Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reading right now:

            I am reading two books right now: a horror novel and a fantasy novel. Joe Hill’s “NOS4A2” is long and scary just like his Father’s books (Stephan King). The title is the license plate of the villain’s car (I will let you guess what it means).  “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris is the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel and the cover says it is the final Sookie novel. After the tremendous success of the series, it is hard to believe that we’ve seen the last of Sookie.

On hold right now:

            “Inferno” by Dan Brown which I keep being told hasn’t received very good reviews. My response is: “Who cares?” These books are fun and exciting and that’s what we read them for. We don’t read them because reviewers say they are meaningful or great lit.

Other Mysterious things:

Several mystery authors have books or even a series of books that revolve around the Amish or Amish country settings.  A few of these authors are Laura Bradford, Linda Castillo, Vannetta Chapman, Amanda Flower, Paul L. Gaus, Karen Harper, Marta Perry, and Barbara Workinger. My personal favorite is Linda Castillo’s series which started with “Sworn to Silence” and “Her Last Breath” will come out in June, 2013. The books revolve around Kate Burkholder who becomes the local Chief of Police where she grew up as an Amish girl.

Of Interest:

            The American Library Association (ALA) selected six books as finalists for the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction in late April and will select the winners in late June.  If you are involved in a book club, these would be great books to consider reading:

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction:

"The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death," by Jill Lepore

"Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis ," by Timothy Egan

"Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic," by David Quammen

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction:

"Canada," by Richard Ford

"The Round House," by Louise Erdrich

"This Is How You Lose Her," by Junot Diaz

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reading right now:

            Chris Ewan’s “Safe House.” On the Isle of Man, repairman Rob Hale is called out to an isolated home where he meets Lena. When he takes her for a ride on his motorcycle, he wakes up in the hospital and is told she didn’t exist. Rob doesn’t believe that Lena is a product of his imagination and talks private investigator Rebecca Lewis (who his parents hired to find his missing sister) into helping him find out what really happened to Lena. While “Safe House” is a stand-alone novel, Ewan is well-known for his award winning “good thief” mystery series featuring Charlie Howard.

On hold right now:

            The description of Joe Hill’s new book “NOS4A2” sounds like a book his father Stephen King would have written. In addition to her secret gift for finding lost objects, Victoria McQueen also has a bike that will take her anywhere she wants to go. One day she runs into Charles Talent Manx who takes children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce, terrifying rides that they never return from. But Victoria did return and years later Manx comes back to take her son away.

Other Mysterious things:

            The Mystery Writers of American recently announced the winners of the 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Awards. Dennis Lehane’s “Live by Night” won for best novel. Chris Pavone’s “The Expats” won as best first novel. Best TV episode teleplay was “A Scandal in Belgravia,” Sherlock (BBC/Masterpiece).

            The AMC series “The Killing” returns June 2 with a new case. The first two seasons were riveting and I am looking forward to a new season with a new case for the two Seattle detectives that the show revolves around. The series is based on the Danish TV series “Forbrydelsen” (which means The Crime).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Reading right now:

            “Free Fall” by Chris Grabenstein. This is the latest installment of the Detective John Ceepak and Officer Danny Boyle series which takes place on the Jersey Shore. This series is full of humor and fast-paced action. This is the 8th in the series which started with “Tilt-a-Whirl.” Grabenstein won an Anthony award for “Tilt-a-Whirl.”  Once upon a time, Grabenstein was an improvisational comedian and before writing novels he spent 20 years writing commercials.

            I just finished “The Hit” by David Baldacci and it was fantastic. This is the second novel in his Will Robie series (the first was “The Innocent” which just came out last year). Start it and you will want to call in sick until you finish it—great fun. Watch out in November for another Baldacci book!

On hold right now:

            “No Way Back” is the latest from Andrew Gross. Gross has written several best-selling novels with James Patterson and several great novels on his own. His new novel revolves around an ex-NYPD detective who trusts the wrong man and finds herself wanted by the FBI.

Special Interest:

Perhaps you’ve read Stieg Larsson’s series “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” but have you read any of the other Scandinavian (mostly Swedish) mystery authors available in the U.S.? It seems to be a very popular and prolific group which includes: Karin Alfredsson, Karen Alvtegen, Carina Burman, Camilla Ceder, Arne Dahl (Jan Arnald), Ake Edwardson, Kerstin Ekman, Kjell Eriksson, Inger Frimansson, Carin Gerhardsen, Jan Guillou, Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström, Anna Jansson, Mari Jungstedt, Mons Kallentoft, Lars Kepler, Camilla Lackberg, Maria Lang, Jens Lapidus, Åsa Larsson, Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund, Håkan Nesser, Kristina Ohlsson, Hakan Ostlundh, Leif G.W. Persson, Hellstrom Roslund, Johan Theorin, Helene Tursten, Karin Wahlberg, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, and Katarina Wennstam. Try one and see if you get hooked.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Reading Right Now:

               “Deadly Sting” by Jennifer Estep (8th in the Elemental Assassin series which started with “Spider’s Bite”) continues Gin Blanco’s attempt to leave her past as an assassin behind, but there are just too many people who need killing and wrongs that need to be righted. These fun books which fall into the category of urban fantasy (which seems to just mean fantasy books set in a city) include giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals (beings who have the ability to control air, fire, ice, and /or stone. If you haven’t read this series get started with “Spider’s Bite” and hurry because the ninth book “Heart of Venom” is coming out in late August.

On Hold Right Now:

               “City of Dragons” by Kelli Stanley is the first book in the Miranda Corbie mystery series (“City of Secrets” and “City of Ghosts” are the other two currently available). “City of Dragons” was a 2011 LA Times Book Prize Finalist. Miranda Corbie is a PI in 1940s San Francisco trying her best to bring justice whatever the cost. Ms. Stanley says about herself that she laughs easily and “credits reading Raymond Chandler with teaching her how to write.” A sense of humor and loves to read Chandler!? These books have got to be good!

Special Interest:

               People are always wondering why some people like to read and others don’t. Usually parents want to know how to make their children love to read. I wish I had an answer. For myself, I have always loved reading. My Mother did too. She set the example, but something inside of me was drawn to reading. I am never bored as long as there is a book by my side. A good book is great company and when you read a book you get inside the lives of interesting people and follow their adventures. In the case of a mystery, you help solve the puzzle of whatever problem they’ve gotten into. Mysteries are engaging, adventurous, suspenseful, and exciting. No matter what else I do for fun, I always come back to reading which completely takes me away from all my problems and transforms me into another world in a more complete way than movies, computer games, or just about anything else. Not everyone is going to fall in love with reading, but hopefully there will always be those who find reading as glorious as I do.