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Edgar Awards
2017
The Ex
Book Jacket   Alafair Burke
2017
Under the Harrow
Book Jacket   Flynn Berry
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780143108573 Nora arrives at her sister Rachel's village farmhouse in the English countryside for a weekend visit and finds Rachel and her dog viciously murdered. Even as she supplies DI Moretti details on Rachel's routines and ex-boyfriends, Nora is flooded with shock and the fear that her sister's past has resurfaced. When they were teens, Rachel was brutally beaten while walking home from a party. When the police failed to find Rachel's attacker, she and Nora scoured reports of attacks on women for years, hoping to find the clue that would solve the case. Eventually, they stopped their hunt, and Nora can't shake the feeling that Rachel would still be alive if they'd kept looking. Rachel vows to remain in the village until her sister's murderer is found and is led by grief and guilt into a dangerous obsession with the case. Nora's voice bounces between grief, desperation, and rage, and this unpredictability creates a Hitchcockian tension. A moody psychological thriller that explores sisterhood's complex mix of love and resentment.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2016 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780143108573 Nora leaves London one Friday afternoon to visit her sister Rachel for a relaxing weekend in the country. She expects to find Rachel in the kitchen making dinner. Instead she discovers her sister's body lying in a pool of blood with her dead dog nearby. As Nora plans the funeral and deals with final details, she realizes she's unable to move on with her own life. She's particularly distraught by a case of an unsolved assault suffered by Rachel at age 17. Investigating on her own, Nora finds out that she knows less about her sibling than she once thought. Though not all readers will be able to stomach the initial gruesome scenes involving Rachel's dog, those who stick around will be rewarded with a riveting, complex suspense novel thick with atmosphere and long-held secrets. VERDICT Berry's fiction debut is a dark, twisty, and deeply disturbing thriller that makes for an absorbing summer read. Readers will look forward to the next novel by this promising new author.-Liz Kirchhoff, Barrington Area Lib., IL © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780143108573 At the start of Berry's tight debut, Nora, the book's initially guarded narrator, travels from her home in London to her sister Rachel's house in the Yorkshire countryside, where she finds Rachel dead, stabbed multiple times. Devastated, Nora proceeds to insinuate herself into the ensuing police investigation, while starting her own among the people Rachel came in contact with. Determined to the point of obsession, she manages to offend nearly everyone. Old secrets come to light in all of their ugliness, including an attack on Rachel as a teen (and the sisters' ongoing efforts to find the perpetrator). Nora struggles to resolve her love for her sister with the resentment that's always simmered below the surface. Readers will enjoy trying to ferret out the clues along with Nora, but those who think they have the mystery figured out may be caught off guard by the surprising, if a bit abrupt, ending. Five-city author tour. Agent: Emily Forland, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. After she discovers her sister brutally murdered, a woman's search for answers becomes as much about understanding the sibling she's lost as finding the killer.On any other visit to her older sister Rachel's Oxfordshire home, Londoner Nora Lawrence would look forward to leisurely meals and long talks enhanced by wine. But when she arrives this time, Nora finds Rachel stabbed 11 times and her German shepherd, Fenno, hanging dead from an upstairs banister. Berry, in her keenly wrought debut, never lets the reader forget the weight of Rachel's death, the heft of which grinds down Nora's every step as she lumbers from the police station to the local inn, where she decides to stay in order to be close to the investigation. Unlike murder cases on television, where evidence and suspects seem to abound, Rachel's case flounders from the start: there's no murder weapon, the village isn't overrun with nefarious characters, and the more Nora discovers about her sister, the less she feels like she knows her. Convinced that the murder might be linked to a brutal assault Rachel suffered at age 17 by an unknown assailant, Nora struggles to reconcile the fierce love she feels for her sister with the creeping feeling of inadequacy that always hovered on the periphery of their tightly knit but often fraught relationship. Berry accomplishes the rare feat of making the victim come alive on the page without ever sacrificing the deep, all-encompassing loss felt by those left behind. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2017
Rain Dogs
 Adrian McKinty
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. During the Irish Troubles, a discouraged detective tackles a murder oddly similar to a past crime. The excitement of meeting Muhammad Ali on his Belfast visit quickly fades for DI Sean Duffy. He'd thought he and his girlfriend were doing fine, but she's determined to walk out on him, and he's depressed to be left behind. He's pushing 40, his career with the Royal Ulster Constabulary is stalled, and he has nothing to look forward to but checking for bombs under his car on his way to the Carrick station and pursuing a case of a missing wallet. But Duffy's superiors want him to take the case seriously because the victim is a visiting Finnish businessman who can bring money and jobs to Northern Ireland. After privately writing off the robbery as a prank, Duffy meets Lily Bigelow, a young reporter from the Financial Times, who's hoping for a few words about the case. Duffy's hoping for a date with her, and his disappointment that she doesn't take him up on it turns to shock when he sees her dead body in the courtyard of Carrickfergus Castle the next day. Lily had come for a tour and stayed behind when the caretaker locked up the castle for the night, and the only logical conclusions are that she jumped or the caretaker pushed her. Even though it seems impossible for anyone else to have entered the locked castle, neither Duffy nor his two junior colleagues are content to go with the obvious answers. And there's still the matter of Lily's missing journalist's notepad. When a violent murder turns the station upside down, Duffy can't shake the feeling that it's connected to Lily's death, and he won't give up the case, no matter how far it takes him or what the danger. Duffy (Gun Street Girl, 2015, etc.) is taking no better care of himself than he ever did. But his copper's instincts are as sharp as ever in this fifth installment. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781633881303 Det. Insp. Sean Duffy must solve the equivalent of a locked-room mystery in McKinty's scorching fifth installment in his Troubles-set Northern Irish crime series (after 2015's Gun Street Girl). It's 1987 in Carrickfergus, and Duffy, a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, is constantly on the lookout for mercury tilt switch bombs planted underneath his car, the calling card of the IRA. Meanwhile, the body of Financial Times journalist Lily Bigelow is found in the courtyard of Carrickfergus Castle. The only way in or out of the centuries-old structure, now a tourist attraction, is through a heavy gate, and CCTV footage proves that no one entered or exited the castle at the time of Bigelow's death, making Duffy think that she likely threw herself off one of the high walls inside. But the forensics experts conclude someone murdered Bigelow, whom Duffy soon connects to a delegation of Finnish businessmen visiting Northern Ireland to perhaps bring new jobs. McKinty expertly balances Duffy's tense and suspenseful investigation with the political tensions of the region. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Creative Book Services. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781504661447 McKinty's new addition to his police procedural series featuring Sean Duffy, a detective in 1980s Belfast, kicks off when a young female journalist is found dead in the locked courtyard of Carrickfergus Castle. While the likable Duffy takes listeners through the twists and turns of the plot, the author paints a vivid, dimensional portrait of the man, the town, and the time. As the voice of nearly all of McKinty's novels, including the four previous in this series, native Irishman Doyle is no stranger to his well-plotted, darkly funny, socially conscious prose as well as the beaten-but-never-bowed Duffy. He delivers the detective's narration in a breezy, high-energy voice that magically retains its lyrical quality even when Duffy is down in the dumps. He also employs a bouquet of brogues in defining other coppers, including Duffy's loyal assistant, a caretaker of the castle, and various townsfolk. For a visiting delegation of businessmen from Finland, Doyle adds a chilly Nordic touch to their conversation about creating a local factory for manufacturing mobile phones. Though the project is beneficial to the area, when Duffy discusses it, his voice is rich with sarcasm, indicating his suspicion it will somehow involve and derail his investigation. A Prometheus Books/Seventh Street hardcover. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781633881303 *Starred Review* The chronicles of Carrickfergus detective Sean Duffy open a sardonic portal to 1980s Belfast; every detail rings true, from the persistent threat of mercury-tilt car bombs to the complex criminal motivations that breed in a climate of unrest. Financial Times reporter Lily Bigelow is covering a Finnish technology giant's highly publicized visit. The morning before the Finns' scheduled departure, Lily's body is found in Carrickfergus Castle, an apparent suicide from the castle walls. Duffy isn't convinced, but the only other explanation is a locked-room murder, and it's unlikely that he'd see another of those after solving the killing of Lizzie Fitzpatrick in a locked pub (In the Morning I'll Be Gone, 2014). Duffy traces Lily's movements in Belfast, telling his boss that he's tying up loose ends for the inquest. His investigation reveals a strong motive for murder; Lily was secretly investigating an anonymous tip implicating iconic celebrity Jimmy Savile, the visiting Finns, and powerful political players in a sex-abuse ring. Duffy is warned off the case by his superiors and dangerous representatives of the aforementioned suspects, so it's no easy feat to figure who murdered Lily Bigelow, not to mention how they managed to do it in a locked castle. McKinty manages a second locked-room success and folds in the recent headline-snatching Jimmy Savile scandal to boot; another standout in a superior series, combining terrific plotting with evocative historical detail.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2016 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781633881303 It's 1987 in Northern Ireland in the midst of the Troubles, and Sean Duffy, a 13-year veteran of the Ulster police but still a detective inspector, is confronted with a locked-room mystery. Lily Bigelow, a vibrant English journalist, has died in a fall from the heights of Carrickfergus castle; her death is ruled a suicide because the doors were locked and no one could have left. Bigelow had been accompanying a Finnish delegation looking at investment sites, but Duffy discovers that she secretly had been pursuing a tip about a pedophile ring. There are few clues, but more murders, and Duffy also has to deal with obstruction from higher levels. Verdict The violence of the Troubles is more in the background here than in McKinty's four award-winning previous series titles, and there are more details of Duffy's personal life. Still, it is a pleasure to be in the company of a master storyteller and stylist. McKinty uses some historical events as a basis for a strong moral point of view while still delivering a fine tale that should appeal to many levels of mystery fans.-Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
2017
The Wicked Boy
 Kate Summerscale
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781594205781 Summerscale (The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher) bolsters her reputation as a superior historical true crime writer with this moving account of Victorian-age murder that is a whydunit rather than a whodunit. In East London during the summer of 1895, 13-year-old Robert Coombes and his younger brother, Nattie, attended a heralded cricket match on their own, telling neighbors that their mother was in Liverpool visiting family. In fact, Emily Coombes was already lying dead in her bed behind a closed door, having been fatally stabbed by Robert. Horrifically, her corpse remained undetected for well over a week while the brothers acted as if nothing were amiss. Upon arrest, Robert claimed he acted after his mother had beaten Nattie, and before she could do the same to him. The resulting trial focused on the question of Robert's mental state, whether he was really the wicked boy of the book's title, and how the penny dreadfuls he was so fond of may have warped his mind. Summerscale's dogged research yields a tragedy that reads like a Dickens novel, including the remarkable payoff at the end. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781501919978 The narrative of Robert Coombes, a 13- year-old who killed his mother in 1895, offers a fascinating glimpse into Victorian and post-Victorian life in England and Australia. School systems, sporting events, news coverage, the penal system, and the Victorians' appetite for sensationalism are all revealed in the early segments of this story. Summer-scale thoroughly researched news accounts, court records, institutional histories, and military data of the day. Coombes was tried for his mother's murder and sentenced to detention in the Broadmoor asylum, the same institution that concurrently housed Dr. W.C. Minor, one of the major contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary. Coombes thrived at Broadmoor, a surprisingly humane institution, and when he was older, he was declared to have been cured and released. He immigrated to Australia, distinguished himself during combat in World War I, and lived out a quiet life Down Under. Connie James's British accent helps immerse the listener in the setting. Verdict Victorian England unfolds realistically in this gruesome tale of matricide. Though the driving force behind the work is a search for Coombes's motivation, listeners will also learn a great deal about society at the turn of the 20th century. ["For true crime readers, history buffs, and fans of the grittier side of Victorian life": LJ 6/1/16 review of the Penguin hc.]-Ann Weber, Los Gatos, CA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781594205781 Summerscale's (The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher) book about Victorian child murderers Robert and Nattie Coombes starts out as a standard true crime read and ends with what was clearly a surprise to the author. That Robert killed his mother at age 13 was never a question-he admitted it freely in a confession-but the subsequent trial of a defendant so young and his sentencing to Broadmoor asylum rather than a prison (or a hanging) was sensational to Victorian newspaper readers. What happened next, however, was shocking. Coombes's incarceration seems to have actually benefitted him, contrary to the common notion of the affects of 19th-century asylum life. His service in World War I at Gallipoli was notable, and most important, his postwar life in Australia was quiet and uneventful, save for his rescue of a neighbor boy from an abusive home, a situation with which Coombes was all too familiar. Summerscale's research reveals that early tragedy for Coombes need not be his end, like it would have been for many, but that it would later provide him with a way to help another young boy in need. VERDICT For true crime readers, history buffs, and fans of the grittier side of Victorian life.-Amelia Osterud, Carroll Univ. Lib., Waukesha, WI © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. An investigation of a late-19th-century crime in which a 13-year-old boy murdered his mother.In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes stabbed his mother, and he and his brother, 12-year-old Nattie, stole her money and took off to watch the local cricket match. Their father was a ship's steward, kind and caring but often absent. Leaving their mother's body upstairs in her bed, the boys enlisted the aid of John Fox, a fellow from the docks who had done odd jobs for their parents. With a look at late-19th-century social mores, the availability and quality of education, and the poor state of psychological help, former Daily Telegraph literary editor Summerscale (Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady, 2012, etc.) exposes how the young killer's mind worked. Robert, an excellent student, was a voracious reader of the penny dreadfuls, adventure books aimed at the young. He was eccentric, morbid, prone to terrible headaches and periods of withdrawal, and obsessed with ghastly murderers. His mother comes off as a harridan: she often beat the boys, including once for stealing food (she often didn't feed them), and she even threw knives at Nattie, who seems to have been oblivious to the direness of the facts but followed Robert without questions. After two weeks, the body was discovered in an advanced state of decay. The trial process was quick and fair, and Robert was remanded to the notorious insane asylum Broadmoor, where he was put in the gentlemen's wing. The author explains the surprisingly kind treatment there, and she follows Robert's transfer to a Salvation Army colony and move to Australia, where he finally found the adventures he had dreamed about. This well-written story is not so much a true-crime tale or murder mystery as an excellent sociological study of turn-of-the-20th-century England. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2017
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Book Jacket   Ruth Franklin
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780871403131 Literary critic Franklin (A Thousand Darknesses) renders a gripping and graceful portrait of the mind, life, and work of groundbreaking American author Shirley Jackson (1916-1965). Though Jackson is today largely known for the chilling novel The Haunting of Hill House and the supremely upsetting short parable "The Lottery," Franklin brings forth her full oeuvre for careful study, including a prodigious number of short stories, books for young adults and children, and-perhaps improbably for a horror writer-two bestselling memoirs about life with her four children, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons. Franklin's adept readings of Jackson's influences, formative relationships, and major works interweave the obsessions, fears, and life experiences that charge her writing with such wicked intensity. Treating her subject with a generous eye and gorgeous prose, Franklin describes one of Jackson's chief themes, a "preoccupation with the roles that women play at home and the forces that conspire to keep them there," as a product of her cultural moment, identifying Jackson's "insistence on telling unpleasant truths" about women's experience and her ability "to draw back the curtain on the darkness within the human psyche" as the elements that make Jackson a writer of lasting relevance who can still give today's readers an impressive shiver. 60 illus. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780871403131 Despite battles with anxiety, oppressive societal expectations, and a fraught relationship with husband, literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, Shirley Jackson (1916-65) wrote six novels, a collection of short fiction, and a handful of nonfiction and children's books. Even though her promise as a writer of supernatural suspense reached fruition with The Haunting of Hill House, the author's most infamous work was the short story "The Lottery." The story-Jackson claimed to have written it in a single day-generated unprecedented buzz, confusion, antipathy, and even hate mail. Yet as Franklin (A Thousand Darknesses) points out in her engaging portrait, Jackson is far from a one-hit wonder. Franklin writes that "[her] brand of literary suspense is part of a vibrant and distinguished tradition that can be traced back to the American Gothic work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry James." Drawing on a trove of research-including previously unpublished letters and interviews-and her own astute analysis of Jackson's fiction, Franklin gives her subject her much-deserved due and sets the standard for future literary biographers wrestling with the legacy and the unwarranted inattention of a major figure in 20th-century American literature. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers of Jackson's fiction as well as those interested in the connection between the inner lives of authors and their work. [See Prepub Alert, 3/28/16.]-Patrick A. Smith, -Bainbridge State Coll., GA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780871403131 *Starred Review* When Shirley Jackson's The Lottery was published in the New Yorker in 1948, the response was a pen-paper-postage equivalent of going viral. Although Jackson wrote many more works of arresting literary suspense concerned with cruelty and alienation, as well as, improbably enough, best-selling true-life domestic comedy (the forerunner, as critic Franklin notes, of today's mommy blogs), she is generally remembered only for that singular tale. In her engrossing and enlightening foundational biography, Franklin redresses this unjust diminishing of Jackson's extraordinary accomplishments, the final insult in a too-brief life poisoned by the selfishness of those closest to her her harshly critical mother and her philandering husband, the literary critic Stanley Hyman. Franklin seamlessly combines the bitterly ironic story of Jackson's demanding, self-destructive life in which she strived for literary breakthroughs while supporting herself, Hyman, and their four children and running their hectic households, primarily in Vermont with astute analysis of Jackson's disquieting, darkly funny, profoundly subversive writings. With unprecedented access to private papers, Franklin traces the evolution of Jackson's sensibility as a writer, building toward an ever-more nuanced understanding of the covert ways she deftly paired the horrific with the mundane to both express her own anger and pain while also illuminating the fears, anxiety, anti-Semitism, racism, and sexism of the conformity-obsessed Cold War era. A precise, revelatory, and moving reclamation of an American literary master.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2016 Booklist
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2017
In Sunlight or in Shadow
Book Jacket   Lawrence Block
