Best Sellers

Friday, November 20, 2015

Continuing with December Titles

There are still several titles out in December which seem to be interesting. Because of the holiday next week, I probably will not be posting. Therefore, I will have moved on to January titles in my next post. How could I ignore these?

Christopher Buckley, who's been called "the funniest writer in the English language" by Tom Wolfe has a change of pace, The Relic Master, coming out on December 8. Buckley usually writes political satire but here he has penned a work of historical fiction which is still funny. Dismas is a relic hunter who works for some high ranking patrons. He had developed a reputation as finding genuine things but then he discovers his banker has been embezzling his funds and his friend talks him into a scheme to sell a fake shroud. When his scheme is revealed, he is forced to tray and steal the 'Shroud of Chambery - later known as the Shroud of Turin. Will he find a way and live to tell about it?

Marina Fiorato has Beatrice and Benedick coming out on December 1. Fiorato is a Shakespearean scholar who take two characters from Much Ado About Nothing and imagines who they met and how they began their war of words. In 1588, Beatrice comes to her uncle's home to be a companion to his daughter. Also, Don Pedro is visiting for a month with his regiment and the young soldier Benedick. Benedick and Beatrice meet and fall in love but then are separated by natural disaster and misunderstanding. 10 years later, they meet again in Shakespeare's play. Said to be an entertaining but dark historical romance.

If you are a coffee fan, you might want to know that Cleo Coyle has the 15th in her Coffeehouse series, Dead To The Last Drop coming out on December 1. Clare is in DC and meets the First Lady and her daughter. However, when a State Department employee collapses in her coffeehouse and the President's daughter goes missing, Clare ends up as an enemy of the state and is on the run with her NYPD detective boyfriend. Can they find out the truth before they are captured?

Thomas Perry has Forty Thieves coming out on December 15. Sid and Ronnie Abel are ex-LA cops that now run their own private investigation firm. They are hired to look into a murder from one year ago that has not been solved. The Hoyt's are two assassins who have been paid to kill the Abels because someone does not want the murder to be solved. The Forty thieves are a European jewelry theft group who have expanded their operation to California. How do these all come together? Do the Abels survive? Reviewers have really enjoyed this well written mystery. He writes fast paced suspense that is tightly plotted and if you like John Sandford or Edna Buchanan, give him a try.

Tipping Point by David Poyer comes out on December 8. Poyer, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, writes naval based action.-suspense with a series featuring Dan Lanson. In this work, Dan's experiencing political pressure on his career for some past decisions and commanding the first anti ballistic missile capable cruiser which is sailing off East Africa. When tensions between India and Pakistan rise to the point of nuclear war, Lanson takes the ship to the region. Suddenly the ship is targeted by an unknown predator who is assaulting female crew members. This action-packed, utterly authentic story of duty, war and the stress of command is highly reviewed. If you like Tom Clancy or Larry Bond - try some of David Poyer.

Lastly, Andrew Grant has the first book of a series, False Positive, coming out on December 29. Detective Cooper Devereaux is the main hero, a flawed police detective who has been suspended multiple times for excessive force. Devereaux is called in particularly to find a missing 6 year old child. Devereaux, himself had been a foster child and is haunted by his experience. Questions about Devereaux arise when his Porsche, penthouse and summer cabin have people questioning his motives. He is assigned a temporary partner, Jan Loflin, who is just as tough. Reviewers have praised this fast paced, intricately plotted, twisty and totally unpredictable mystery. If you like Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos or Martin Cruz Smith. Give Andrew Grant a try.

OK - I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you find something that looks interesting for you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kirkus Best Popular Fiction of 2015

This is the time when many of the 'Best of 2015' lists are published. Kirkus is a monthly magazine that is dedicated to reviewing books before they are published. They get together with all their reviewers and come up with several different lists. What I have included below are the Top 10 Popular Fiction Titles from 2015. All are available at the library. Here we go.

Spy Games by Adam Brookes. This was Brookes' second published novel. He writes spy fiction. His stories are fast paced and intricately plotted. Both titles feature journalist Philip Mangan. Mangan's cover was blown in Brookes's work and he is hiding in Ethiopia from Chinese agents. Unfortunately, a terrorist bombing puts in in the middle of a cyclone. If you like up to date spy fiction, give this one a try. Both of his titles (the first is Night Heron) have been very highly reviewed.

The Stranger by Harlan Coben. Coben is my favorite author so I talk about him a lot. His characters are ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances. The stories are fast paced and suspenseful. In this story, Adam Price has a good job, a beautiful wife and two sons when a stranger comes and whispers in his ear that Corinne, his wife, faked their first pregnancy. When confronted by Adam, Corinne disappears leaving Adam a text to take care of the children but not to try to contact her. Of course, he has to try. Did he ever really know her?

