The Enemy at Home by Kevin O’Brien #KevinOBrien @KensingtonBooks @sophiarose1816 #KindleUnlimited #ThriftyThursday

Posted June 12, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review, Thrifty Thursday / 10 Comments

The Enemy at Home by Kevin O’Brien #KevinOBrien @KensingtonBooks @sophiarose1816 #KindleUnlimited #ThriftyThursdayThe Enemy at Home by Kevin O'Brien
Published by Kensington Books on August 22, 2023
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Giveaway
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1943, Seattle. While raging war reshapes the landscape of Europe, its impact is felt thousands of miles away too. Before the war, Nora Kinney was one of countless housewives and mothers in her comfortable Capitol Hill neighborhood. Now, with her doctor husband stationed in North Africa, Nora feels compelled to do more than tend her victory garden or help with scrap metal drives.

At the Boeing B-17 plant, Nora learns to wield a heavy riveting gun amid the deafening noise of the assembly line—a real-life counterpart to “Rosie the Riveter” in the recruitment posters. Yet while the country desperately needs their help, not everyone is happy about “all these women” taking over men’s jobs. Nora worries that she is neglecting her children, especially her withdrawn teenage son. But amid this turmoil comes a sinister tragedy: One of Nora’s coworkers is found strangled in her apartment, dressed in an apron, with a lipstick smile smeared on her face.

It’s the beginning of a terrifying pattern, as female war-plant workers like Nora are targeted throughout Seattle and murdered in the same ritualistic manner. And eclipsing Nora’s fear for her safety is her secret, growing conviction that she and the killer are connected—and that the haven that was her home has become her own personal battlefield.

As war rages across Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific, a married woman with her husband overseas tries to keep the home fires burning for herself and her children all while a serial killer is taking out the women Rosies working the factories of Seattle.  Kevin O’Brien is a known mystery writer to me for his contemporaries so I was thrilled to win a historical mystery he wrote set against the backdrop of WWII on the homefront.

The Enemy at Home is not just laying out a cunning murder mystery, but leans hard on the historical setting for a personal drama story about housewife, Nora, doing what she can to take care of her family after her husband, who is a doctor, volunteered and now is serving in North Africa.  With rationing and her husband only drawing army pay now, Nora must get into the workforce and finds a solid though tough job working in a factory.  This is where she learns of other women factory workers going missing and the serial killer becomes a threat to more.

I enjoy historical mysteries best of all that deliver both a clever mystery and a human interest story in a well-researched and well-written historical setting.  The Enemy at Home is just such a book and I knew it from the start when Nora is being terrified in her suburban home by prowlers who are picking on her house because she used to rent out her garage apartment to Japanese Americans who have since been interned at a camp.  A sad part of history, both the internments and the prejudice and fear going on while the world was at war.  Nora’s vulnerability, doubts in her ability to hold down the household, and even how it all affects the kids comes out so I felt I was there back in the past.  The setting of the factories and even the policing and the mystery solving in that era all worked to make a good story.  Now, there are little bits that seemed to come up and then not really get fully addressed, but overall, and particularly that finish had me well satisfied with The Enemy at Home.

And so, a solid mystery in a less than usual historical setting I can recommend to other historical mystery fans.

 

 

Giveaway print ARC on August 8, 2023  (currently $9.99 at Amazon and in KindleUnlimited as of writing this post)

Overall rating 4.11 with 1,026 ratings and 284 reviews

 

Sophia
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Posted June 12, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review, Thrifty Thursday / 10 Comments


10 responses to “The Enemy at Home by Kevin O’Brien

    • Yeah, it is crazy. My dad’s family were interned for part of the war. I toured an internment camp memorial in Idaho and it was pretty stark stuff.

  1. This looks good! I read one of his older contemporaries and ended up DNFing it so it sounds like I need to give him another try.

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