Friday, February 27, 2009
The Women by TC Boyle ($28)
A dazzling novel of Frank Lloyd Wright, told from the point of view of the women in his lifeHaving brought to life eccentric cereal king John Harvey Kellogg in The Road to Wellville and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in The Inner Circle, T.C. Boyle now turns his fictional sights on an even more colorful and outlandish character: Frank Lloyd Wright. Boyle’s account of Wright’s life, as told through the experiences of the four women who loved him, blazes with his trademark wit and invention. Wright’s life was one long howling struggle against the bonds of convention, whether aesthetic, social, moral, or romantic. He never did what was expected and despite the overblown scandals surrounding his amours and very public divorces and the financial disarray that dogged him throughout his career, he never let anything get in the way of his larger-than-life appetites and visions. Wright’s triumphs and defeats were always tied to the women he loved: the Montenegrin beauty Olgivanna Milanoff; the passionate Southern belle Maud Miriam Noel; the spirited Mamah Cheney, tragically killed; and his young first wife, Kitty Tobin. In The Women, T.C. Boyle’s protean voice captures these very different women and, in doing so, creates a masterful ode to the creative life in all its complexity and grandeur.
It's a lush, dense, and hyperliterate book, in other words, vintage Boyle. --Publishers Weekly
Blood and Bone by William Lashner ($27)
Lashner goes standalone with amiable and handsome star athlete Kyle Byrne who blew his future by flunking out of college. He's leading a fairly sweet life, mostly in Philly bars, drifting. Then his dad's former law partner is murdered and the cops see Kyle as a suspect—plus they ask uncomfortable questions about dad's death 12 years ago. Answers, perhaps found in a missing file Kyle must trace, will either complete Kyle—or kill him. Lashner's a really lovely stylist with a fondness for sleaze.
Hollywood Buzz Margit Liesche (Poisoned Pen $25 Signed).
PW reviews: Liesche's engaging second Pucci Lewis mystery after 2007's Lipstick and Lies ($15) takes the WWII WASP (Women Air Force Service pilot) to Hollywood, where one of her sister pilots, Frankie Beall, has crashed under suspicious circumstances while shooting an important training film. As the injured Beall's replacement, Lewis must complete the film and quietly investigate the crash. Trained by the OSS, Lewis is no stranger to undercover work and relishes the opportunity to rub shoulders with Hollywood's rich and famous. On her arrival at the Beverly Hills mansion of friends of her WASP commander, she meets legendary scare-meister Bela Lugosi, a young starlet-wannabe and a number of other folks who could be friend or foe. The murder of a celebrated director raises the stakes. Liesche provides plenty of interesting WASP lore while deftly mixing the real and imagined." I like the mix of wartime, Hollywood support and politics, and Hungarian elements and thus this is our February History/Mystery Pick.
New signed UK:
Whispers of the Dead by Simon Beckett ($32)
Dr. David Hunter learned his trade as a forensic anthropologist at Tennessee's Body Farm. He returns to Knoxville from his British village to hone his skills and is in on a grisly discovery made in a holiday cabin in the hills. The body is found bound and tortured, and decomposed beyond recognition. Fingerprints found at the scene seem to identify the killer, but it soon becomes clear that nothing about this case is quite as it seems—and that Hunter's presence is resented. Hunter's village mystery Chemistry of Death and his foray onto a remote Scottish island in Written in Bone ($6.99 each) are among our most popular paperbacks.
Alexandria by Lidsey Davis ($45)
Davis, Lindsey. Alexandria (Century $45 Signed).
Marcus Didius Falco and his family - a pregnant Helena Justina, two already hatched - arrive in the fabled Egyptian port where our informer Falco has an assignment from Emperor Vespasian. And before he can dig into it, there is a dinner which includes the library's director. And the very next day, Falco confronts...a body in the library. A tweak to the classic crime concept written with the verse and historical excellence you expect from Britain's Davis who comes to visit us on May 16.
