Friday, November 28, 2008
Harris, CS. Where Serpents Sleep ($26 Signed).
This Regency era series featuring Lord Devlin, 3rd but only surviving son of a harsh father and a mother who eloped with a lover when Devlin was but a child, captures the events as well as the ambience of the period, and in elegant language. The murder of a young aristocratic lady working (!) in a London brothel along with several other prostitutes and the torching of the building gets the story started. Devlin is hooked in by Hero Jarvis, an independent and astute spinster, daughter of Devlin's most powerful enemy, and by his own curiosity. His private life laid waste, Devlin is actually happy to feel any emotion, even an interest in murder. And the chief Bow Street magistrate is taking an odd stance..... Read in order: What Angels Fear; When Gods Die; Why Mermaids Sing ($6.99 each).
James, Peter. Dead Man's Footsteps ($43 Signed).
The tragic unfolding mayhem of the morning of 9/11, failed Brighton businessman and ne'er-do-well Ronnie Wilson sees the chance of a lifetime, to shed his debts, disappear and reinvent himself in another country.Six years later, the discovery of the skeletal remains of a woman's body in a storm drain in Brighton, leads Detective Superintendent Roy Grace on an enquiry spanning the globe. The Daily Mail and I agree that James is "One of the most fiendishly clever crime fiction plotters." British policing doesn't get any better than in the hands of Supt. Roy Grace of the Brighton beat. Only 5 left.
Not Dead Enough ($15).
Kamensky, Jane and . Blindspot ($27 Signed).
Our Dec. History Pick. "In a masterpiece of teamwork, Kamensky and Lepore, both history professors, have brought alive pre-Revolutionary Boston in the most charming way imaginable by telling the story of an exiled Scottish portraitist and his surprising apprentice. Blindspot kept me guessing (and laughing) from beginning to end-it is the most entertaining historical novel I've ever read." There is so much here for Gabaldon and Margaret Lawrence fans, such a keen picture of Boston as an immigrant city and one seething with pros and cons to British economic/trade policies, so good on the idea of a fallen woman donning a boy's breeches and apprenticing herself to an irascible painter on the run from his own debts in England, so good with a very large cast and many voices presented in narrative, letters, and newspapers (a printer is a main character). Do not miss it!
Pollard, Tony. Minutes of the Lazarus Club ($41 Signed).
Charles Darwin, Charles Babbage and Isambard Kingdom Brunel are among those fine minids of 1857 who are members of this illustrious brotherhood. Their meetings take place behind closed doors, their discussions are revolutionary and their conclusions sometimes forbidden. Dr George Phillips, a young and ambitious surgeon, is intrigued to encounter Brunel over a well-used cadaver in the gory pit of his dissection theatre. It soon becomes apparent that the great engineer has mysterious plans for the good doctor. And so a naïve Phillips becomes embroiled in the enigmatic machinations of the Lazarus Club, unaware that in the midst of their unorthodox club, a black conspiracy lurks. A first novel.
Walters, Michael. The Outcast ($43 Signed).
Modern Mongolia, never far from its ancient roots, makes a wonderful landscape for this series. Ulaan Bataar bakes in the heat of an unseasonably hot summer as it prepares to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Mongol Empire. But the city is facing a series of unexpected crises: an apparent suicide bomber shot down by police in Suuk Bataar Square, a dead body in the City Museum re-enacting an incident from ancient Mongolian history, an explosion at a political rally, and yet another body found murdered nearby. For Doripalam, now boss of the Serious Crime Team, the crises are growing increasingly personal. And then one of his own police team is arrested....
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
It's finally spring in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and the locals have only one thing on their minds - the turkey-hunting opener. But for sheer adrenaline value, not even turkey season can compete with the local Credit Union getting held up at gunpoint. Committing a robbery in a town where everyone is armed for combat is not the smartest thing to do, and the gunman is shot dead right there in the Stonely Credit Union lobby. The only problem is, in a room full of witnesses, the stolen money has mysteriously vanished. Faster than you can say 'Tom Turkey,' Gertie, Cora Mae, and Kitty are on the case in this hoot of a whodunit.
Case of the Tough Talking Turkey by Claudia Bishop
Monday, November 24, 2008
We have fist edition triple-signed (Both authors, Clive and Dirk and the illustrator, Roland Dahlgren came in to sign) copies of the 20th Dirk Pitt thriller Arctic Drift (Putnam $27 ), a timely look at the doomed Franklin Expedition to the Arctic interwoven with the modern Green Movement and a villain fomenting a war between the US and Canada. Anyone who's ever cruised the Inside Passage to Alaska will be glad this is just fiction!
Important note to mail order customers: please order your book by Thursday November 18! Since November 25 is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we will not be able to put books signed the 25th into shipping until the following Monday as neither UPS nor FedEx picks up shipping on Wednesday. Therefore, Clive and Dirk and illustrator Dahlgren are going to sign the mail order in advance so we can get your books out to you on Tuesday the 25th and you won't have to wait an extra week.
Obviously if you miss the deadline and order over the weekend up to the 25th, you will still get your order, but it will arrive in December.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Berry, Steve. The Charlemagne Pursuit Signed - Not in but please reserve for December delivery.
