Neshama’s Choices for February 27

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Small Game by Blair Braverman   

I got hooked on reality TV survival shows through my grandchildren which is why this book spoke to me. Mara’s very well equipped for the challenges, but some fellow teammates drop out early and then the plot takes a dire turn. I didn’t realize how those seemingly spontaneous events in the wild are so scripted and manipulated. The author is a dogsled musher and conveys wilderness experience expertly. Weird fun.   

The Reservoir by David Duchovny    

Everyone around me knows the author as an esteemed actor but I picked up this novella for the subject: life during Covid quarantine.  Ridley, retired, stares out his NYC window and notes flashing lights across the Central Park reservoir. SOS?  He ventures out to try to discover the mystery and is led into the Ramble (a dicey part of the park) and bizarre happenings occur. Magical realism takes hold but with this skillful telling, I was willing to go along with improbability. Because the reality is pretty weird these days and Duchovny puts his finger on our anxious zeitgeist where conspiracy theories flourish and at a certain point in Ridley’s long life, what else does he have to lose?   

Two Nights in Lisbon  by Chris Pavone      

How could John have disappeared? His new wife, Ariel, came along on this business trip—an unusual occurrence. When she wakes up in their hotel room and finds him gone, she’s panicked.  The local police and even the American embassy don’t take her seriously until a ransom note asks for a huge amount. Turns out she does have resources, but they come from a part of her past she never wanted to reconnect with. Mystery upon mystery, with Ariel revealing hidden talents like martial arts skills, and a jaw-dropping plot twist at the end. A lively read.   

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier    

This is a thriller par excellence. Paris—well that’s her current name—has a sweet if unconventional marriage to Jimmy, a much-older comedian.  He’s found in the bath, covered in blood, and she’s clutching a straight razor.  Doesn’t look good, obviously, but there’s an underlying problem: her past life. An intense juggle as she tries to prove her innocence and keep a former nightmare under wraps. The author is Filipino-Canadian, as is her main character, which adds an intriguing cultural dimension.  Riveting.