The Other Half Lives by Sophia Hannah ($32)
Ruth Busssey knows what it is to be wrong—and in the wrong. She's trying to rebuild her life and set both the deed and the excess punishment aside when she falls in love. But Aidan Seed confesses to her that he's killed a woman called Mary Trelease. Through her shock, Ruth recognizes the name and realizes that the Mary Trelease she knows is very much alive…. "A terrific page-turner, one of those really creepy suspense novels with so many twists that it is impossible to guess the ending." – Bookseller.
Dead Line by Stella Rimington ($42)
Undeniably pacey - Guardian. A wealth of persuasive detail, obviously drawn from first hand experience - Marie Claire. A tense terrifying read we couldn't put down - Cosmopolitan. This book has one of those marvellous opening chapters that mean once started you cannot put it down - Stella keeps me guessing until the end - I love that. There are many different strands to the story, all of which do make sense eventually, and are cleverly pulled together, but not before one's heart has been in one's mouth - Mystery Woman Magazine.
Cast Not the Day by Paul Waters ($41)
By the middle of fourth century AD, Britain and the Roman Empire had been ruled for a generation by Christian emperors. Now, at last, with the force of the state behind it, the Church was strong enough to suppress all opposition to its power. But in Britain there was still resistance...Seen through the eyes of Drusus, a young British Roman, and set against the backdrop of imperial civil war and the growing threat from Rome's enemies beyond its frontiers, the followers of faith and reason clash and the old values of classical enlightenment are called into question. And it is Drusus who is there to witness the cracks as they begin to split the great monumental edifice of the Roman Empire...
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Hey all you mystery writers, have you heard of the Malice Domestic contest from from St. Martin's Press?
St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Competition
Rules for the 2009 St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Competition for the Best First Traditional Mystery Novel
1. The contest is open to any professional or non-professional writer, regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a published traditional mystery, as defined by the guidelines below, and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a traditional mystery. Only one manuscript entry is permitted per writer.
2. All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language by the contestants; b) must not violate the rights of any third party, and c) must generally follow the guidelines below.
Murder or another serious crime is at the heart of the story, and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the crime.
Whatever violence is necessarily involved should be neither excessive nor gratuitously detailed, nor is there to be explicit sex.
The crime is an extraordinary event in the lives of the characters.
The principal characters are people whom the reader might not like, but would be interested in knowing.
The suspects and the victims should know each other.
There are a limited number of suspects, each of whom has a credible motive and reasonable opportunity to have committed the crime.
The person who solves the crime is the central character.
The “detective” is an amateur, or, if a professional (private investigator, police officer) is not hardboiled and is as fully developed as the other characters.
The detective may find him or herself in serious peril, but he or she does not get beaten up to any serious extent.
All of the cast represent themselves as individuals, rather than large impersonal institutions like a national government, the mafia, the CIA, etc.
(The decision of the contest’s judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.)
3. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press, with the assistance of the organizers of MALICE DOMESTIC, and the winner will be chosen by St. Martin’s editors. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the contest will be final. St. Martin’s reserves the right not to select any winner, if in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality.
4. An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than April 1, 2009.
5. If a winner is selected, St. Martin’s Minotaur will publish the winning manuscript by offering to enter into its standard form author’s agreement with the contestant. The winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the St. Martin’s Press standard form author’s agreement will be determined by St. Martin’s Press at its sole discretion. The contestant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but St. Martin’s shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin’s may, but will not be required to, consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other contestants.
6. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than October 15, 2008 and must include:
A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable), with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end.
A letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, and telephone number of the contestant and the contestant’s previous writing credits, if any.
The application form, duly completed, and an SASE.
All entries must be mailed to the judge whose address is on the application form. Do not send the entry to St. Martins’ Press. For additional copies of the rules and entry blank only, please send a stamped, self addressed envelope to:
Malice Domestic Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin’s Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
*Each contestant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. St. Martin’s Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions our judges receive, the fact that they are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have their work saved on their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes.
7. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.
8. This contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law.
*It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible. Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most expensive way. We judge its on-time performance by the post-mark or equivalent, not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.