Picture King Ludwig's Fairy Tale castles, lots of other architecture, and a plot unfolding in the German Alps, at the monastery at Ettal, and in the remote home of a Bavarian family down to two dueling heirs, both daughters of a ruthless mother. Here is former Justice Department ace agent Cotton Malone, a rare books bookseller still in the game despite himself, in Garrnisch and beyond. What fun to have just scene the landscape of this thriller first hand. The Amber Room; The Templar Legacy; The Romanov Prophecy; The Third Secret; The Templar Legacy; The Alexandria Link ($10 each).
Woman, David. Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling (Collins $25). The Indie Next Pick: "An informative and humorous look at how we ended up with our English orthography. This is a book for many of us who find that English words never look quite right-even when correctly spelled. A wonderful weekend read!" And a killer gift, no?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Hounded to Death
From New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown comes the latest novel in her enthralling series of foxhunting mysteries. Richly imagined and utterly engaging, Hounded to Death reveals the cutthroat world of competitive hound shows as both humans and animals alike try to solve a series of bizarre deaths.
“Sister” Jane Arnold, esteemed master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, has traveled to Kentucky for one of the biggest events of the season: the Mid-South Hound Show, where foxhounds, bassets, and beagles gather to strut their champion bloodline stuff. But the fun is squelched when, immediately after the competition, one of the contestants, Mo Schneider, turns up dead–facedown, stripped to the waist, and peppered with birdshot. Universally detested by his peers, Mo had no shortage of enemies, making the list of suspects as long as the line for homemade pecan pie at a church bake sale.
Two weeks later, back in Virginia, Sister is rocked when her friend the popular veterinarian Hope Rogers dies from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sister refuses to believe that Hope killed herself and vows to sniff out the truth. But before she can make real headway, a wealthy pet food manufacturer vanishes during the granddaddy of all canine exhibitions, the Virginia Hound Show.
Ever reliant on her “horse sense,” Sister can’t help but connect the three incidents. And what she uncovers will make her blood run colder than the bodies that keep turning up in unexpected places.
Thrilling adventures with horses and hounds, breathtaking vistas, furry friends, familiar faces–including Shaker Crown and the girls from Custis Hall–Rita Mae Brown weaves all these elements into a dazzling novel of suspense.And from her feline partner, Sneaky Pie Brown, comes Santa Clawed a holiday mystery featuring Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, the sleuthing cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi Tee Tucker. Can they save the season from a killjoy who’s decided to gift the festive little town…with murder?
As Harry well knows, there’s hardly a place on earth cozier than Crozet, Virginia, at Christmastime. The snowflakes drifting lazily down, the soft glow of the winter light, the sound of old carols in the streets…even cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter get into the spirit batting ornaments and climbing the holiday tree. In fact, it’s this year’s tree that Harry and her husband, Fair, have gone to fetch when they find the one they’ve chosen grimly decorated with a dead body.
The tree farm is run by The Brothers of Love, a semimonastic organization that tends to AIDS patients. The brothers live in a monastery atop the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Harry is surprised to find an old high-school friend associated with The Brothers of Love. Christopher Hewitt wasn’t a bad man, but good works weren’t exactly one of his priorities. But then, if even Scrooge could turn over a new leaf, certainly Chris could. And after the scandal that all but destroyed his life, there were probably few in Crozet who needed the gift of a second chance more.
Harry knows she shouldn’t take it personally, but it was her tree that someone left the corpse under. Now, as the season grows merrier, a murderer is growing bolder. One by one, prominent men of Crozet are being crossed off Christmas shopping lists and added to the morgue. And if Harry and her four-legged helpers aren’t very good—and very careful—this Christmas may be her last.Snake Dreams by James D. Doss.
With his Southwestern series, bestselling author James D. Doss and his dryly humorous, no-nonsense Native American sleuth, Charlie Moon, have brought law and what’s going to have to pass for order to Charlie’s Columbine Ranch and the nearby Ute reservation.
Now the seven-foot rancher and part-time tribal investigator wants to carve out a little more space for himself alongside FBI Special Agent Lila Mae McTeague. That’s right: Charlie has it in his head that he’s going to get hitched. That is, unless Charlie’s irascible aunt, her sixteen-year-old niece, and their visions of a dead woman—her throat slit from ear to ear—have anything to say about it.
With a bit of romance and full measure of murder, Snake Dreams, the thirteenth in James D. Doss’s widely loved Charlie Moon series, is a haunting tale best told under a full moon and beside a crackling fire.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell the author of the bestselling titles Blink and The Tipping Point.
Malcolm Gladwell’s new book is about success and the special characteristics of people who are successful. Speaking of success, Gladwell’s massive book sales appear to follow a simple formula: Step 1: Tell stories about special people with magic powers. Step 2: Explain how the magic powers can make you rich or popular or smart with almost no effort. I like to call it the “superheros and free lunch” strategy - since his books are about remarkable people who get amazing results with almost no effort. We simply can’t resist fantasies about superheros and free lunches! Gladwell’s two massive bestsellers both promise that we can get something for nothing: The Tipping Point explains “How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference” and Blink shows us “The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”. Outliers appears to have more of a superhero focus, teaching us “Why Some People Succeed and Some Don’t”.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Each crime scene has a charm with a woman's name on it next to the victim's body. What the dead women have in common is an uncanny resemblance to tv news anchor Kendall Shaw who has been obsessed with nightmares for years. But are they from her past or omens about her future? She dismisses Detective Jacob Warwick's directives to steer clear of the investigation because she needs answers to the riddle of her life. And Warwick's interest in the newswoman becomes personal as the psychopath makes Kendall his last target. Suspense rooted in the vulnerable spaces in women's routines carries the reader to the climax. I'm Watching You ($7).
