word – Leo has always dominated Mishka, as the more beautiful, more charming and more cruel of the two. But one night Mishka is done with it all. He murders Leo – and then tries to figure out why he did it.

I read Cynics not too long ago and I really enjoyed it. The Shaved Man didn’t work that well for me, unfortunately. I never really got into the story.

The book cover of the German edition, showing a pencil drawing of two faces taht seem to be lying down.
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