George's Mystery Book Club will discuss The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson and The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison.
Drop-ins are welcome. Selections are available at a 15% discount in the bookstore.
The Never-Open Diner
A singularly compelling debut novel, about a desert where people go to escape their past, and a truck driver who finds himself at risk when he falls in love with a mysterious woman.
Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-travelled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert's inhabitants, Ben's visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn't opened in years.
Ben's routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she's fleeing something in her past--a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth--but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.
As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who've laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire's pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert's greatest mystery--what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?
In this unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. At turns funny, heartbreaking and thrilling, The Never-Open Desert Diner powerfully evokes an unforgettable setting and introduces readers to a cast of characters who will linger long after the last page.
The Bishop's Wife
In the predominantly mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets.
Linda Wallheim is a devout Mormon, mother of five boys and wife of a bishop. But Linda's daily routine of church-going, Relief Society meetings, and visiting church ward members as a disturbing situation takes shape in her seemingly idyllic neighborhood. Young wife and mother Carrie Helm has disappeared. Carrie's husband, Jared, claims that she has abandoned the family, but Linda doesn't trust him. As she snoops, trying to learn more about the Helms' circumstances, Linda becomes convinced Jared murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband.
Inspired by a chilling true crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop's Wife is both a fascinating peek into the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.