Three best friends have all the trappings of an upscale good life in Scottsdale, Arizona. One other fact they have in common: each is in relationship crisis. Ellie glimpses a text message from Vixen, M.D. on her husband's cell phone just before he steals their joint assets and disappears. Jen's startup success no longer compensates for being married to her best friend instead of her soulmate. And attorney Mara's wedding plans snag on whether or not to sign the pre-nup with a cheating clause. Grabbing happy endings from the jaws of defeat takes an author with Kendrick's talent to engage a reader's attention and keep it. Nearly Weds, Fashionably Late, Exes and Ohs, and My Favorite Mistake ($12). Beth will be at The Poisoned Pen to sign this book on December 9 at 7 pm
Failed actor Sam White walks the night shift as a security guard in a Portland, Oregon mall. Early one morning, he finds police blocking the street in front of his home, now a blazing inferno with his wife and daughter inside. The machine-altered voice on a cell phone assigns him crimes to perform to recover his family which was kidnapped, not burned. Zack, a cosmetic surgeon, contacts Sam with the news the same horror happened to him. Together they pursue a fiend whose grievances go back to the high school they all attended 25 years ago.This debut thriller is a true airplane book, flight-tested by this reader between Florida and Phoenix.
Dec 6, pbo. Brand new lawyer Bree Winston-Beaufort rents a curious old house in a cemetery of murderers to economize in Savannah, GA. When a client on the list she inherited from her deceased uncle contacts her from beyond the grave to improve his status from holding to heaven, she assembles an irregular staff that includes a p.i. with otherwordly powers and more than one angel. The Southern flavor that permeates the plot makes the battle against the forces of evil while her mother plans her reception for the city's legal elite and sorts paint color samples for the office decor as delicious as pecan pie. First in the Beaufort and Company series.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Paul Charles, The Beautiful Sound of Silence
An annual Halloween Bonfire goes horribly wrong when a body is spotted in the middle of the fire's glowing timbers. Identifiable only through his dental records, the victim is retired police Superintendent David Peters, an ex-colleague of DI Christy Kennedy. As Kennedy and his team settle down to a painstaking search through Peters' cases, they soon discover that for the superintendent the means justified the end in solving them, and each case they review throws up another suspect. Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy muses on life, love and murder suspects."" Kirkus Reviews ""One of the strongest in an impressive series. . . Veterans and newcomers alike will appreciate the smart writing and ingenious planting of clues."" Publishers Weekly
Michael Pearce, A Dead Man in Barcelona
Barcelona, 1912-a city still recovering from the dramatic incidents of the so-called "Tragic Week" when Catalonian conscripts bound for the unpopular war in Spanish Morocco had rebelled at the city's dockside against the royalist forces. In the fighting, many were killed, and afterward, even more imprisoned, including an Englishman, who was later found dead in his cell.
The dead man had been a prominent businessman in Gibraltar, so what was he doing in Barcelona? And how did he really meet his end-murdered, in a prison cell? The case, in Gibraltar's view, cries out for investigation-and by someone independent of the Spanish authorities. So Scotland Yard dispatches Seymour of the Special Branch.
February, 1939. Edward and Verity are invited to Clivenden in Buckinghamshire, renowned as the headquarters of those prepared to go to any lengths to avert war. Murder stalks the formal gardens as private and public passions come to a climax.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Kate Kingsbury Ringing in Murder Peace on earth and murder mild...
An all-new Yuletide mystery featuring the incomparable staff of the Pennyfoot Hotel— from “a descendant of Agatha Christie.”(The Statesman Journal) (OR)
A merry hustle-and-bustle always heralds the holidays at the Pennyfoot. Even as she prepares for the holiday meal, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is also helping her friend Madeline plan her wedding. And this year, Cecily has a cracking surprise for her guests—Christmas crackers. Once the crackers pop, one lucky guest will discover a beautiful pearl brooch…
But when two crackers go astray, things turn less than jolly. A mysterious fire has broken out in an upstairs room, killing the mood—and two guests. And at the bottom of it all: one of the missing Christmas crackers. Cecily’s dead-set on solving this mystery before another deadly present turns up…
Meet Mama: a true Southern woman with impeccable manners, sherbet-colored pantsuits, and four prior husbands, able to serve sweet tea and sidestep alligator attacks with equal aplomb. Mama's antics — especially her penchant for finding trouble — drive her daughters Mace, Maddie, and Marty to distraction.
One night, while settling in to look for ex-beaus on COPS, Mace gets a frantic call from her mother. This time, the trouble is real: Mama found a body in the trunk of her turquoise convertible and the police think she's the killer. It doesn't help that the handsome detective assigned to the case seems determined to prove Mama's guilt or that the cowboy who broke Mace's heart shows up at the local Booze ‘n' Breeze in the midst of the investigation. Before their mama lands in prison — just like an embarrassing lyric from a country-western song — Mace and her sisters must find the real culprit.