The nominees for the 2009 Agatha Awards (for traditional mysteries). Winners will be chosen by attendees at the Malice Domestic 21 convention (May 1-3), and will be announced Saturday, May 2. Click here for more information.
• Six Geese A-Slaying, by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
• A Royal Pain, by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
• The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
• Buckingham Palace Gardens, by Anne Perry (Random House)
• I Shall Not Want, by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)
Best First Novel
• Through a Glass, Deadly, by Sarah Atwell (Berkley Trade)
• The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, by Krista Davis (Penguin Group)
• Pushing Up Daisies, by Rosemary Harris (Minotaur Books)
• Death of a Cozy Writer, by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)
• Paper, Scissors, Death, by Joanna Campbell Slan (Midnight Ink)
• African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study, by Frankie Y. Bailey (McFarland & Co.)
• How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries, by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Perseverance Press)
• Anthony Boucher, A Bibliography, by Jeff Marks (McFarland & Co.)
• Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories, by Dr. Harry Lee Poe (Metro Books)
• The Suspicions of Mr. Whitcher, by Kate Summerscale (Walker)
Best Short Story
• “The Night Things Changed,” by Dana Cameron (from Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner; Ace)
• “Killing Time,” by Jane Cleland (Alfred Hitchock Mystery Magazine, November 2008)
• “Dangerous Crossin,” by Carla Coupe (from Chesapeake Crimes 3, edited by Donna Andrews and Marcia Talley; Wildside Press)
• “Skull and Cross Examination,” by Toni L.P. Kelner (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], February 2008)
• “A Nice Old Guy,” by Nancy Pickard (EQMM, August 2008)
Best Children’s/Young Adult
• Into the Dark, by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins)
• A Thief in the Theater, by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl)
• The Crossroads, by Chris Grabenstein (Random House
• The Great Circus Train Robbery, by Nancy Means Wright
(Hilliard and Harris)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Chicago Tribune called this A literary leviathan lives, breathes, captivates (read story here)
From PUBLISHERS WEEKLY --
Drood Dan Simmons. Little, Brown, $26.99 (784p) ISBN 978-0-316-00702-3
Bestseller Simmons (The Terror) brilliantly imagines a terrifying sequence of events as the inspiration for Dickens's last, uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in this unsettling and complex thriller. In the course of narrowly escaping death in an 1865 train wreck and trying to rescue fellow passengers, Dickens encounters a ghoulish figure named Drood, who had apparently been traveling in a coffin. Along with his real-life novelist friend Wilkie Collins, who narrates the tale, Dickens pursues the elusive Drood, an effort that leads the pair to a nightmarish world beneath London's streets. Collins begins to wonder whether the object of their quest, if indeed the man exists, is merely a cover for his colleague's own murderous inclinations. Despite the book's length, readers will race through the pages, drawn by the intricate plot and the proliferation of intriguing psychological puzzles, which will remind many of the work of Charles Palliser and Michael Cox. 4-city author tour. (Feb.) Publishers Weekly
Dan will be signing this title at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore on February 25 at 7pm.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Hunger Games is a: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER,
My friend Evelyn told me about this new YA title and I ordered a copy and read the inside flap, and not really being impressed, I put it aside. Then a few days later a customer mentioned how good it was so I picked it up, opened it and began to read....and I couldn' t put it down.
But be warned you will cry...
THE HUNGER GAMES
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Parker signs Renegades (Dutton $27)
Deputy Charlie Hood, knocked sideways by LA Outlaws ($10), asked for a beat from the LA Sheriff's Department patrolling the desert of Antelope Valley, though he commutes up from the city leaving his demons—and dead outlaws—in the rear view mirror. He's partnered with Terry Laws, aka Mr. Wonderful to the LASD, and one night on a routine bust the veteran Terry is shot dead in the passenger seat of their cruiser. It goes from there in a real bait-and-switch and a very clever final scene
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Kathryn Stockett has crafted a beautiful story filled with love, heartache, sacrifice and triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The Help tells the story of Aibileen, Minny, Constantine, Hilly, Elizabeth and Skeeter; black maids and their white employers. The time is 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi where the racial divide is more polarizing than the Berlin Wall. The maids work for 95 cents an hour, ironing, polishing, cleaning, scrubbing, cooking, and serving. They are expected to raise the white family's children, but not fit to use their toilets. The women, grateful for the work, have learned to suppress their anger with monotone responses designed to neutralize any further interest. Three of the characters embark on an unprecedented journey because they are chafing at the restraints imposed on them by the rigid social hierarchy of the deep south.
