Best Sellers

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Reading List Awards

I spent last week at the ALA Midwinter Conference. One of the things that happen at each Midwinter is that the Reference and User's Services Association announce awards for the best in genre fiction (The Reading List) published in 2012. Many of the awards went to titles that have won the awards before but there were some surprises.

In their Adrenaline category (Thrillers and Suspense), the winner was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This has really been Flynn's year and there is no argument that the title deserves the award. I bet she is afraid to put out her next one though. How could it possibly match the acclaim she has received.

In the Fantasy category, The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. The best description I have read about this one says it is a Jason Bourne type spy thriller set in an urban supernatural setting. Sounds interesting.

For Historical Fiction, no surprises - Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. She has had a tremendous year also. This second in the trilogy on Thomas Cromwell has pretty much cleaned up all the major awards here and in England.

In the Horror category, the winner is The Ritual by Adam Nevill. This would be enough to give me nightmares when four friends wander off the hiking trail in the forests of and find themselves stalked by an unseen and increasingly violent menace.

In Mystery, a surprise - The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye. This was nominated for an Edgar too but it is up against Gone Girl for that one. In this one, the discovery of a mass grave of child prostitutes spurs “copper star” Timothy Wilde to hunt a killer through the seamy underbelly of 1840s New York City.

In Romance - another surprise, at least to me, Firelight by Kristen Calihan, a dark and smoldering paranormal Victorian. Bartered as a bride to the masked nobleman Benjamin Archer, Miranda Ellis – a woman with a supernatural secret – becomes his only defender when he is accused of a series of murders.

In Science Fiction, the winner was Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey. He was up against authors of much greater renown like Iain M. Banks and Stephen King. This is the second in his Expanse series. One wants control; one wants vindication; one wants his daughter back; and one wants revenge (and maybe a new suit). The shifting points of view of these four distinctive characters, an electrifying pace, and the threat of an evolving alien protomolecule propel readers through this grand space adventure.

Lastly, in Women's Fiction, the winner was The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway. Galilee Garner’s carefully managed routine of teaching, rose breeding, and kidney dialysis is disrupted when her teenage niece moves in.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Edgars Continued - Best Paperback Original and Mary Higgins Clark Award

Edgar Awards are also given to the Best Paperback Original. Many of the popular mystery authors today started publishing as paperback authors and they look to award those they think might follow that tradition. The nominees in the category are:

Complication by Isaac Adamson - a plot that like the title is very complicated. An older brother finds a letter while clearing out his fathers estate that causes him to go rushing off to Prague to investigate what had happened to his brother who had been missing for 5 years. Reviews seem to say that the storyline keeps you interested and the pacing is good as well as decent characterization. No one complained that they could not follow all the twists and turns although reading about it got me dizzy.

Whiplash River by Lou Berney -appears to be the 2nd in a series featuring "Shake" Bouchon - a wheel man for an Armenian crime ring. Shake has left crime behind and opened a restaurant in Belize. Unfortunately, that blows up and he becomes involved in an intricate, dangerous plot.

Bloodland by Alan Glynn - an out of worked journalist gets sucked into writing the story of a Hollywood star who was killed in a helicopter crash and gets pulled into the world of international intrigue. All the reviews I've read on this one have been really strong. I might have to read it.

Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn - this is the 3rd in a series featuring Emmanuel Cooper, a detective in mid 1950 South Africa burdened by apartheid laws. In this title, he investigates the death of a Zulu chief's daughter.

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters - WOW! This is an interesting concept. This is the first of a trilogy featuring Hank Palace, a Concord, NH policeman. An asteroid is speeding to earth and there is nothing that anyone can do. All pundits say that the earth and people on it will cease to exist in 6 months. Hank has only wanted to be a policeman as long as he remembers so he continues to investigate crimes that others would like him to put aside.

The Mary Higgins Clark award is giving to a woman whose title is written closest in the same style and is supported by Mary Higgins Clark publisher, Simon & Schuster. This year's nominees are:

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton - DC Lacey Flint goes undercover to Cambridge as a student to investigate student suicides.