Joanna Campbell Slan, Paper, Scissors, Death A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery (Includes expert scrapbooking tips and techniques, and a coupon for free Snapfish photos!)
Every scrapbook tells a story. Memories of friends, family and murder?
Mousy housewife Kiki Lowenstein has two great loves: scrapbooking and her young daughter, Anya. But her happy family album is ruined when her husband, George, is found naked and dead in a hotel room. As Kiki tracks down George's murderer, she discovers his sordid secret life.Cruel taunts by George's former flame compel Kiki to spout an unwise threat. When the woman is murdered, Kiki's scissor-sharp words make her the prime suspect. She could be creating scrapbook keepsakes for the rest of her life-behind bars. Supported by her loyal friends, along with a little help (and a lot of stomach flutters) from the dashing Detective Detweiler, can Kiki cut the true killer out of the picture and design a new life for herself and Anya?
J.B. Stanley, Stiffs and Swine A Supper Club Mystery (Includes authentic barbecue-friendly recipes!)
When the supper club members are invited to be guest judges at a regional barbecue contest, they accept the invitation faster than you can say "hog heaven." But the barbecue festival's family-oriented, finger-licking fun turns sour when a contestant is found dead. Things go from bad to worse when one of the five friends is accused of the murder and lands in jail. The strained relationship between James and Lucy is still no picnic, but the supper club members must stick together to find the real killer.
M. J. Zellnik takes us back to 1890s Portland, Oregon, when horse-drawn carriages crowded the busy streets. The booming city offers refuge to Libby Seale who has fled New York and an abusive husband. As a seamstress for the prominent Rose family, she's one of the first to learn that her boss Hiram Rose has been killed -- mangled to death by machinery at his own paper mill! Minutes later, the distraught family is shocked to see a healthy Mr. Rose sauntering through the front door. A suspect is locked up, but attempts on Mr. Rose's life continue mercilessly. Once again, Libby and reporter Peter Eberle team up to unmask the culprit. It takes every ounce of will power to ignore the dazzling attraction they feel for one another.
Can they manage to find the killer without giving into love's sweet temptation?
And being a cook and a quilter, I couldn't resist adding this cute little hardcover from Jennifer Chiaverini, The Quilter's Kitchen a volume that follows Anna's flavorful explorations of the kitchens of Elm Creek Manor, past and present. As she records beloved recipes and creates original dishes seasoned with love, she discovers anew how the gifts of the table gather friends and family ever closer.
Anna Del Maso had known that she wanted to be a chef since she was in the seventh grade. "Somehow everything in my life ends up being about food," she realizes, as she begins the latest of her food-themed quilts. Her twin passions have converged in a brand-new position as head chef for Elm Creek Quilts, Waterford, Pennsylvania's popular quilting retreat.
As she joins the circle of quilters at historic Elm Creek Manor, Anna is eager to preserve the manor's culinary heritage, dating to 1858, while also celebrating the new favorites of their many guests. Yet as Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson well knows, the manor's kitchen, last updated in the 1940s, can't create food that compares to the state-of-the-art quilting instruction for which Elm Creek Quilts is renowned.
A full renovation of the kitchen must be completed by the start of the new camp season. Though the task is daunting, Anna is assured in her belief that "A kitchen is the heart of a home." As she and Sylvia begin to dismantle the old to make way for the new, Sylvia's reminiscences remind them both of just how many of the manor's traditions have involved food and celebrations. Whether the feast is one of the holiday menus prepared and enjoyed by generations of Bergstroms, or one of the Welcome Banquets and Farewell Breakfasts that have become hallmarks of Elm Creek Quilt Camp, there is a story for every recipe, and a recipe for every story.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Janet Evanovich, Foul Play (This is a reissue)
When Amy Klasse loses her TV job to a dancing chicken, handsome veterinarian Jake Elliott rescues her with an offer to be his receptionist. Jake just can't resist a damsel in distress, and Amy certainly doesn't mind Jake's charming sincerity.
Then suddenly the job-stealing chicken disappears and Amy is suspected of foul play. Amy and Jake search for clues to prove her innocence. But will Jake be able to prove to Amy that love, too, is a mystery worth solving?
Laura Childs, Eggs in Purgatory: A Cackleberry Club Mystery (Dec 2)
Now Laura Childs is cracking a whole new case of murder in a brand new series—RECIPES INCLUDED. Introducing the Cackleberry Club Mysteries...
Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lose their husbands but find independence when they open the Cackleberry Club. Then their cozy cafe becomes the scene of a crime when a lawyer dies with a secret on his lips and egg on his face. What this all has to do with a religious cult and Suzanne’s past could put her own life on the line.
Shelia Connolly, One Bad Apple
There’s a killer in the orchard— and he’s rotten to the core. (INCLUDES RECIPES)
Meg Corey has come to the quaint New England town of Granford, Massachusetts, to sell her mother’s old colonial home and apple orchard. Instead, she becomes embroiled in development plans that include her land—and her former flame from Boston. When he’s found dead in the new septic tank on her property, the police immediately suspect Meg, whose only ally in town is the plumber Seth Chapin. Together, they’ll have to peel back the layers of secrecy that surround the deal in order to find the real murderer— and save the orchard.