X by Sue Grafton. Grafton's 24th in the series and she is only up to 1989. David Baldacci says she has "created in Kinsey Milhone one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. In this entry a serial killer is doing his thing and leaving no trace of his crime. Kinsey quickly identified him but can she prove it before she becomes his next victim.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. This is Hawkins' first thriller and she really got her money's worth. It has remained on the best seller list for months and months. Really, I thought I would like it but when I started it ...I found the lead person so unattractive I could not finish it. Anyway, Rachel Watson is a divorced alcoholic who still loves her ex-husband. She rides a train to work each day and has fantasied about a particular couple who she always sees. When she loses her job and the female turns up missing, she is drawn to investigate what happened. Suspenseful and compelling but not compelling enough for me to finish (of course there were lots of people who told me what happened.)

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. Penny is a perennial award winner. Her pace is leisurely, her characters introspective and the mysteries quirky and complex. I think I like her for her descriptiveness. This is the 11th in the series of Armand Gamache, former head of homicide at the Surete du Quebec. Gamache has moved to the central place in the series, Three Pines, and is learning to enjoy retirement. In town, there is a 9 year old boy who is known for crying wolf - aliens in the forest, dinosaurs, etc. When he turns up missing - the town's people wonder if one of this stories was true.

The Blondes by Emily Schultz. Schultz's fiction has flawed characters, fast pace and are suspenseful with perhaps some satire thrown in. Hazel Hayes (no relation to me) discovers she is pregnant by her married professor on her first day in New York City. She also sees a business woman drag a young girl to her death and then she dies her hair orange. An infection is running rampant and blondes (natural, dyed, or highlighted) are filling the streets, killing people. Hazel escapes across the border back to Canada looking for the professor's wife. This may sound like a B-movie but on reading appears to be a wry political commentary.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Slaughter's stories are suspenseful, character-driven and gritty. She has written a popular series but this is her second stand alone. In this, a teenage girl disappeared 20 years ago and her body was never found. That act destroyed her family. 20 years later, Lydia is a single mother estranged from her sister Claire, due to accusations Lydia made against Claire's wealthy husband Paul. Paul has been murdered and Claire has found snuff films featuring the torture and murder of young girls on his computer. Lydia and Claire come together to determine just what kind of man Paul was.

Dietland by Sarai Walker. This is Walker's debut novel and could be described as funny, moving mainstream fiction. Plum Kettle is a advice columnist for a popular teen girls' magazine but she is biding her time till she saves up for weight-loss surgery so her 'real life' can begin. She finds herself involved with a dangerous guerrilla group called "Jennifer" that is beginning to terrorize a world that mistreats women.

My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh. This is Walsh's debut work so it's kind of hard to say he writes a certain age. What we can say is that this is a coming of age story with flawed characters and a touch of Southern Gothic thrown in. I heard Walsh interviewed and he said that the title came from the traditional song " You are my sunshine, my only sunshine". What I always thought of as a happy song, he thought of as threatening because of the last verse "I'll always love you and make you happy If you will only say the same But if you leave me to love another, You'll regret it all one day." I am not even sure I knew that verse existed. In this work, Walsh describes an upper class Baton Rouge neighborhood in 1989. Everything changes when a 15 year old beautiful golden private school track star was brutally raped. Four suspects emerge, including the nameless narrator, who leaves the reading wondering how reliable the information is.

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams. Williams writes historical, character driven fiction with a strong sense of place. I am a sucker for a strong sense of place so this is a must read for me. The story takes place in 1966 focused on Pepper Schuyler. She is on the run from a powerful politician trying to protect her unborn child. She sells her newly restored vintage Mercedes at auction and the new owner takes Pepper under her wing. Then she discovers the provenance of the car while the father of her unborn baby tracks to down to a remote town in coastal Georgia.

OK - there you go. The 10 top works of popular fiction in 2015. There are some good ones up there. Hope you find something that interests you.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

More December Titles

Well I am back from my sister's son's wedding. It was in Charleston, SC and I have to say that Charleston is one of the most beautiful cities for weddings. Seems they cater to that group in hopes of drawing 'destination weddings'. It was impressive. And it didn't even rain until the next day so all was perfect for the occasion. Now that I have returned, I will get back to the offerings in December.

Susan Cox is a former South Florida journalist who also lived and worked in San Francisco for more than 20 years before returning to South Florida. She won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel award and her debut mystery, The Man on the Washing Machine will be published on December 15. Theophania Bogart, a former party girl and society photographer, flees to San Francisco after a high-profile family tragedy. Suddenly, she becomes somehow involved in a series of murders and she struggles to find the killer before she becomes the next victim. Said to be a good read for people who like Evanovich.

Denise Mina has Blood, Salt, Water: An Alex Morrow Novel coming out on December 1. If you haven't read Mina before, she is a Scottish novelist whose books tend to be dark and moody. The stories are intricately plotted but the crimes can be very violent and her heroes will be flawed. For instance, the star of this title, Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow is a smart, sad woman with a bad marriage and a dead son. In this, the sixth in the series, Roxanna Fuentecilla has been under surveillance by the police as she is suspected of laundering money. Roxanna is reported missing and her cellphone records say she was in Helensburgh. Morrow and her partner Detective Constable Howard McGrain pretend to be Missing Persons officers and go to Helensburgh to investigate. When the dead body that surfaces in a local lake turns out to be someone else, Alex realizes there is more going on that she realized.