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781681772455 In this well-curated collection, 17 authors submit stories inspired by paintings from American realist artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967). As Block notes in the foreword, various genres "or no genre at all" are represented; some "spring directly from the canvas"; others "rebound obliquely" from the chosen painting. Color plates accompany each tale. Standout stories include -Jeffery Deaver's clever use of Hopper's Hotel by a Railroad in "The Incident of 10 November," told by a doomed Soviet apparatchik; Lee Child's "The Truth About What Happened," based on Hopper's Hotel Lobby, and rendered in the author's trademark terse, ironic style; Michael Connelly's "Nighthawks," which features Hopper's most famous painting and Connelly's Harry Bosch on assignment in Chicago; Joe R. Lansdale's gothic "The Projectionist," the longest and most fleshed-out entry (New York Movie); Craig Ferguson's wry Lansdale-esque elder-buddy story, "Taking Care of Business" (South Truro Church); and Joyce Carol Oates's excruciatingly interior will-she-or-will-he tale, "The Woman in the Window" (Eleven A.M.). Other contributors include Hopper biographer Gail Levin; Megan Abbott and Jonathan Santlofer, who both explore abusive relationships and the male gaze; Stephen King, with a cheerful murderous couple; and Block, whose perfect down-and-out tale ends the volume. VERDICT A nice-looking book for Hopper fans and short story readers, this title would also make a great gift.-Liz French, Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781681772455 Iconic American painter Edward Hopper serves as muse for editor Block and an impressive array of 16 other writers-including Megan Abbott, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Child, and Jeffery Deaver-who select their favorite Hopper paintings to inspire a short story. In "The Music Room," contributor Stephen King, who happens to own a reproduction of Room in New York, 1932, turns that work's seemingly innocent domestic scene-a man at a table reading a newspaper, a woman nearby striking a note on an upright piano-into a gruesome tableau involving a macabre scheme to stay ahead of the Great Depression. In a similar noir vein, for Joyce Carol Oates, Eleven A.M., 1926 (which depicts a naked woman seated in a comfortable chair staring out of a city window) inspires a suspenseful duel of murderous intentions as a mistress waits for her married lover to appear in "The Woman in the Window." In "The Preacher Collects," Hopper historian Gail Levin weighs in with a fictional tale (in which she plays a minor role) based on her scholarly research, depicting the nefarious means by which Rev. Arthayer R. Sanborn comes to own a cache of Hopper's works. Block tops off this remarkable collection with "Autumn at the Automat," inspired by Automat, 1927, in which a young woman has a clever strategy that will keep her flush in rent money, possibly for years. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781520044989 In this thematic short story collection, 17 writers-including Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and Joyce Carol Oates-imagine back stories to paintings by American realist painter Hopper. The resulting tales are a diverse gathering of dark noir-tinged tales exploring the deep complexities of the human condition. Nine voice actors give life to the audio edition, each adding another layer of interpretation to the characters and plots set down by the writers. Highlights include Hillary Huber's reading of Megan Abbott's "Girlie Show," a chronicle of a declining relationship between a wife and her artist husband, which Huber delivers with a calculated coolness. Chris Ciulla brings the character of Harry Bosch to life in Michael Connelly's "Nighthawks," a classic PI story in the Chandler tradition, and Arthur Morey is the perfect choice to relay Stephen King's disturbingly ghoulish "The Music Room." A CD containing images of the paintings adds to this multilayered, expertly produced audiobook. A Pegasus hardcover. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781520045023 The ensemble of experienced and award-winning narrators (Hillary Huber, Arthur Morey, Alan Sklar), actors (Gildart Jackson, George Newbern, Chris Ciulla), and a musician (Carrington Macduffie) is well suited and well matched to the anthology of stories contributed by such writers as Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, and Lee Child, among others. Each of the short stories is based on a painting by 20th-century American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967), with one story describing how many of Hopper's artworks were stolen. While not every story has universal appeal, each will find an audience. The variety of narrators allows each work to have a different tone, appropriate to that piece. The final disc holds a pdf file of paintings upon which the works are based. Viewing the artwork is required for enjoyment of the stories. VERDICT Recommended for art aficionados, creative writers, and mystery fans. ["A nice-looking book for Hopper fans and short story readers": LJ 7/16 review of the Pegasus hc.]-Cheryl Youse, Colquitt Cty. H.S., Norman Park, GA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Edward Hopper, the painter of American loneliness, inspires a selection of short stories from a host of notable writers.Whether rural or urban, the largely, sometimes fully unpopulated spaces of Hopper's canvases speak so deeply to the American yearning to belong that the images seem to have been plucked right from the country's collective unconscious. We know every one of these places even if we have never seen them. It's no surprise then that the work Hopper inspires in this volume is not cheerful, but the best of it goes deep. Joe R. Lansdale's "The Projectionist" takes the lone usherette in Hopper's 1939 "New York Movie" as the starting point for a story about unrequited love and revenge. It is, as with much of Lansdale, sometimes brutal but never underfelt. Stephen King lets his demon grin show in the brief and nasty "The Music Room," a slick sick joke of a tale. Kris Nelscott, author of the excellent Smokey Dalton detective series, turns in a vivid and melancholy period piece about race and the Great Depression with "Still Life, 1931." And in "Girlie Show," Megan Abbott opens the book and leaves everyone else trying to catch up to her. This bitter tale of marriage and jealousy and the sweetness of sex turning to poison has the authenticity of lived experience, the weariness and longing of the beaten-down characters you see in Hopper's work.This strong collection begins in a spirit of homage but winds up showing how powerful inspiration can be. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781681772455 *Starred Review* Intrigued by how Edward Hopper's work resonates profoundly with readers and writers, given the intensity of his brooding paintings' aura of inner turmoil and bleak expectancy, Block invited fellow mystery writers and other literary luminariesto pick a Hopper painting and write a story inspired by it. The 17 results are searing and ensnaring, clever, erotic, and disquieting tales of anger and subterfuge, desperation and revenge. Some focus on the artist himself, including Megan Abbott's Girlie Show, an indicting yet triumphant interpretation of the famously contentious Hopper marriage. Others stories focus on the figures in the paintings, including two more tales of hidden female power: Jonathan Santlofer's Night Windows and Joyce Carol Oates' The Woman in the Window. Surveillance is the theme in several tales, including Jeffery Deaver's surprising, funny, and dire Cold War plea for leniency. Stephen King turns an oppressive domestic scene into a shockingly macabre story of Great Depression survival. Hopper biographer Gail Levin, editor of a similar collection, The Poetry of Solitude: A Tribute to Edward Hopper (1995), contributed a delectably unnerving story based on a rather astonishing aspect of Hopper's legacy. Robert Olen Butler, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Justin Scott, and Block himself also appear in this lushly illustrated, darkly alluring, deliciously unnerving union of art and story.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2016 Booklist
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2017
OCDaniel
 Wesley King
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481455312 *Starred Review* As the backup kicker on his football team, 13-year-old Daniel spends his time watching from the bench. Socially, he is an onlooker as well. But soon Sara, an ostracized girl at school, breaks through his shyness by demanding help with investigating her father's possible murder. It seems heartless to refuse, though logically (and later, legally) he should. As tension mounts, his anxiety level rises, and The Routine he is compelled to follow at bedtime grows longer and more burdensome. Daniel knows that he is different, but he suffers alone and in silence. It's a revelation when Sara offers him information on obsessive-compulsive disorder and a path toward coping with it. A brief, appended author's note dispels common misconceptions about OCD and calls Daniel an almost autobiographical representation of myself at that age. King creates convincing characters and writes engaging dialogue, and whether or not readers identify fully with Daniel, they will see parts of themselves in this vulnerable protagonist. Clues dropped in the first part of the book may lead readers to expect a conventional sort of happy ending, but the story's conclusion is more complex and satisfying. Written from Daniel's point of view, this perceptive first-person narrative is sometimes painful, sometimes amusing, and always rewarding.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481455312 King (The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!) offers a candid and memorable account of life with OCD, inspired by his own experience with the anxiety disorder. Thirteen-year-old Daniel Leigh, a wryly funny narrator, has a popular best friend, a crush on a classmate, and a spot on the football team as backup kicker. But he also has a secret that is making him miserable: he is plagued by "Zaps," his name for the triggers-such as an unlucky number or the wrong number of steps-that create a flood of horrible feelings that can only be quelled by certain actions such as flicking a light switch repeatedly. Writing is an outlet for Daniel, and excerpts from the novel he's working on are interspersed throughout. When Sara, a selectively mute school outcast, suddenly begins to speak to him, she draws him into a potential murder mystery and becomes the first person to see and understand his struggle. Daniel's pain and confusion at what he comes to realize is OCD is memorably portrayed in this moving story of self-acceptance. Ages 8-12. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2017
Girl in the Blue Coat
 Monica Hesse
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781478938361 Hesse's debut is set in 1943 Amsterdam. Hanneke, a Christian teenager whose boyfriend was killed fighting the -Nazis, delivers black market goods to paying customers. When Mrs. Janssen, one of Hanneke's customers, asks her to find a Jewish girl who has disappeared from the secret room in Mrs. Janssen's house, Hanneke agrees and reluctantly joins the Dutch resistance. Narrator Natalya Payne does an excellent job bringing the diverse personalities to life. Her Dutch and German accents are easily recognizable, and her voice work makes each character immediately identifiable. Although the characters are teens and the novel is marketed as a YA selection, adults will find the story gripping. VERDICT Recommended for adult and teen collections. ["The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line": LJ 2/1/16 review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Ilka Gordon, Beachwood City Schs., OH © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A political features writer at the Washington Post turns to teen fiction and delivers the goods. World War II Amsterdam, the world of Anne Frank: because most readers know it through that lens, it's imagined as a claustrophobic, invisible world. Hesse's debut novel turns the story around: "Aryan poster girl" Hanneke spends her days cycling through her occupied city, using the ration cards of the dead to play the black market for her undertaker boss. Hanneke knows things are bad, but her own guilty griefher boyfriend died in the futile fight against the Nazis, and Hanneke blames herself for pushing him to fightblinds her. When one of her clients asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, 15 and vanished from Mrs. Janssen's hidden room, Hanneke stumbles into a pocket of the resistance and begins to understand the depths of the horror facing her country and the immensity of the Nazi evil. Hesse's impeccable research meshes almost seamlessly with Hanneke's present-tense narration, bringing the time and place to life. Rich in content and emotion, this is a first-rate companion to the historical tales of the onderduikers, the hidden Jews of Holland, and a compelling read despite its mildly rose-tinted resolution. Shelve this one beside resistance tales like Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity (2012) and read next to a box of tissues. (Historical fiction. 12 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316260602 In this riveting Holocaust novel, Hesse, a journalist for the Washington Post, brings readers to 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam as teenage Hanneke Bakker learns more than she ever wanted to know about the atrocities committed against her Jewish neighbors. When Hanneke, who supports her family by delivering black market goods, is enlisted by a customer to search for a disappeared 15-year-old Jewish girl named Mirjam, she tries to keep her quest an isolated concern. As Hanneke's investigation draws her into the web of systematized degradation and brutality afflicting all Jews, she recognizes that refusing to participate in the underground resistance would make her complicit with evil. Hanneke forcefully conveys the tortured emotions of citizens and city: "Fear. That's right. That was the odor I couldn't place before. That's the smell of my beautiful, breaking country." Themes of guilt and betrayal, ingenuity and courage, and the divisive effect of the occupation on friendship and community weave through a gripping historical mystery in which people and places, including the title character, are often not what they appear. Ages 12-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781478938361 In 1943 in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Hanneke tries to survive by selling black market items. One of her customers secretly asks for her help in finding a Jewish girl she had been hiding who had mysteriously disappeared. In searching for clues, she gets involved with the Resistance movement, risking her life to find the missing girl and defy the Nazis. Narrator Payne has a clear, youthful voice well-suited to Hanneke, conveying both her inner strength and her tension and fear in dangerous situations, as well as her mourning for her boyfriend who died in the war. She does equally well voicing other characters, including an authentic German accent for the soldiers who repeatedly stop and question Hanneke. The suspenseful and moving story will keep listeners riveted. Ages 12-up. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316260602 In 1943 Amsterdam, Hanneke nurses a broken heart--her boyfriend has died in the war--while delivering black market goods (foodstuffs, cigarettes, etc.) to her neighbors. One customer, Mrs. Janssen, implores Hanneke to find a missing girl whom the woman had been sheltering, leading to an engaging mystery that shakes Hanneke from her emotional stupor. An author's note includes useful information about the Dutch Resistance. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316260602 *Starred Review* Amsterdam, 1943: in the wake of the German occupation of Holland, 18-year-old Hanneke has begun trafficking in the illegal black market, finding scarce goods like food and alcohol to sell. But she is taken aback when a customer implores her to find a person instead a missing Jewish girl in a blue coat. Hanneke's reluctant decision to help sets in motion a chain of events that dramatically changes her life and the lives of others and raises the question, should she find the missing girl, what then? Hesse, a Washington Post journalist, does a fine job of reportage in this affecting novel. Her characters come alive, and what one of them says about photographs that they make everything so current, just like real life could describe the book itself, which is adept at verisimilitude, creating a closely observed setting that skillfully combines reality with fiction. Speaking of fiction, Hesse's pacing infuses her story with thriller suspense, enriching the narrative with dramatic surprises both small and large. As one character muses, Nothing in this war is what it seems. Ultimately, Hesse takes her readers behind a misleading surface to discover the lurking truths.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316260602 Gr 9 Up-In Nazi-occupied Holland, Hanneke seems like an ordinary girl working at a funeral parlor to help support her family during wartime. But her Aryan features and charming smile allow her to work as a courier on the black market smuggling cigarettes, meat, and other unavailable items to paying customers. While Hanneke is not a member of the Dutch resistance, her actions are a direct result of the loss of Bas, her boyfriend. Lying about his age, he enlisted and died on the frontlines during the German invasion. When one of her best customers asks for her assistance in finding a Jewish girl she was hiding, Hanneke is stunned. But soon after, she is drawn into the mysterious disappearance of the girl in the blue coat. What she uncovers as she searches for answers leads her on a journey of self-discovery, self-realization, and redemption. Hesse crafts a thought-provoking and gripping historical novel. The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. Thoroughly researched, this work brings history alive in a clear and concise way that rings true. VERDICT A must-read for fans of historical fiction, especially stories set during World War II.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
Let Me Die in His Footsteps: A Novel
Book Jacket   Lori Roy
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525955078 The scents of Lavender and regret are heavy in this suspenseful coming-of-age novel centering on two generations of rural Kentucky women-and those unlucky enough to become enmeshed in their lives-from Edgar-winner Roy (Bent Road). The devastating tale alternates between chapters set in 1936 narrated by Sarah Crowley and chapters set in 1952 from the third-person perspective of teenage Annie Holleran, whom Sarah has been raising as her daughter. But the key figure, never heard from directly, is Juna, Sarah's younger sister (and Annie's birth mother), a seductive, sinister force responsible for sending one man to the gallows and a boy to his death. Gifted (or cursed) with Juna's startling black eyes and a sixth sense country folk call "the know-how," the spirited Annie has been making nearly everyone uneasy for as long as she can remember. Annie's discovery of a dead body on a neighboring farm leads to the unearthing of long-buried, still-dangerous secrets. This powerful story inspired by the last legal public hanging in the U.S. should transfix readers right up to its stunning final twist. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Roy (Bent Road, 2011, etc.) draws a Faulkner-ian tale of sex and violence from the Kentucky hills. In scenes alternating between 1936 and 1952and with points of view shifting and mirroringtwo women live with a gift for foretelling, what they call the know-how. "It floats just above the lavender bushes, trickles from the moss hanging from the oaks...waiting for someone like Annie or Aunt Juna to scoop it or snatch it or pluck it from the air." Juna disappeared after her testimony led to Joseph Carl Baines being hanged in '36 for murder. As the book opens, Annie Holleran is trapped in a country superstition about her future husband's face being reflected by well water on her 15th half-birthday"her day of ascension." In fact, there's as much about who loves whom here as about the Holleran-Baines blood feud ignited by Joseph Carl's hanging. Willful ignorance, and the nature of the supposed crime, meant a rush to judgment, but only deep into the haunted tale come hints that Juna's know-how disguises a darker trait. Roy's characters live whole on the page, especially Annie, all gawky girl stumbling her way to womanhood through prejudice and inhibition; the widowed female sheriff, her husband's successor, who announces the prisoner's death: "On her head sits a simple blue hat she might wear to a wedding or a funeral"; Juna's sister, Sarah, who aches for Ellis Baine; and the girls' widowed daddy, who "has a way of balling himself up when he's drinking regular, almost like he's wanting to altogether disappear." As three generations struggle with deception and death, there's much ado about lavenderin kitchens, in sachets, in bread and tea, symbolizing devotionin this tale driven by something stranger. A sure winner with fans of backwoods country noir. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525955078 The last lawful public hanging in the United States, held in Owensboro, KY, in 1936, provides the inspiration for this atmospheric suspense novel. The story opens with Annie Holleran sneaking away to her neighbor's well in the dead of night. Local folklore holds that if you look into a well at midnight, you will see the reflection of your future husband. But for Annie, the events of that evening have far-reaching consequences. There's a rift between Annie's family and the Baines family next door-a gulf that dates back to when Annie's Aunt Juna, a dark-eyed beauty, cast a spell over the Baines boys. Roy's tale moves back and forth in time between Annie's experiences in 1952 and those of her mother, Sarah, and Juna in 1936 when one of the Baines sons was accused of a terrible crime. VERDICT In her third novel (after the Edgar Award-winning Bent Road and the Edgar-nominated Until She Comes Home) Roy describes life on a lavender farm in rural Kentucky in vivid detail, and the mystery of what happened years ago will keep readers engaged until the end. Her engaging story of young love, Southern folklore, family feuds, and crimes of passion is bound to satisfy readers who enjoy Southern fiction and coming-of-age tales. [See Prepub Alert, 12/8/14; Dutton is pushing to breakout Roy with extensive marketing.-Ed.]-Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525955078 *Starred Review* Someone will return, and someone will die; that's foretold when the rocking chair on Annie Holleran's porch rocks by itself. It's Annie's ascension (her 15-and-a-half-years birthday), and she has gone next door to peer down the Baines' well to see the image of her true love. Hollerans and Baines aren't meant to mix since Annie's Aunt Juna's accusations made Joseph Carl Baines the county's last official hanged man. But using the Baines' well, as tradition dictates, is Annie's only hope of secretly glimpsing her future husband. Instead of a future lover, Annie finds Cora Baines' body and knows the prickling sensation she has been feeling wasn't excitement about her ascension; it's a warning from her know-how (a sort of spirit connection) that something is coming. Is it her birth mother, Aunt Juna, returning to rain down more evil? Or is it one of the Baines brothers returning for revenge? Annie's know-how warns that the past is rising up, and she sets to sorting out the time-muddled truth in hopes of warding off tragedy. Roy easily reaches back in time to conjure small-town Kentucky of 1936 and 1952, as Annie and her adoptive mother reveal the aftermath of a young boy's mysterious death. Edgar winner Roy's third novel (following Until She Comes Home, 2013) is an atmospheric, vividly drawn tale that twists her trademark theme of family secrets with the crackling spark of the know-how for a suspenseful, ghost-story feel.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
The Sympathizer: A Novel
Book Jacket   Viet Thanh Nguyen
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A closely written novel of after-the-war Vietnam, when all that was solid melted into air.As Graham Greene and Robert Stone have taught us, on the streets of Saigon, nothing is as it seems. The racist suppositions of the empires of old helped shape a culture of subterfuge; not for nothing does the hero of Nguyen's (English and American Studies/Univ. of Southern Calif.) debut give a small disquisition on the meaning of being Eurasian or Amerasian ("a small nation could be founded from the tropical offspring of the American GI"), and not for nothing does a book meaningfully called Asian Communism and the Oriental Mode of Destruction play a part in the proceedings. Nguyen's protagonist tells us from the very first, in a call-me-Ishmael moment, that he's a mole: "I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces." Two faces, two races, neither wholly trusted. Our hero is attached to the command of a no-nonsense South Vietnamese general who's airlifted out at the fall of Saigon in 1975, protected by dewy Americans "with not a hint of a needle track in the crooks of their arms or a whiff of marijuana in their pressed, jungle-free fatigues"; whisked stateside, where the protagonist once spent time absorbing Americanness, the general is at the center of a potent community of exiles whom the protagonist is charged with spying onthough it turns out he's as much observed as observer. Think Alan Furst meets Elmore Leonard, and you'll capture Nguyen at his most surreal, our hero attempting to impress upon a Hollywood hopeful that American and Vietnamese screams sound different: "I was on my first assignment as a lieutenant," he recalls, "and could not figure out a way to save the man from my captain wrapping a strand of rusted barbed wire around his throat, the necklace tight enough so that each time he swallowed, the wire tickled his Adam's apple." Both chilling and funny, and a worthy addition to the library of first-rate novels about the Vietnam War. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780802123459 This astonishing first novel has at its core a lively, wry first-person narrator called the Captain, and his two school friends Bon and Man, as they navigate the fall of Saigon and the establishment of the Communist regime in Vietnam in 1975. The Captain is a half-Vietnamese double agent; he reports to his Communist minder Man who, unbeknownst to Bon, is a Republican assassin. The Captain and Bon make it on to one of the harrowing last flights out of Saigon as the city is overtaken by the Viet Cong. They travel with the Captain's superior, the General, and his family, although Bon's own wife and son are shot making their escape. The Vietnamese exiles settle uncomfortably in an America they believe has abandoned their country, as they are reduced to new roles as janitors, short-order cooks, and deliverymen. The General opens a liquor store, then a restaurant (in which his proud wife cooks the best pho outside Vietnam) as a front to raise money for a counter rebellion. In order to protect his identity as a spy, the Captain is forced to incriminate others, and as lines of loyalty and commitment blur, his values are compromised until they are worthless. Nguyen's novel enlivens debate about history and human nature, and his narrator has a poignant, often mirthful voice. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780802123459 Starred Review. Written as a postwar confessional, this novel begins with its nameless protagonist, a highly placed young aide to a general in the South Vietnamese army, recalling how he finalized the details of escape before the fall of Saigon. But our hero is a double agent, a communist sympathizer who will continue to feed information to the North even after he makes the harrowing escape with his loyalist friend Bon and the general's family on the last plane out, and becomes part of the Vietnamese refugee community in Southern California. Breathtakingly cynical, the novel has its hilarious moments; the reader will especially enjoy Nguyen's take on 1970s American life. To maintain his cover, our hero must become entangled in the general's underground resistance group, which plots a return to Vietnam through Cambodia, and the tale turns seriously dark. VERDICT Ultimately a meditation on war, political movements, America's imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one's personal identity, this is a powerful, thought-provoking work. It's hard to believe this effort, one of the best recent novels to cover the Vietnamese conflict from an Asian perspective, is a debut. This is right up there with Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke. [See Prepub Alert, 10/27/14.]-Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780802123459 *Starred Review* Adept in the merciless art of interrogation, the nameless spy who narrates Nguyen's dark novel knows how to pry answers from the unwilling. Unexpectedly, however, this Vietnamese communist sympathizer finds himself being tortured by the very revolutionary zealots he has helped make victorious in Saigon. He responds to this torture by extending an intense self-interrogation already underway before his incarceration. The narrator thus plumbs his singular double-mindedness by reliving his turbulent life as the bastard son of a French priest and a devout Asian mother. Haunted by a faith he no longer accepts, insecure in the communist ideology he has embraced, the spy sweeps a vision sharpened by disillusionment across the tangled individual psyches of those close to him a friend, a lover, a comrade and into the warped motives of the imperialists and ideologues governing the world he must navigate. In an antiheroic trajectory that takes him from Vietnam during the war to the U.S. and then back, Nguyen's cross-grained protagonist exposes the hidden costs in both countries of America's tragic Asian misadventure. Nguyen's probing literary art illuminates how Americans failed in their political and military attempt to remake Vietnam but then succeeded spectacularly in shrouding their failure in Hollywood distortions. Compelling and profoundly unsettling.--Christensen, Bryce Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel
 Lou Berney
