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Saturday, October 22, 2016

LibraryReads for November

The LibraryReads list for November has come out. These are the 10 titles that were voted on my library employees world wide. This list is....well, different. Good titles that I like but a great variety and even one nonfiction.

First, the top vote getter is Faithful by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman is a highly acclaimed author. She often writes in a way that is called 'magic realism'. This work is different but highly effecting. Some have called it a coming of age novel but it is really more than that. It features a young girl (17), Shelby, who is the sidekick to the most popular girl in school. While Shelby was driving them both to a party - they were involved in an accident. Shelby walked away but her friend was comatose. Shelby is unsure how she can live with herself after that. She spends the new years trying to deaden her sense of guilt. Can she find a way to forgive herself?

In no particular order, the rest are:

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is the conclusion in the Queen of the Tearling trilogy. This series is a blend of traditional Epic Fantasy and dystopian fiction. Kelsea Glynn who has transformed from a naive teenager at the beginning of the series to a truly visionary leader has given herself up to her main enemy in order to keep her people safe. Can her troops rescue her?

Night School by Lee Child which we discussed three weeks ago. It is the twenty first in the Jack Reacher series but this covers Reacher when he was still in the Army. Traditional Reacher looking for the bad guys.

Jayne Ann Krentz has When All the Girls Have Gone on the list. Krentz writes romantic suspense and that is what this title is.When Charlotte goes to tell her stepsister Jocelyn that one of her friends has died, she meets Max Cutler and discovers that Jocelyn is missing. Max and Charlotte investigate and discover that members of Jocelyn's online investment club are being killed. Can the find Jocelyn and the murderer before one of them is killed?

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb is  on the list. Lamb writes works that cover the dark side of American contemporary life but he does it with touches of light humor. Here, Felix Funicello runs a Monday night film club at an old theater. One night, the ghost of a female director of silent film visits him and leads him to revisit scenes from his past. As always, Lamb is insightful and powerful.

Next comes Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Smith writes slow paced, character-driven literary fiction. Here two racially mixed female friends grow up in West London dreaming of becoming dancers. The fact that only one of them has talent initiates a breakup of the friendship. The story goes from West London to West Africa and is in a way a coming of age novel for the unnamed narrator.

Julia Baird has the lone nonfiction work on the list, Victoria: The Queen. Baird is a New York Times journalist and she did extensive research including previously unpublished papers for this title. She presents Victoria as a real woman with the problems of normal women while guiding Britain through a very turbulent time period.

Now Michael Chabon's work, Moonglow. Another work of literary fiction that has comic value also. Here, Chabon bases his story on a week he, himself, spent sitting with his own grandfather when he was close to his death and had his tongue loosened by pain killers. Her, the grandfather tells stories, not in chronological order but as the occur to him - it is story telling in it's original form. Some funny, some sad, just get ready to sit down and enjoy.

Here is a different one for you - Warren Ellis' Normal. Dark literary fiction. Adam Dearden is a futurist who's look into the future has caused mental health issues. Luckily for him, there is a mental hospital for disturbed futurist called Normal Head. Shortly after Adam arrives, a patient disappears form his locked room leaving behind a pile of insects. Upon investigation, Adam discovers a conspiracy. Said to be riveting.

Lastly, another unexpected one, Carol Birch's Orphans of the Carnival. Birch writes historical fiction and that is what this title is. This follows the lift of Julia Pastrana, a real woman, who sang, danced, rode horses and spoke 3 languages. She was afflicted by a genetic condition which caused her to grow hair over her body and thickened her lips and ears. After being made fun of since she entered society, she decided to travel the world in a carnival. A sad story of how she was treated because of the way she looked during the nineteenth century.

OK - one romance, one straight mystery, one nonfiction and one fantasy - the rest are literary fiction. More than usual this month. Hope one interests you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

More November Titles

On we go with more titles out next month. This week is kind of a mixture of genre.