James Rollins has The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel coming out on December 15. Rollins books are fast paced and suspenseful. Kind of a blend of adventure and suspense and sort of like Clive Cussler but perhaps with a touch more history and science. In this title, Commander Gray Pierce is asked to investigate an attack on a group of scientists exploring a massive cave in the mountains of Croatia. They are investigating the origin of human intelligence before several of them are kidnapped. There are several parallel plots involving ancient petroglyphs, mysterious keys and underground cities. Can Pierce find the answer?

Next comes Brad Taylor and his latest, The Forgotten Soldier: A Pike Logan Thriller, which arrives on December 29. Taylor's works are fast-paced political thrillers which follow an elite team of American agents as the travel across the globe on action-packed missions. His works are often compared to Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva or Brad Thor. In this, the ninth of the Pike Logan series, a Special Forces soldier is killed in Afghanistan and because a high government official is involved, the US wants to sweep it under a rug. One Taskforce member happens to be the murdered soldier's brother and he goes out for revenge. Pike is charged with finding him and stopping what could lead to a catastrophe. He must choose between friendship and loyalty to his country.

Lastly, we have Joel C. Rosenberg's The First Hostage which arrives on December 29. Rosenberg worked in a variety of jobs prior to becoming an author - he was a political consultant, a communications expert and a presidential campaign strategist. Now he is the author of political thrillers and political nonfiction and draws on his knowledge about terrorism and the Middle East. He is an evangelical Christian so his suspense titles are Christian suspense. They are however, violent and gritty. In this first in a series, J.B. Collins is a New York Times foreign correspondent when he hears rumors that ISIS has captured some chemical weapons inside Syria. When he follows some leads, he discovers and reports from the scene of an attack by terrorists in Amman, Jordan that the leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan's king is fighting for his life and the U.S. President is missing. The world is in chaos and Collins tries to keep the world informed while searching for the President.

Hope there is something in these 5 that strikes you as interesting. We have more to cover next week.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

December Titles

This post is early and it will be a quick one I am afraid. I am on my way out of town but wanted to get started on December's entries that perhaps don't have the name value yet.

First, is Ann Cleeves and Harbour Street: A Vera Stanhope Mystery which comes out on Dec 1. Cleeves writes British police procedural and this series is set in northeast England. Her story lines are intricately plotted and her writing is compelling. This series has been made into a very popular Netflix television series. Vera Stanhope is a Detective Inspector who by her own account is fat, ugly, and drinks too much. She has a sharp tongue and an abrasive manner. This title is the sixth title in the series. In this work, an older woman is stabbed and killed on a crowded train just before the holiday season. No one has seen it happen. Vera and her partner Detective Joe Ashworth start the investigation when another woman dies. The trail leads to Harbour Street where no one wants to talk. Cleeves is an award winning author who deserves a bigger following in the states.

Christopher Fowler is another British author who deserves a greater following in the US. He has Bryant & May and the Burning Man coming out on December 15. The Bryant and May mysteries are historical (beginning during the Blitz and ending in 21st century London) with a Gothic feel and really seemingly impossible crimes. Both Bryant and May are older members of Scotland Yard's Peculiar Crimes Unit and in this work, they are following leads to determine who is setting men on fire. This work is the 12th in the series. It is darkly funny (do those two words really belong together?) and suspenseful.

Now we have Jenn McKinlay who has moved into hardback from paperback for A Likely Story, the sixth in the Library Lover's Mystery series. McKinlay writes mysteries with a strong sense of place - usually cozy mysteries. This series features Lindsey Norris, the director of the Briar Creek Public Library. Norris is an amateur sleuth and the town has lots of murders to investigate. In this work, Lindsey must solve a murder and a missing person's case involving two reclusive brothers.How could I not love a series called 'Library Lover's' and McKinlay was a librarian too so she knows what she is talking about from a library point of view.

One more to keep you busy while I am gone, Douglas Schofield's debut mystery, Time of Departure which comes out on December 1. Even critics who did not enjoy the work say that Schofield can write but the fans definitely outweigh the one or two who did not care for it. This mystery is intricately plotted and suspenseful. The lead is a strong female character. Claire Talbot, a Florida state prosecutor, is promoted to Felony Division chief. Many do not trust her because of her youth and gender. When a highway construction crew unearths two skeletons, she must reopen the investigation into abductions that took place before she was born. This work had at least 6 five star reviews to every 2 or 3 star review. Reviewers stayed up late to finish it and many said it is impossible to put down.

OK - only 4 to choose from this week. I'll do better when I am back - I promise. See if one of these will tide you over.