Pick up this remarkable story and prepare to be transported back to a time in which color dictated the existence of life for all. The Help will weave its magic, with characters so fully fleshed out they jump off the page and into your heart. Possibly the best book I will read in 2009 – it resonated with me long after I regretfully turned the last page.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
We meet Charles Alexander when he is working with an intelligence network, Tourism. Rules for Tourists include to never question the "why" of the orders, and never doubt your ability to survive. Charles copes with thoughts of suicide and uses stimulants from time to time to get through the day. After burning out, we meet him as Milo Weaver, husband and stepfather. But Milo can't get away from the old life and finds himself involved in the investigation of a murdered friend/former co-worker. Nothing is as it seems and clues lead to Sudan, China and Europe. The author keeps you guessing as to who to trust, if anyone, and where the next discovery will lead. A spy thriller, this author is said to be in the same company as John le Carre, Graham Greene and Len Deighton. It's definitely a page-turner and Charles/Milo an interesting, thoughtful character.
Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux March)
Toronto is the setting for this crime story. The author offers an exquisite sense of place as he describes the environment, cultures and the fanaticism of hockey fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It seems like an open and shut case. Paper delivery person has his usual morning chat with customer who announces he just killed his wife, who is really his girlfriend. The cast of characters is varied. Gurdial Singh a 74-year-old native of India, delivers newspapers. There is the wannabe reporter Awotwe Amankwah who does "hockey therapy" with defense attorney Nancy Parish. Albert Fernandez, the prosecutor is from Chile. He's finally mastered the English language which he describes as a "car crash" and is urging his wife to do the same. One time lawyer, Daniel Kennicott and Detective, Ari Greene, peel away the layers of a crime that turns out quite different than first thought.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Here is a review from a faithful customer, Diane McCarthy, one of our favorite store friends.
Skin and Bones – Tom Bale
Julia Trent arrives in the sleepy Sussex village to attend to her parent’s estate as a deranged man goes on a rampage, shooting everyone in his path. Julia becomes a victim as well as the believed sole survivor of the massacre.
After the shooter is found dead by the police, the community believes the senseless carnage has come to a conclusion. But Julia knows there was a second man involved. Together with the son of one of the victims, she sets out to discover the truth surrounding the tragedy.
Author David Harrison, writing under the pseudonym Tom Bale, has scripted a thriller the way all thrillers should read. I found myself riveted with all daily routines suspended as I was caught up in a non-stop adventure. From the first page I found this book to be a satisfying story. The characters were credible, with flaws that made them sympathetic and likeable. The plot line was well organized and logically constructed. The bucolic locale contributed to make “Skin and Bone” a chilling debut.
Terminal Freeze – Lincoln Child
During a routine outing, a group of scientists make a remarkable discovery deep within the frozen interior of a glacial cave. An animal, possibly a saber-tooth tiger, is embedded in the ice. Working 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, within Alaska’s Federal Wilderness Zone, the area is remote and isolated. The Corporation underwriting the expedition intervenes and arranges to film a documentary introducing this “find” to the public
What follows is a harrowing story set against a backdrop of the frozen Arctic complicated by a fierce blizzard, an eclectic group of characters and an unseen, menacing predator, mutated over thousands of years, into the ultimate “killing machine.”
