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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Last Of March Titles

It is the end of the month already. February is a short month even if it is longer than usual. I will try to squeeze as many titles in as I can.

Cold Barrel Zero is Matthew Quirk's third novel and his first military thriller which comes out on March 8. Tom Byrne's is a doctor and a former marine corpsman who is caught in the middle. He is apprehended while on vacation and recruited to help the government find Thomas Hayes. Hayes is a special ops squad leader that Byrne's had fought along side is accused of terrorist acts. Hayes tells Byrne's that he is being blamed to cover up for a senior officer.What should Byrne's believe? Fast paced suspense and a hard to put down adventure. If you like Brad Meltzer or Christopher Reich, give Quirk a try.

Wilbur Smith has Predator: A Novel of Adventure coming out on March 22. This is the third in the Hector Cross or Crossbow series. Here, Cross, a former Special Air Service member and now head of a security firm, is battling an old enemy who murdered his wife and has now escaped prison and is determined to rule the world. This time, Cross isn't going to let him off easy. Very fast paced suspense.

Stephanie Evanovich, very popular since her first novel Big Girl Panties, has The Total Package coming out on March 15. This is sports romance with a little less humor that her other works. Tyson Palmer is a star quarterback who had lost it all with pills and booze. He was given a second chance and taking full advantage of it. Dani Carr had been Tyson's tutor in college - under a different name and with darker hair - and Tyson had broken her heart. When she becomes the contracted sport's reporter for Tyson's team - will he be able to win her back? He doesn't even recognize her and Dani is having trouble forgiving.

Lucinda Riley has the second of her Seven Sister series, The Storm Sister , coming on March 22. The premise of this series is that 6 sister gather at a chateau on the shores of Lake Geneva when they are informed of their father's sudden death. Each of the sisters receives a letter with a clue to their special origins. This title focuses on Ally Dipoles and her clue takes her to Norway and the story of a gifted singer. These stories are intricately plotted and historically based. I can't think of who to compare her too but maybe Susanna Kearsley.

Another one in the historical arena is Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly coming out on March 8. This is a debut for Kelly and a very well researched one at that. This novel deals with the life of Bess and Harry Houdini. When Houdini dies, Bess is left reeling with grief. Harry had promised to send her a message from beyond the grave and she continually looks for that message. She reviews their life together from the first time they met until their deaths. Very well reviewed from an author who has had her poems and short stories published.

One of my favorite authors, Donna Leon has Waters of Eternal Youth coming out on March 8. This is Commissario Guido Brunetti's 25th case. All this series happens in Venice, Italy with an exquisite sense of place. In this title, a teenager is pulled out of a Venice canal by a drunk and becomes brain damaged. The drunk says she was pushed in but remembers no details. 15 years later Brunetti is asked to investigate by the girl's grandmother. What could he possibly find?

Now I am just going to mention two nonfiction titles which sound interesting.

Putin Country by Anne Garrels comes out on March 8. She describes the things that happened with the fall of communism and why so many Russians love Vladimir Putin.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's annotated autobiography was so popular last year, I can't see why William Anderson's The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder which comes out March 8 shouldn't be just as big.

OK - hopefully I have given you something to tempt you. I can't believe we will be on to April's titles next week.

Friday, February 19, 2016

More March Titles

On with March and there are quite a few good titles to talk to you about. Starting with the Canadian author Linwood Barclay. I don't know how many of you have read him but he can be compared to Harlan Coben or Lisa Gardner. His titles are fast moving and very suspenseful. This title is Far From True and is the second in his Promise Falls series and comes out on March 8th. This is one series which you should read from the first one. There is a cliffhanger at the end of the first that is resolved in this one and a cliff hanger than ends this one. Many things are going on in this series and some reviewers have had trouble keeping people straight. In this title, one story follows the screen of a drive inn movie theater exploding which kills four people. The daughter of one of the victims asks a PI to look into a recent break-in at her father's house which occurred at approximately the same time. The PI finds a hidden basement room which was clearly used for 'adult' entertainment which was recorded and some of the DVDs are missing. AND a Detective is trying to solve two murders which he believes are connected. There are evil deeds a plenty in Promise Falls.

Next is the 16th title in the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen, Time of Fog and Fire. This comes out on March 1. Molly's husband, Daniel, accepts a secret assignment from the head of the Secret Service in 1906 and ends up in San Francisco. Molly sees him in a news reel and after receiving a cryptic note from him takes their child on a cross country train trip to San Francisco. Bowen writes cozy mysteries that are fast paced and have a strong sense of place. In this one, Molly and son arrive in San Francisco days before the great earthquake and can not find her husband. All is not right in San Francisco and Molly will get to the bottom of it.

