Best Sellers

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3 Titles That Might Tempt You In The Holiday Season


On November 8th, James Kimmel offers us The Trial of Fallen Angels. Brek Cuttler believes she has the perfect life: a husband she loves, a baby she adores and a profitable law practice. One day she walks into a store with her daughter to pick up some milk and suddenly finds herself on a deserted train platform covered with blood. A man walks up to her and tells her she has been assigned to the special team that prosecutes and defends the souls of the dead on Judgment Day. Apparently there are very few all good or all bad people and the rest of us have to present a case as to why our lives should be valued. This story really makes us look at ourselves and at how we define justice. The author is a lawyer specializing in the intersection of law and spirituality.

A favorite author of many gives us another look at the holiday spirit, Jennifer Chiaverini offers The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel on October 30. It has us consider what would happen if we practiced a giving holiday spirit year round. At Elm Creek Manor, the week after Thanksgiving is “Quiltsgiving,” a time to commence a season of generosity. From near and far, quilters and aspiring quilters—a librarian, a teacher, a college student, and a quilt-shop clerk among them—gather for a special winter session of quilt camp, to make quilts for Project Linus. 

Sal Lizard’s hair turned white when he was in his 20’s and when he grew a beard, that was white too. What else could he do? He became Santa. On November  8th, he publishes Being Santa – a compilation of his 20 years of being Santa year round.  He shares his tales of true holiday spirit and his trips to malls and hospitals, often heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking and sometimes hysterically funny. If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit – I don’t know what will.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Is Leadership?

A question we might all be asking this year. There are 3 titles which come out in November that might show us what 'real' leadership is.
Jon Meacham has written Jefferson: The Art of Power which comes out on November 13. Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, delves into a much visited field - Thomas Jefferson. He gives us a
Jefferson that is a politician and the president but also a man of many passions who loved the idea of America most of all. He seems to embody the 'art of power' while struggling to led a nation through perilous times. A worthy read by a worth author.
William Manchester wrote the first two books in the trilogy, The Last Lion, about the life of Winston Churchill. Before Manchester died in 2004, he chose Paul Reid to finish his work. The first two were truly remarkable works and Reid continued that effort. This third volume is subtitled Defender of the Realm and covers Churchill's years as Prime Minister of Great Britain. It was more that 20 years since the second volume but those who have read this say it is excellent unparalleled portrait and a biography worth reading. Perhaps an interesting title to read if you are waiting for Killing Lincoln.

David Von Drehle offers us Rise to Greatness on October 30. Von Drehle is an editor for Time and writes quite clearly about Abraham Lincoln's struggles during 1862. With no money in the U.S. Treasury  and the Union’s top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy—with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield seemed to have a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president. In struggling through these and other challenges, Lincoln became one of our country's singular leaders. Everyone who has read this, has praised it's readability.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alternatives for Baldacci and Patterson

David Baldacci comes out with The Forgotten on November 20 and James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge give us Merry Christmas, Alex Cross on November 12. Most people who like those two authors, are already waiting for the title. If you are on the list for it or if you want to read something while you are waiting, I have a few suggestions. These authors are what I call on the B list. They aren't quite as popular but in many cases, perhaps they should be. In fact, one of the ones I am going to suggest, is my favorite author. So....if you are looking for suggestions try one or two of the ones below.

Stephen J. Cannell (now deceased) wrote character driven, fast-paced, suspenseful stories. His most recentt, Vigilante, came out in Dec of 2011. It is part of his series featuring LAPD detective Shane Scully. This story about the death of a political activist who frequently filed law suits against the police department hurtles toward its climax. It is well plotted and smartly paced.

Harlan Coben (my favorite) is gaining popularity with each title. He writes fast paced, compelling suspense stories. His latest, Stay Close, came out in March of 2012. Three people--a suburban housewife, a talented documentary photographer, and a detective--living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past doesn't recede    I think the reason I like Coben so much is that he write with wit and irony and he keeps you on edge for the whole book. Really an author that is hard to put down once you start.

Ridley Pearson is another author who specializes in fast-paced, plot-driven mysteries. You might want to start reading him at the first in his Walt Fleming series, Killer Weekend. 8 years after saving the life of a U.S. attorney general, Fleming is the county sheriff in Sun Valley, Idaho. He finds himself once again protecting the high-profile politician, now a presidential hopeful, during a billionaire's communications conference.

Phillip Margolin is a retired attorney. His titles though are a far distance from Grisham's. Margolin's are plot driven and fast paced. His most recent is Capitol Murder which just came out in April of 2012. It is the third in his Dana Cutler and Brad Miller series. Dana is the private detective and Brad Miller an attorney and they are brought back together when a convicted serial killer they put away, escapes. This author is for those who are really focused on plot and may overlook standard characterizations.

Finally, Robert Crais writes hardboiled mystery in his Elvis Cole series. He develops engaging plots and well-developed characters with a clean, terse style. There is humor in these titles also. His latest, Taken, came out in January of 2012. The daughter of a wealthy businesswomen and the daughter's boyfriend are kidnapped. The mother hires Cole and Joe Pike to determine if it is a fake kidnapping. Cole finds that they have in fact been kidnapped by professional border thieves but in the process gets himself taken also. Pike is left to rescue all three.