A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell - journalist Hannah Vogel is in Poland with her son when she hears about the deportation of Polish Jews. She manages to get herself arrested by the SS; rescued by her son and an ex lover; and stuck in Berlin in hiding.

The Reckoning by Jane Casey - Maeve Kerrigan, a detective for the London Police Murder Squad, is at it again. This time, she is attempting to find out who is killing the local pedophiles.

The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan - Jane Ryland, a disgraced journalist, is trying to track down a secret mistress of a Senate candidate. Jake Brogan, a detective, is looking into the serial murder of young women. Somehow, these two cases are linked.

Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub - Allison Taylor MacKenna faced tragedy 10 years ago but now she is happily married to Mack and living in a quiet Westchester suburb. But suddenly, her nightmare seems to be walking the streets again and she is afraid that her husband is involved.

All are or will be available from the library. Enjoy sampling these to see who you think should win.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Edgar Nominees Announced

Every spring, the Mystery Writers of America award Edgars to outstanding works in the last year. This year the banquet where the winners are announced is on May 2nd at a hotel in New York City. If you want to prepare for your own particular award, the nominees are listed below by category.


The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins - the next in the Quinn Colson series (after The Ranger) has the ex Army Ranger and newly elected sheriff of Tibbehah County Mississippi facing Mexican gun runners and an illegal adoption ring.

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - the beginning of a series that takes place in mid 1800's New York City. Timothy Wilde becomes a reluctant member of the newly formed New York City Police and when he finds a young girl running through the streets, covered in blood, his adventure starts.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - need I say more about this blockbuster? It's the story of a marriage gone horribly wrong and two people who find new ways to hurt each other.

Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman - a middle aged college professor gets involved in more than anyone could imagine when his boyhood friend, a bestselling novelist, dies.

Sunset by Al Lamanda - a former police officer sunk in depression and alcohol is asked by the mob boss he thinks had his wife killed to find the real killer.

Live By Night  by Dennis Lehane - The son of a Boston police captain leads a live of crime in the 1920's - and he is the hero.

All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Wlater Mosley - the fourth in the Leonid McGill series. Leonid tries to keep his family together while watching over a woman accused of one of the largest heists in history.

It will be interesting to see if they give it to Gillian Flynn as that title has won alot of awards or to someone new and different.


The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay - in 1925 Seattle, a young woman was passed over for a museum curatorship so she sets sail for Cambodia on a quest to find 10 ancient Khmer scrolls and starts an adventure of a lifetime. It has received nothing but the highest praise for the sense of time and place.

Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman - Buck Schatz, a retired Memphis cop, might be eighty some years old but he is as crusty and cantankerous as he was when he was working. A dying buddy tells him that a Nazi officer who had tortured him during WWII, was alive and had escaped with a car full of gold. Humor and hard boiled together.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal - for those who love Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs stories - this will be your winner. Maggie Hope graduated at the top of her college class but her gender gave her the position of typist at 10 Downing Street. Maggie though uses her intelligence to uncover a murderous plot.

The Expats by Chris Pavone - Kate, an ex-CIA operative, leaves her job and the country when her husband is offered a position in Luxembourg. There is the difficulty of settling in a new country with strange customs and a strange language AND there is the fact that you don't really know what your husband does or who anyone really is. The reviews on this one are all over the map but it got nominated so give it a try.

The 500 by Matthew Quirk - Mike Ford is a former con artist/Harvard Law School grad who has been picked by the Davies Group to be the handler of problem for D.C.'s powerful insiders. Did he sell his soul?

Black Friday by Michael Sears - Jason Stafford spent 2 years in prison for insider trading. He lost his money and his family. When he gets out, a friend gives him a job investigating the trading done by a junior partner who was killed in an accident. He also takes custody of his young autistic son. He has a lot on his plate. And then it gets dangerous.