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Twenty-five years after a devastating shooting and the unrelated disappearance of a teenage girl, the survivors of both events struggle to find out what really happened so they can move on with their separate lives. Edgar nominee Berney (Whiplash River, 2012) introduces two damaged but engaging characters: Wyatt, the sole survivor of a robbery/shooting at a movie theater that left six other people dead; and Julianna, whose beautiful and mercurial older sister, Genevieve, disappeared at the Oklahoma State Fair and has been presumed murdered ever since. The plot is driven by their searches for what happened in the past as well as a present-day mystery that brings Wyatt, now a private detective, home to Oklahoma City, the site of both earlier losses. Berney alternates his focus between their two stories, and while their paths do cross once or twice, there is no forced blending of the narratives. As in classic noir, the evocation of a specific placeOklahoma Cityand time's effects add another layer of meaning. Also as suggested by the noir-ish title and tradition, Berney's novel is most truly a thoughtful exploration of memory and what it means to be a survivor. Elegiac and wistful, it is a lyrical mystery that focuses more on character development than on reaching the "big reveal." The novel smartly avoids being coy; there are answers to private detective Wyatt's case and answers to the mysteries from the past, but they reflect the truth of such moments; in the end, the answers are almost beside the point because the wondering, the questions, never really go away. But both characters do achieve their own kind of closure, and that allows the reader to also feel some comfort of fulfillment. A mystery with a deep, wounded heart. Read it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062292438 *Starred Review* Affable Las Vegas PI Wyatt is happy doing background checks for casinos on potential management hires and getting home in time for dinner with his significant other, Laurie. When a casino exec asks him to look into who is harassing one of his in-laws, Wyatt is reluctant to take the case. When he learns he must go to Oklahoma City for it, he is emotionally rocked. Twenty-six years before, he was a 15-year-old OKC movie usher who, inexplicably, was spared execution in the murder of every other employee. That same summer, Julianna attended the state fair with her adored older sister, the beautiful and occasionally wild Genevieve, who disappeared into the crowd and was never seen again. Now a nurse, Julianna remains obsessed with Genevieve's disappearance. Wyatt's return to OKC brings everything back in a rush. Berney's first two novels (Gutshot Straight, 2011; Whiplash River, 2012) were delightful, Elmore Leonard-style crime novels. This time he's focused, very insightfully, on love, loss, and memory, and he astutely portrays the immediate and long-term psychological impact of the loss of the most important people in his characters' young lives. Wyatt, Juli, Genevieve, and Wyatt's dead coworkers are all fully realized creations that readers won't soon forget. A genuinely memorable novel of ideas.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully
 Allen Kurzweil
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062269485 Childhood trauma fuels an adult obsession and an exploration of a flamboyant criminal caper in this rollicking but unfocused memoir. Novelist Kurzweil (A Case of Curiosities) was bullied by a roommate named Cesar Augustus at a tiny Swiss boarding school-being whipped with a belt is the worst outrage-and later in life set out to learn what had become of his tormentor. He discovered after many years that Cesar had gone to prison for his involvement in investment fraud. Cesar is a marginal figure through much of the book, and when we finally meet him, his impact is underwhelming; he comes off as an evasive and self-deluding hollow man with a repertoire of pathetic shady business ventures. But Kurzweil crafts an entertaining, sharply reported picaresque centering on the colorful leaders of the scam, who bamboozled their marks by posing as monocled European aristocrats and produced a fake deed from the fictional King of Mombessa, and on the investigators who caught them. The psychodrama between Kurzweil and Cesar doesn't have much emotional payoff, but it makes a serviceable hook for a comic-opera true crime saga that's ripe with hilarious humbuggery. Photos. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. One man's search for his childhood bully, who turned out to be far more than that.Sent to a Swiss boarding school run with clocklike precision at the age of 10, Kurzweil (Leon and the Champion Chip, 2010, etc.) endured a year of torment, especially from one student, a bully named Cesar Augustus. Thirty years later, the author's nemesis appeared as a character in one of his children's books, an event that triggered him to search for Cesar, as he still remembered the pain and shame of the verbal and physical abuse he suffered. Over the course of 10 years, Kurzweil became a master sleuth and discovered that Cesar was far more than a bully. Using the Internet and many other resources, the author discovered that Cesar had been involved in a major advance-fee banking scam, fronted by the Badische Trust Consortium, which involved millions of dollars, fake princes and knights, high-profile lawyers and gullible clients longing for the funds to finance their dreams. Kurzweil explores his longing to connect with and confront the bully of his childhood, who had become an adult con artist convicted twice yet still seemingly intent on scamming people in one way or another. His story reads like a European version of American Hustle, complete with men in monocles and silk ascots, fancy dinners in expensive restaurants and his own methods of espionage that he used to obtain information. His fast-paced narrative, with its rich details of the intricate nature of the scam and his uncanny ability to ferret out the truth, almost masks his underlying desire to talk to Cesar about that year in school. When he finally does, readers receive a satisfactory ending to this 40-year drama. Full of intrigue and suspense, the story follows the bizarre twists and turns of one man's journey to find and confront his childhood tormentorready-made for a film treatment. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062269485 Many people faced bullies as children. Not many have devoted considerable time and energy to tracking them down as adults. But that's just what author Kurzweil did, uncovering a remarkable tale of fraud, which he recounts in this plainspoken and earnest book. Decades after enduring abuse at the hands of his 12-year-old roommate, Cesar Augustus, at a Swiss boarding school, Kurzweil endeavors to track him down. The hunt, through thousands of pages of legal documents that fill milk crates and through encounters with unwilling or unhelpful contacts, reads like an engrossing detective story. Kurzweil is, by his own admission, a man obsessed. His emotions take a backseat to describing his investigatory feats, which lead him to a wide-ranging, multimillion-dollar scam in which Cesar played a role. More important than even the scam and the man Cesar became, however, is the poignant way that Kurzweil strives to get an explanation for the bully's bad behavior in order to heal the wounds he's carried since school. The story will resonate with anyone who had a Cesar growing up, as so many did.--Thoreson, Bridget Copyright 2015 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062269485 Novelist Kurzweil (A Case of Curiosities) has given us a story too strange not to be true. As a ten-year-old attending boarding school in Switzerland, he was the victim of an especially cruel bully with the improbable name of Cesar Augustus. Then one day, Cesar was gone. Kurzweil finished out the year, and he too left the school, never to return. But he is nagged by memories of Cesar, and with his wife's encouragement, he begins to search for him. In the process he comes across a financial scheme that makes Bernie Madoff's look positively banal. One of the major players in the scheme is Cesar, whom Kurzweil eventually confronts. One flaw of the book is that, though what Cesar is described as having done to Kurzweil is horrendous, we are given an inadequate subjective or introspective sense of how the bullying made Kurzweil feel as an adult. For a memoirist, he is unusually distant from himself, making Cesar and his fellow schemers the true subject of this book. In that sense, Cesar still has the final word. VERDICT Criticisms of this memoir qua memoir aside, Kurzweil paces his book beautifully and it is recommended even for those who normally don't read nonfiction or memoirs. It moves like a thriller, is very funny, and in the right hands, would make a great movie. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.] (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
The Golden Age of Murder
Book Jacket   Martin Edwards
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780008105969 Crime novelist Edwards (Frozen Shroud), the archivist for the legendary Detection Club of crime authors, reveals the hidden lives of its members in a comprehensive and well-written narrative that combines biography with literary criticism. He focuses on the Club's three leading lights-Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and the lesser-known Anthony Berkeley-and how their output between the world wars helped define the detective novel as we know it. Along the way, he dispels numerous myths about Golden Age detective fiction: for example, that it was "an essentially British form of escapism... an effete counterpart to the tough and realistic crime fiction produced in the United States." He documents his thesis that the Detection Club facilitated its members' creativity through mutual support and "challenging [them] to take the genre to a higher level." The trenchant analysis is coupled with revelations about the private lives of these very public authors, offering new information for casual fans and students of the genre alike, including details of Christie's mysterious disappearance and Sayers's secret child. Agent: James Willis, Watson Little. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780008105969 Crime novelist Edwards (the "Lake District" mysteries) here examines the "Detection Club," a group of famous writers who changed the way detective novels are conceived. The ranks of the club included such seminal authors as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, whose lives were as enigmatic and fascinating as their novels. In writing about the authors themselves, Edwards takes a distinct look at the genre and its various influences and well captures the turbulent culture and its effect on these genuinely riveting figures who helped to shape the crime genre. The book's playful charm makes it much more enjoyable than a straightforward biography or genre piece. VERDICT As popular as detective fiction is, most readers are unaware of the influence "golden age of murder" writers have had on the books, films, and television shows we love. This solid work will appeal primarily to fans of the genre but will also be of interest to literary historians and enthusiasts of literary biographies.-Matthew Gallagher, Victoria, BC © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Engrossing if occasionally glacial study of the Detection Club, a gathering of British mystery writers who defined the genre. Himself a writer of crime thrillers, Edwards (The Frozen Shroud, 2013, etc.) comes to the club naturallythough long past its golden age, which ended 65-odd years ago. The original circle, founder Anthony Berkeley projected, would have 13 membersa resonant number that eventually expanded threefold to include such luminaries as Dorothy Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, and Agatha Christie. At the heart of Edwards' study is the observation that the membership constituted a body of amateur detectives who were not only capable of musing out the facts behind such mysteries as "an ingenious murder committed by means of chocolates injected with nitrobenzene," but who also embraced true-crime scenarios and made them part of their work, sometimes to the point of courting libel lawsuits. As Edwards writes, with a suitably enticing hook, "Why was Christie haunted by the drowning of the man who adapted her work for the stage? What convinced Sayers of the innocence of a man convicted of battering his wife to death with a poker?" Having set up a fleet of questions, Edwards proceeds to answer them with murder-laced aplomb. He has a nicely naughty sense of humor about it, too, for the well-heeled Detection Club members often poked into business that was more than a little infra dig. As the author writes of one case, a lecherous perp "claimed he was merely offering Irene career advice, although what he knew of testing valves was not reported." Yet, when the tale turns tragicnot just because of awful crimes, but also because of sad developments in the lives of Sayers and other membersEdwards writes appropriately and well. Fans of Father Brown, Hercule Poirot, or Lord Peter Wimsey will find much of value in this bookwhich, though long and sometimes too slow, leaves readers wanting more. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2016
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories
Book Jacket   Stephen King
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A gathering of short stories by an ascended master of the form. Best known for mega-bestselling horror yarns, King (Finders Keepers, 2015, etc.) has been writing short stories for a very long time, moving among genres and honing his craft. This gathering of 20 stories, about half previously published and half new, speaks to King's considerable abilities as a writer of genre fiction who manages to expand and improve the genre as he works; certainly no one has invested ordinary reality and ordinary objects with as much creepiness as King, mostly things that move (cars, kid's scooters, Ferris wheels). Some stories would not have been out of place in the pulp magazines of the 1940s and '50s, with allowances for modern references ("Somewhere far off, a helicopter beats at the sky over the Gulf. The DEA looking for drug runners, the Judge supposes"). Pulpy though some stories are, the published pieces have noble pedigrees, having appeared in places such as Granta and The New Yorker. Many inhabit the same literary universe as Raymond Carver, whom King even name-checks in an extraordinarily clever tale of the multiple realities hidden in a simple Kindle device: "What else is there by Raymond Carver in the worlds of Ur? Is there oneor a dozen, or a thousandwhere he quit smoking, lived to be 70, and wrote another half a dozen books?" Like Carver, King often populates his stories with blue-collar people who drink too much, worry about money, and mistrust everything and everyone: "Every time you see bright stuff, somebody turns on the rain machine. The bright stuff is never colorfast." Best of all, lifting the curtain, King prefaces the stories with notes about how they came about ("This one had to be told, because I knew exactly what kind of language I wanted to use"). Those notes alone make this a must for aspiring writers. Readers seeking a tale well told will take pleasure in King's sometimes-scary, sometimes merely gloomy pages. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442388505 King (Everything's Eventual) is back in the short fiction business with this collection of 20 stories. Most have been previously published, but two ("Mister Yummy" and "Obits") are new and one ("Bad Little Kid") is newly available in English. With such topics as a monstrosity of a car (no, not Christine), a sand dune that writes the name of people who will soon die, a study in morality, and even a cowboy tale, the anthology explores vastly different landscapes and introduces listeners to interesting characters. Each of the stories are prefaced by King himself, and the narrators, 16 total, are perfectly matched to their pieces, though Edward Herrmann, Mare Winningham, Will Patton, and Cotter Smith stand out. The stories differ in length, from longer tales, such as "UR" and "Mile 81," to quite short fables like "The Bone Church" and "The Dune." This would be a perfect choice when trying to ease a new fan into the King realm. -VERDICT Recommended for any library with a good King collection and patrons who love well-crafted short stories; in other words, all libraries should purchase. ["The stories collected here are riveting and sometimes haunting": LJ 10/1/15 starred review of the Scribner hc.]-Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781501111679 This collection begins with an introduction by King on why he writes short stories. To the reader's delight, he also provides a backstory for each tale, enticing the reader with a memory or scenario that prompted that particular selection's birth. Some of the pieces have been previously published. Some have been polished and revised-"Ur" was originally written as a "Kindle Single" for Amazon. Veering from the short story format, King published "Tommy" as a poem in Playboy in 2010. For baseball fans, watch out for the unexpected ending in "Blockade Billy." With "The Little Green God of Agony," King hints at how his life experience shapes his works. VERDICT The stories collected here are riveting and sometimes haunting, as is the author's style. Surprise endings abound. King is in a class all by himself. Be prepared to read voraciously. [See Prepub Alert, 6/1/15.]-Susan Carr, -Edwardsville P.L., IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442388505 A dream team of talented performers reads these 18 tales and two poems by master fictioneer King. Several of the stories-including "Blockade Billy," a baseball yarn with a predictable violent punch line, and "Under the Weather," an exploration of the grim effect a tragedy has on an ad man-are not the author's strongest, but they are given a boost by, respectively, Craig Wasson's keep-rounding-the-bases-and-slide-into-home exuberance and Peter Friedman's conversational narration, which shifts the emphasis from the repetitiveness of what he's saying to the compelling way he's saying it. Other stories are as strikingly composed as they are performed. As wonderful as the professional readers are, it is King's nasal voice that distinguishes the production, preceding each story with information about its creation. He also begins the collection with an intriguing introduction explaining the differences between writing novels and short fiction, warning about the stories that follow: "The best of them have teeth." A Scribner hardcover. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781501111679 For thousands of readers, few things are more comfortable than hunkering down with a Stephen King short story an odd fact, considering how uncomfortable some of those stories make us. With this, his more-or-less tenth collection, King offers an arsenic sugaring to his poison pies: brief intros describing the hows, wheres, and whys behind each tale, from working out personal demons to instants of dumbstruck inspiration. The faithful might have already read or heard a few Ur, Blockade Billy but King's batting average is just as strong with the unfamiliar tales as with the familiar ones. The van strike that almost killed the author in 1999 haunts the book; vehicular accidents crop up everywhere, perhaps most disturbingly in Herman Wouk Is Still Alive, a nihilistic shocker about a dual suicide by car, and, most entertainingly, with The Little Green God of Agony, which King confesses is directly inspired by his rehabilitation. Here, an exorcist of sorts extracts pain from a sufferer in the shape of a globular green beastie. Though the stories swing from sad to wistful to grim, it's this cackling sense of play that makes Uncle Stevie so much fun to have around. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Why not order a few copies? This King kid, he might be going places.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781501111679 Renowned author King's impressive latest collection (after 2010's Full Dark, No Stars) wraps 20 stories and poems in fascinating commentary. Each work's preface explains what inspired it and gives readers insight into King's writing methods, with occasional tidbits of his daily life. The stories themselves are meditations on mortality, destiny, and regret, all of which showcase King's talent for exploring the human condition. Realistic and supernatural elements sit side by side. The tragic "Herman Wouk Is Still Alive" contrasts the charmed lives of two world-famous poets enjoying a roadside picnic with the grim existence of two single mothers who are taking one last road trip. "Under the Weather" tells of a man's fierce love for his wife and the terrifying power of denial. "Summer Thunder," a story about a man and his dog at the end of the world, is a heart-wrenching study of inevitability and the enduring power of love. Other standouts include "Ur," about a Kindle that links to other worlds, and "Bad Little Kid," about a terrifying murderous child (complete with propeller hat). This introspective collection, like many of King's most powerful works, draws on the deepest emotions: love, grief, fear, and hope. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff and Verrill. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
 Susan Vaught
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481422765 After shooting off an elephant rifle in their backyard, eleven-year-old Footer's bipolar mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital. To distract herself, budding journalist Footer investigates an unsolved local crime with best friend Peavine, an aspiring detective with cerebral palsy. Footer's lively voice and sense of humor add levity to heavy subject matter. Like its heroine, this mystery is compelling, offbeat, and fearless. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481422765 Nine days after a neighbor is shot on his farm and the man's two grandchildren disappear, 11-year-old Fontana "Footer" Davis, her best friend Peavine, and his younger sister set out to find out what happened. Their investigation takes them to the farm, which burned down that same night, and their interviews with townsfolk appear throughout, along with Footer's amusing school assignments (Reinhardt provides doodles on Footer's behalf). Complicating the investigation are Footer's visions of the fire. Is it possible that she was there that night and has repressed the memory? Or is Footer following in the footsteps of her mother, who just been taken to a psychiatric ward? Vaught (Insanity) deftly portrays the pain of having a mentally ill parent, capturing Footer's simultaneous love for and resentment of her mother, as well as her fears for her own sanity. The unusual and entertaining residents of Footer's small Mississippi town bring moments of humor to a well-plotted mystery that effectively explores some serious themes. Ages 10-14. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481422765 As fifth-grader Footer Davis and her best friend, Peavine Jones, investigate the shooting of an elderly farmer and the disappearance of his grandchildren, Footer begins to wonder whether she is going crazy like her mother and, worse, if her bipolar mother is a murderer. This suspenseful story, set in a small Mississippi town, explores themes of domestic violence and mental illness in a way that highlights the support of caring parents, neighbors, and other adults. In the course of the second week after the fire that destroyed the Abrams' house and, perhaps, killed the children, Footer begins to experience what she first thinks are hallucinations and later decides are flashbacks to the night of the tragedy. Her first-person narrative is interrupted by entries from Peavine's investigative notebooks, Footer's school essays, and her changing theories. This tightly woven mystery also includes a tender friendship evolving into something more. That Peavine navigates on crutches is so matter-of-factly treated, readers may not even notice. For middle-graders, this is a sympathetic exploration of some difficult issues.--Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2015 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481422765 Gr 5-7-An average 10-year-old would likely pick up this book expecting a "Wimpy Kid" epigone-especially with the playful cover art. What Vaught has given readers instead is a highly didactic, heavy-handed approach to the topics of mental illness, genetics, Common Core, and gun control. This failure is compounded by the format: protagonist Footer's story is told through a combination of journal entries and school essays. Footer's mother, who is bipolar and through the course of the novel confined to a mental hospital, is one of several suspects in the murder of an elderly neighbor and the likely murder of his two grandchildren. Footer is not sure if she witnessed these events or has hallucinated them. At one point, social workers force Footer's dad to get rid of the guns in their house. Dad is less than pleased, believing that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." What mystery there is does not remain so for long. VERDICT Vaught's book lacks a realistic voice, adequate pacing, and sufficient drama.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
A Madness So Discreet
 Mindy McGinnis