Normally, living in Arizona, I would save a book about the Arctic Circle for July, savoring the icy and stark descriptions, attempting to live vicariously through the frigid cold. But a Lincoln Child stand alone merits immediate attention. It’s a terrific story. - Diane
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Here is some news on one of the most highly anticipated books of the year, book seven in the Outlander series, a first look at the cover of Echo in the Bone! This title though not yet published can be pre-ordered!
You can meet Diana February 21/22 at the
"This will be at Margaret Hance Park this year. I think I’ll be able to be there both days this year; it depends in part on whether the bookstore people who provide the books want to do both days or not. But I’ll certainly be there on Saturday the 21st, between 11 AM and 4 PM, and will be happy to sign any books you want to bring, as well as any you might want to buy there. (The bookstore supplying books is The Poisoned Pen-who always carry all of my books in hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market paperback. So if you want to complete your collection of hardcovers and get them signed this would be the place to do it.) " Diana
And you can read an excerpt here!
I got this from Laurie King one of my favorite authors and wanted to share it with you...
"Fifteen years ago (hard to believe!) The Beekeeper's Apprentice was published, and a minor cult was born. This April, The Language of Bees will come out, ninth in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. (You can pre-order this title from The Poisoned Pen where Laurie will sign)
So to celebrate a pair of bee-books, we're declaring this spring:
Fifteen Weeks of Bees
February through May 22, 2009.
Here's a news release on the celebration.
During the Fifteen Weeks, there will be all sorts of contests, prizes and other things going on--the Russellscape on the home page is truly great. Two young fans are running a YouTube contest and Mary Russell herself is not only blogging but Twittering as well, in addition there's a fund-raiser for Heifer International and... .
Everyone is already having a lot of fun with it. I'd really appreciate it if you'd help build the (ahem) buzz by passing this on to libraries or friends or anyone you can think of. And don't hesitate to get in touch if we can answer any questions. "
Laurie will be at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore on Tuesday, February 17 at 7 pm with another store favorite, Dana Stabenow as we launch Dana's new book Whisper to the Blood, Kate Shugak #16 and host a live webcast!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Bienvenue to dark streets where nightkind hunt, and above in the star-pricked skies one hears the rush of wings...
Begin the journey with A RUSH OF WINGS.
HIS NAME IS DANTE.
Dark. Talented. Beautiful. Star of the rock band Inferno. Rumored owner of the hot New Orleans nightspot called Club Hell. Born of the Blood, then broken by an evil beyond imagination.
HIS PAST IS A MYSTERY.
FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace has been tracking a sadistic serial murderer known as the Cross Country Killer...and the trail has led her to New Orleans, Club Hell, and Dante. But the dangerously attractive musician not only resists her investigation, he claims to be nightkind: in other words, a vampire. Digging into his past for answers reveals little. A juvenile record a mile long. No social security number. No known birth date. In and out of foster homes for most of his life before being taken in by a man named Lucien De Noir, who appears to guard mysteries of his own.
HIS FUTURE IS CHAOS.
What Heather does know about Dante is that something links him to the killer -- and she's pretty sure that link makes him the CCK's next target. Heather must unravel the truth behind this sensual, complicated, vulnerable young man -- who, she begins to believe, may indeed be a vampire -- in order to bring a killer to justice. But what Heather doesn't know is that Dante's past holds a shocking secret, and once it is revealed not even Heather will be able to protect him from his destiny...
In the Blood Adrian Phoenix. Pocket, $15 paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4145-5
"Phoenix trips the dark fantastic in this wild, bloody sequel to 2008's A Rush of Wings. Gifted musician and magic-user Dante Prejean was an experimental patient in a project to create and control murderous sociopaths for the government's covert Shadow Branch. He's also a born vampire and the child of a fallen angel. Shadow Branch agent Caterina Cortini wants to contain him; the formerly angelic Fallen want him to connect Earth and Gehenna; and Portland detective Alex Lyons wants him to cure Alex's schizophrenic twin sister. Arrayed against them are Dante's Nightkind friends; his FBI agent girlfriend, Heather Wallace; and his Fallen father, Lucien de Noir. Although Phoenix's fusion of fantasy and thriller sometimes falters, with the Earth action rather sharper than the Gehenna segments, she keeps the plot thick and the tension high. "
From PW (Jan.)