All the above titles are available at the library. MWA also gives an award for Best Paperback Original and I'll talk about those next time. Hopefully, you can decide you YOU think should win the awards.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dan Brown's New Book

All you Da Vinci Code lovers out there, Dan Brown has announced that his new book Inferno will be coming out on May 14, 2013. It will feature his popular hero from The Da Vinci Code and others, Robert Langdon. The book will be set in Europe and since it is reported to be about Dante, we can only assume it will take place in Florence, Italy. Sounds good, right? If you are now jumping up and down with anticipation, here is a list of some older titles that read similarly.

One of my favorite authors who use to live in Georgia but now lives in Florida is Steve Berry.  Many of his titles have the same feel as Brown's but particularly The Templar Legacy. It features retired government agent/Copenhagen bookstore owner, Cotton Malone. In this title (yes there are other Cotton Malone titles, He tries to assist his ex-boss who was kidnapped and ends up investigating the Knights Templar. Really plot driven and fast paced.

Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, 2 Princeton college students, published The Rule of Four in 2004. It was billed as a literary Da Vinci Code but many took exception to that. It is basically a search for the hidden meaning within Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - an Italian early romance. It was suppose to lead them to a fortune but instead leads them into a maze of murder and intrigue.

Kathleen McGowan starts a trilogy focusing on Mary Magdalene and her descendants with The Expected One. A journalist searches for scrolls that she has been told Mary Magdalene hid in the south of France. People have either loved it or hated it. It might have something to do with the religious subject matter but you will have to read it to see what you think.

Kate Mosse wrote Labyrinth which is also the first in a series. The story takes place in 2005 in the Pyrenees as well as 800 years before in southern France. In both tales, a book which contains the secret of the Holy Grail is the focus. Can they keep it safe in both places? Can they find out the secret? Once again, people either loved it or hated it. One wonders when there are such differing opinions what would happen if they spoke to each other in person.

John Case are a husband and wife writing team. They have published 6 novels together. One of them, The Genesis Code, is frequently compared to Dan Brown's work. In this title, a private investigator is told that his sister and his son have been killed when their home burned down. He discovers that they were dead before the fire. In addition, they are not the only mother and son who have been killed. All of them had been patients at a fertility clinic in Italy. The arsonist is a member of a splinter Catholic group called Umbra Domini. Hmmmmmmm. What does that have to do with the murders????  Read it and find out.

Hopefully, these five will give you something to read while you are waiting for Brown's new title.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Waiting for Harlan

One of my favorite authors is coming out with a new title in March - Harlan Coben and the title is Six Years. All the reviews I have read have been outstanding. I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival and yes - I am on the reserve list for it. If you are waiting as I am, then perhaps you  might want to try one of these - I've only included ones who might not be thought of as 'BIG' names. I mean often Stuart Woods is used as a suggestion but geez - if you have read Harlan Coben, you've already read Stuart Woods. These are some suggestions of people you perhaps have not thought about.

Don Winslow - he also writes both suspense and mystery novels. Some think his novels are lighter in tone but I always find Coben to have a sense of humor so.... Both authors create sympathetic characters and have clever story lines. Winslow's novels also have snappy dialogue but tend to focus more on the character than the plot. The library has several of his suspense titles. One of his works - Savages - was made into a movie with John Travolta.

Thomas Perry - Perry's novels, like Coben's,  also have twisty plots and are stories where ordinary people face shocking problems. His tone is darker and hard boiled in my opinion. He writes a series featuring Jane Whitefield, a Native American woman who uses native wisdom as well as street smarts to help people get out of trouble. He also writes a series featuring a mob hit man, the Butcher's Boy.

Linwood Barclay is a Canadian author who writes fast-paced, gut-wrenching suspense. Again, like Coben, ordinary people are faced with shocking events. His plots are very intricate. I was introduced to him when his title No Time For Goodbye. It has a fascinating premise - a 14 year old girl wakes up one morning and her entire family has disappeared. 25 years later, she finds out what happened.