Judith Flanders has the 2nd book in the Sam Clair series , A Bed of Scorpions, coming on March 1.. Sam is a book editor in London and while having lunch with an old friend, Aidan Merriam, she discovers Aidan's partner in an art gallery has been found dead. This is being investigated by Sam's current boy friend, Detective Inspector Jake Field. Questions arise which place Sam in a very awkward place but then someone tries to run her off the road when she was on her bike. Sam and Jake begin to wonder if she is a threat. These mysteries are just a touch more profane than a cozy but there is humor here and those that read cozies and are willing to go a little beyond that category should give this a try.

Then an author who could have been added to last weeks list as she is pretty popular, J.A. Jance. Jance has Clawback: An Ali Reynolds Novel coming out on March 8. She has another best selling series with Joanna Brady but this series is kind of like Hank Phillippi Ryan titles. When Ali's father is suspected of the murder of a man whose Ponzi scheme bankrupted him and hundreds of others, she and her husband struggle to clear her father's name.

If you miss the books or Chandler and Hammett, pick up Philip Kerr. I would suggest starting at the beginning of his Bernie Gunther series (March Violets) because Bernie's back story is very interesting. The Other Side of Silence, which comes out on March 29, is the eleventh in the series. This series is noir private detective and it is good noir. Bernie is German and went from being a Berlin policeman to being forced into the SS. Now he is on the French Riviera, working as a hotel concierge under the name Walter Wolf. He is approached by W. Somerset Maugham to help defend against a blackmailer who knows his secrets. Bernie is hard-drinking and sardonic with his own moral code. I am going to do something I never do and insert a brief passage from the book to give you an idea of how good this series is. "Once I’d been a good detective in Kripo, but that was a while ago, before the criminals wore smart gray uniforms and nearly everyone locked up was innocent.”  I hope you will learn to like Kerr too.

One last one to tempt you, The Watcher in the Wall by Owen Laukkanen comes out on March 15. I am thinking it may be time for Laukkanen to move up to the A List of authors. He can be compared to Baldacci, Morrell and DeMille. His suspense is plot driven and fast paced. This title is the 5th in the Stevens and Windermere series. Laukkanen by the way is a Canadian author, don't let his last name put you off. Stevens is with the FBI and Windermere is with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Together they work a joint violent crime task force. Here, the investigate the suicide of a classmate of Kirk's daughter and discover a very disturbing occurrence. There appears to be an online suicide club of teens that are being pushed by an unknown ringleader. Give him and chance and Laukkanen might make fans of you.

OK - hope there is something there that tempts you. I have a few on my list.

Friday, February 12, 2016

March LibraryReads

The LibraryReads list for the month of March came out on Wednesday. There are some pretty good titles on there and some I personally am not excited about but maybe you will be. The lead vote getter for the month is......

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. This is Simonson's second book after the popular Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. She writes with a strong sense of place and time and in this case that is the small town of Rye in Sussex right before World War I. Beatrice Nash's father dies, leaving her alone in the world and penniless. She takes the position as a Latin teacher in Rye and is the first woman to do so. Her sponsor, the strong willed Agatha is aunt to Hugh (a doctor in training) and Daniel (a poet). You follow these 4 characters and see how the war changes their lives.

And the rest:

Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele made the list. Faye writes kind of like Charles Todd or for those that remember her Mistress of the Art of Death series, Ariana Franklin. She specializes in historical mysteries that have a strong sense of place and are richly detailed. This one is a mixture of a Jane Eyre remake and a serial killer story. Jane Steele receives cruel treatment from her aunt and schoolmaster so she kills them. Then she ends up on the run. Eventually she applies for a position as governess and falls in love with the head of the house.

Lisa Lutz is one of my favorite authors. She has always made me laugh out loud although this is a stand alone that definitely doesn't have a funny premise. The Passenger, a standalone made the list.
Leaving her husband's body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois takes off leaving everything behind. She meets a female bartender and the both of them take off on the run. This is not the first time Tanya has been on the run. Can she outrun her past? Really very fast paced with a lot of action but a fun trip.

Next comes Anne Bishop's Marked in Flesh. Bishop writes sensual, urban fantasy kind of like Laurell K. Hamilton. This title is the fourth in the Courtyards of the Others series. This series features Meg Corbyn who is a blood prophet (she sees prophecies when she cuts herself) and chronicle the conflict between the human world and the Others. Here, a group of radical humans seek to take control with a series of attacks on the Others. Some are willing to do anything to protect what is theirs.

Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney has The Nest on the list. This is a debut novel for Sweeney and is the story of a dysfunctional family. The Plumb family consists of 2 sisters and 2 brothers who will share in their deceased fathers trust fund if one of the brothers drunk driving accident doesn't destroy it. They have to grow up fast and learn about the value of family.

Ahhhh - another favorite author. One I spoke of last week as a matter of fact. Harlan Coben's Fool Me Once made the list. Joe Burkett has been murdered in front of his wife, Maya. Then, after Maya returns to work, she sees on the nanny cam a scene of Joe playing with their daughter. What the heck is happening???!!!! Get ready to find out.