Krista Davis, Diva Runs out of Thyme
Gracious living can be murder. First in an all-new mystery series— includes delicious recipes and great tips on entertaining!
Few can compete with Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining, but her childhood rival, Sophie Winston, certainly tries. Natasha may have stolen the spotlight—and Sophie’s husband—but Sophie is determined to rob her of the prize for the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. She just needs the right ingredient.
But Sophie’s search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim’s car, Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder—or she’ll be serving up prison grub.
Nancy Fairbanks, Turkey Flambe
Food writer Carolyn Blue's book launch goes up in smoke when her turkey flambe results in two flaming birds getting tossed out the window-leading to a young woman's death.
Now it's up to Carolyn to restore her reputation and find out who sabotaged her poultry party. And she thought flambeing was hard...
Karen MacInerney, Dead and Berried Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 2 (2007)
In this delicious follow-up to Murder on the Rocks, developers have returned to Cranberry Island. This time, they're planning to wipe out a natural cranberry bog, along with the island's namesake berries, to build a luxury subdivision. Natalie Barnes isn't sweet on the idea of commercial interests souring their cozy oasis, but the single innkeeper has other problems on her plate: a withering relationship with her best friend Charlene, the sudden appearance of her ex-fiancé with a tempting proposal, and eerie bumps in the night suggesting the Gray Whale Inn is haunted. Worst of all, there's a killer on the loose, picking off people like ripe fruit.
When Charlene's lover–the handsome chaplain with a stake in the development– is stabbed to death, Natalie promises to find the murderer for her grief stricken friend, who's also the number-one suspect. Murder Most Maine (third in series) is new this month.
Leslie Meier Turkey Day Murder, Lucy Stone Mysteries, No. 7 (This is a reissue) Amateur sleuth Lucy Stone investigates when Tinker's Cove's annual Thanksgiving festivities are interrupted by the murder of Metinnicut Indian activist Curt Nolan and uncovers a host of suspects while cooking up a holiday dinner for twelve.
Alys Clare, Joys of My Life book 12 of the Hawkenlye Mysteries.
May 1199. Abbess Helewise has been summoned by Queen Eleanor to discuss the building of a chapel at Hawkenlye Abbey. Meanwhile, Sir Josse dAcquin is on the trail of a group of mysterious knights rumoured to be devil worshippers. As Helewise heads for home, Josse follows his quarry to Chartres, where he meets the last person he expects: Joanna. And she has grave problems of her own . . .
Tony Spinosa, The Fourth Victim
Several home heating oil delivery drivers have been robbed and murdered. Joe Serpe and Bob Healy, now partners in an oil company of their own, make sure their drivers are safe. But when Rusty Monaco, another ex-NYPD detective, becomes the killer's fourth victim, Serpe and Healy take matters into their own hands. In the course of their unofficial investigation they stumble upon a completely different set of crimes that lead both Serpe and Healy back onto the streets they protected as cops.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We have Jim Butcher's Welcome to the Jungle signed!
When the supernatural world spins out of control, when the police can't handle what goes bump in the night, when monsters come screaming out of nightmares and into the mean streets, there's just one man to call: Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard in the Chicago phone book. A police consultant and private investigator, Dresden has to walk the dangerous line between the world of night and the light of day.
Now Harry Dresden is investigating a brutal mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo that has left a security guard dead and many questions unanswered. As an investigator of the supernatural, he senses that there's more to this case than a simple animal attack, and as Dresden searches for clues to figure out who is really behind the crime, he finds himself next on the victim list, and being hunted by creatures that won't leave much more than a stain if they catch him.
Written exclusively for comics by Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle is a brand-new story that’s sure to enchant readers with a blend of gripping mystery and fantastic adventure. This beautiful book is the compilation of all four issues of the Storm Front prequel, written by Jim Butcher and penciled by Ardian Syaf.
Monday, November 10, 2008
If you are a history lover like our young Will, then I'm happy to tell you that Bernard Cornwell's new book Azincourt has just arrived!
No one understands the experience of the common soldier better than Bernard. The word AGINCOURT echoes still for us today. It was one of the greatest English victories ever. (On October 25th 1415, St Crispin's Day) The few, the yeomen of England, triumphed over their adversaries.
It is a true story that Bernard Cornwell has long wanted to write. It is hard to imagine a better storyteller to bring such an amazing time to life. The characters are all based in fact and the heroes are the English longbowmen, the backbone of Henry V's army, his secret weapon. But the single, strongest character, is a champion of tournaments, and yet is imprisoned for marrying a forbidden woman.
He becomes a great warrior.
I hope you enjoy this magnificent achievement.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The following passage is a conversation between the captain, Jack Aubrey and the ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin, (as my girl remarked, “what a cheesy name” thinking it derived from the word mature. Ah well, so be it I say) as they talked about the firing of cannons.
“I believe the great thing is not to think of it. Those fellows, rattling their guns in and out, did not think of it. Clapping on to the tackles, sponging, swabbing, ramming – it has grown quite mechanical. I am very pleased with them, particularly three and five of the port broadside. They were the merest parcel of lubbers to begin with, I do assure you.”