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062320865 Gr 9 Up-This compelling historical thriller opens with Grace Mae impregnated by her own father and locked away in a horrific asylum, mute and sealed within her own mind. She wishes for death, seeing herself as an empty husk, a vessel only for the life within. When she is pushed too far by the barbarous staff, she reacts violently, leading to the loss of her baby and being sent to die in a basement dungeon. She is discovered by a visiting doctor who sees within Grace the ability to help him in his work solving crime through criminal profiling. Grace is secreted away from Boston to Ohio, where though still in an insane asylum, her life is vastly improved. There she makes friends with a group of realistically complex characters, and assists Dr. Thornhollow in his work. Grace comes to terms with her life, and discovers what she can change, and how to survive that which she cannot. Though she continues to be entrapped in silence most of the time, she manages to make human connections, eventually using them to face her demons. Sympathetic characters make questionable moral choices, perhaps justified by their lack of power to effect change in a direct way. Grace's personal struggles to find her own place and influence her own story mirror the historical struggles of women throughout history. VERDICT Fans of period pieces and crime dramas will be pleased with this haunting tale.-Genevieve Feldman, San Francisco Public Library © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Thrown into an asylum by the same hands that nearly destroyed her, a 19th-century girl must redefine herself and the meaning of madness to survive. At Wayburne Lunatic Asylum of Boston, Grace is trapped in a nightmare; one patient screams all night, believing spiders crawl in her veins, and an orderly thrills at causing pain. However, the asylum pales compared to the hell she came from. Grace is not insane. Her father, a powerful politician, delivered her to the asylum after she became pregnant with a child he forced upon her. Though more horrors await her, Grace quickly decides she'll never leave. When young Dr. Thornhollow, a specialist in lobotomies, arrives at her lowest moment, Grace begs him to set her mind free. But he recognizes a rare cleverness in her and offers to spirit her away to assist him in his new endeavor: catching murderers. However, she must pretend to be insane to remain safe. Grace soon constructs a new identity among the maddest of characters. Though mired in moments of unthinkable cruelty, Grace's story shines. Every person she encounters, mad or trapped by the label of madness, feels achingly real. Readers will wish they could watch her and Thornhollow solve murders for pages and pages more. A dark study of the effects of power in the wrong hands, buoyed by a tenacious heroine and her colorful companions. (Historical thriller. 14 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062320865 Dumped in an insane asylum by the father who raped and impregnated her, Grace sees no way out until she meets Dr. Thornhollow. But instead of the gift of oblivion that he gives so many other patients, he offers to secret her out of the asylum in exchange for using her observational skills to help him catch murderers. Grace's new life is better, but a serial killer and the reappearance of Grace's father force her to grapple with the question of who is really mad and who is simply trapped by circumstance. Readers hoping for high tension may be slightly disappointed, but those interested in thinking about characters' feelings and motivations will find much here to digest. Though told from Grace's perspective, the story gives insight into many characters, leaving none of them wholly good or wholly evil. While some of the time shifts are rather abrupt and a few plot twists could use fleshing out, overall, this frank historical thriller features flawed, yet sympathetic, characters and a unique setting.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2015 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062434692 Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old Grace Mae's father is a powerful senator in the 19th century, and a scandal involving the family is simply out of the question; pregnant, unwed Grace is sent to an insane asylum. Her treatment there is utterly brutal, forcing a miscarriage, and Grace retreats into silence, refusing to utter a word. With the help of kind Dr. Thornhollow, Grace fakes her own death and escapes with Thornhollow to an asylum in Ohio where he is taking on a new position. In addition to his role at the asylum, he has a learned ability to read crime scenes well and has formed a partnership of sorts with the police to share forensic knowledge. Thornhollow sees in Grace a keen intellect and makes her a partner in his investigations. Soon they are on the hunt for a serial killer. Brittany Pressley's voices are vibrant and engaging. This story is engrossing from the start, and despite two odd plot twists toward the end of the book, this would make an excellent addition to any collection. VERDICT Issues of incest, mental health, and medical ethics make this ripe for book discussions as well. Recommended. ["Fans of period pieces and crime dramas will be pleased with this haunting tale": SLJ 8/15 review of the Katherine Tegen book.]--Suzanne Dix, The Seven Hills School, Cincinnati, OH © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062320865 Impregnated by her senator father and temporarily discarded in an abusive "lunatic asylum," Grace poses as a mute victim of brain surgery and escapes to a kinder asylum with Dr. Thornhollow, who employs Grace's intelligence and sharp memory to help profile criminals. McGinnis astutely blurs the lines between sanity and insanity and captures the changing mental-health environment of latenineteenth century America. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Mr. Mercedes : a novel
Book Jacket   by Stephen King
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In his latest suspenser, the prolific King (Joyland, 2013, etc.) returns to the theme of the scary carexcept this one has a scary driver who's as loony but logical unto himself as old Jack Torrance from The Shining.It's an utterly American setup: Over here is a line of dispirited people waiting to get into a job fair, and over there is a psycho licking his chops at the easy target they present; he aims a car into the crowd and mows down a bunch of innocents, killing eight and hurting many more. The car isn't his. The malice most certainly is, and it's up to world-weary ex-cop Bill Hodges to pull himself up from depression and figure out the identity of the author of that heinous act. That author offers help: He sends sometimes-taunting, sometimes-sympathy-courting notes explaining his actions. ("I must say I exceeded my own wildest expectations," he crows in one, while in another he mourns, "I grew up in a physically and sexually abusive household.") With a cadre of investigators in tow, Hodges sets out to avert what is certain to be an even greater trauma, for the object of his cat-and-mouse quest has much larger ambitions, this time involving a fireworks show worthy of Fight Club. And that's not his only crime: He's illegally downloaded "the whole Anarchist Cookbook from BitTorrent," and copyright theft just may be the ultimate evil in the King moral universe. King's familiar themes are all here: There's craziness in spades and plenty of alcohol and even a carnival, King being perhaps the most accomplished coulrophobe at work today. The storyline is vintage King, too: In the battle of good and evil, good may prevailbut never before evil has caused a whole lot of mayhem.The scariest thing of all is to imagine King writing a happy children's book. This isn't it: It's nicely dark, never predictable and altogether entertaining. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781476754451 In this suspenseful crime thriller from megaseller King (Doctor Sleep), ex-detective Bill Hodges is settling badly into his retirement. Then he receives a taunting letter from someone who claims to be the Mercedes Killer-the media's name for the hit-and-run driver who, a year earlier, deliberately plowed a stolen car into a crowd at a job fair, killing eight and maiming 15. Hoping to wrap up the unsolved case, Hodges follows the letter writer to an anonymous social media chat site, inaugurating a game of cat and mouse with escalating stakes and potentially fatal consequences. Bill's antagonist is Brady Hartsfield, a sociopath who is skilled in computers and electronics and who-with a touch of brilliant irony-also operates the neighborhood ice cream truck. Coincidence and luck figure significantly in the final outcome, but King excels in his disturbing portrait of Brady, a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase "the banality of evil." Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agents. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781476754451 Start your engines and fasten your seat belts for a wild ride with this hard-boiled thriller about a malevolent hit- and-run driver and the race to stop his madness. Verdict King fans anticipating the sequel will want to reread this, while other readers may enjoy the author's first take on a classic detective story. (LJ 5/15/14) (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781476754451 After having written over 50 horror, sf/fantasy, and suspense novels, King pens his first hard-boiled detective thriller. A maniac accelerates a Mercedes into hundreds of unemployed applicants lined up at a job fair-killing eight and wounding 15. Det. Bill Hodges, a streetwise inspector, searches unsuccessfully for the Mercedes killer. After he retires, the bored detective receives a crazed note from the lunatic driver, Brady Hartfield, who promises to strike again in an even more diabolical manner. Hodges's talented and eccentric assistants unravel Brady's convoluted computer records revealing when he intends to drive a wheelchair strapped with eplosives into a concert arena jam-packed with screaming teenyboppers. VERDICT King's customary use of bizarre events and freakish characters does not provide a credible basis for this detective novel. Also, he encumbers the plotline with insignificant details, causing his thriller to plod along rather than pulse with the tension and suspense often characteristic of detective fiction. [Prepub Alert, 1/1/14.]-Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781476754451 King's interest in crime fiction was evident from his work for the Hard Case Crime imprint The Colorado Kid (2005) and Joyland (2013) but this is the most straight-up mystery-thriller of his career. Retired Detective Bill Hodges is overweight, directionless, and toying with the idea of ending it all when he receives a jeering letter from the Mercedes Killer, who ran down 23 people with a stolen car but evaded Hodges' capture. With the help of a 17-year-old neighbor and one victim's sister (who, in proper gumshoe style, Hodges quickly beds), Hodges begins to play cat-and-mouse with the killer through a chat site called Under Debbie's Blue Umbrella. Hodges' POV alternates with that of the troubled murderer, a Norman Bates-like ice-cream-truck driver named Brady Hartfield. Both Hodges and Hartfield make mistakes, big ones, leaving this a compelling, small-scale slugfest that plays out in cheery suburban settings. This exists outside of the usual Kingverse (Pennywise the Clown is referred to as fictive); add that to the atypical present-tense prose, and this feels pretty darn fresh. Big, smashing climax, too. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: No need to rev the engine here; this baby will rocket itself out of libraries with a loud squeal of the tires.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2014 Booklist
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2015
Dry bones in the valley : a novel
Book Jacket   by Tom Bouman
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780393243024 Although set in northeastern Pennsylvania, Bouman's outstanding debut has the feel of a western. Officer Henry Farrell became the head policeman in Wild Thyme Township because he expected it to be an easy job with hunting and fishing taking up most of his time. But uneasiness has settled into the economically depressed area with an active drug trade, including home-brewed meth. Drilling for natural gas is bringing money to the region, but this new wealth affects only a few residents, pitting neighbor against neighbor while potentially destroying the land. The discovery of a stranger's body on a disused dairy farm owned by elderly hermit Aub Dunigan, followed by the murder of a policeman, heightens the tension among the residents. Henry's growth from a grief-stricken widower to a lawman with an inner resolve fuels the brisk plot, as does an evocative look at a changing landscape. Agent: Neil Olson, Donadio & Olson. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780393243024 When an unidentified body is found under a boulder on an old man's land in rural Pennsylvania, the murder investigation reveals that the patchwork assembly of area law enforcement is paper-thin. And, when a second body is discovered, the lawmen find themselves even more shorthanded. Wild Thyme Township police officer Henry Farrell, a bearded, brooding veteran, throws himself into the case, working past the point of exhaustion and neglecting his own health as he navigates personal boundaries that must be considered in the context of property lines. A landscape wracked by fracking, poverty, meth, and a general mistrust of authority places this squarely in the burgeoning country-noir tradition, as does the fact that Bouman peoples his story with lawless outdoorsmen with Gaelic names and ancient grudges. (Farrell, who plays a passable fiddle, used music to court his bodhran-beating wife.) A dark ending unearths a long-held secret but leaves enough ambiguity to suggest plenty of tales to tell in future installments. A strong debut for readers who like their woods dark and deep.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780393243024 First, a reclusive old codger finds in his woods the body of a young man, apparently shot by a musket earlier in the winter. Less than 24 hours later, Officer Henry -Farrell discovers his deputy shot dead in his car. It's imperative that they get help from outside law enforcement agencies, but -Farrell best understands his rural northeastern Pennsylvania hamlet and can piece together the cases. An uneasy mix of old-timers, meth heads, and just plain poor people populates the region and some are selling out their mineral rights (think: fracking), pitting adjacent landowners against one another. If that's not enough, Henry literally stumbles over an ancient grave that might explain part of the current crime spree. But it's a wild ride to the finish line for this quiet, fiddler-loving officer. -VERDICT Don't miss this assured opener for a sure-to-be-popular projected four-book series. -Bouman's likable protagonist joins the ranks of police officers we want to know while introducing readers to an Appalachian region layered with story. This would appeal to fans of Craig Johnson, Julia Keller, and -Wiley Cash. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The worn-down mountains and fertile river valleys of northeastern Pennsylvania hide some dreadful secrets.Officer Henry Farrell has returned, bereft and mentally damaged, from Wyoming to the land of his birth after his wife died from a number of health problems he suspects were related to fracking. In Henry's quiet corner of Pennsylvania, hardscrabble dairy farms and small businesses struggle for survival. For years, there have been few jobs and plenty of poverty. But that's all being changed by the influx of companies leasing land for gas drilling. When the body of a young man is found on the property of Aub Dunigan, and Danny Stiobhard appears at a local clinic to have buckshot picked out of his side after Aub "accidentally" shoots him, Henry realizes he'll have to call in both the sheriff and the state police. Aub, who's suffering from dementia, has little to say, and Danny takes off before the police can ask too many questions. Life only gets more complicated when Henry's deputy, George Ellis, is shot dead and Henry discovers a well-hidden old grave on Aub's property. Henry went to school with many of his suspects and believes that, despite their casual thievery and poaching, most of them are incapable of murder. But the drilling has brought an influx of out-of-state workers, set neighbor against neighbor, and opened the door to dangerous meth cookers and heroin pushers who've set up business in remote locations. The key to solving Henry's case may lie in a remarkably well-preserved body found in the hidden grave.Bouman's debut shows rural noir at its finest: a poetically written mystery about a man struggling with his inner demons and an area of great natural beauty few had heard of before the natural gas boom. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2015
The secret history of Las Vegas : a novel
 by Chris Abani
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780143124955 Lambent prose lifts this offbeat crime novel from PEN/Hemingway Award-winner Abani (The Virgin of Flames), who effortlessly captures the essence of Sin City: "Here in Vegas the glamour beguiled and blinded all but those truly intent on seeing, and in this way the tinsel of it mocked the obsessive hope of those who flocked there." Two years after "dead homeless men had begun appearing in dumps of ten," the body dumps resume. Las Vegas PD's Detective Salazar gets a promising, if bizarre lead, when a park ranger discovers conjoined twins, who call themselves Fire and Water, near the scene of the abandoned corpses. Fire is just a body fragment consisting of a head, two arms, and a toe sticking out of his brother's torso. More important than the complicated mystery's resolution is the author's haunting examination of human cruelty, including scenes of experimentation that are almost too painful to read. Agent: Ellen S. Levine, Trident Media Group. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780143124955 Instead of revolving around glitz and glamour, Abani's novel, set in contemporary Las Vegas, focuses on guilt, vengeance, and political and personal power. It brings together two very different characters: a crass, hotheaded Las Vegas detective named Salazar and Sunil Singh, originally from South Africa, who is researching psychopathic behavior for the U.S. Army. Entwined in the story are Singh's memories of apartheid South Africa, especially Soweto, where he grew up in poverty amid the political upheaval of the 1970s. The two men met previously when Salazar called on Singh to help him with a case: bodies of homeless men being dumped in a remote area of the city. That case was never solved. Now the body of a teenage girl has turned up in the same area, and Salazar is determined to reopen the case. He immediately finds two suspects . . . conjoined twins Fire and Water. When the twins stubbornly refuse to cooperate, Salazar calls on Singh to evaluate their mental health. What follows is an intricate braid of story strands, enriched by vivid descriptions, intriguingly dysfunctional ­characters, and abundant metaphors. Expect the unexpected.--Zvirin, Stephanie Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A detective on the brink of retirement and a psychiatrist with a guilty burden are brought together by a series of deaths in Las Vegas in this grim but beautifully written tale. Detective Salazar, of the Las Vegas Police, has a habit of revisiting scenes of unsolved crimes. When one such scene becomes active again, he arrests conjoined twins who were bathing in Lake Mead near a drum leaking blood. The twins are Water Esau Grimes, a full-sized man who spouts factoids, and Fire Jacob Grimes, a tiny appendage who does most of the talking for both. To justify keeping them in custody, Salazar calls for an evaluation from Dr. Sunil Singh, a psychiatrist with the nearby Desert Palms Institute. Singh is conducting studies in psychopathic behavior, but he doesn't find it in either of the twins. He and Salazar form a mismatched duo themselves: The uncouth Salazar builds and burns miniature ships to commemorate the people he killed on duty; South Africanborn Sunil's insight and compassion mask a secret present and a bloody past. A man seeking revenge against Singh and a revelation about the twins lead to an unexpected ending. Abani (The Virgin of Flames, 2007, etc.) creates vivid metaphors not just with his characters, but also with a drowned town emerging from the waters of Lake Mead, a ghost town that hosts the Carnival of Lost Souls, and the city of Las Vegas, which celebrates the dark, the hidden and the grotesque.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780143124955 Prickly detective Salazar believes conjoined twins Water, a handsome six-footer, and Fire, a foot-long protuberance from Water's side, are responsible for mass-murder body dumps. They aren't. Salazar enlists the help of psychosis researcher Sunil Singh, a man who can ponder Lacan while making love to his prostitute girlfriend and whose past is darkened by atrocities under apartheid (and is thus being stalked by a former colleague bent on his destruction). Singh knows for certain that the twins are innocent of the body dumps (though not innocent of everything, as it turns out), because he knows who is responsible: his employer, the Institute. (Nothing is given away here that the book doesn't freely reveal.) There are many deaths and murders, most accounted for, but only one is actually "solved"-the shooting of Singh's stalker by Salazar. The book gets off to kind of a clunky start, but then the narrative takes off, and it's interesting to watch the developing relationship between Salazar and Singh right up to the fiery conclusion. VERDICT More George Pelecanos than John Grisham, Abani, PEN Beyond the Borders Award winner for Song for Night, is for those who like deep background behind the plot. Safe bet: this will be the oddest mystery of 2014.-Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781490609461 Abani's (Song for Night) outlandish mystery features a bizarre set of characters that include conjoined twins, a retiring Las Vegas homicide detective, a handful of prostitutes, two expat South African apartheid survivors, and a carnival of "downwinders," variously challenged from exposure to n-test radiation. One of the apartheid survivors, Dr. Sunil Singh, is recruited by LVPD detective Salazar to profile the twins as suspects in multiple murders. However, Singh's own research killed the homeless whose bodies were dumped near Lake Mead, and he's just there to cover his tracks! Every conversation seems to require multiple uses of the f-word. Why? Must be that's how folks in Vegas talk, or maybe it's just punctuation for Abani's new detective-noir narrative. Sunil Malhotra gives outstanding voice to this grotesque, disjointed, and disgusting yet interesting work. VERDICT Recommended but may have limited appeal to general adult listeners. ["Safe bet: this will be the oddest mystery of 2014," read the review of the Penguin hc, LJ 1/14.]-Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Tinseltown Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Birth of Hollywood.
 by William J. Mann
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062242167 Many readers will come away from this stellar and gripping true-crime narrative utterly convinced by Mann's solution to the unsolved 1922 gunshot murder of William Desmond Taylor, president of the Motion Pictures Directors Association, in Hollywood. Mann (Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand) hooks the reader from the start, describing the discovery of Taylor's corpse by his valet in a prologue that reads like fiction. The author then provides the backstory with an engrossing and comprehensive look at the birth of the motion picture industry and the highs and lows it faced in the early 1920s, including the economic downturn of 1920–1921 and increasing efforts to censor its productions. Mann weaves these dynamics into the portrayals of Taylor and other key players, including movie baron Adolph Zukor, and three actresses, all of who become suspects in the crime. With a gift for evocative phrasing (one figure is described as having a face like a "living mug shot"), Mann has crafted what is likely to be a true-crime classic. Agent: Malaga Baldi, Baldi Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Who killed William Desmond Taylor? More than 90 years after the unsolved murder of the renowned director, film historian and biographer Mann (Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand, 2012, etc.) takes up the cold case. The result is a gripping true-crime story that encompasses a colorful period in film history. On Feb. 1, 1922, an unknown assailant shot the prominent director in the living room of his Los Angeles apartment. A botched police investigation, false leads, studio coverups, blackmail and a media frenzy ensued. The executives at Famous Players-Lasky, the film studio where Taylor worked, were more concerned about bad publicity than the loss of one of their leading directors. They made haste to collect Taylor's papers, lest they contain any whiff of scandal (they did), and stored them at the studio, compromising the investigation. The timing couldn't have been worse with the trials (there were three) of popular comic actor Fatty Arbuckle, who was accused of murdering a young actress, already in the headlines. The studio didn't want another Hollywood scandal stirring up the public. In this context, Mann seamlessly weaves the details of the murder investigation, witnesses and newspaper accounts into the rich history of early film. The author also profiles movie power brokers, including Adolph Zukor, who founded and built the mighty Paramount. Like the movies, the story has its beauties. Mabel Normand, a comedic star who had returned to the screen after kicking a cocaine habit, was Taylor's longtime friend and became a suspect due to her past associations with drug dealers. Mary Miles Minter, a teenage starlet, was obsessed with Taylor to the point of stalking him. Margaret Gibson (aka Patricia Palmer), an actress on the fringe who knew Taylor when they were both starting out in the movies, associated with petty criminals involved in scams and blackmailing schemes. While searching for a solution to the sensational crime, Mann masterfully captures the zeitgeist of Hollywood in its early days. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062242167 Hard-core old-movie heads and Hollywood true crime fans know about the 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor (formerly William Deane Tanner), which remains unsolved 90 years after the crime. "Hollywood chronicler" Mann (Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969) posits his own theories about whodunit in this overwritten, overlong title. The breathless writing style conjures scandal rags of the past, but the staggering succession of cliff-hanger chapter endings and one-sentence paragraphs, along with the many leaps of faith and major conjecture, become tiring rather quickly. However, Mann's thorough examination of the many suspects and the (always intriguing) underbelly of Hollywood at the time are done well. The author's seemingly intense personal dislike of Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor grates a bit, but the chapters about "movie czar" Will H. Hays, who was hired by the studios to sanitize the industry after so many scandals, shine a new light on the man and his work. While Mann claims to have solved the case, his conclusions are unconvincing; however, his characterization of Tinseltown and its denizens is flavorful. VERDICT Fans of historical true crime and those who enjoy Old Hollywood gossip will like this title, which could spur the curious to further research of the Taylor case.-Liz French, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062242167 In this gripping true-crime narrative, Mann reopens an unsolved murder case from the early silent-film era. On a chilly February evening in 1922, an unknown intruder brutally murdered successful film director William Desmond Taylor in his Hollywood home. Despite promising leads at the time, the murder remained unsolved, partly due to a severely compromised crime scene. However, film buffs have kept the mystery alive for decades, and the author presents a compelling and meticulously researched theory for what happened on that fateful night. Woven throughout the story is the equally fascinating history of the rise of Hollywood at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties as seen through the eyes of one of its most influential architects: Adolph Zukor, eventual founder of Paramount Pictures. While battling fierce censorship attempts and the backlash caused by successive scandals (wild parties! rampant drug use!), Zukor was instrumental in creating the industry that exists today. Mann expertly juggles the various threads of the narrative to a satisfying conclusion that is sure to please both true-crime and film-history enthusiasts.--Price, Kerri Copyright 2014 Booklist
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2015
Poe-land : the hallowed haunts of edgar allan poe.