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!"
Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laurelled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck (no offense). Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters—a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there's always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.
A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years, from the time the king's grown daughters—selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia—were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear—at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester—demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of . . . well . . . stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.
Well, now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. The whole damn country's about to go to hell in a handbasket because of a stubborn old fart's wounded pride. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket, a small and slight clown with a biting sense of humor. He's already managed to sidestep catastrophe (and the vengeful blades of many an offended nobleman) on numerous occasions, using his razor-sharp mind, rapier wit . . . and the equally well-honed daggers he keeps conveniently hidden behind his back. Now he's going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering—cast some spells, incite a few assassinations, start a war or two (the usual stuff)—to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear's good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia's twisted sisters, to rescue his gigantic, gigantically dim, and always randy friend and apprentice fool, Drool, from repeated beatings . . . and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who's amenable to shagging along the way.
Pocket may be a fool . . . but he's definitely not an idiot.
Drood by Dan Simmons also earned a starred revew from PW (read here)
On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Norman Green, The Last Gig
"I've always admired Green's books, and he is yet another one of those excellent writers who seem to slip below the radar while inferior writers infest the bestseller lists. In this edgy series debut, Green unveils a new heroine, Alesssandra "Al" Martillo, beautiful Bronx-bred detective and muscle for an ex-cop-turned PI named Marty Stiles. When Irish mobster Daniel Mickey Caughlan hires Stiles to look into some drug runners using his trucking firm to move product, Stiles puts Martillo on the case. As she looks into it, she soon learns that Caughlan's 20-year-old son's overdose death wasn't as clear cut as everyone suspects. The multilayered plot takes off from there. Green does a great job of showing us the emerald underground of New York (he reminds me a bit of Thomas Adcock) and his new protagonist defies the easy stereotypes of the lethal yet emotionally vulnerable female lead. Highly recommended."
Friday, February 6, 2009
Beloved author Nancy Atherton signed her new Aunt Dimity for us complete with pink bunny stamp and she even enclosed a bookmark!
Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon
Lori’s peaceful English village is being overrun by a rowdy and mischievous Renaissance fair
Lori Shepherd loves living in the small English village of Finch, but as her eighth summer in the town approaches she finds herself wishing for something exciting to spice up her all-too-familiar routine. When King Wilfred’s Faire opens nearby, Lori gets her wish and more. The age of chivalry lives again at the Renaissance fair. Wizards, wenches, magicians, and minstrels cajole the fairgoers while lords quaff, jesters joke, and knights battle in the joust arena. But Lori discovers that it’s not all pageantry and play.
A sinister figure is stalking the angel-voiced madrigal singer. A jealous rival has sabotaged the Dragon Knight’s weapons. And an evil assassin is trying to murder Good King Wilfred. With Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly guidance, Lori races to save her dear village and risks her neck to keep the medieval revelry from ending in tragedy.
Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon is another gem in Atherton’s perennially beloved cozy series, sure to enchant her many loyal fans and attract new ones.
A thrilling, epic novel about a young American man who is arrested for murder in Pakistan and narrowly escapes through the Himalayas, experiencing war, love, and revelation along the way.
Disillusioned with American life, Nicholas Sunder has spent months backpacking through South Asia, most recently in the company of a beautiful French woman he met in India. When the woman is found brutally murdered in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, Nick is arrested and tortured by the Pakistani police, who are convinced he is the killer. Amazingly, Nick escapes their custody and heads off on foot through the steep mountains of Kashmir, the highest war zone on earth. Now a fugitive without papers, money, or a country that will welcome him, Nick is reduced to his most elemental human identity in an unforgiving mountainous landscape where his very survival is unlikely.