“You are wonderfully earnest to make them proficient”
“Why, yes: there is not a moment to be lost.”
“Well. You do not find this sense of constant hurry oppressive – jading?”
“Lord, no. It is as much part of our life as salt pork – even more so in tide-flow waters. Anything can happen, in five minutes’ time, at sea – ha, ha, you should hear Lord Nelson! In this case of gunnery, a single broadside can bring down a mast and so win a fight; and there’s no telling, form one hour to the next, when we may have to fire it. There is no telling, at sea”
I marked this part of the story for the line “Well. You do not find this sense of constant hurry oppressive – jading”
Somehow this struck me. As I am young I cannot stop hurrying from this thing to that thing…Anything for speed and efficiency. Low and behold, I’ve found the pace has left me with no appreciation of life, or less I should say, unless of course all things go exactly as my mind has them worked out, which does happen sometimes… Nonetheless, I can appreciate the mercenary way Aubrey trains his men on the guns, and his love labor which is well organized.
In the beginning of 2008 I was working in a firing range loading bullets and setting them in the Franklin Firing Device. I worked, was fortunate enough to work I should say, with an ex-marine. Our task was to take care of a large back stock of lot testing on Kevlar inserts. The rounds had to be made out one by one, the power weighed to the gram, the target aligned with the laser, fastened hard, and all under a moderately strict protocol. The marine I was working with was very focused, and loved efficiency, accuracy and success in the testing.
The test we were taking was called a V50 in which we had to get three bullets to pierce the sample, and three to become embedded in it. All the shots had to be fired at a speed which was within 200 feet per second of each other. With a bullet moving at an average of 1750 fps, it can get difficult and frustrating, sometimes requiring a minimum of 12 shots.
Within a week or two though, we were getting it in six and seven shots. I would load the round “Weapon Armed” we had to yell. I would head to the isolated firing booth, while the other guy, the marine was aligning the target. We would arrive at the booth at about the same time, where a third guy armed and fired the weapon. I would clear the shell, the boss at the computer doing the firing would read the numbers and tell me the weight of the powder of the next round. Etc.
The back log of a year of neglected testing went away in just under a month. Work flew by and even though we were tired and a bit stressed out, we were ultimately satisfied with our work. The myriad of small tasks that had to be done would be divided between us so that I, the loader, could just barely complete the manufacture of one round in the time it took my coworker to take a reading on the target and realign it. One day we fired 144 rounds, all measured within a thousandth of a gram of powder and shot with a good deal of precision.
Aubrey of course had more to handle, with 18 pound cannon balls and guns that would recoil so fast that they would slowly tear the ship apart. But, the essence of hard work prevails. It is enjoyable to get worked and work well.
The next passage I’d marked is taken from the fourth book, Maruitus Command. Aubrey, Maturin and his crew are forced to place a diplomat in control of a small island that they propose to take from the French. Mr Farquhar is the name of the diplomat and needless to say he and Stephen Maturin, the ship’s doctor, are quite at home talking to each other. Both are well read and versed in Latin and philosophy, politics and religion.
This may be the main underlying part for which I’ve grown attached to the books. The characters are so deep, having ideologies that persist and are rooted in concepts prevalent in the period in which the novels are set.
Aubrey and Maturin on the other hand agree and agree to disagree. Both have a sense of humor that is funny that the other doesn’t get. Maybe it is that I have not read widely but the discourses between the two, the respective character’s inner dialogues, all go into such detail that you would only be fortunate enough to find in the all too rare late hour discussions with a good friend over some wine. They are there and exist and you feel that you are part of them, or something.
The next passage may contain a bit of this.
“Then there was Mr Farquhar. Jack esteemed him as an intelligent, capable, gentlemanlike man with remarkable powers of conversation, excellent company for the space of a dinner, although he drank no wine, or even for a week; but Mr Farquhar had been bred to the law, and perhaps because of this a little too much of his conversation took the form of questioning, so that Jack sometimes felt that he was being examined at his own table. Furthermore, Mr Farquhar often used Latin expressions that made Jack uneasy, and referred to authors Jack had never read: Stephen had always done the same (indeed, it would have been difficult to refer to any author with whom Jack was acquainted apart from those who wrote on foxhunting, naval tactics, or astronomy) but with Stephen it was entirely different. Jack loved him, and had not the least objection to granting him all the erudition in the world, while remaining inwardly convinced that in all practical matters other than physic and surgery Stephen should never be allowed out alone. Mr Farquhar, however seemed to assume that a deep knowledge of the law and of the public business embraced the whole field of useful human endeavour”
The passage paints such a clear picture of ideas that have occurred in my mind only never were expressed. I guess that gets to the center of why I adore the books. The degree of human interaction necessary for these novels to work is astounding.
There are two men that are always on the same ship for months at a time. In reality it must have been unceasingly boring, yet O’Brian has made it fruitful. In continuing dialogues between the same two men, he can really ferret out the nature of conversation, the nature of human observation of one another.
I am making a mockery of this I fear.
One such example: The characters have staunch convictions which are often humorous and irrational to the reader and yet, the convictions are completely acceptable within the scope of that particular characters place, station and upbringing.