Book Jacket   by J. W. Ocker
2015
Greenglass House
Book Jacket   by Kate Milford ; with illustrations by Jaime Zollars
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780544052703 Twelve-year-old Milo's Christmas looks ruined when five eccentric guests arrive at his parents' inn on the first day of vacation. But his new friend Meddy has other ideas, and soon the pair is investigating a series of thefts and creating alter egos based on the role-playing game Odd Trails. Milo's new persona allows him to imagine his Chinese birth family without the guilt he usually feels toward his loving adoptive parents when he does so. The mysteries surrounding the guests and their connections to the inn unravel slowly, but Milo-with his resentment of the unexpected, his growing empathy, and his quick powers of deduction-is a well-drawn protagonist. Likewise, the fictional port of Nagspeake, whose daring smugglers face off against ruthless customs agents, makes for a unique and cozy setting, where Milo's parents' inn provides a refuge for "runners," as the smugglers call themselves. The legends and folktales Milford (The Broken Lands) creates add to Nagspeake's charm and gently prepare the ground for a fantasy twist. Ages 10-14. Author's agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544052703 Gr 4-6-The Greenglass House is the kind of ancient, creaky home in which a gothic horror story might be set, and the plot in Milford's latest seems to be headed that way, at least at first. Milo has just finished his homework and is looking forward to the quiet time over Christmas break, when the inn for smugglers his adopted parents run is usually deserted. But in the midst of a howling blizzard, an odd assortment of visitors with secretive purposes seemingly related to the history of the building shows up at the inn. When the power goes out and items begin to go missing from the strange new guests' rooms, Milo decides to team up with the cook's daughter, Meddy, to figure out which, if any, of the guests arrived with nefarious purposes. Meddy's interest in Role Playing Games (RPGs) and her insistence that she and Milo adopt new names and personalities for their quest can make certain passages confusing, as Milo often refers to and thinks of himself as his game character, Negret. A twist near the end of the story helps fold the RPG plotline into the overarching narrative, while the icy, atmospheric setting and nuanced character development propel the story forward, in spite of lingering questions about the world the characters live in. Give this one to fans of Trenton Lee Stewart's "The Mysterious Benedict Society" (Little, Brown).-Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. When his parents' hotel fills up with a variety of unexpected guests just days before Christmas, Milo is caught up in mysterious goings-on.The inn, hospitable to smugglers and named for its colored glass windows, sits on cliffs above the river Skidwrack. With the holiday interrupted by the demands of guests iced in by wintry weather, Milo finds both purpose and distraction in a role-playing game introduced by his new young friend, Meddy, and in a book of folklore given to him by a guest. A ghost story, a love story, a story of fabled relics and the tale of a legendary smuggler intertwine while Milo, in his game persona, finds longed-for skills and strengths. Each guest seeks a secret treasure in the old house, while Milo, out of loyalty to his adoptive parents, hardly dares name his own secret quest: to know more about his Chinese heritage. Milford's storytelling is splendid. Stories within the story are rich and layered; clues are generously offered; even the badly behaved visitors seem fairly good-humored until the worst reveals true perfidy at the last; the many threads of the tale all tie up. Milo's world seems comfortably contemporary; the current history of his parallel world is mostly background that's revealed at the close.An abundantly diverting mystery seasoned with mild fantasy and just a little steampunk. (Mystery/fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544052703 Milo is anticipating a quiet winter-holiday week at home--home being Greenglass House, a "smugglers' hotel"--with his adoptive parents, when the bell rings and a parade of strangers begins to arrive. Milford employs a Westing Game level of cunning in setting up clues (smugglers, folktales, stolen objects, adopted children, and ghosts all play a part) and revealing their importance. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781490664378 Gr 5-8-This colorful, plot-driven adventure mystery tale is set at the start of winter vacation in an inn for smugglers. Milo, the adopted son of the inn's owners, looks forward to the normally quiet holiday time. But this year, guests arrive to disturb Milo's vacation, bringing with them a rash of petty thefts. Meddy, the cook's daughter, and Milo investigate, using a roleplaying game to uncover the truth. Stage and screen actor Chris Henry Coffey narrates this fun story with excitement and a steady pace. -VERDICT Mystery fans and followers of Milford's works will enjoy this colorful coming-of-age whodunit.-Denise A. Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary College Library, Newburgh, NY © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780544052703 *Starred Review* It's Christmas break and adopted Milo and his parents are looking forward to a vacation all to themselves at Greenglass House, the inn where they live and routinely host benevolent passing smugglers. When five unusual guests unexpectedly arrive, and their belongings which all have something to do with the house start disappearing, Milo finds himself at the heart of a real mystery. With the help of Meddy, the oddball girl who arrives with the cook, and a role-playing game that gives him the courage to poke around where he knows he is not supposed to, Milo uses his knowledge of the house and his skills of observation to find the missing objects, piece together the mystery of the house, and discover a secret about the legendary folk hero who used to live there. The puzzling mystery is perfectly matched by the offbeat world of Nagspeake, a fictional harbor town enhanced by folklore and history rich enough to sound convincingly real, and the dreamy Greenglass House, with its enviable attic, snug corners, and thrilling past. Milford (The Boneshaker, 2010) weaves together compelling clues, crackerjack detective work from Milo and Meddy, and well-rounded characters to reveal heartwarming truths about Greenglass House and its residents. An enchanting, empowering, and cozy read.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2015
The art of secrets
 by James Klise
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781616201951 Gr 6-10-A suspicious fire, possibly a hate crime, destroys Saba Khan and her family's apartment and possessions. The Khans rely on the generosity of their neighbors and donations from Saba's school, a prestigious private school near downtown Chicago. Siblings Kendra and Kevin Spoon, two of the teen's classmates, decide an auction would be a great way to raise money to help the Pakistani American family. Soon the Spoons find a unique piece of artwork for the auction, and the event becomes big news that everyone wants in on. The art goes missing, and anyone involved in the auction is a suspect. This novel is told in variety of formats, including journal entries, email, text messages, newspaper stories, and police reports. Ten different characters share their points of view, leaving readers to work out exactly what happened and who might be guilty. Keeping up with all the different perspectives can be daunting, and some entries don't always contribute to the momentum. For fans of realistic fiction with plot twists, mysteries, and epistolary-type novels.-Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Relationships, secrets and lies aplenty for caper-loving fans. Here are the facts: Saba Khan's family is left homeless after a suspicious fire guts their small Chicago apartment. Saba's school community rallies around the reserved, observant tennis player and her family, and two fellow students, Kendra and Kevin Spoon, organize a charity auction on their behalf. Among the donations is a 10-page illustrated story by renowned Chicago self-taught artist Henry Darger (trash-picked in Darger's old neighborhood by Kendra and Kevin), which is promptly insured for $550,000 and then goes missing. Who torched the Khans' apartment? Who stole the artwork, and why? How did they do it? The answers unfold with briskly paced care in Klise's (Love Drugged, 2010) second novel, an apparent homage to the style of his sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise's Regarding the Fountain (1998) and others. Through the interview transcripts, journal entries, text messages and overheard conversations of Saba and her father, as well as fellow students, faculty and administration at Highsmith School, readers get both bird's-eye and close-up views of the case, and careful readers will quickly unmask the culprit. Strong on plotting and art history but weak on believable voices (Saba herself comes through beautifully, but her father, Farooq, and Spanish exchange student Javier are particularly cringe-inducing), Klise doesn't quite pull off the trick his clever, appealing villains do. Enjoyable but inessential. (Mystery. 11-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781616201951 *Starred Review* After her family's apartment goes up in flames, Saba Khan's Chicago high school organizes a benefit auction for her family. When a book by the famous outsider artist Henry Darger turns up among the items that have been gathered for sale, it raises a number of perplexing questions: How did such a unique piece go missing for so long? Shouldn't the financially floundering school get a cut of the profits? Instead of bringing everyone together, the discovery further marginalizes the school's outsiders. The story is told through documents, interviews, journal entries, and text messages from Saba, her father, teachers at her school, and her classmates as their suspicions about the art and the origin of the fire grow, and fingers are pointed in every direction. Klise lets loose a chorus of genuine voices as the disturbing truth emerges, and people's secrets grow too large to hide. This art mystery is that rare book that will be passed around by teens as well as teachers in the faculty lounge, discussed and dissected and immediately reread to scour for hidden clues and motivations. The incidents at Highsmith School will stay on readers' minds long after the last page.--Howerton, Erin Downey Copyright 2014 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781616201951 When an arsonist sets fire to her apartment, tenth grader Saba Khan's community rushes to support her family, and her social stock sky-rockets. But when a valuable piece of art turns up in a fundraiser for Saba's family, the community splinters. Who should get the money? This darkly ambiguous, provocative novel highlights the destructive power of secrets and the politics of generosity. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781616201951 In his intriguing second book, Klise (Love Drugged) tells the story of a Pakistani family rebuilding their lives after their apartment is destroyed in a fire set by an arsonist. Coming to their aid, students from sophomore Saba Khan's prestigious Chicago high school plan a community fundraiser to help replace what her family lost. But when one of the items in the auction is reported missing-a collection of drawings supposedly painted by reclusive (real-life) outsider artist Henry Darger, worth half a million dollars-fingers are pointed and rumors circulate about who might have stolen it. Through emails, texts, journal entries, interview transcripts, newspaper clips, and official documents that pull in the perspectives of students, teachers, and others, Klise simultaneously reveals details about what might have transpired while allowing characters' darker motives-prejudice, envy, greed-to emerge. Astute readers may solve the whodunits early on, but the question of "how far would [people] be willing to go to make [their] dreams come true" propels the book forward to its scandalous conclusion. Ages 12-up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015
The stranger you know
 Jane Casey
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250048837 *Starred Review* A serial killer is targeting single women in London, and Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan is included in the investigating team. But her colleague, politically incorrect and misogynistic Detective Inspector Josh Derwent, is definitely excluded: the murderer's MO of strangling his victims and removing their eyes echoes the killing of Derwent's first love, Angela Poole, 20 years earlier. Although Derwent was cleared of that crime and still tries to solve it, he fits the profile of the current killer and is considered a suspect. But not by Maeve, who disobeys orders from the top not to communicate with Derwent, with whom she has a prickly relationship, as she probes the cold-case Poole murder. Although one aspect of the killings is wrapped up rather hastily, this is more focused than the three earlier entries in the Maeve Kerrigan series, all solid police procedurals with exceptionally well-drawn characters whose relationships continue to develop in each entry. Derwent, a brilliant copper in Maeve's eyes despite his numerous personality defects, serves as a foil and balance for her, and, with him at the center here, this novel attains further complexity in the interplay of the police-force members. Prime crime fiction.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250048837 Maeve Kerrigan and her colleagues pursue "the Gentleman Killer," who poses his victims' corpses in pristine white on beds of flowers, in Casey's exciting if flawed fourth police procedural featuring the London detective constable (after 2012's The Last Girl). For Kerrigan, the case hits dangerously close to home, both because of her kinship to the victims, who are also attractive, single, professional women, and because of the eerie similarities to the murder of 15-year-old Angela Poole two decades earlier, in which the prime suspect was none other than Kerrigan's own infuriatingly sexist but often inspired partner, Det. Insp. Josh Derwent. Torn between conflicting loyalties, Kerrigan is tested even further when it starts to look as if she might be turning into a target herself. With its vibrant cast of characters, not least of them the feisty but fragile Kerrigan, this page-turner should reward series fans and newcomers alike-right up until the disappointing deus ex machina denouement. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2014
Ordinary Grace
Book Jacket   by William Kent Krueger
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781451645828 Krueger, primarily known for his Cork O'Connor mystery series (Trickster's Point), ventures into new territory with this coming-of-age stand-alone that has a hint of mystery. In 1961 New Bremen, MN, Frank Drum is a typical 13-year-old who likes baseball and getting into trouble. He has an 11-year-old brother, a Methodist minister father, a sister bound for Juilliard, and an artistically inclined mother. Narrating the story 40 years after the events unfold, Frank recalls the five deaths that occurred that summer that scarred many, especially his family. He and his brother grow up that summer as they see, hear, and experience tragedy and love that is part and parcel of the adult world. Verdict For fans of Wiley Cash's A Land More Kind Than Home or Krueger's other works, this is a touching read, with just enough intrigue to keep the story moving along.-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781451645828 Best known for the Cork O'Connor mystery series, Krueger (Trickster's Point) has produced an elegiac, evocative, stand-alone novel. The summer of 1961 finds thirteen-year-old Frank Drum living in small-town New Bremen, Minn. He and his younger brother, Jake, idolize their older sister, Ariel, a talented church organist who's also the "golden child" of their parents, WWII veteran and Methodist pastor Nathan and church music director Ruth. Nathan and Ruth befriend the accomplished musician Emil Brandt, a veteran left blinded by his service, who tutors Ariel in her music education. Meanwhile, Jake, who has a stutter, forms a close bond with Lise, Emil's deaf older sister and caretaker, while Ariel dates Emil's wealthy nephew, Karl. The Drums' peaceful existence is shattered, however, when Ariel fails to return from a late-night party. In the aftermath of her disappearance, Karl comes under suspicion, Ruth undergoes a crisis of faith, and dark secrets about New Bremen come to light. The small-town milieu is rendered in picturesque detail, accurate down to period-appropriate TV programs, for what becomes a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781451645828 Krueger, the author of the best-selling Cork O'Connor mysteries, largely set in Minnesota, has written a stand-alone novel that is part mystery but mostly an extended (and often overly extended) meditation. The narrator, Frank Drum, writes as a middle-age man looking back on a summer in 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, when he was 13; the Minnesota Twins were in their first season; and death, in five different instances, shook his family and their community in the Minnesota River valley. The first death is that of Frank's sometime friend Bobby Cole. The proximate cause was a train, but the mystery is whether Bobby stood in front of that train, or was pushed or placed there. More deaths follow, one of which rips apart Frank's family. This coming-of-age story is obviously an attempt to show how grace can work through the fissures of suffering. While the setting is well rendered, the characters are too flat, and Krueger keeps striking the same monologist's meditative note throughout, while most readers will long for variety in style.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A respected mystery writer turns his attention to the biggest mystery of all: God. An award-winning author for his long-running Cork O' Connor series (Trickster's Point, 2012, etc.), Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work. The setting is still his native Minnesota, the tension with the region's Indian population remains palpable and the novel begins with the discovery of a corpse, that of a young boy who was considered a little slow and whose body was found near the train trestle in the woods on the outskirts of town. Was it an accident or something even more sinister? Yet, that opening fatality is something of a red herring (and that initial mystery is never really resolved), as it serves as a prelude to a series of other deaths that shake the world of Frank Drum, the 13-year-old narrator (occasionally from the perspective of his memory of these events, four decades later), his stuttering younger brother and his parents, whose marriage may well not survive these tragedies. One of the novel's pivotal mysteries concerns the gaps among what Frank experiences (as a participant and an eavesdropper), what he knows and what he thinks he knows. "In a small town, nothing is private," he realizes. "Word spreads with the incomprehensibility of magic and the speed of plague." Frank's father, Nathan, is the town's pastor, an aspiring lawyer until his military experience in World War II left him shaken and led him to his vocation. His spouse chafes at the role of minister's wife and doesn't share his faith, though "the awful grace of God," as it manifests itself within the novel, would try the faith of the most devout believer. Yet, ultimately, the world of this novel is one of redemptive grace and mercy, as well as unidentified corpses and unexplainable tragedy. A novel that transforms narrator and reader alike.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014
One Came Home
Book Jacket   by Amy Timberlake
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780375869259 To find out what really happened to her purportedly dead sister, sharpshooting 13-year-old Georgie Burkhardt and her sister's one-time suitor Billy McCabe follow the trail of pigeon hunters and discover far worse going on near Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871. Georgie tells her story in a first-person narrative that rings true to the time and place. She is smart, determined, and not a little blind to the machinations of adults around her, including Billy, who has been sent by Georgie's storekeeper grandfather to follow her and keep her safe. She does notice that Billy is well made, but this is no love story; it's a story of acceptance, by Georgie, her family, and her small town. Timberlake weaves in the largest passenger pigeon nesting ever seen in North America, drought and fatal fires along Lake Michigan that year, a currency crisis that spawned counterfeiters, and advice on prairie travel from an actual handbook from the times. Historical fiction and mystery combine to make this a compelling adventure, and an afterword helps disentangle facts from fiction.--Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In 1871, in the small town of Placid, Wis., a sister goes missing and a great adventure begins. Disconsolate over the end of a promising courtship, Agatha Burkhardt runs off without so much as a goodbye to her younger sister, Georgie. When the sheriff attempts to locate and retrieve Agatha, he brings home not the vibrant sister that Georgie adores, but an unidentifiable body wearing Agatha's ball gown. Alone in her belief that the body is not her sister's, Georgie sneaks away in the dead of night, determined to retrace Agatha's steps in order to solve the mystery of her disappearance and, she hopes, to bring her home. To Georgie's surprise, she's joined on the journey by her sister's former flame. And what a journey it is, fraught with mountain lions, counterfeiters and marriage proposals. The truly memorable characters and setting--particularly descriptions of the incredible phenomenon of passenger-pigeon nesting and migration--and the gradual unraveling of the mystery of Agatha's disappearance make this one hard to put down. The icing on the cake, though, is Georgie's narration, which is fresh, laugh-out-loud funny and an absolute delight to read. Georgie's story will capture readers' imaginations with the very first sentences and then hold them hostage until the final page is turned. (Historical fiction. 9-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375869259 Gr 5-8-Thirteen-year-old Georgie Burkhardt can shoot better than anyone in Placid, Wisconsin. She can handle accounts and serve customers in her family's general store. What she can't do is accept that the unrecognizable body wearing her older sister's blue-green gown is Agatha. Determined to discover what happened after Agatha abruptly left town with a group of pigeoners, Georgie sets out to follow her route. In return for the loan of a mule, she reluctantly allows Billy McCabe, one of Agatha's suitors, to accompany her. The journey includes a menacing cougar and ruthless counterfeiters, but Georgie's narration offers more than action-packed adventure. She unravels the tangle of events that led to Agatha's sudden departure and acknowledges her own role. By turns humorous and reflective, Georgie's unique and honest voice includes confusion about her feelings for Billy and doubts about her ability to kill even in desperate circumstances. Timberlake seamlessly integrates information about two significant events that occurred in Wisconsin in 1871: the largest recorded nesting of passenger pigeons in spring and devastating firestorms in fall. Georgie's physical and emotional odyssey that occurs between those two events will linger in readers' minds.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375869259 When her older sister Agatha is found dead (but unrecognizable), Georgie is certain that there has been a mistake. With her sister's unwelcome suitor Billy McCabe, Georgie sets off to find her sister, or, at least, to find out how she died. The adversarial relationship between Georgie and Billy provides superb comic relief in a gripping, gritty story set in 1870s Wisconsin. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Ketchup Clouds
 by Annabel Pitcher
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316246767 Gr 8 Up-Sitting alone in her shed, "Zoe" writes letters to a Death Row inmate in Texas, confessing her belief that she's responsible for the death of a boy in her British town. Since he's a murderer, too, she believes he should understand her feelings of guilt and regret. Using a pseudonym and a fake address, Zoe tells her pen pal how she met and developed crushes on two brothers, Max and Aaron, and how things went terribly wrong. All but the last section of the book is told entirely through her letters, which chronicle her physical relationship with Max, her burgeoning crush on Aaron, and her interactions with the dead boy's mother. Her narrative also describes her dying grandfather, squabbling parents, deaf youngest sister, and a middle sister who's reporting increasingly serious bullying problems at school. As her correspondent's execution date nears, Zoe approaches her story's denouement. The twist on a familiar epistolary format is interesting if somewhat overstretched, and transitions between past and present are sometimes unclear. A subplot about Zoe's mother's work/life balance issues seems somewhat too adult, but the ambiguity of the dead boy's identity keeps readers turning pages. Overall, this title will be enjoyed by teens seeking edgy, realistic fiction with elements of romance and suspense.-Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316246767 Pitcher (My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece) delivers a taut epistolary novel about a British teenager who writes to a Texas death row inmate and confesses her guilt in a murder: "You killed someone you were supposed to love and I killed someone I was supposed to love, and we both understand the pain and the fear and the sadness and the guilt and the hundred other feelings that don't even have a name in all of the English language." Though the writer invents her name, Zoe, there's nothing false about her one-way letters that gradually reveal her turbulent and destructive romance with two brothers, Max and Aaron, which ends in a death. Pitcher (who won the 2013 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize for this novel) thrusts Zoe into charged situations (her parents' strain over her deaf sister and her father's unemployment heighten the conflict), and Zoe's guilt casts a chill on her relationship with the boys' mother. Zoe's introspective and surprisingly humorous voice will strike a chord with readers as they dwell on the space between guilt and innocence. Ages 12-up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Of course Zoe isn't anything like Texas death row inmate Stuart Harris. She got away with her murder. Plagued by guilt and using the alias "Zoe," the British teen writes a series of confessional letters to Harris. These episodic letters reveal a string of fateful decisions, including her role in a young man's death. Seizing on her parents' marital problems, Zoe escapes to a party and finds instant attraction with "The Boy with the Brown Eyes." But when he disappears, she takes solace--with clothing removed--with popular Max Morgan. While periodically running into the mysterious guy, who she learns is named Aaron, Zoe continues her mostly physical relationship with Max. When she also discovers that Aaron and Max are brothers, readers clearly understand that one of them will die because of her. It's not just suspense that drives this epistolary page-turner, but Zoe's authentic emotional responses and unyielding wit ("who knew that vomit could be flirtatious?"). Zoe's not a monster here but a typical adolescent who does like Max but is in love with Aaron. An engaging subplot involving Zoe's younger, deaf sister and her mother's culpability in her disability mirror Zoe's mounting tension. After many red herrings, a bittersweet ending brings compassion and answers to Zoe's dilemma and shows just how easy it is to make mistakes and how hard love can be. (Fiction. 13 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316246767 Guilt-ridden British teen Zoe feels responsible for the fates of two brothers--Max, the hot guy with whom she's been making out; and Aaron, with whom she's in love. Zoe's original turns of phrase and sprightly narrative style give her story quick, light momentum and moments of lyricism. Sharp, articulate perceptions and a measure of suspense make this an engaging read. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316246767 *Starred Review* Pitcher, author of the well-received My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece (2012), delivers a novel that is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious. Here, 15-year-old Zoe writes to a Death Row inmate in Texas. She empathizes with him and wants to share her story after all, she killed someone, too. From the garden shed of her home in England, Zoe (not her real name) pens lengthy letters to Stuart Harris offering snapshots from the previous year: how she met a boy with beautiful brown eyes named Aaron; how, before their feelings for each other were verbalized, she kissed, and then dated, his brother, Max; how Aaron and Zoe kept up the facade of Max and Zoe to protect Max. But one of the brothers ends up dead this much we know but we don't know which one, or how Zoe was involved, until the very end. The suspense is palpable, and Zoe's voice is witty and introspective as she explores issues relating to family, grief, and love. With each new letter, Zoe writes more familiarly, addressing Mr. Harris as My dearest Stu and signing with Love, as the clock counts down to the inmate's execution day. While there are a couple of missteps at the very end including an anticlimactic family revelation there's no denying the emotional resonance of this bittersweet novel.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2014
America Is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture
 by Erik Dussere
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780199969913 In this study of noir in film and fiction, Dussere (American Univ.) argues that hard-boiled detective fiction opposed the burgeoning capitalist-consumer culture with authenticity, an idealistic desire abstractly based on what is not. Finding the supermarket (the domain of the domestic housewife) and the gas station (a hangout for men in greasy clothes) the primary symbols in films made from novels written in this genre, the author roots noir in masculine identity and misogyny. Taking works of Thomas Pynchon and Chester Himes as examples, Dussere supposes that the conspiracy genre of the 1960s grew out of noir; then he sees postmodernism searching for authenticity in cyberpunk, making the only hero the hacker who is able to throw a monkey wrench into the global corporation and stop the machinery. Dussere concludes that authenticity is impossible and the desire for it springs from a dissatisfaction with the fakery of life in a consumer culture where only things and gadgets matter. Dussere's introductory chapter, which explains the terms and outlines the thesis, is fascinating reading. This book goes a long way toward explaining where postmodernism came from and what it is attempting to do. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. M. S. Stephenson University of Texas at Brownsville
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2014
