Author

Barbara Tom

Barbara Tom has 6 articles published.

worked for Murder by the Book in Portland, Oregon, for over twenty years. She enjoyed helping people discover great books. Even though she no longer has to read crime fiction for work, 99% of the books she now reads for pleasure are mysteries. When not reading, she enjoys hiking and drinking single malt Scotch.

The nose knows: M.J. Rose talks perfume and murder

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The scent of perfume almost wafts off the pages of M. J. Rose’s latest work, The Collector of Dying Breaths. It’s an intriguing combination of a story set in Renaissance France and a contemporary one featuring Jac D’Etoile, the heroine of two prior Rose books. Check out BookTrib’s review of The Collector of Dying Breaths here. The nose knows. Jac is a member of a family that has created exquisite perfumes for centuries. She is the descendant of famous noses, as it were. Her own sense of smell is exceptional, but that is not what makes Jac unique. Jac has knowledge of her past lives. She has been reincarnated, and flashes of a prior life flit across her mind as she…

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The scent of reincarnation

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The Collector of Dying Breaths (Atria, April) is the follow-up to The Book of Lost Fragrances and Seduction. They all feature Jac (short for Jacinth) L’Etoile, a young woman who is part of a perfume dynasty in France. She was joined in the previous novels by her brother Robbie, her on-and-off boyfriend, Griffin North, and her mentor, Malachi Samuels. These three books are part of a larger collection of books built around a theme: reincarnation. Jac has experienced past-life regression or “memory lurches,” as author M. J. Rose terms it. She sees herself in prior lives interacting with Griffin’s prior incarnations, to no good end in each case. In addition to being able to sense her own past lives, she apparently…

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How much is a stay-at-home mom worth?

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 A Changing Marriage (Kensington, February) is a Valentine’s Day card for stay-at-home mothers. In Susan Kietzman’s new book, she describes in detail the work that goes into being the underappreciated mother of two and the wife of a work-obsessed husband.  Karen and Bob Parsons were college sweethearts. The first flush of love lasted from their meeting in college to their perfect wedding to when Karen became pregnant with their first child, Rebecca. That is where the romance stopped and, in Karen’s mind, the drudgery began. She loves her children — son Robert joined the family a few years later — but the first word she thought about when her children were finally in elementary school was “freedom.” It wouldn’t have been…

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Cozy with a side of crime

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Berkley Prime Crime has a lot going on in March, with the release of several cozy mysteries. They’re light on blood, and heavy on charm. Plus the imprint just turned 20! Here are BookTrib’s recommendations for readers who prefer the lighter side of crime. At the top of the must-read list is Pearls and Poison, the third entry in the Consignment Shop series by Duffy Brown. What’s a once-rich ex-wife to do in Savannah, Georgia, after she’s left with little more than her stunning wardrobe after a divorce? She opens a consignment shop with her aunt, of course, which is exactly what heroine Regan Summerside does. Although that keeps her busy, she still has time to discover who murdered her…

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Loved Jennifer Lawrence in WINTER’S BONE? You love Daniel Woodrell, too.

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Remember the teenage Jennifer Lawrence—pre-Katniss, pre-Hustle—who burst on to the scene in the grittier than gritty Winter’s Bone in 2010? That was thanks in large part to author Daniel Woodrell, who established himself as the voice of the hardscrabble South with the 2006 novel of the same name. Although it was not his first book, and Woodrell has long been admired in the crime fiction community, the public definitely took more notice of him after Lawrence’s portrayal of Ree Dolly earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The film also earned nods for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for John Hawkes. Woodrell has a superior ear for dialogue and rural argot, and his depiction of…

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Would you open the letter?

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What would you do if you accidentally found an envelope addressed to you, in your husband’s handwriting, indicating that it should be opened upon his death? Your husband is young and very much alive. You have three young daughters. Your busy life as president of the parent-teacher organization, enthusiastic Tupperware salesperson, and obsessive organizer doesn’t leave much time for drama. Would you open it? That is the dilemma that faces Cecelia in Australian Liane Moriarty’s latest novel, The Husband’s Secret, which is set in Sydney but will also ring true for American readers. Cecelia is not the only one with a problem. Rachel, another member of the close neighborhood, is facing the departure of her adult son and his family,…

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