Then, The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell, another debut novel. Samantha Whipple is the sole remaining descendant of the Bronte family. Her recently deceased father sends her on a literary scavenger hunt to find the family's secret literary estate. She is helped in her quest by a young, handsome professor.

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn is next. This is the first in a prequel series to Quinn's Bridgerton series. Quinn specializes in Regency romance written with humor and also slightly more explicit that you might expect. Billie Bridgerton has always played with the neighboring Rokesbys and it was always assumed that she would marry one of them. There was one though that she despised and he seemed to despise her too. Wouldn't you know that that is the one who see finds herself attracted too. If you like the Regency romances with snappy dialogue, this is for you.

Lee Smith is a true Southern author. Many of her titles have been extremely popular. Dimestore: A Writer's Life has made the list. Lee Smith life in the mountains of Virginia was not always easy, that is for sure. This book is about her life and also about how writing has saved her. Reviewers have praised this highly.

Lastly, Elizabeth Brundage has All Things Cease to Appear on the list. Brundage writes psychological suspense novels and this is one of them. The Clares buy a farmhouse at a foreclosure auction and move into it in a small tight knit town. George Clare takes the position as an Art History Professor at a small private college. One winter afternoon, George comes home to find his wife murdered and their 3 year old daughter alone. The town and police immediately suspect him but can't prove it. It is more than 20 years before justice is finally served.

OK - there you go. Some sound pretty good. Hope there is something here for all of you.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

March Big Names and Names That Deserve To Be Big

 There are some big names publishing this month - or at least I think they are big names. Maybe not everyone will agree with me but I'm going to list them anyway.

First, because she is dead, is the beloved author Maeve Binchy.  On March 1, A Few of the Girls is being published. This is a collection of stories that have not been published in the US. Anyone who misses her since her 2012 death will for sure want to check this title out.

On to the living authors.

C.J. Box has Off the Grid coming out on March 8. This is the 16th title in the Joe Pickett series. The thing that is interesting is that Robert Redford is developing a Joe Pickett television series so this might pick up speed for Box. This one emphasises Joe's old fried Nate Romanowski who is living off the grid because of some past crimes. Nate is approached by some unspecified government agents about infiltrating a domestic terror cell in exchange for them wiping out any record of his crimes. Joe and he discover that nothing is as it seems and everyone is in danger.

My most favorite author, Harlan Coben, has Fool Me Once coming out on March 22.  Former special ops pilot Maya comes home from the war to her husband and child but shortly afterwards, her husband is murdered. So...when going back to work, she quickly checks the nanny cam - imagine her shock when she sees her husband playing with her daughter. How could this be???? You have to read the book and follow Maya as she turns into an investigator, as she finds out.

Next comes Clive Cussler and the ninth of his Isaac Bell series. Actually this is Clive Cussler with Justin Scott who has written books on his own but not since 2008. Like James Patterson, Cussler has started taking on partners. The Gangster arrives on March 1. This series are historical thrillers from the early twentieth century. In 1906 New York City, Bell faces the Italian crime group - the Black Hand. Cussler's work is always action packed and fast paced. I would put him more toward adventure than suspense but that is really an individual thing.

Jeffery Deaver, who may have lost some of his popularity, is coming back strong with The Steel Kiss which arrives on March 8. This is the twelfth in the Amelia Sachs and Lincoln Rhyme series. Here they are chasing a killer who hates the new electronic age and hacks into things and turns them against their owners (i.e. microwaves explode; circuit boxes electrocute). Sachs was chasing him when an escalator fails and traps a man (I could have nightmares about this one).

James Grippando is one of those authors who deserve a bigger name than he currently has. Don't misunderstand me, he certainly has his following, but you can compare his work to David Baldacci whose popularity is on a higher level. Grippando has Gone Again coming out on March 1. This is the also the twelfth in the Jack Swyteck series. Swyteck is a Miami criminal defense lawyer and in this one he is defending a man about to be executed for abducting and killing a teenager when the teens mother calls him and tells him she got a call from her daughter. The police don't want to investigate and the governor won't stop the execution so Swyteck must find the girl before an innocent man is killed. But what he finds, may not be what he expects.

Lastly, Randy Wayne White has Deep Blue coming out on March 15. He has been compared to John D. MacDonald and Stuart Woods but I kind of think he is perhaps more like Carl Hiaasen. If you haven't read him, his style is fast paced and gritty with a strong sense of place. His books mostly take place in Florida on the Gulf. this is the twenty third of the Doc Ford series. Mutilated dolphins are washing ashore on Sanibel Island and tourists are staying away by droves. Ford thinks a predator is causing it but that the predator walks on land with two legs. Who is it and what is the evil plan?

OK - hopefully there is something here for everyone. February is a short month so....I will try harder to get more into it.