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
Book Jacket   by Daniel Stashower
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312600228 *Starred Review* Some of President Lincoln's associates and some historians have questioned if the supposed conspiracy to assassinate him upon his arrival in Baltimore was serious. Stashower has no doubt that the plot was real, and he has written a convincing and well-researched chronicle of it and the successful effort to thwart it. His story has the necessary elements of a successful historical thriller, including a determined assassin; a wily, intrepid detective; a serpentine plot; and, in Lincoln, an important and sympathetic potential victim. Stashower seems determined to lay out the painstaking details of the plot; although it provides credibility, it sometimes acts as a drag on the narrative. Still, the stakes are high, so the story has a built-in urgency and excitement. The detective, the soon-to-be-famous Allan Pinkerton, is a relentless and clever sleuth, and the chief conspirator, a Baltimore barber named Ferrandini, is a formidable adversary. Despite some slow moments, the book generally succeeds as both a historical inquiry and a detective story.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312600228 John Wilkes Booth succeeded in 1865, but the first major plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln unfolded in 1861 in anticipation of the then president-elect's railway trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) explains how Allan Pinkerton, a temperamental Scottish cooper turned "fierce and incorruptible lawman" and founder of the Pinkerton Agency, sought to infiltrate and obfuscate a murderous group led by Cypriano Ferrandini, an outspoken Italian barber in Baltimore. Interwoven with the tale of Pinkerton and company's efforts to foil what would become known as the Baltimore Plot, Stashower offers a rich portrait of a resolute but weary Lincoln as he makes his way, both politically and physically, to the White House. As everyone knows, he arrived without incident, but while he saved his skin, he lost some respect for stealing into the capital "like a thief in the night," as one newspaper put it. The book starts out slow, but once Stashower lets the Pinkerton operatives loose, their race against time as Lincoln's train speeds toward Maryland makes for an enthralling page-turner that is sure to please true crime, thriller, and history fans. Photos. (Feb.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312600228 The first known attempt to murder Abraham Lincoln occurred in February 1861 during his railway journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC, for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) details how Allan Pinkerton, head of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, managed to stop a band of rebels bent on killing the president-elect in Baltimore. Stashower describes a campaign-weary, nonchalant, and somewhat incautious Abraham Lincoln, traveling east toward the presidency. The author records him arriving safely in DC after stealing through Maryland's darkened countryside and Baltimore's precincts as "a thief in the night"-at Pinkerton's behest, but in the process forfeiting a measure of political stature to his detractors, who questioned his courage and fitness for office. The tale builds methodically before shifting into dramatic mode as Pinkerton, in fewer than two weeks, uncovers and quashes the would-be assassins' designs, assisted by agent Kate Warne, the leader of Pinkerton's female undercover unit. VERDICT Stashower's character-driven narrative and lively writing style reveal the finely honed skills of an accomplished mystery writer. Recommended.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
The Wicked Girls
Book Jacket   by Alex Marwood
 
2014
Red Sparrow: A Novel
 Red Sparrow: A Novel
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781476706122 *Starred Review* Many spy novelists, including Ian Fleming and John le Carre, actually worked as intelligence agents. Add to that list Jason Matthews, whose 33 years as a CIA field operative enriches his first novel with startling verisimilitude, from griping about meddling, deskbound bureaucrats at Langley to the flat statement that Russia's SVR, successor to the KGB, sees the Cold War as alive and well, and that in Putin's Russia, nothing has changed since Stalin. Perhaps this is novelistic license, but it feels genuine. That sense of authenticity, along with vividly drawn characters, much detail about tradecraft, and an appropriately convoluted plot that centers on moles in both the SVR and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence make this a compelling and propulsive tale of spy-versus-spy. Matthews' characters are variously fascinating, eccentric, and truly odious, including a beautiful Russian woman with the gift of synesthesia, forced into sparrow school to learn espionage through seduction; a brilliant and flamboyantly odd head of CIA counterintelligence; a poisonous dwarf whose reveries always return to torture and murder during Russia's Afghanistan debacle; and many more. Locales including Moscow, Helsinki, Rome, and Athens seem knowingly evoked, and each brief chapter concludes with a recipe for some food a character has just eaten. Red Sparrow is greater than the sum of its fine parts. Espionage aficionados will love this one.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Matthews' first novel, a globe-trotting spy thriller, features enough action to satisfy even the most demanding of adrenaline junkies. CIA field operative Nate Nash acts as the control officer for an invaluable Russian asset placed high up in Putin's administration. Nate chose to become a career spy despite pressure from his well-connected attorney father and two brothers to knuckle down and join the family business. Now, instead of filing briefs and golfing on weekends, he's playing tag with top-notch Russian intelligence teams out to expose Nate's source, known by the code name MARBLE. Meanwhile, another Russian, a beautiful ballerina named Dominika, raised by parents disenchanted with Russian politics but smart enough to realize that such an attitude could prove deadly to their only child, has been forced out of ballet school following an incident of sabotage. While contemplating her grim future, Dominika is approached by her loathsome uncle and top Soviet intelligence official, Vanya Egorov, to seduce an oligarch bothersome to the current administration. When a soulless killer becomes involved in the assignment, Dominika realizes she must quickly adhere to the party line in order to survive and asks her uncle to help her join the intelligence service, which he does. Soon, Dominika and Nate are set on a collision course, and the stage is set for a cat-and-mouse game that bounces from Moscow to Helsinki to Rome to Athens, a deadly assassin at their heels. The inclusion of a recipe at each chapter's end (for foods including chicken Kiev and kebabs), along with the not-so-subtle mentions of food wedged into the storyline, is unnecessary. This book is good and doesn't need the gimmicks. The author's CIA background and the smart dialogue make this an entertaining tale for spy-novel enthusiasts.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781476706122 Matthews's exceptional first novel will please fans of classic spy fiction. In Moscow, CIA agent Nathaniel Nash is running the most valuable asset in the CIA's stable, a major general in the SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. After Nate nearly blows his agent's cover, Nate's chief reassigns him to the CIA station in Helsinki. Meanwhile, SVR deputy director Ivan "Vanya" Egorov decides to use his beautiful 25-year-old niece, Dominika Egorova, as bait in a honey trap designed to kill a Russian mobster who has publicly feuded with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Dominika likes this assignment well enough to ask her uncle to send her to spy school, where she excels. Diagnosed as a synesthete as a girl, Dominika has an unusual gift: she perceives sounds as colors and can tell if someone is lying by the color of his or her aura. After training, she sets out to find the Russian traitor Nate was running. The author's 33-year career in the CIA allows him to showcase all the tradecraft and authenticity that readers in this genre demand. Recipes at the end of each chapter for a dish a character has eaten lend a homely culinary touch to the complex, high-stakes plot. 7-city author tour. Agent: Sloan Harris, International Creative Management. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781476706122 The malicious injuring of a ballerina starts a train wreck that ends in the unmasking of highly placed moles in the United States and Russia. The dancer is inveigled into service as an agent but must first attend a graphically described "Sparrow School" where recruits are taught the art of sexual seduction. Her target is an American agent whose defeat obsesses Russian leader Vladimir Putin himself. The author, a veteran CIA field agent, liberally salts his thriller with realistic tradecraft, horrific villainy, and stunning plot twists as the opponents vie for control. VERDICT An intense descent into a vortex of carnal passion, career brutality, and smart tradecraft, this thriller evokes the great Cold War era of espionage and adds startling touches such as recipes and a main character with synesthesia. Readers of bloodthirsty spy and suspense will welcome this debut from a writer who supersizes his spies. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/12.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442365520 Matthews brings to the table his 33 years as a CIA intelligence officer in his debut spy thriller. Dominika Egorova is a Russian spy and "sparrow," a trained master of "sexpionage," assigned to get information from Nathaniel Nash. Nash, a CIA officer, handles the high-level Russian mole whom Dominika seeks. The two spies get caught in a dangerous world of tradecraft, surveillance, defections, murder, and, perhaps the most dangerous for them, passion. -Matthews's lovebird spies must navigate a thick web of espionage while attempting to do what is best not only for their countries but also for themselves. The author's experience in the field gives listeners amazing insight into what goes on in the world of intelligence. Recommendations should take into consideration passages of greatly detailed sexual encounters and murders. Narrator Jeremy Bobb is masterly in catching the emotion and realism of Matthews's world. VERDICT Best for fans of spy literature. ["An excellent read with a continuously propulsive plot; Matthews's career in the CIA informs this with ass-kickingly real espionage details. Those craving le Carre style, cloak-and-dagger, cat and mouse realism will enjoy this and clamor for more," read the review of the Scribner hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 5/16/13.]-Sean -Kennedy, Cleveland Marshall Coll. Law Lib. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Code Name Verity
 by Elizabeth Wein
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781423152194 *Starred Review* If you pick up this book, it will be some time before you put your dog-eared, tear-stained copy back down. Wein succeeds on three fronts: historical verisimilitude, gut-wrenching mystery, and a first-person voice of such confidence and flair that the protagonist might become a classic character if only we knew what to call her. Alternately dubbed Queenie, Eva, Katharina, Verity, or Julie depending on which double-agent operation she's involved in, she pens her tale as a confession while strapped to a chair and recovering from the latest round of Gestapo torture. The Nazis want the codes that Julie memorized as a wireless operator before crash-landing in France, and she supplies them, but along the way also tells of her fierce friendship with Maddie, a British pilot whose quiet gumption was every bit as impressive as Julie's brash fearlessness. Though delivered at knifepoint, Julie's narrative is peppered with dark humor and minor acts of defiance, and the tension that builds up between both past and present story lines is practically unbearable. A surprise change of perspective hammers home the devastating final third of the book, which reveals that Julie was even more courageous than we believed. Both crushingly sad and hugely inspirational, this plausible, unsentimental novel will thoroughly move even the most cynical of readers.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781423152194 Wein's exceptional--downright sizzling--abilities as a writer of historical adventure fiction are spectacularly evident in this taut, captivating story of two young women, spy and pilot, during World War II. Wein gives us multiple doubletakes and surprises as she ratchets up the tension in captured spy Queenie's story of her best friend Maddie, the pilot who dropped her over France, then crashed. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781423152194 Wein (The Empty Kingdom) serves up a riveting and often brutal tale of WWII action and espionage with a powerful friendship at its core. Captured Scottish spy Queenie has agreed to tell her tale-and reveal any confidential information she knows-in exchange for relief from being tortured by Nazis. Her story, which alternates between her early friendship with a pilot named Maddie and her recent sufferings in prison, works both as a story of cross-class friendship (from an upper-crust family, Queenie realizes that she would likely never have met Maddie under other circumstances) and as a harrowing spy story (Queenie's captor, von Loewe, is humanized without losing his menace). Queenie's deliberately rambling and unreliable narration keeps the story engaging, and there are enough action sequences and well-delivered twists (including a gut-wrenching climax and late revelations that will have readers returning to reread the first half of the book) to please readers of all stripes. Wein balances the horrors of war against genuine heroics, delivering a well-researched and expertly crafted adventure. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781423152194 Gr 9 Up-What is truth? The significance of Julia Beaufort-Stuart's alias, "Code Name Verity," takes on double meaning in this taut, riveting, thriller. When the story begins, Julia is an unnamed prisoner, formerly a wireless operator for the British, held captive in France by a seemingly sadistic Nazi interrogator. She has supposedly "sold her soul" in exchange for small bits of freedom, giving pieces of code in exchange for her life. Interspersed with the story of her fierce fight for survival is a different tale: that of how she came to be in France and of her friendship with Maddie Brodatt, a British civilian pilot. Their unlikely friendship-Julia is a noblewoman, Maddie a commoner-forms the backbone of the novel, and Wein seamlessly weaves its threads throughout the book, tying them like the knots of a rope. As Julia tells their story, she also reveals small bits of her attempts at survival and escape. In the second half of the book, Maddie narrates, telling of her desperate attempts to rescue her friend and revealing both the truth of what happened to each of them, and the truth of Julia's bravery. This intricate tale is not for the faint of heart, and readers will be left gasping for the finish, desperate to know how it ends. With a seemingly unreliable narrator, strong friendship, wonderful historical details, and writing that fairly crackles on the page, this is an excellent book for thoughtful readers and book-discussion groups.-Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II. In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information--"everything I can remember about the British War Effort"--in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place. A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781742857640 Gr 9 Up-Wein's award-winning novel (Hyperion, 2012) is a brilliant story of two young women during World War II who are brought together to support the British RAF. Though from opposite stations in life, Maddie and Queenie (Verity) are both brash, confident, and beautiful, and their friendship is heartfelt. The story unfolds gracefully through written confessions of one of the women who was captured by Nazis after their plane went down in France. The friends are separated after this tragedy, and they (and listeners) are left to wonder if both of them have survived. The prisoner's testimony is crafted to confess the truth, while misleading her Nazi interrogators. At times details about airplanes, mechanics, incendiaries, and such leave listeners feeling woefully inadequate. Graphic accounts of torture and death are put forth in explicit detail. Wein is a master at recounting both horrible events and the emotional subtleties which define the lives of these two heroines. Narration by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell is superb, especially with Scottish, British, French, German, and English so beautifully spoken. An excellent choice for thoughtful, mature listeners.-Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Museum Teacher/Fellow (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781423152194 *Starred Review* If you pick up this book, it will be some time before you put your dog-eared, tear-stained copy back down. Wein succeeds on three fronts: historical verisimilitude, gut-wrenching mystery, and a first-person voice of such confidence and flair that the protagonist might become a classic character if only we knew what to call her. Alternately dubbed Queenie, Eva, Katharina, Verity, or Julie depending on which double-agent operation she's involved in, she pens her tale as a confession while strapped to a chair and recovering from the latest round of Gestapo torture. The Nazis want the codes that Julie memorized as a wireless operator before crash-landing in France, and she supplies them, but along the way also tells of her fierce friendship with Maddie, a British pilot whose quiet gumption was every bit as impressive as Julie's brash fearlessness. Though delivered at knifepoint, Julie's narrative is peppered with dark humor and minor acts of defiance, and the tension that builds up between both past and present story lines is practically unbearable. A surprise change of perspective hammers home the devastating final third of the book, which reveals that Julie was even more courageous than we believed. Both crushingly sad and hugely inspirational, this plausible, unsentimental novel will thoroughly move even the most cynical of readers.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781423152194 Wein's exceptional--downright sizzling--abilities as a writer of historical adventure fiction are spectacularly evident in this taut, captivating story of two young women, spy and pilot, during World War II. Wein gives us multiple doubletakes and surprises as she ratchets up the tension in captured spy Queenie's story of her best friend Maddie, the pilot who dropped her over France, then crashed. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781423152194 Wein (The Empty Kingdom) serves up a riveting and often brutal tale of WWII action and espionage with a powerful friendship at its core. Captured Scottish spy Queenie has agreed to tell her tale-and reveal any confidential information she knows-in exchange for relief from being tortured by Nazis. Her story, which alternates between her early friendship with a pilot named Maddie and her recent sufferings in prison, works both as a story of cross-class friendship (from an upper-crust family, Queenie realizes that she would likely never have met Maddie under other circumstances) and as a harrowing spy story (Queenie's captor, von Loewe, is humanized without losing his menace). Queenie's deliberately rambling and unreliable narration keeps the story engaging, and there are enough action sequences and well-delivered twists (including a gut-wrenching climax and late revelations that will have readers returning to reread the first half of the book) to please readers of all stripes. Wein balances the horrors of war against genuine heroics, delivering a well-researched and expertly crafted adventure. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781423152194 Gr 9 Up-What is truth? The significance of Julia Beaufort-Stuart's alias, "Code Name Verity," takes on double meaning in this taut, riveting, thriller. When the story begins, Julia is an unnamed prisoner, formerly a wireless operator for the British, held captive in France by a seemingly sadistic Nazi interrogator. She has supposedly "sold her soul" in exchange for small bits of freedom, giving pieces of code in exchange for her life. Interspersed with the story of her fierce fight for survival is a different tale: that of how she came to be in France and of her friendship with Maddie Brodatt, a British civilian pilot. Their unlikely friendship-Julia is a noblewoman, Maddie a commoner-forms the backbone of the novel, and Wein seamlessly weaves its threads throughout the book, tying them like the knots of a rope. As Julia tells their story, she also reveals small bits of her attempts at survival and escape. In the second half of the book, Maddie narrates, telling of her desperate attempts to rescue her friend and revealing both the truth of what happened to each of them, and the truth of Julia's bravery. This intricate tale is not for the faint of heart, and readers will be left gasping for the finish, desperate to know how it ends. With a seemingly unreliable narrator, strong friendship, wonderful historical details, and writing that fairly crackles on the page, this is an excellent book for thoughtful readers and book-discussion groups.-Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Live by Night: (Coughlin, Book 2)
Book Jacket   by Dennis Lehane
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The acclaimed mystery writer again tries his hand at historical fiction, combining period detail from the Prohibition era with the depth of character and twists of plot that have won him such a devoted readership. Though this novel serves as a sequel to The Given Day (2008), it can be read independently of Lehane's previous historical novel and is closer in its page-turning narrative momentum to his more contemporary thrillers such as Mystic River (2001). Its protagonist is Joe Coughlin, the morally conflicted youngest son of a corrupt Boston police official (oldest brother Danny was protagonist of the previous novel and makes a cameo appearance here). One of the more compelling characters ever created by Lehane, Joe is a bright young man raised in an economically privileged Irish household who turned to crime as a teenager because "it was fun and he was good at it." He's the product of a loveless marriage, for whom "the hole at the center of his house had been a hole at the center of his parents and one day the hole had found the center of Joe." Among the ways he tries to fill that hole is through love and loyalty, both of which put him at odds with the prevailing ethos of the gang bosses among whom he finds himself caught in the crossfire. He ultimately builds a bootlegging empire in Tampa, backed by a vicious gang lord whose rival had tried to kill Joe, and he falls in love with a Cuban woman whose penchant for social justice receives a boost from his illegal profits. ("Good deeds, since the dawn of time, had often followed bad money," writes Lehane.) Neither as epic in scope nor as literarily ambitious as its predecessor, the novel builds to a powerful series of climaxes, following betrayal upon betrayal, which will satisfy Lehane's fans and deserves to extend his readership as well. Power, lust and moral ambiguity combine for an all-American explosion of fictional fireworks.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780060004873 Lehane (Mystic River; Shutter Island) is known for gritty, occasionally gruesome mystery novels, frequently set in the working-class Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, where he grew up. Like his The Given Day, this new book represents something of a departure for Lehane. Both are historical novels, following the history of the Coughlin family in Boston between the two world wars. While the first novel offered a complex narrative thread and examined the lives of multiple characters, Lehane focuses here on Joe Coughlin's rising career as a gangster and rum runner. Joe is the younger brother of Danny Coughlin, the protagonist of The Given Day, who appears only briefly here, and Joe's exploits effectively illustrate how Prohibition boosted the fortunes of gangsters like Danny. VERDICT Lehane continues to evoke beautifully the world of Boston in the 1920s. The narrative falters and loses focus somewhat in the novel's second half when the setting shifts to Florida and Cuba. The novel also suffers from its almost exclusive focus on a single character. While not on the level of its predecessor, it still provides sufficient action to entertain most fans of historical fiction and mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/12.]-Douglas Southard, Boston (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780060004873 *Starred Review* Lehane's latest historical thriller, following The Given Day (2008), continues the author's propulsive narrative train ride across twentieth-century American history. This time the train stops during Prohibition, and the individual focus is on Joe Coughlin, a Boston cop's son by birth but a gangster by choice, rejecting his father's platitudes about crime not paying and choosing, instead, to live by night, in a world without nets none to catch you and none to envelop you. Joe begins in Boston, and after a stint in prison, it's off to Tampa, where he quickly becomes the crime boss of Ybor City, rum-running capital of Florida. Joe, like Vito Corleone, is a thoughtful gangster, a family man who would prefer to do business without violence but who draws violence to him like a magnet. Despite evoking comparisons both to The Godfather and to the TV series Boardwalk Empire, Lehane's novel carves its own unique place in the Prohibition landscape, partially because crime runs at a more languid if no less lethal pace in Ybor City than it does in the North. And, somehow, when the staccato rhythm of gunfire overwhelms the tranquil tempo of a slowly turning ceiling fan, the jolt to our system is stronger, as is the realization that Joe's worlds of night and day are held together by the thinnest of fibers. This is an utterly magnetic novel on every level, a reimagining of the great themes of popular fiction crime, family, passion, betrayal set against an exquisitely rendered historical backdrop. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Note to that big IT department in the sky: add bandwidth, launch satellites, do whatever you need to do to prepare for the digital promotion campaign that will accompany the launch of Dennis Lehane's new novel.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780060004873 Bestseller Lehane (The Given Day) chronicles the Prohibition-era rise of Joe Coughlin, an Irish-American gangster, in this masterful crime epic. While most hard-working stiffs are earning their wages by day in 1926 Boston, 19-year-old Joe and his friends live by night, catering to the demand for prostitution, narcotics, and bootleg alcohol. When Joe falls for a competing mobster's gun moll, he sets in motion a chain of events that land him in prison, with the girl missing and presumed dead. In the joint, Joe meets aging Mafia don Thomaso "Maso" Pescatore, who becomes his mentor. On Joe's release, Maso sets Joe up in Tampa, Fla., as his point man. Years pass, and Joe creates a huge empire in the illegal rum trade. He marries Graciela Corrales, a fiery Cuban revolutionary, and eventually builds a life for himself in Batista's Cuba, soothing his conscience by doing good works with his dirty money. This idyllic existence can't last forever, though, especially in the night, with its shifting alliances and fated clashes. Lehane has created a mature, quintessentially American story that will appeal to readers of literary and crime fiction alike. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2013
The Expats: A Novel
Book Jacket   by Chris Pavone
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307956354 Former CIA agent Kate is enjoying the expat life in Luxembourg until she gets suspicious of some acquaintances. "Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable"; a big debut. (LJ 1/12) (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307956354 Fans of John le Carre and Robert Ludlum will welcome former book editor Pavone's first novel, a meticulously plotted, psychologically complex spy thriller. When Dexter Moore, a financial systems security expert in Washington, D.C., receives a lucrative offer to work for a bank in Luxembourg, his wife, Kate, resigns her position as a CIA operative-a job her husband knows nothing about-and vows to recreate herself as a devoted wife and mother to their two boys. But Kate soon discovers that computer geek Dexter has been living a secret life as well, and that he may be a thief being investigated by the FBI and Interpol who's stolen millions of euros in online banking transactions. The sheer amount of bombshell plot twists are nothing short of extraordinary, but it's Pavone's portrayal of Kate and her quest to find meaning in her charade of an existence that makes this book such a powerful read. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307956354 *Starred Review* The premature death of her parents turned Kate into a driven loner who never expected to find someone to love. After college, clandestine fieldwork for the CIA filled the void; then she met decent, somewhat nerdy Dexter Moore. Marriage and two young sons convinced her to transfer into intelligence analysis, but she never told Dexter about her CIA employment. But when Dexter is offered a job in Luxembourg with a private bank, Kate abruptly finds herself an expat mom. Housework and lunches with other expats don't fulfill her, and she maintains the suspicious nature the CIA fostered. Soon, she focuses on expats Julia and Bill, as well as Dexter's new, uncharacteristic behavior. Her spook instincts bear fruit: Julia and Bill aren't what they seem; Dexter is up to something; and Kate must find out what it all means. The Expats is a stunningly assured first novel. Kate's character, her CIA experiences, and her new life are examined in granular detail, all of which helps drive an intricate, suspenseful plot that is only resolved in the final pages. The juxtaposition of marital deceptions and espionage is brilliantly employed. European locales, information on private banks and cybercrime, and the particulars of expats' quotidian but comfortable lives ooze verisimilitude. A must for espionage fans.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307956354 Kate is a young mom cozily wrapped up in her expat life in tiny Luxembourg-her two young sons and husband fill her days. What keeps her up at night glued to the Internet is the suspicion that a couple of casual buddies she met on the cocktail circuit are really assassins. Fueled by her 15 years as a covert CIA agent, Kate's obsession soon leads her to deeply hidden plots that involve 50 million euros, a suddenly flaky husband with curiously muddy shoes, and herrings-red and not-that rip her comfy world to tatters. VERDICT Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable, this debut thriller breaks the espionage genre bounds with its American-as-apple-pie heroine. Standing on the shoulders of such giants as Robert Littell, Gayle Lynds, Eric Ambler, Helen MacInnes, and Daniel Silva, Pavone displays the best characteristics of the form and will earn a faithful and yearning readership. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/11; see the Q&A with Pavone on p. 98.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, Va (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