Hopefully, you will find something you like in one of these authors. Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Louise Penny Takes the Cake

Or at least the prize. For the last three years, Louise Penny has won the Anthony Award for Best Novel. In 2010, she won for The Brutal Telling - when the body of an unknown old man turns up in the Quebec village of Three Pines. In 2011, she won for Bury Your Dead -while Penny's investigator, Armand Gamache, is stuggling with a case in Quebec, he send she trusty assistant (Jean Guy Beauvoir) back to Three Pines to take another look at the case resolved in The Brutal Telling. Finally, she walked away with the prize announced a week ago Saturday with A Trick of Light - an art critic is found dead - guess where? - you've GOT IT - in a garden in the village of Three Pines. Three Pines is turning into one of those places you LOVE to read about but you are not sure if you want to visit. I wonder what her next title will be.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Talking About Mysteries

Before I start on mysteries, I just have to say...I knew it. In the Oct 21st New York Times, Bill O'Reilly makes the top 10 nonfiction list TWICE!!!! I wonder how many people can say that. Not many I would bet. Killing Lincoln is hanging in there at #6 and his new book, Killing Kennedy debuts at #1. Congratulations to him!!!! Quite a feat.

Now - on to mysteries coming out in November. Quite a change of topics I know. I've been out of touch now for almost 2 weeks so I have lots of books to discuss in a limited number of weeks. I thought I would try to get the mysteries out there first.

If you have read and enjoyed the British mysteries of J.M. Gregson feature Superintendent John Lambert and Detective Sergeant Bert Hook, a new one, More Than Meets The Eye, comes out on November 1. Dennis Cooper has a dream job as a full-time resident National Trust curators of the spectacular Westbourne Gardens, which receives thousands of visitors each year. It may seem perfect but secrets flow in the background and foul play is the result.Lambert and Hook try to discover the cause.
Also on November 1, is Susan Rogers Cooper title Dead Weight which is part of her E.J. Pugh series. One of E.J.'s Weight Watchers group met her untimely death and when Pugh started investigating, another death followed. That isn't going to stop E.J.
Lots of people wait for the newest Sharon McCone mystery. Marcia Muller comes out with the next, Looking for Yesterday, on November 6th. Many consider Muller the best American mystery author ever and this title is the 29th in the the McCone series. She seems to remain consistently good and this title is true to that statement. If you are looking for a mystery series to read, this one is a strong recommendation. 3 years previously, Caro Warrick had been acquitted of murdering her best friend. She arrives at McCone's doorstep brutally beaten. How can McCone turn down the investigation into who actually committed the murder? She can't.

I love this title. If Hooks Could Kill by Betty Hechtman comes out on November 6. It is number 7 of the Crochet Mystery series. The series feature a crochet group from Tarzana, CA called the Tarzana Hookers.
In this outing, a television crew comes to town to use the local background for a show. One of the Hookers homes is being used. When the Hooker ends up dead and her home becomes a crime scene, this group of crocheters hits the investigative trail. A cute cozy.

Another cozy, a Pennyfoot Hotel mystery, that has a Christmas theme comes out on November 6th also. The Clue is in the Pudding by Kate Kingsbury shows the Pennyfoot Hotel at the holiday season when her housekeeper is called home on an emergency. A temporary housekeeper is found but she is an argumentative, bossy...well, not nice person. A prominent guest keels over dead after she serves him a piece of plum pudding. Hmmmm - Cecily Sinclair Baxter has to investigate to save the hotel's good name.
Also on November 6th and defined as a quirky cozy is Death in the 12th House by Mitchell Scott Lewis. This is the second in a series which features an astrologer detective. Yes, he in fact uses people astrological charts to obtain clues. The first in the series, Murder in the 11th House was quite popular. This time he is called in to investigate the death of an aging rock star. Interesting premise, no?

Charles Finch has won awards for his Charlie Lenox series, the next one, A Death in the Small Hours, arrives on November 13th. Charlie Lenox is an up and coming politician now  - having left his detective job to pursue high goals. When he retreats to his uncle's estate in Somerset to write an important speech, he expects peace and quiet. Instead, he finds vandalism which turns deadly and he is pulled back into an investigative role before the violence strikes his family.
On November 20, Margaret Maron brings us her newest in the Judge Deborah Knott series, The Buzzard Table.  Knott and her husband Dwight Bryant are back home in North Carolina. When a group of family and friends gather at the home of aging, ailing Mrs. Lattimore, they meet Martin Crawford, an ornithologist who claims to be researching a new book on Southern vultures. More importantly, he's Mrs. Lattimore's long-lost nephew. Something doesn't sit right with Deborah and when a murderer strike, she goes into investigative mode.
I like max Allan Collins. His Nathan Heller series takes real life people from history and involves them in mysteries. His newest, Target Lancer, comes out on November 27. Long before November 22, 1963, Nathan Heller, “P.I. to the Stars,” knows that a conspiracy is in the works. Several years earlier, Heller had been involved with the Kennedys, the Mob, and the CIA in the early stages of a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro. Shortly after, Heller’s Mafia contact is murdered. After being interrogated by gangsters and contacted by U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Heller realizes that he may be the one person who can prevent a devastating political assassination. This should go nicely with O'Reilly's Killing Kennedy.
Donald Bain carries on Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes series with Experiment in Murder which also comes out on November 27. When a Washington psychiatrist is found dead in his office, Mackenzie Smith is called in to defend one of his patients who has become a suspect. Then information emerges that links the slain shrink to a highly secret CIA mind control project. Then an assassin gets involved. An exciting addition to the series.