Novel after novel, these two and their respective friends pass through changes and grow. It happens slowly enough that it can fill 21 novels, but quickly enough that the reader is never bored. (I do get bored occasionally, but, only occasionally and they pick right back up) Critical acclaim alone for these novels makes my praise unnecessary, for they are considered “The best historical novels ever written”. At least according to the NYT.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Mike Nash may have met their match. The CIA has detected and intercepted two terrorist cells, but a third is feared to be on the loose. Led by a dangerous mastermind obsessed with becoming the leader of al-Qaeda, this determined and terrifying group is about to descend on America. And on Capitol Hill, some want to put Rapp on a short leash. Then, one spring afternoon, everything changes.
Steven F. Havill paints a vivid portrait of this small New Mexico town in the sixth entry of this atmospheric and entertaining series, The Fourth Time is Murder
Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman is always busy, but more so now than ever. The sheriff is still not completely recovered from his stay in the hospital, and she is recovering from a hospital stay herself. After a long day at work, Estelle is happy to clear off her desk and drive home, where her beloved family waits. She hears her cell phone ringing as she pulls into the driveway. A truck has gone off the road and the driver’s body found near the wreck. Back on the job, Estelle drives to the scene, where she finds more questions than answers.
Was the truck’s going over the hill really an accident? And why was there a single footprint on the man’s body? An autopsy spurs further puzzles.
and lastly we have The Fire Kimono the 13th novel by Laura John Rowland featuring Sano Ichiro. A book that earned a starred review from PW
“Rowland matches her talent for storytelling with her ability to render convincing historical detail in this long-running but fresh series.”
Japan, March 1700. Near a Shinto shrine in the hills, a windstorm knocks down a tree to uncover a human skeleton, long buried and forgotten. Meanwhile, in the nearby city of Edo, troops ambush and attack Lady Reiko, the wife of Sano Ichiro, the samurai detective who has risen to power and influence in the shogun’s court. The troops who attacked Reiko appear to belong to Sano’s fiercest enemy, Lord Matsudaira, who denies all responsibility. But if the rivals are not to blame for each other’s misfortune, who is?
Just as Sano’s strife with Matsudaira begins to escalate to the brink of war, the shogun orders Sano to investigate the origins of the mysterious skeleton, buried with swords that identify it as belonging to the shogun’s cousin, who disappeared forty years earlier on the night that a cursed kimono touched off a fire that nearly destroyed the city.
Suddenly, Sano and Reiko are forced to confront dangerous, long-buried secrets that expose Sano’s own mother as the possible culprit. The shogun gives Sano and Reiko just three days to clear her name—or risk losing not only their position at court but their families’ lives.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But, my father recently convinced me to read the first one. He stated that if I liked Sir Arthur Ransome's Peter Duck so-called children's novels, then I should love the O'Brian's as well.
He was correct. But it took years for me to take his advice.
Now I'm uninterested in reading anything else for the most part. The covers now speak volumes to me. I study them with relish trying to get a sense of the scale of the people to the size of the boat itself. I get mesmerized by the color of the water and depth of each wave.
The terminology can be rough going in the first books, but eventually you just soak it in. The Sea of Words:A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian, which is in its third edition is a wonderful help, but more so just an interesting read.
The adventures taken by Aubrey and Maturin (The main character and his trusted companion) range all over, and the stories are best taken in without advanced knowledge. It authentically reveals the world of a sailor as he goes through his career in the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.
Often he writes of places you can only imagine in your mind, unless you've had the chance to travel extensively. Fortunately, for us internet-savvy folks there is a gem of a website which gives satellite images from space which track the path of each expedition. Along the path, which is traced upon the zoomable photo of earth, you can see bulleted points showing when each day of that adventure began. Utterances, battles, arrivals and sightings by the crew are also tacked on the path true to time and place.
What's excellent is the amount of detail. By zooming in on the satellite images you can even see the detail of the coast line of some of the places Aubrey travels to. In the image below (an island off the coast of Africa near Madagascar) you can actually see the coral reefs beneath the water that Aubrey has fits navigating in the novels. The drawn in path of the frigate shows the path cutting right between the coral reefs.
One more nice overview of the entire island itself.
The website is http://cannonade.net/aubrey.html.
Ultimately unnecessary, but enjoyable.
We carry the entire canon of Aubrey/Maturin novels at the PP and would be happy to get you started on them, or further your habit. My father has read the series three times and recently I found out that he believes there are 15 or 16 books in the series. Guess what, there are 21. You can guess what he will be getting this year for Christmas.
Bodies Left Behind the new book by Jeffery Deaver (Jeffery will be at our store on November 11 to sign)
Into the woods. It's the stuff of fairy tales (scary). And of recent thrillers. Here we're in the Wisconsin version, near isolated resort Lake Mondac. What looks like a home invasion becomes a murder scene as two masked intruders take out a lawyer and her husband, a social worker. Cop Brynn McKenzie doing what looks like a routine check of a cut-off 911 call finds herself swept into the situation, spending time in the woods with Michelle, a friend visiting the slain couple who escaped the mayhem. This being Deaver, nothing is as it seems and the trademark twist is pretty nifty. I really enjoyed it. A good gift for someone who hasn't read Deaver as it's a standalone (with some series potential).