Gregg Andrew Hurwitz writes compelling often violent tales featuring innocent protagonists. His plots often sound like they could be Coben's plots. He also started with a series and moved to stand alone suspense. Really fast moving plots. The one that stands out in my mind is a young man is awoken in the middle of the night by a SWAT team who drag him into a helicopter. A terrorist has seized control of a nuclear reactor and is will only talk to him. This is all related to one night when he was a young teenager when tragedy struck and his step father's last words (the title of the book) - Trust No One.

Lastly, Sean Doolittle writes stand alone suspense titles that feature good people in trouble. His are darker than Coben's also and they are more character driven but the plots build dramatically and are filled with action. The Cleanup has a broken policeman working night patrol at a supermarket. He finds himself attracted to one of the checkout girls. She comes to him one night looking for help and he finds himself getting involved and in way, way over his head.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Top Picks for Book Clubs in 2012

Shelf Awareness (one of those sites I get daily emails from) announced this week a list of the top book club titles of 2012, voted by the members of 35,000 clubs nationwide use Bookmovement to find questions, etc for the titles they choose. I thought some of you out there, might find this interesting. All are available at the library in different formats.

#1 - Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.
#2 - The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
#3 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
#4 - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
#5 - Before I Go to Sleep by S.J Watson
#6 - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
#7 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
#8 - Room by Emma Donoghue
#9 - Defending Jacob by William Landay
#10 - Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Friday, January 4, 2013

For All Those Who Like Vince Flynn

There are lots of you out there who love the thrillers brought to you by Vince Flynn. He has one coming out this spring that he has written with Brian Haig. While you are waiting, you might try among others - titles BY Brian Haig. Haig is the son of Alexander Haig who was Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan. He also served in the military for 22 years and spent time working in Washington,D.C. Haig should understand political intrigue from all angles. His novels take a candid look at the policies, personalities and ambitions of men and women in uniform. His series features Major Sean Drummond, an abrasive but honorable JAG lawyer. The titles include:

Secret Sanction (2001)
Mortal Allies (2002)
The Kingmaker (2003)
Private Sector (2003)
The President's Assassin (2005)
Man in the Middle (2007)

Another author who writes political suspense is Brad Thor. His series features Scott Harvath, a Navy SEAL who becomes a federal agent. There are quite a few tiles in this series. They are:

The Lions of Lucerne (2002)
Path of the Assassin (2003)
State of the Union (2004)
Blowback (2005)
Takedown (2006)
The First Commandment (2007)
The Last Patriot (2008)
The Apostle (2009)
Foreign Influence (2010)
Full Black (2011)
Black List (2012)

Dale Brown writes techno-thrillers based on his own experience as a captain in the Air Force. They feature Jason Richter, an Army Engineer. The titles are:

Act of War (2005)
Edge of Battle (2006)

Ben Coes writes action packed topical thrillers dealing with international political intrigue. His series feature Dewey Andreas, an ex-Delta Force member who left the military with a bad taste in his mouth after being wrongly accused of his wife's murder. He may not be in the military, but he has all the talents for a good investigator. His titles are:

Power Down (2010)
Coup d'etat (2011)
The Last Refuge (2012)

Chris Stewart is another name you might not have heard of who writes fast paced political suspense. All of his titles are standalones so you can start anywhere. He spent 14 years in the Air Force as an award winning pilot and recently he won the election in Utah for the 2nd congressional district and took his seat on Jan 3, 2013 so I don't know if he will be writing too much for the next few years. You will have some time to catch up on the titles he has already written. They are:

Shattered Bone (1997)
The Kill Box (1998(
The Third consequence (2000)
The Fourth War  (2005)
The God of War  (2008)

My own personal favorite is Kyle Mills who series features Mark Beamon, an FBI agent. They are page turners - VERY suspenseful. He hasn't written anything in this series for awhile although he has done one or two continuing the Robert Ludlum series. The Beamon series titles are:

Rising Phoenix (1997)
Storming Heaven (1998)
Free Fall (2000)
Sphere of Influence (2002)
Darkness Falls (2007)
Enjoy some of these while you are waiting for May.