Nick's fortune turns when he encounters an eccentric Kashmiri smuggler and his mysterious companion, Fidali. An enormous, nearly silent man, Fidali not only knows a hidden way through the mountains but makes a deep impression upon Nick through his sacrifices for others. In time, after barely surviving great violence, Nick reaches an idyllic mountain village in Indian-occupied Kashmir, where he is drawn to Aysha, a remarkable woman unlike any he has ever met, who operates a medical clinic in the remote region. It is there he will confront the divide between Islam and the West and be forced to ponder how he has reached such a place -- forced to consider, in other words, Fidali's way.
Drawn from the author's own experiences trekking through Asia, Fidali's Way brims with George Mastras's deep knowledge of the Himalayan region. He has walked the lands, climbed the mountains, and met the diverse peoples who call the high Himalayas their home. Few American authors have traveled as extensively as Mastras has through these remote, dangerous, and unstable places, and his personal insight is evident on every page. Not only a powerful suspense story, Fidali's Way is a timely exploration of a politically complex region and a meditation on some of the most important issues of our time: the relationship between Islam and the West, the ruthlessness of fanatical religion, and the redemptive power of pure faith.
Sweeping in its scope and moral complexity, Fidali's Way brings forth a story that only an ambitious, large-hearted novel can tell and introduces George Mastras as a major new American novelist.A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
Is a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.
In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it's not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.
When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn't interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won't be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and coloured residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined.
The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, A Beautiful Place to Die marks the debut of a talented writer who reads like a brilliant combination of Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. It is a tale of murder, passion, corruption, and the corrosive double standard that defined an apartheid nation. I
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Graphic Novel Mysteries
It’s been great to see that graphic novels (i.e. comic books) have become much more respected over the past few years. Gone are the days when comic writers treated the reader like an eight year old with classic lines such as, “Thank gosh for utility belts!” or “My spider-senses are tingling, that must mean Dr. Octopus is near!”; instead, the writers have realized that their audience has grown up and so has the dialogue and the art work. I have recently read four great mystery graphic novels that are sure to please the palate of young and old alike.
Powers: Cosmic vol 10. $19.95
Brian Michael Bendis, author of this series, was nominated for the Eisner Award (best graphic novel) for this series. Homicide Detective Christian Walker is called in whenever a murder of a Power (super hero or heroine) occurs. With his partner, Deanna Pilgrim, they delve into the heart of the super-powered community which is often not as sparkly clean as believed. Powers: Cosmic vol 10 is a great starting point for new readers but is not for the faint of heart and is definitely intended for older readers!
Batman- Ego and Other Tales $17.99
Darwyn Cooke, Eisner Award nominee for The Spirit comics, brings together four short stories featuring Batman, the original comic detective. In the first story, Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman) has a conversation with his ego after witnessing a man commit suicide who had helped him put away the Joker. This psychological drama neatly draws in the reader with a discussion on the duality of the caped crime fighter. Futhermore, the 1940’s style artwork brings the reader back to the original stories without the campy dialogue The other four stories, though not as strong as Ego, are all drawn in the 1940’s or Art Nouveau fashion and create a strong compilation of Batman shorts.
Daredevil- Cruel and Unusual $14.99
Ben Donovan is on death row at Sing Sing prison for a particularly gruesome murder of three children. When Matt Murdock (a.k.a Daredevil) is brought in to look into the case his heightened sense of hearing can detect that Donovan is lying about his relationship to the case. With the assistance of private detective Dakota North, the two delve deeper into a case that leads them into the heart of a Mafia/CIA conspiracy. Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka (one of the store’s favorite thriller writers) compile a noir mystery using Daredevil at his best.
Teen Titans- Year One $14.99
Nostalgia has been a big theme in 2008-2009 with publishers DC and Marvel publishing the “early years” of the super-hero groups. In this compilation of “Teen Titans Year One”, Robin brings together an unlikely group of young super-powered teens to create the Teen Titans. The group of five superheroes must figure out why the adult super-heroes personalities have changed and have started to act like super-villains rather than super-heroes. Full of humor, a light mystery, and terrific art-work, Amy Wolfram brings you back to what comics used to be- a light escape for an hour on a Saturday afternoon. Great for young and older readers alike!