The Last Policeman: A Novel (The Last Policeman Trilogy)
 by Ben Winters
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781594745768 Newly promoted Concord, NH, detective Hank Palace is investigating a suspicious death that may be a murder or might be part of an epidemic of suicides. Both the promotion and the suicides are rooted in the fact that an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and will destroy all life in a few months. Palace faces indifference from many of his colleagues who don't see the point of solving one death when everyone is under the same sentence. Winters (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters) has crafted a compelling mystery with surprising twists and turns, but more impressively he has created a world slowly collapsing under the prospect of its imminent demise. The responses of individuals, institutions, and governments to the threat from the sky are all considered in the context of Palace's murder investigation. VERDICT This thought-provoking mystery should appeal to crime fiction aficionados who like an unusual setting and readers looking for a fresh take on apocalypse stories.-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781594745768 Postapocalyptic novels are a dime a dozen, but how many good preapocalyptic novels can you name? Set six months before an asteroid will smash into Earth, this one definitely qualifies. Surprisingly, despite the premise, it is essentially a mystery. Hank Palace hasn't been a detective very long, but one thing he's learned is that when someone is murdered, the guilty party should be brought to justice. But first Hank has to convince his superiors that the man found hanging in a public washroom wasn't a suicide (which, of late, has become a pretty popular means of escaping the imminent destruction of the world). The story could easily have been played as a comedy Winters, author of the mash-up Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, would have had no trouble there but, instead, it's a solidly plotted whodunit with strong characters and excellent dialogue. But the impending apocalypse isn't merely window dressing, either: it's a key piece of the puzzle Hank is trying to solve. This memorable tale is the first of a planned trilogy.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In a pre-apocalyptic world, one detective still keeps watch--but to what end? The impending impact of asteroid 2011GV1, unaffectionately known as Maia, has given life on Earth only six more months. It's turned Concord, N.H., into a "hanger town," a reference to the suicide preference of locals. Rookie Detective Hank Palace is determined to stay on top of his caseload even though many of his old colleagues seem to have cashed in and are bucket-listing it from now on. Enter Peter Zell, or rather exit Peter, whose death is Palace's latest case. Any other cop would have let this apparent suicide go, but Palace is determined to do his duty when he senses something suspicious about the circumstances. Added to this is Palace's mess of a little sister, Nico, who knows that Palace may be the only one with the cop chops to track down her missing husband. What's more interesting than the mystery surrounding Zell's death is Winters' vision of a pre-apocalyptic world, one where laws are both absolute and irrelevant and even minor players have major control over what could be a new future. The imminent end of the world doesn't mean that everyone has shown their hands--just that there's a lot more at stake if they lose. A promising kickoff to a planned trilogy. For Winters (Bedbugs, 2011, etc.), the beauty is in the details rather than the plot's grim main thrust.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781594745768 Newly promoted Concord, NH, detective Hank Palace is investigating a suspicious death that may be a murder or might be part of an epidemic of suicides. Both the promotion and the suicides are rooted in the fact that an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and will destroy all life in a few months. Palace faces indifference from many of his colleagues who don't see the point of solving one death when everyone is under the same sentence. Winters (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters) has crafted a compelling mystery with surprising twists and turns, but more impressively he has created a world slowly collapsing under the prospect of its imminent demise. The responses of individuals, institutions, and governments to the threat from the sky are all considered in the context of Palace's murder investigation. VERDICT This thought-provoking mystery should appeal to crime fiction aficionados who like an unusual setting and readers looking for a fresh take on apocalypse stories.-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781594745768 Postapocalyptic novels are a dime a dozen, but how many good preapocalyptic novels can you name? Set six months before an asteroid will smash into Earth, this one definitely qualifies. Surprisingly, despite the premise, it is essentially a mystery. Hank Palace hasn't been a detective very long, but one thing he's learned is that when someone is murdered, the guilty party should be brought to justice. But first Hank has to convince his superiors that the man found hanging in a public washroom wasn't a suicide (which, of late, has become a pretty popular means of escaping the imminent destruction of the world). The story could easily have been played as a comedy Winters, author of the mash-up Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, would have had no trouble there but, instead, it's a solidly plotted whodunit with strong characters and excellent dialogue. But the impending apocalypse isn't merely window dressing, either: it's a key piece of the puzzle Hank is trying to solve. This memorable tale is the first of a planned trilogy.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781594746741 If an asteroid were hurtling toward Earth, guaranteed to destroy everyone on the planet in a few months, what would happen to the concept of law and order? Det. Hank Palace is determined to keep doing his job in a world counting down the days. (LJ 7/12) (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
 by Paul French
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780143121008 Edward Werner was a noted sinologist and a former British consul living in Peking. His status as a resident foreigner when his daughter was murdered, in January of 1937, while Britain still exercised extraterritorial rights in China, ensured that the crime would merit a high-profile investigation. French has ably reconstructed the detective work and, most evocatively, the atmosphere in which it was conducted. A mood of doom and decadence prevailed in Peking, menaced by the Japanese army and teeming with down-and-outers and expatriates with pasts to conceal. Tracking the lead investigators, one Chinese and one British, French portrays the seedy underworld into which the clues led them, surfacing the detectives in the city's more respectable precincts as the eye of suspicion fell on one suspect or another. From the discovery of the bludgeoned body and throughout the investigation, French's narrative keeps the reader tightly gripped by and emotionally involved with the dead daughter and her obstreperous but determined father, who, after officials closed the case unsolved, pressed for the truth in his own remarkable inquiry. A fine true-crime narrative with crossover appeal to mystery mavens.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao, 2009, etc.) masterly portrays the graft-ridden milieu of preWorld War II China, where the arrogance of foreigners prevailed. The horribly mutilated body of a young woman, later identified as British schoolgirl Pamela Werner, was discovered at Fox Tower in Peking, on Jan. 8, 1937, to the shock of the foreign community. Initially, French pursues the official Chinese and British police angle, offering a grisly autopsy report and discussions of suspects such as Pamela's father, ETC Werner, an old China hand and former British consul. Detectives discovered that Pamela had been ice-skating with her girlfriend the night before and failed to make it home on her bicycle by dinnertime, as she had promised her father and cook. Compelling details emerge about the attractive young woman. She was scheduled to leave her school and return to England soon because of untoward advances made by her professor, and she had been courted by several men her father had disapproved of. Still, the official inquest stalled, Peking fell to the Japanese and the case petered out, except that Pamela's father doggedly took over, offering a reward and hiring his own detectives. Having long lived in Peking, Werner sensed that such a murder had not been committed by Chinese, but by the foreigners who congregated at the watering hole the Grand Hotel des Wagons Lits, and they were not telling the truth. French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwar Peking. A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780143121008 Historian French (Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao) unravels a long-forgotten 1937 murder in this fascinating look at Peking (now Beijing) on the brink of Japanese occupation. The severely mutilated body of 19-year-old Pamela Werner-the adopted daughter of noted Sinologist and longtime Peking resident Edward Werner-was discovered, with many of her organs removed, near the border between the Badlands, a warren of alleyways full of brothels and opium dens, and the Legation Quarter, where Peking's foreign set resided in luxury. A case immediately fraught with tension was made even trickier when the local detective, Col. Han Shih-ching, was made to work alongside Scotland Yard-trained Richard Dennis, based in Tientsin. The investigation soon stalled: the actual scene of Pamela's murder could not be found, and leads fizzled out. As China's attention turned to the looming Japanese occupation, the case was deemed "unsolved." French painstakingly reconstructs the crime and depicts the suspects-using Werner's own independent research, conducted after authorities refused to reopen his daughter's case. Compelling evidence is coupled with a keen grasp of Chinese history in French's worthy account. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780143121008 In January 1937, the mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found on the outskirts of old Peking (Beijing). After an unsuccessful investigation into the slaughter of this 19-year-old English expatriate, the case was eventually closed and forgotten as World War II escalated in China. Now Shanghai-based business analyst and historian French (Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao) reopens the cold case and attempts to bring some justice to Pamela's memory in this skillfully told true-crime thriller. French writes a remarkably coherent narrative by stringing together details from official police reports, newspaper articles, interviews, and, perhaps most helpful, E.T.C. Werner's report from his personal investigation into his daughter's horrific murder. VERDICT Treating his subjects with expertise and compassion, French creates a riveting portrait of the complicated tensions that existed during wartime in a city on the brink of destruction. As he slowly unravels the clues, he reveals a crime more shocking than anyone had ever imagined. This is a difficult book to put down! Recommended for readers interested in detective novels, Chinese history, and everything in between.-Rebekah Wallin, Paris, France (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics
Book Jacket   by James O'Brien
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780199794966 O'Brien, emeritus distinguished professor of chemistry at Missouri State University, delves deep into the science behind Sherlock Holmes in this brief and engaging volume. The book is clearly aimed at Holmes aficionados-each of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 60 stories featuring the detective are referenced via accepted Holmesian shorthand (e.g., "ABBE" for "The Abbey Grange")-yet the author treats his subject and his associates (Doctor Watson, the long-suffering Mrs. Hudson, and Holmes's bete noir, Professor Moriarty) with obvious affection, and it's catching-his journey into Sherlockian science is both endearing and informative. O'Brien discusses Holmes's investigative acumen according to categories of evidence (e.g., finger- and footprints, hand- and typewritten documents) and provides interesting real-life examples of crimes solved with similar techniques, such as the New York Zodiac killings and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. O'Brien, a loyal fellow test-tuber, devotes significant energy to defending Holmes against criticisms that he was a sorry chemist, and while the asides are interesting, the intensely detailed science behind the apologia might turn off casual readers. Nevertheless, the scientific rigor with which both scribe and subject approach their tasks is abundantly evident. Illus. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780199794966 Sherlock Holmes is one of the most recognized fictional characters in history, still appearing today in a number of media. Even casual readers of the Holmes "canon" have surely noticed the emphasis on science, as either the primary focus or at least in brief mention. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author, was trained as a physician, which accounts for Holmes's prowess as a deductive scientist. O'Brien (emer., Missouri State), a recognized Holmes expert, begins with a biography of Conan Doyle, followed by "biographies" of Holmes; his companion, Dr. Watson; and their archenemy, Moriarty. Succeeding chapters cover the breadth of sciences employed by Holmes, including math, anatomy, botany, physics, optics, astronomy, geology, meteorology, and especially chemistry (the specialty of this book's author). The chapter on Holmes's forensic methods includes discussions of Bertillon measurements, fingerprints, footprints, handwriting, and cryptology--many of which crime fighters use today. The 60 Holmes stories are cited throughout with a terse but effective four-letter code. One need not be a scientist or a previous Holmes fan to enjoy this book. It is well suited to general courses like "Chemistry for Poets" or courses on forensics or history of chemistry, or academic book clubs. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates, two-year technical program students, and general readers. R. E. Buntrock formerly, University of Maine
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780199794966 Combining two popular topics, the uses of science in criminal investigations and literature's most famed detective, O'Brien surveys and appraises the scientific ability of Sherlock Holmes. As he inventories such Holmes-story crime-scene clues as footprints, ciphers, and poisons, O'Brien informs his readers of controversies among Holmes fans concerning their hero's powers of scientific deduction. Sf author Isaac Asimov, for example, criticized Holmes as a bad chemist, which O'Brien, a chemistry professor by occupation, largely refutes, though with concessions to Asimov on particular points. Overall, O'Brien praises Holmes, or rather his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, as in scientific step with his times, at least until Doyle seemingly killed off Holmes and his archenemy, Dr. Moriarty, in The Final Problem, in 1893. Although Doyle deployed science when he revived Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901), O'Brien holds that scientific sophistication degraded in the later stories, which O'Brien links to a lessening in their literary quality, compared to that of the earlier ones. Nevertheless, the scientific intricacies of O'Brien's analyses should pique the timeless interest in the cases of Sherlock Holmes.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2013
The Quick Fix (Big Splash)
Book Jacket   by Jack Ferraiolo
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780810997257 Gr 6-8-Seventh-grader Matt Stevens is in demand as a private eye. Melissa Scott, a respected cheerleader, hires him to find out why her basketball-star boyfriend is behaving strangely. It is up to Matt to follow the clues while avoiding the dangers that lurk at his middle school, including a team of bullies led by Vincent Biggio, aka Vinny Biggs, and Kevin, Matt's former friend. The bad guys wait in the corners with water guns to supply an embarrassing stream of water to unsuspecting students and thus putting them in "the Outs," the lowest group on the social ladder. With humor and wit, this intrepid, tough-talking, wise-cracking detective works toward unraveling two mysteries, one about a wooden ornament that everyone wants to get their hands on and the other about his dad, who disappeared more than six years ago. The quick-moving plot and interesting characters give this detective story plenty of reluctant-reader appeal. Although a sequel to The Big Splash (Abrams, 2008), there are enough clues from the previous book to allow for stand-alone reading.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780810997257 Cunning detective Matt Stevens is hired by the head cheerleader and the school thug for two jobs that involve the same mysterious wooden trinket. Ferraiolo's crime-drama-homage sequel to The Big Splash presents another thrilling caper with enough plot twists, intrigue, and over-the-top similes ("She stood out...like a gazelle in a herd of cows") to keep reluctant readers interested and delighted. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2012
The Silence of Murder
 by Dandi Daley Mackall
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. (Mystery. 13 up) ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375868962 When her developmentally disabled brother Jeremy, who hasn't spoken in nine years, is accused of murdering the popular high school basketball coach, Hope is determined to clear his name. Hope's dedication to her brother is inspiring, but the novel suffers from uneven pacing and flat characterizations of Jeremy and the adults in the siblings' lives. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375868962 Gr 8 Up-After her autistic brother is accused of murdering the town's beloved baseball coach, 16-year-old Hope Long determines to exonerate him. To prove Jeremy's innocence, she must overcome significant obstacles, including his inability to defend himself because of selective muteness, criminal evidence that is damning, and the townspeople's judgmental attitudes toward the 18-year-old's disability. With the assistance of her friend T. J. and the sheriff's son, Chase, she compiles a list of suspects and seeks clues that will clear Jeremy. In the course of their detective work, romance ensues between Hope and Chase, which helps lighten the novel's dark tone. Hope uncovers a shocking revelation about her mother, dramatically impacting Jeremy's case. Paced like a riveting television courtroom drama, with the ultimate conclusive twist, The Silence of Murder is gritty and intense, and it will appeal to readers who appreciate realistic depictions of criminal investigations. Mackall portrays autism with compassion and sensitivity; Hope's unerring devotion to her brother, and her ability to see beyond his disability, beautifully anchors this novel.-Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780375868962 I have never even once thought there was something 'wrong' with my brother. says 17-year-old Hope Long, but few people share her view. Jeremy, 18, is selectively mute, autistic, and on trial for the murder of a beloved local coach. Wherever their irresponsible alcoholic mother has taken them, Hope has always been Jeremy's advocate, but now, in order to save Jeremy from execution, she must testify to his insanity. Convinced of her brother's innocence, Hope sets out to discover the real murderer. Her investigation leads to the loss of her only friend, a forbidden romance with the sheriff's son, family secrets, and a journey of self-discovery. Hope's first-person narrative pulls readers immediately into the story as she works her way through clues and false leads to the truth. The well-plotted mystery is intriguing, and Hope's determined efforts to solve it have an authentic feel. Secondary characters are a tad one-dimensional, but Hope's compelling voice and the very real sense of danger propel the pace to a solution that will have readers talking.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2012
Gone
 by Mo Hayder
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780802119643 A carjacking goes from bad to horrifying in Hayder's gripping fifth thriller featuring Bristol Det. Insp. Jack Caffery and Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley (after Skin). When Rose Bradley's car is stolen with her 11-year-old daughter, Martha, inside, it appears to be a routine snatch-and-grab. It becomes clear, however, that the carjacker had his sights set on the girl, not the vehicle, when he begins taunting the police, who scramble to find clues to Martha's whereabouts. Jack soon discovers a pattern of similar kidnappings disguised as car thefts, with the level of violence ratcheted up in each case. As Jack tracks the kidnapper above ground, Flea's search takes her below ground and underwater into a decommissioned canal and tunnel, where she fights to save her own life and that of the kidnapped child. Hayder expertly brings to life the claustrophobia of Flea's dives and the emotional burden of the case on Jack. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A carjacker in a clown's mask drives off with an 11-year-old girl in the back seat, drawing DI Jack Caffery of Bristol's major-crime unit into a multilayered plot that also brings back unsteady female police diver Flea Marley.Hayder's fifth novel to feature Caffery (introduced in Birdman, 1999) tones down the gruesome violence (if not the creepy scenarios), delivering a brilliantly plotted mystery that keeps you guessing not only who the villain is, but what exactly he's after. With his poorly disguised antipathy toward children, Caffery is not the best choice to investigate the disappearance of little girls. But the former Londoner, who's still losing sleep over his brother's childhood disappearance, is comfortable on the missing-person trail. Helped by his unhinged but brilliant street friend, the Walking Man, he is led to a canal with a submerged barge and an odd network of air shafts. That's where Marley (introduced in Ritual, 2008) is on her own mission to make up for a traumatic pastnot to mention a recent criminal act in taking responsibility for the death of a woman her drunken brother ran over. The complicated personal history of Caffery and Marley provides a compelling undercurrent, as does Marley's confessed love-hate affair with Caffery and his checkered past. She does something most mystery writers wouldn't with their star protagonist: She has him miss major clues and get outsmarted by the mother of a missing girl. But only, of course, to a point.First-rate mystery that takes full advantage of the wintry, moonlit West Country and the unusual skills of its lady diver.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780802119643 DI Jack Caffery and Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley, a police diver, return in Hayder's latest thriller. This is the fifth appearance for Caffery, who debuted in Birdman, and the third for Marley. The events of the previous novel, Skin, have eroded their personal and professional relationship, and Marley and her team are under scrutiny. A new case brings them together, and the two struggle with their partnership and with the brutal criminal they face. What appears to be an accidental kidnapping during a carjacking turns more sinister when the child is not released, a pattern of similar attempted incidents emerges, and they receive a letter from the kidnapper outlining what he's done and what he's planning. VERDICT Readers who can tolerate some graphic descriptions of violence (or skim past them) will be rewarded with a complex, fast-paced, well-written mystery with interesting characters fighting personal and external demons. Recommended for those who enjoy Karin Slaughter and John Connolly.-Beth Blakesley, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780802119643 *Starred Review* In the fifth riveting entry in the series featuring haunted homicide detective Jack Caffery, his latest case seems to be a routine carjacking. But as the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that the Jacker was really after the 11-year-old girl in the backseat and, what's more, is taunting police with the threat that he will strike again. He is so far ahead of the unit at every step that the investigation is continually being stymied, and Jack suspects the Jacker is privy to inside information. As the Walking Man, a vagrant with whom Jack has a special connection, tells him, the kidnapper is cleverer than any of the others you've brought to me. Meanwhile, police diver Flea Marley is recklessly ignoring protocol in her search for the missing girl and finds herself trapped in an underwater cavern. Hayder keeps the tension high as she switches between the distraught parents and the stressed-out investigators. The meticulously crafted plot is heightened by Hayder's skillful evocation of mood as she summons the specter of a highly intelligent criminal who is taking great satisfaction from every parent's worst nightmare. A captivating thriller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hayder has been threatening to vault from cult favorite to mainstream smash for a few books now, and this one aided by a full-dress marketing campaign may be the one to make the jump.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2012
Bent Road
Book Jacket   by Lori Roy
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525951834 After the Chicago riots of 1967, Arthur and Celia Scott move their family back to Arthur's boyhood home in rural Kansas in search of a calmer, safer life. His family welcomes them, but the Scotts' lives are thrust into turmoil when a neighbor's child dis-appears, Arthur's sister suffers spousal abuse, and the shadow of a family murder haunts his younger daughter. Arthur hopes that his son will gain maturity from his new surroundings, but young Daniel's city-coping skills fail him on the farm and in his country school. Celia misses the sophistication of the city, is perplexed by the man Arthur is becoming, and is nearly overwhelmed by the silent suffering around her. Returning to the city is not an option, but the Scotts have second thoughts about life on the plains. This rich and haunting family story reminds us that simplicity of landscape does not necessarily mean simplicity of life. VERDICT Roy's exceptional debut novel is full of tension, complex characters, and deftly gothic overtones. Readers of Tana French's In the Woods will find this dark and satisfying story a great read. Highly recommended.-Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525951834 Returning to rural Kansas after the 1967 Detroit riots, Arthur and Celia Scott and their three children find their quest for a calmer, safer life shattered by the disappearance of a neighbor's child. Roy's exceptional first novel is full of tension, complex characters, and deftly applied gothic overtones. (LJ 2/1/11) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525951834 After a self-imposed exile, Arthur Scott moves his wife and children from the tumult of 1960s Detroit to the wind-swept plains of his hometown in Kansas. A secret is lurking in this small village, and it has something to do with the Scott family. Years ago, Arthur's beautiful older sister died mysteriously. Now, another young girl disappears without a trace. There are also rumors of an escaped convict on the loose. Meanwhile, Arthur's only living sister is beaten by her abusive husband and must seek refuge. Celia, Arthur's wife, watches as events unfold around her, all the time questioning whether they are somehow related. In her debut mystery, Roy excels at creating the kind of ominous mood that is unique to the novel's small-town setting, in which the church holds sway, and family secrets are locked-up tight. Terrifying and touching, the novel is captivating from beginning to end.--Paulson, Heather Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525951834 Set in the mid '60s, Roy's outstanding debut melds strong characters and an engrossing plot with an evocative sense of place. When Negro boys start phoning Elaine, Arthur Scott's teenage daughter, Arthur decides it's time to leave Detroit and return to the small Kansas town that he left 20 years earlier after his sister Eve's mysterious death. His wife, Celia, resents the move that will put her close to in-laws she barely knows and that will change her family dynamic. That Arthur's younger daughter, Eve-ee, resembles her late aunt unsettles Arthur's older sister, Ruth, and Ruth's husband, Ray, who have never seen Eve-ee before. When a neighbor's child disappears, suspicion uncomfortably settles on Ray, who was suspected in Eve's death. Roy couples a vivid view of the isolation and harshness of farm life with a perceptive look at the emotions that can rage beneath the surface. This Midwestern noir with gothic undertones is sure to make several 2011 must-read lists. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2012
The Company Man
Book Jacket   by Robert Jackson Bennett
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316054706 *Starred Review* Bennett does the seemingly impossible here. He's written an alternate-history novel that measures up in every respect to Philip K. Dick's masterful The Man in the High Castle. In Bennett's work, the path towards the future diverges in the 1870s, and by 1919, when the story really opens, 50 years of mind-boggling technological innovations flowing from quiet Lawrence Kulahee have changed the face of the world. After a chance meeting with Kulahee, ruthless entrepreneur William McNaughton realizes the economic potential of the unassuming genius. In short order, the skies are full of airships, the roads with automobiles, and the U.S. becomes the most powerful nation on Earth. But all is not well. Disparities in wealth have produced a society that seems headed towards social collapse. Unrest has spurred the formation of a labor-union movement, many of whose members and organizers are dropping like flies, killed in inexplicable circumstances. The body count is becoming a corporate embarrassment. Enter quasi-policeman Hayes to sort things out. He's a highly troubled man but also seems to have psychic gifts rivaling in scale the intellectual gifts of Kulahee. Bennett weaves mystery into this strange but still recognizable world, and the result is one first-class book. Don't miss it.--Swanson, Elliot. Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2012
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
 by Candice Millard