Clive Cussler has another Dirk Pitt novel coming out on November 15, Odessa Sea. Dirk has been around forever, this is the twenty fourth in the series. He has been described as the Indiana Jones of oceanography. Dirk and his crew are in the Black Sea trying to locate a lost Ottoman shipwreck when they receive a emergency call for help from a freighter. When they arrive, they find only dead bodies and then, an explosive goes off sinking the ship and almost killing Dirk and crew. The adventure picks up from there with Dirk trying to stop the next world war from happening. If you read Cussler, this one would be a must.

Keigo Higashino has Under the Midnight Sun coming out on November 8. The publisher has actually said this one is more social commentary than mystery and compares it to Crime and Punishment. A murder in 1973 Osaka is relentlessly pursued by Sasagkai, the detective, but never solved. Higashino looks about how this act affected not just Sasagkai, but also the son of the victim and the daughter of the prime suspect. Highly acclaimed.

Barry Maitland has Ash Island coming out on November 1. This is the second in a trilogy which focuses on Harry Belltree a homicide detective. Harry is returning to work after a near fatal confrontation in the first book. Because he exposed several corrupt detectives, he has become an embarrassment to the department. Harry is transferred to Newcastle but he is soon dealing with more dead bodies and they could be connected. Maitland, himself, is interesting - born in Australia, he moved with his parents to the UK and that is where he was educated. He was an architect and actually taught architecture at the University of Sheffield and moved back to Australia to teach at the University of Newcastle. Then, he started writing fiction.

Jeffrey Archer has the final volume of the Clifton Chronicles, This Was a Man, coming out on November 8. Archer's series has covered the Clifton family from the early 1900's until the time of Margaret Thatcher. There are plenty of enemies, tragedies, and interesting characters. This continues up until the end when someone dies. Who???? We must read it to find out.

Bill Rancic, who was Donald Trump's first winner on The Apprentice, has written a first novel, First Light. It arrives on November 1 and is described as a romance but most who have read it say there is some romance but it is more about normal people doing extraordinary things in extreme situations. First of all, this is the story a couple tell their son as they are driving to a reunion. The reunion is for the surviving members of a plane crash which occurred 10 years before. Daniel Albrecht and Kerry Egan were on the plane and were engaged and Kerry was pregnant. The plane crashes and Kerry along with other passengers were injured. Daniel and their boss was not and they went for help in blizzard conditions. Not everyone makes it. One reviewer says to have a box of tissues handy.

Lastly, one of my favorite historical authors, Bernard Cornwell has The Flame Bearer coming out on November 29. This is the 10th title in the Saxon Stories series. BBC America has an 8 part series based on the first two books in the series, The Last Kingdom. That television series has been renewed so expect more from the rest of the books. Here, Uhtred returns to England to fight for its future from sworn enemies and the Scots.

OK - there should be something there for most if not everyone. I hope so anyway. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

More Thrillers for November

There are several more thrillers coming out in November and they look like they should be pretty good. I will see how many I can get through this time.

First, Christopher Brookmyre has Black Widow coming out on November 1. This is the seventh in the Jack Parlabane series. So Brookmyre writes hard boiled detective fiction with dark (very dark) humor. I have filled in some of his back titles for this series also mainly because many of the titles are funny like "Attach of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks". Parlabane is a Scottish  investigative journalist and here, he is asked to investigate a surgeon and activist who was brutally persecuted online before a whirlwind romance and marriage. Then her new husband is killed and she is the suspect. Give Brookmyre a try.

Next we have Andrea Camilleri and I would compare her to Donna Leon. She has her twentieth Commissario Montalbano series, A Voice in the Night, coming out on November 15. These works are perhaps grittier and have a sardonic feel to them unlike Leon but there is a great sense of place (which is Sicily) and complex plotting. Here a manager of a supermarket is found hanging in his office after a robbery and the hanging does not look voluntary. Then, a girl is found murdered in the apartment of an important politician's son. Montalbano's services are required to bring these two cases to a conclusion.

Another import comes from Kjell Eriksson, the Swedish novelist. Stone Coffin comes out on  November 22. This is the seventh Ann Lindell mystery and it has been shortlisted for Best Swedish Crime Novel. A young woman and her daughter are struck by an unidentified car and killed. The woman's husband has disappeared. Ann has a mystery to investigate. She discovers that the husband has recently purchased some property in the Dominican Republic and then, a gruesome discovery is made on the property.