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Hurry, hurry don't miss grabbing up a signed copies of:
The Gate House by Nelson DeMille
When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia do lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten yeas later, he has come home to The Gold Coast, that stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America. Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds himself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan. Back also is the late don's son who is bent on revenge...
Bones by Jonathan Kellerman
A woman's body is found in marshland outside LA, not long dead. By the next morning the police have discovered the decaying corpses of three more women there's no telling how long they've been there. The murdered women were prostitutes except for the most recent victim; a classically trained pianist employed by a wealthy family to tutor a musical prodigy, Selena Bass seems out of place in the marsh's grim tableau. Psychologist Alex Delaware is drafted in by homicide detective Milo Sturgis to help with the case. Bizarre details of the crimes suggest a devilish serial killer is prowling LA's gritty streets. But when a new murder deviates from the pattern, derailing a possible profile, Alex and Milo must look beyond the suspicion of madness and consider an even more sinister mind at work. There are no easy answers, for the darkest of drives and desires will fuel the most devious of foes.
Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson, a medieval noir.
Crispin Guest, loyal to John of Gaunt, spoke out against young Richard II as king. Crispin escaped execution for treason but forfeited his lands, his honor, his betrothed. He uses his wits to scrape a mean living as a tracker, a kind of London PI. One 1383 night he's hired by a rich mercer to spy on a wife believed to be unfaithful. She does slip out at night_but nothing is as supposed. Crispin's client is found murdered at home (in a locked room) and the wife is accused of the deed. So she hires her husband's spy. Westerson's wish is to marry the hardboiled detective to the medieval mystery.
Monday, November 3, 2008
For the middle-school kids try Science Fair ($18.99) the first in the new Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry, a comedy thriller about a middle-school science fair where things go REALLY wrong.
Grdankl the Strong, president of Kprshtskan, is plotting to take over the American government. His plan is to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School, located in a Maryland suburb just outside Washington. The rich kids at Hubble cheat by buying their projects every year, and Grdankl's cronies should have no problem selling them his government-corrupting software. But this year, Toby Harbinger, a regular kid with Discount Warehouse shoes, is determined to win the $5,000 prize-even if he has to go up against terrorists to do it. With the help of his best friends, Tamara and Micah, Toby takes on Assistant Principal Paul Parmit, aka "The Armpit", a laser-eyed stuffed owl, and two eBay buyers named Darth and the Wookiee who seem to think that the Harrison-Ford-signed BlasTech DL-44 blaster Toby sold them is a counterfeit. What transpires is a hilarious adventure filled with mystery, suspense, and levitating frogsOr try the new book by Pseudpmumous Bosch If You're Reading This, It's Too Late: ($16.95) Dangerous secrets lie between the pages of this book. We last left our heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they awaited initiation into the mysterious Terces Society, or the ongoing fight against the evil Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais. The kids stumble upon the Museum of Magic, where they finally meet the amazing Pietro! What about the missing Sound Prism, the nefarious Lord Pharaoh, or the mysterious creature born in a bottle over 500 years ago, the key to the biggest secret of all?
Have a Sci-Fi fan? We have signed firsts of the new Alan Dean Foster Quofum ($25) Journey to the amazing Humanx Commonwealth, home of the ever-popular Pip & Flinx. Although the dynamic redhead and his daring minidrag do not appear in Quofum, this knockout thriller sets the stage for their explosive date with destiny in the duo's final climactic adventure, Flinx Transcendent.
The mission to planet Quofum is supposed to be a quickie for Captain Boylan and his crew. Boylan is tasked with delivering four scientists-two men, one woman, and one thranx, to the unknown world, setting up camp while the experts investigate flora and fauna, then ferrying them safely home.
The third in Gregory Maguire's Wicked series A Lion Among Men ($26.95) In the much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion.
While civil war looms in Oz, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, a figure known as Brrr—the Cowardly Lion—arrives searching for information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. Abandoned as a cub, his path from infancy is no Yellow Brick Road. In the wake of laws that oppress talking Animals, he avoids a jail sentence by agreeing to serve as a lackey to the warmongering Emperor of Oz.
A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City's approaching armies. Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they're skinned alive?
Gregory Maguire's new novel is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics.
David Morrell The Spy Who Came for Christmas($15.95)
It's Christmas Eve in Santa Fe, but among the revelers on Canyon Road, a decidedly unholy scene is taking place. A desperate man, dressed all in black, feverishly seeks refuge for himself and the squirming bundle he holds tightly against his breast. Agent Paul Kagan's bundle is a baby who has the power to change the course of global events. His pursuers are his former colleagues-members of the Russian mafia who will stop at nothing to accomplish their mission. Now Kagan is a spy on the run-he must ensure this baby's survival, even if it will cost him his own life. Just a short distance away, Kagan will find an unexpected pair of allies-a mother and her young son, who huddle together after a horrible episode of domestic violence leaves them home alone, with no means of transportation.
And so, with the exquisitely honed skills of his profession and the help and good faith of a weary woman and a disillusioned boy, Kagan must take on forces that will stop at nothing. In the course of a wild and violent night, the unlikely trio learn lessons of generosity, courage, and selflessness, discovering within themselves the luminous strength of the true Christmas spirit.