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780385526265 Millard (The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey) presents a dual biography of the 20th U.S. President and his assassin. James A. Garfield and Charles Guiteau were both born into hardscrabble Midwestern circumstances. While Garfield made himself into a teacher, Union army general, congressman, and President, Guiteau, who was most likely insane, remained at the margins of life, convinced he was intended for greatness. When he failed to receive a position in Garfield's administration, he became convinced that God meant him to kill the President. At a railway station in the capital, Guiteau shot Garfield barely four months into his term. Garfield lingered through the summer of 1881, with the country hanging on the news of his condition. In September he died of infection, apparently due to inadequate medical care. Millard gives readers a sense of the political and social life of those times and provides more detail on Guiteau's life than is given in Ira Rutkow's James A. Garfield. The format is similar to that in The President and the Assassin, Scott Miller's book on President McKinley and Leon Czolgosz. VERDICT Recommended for presidential history buffs and students of Gilded Age America. [See Prepub Alert, 3/7/11.]--Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Lib., Parkersburg (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780385526265 Significant scholarly attention has long eluded the story of James A. Garfield; however, with this book, former National Geographic writer Millard sheds light on one of history's forgotten presidents. Garfield was assassinated just four months into his presidency; accordingly, his list of accomplishments as president are slim, though his life story before his time in the Oval Office is most compelling and is well documented in this work. The author traces Garfield's hardscrabble upbringing through his evolution into a first-rate scholar and intellectual by his early twenties and remarkable military career during the Civil War. While each segment of Garfield's life is more than adequately handled, the real strengths of this outstanding book are connected to the intrigue that surrounded Garfield's assassination. In this regard, Millard's work really shines as she combs through the long agonizing path toward the grave. The medical treatment James A. Garfield received was as much the element behind his death as the assassin's bullet itself. Readers will appreciate Millard's talent for constructing fluid, eloquent prose throughout a book that does not waste one single word. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. T. Maxwell-Long California State University, San Bernardino
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780385526265 This rendering of an oft-told tale brings to life a moment in the nation's history when access to the president was easy, politics bitter, and medical knowledge slight. James A. Garfield, little recalled today, gained the Republican nomination for president in 1880 as a dark-horse candidate and won. Then, breaking free of the sulfurous factional politics of his party, he governed honorably, if briefly, until shot by an aggrieved office seeker. Under Millard's (The River of Doubt) pen, Garfield's deranged assassin, his incompetent doctors (who, for example, ignored antisepsis, leading to a blood infection), and the bitter politics of the Republican Party come sparklingly alive through deft characterizations. Even Alexander Graham Bell, who hoped that one of his inventions might save the president's life, plays a role. Millard also lays the groundwork for a case that, had Garfield lived, he would have proved an effective and respected chief executive. Today, he would surely have survived, probably little harmed by the bullet that lodged in him, but unimpeded infection took his life. His death didn't greatly harm the nation, and Millard's story doesn't add much to previous understanding, but it's hard to imagine its being better told. Illus. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307939654 Millard follows up her 2005 New York Times notable book of the year, The River of Doubt, with this equally rousing, highly engrossing story of James A. Garfield's assassination. The second of four murdered presidents, Garfield was only in office from March 4, 1881, until his death that September 19. He was shot on July 2, 1881, by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled, delusional federal office seeker who was upset over the rejection of his repeated attempts to be appointed as the U.S. consul in Paris, for which he had no qualifications. Millard's story focuses on the chaos and turmoil caused by the assassination and the bitter struggle for power afterward. She presents harrowing details of the unbelievable medical errors she reasons ultimately killed Garfield. Actor Paul Michael's silky baritone and methodical pacing nicely heighten interest in this fascinating work. Millard succeeds in turning Garfield's relatively unknown story into an immersive tale of suspense. Essential, along with the print edition, for all university libraries supporting history curriculum and larger public libraries. ["Recommended for presidential history buffs and students of Gilded Age America," read the review of the Doubleday hc, LJ 10/1/11.-Ed.]-Dale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385526265 *Starred Review* What a shame for himself and for the country that the kind, intelligent, and charming president James Garfield did not see his administration through to completion. (He had been in office only four months when, in July 1881, he was shot by a deranged office seeker; in September, he died.) That is the sentiment the reader cannot help but derive from this splendidly insightful, three-way biography of the president; Charles Guiteau, who was Garfield's assassin; and inventor Alexander Graham Bell, whose part in the story was an unsuccessful deathbed attempt to locate the bullet lodged somewhere in the president's body. Garfield, who largely educated himself and rose to be a Civil War general and an Ohio representative in the House, was the dark-horse candidate emergent from the 1880 Republican National Convention. Guiteau, on the other hand, led a troubled life and came to believe it was his divine mission to eliminate Garfield in revenge for the new president's steps against proponents of the spoils system. Bell could have been the hero of the whole sad story, but his technology failed to save the stricken president's life. Millard's book, which follows her deeply compelling The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey (2005), stands securely at the crossroads of popular and professional history an intersection as productive of learning for the reader as it undoubtedly was for the author.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The shocking shooting and the painful, lingering death of the 20th president."Killed by a disappointed office seeker."Thus most history texts backhand the self-made James Garfield (18311881), notwithstanding his distinguished career as a college professor, lawyer, Civil War general, exceptional orator, congressman and all too briefly president. Millard follows up her impressive debut (The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, 2005) by colorfully unpacking this summary dismissal, demonstrating the power of expert storytelling to wonderfully animate even the simplest facts. As she builds to the president's fatal encounter with his assassin, she details the intra-party struggle among Republicans that led to Garfield's surprise 1880 nomination. The Stalwarts, worshippers of Grant, defenders of the notorious spoils system, battled the Half-Breeds, reformers who took direction from Senators John Sherman and James G. Blaine. The scheming, delusional Charles J. Guiteau, failed author, lawyer and evangelist, listened to no one, except perhaps the voices in his head assuring him he was an important political player, instrumental in Garfield's election and deserving of the consulship to Paris. After repeated rebuffs, he determined that only "removing the president" would allow a grateful Vice President Chester A. Arthur to reward him. During the nearly three excruciating months Garfield lay dying, Alexander Graham Bell desperately scrambled to perfect his induction balance (a metal detector) in time to locate the lead bullet lodged in the stricken president's back. Meanwhile, Garfield's medical team persistently failed to observe British surgeon Joseph Lister's methods of antisepsisthe American medical establishment rejected the idea of invisible germs as ridiculousa neglect that almost surely killed the president. Moving set piecesthe 1876 U.S. Centennial Exhibition which Garfield attended and where both Lister and Bell presented, the deadlocked Republican Convention, the steamship explosion that almost killed Guiteau, the White House death watchand sharply etched sketches of Blaine, the overwhelmed Arthur and larger portraits of the truly impressive Garfield and the thoroughly insane Guiteau make for compulsive reading.Superb American history.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307939654 President Garfield's assassination has been studied little when compared with Lincoln's and JFK's, but Millard here reveals in great detail the facts of the crime and the power struggles that followed. She also highlights the hideous medical mistakes that, she asserts, ultimately put Garfield in the ground. Narrator Paul Michael is in good form. (LJ 11/15/11) (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2012
On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling (Writers on Writers)
 by Michael Dirda
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780691151359 Though most people could pick Sherlock Holmes out of a crowd, not many could craft such a spirited and personal account of the great detective's creator's life and lesser-known works as Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post book columnist Dirda (Book by Book). A proud member of the Baker Street Irregulars-one of the oldest and largest Holmes appreciation societies-Dirda intertwines his childhood discovery of Holmes and Watson (it all started with The Hound of the Baskervilles) with the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930). While casual readers will associate Conan Doyle exclusively with 221B Baker Street, Dirda makes a strong case for investigating Doyle's extensive bibliography, which includes adventure stories (The Lost World), historical novels (Micah Clarke), supernatural stories ("The Horror of the Heights"), and books on spiritualism. But Holmes is still the main attraction, and the fascinating dynamics of the Irregulars are as rich as any of Conan Doyle's fictions. The Irregulars grudgingly accept, but do not encourage, the views of "Doyleans," who consider the Holmes stories as blips written by the author of The Lost World. Dirda's lifelong enthusiasm and keen critical skills underscore the timeless quality of the brilliant detective and his multifaceted creator. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780691151359 Written by a lifelong fan of Conan Doyle's work (and an accomplished writer himself, having won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993), this book is equal parts literary biography and the author's memoir of his own life as a reader of Conan Doyle. Dirda urges readers to read beyond the Holmes canon. After all, during Conan Doyle's lifetime "there appeared most of our pattern--establishing masterpieces of science fiction, horror, fantasy, and adventure"-all of which Conan Doyle had a hand in through adventure, sf, and chilling horror stories of his own. Not intended either as academic biography or scholarly criticism, this book will give its readers fascinating tidbits about Conan Doyle's life, including much beyond Holmes, as well as charming stories of Dirda's own love of reading. -VERDICT An enjoyable read for those wishing to extend their Conan Doyle reading and for fans of other genres, such as sf, adventure, and memoir.-Megan Hodge, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Pulitzer Prizewinning Washington Post book critic Dirda (Classics for Pleasure,2007, etc.) provides a personal voyage around the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a prodigious variety of lesser-known heroes, worlds and volumes.Most readers know that Arthur Conan Doyle, who never signed his books "Sir Arthur," thought so little of his most celebrated hero that he tried to kill him off. But most studies of Doyle place Holmes at the center of Doyle's universe. It's fair to say that Dirda's does as well, but the author tries hard to supplement his emphasis on Holmes with due attention to the adventures of Doyle's own favorite character, Professor Challenger, his horror and fantasy tales, his broadsides and his letters. Rooting his discussion in his memories of his own introduction to Doyle's writings, Dirda recalls his investiture in the Baker Street Irregulars and reprints an abridged version of his essay "A Case for Langdale Pike," his own addition to the delightful faux scholarship of Sherlockiana. Dirda is at his best in his sensitive appreciation of Doyle's style, direct, fluent, and surprisingly flexible as he moves from genre to genre, and in his account of manly civic inspiration as the value Doyle aimed above all to inculcate in his writing (a value in which he found the Holmes stories lamentably deficient). But many of Dirda's own adventures among Doyle's works, beguiling as they are, could well have been condensed to make room for a more detailed review of the three kinds of writing Doyle considered his most significant: his historical romances, his multivolume history of the Boer War and especially his writings on spiritualism, which Dirda short-changes because he feels so uncomfortable with them.Despite a few shortcomings, an endearing, well-balanced introduction to a writer the Strand Magazine called "the greatest natural storyteller of his age."]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2011
Rogue Island (Liam Mulligan)
Book Jacket   Rogue Island (Liam Mulligan)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The smallest state bursts with crime, corruption, wisecracks and neo-noir atmosphere in DeSilva's blistering debut.Someone's set seven fires in the Mount Hope section of Providence. Arson for profit is all too common in the city's history, but these buildings were owned by different people and insured by different companies. So Ernie Polecki, indolent Chief Arson Investigator, and his incompetent assistant Roselli, the mayor's cousin, assume that they're the work of a firebug. So do the DiMaggios, the vigilante crew who patrol the nighttime streets with baseball bats. But not seen-it-all reporter Liam Mulligan. His festering ulcer, estrangement from his harpy wife Dorcas and romance with his young Princeton-trained colleague Veronica Tang, who won't have sex with him till he gets tested for HIV, haven't absorbed all his energy. Shrugging off the insistence of city editor Ed Lomax that he file a story on a dog who ran across the country from Oregon to rejoin his relocated owners (a hilarious episode that shows just how desperate his professional situation is), Mulligan homes in on the developing story. His interest is fueled by the number of interested parties he just happens to be close tofrom his prom date Rosella Morelli, now Battalion Chief of the fire department, to his burned-out bookie, Dominic "Whoosh" Zerilliand by the arsonist's apparent determination to torch every structure in Rhode Island's capital. At length the mounting toll includes homes, storefronts, people and Mulligan's questionable peace of mind. When the lead he's supplied investigators goes sour and his own life is threatened, he has no choice but to trust the cub reporter he's been saddled withthe publisher's son, whom he calls Thanks-Dadand the mobsters who'd be perfectly willing to set fires themselves, but who draw the line at killing women and children.Mulligan is the perfect guide to a town in which the only ways to get things done are to be connected to the right people or to grease the right palms.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765327260 In DeSilva's impressive first novel, Liam Mulligan, an investigative reporter for a Providence newspaper, is faced with arson fires that already have killed five people. More fires break out as he uncovers a plot to redevelop his old neighborhood. Soon he is under suspicion, beaten, suspended, and threatened by mobsters. Mulligan is a classic hard-boiled sleuth with several twists. His hard-drinking is tempered by an ulcer, he is a loner with a younger girlfriend, and his caustic criticism of Rhode Island graft mixes with his idealism about print journalism. Journalist DeSilva is a 40-year newspaper veteran who began as an investigative reporter in Providence. He combines wit with a fondness for mystery traditions in Mulligan's dogged pursuit of truth. Verdict DeSilva has created wonderfully quirky characters, a tangled plot, and a likable, sarcastic protagonist. Mulligan knows well the mean streets of Providence, the horrors of death by fire, and the betrayal of friends. In the end, not all the villains are caught so one hopes that Mulligan will appear again. Highly recommended.-Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765327260 The serial torching of Mount Hope, a deteriorating Providence, R.I., neighborhood, sparks an investigative reporter's mission to smoke out the firebug in DeSilva's promising debut. Journalist Liam Mulligan, a Mount Hope native, smells arson in the ashes of tenement fires that have claimed the lives of several friends. The deeper he digs into suspicious circumstances surrounding the blazes, though, the more resistance he meets from police, politicians, landlords, and lawyers. Soon, Mulligan himself is fingered for the fires by the same sleazy authorities he's investigating. Smart-ass Mulligan is a masterpiece of irreverence and street savvy, and DeSilva does a fine job of evoking the seamy side of his beat through the strippers, barkeeps, bookies, and hoodlums who are his confidantes and companions. They all contribute to the well-wrought noirish atmosphere that supports this crime novel's dark denouement. A twist in the tale will keep readers turning the pages until the bitter end. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780765327260 *Starred Review* Born and raised in the Mount Hope section of Providence, Rhode Island, journalist Liam Mulligan won't simply report on the rash of arsons killing lifelong friends and loved ones in his old neighborhood. He wants to know more and launches an investigation, discovering a heavy-handed plot to own Mount Hope in order to redevelop it. Along the way, he's threatened, beaten, arrested on suspicion of arson and murder, suspended from his newspaper, and targeted with a Mob contract on his life. Mulligan must turn to some unlikely allies to save his tired old neighborhood and secure justice. Rogue Island has everything a crime fan could want: a stubborn, street-smart hero with a snarky sense of humor; more than a baker's dozen of engaging characters; a fast-paced plot; a noirish style; a realistic postmillennium newspaper setting; mean, pot-holed streets; and, best of all, a knowing portrait of a small city and a tiny state famous for inept government, jiggery-pokery, and corruption. Debut novelist DeSilva began a four-decade career in journalism as a reporter for the Providence Journal, and his take on the city and state is harsh but also affectionate, as when he describes graft as Rhode Island's leading service industry, noting that it comes in two varieties, good and bad, just like cholesterol. This tremendously entertaining crime novel is definitely one of the best of the year.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781452600017 DeSilva's lengthy career as a reporter for the Providence (R.I.) Journal has provided him with the writing skill and the in-depth knowledge of city room and cityscape so well displayed in this strong debut crime novel. It's also allowed him to create a totally believable protagonist in Liam Mulligan, a beleaguered journalist seeing his old neighborhood being destroyed by arson and his newspaper by reader disaffection. Mulligan's first-person narration is filled with emotion, not the least of which is his love-hate relationship with his city and state. And there are suspenseful moments of high tension. Too bad reader Boehmer has opted for a bland, even-tempered, almost bedtime-story approach, emphasizing key words without putting much feeling behind them. The only times he lets himself go is in delineating phone calls from Mulligan's shrewish ex-wife. Perversely, she's the novel's one character in need of underplaying. A Forge hardcover. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2011
The Lock Artist: A Novel
Book Jacket   by Steve Hamilton
Publishers Weekly Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 9780312380427 At the start of this offbeat thriller from Edgar-winner Hamilton (A Stolen Season and six other titles in the Alex McKnight PI series), the book's intriguing narrator, Mike (aka the Golden Boy, the Young Ghost, the Lock Artist, etc.), confesses that a traumatic experience at age eight left him unable to speak and that he has been in prison for nine years. His strange odyssey, which hops around in time, takes Mike and his twin talents, art and lock breaking, from his Michigan home to both coasts while in thrall to a mysterious man in Detroit whom he doesn't dare cross. Propelled by an aching desire to recover his voice, Mike has brushes with the law, flirts with romance and makes alliances with criminals, from rank amateurs to consummate professionals. Along the way, Hamilton drops tantalizing clues about Mike's troubled past and his uncertain future. Readers will hope to hear more from Mike. 75,000 first printing; author tour. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312380427 This stand-alone novel is a departure for Hamilton, who has won the Edgar for his Alex McKnight series. The book's main character, Mike, who suffered a trauma so great in childhood that it left him literally speechless, tries to confront his past by writing in prison. The novel's format embodies Mike's fragmented sense of self. His first-person narrative proceeds in fits and starts, jumping from the present day to his first professional job as a safecracker at the age of 18, to just after his trauma at age 8, to 2000, before his incarceration, and back and forth, focusing on several years, or months, or even a single day. The effect is that of a jigsaw, with both Mike and the reader trying to fit the pieces together. There's a double irony at work: although Mike skirts his trauma, he is always condemned, he tells us, to relive that day. And this master safecracker can't tumble the locks on his own mind. Intense and involving.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2009 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312380427 Mute from a childhood trauma that also left him orphaned, 17-year-old Michael discovers a natural talent for opening locks. Blackmailed by his girlfriend's father, who is in debt to some nasty people, Mike apprentices with The Ghost, an aging safecracker, and works as a "boxman" on various burglary jobs for a mysterious Detroit mobster. Narrated by Michael as he nears the end of a prison term, his tale jumps back and forth between early and later times in this peculiar career and Mike's attempts to come to terms with his abilities and his affliction. Verdict In this second stand-alone title (after Night Work), Hamilton, known for his Alex McKnight series, de-emphasizes setting and focuses on the clash between the artistic nature of safecracking and the brutality and horror that accompany such criminal activity. The unusual subject, the complicated plotting, and the conflicted narrator combine to keep the reader interested and hopeful. Of possible interest to YA collections in addition to adult mystery/thrillers. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 9/1/09; library marketing; 75,000-copy first printing.]-Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312380427 At the start of this offbeat thriller from Edgar-winner Hamilton (A Stolen Season and six other titles in the Alex McKnight PI series), the book's intriguing narrator, Mike (aka the Golden Boy, the Young Ghost, the Lock Artist, etc.), confesses that a traumatic experience at age eight left him unable to speak and that he has been in prison for nine years. His strange odyssey, which hops around in time, takes Mike and his twin talents, art and lock breaking, from his Michigan home to both coasts while in thrall to a mysterious man in Detroit whom he doesn't dare cross. Propelled by an aching desire to recover his voice, Mike has brushes with the law, flirts with romance and makes alliances with criminals, from rank amateurs to consummate professionals. Along the way, Hamilton drops tantalizing clues about Mike's troubled past and his uncertain future. Readers will hope to hear more from Mike. 75,000 first printing; author tour. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A traumatized boy grows into a world-class safecracker. Every gangster knows that a boxman is the guy who opens boxes (safes) with precious things in them. Michael Smith's acquaintances know that he's an artist among boxmen, someone who, like more conventional artists, is at a loss to explicate the mysteriespartly because he doesn't talk. When he was eight, Michael states on the first page, a headline-grabbing horror changed his life forever, setting him on his less-traveled path. He still can't tell us about it, "but maybe one of these days as I'm writing, I'll get tothat day in June of 1990." Nine years later, however, 17-year-old Michael suddenly realizes that he can unlock just about anything. This skill, of course, makes him valuable to a wide range of no-goods, some of them just greedy, others downright predatory. But it also brings him to Amelia, with whom he falls irrevocably in love. In order to protect her from dangers more imagined than real, hopelessly romantic Michael is drawn into a multimillion-dollar con game as deadly as it is elaborate. Isolated, deeply enmeshed and mind-numbingly scared, Michael will be hard-pressed to feel his way toward solving a perilous, no-exit, locked-box mystery. Readers may tire of lock lore a bit earlier than Hamilton (Night Work, 2007, etc.), but sharp prose and a strong cast should keep them in line. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312380427 This stand-alone novel is a departure for Hamilton, who has won the Edgar for his Alex McKnight series. The book's main character, Mike, who suffered a trauma so great in childhood that it left him literally speechless, tries to confront his past by writing in prison. The novel's format embodies Mike's fragmented sense of self. His first-person narrative proceeds in fits and starts, jumping from the present day to his first professional job as a safecracker at the age of 18, to just after his trauma at age 8, to 2000, before his incarceration, and back and forth, focusing on several years, or months, or even a single day. The effect is that of a jigsaw, with both Mike and the reader trying to fit the pieces together. There's a double irony at work: although Mike skirts his trauma, he is always condemned, he tells us, to relive that day. And this master safecracker can't tumble the locks on his own mind. Intense and involving.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2009 Booklist
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2011
Long Time Coming
 by Robert Goddard
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Goddard's latest period suspenser (Sight Unseen, 2007, etc.) combines World War II, the Irish Troubles and a disreputable uncle. Returning to England after resigning from both his position with an oil company and his American fiance, Stephen Swan learns that he won't be the only newcomer to his mother's guest house in Paignton. Eldritch Swan, just released from an Irish prison after serving 36 years, has asked to stay with his late brother's family, whom he's never met, until he can get his feet beneath him. Uncle and nephew fail to bond. Apart from assuring Stephen that his prison term wasn't for a violent crime and hinting that he was an innocent who was framed, Eldritch refuses to reveal why he's been jailed since 1940; if he ever told a soul, he adds, he'd be sent back. His plan for getting on his feet doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Approached by a lawyer whose shadowy client is willing to pay 50,000 for proof that American tycoon Jay Brownlow's collection of Picassos was stolen from Antwerp diamond merchant Isaac Meridor as he fled the approaching Nazis, Eldritch indicates that he's the perfect man for the jobbecause he helped steal them. Goddard tacks back and forth between 1976 and 1940, dexterously raising new and deeper questions, then unfolding just enough of Eldritch's colorful history to answer them, or at least to encourage both his nephew and Meridor's granddaughter Rachel Banner to ever-greater complicity in his schemes. The suspect Eldritch fingers is unctuous, untouchable Miles Linley, now Sir Miles, for whom Eldritch fagged at school and for whom he ran an increasingly dodgy series of subdiplomatic errands as Hitler threatened Ireland and Churchill waited anxiously to see whether Eamon de Valera would support England, remain neutral or work for a German victory. More scattershot and less inevitable-seeming than Goddard's best work, but also sharper-edged than usual. Eldritch's checkered career marks a welcome change from the author's customary, sometimes oppressive, suavity. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780385343619 In this irresistible thriller full of deceit, duplicity, and vengeance, British author Goddard (Name to a Face) shifts effortlessly between 1976, when 68-year-old Eldritch Swan, thought killed in the Blitz, resurfaces from 36 years in an Irish prison, and 1940, when Eldritch, a cocksure secretary for an unscrupulous Antwerp diamond merchant, Isaac Meridor, prepares to leave for America. The older Eldritch, who appears as weird as his given name implies, assures his nephew, Stephen, he'd been framed in Dublin for unspecified "offenses against the state," though he admits to helping steal Meridor's Picasso collection. Eldritch needs Stephen's help to prove the collection rightfully belongs to Meridor's wife, daughter, and granddaughter, Rachel Banner. Bit by tantalizing bit the convoluted tale of Eldritch's unknowing involvement in high wartime crimes and misdemeanors during Britain's "finest hour" emerges, deftly counterpointed by Stephen's growing attachment to Rachel. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385343619 An ill-gotten family fortune culled from Congolese diamond mines, a forged Picasso, and a hellish Irish prison form the nexus of this eccentric thriller. There are two narrators: the first, speaking of events in 1976, is Stephen Swan, a geologist who has long worked in the booming Texas oil fields. On his return to England, he finds that an uncle, who he was told had lost his life during the Blitz, is alive but not well, having been just released from an extended stay in an Irish prison under suspicion of spying. The second narrator is the uncle himself, who tells his nephew about criminal plots hatched during the war that have taken on strength and danger through the decades. Goddard shuttles between 1976, when the forged Picasso and other stolen works are on public display and must be recovered for the wronged owners, and 1940, when the whole conspiracy began. Although the plot is complex, Goddard's gift for suspense never flags.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist
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