OK - for British Victorian mystery fans! Charles Finch has his tenth Charles Lennox mystery coming out on November 1. The Inheritance features, of course, Lennox, the gentleman sleuth who is working as Parliament's house detective when he receives a letter from a friend. When he tries to find him, Gerald Leigh had disappeared. Apparently, years ago, someone had anonymously paid for Leigh's education and Leigh and Lennox had failed to discover who. Now, Leigh was left a large bequest and someone was trying to kill him. Can they find out who was giving him money and why someone wants him dead?

Lastly, Douglas Schofield has Storm Rising coming out on November 29. Schofield is an interesting author. He is a Canadian attorney who has worked in Canada and the Cayman Island where he now lives. His first novel was about a female Florida state prosecutor. This second novel also has a strong female lead. Here, Lucy Hendricks moved to Florida to raise her son after her husband, Jack, a Bayonne, NJ cop, was murdered. Five years later, she is ready to move back and try to show her son who his father really was. Rumors had been flying that Jack was involved with the Mafia. As hurricane Sandy to bearing down on New Jersey, Lucy is investigating what really happened to her husband.

That gives you five to ponder till next week. Hope there is one that interests you. Have a great week.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

November's Top Titles

It is October already and time to move on to November titles. November is not usually a big month but there are some big name authors who have titles coming out.

David Baldacci has No Man's Land coming out on November 15. This is the fourth in the John Puller series. Here Puller has to revisit his mother's disappearance 30 years ago because someone told authorities that his father (now suffering from dementia in a VA hospital) killed her. Puller has been threatened with court martial if he interferes but how can he not? Reviewers have said you do not have to read the first three to understand this one. Said to be really quick moving and suspenseful.

Lee Child has Night School coming out on November 7. This is the twenty first in the Jack Reacher series. This one goes back to the late 1990's when Reacher was still in the Army. After receiving a medal, he is sent to a school  in McLean, VA. With him are members of the FBI and CIA. He discovers that they are given the mission of finding a Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany. Reacher takes off for Hamburg with his sidekick, Sergeant Frances Neagely. They discover that an American is offering something for sale to this cell for one million dollars. Now, they have to find all the members of the cell and the American. Fast moving suspense typical of Child.

Michael Connelly has The Wrong Side of Goodbye coming out on November 1. This one is the twenty first in the Harry Bosch series. After being forced to retire from LAPD, Harry is taking free lance PI cases and volunteering for a small police department in San Fernando. One wealthy dying billionaire contacts him to find out if he has an heir. Many years ago, a Mexican girl he was seeing became pregnant but she disappeared before having the child. Does a child exist? And in San Fernando, Harry is tracking a serial rapist. Can he handle both cases? What do you think?

Patricia Cornwell has Chaos coming on November 15. This is the twenty fourth of the Scarpetta series. A 26 year old female seems to have been killed by lightening while riding her bike along the Charles River.  Strangely, there wasn't a cloud in the sky at that time. Soon after, Scarpetta starts receiving threatening threatening poems from 'Tailend Charlie'. No one can figure out where they are coming from and the press has whipped public opinion up about  Scarpetta's lightening hypothesis calling her a quack. Not much out about this one yet other than the plot.

Janet Evanovich has Turbo Twenty-Three arriving on November 15. Obviously, this is number twenty three in the Stephanie Plum series. Can Stephanie at long last choose between Ranger and Joe? It is doubtful in this one. Stephanie is after a bail jumper who specializes in high jacking 18 wheelers. The latest one was carrying ice cream and a dead body. Ranger asks her to go undercover. Obviously, Joe will not like that.

Lastly, we have James Patterson and Cross the Line coming out on November 3. This is the twenty fourth in the Alex Cross series. When a prominent police official is murdered, Cross is pressured to take the lead in the case. Before he can find a lead, a murder spree across the city starts taking place. The only similarity? All those killed are criminals. There is a murderer out there who thinks he has right on his side. Can Alex find him?

So there are the top names this month. I'll be next next week with some more. Enjoy!