Thursday, February 28, 2008

Top Shelf: Barbara Peters selections from The Arizona Republic - Sunday Viewpoints

Barbara Peters founded the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in 1989 in Scottsdale. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Raven Award and a nominee for its Edgar Allan Poe Award, she is a 14-time nominee for the ABA's Bookseller of the Year and is the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree of Bouchercon, an international crime-writers conference. In this election year, Peters says, she is “grabbed by books that reflect the big issues.” Here are five of those works of crime fiction that she recommends.


By Douglas Preston Forge, 2008

Gorgeous Arizona offers geology perfect for the testing of a giant supercollider in a bestseller where science tangles with religion, politicians exploit both, and an L. Ron Hubbard model stands alongside the genuinely evangelical.

Sins of the Assassin By Robert Ferrigno Pocket, 2008

Ferrigno pens a philosophical thriller, first in a trilogy imagining an American dystopia circa 2043 when, riven by suitcase nukes, the U.S. has split into an Islamic Republic and a Christian Bible Belt, both in the grip of fundamentalists, while to the north, Canada presses down and in the south, a rising Aztlán Empire seeks to reclaim Arizona, et al, for Mexico.

Hell's Bay By James W. Hall St Martin's, 2008.

Going green is at the heart of Floridian Hall's blend of Deliverance with Erin Brokovich in a plot that develops from the murder of the matriarch of a mining family in the mangrove swamps of Hell's Bay.

Desert Cut By Betty Webb Poisoned Pen, 2008

A startling look at immigration develops as reporter Webb drops a mix of Egyptians and Ethiopians into her fictional southern Arizona town where the traditional dynamics of sturdy pioneer stock vs. trafficking in illegals is ongoing but overshadowed. One of the most horrifying and thought-provoking works on this subject.

Writing in an Age of Silence By Sara Paretsky Verso, 2007

This memoir by the revered Chicago crime novelist and political activist, only daughter of an immigrant Jewish family that settled in Kansas after World War II, not only reminds us of the long and clash-filled history of immigration but of the virulence of anti-Semitism.

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