Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Disappeared by Kristina Ohlsson

I always love when I find a book that's so good, I don't want to stop reading. Kristina Ohlsson has written such a book in The Disappeared.  A college student named Rebecca goes missing on her way to a party and now, two years later, her body's been found buried and dismembered in the woods. The police keep digging and discover that Rebecca isn't the only body in the grave.

There's a quite a few suspects in the murder of Rebecca that the police need to narrow down. And what about that second body in the grave? Forensics date this body's death at least thirty years ago. Is this the work of a serial killer? Are there more bodies buried here? As the police work on the suspect list, several of the characters' lives become intertwined with each other in unsuspecting ways.

Our heroine is Fredrika Bergman, an investigative analyst, who's just returned from maternity leave early because her live-in boyfriend's been suspended from his job as a college professor. As Fredrika delves into Rebecca's past, she discovers that at the time of her disappearance, Rebecca had been doing research for her thesis paper on a children's writer named Thea Aldrin. Aldrin had spent time in prison for murder and was suspected in the disappearance of her own son. Now out of prison and residing in an assisted-living complex, the police can't question her as she's chosen to be mute and refuses to speak.

There are two male protagonists. The first is Fredrika's boss, Alex Recht; recently widowed and still mourning the loss of his wife. Alex originally worked Rebecca's missing person case and still keeps in touch with the young woman's mother. Then there's Peder Rydh, a colleague of Fredrika's and on the investigative team searching for Rebecca's murderer.

Ohlsson has skillfully woven together a complex tale of suspense. There are so many layers created by the author that the reader finds herself swept up into the lives of all the characters; each layer providing more detail to the story.

I really enjoyed reading The Disappeared. It's one of the best murder mysteries I've read in awhile. Not only that, but it's part of a series. So far, this is the only one I've read (and it works out fine as a stand-alone book), but I'm excited to go back and read the other ones by Ohlsson.

Thanks for stopping by today,

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mini Spinach Bread Bowls

These little Spinach Bread Bowls are super easy to make and great for the holidays as an appetizer. I've made these several times now, not just for the holidays, but for events like birthday parties and random get-togethers with friends and family.
  • Bread dough to fit a 12 count muffin pan or 1 roll of refrigerated french bread loaf, Pillsbury's Simply Perfect
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, garden vegetable flavor
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 table salt
  • 1/8 black pepper
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Flour for the refrigerated bread loaf
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter/grease or use a spray like Pam on the muffin pan.
  3. Remove bread from packaging and slice into 12 equal parts (flour the cutting board and knife). Press each slice flat, then press into the bottom and sides of each muffin space.
  4. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic; cook about one more minute.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach, salts and pepper until well blended.
  6. Scoop mixture into the center of each bread bowl.
  7. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake 15-17 minutes until the cheese is melted and browning occurs at the edges.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool about 3-5 minutes before removing from the muffin pan.
  10. Serve warm.
  • Prepare the spinach in advance. Wash and dry the spinach the day before. I used fresh spinach for this recipe and it took me about an hour to finely chop 2 cups. In my defense, I was watching TV while chopping!
  • If you're not a fan of the garden vegetable cream cheese, then use regular cream cheese.
  • If you want to save on calories, then substitute the regular sour cream, mozzarella cheese and cream cheese for their reduced fat or fat-free versions.
  • Serve the mini spinach bread bowls warm. 

This recipe's my modified version of one found at The Picky Palate, where the original version can still be viewed.

Thanks for stopping by,

I'm linking up to Think Pink Sunday.