Seen The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and still looking for more Harry Potter? Check out these books from the library.
Seen The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and still looking for more Harry Potter? Check out these books from the library.
Last Saturday the International Thriller Writers announced their 2011 awards at their annual ThrillerFest in New York City.
The best hardcover novel award went to John Sandford for Bad Blood.
If you like thrillers as much as I do, try searching for them in our Reading Room. I think that you’ll find some great reads!
Every couple weeks I take a bag of books to my mom. Some she reads and just loves every word and others she doesn’t. I always tell her don’t waste your time reading something you aren’t enjoying. Recently when I asked her if she needed any more books, she started raving about one she just finished called The Mystery Writers of America Presents the Rich and the Dead edited by Nelson DeMille. She prefaced her mini book review to me with this statement: “I never read a book where I didn’t learn something new.” How cool is that? This new collection features 20 short stories all about the really wealthy priveleged few and just how far they’ll go to stay on top. Check it out, maybe you’ll learn something new, too!
I’ve always loved books with that surprise zinger at the end ever since I read Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight back in the ’70s.
A new author I’ve discovered that provides me that same satisfaction is Brian Freeman. The first book of his I read wasThe Burying Place. Although it is the fifth book in his series featuring police detective Jonathan Stride, I didn’t need to read the others first to know what was going on. And, boy did he lead me along thinking I knew who the killer was…until that final twist!
Of course, I had to go back and read his other books. So far, I’ve read the first two books in the series, Immoral and Stripped. Both were great reads with complex characters, multiple plot twists, and…that same surprise ending.
I can’t wait to finish up with the rest of the series!
I love to read first novels to find new authors I’ve never read. There’s no expectations from previous books and basically you just never know what you’re going to get. Here are a couple of my recent favorites.
In Daniel Palmer’s debut thriller Delirious, Charlie Giles, an up-and-coming software developer, has it all. His start-up company has just been bought by a major firm and his “In Vision” software will be the next big thing on everyone’s car. When strange things begin to happen at work, Charlie becomes paranoid because he can’t remember doing them. Soon he can’t tell if he’s becoming like his schizophrenic brother, or someone is really out to get him. Could he really murder someone and not remember?
This book is full adrenalin with an incredible “can’t put it down” plot. To me it felt a little like some of Joseph Finder’s books with the “ordinary man in too deep in a business setting” so I wasn’t surprised that Daniel is a friend of Joe Finder. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that his dad is Michael Palmer either because I’ve loved his books for years.
When middle-class college student Karen Clarke agrees to tutor the rich, free-spirited young actress Biba Capel,she soon becomes addicted to Biba’s bohemian lifestyle, friends, and ends up falling for Biba’s brother Rex. Karen learns that the Capel family has many secrets, but when Rex goes to prison for murder, Karen keeps the biggest secret of all.
The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly is a deep, dark, compelling story told in alternating chapters ten years apart. Not only will you not want to put it down, but you’ll want to find someone else who’s read it to talk about the shocking ending.
My Top Ten Reads in 2010
Basically, I prefer to read thriller-suspense and crime fiction, and this list is weighted that way, but I’ve also thrown in a couple titles in other genres, too, because, Hey, I’m a librarian and will read almost anything—what can I say? So, in no particular order, here are my top ten choices for 2010:
The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch—After Nick Quinn’s wife is murdered, he is approached by a strange man who offers him the ability to re-live the last 12 hours and prevent his wife’s murder. But Nick quickly learns that when you attempt to change the past, you also must deal with unintended consequences. I loved this book because of its original concept—it starts with chapter 12 and works backward to the first chapter.
The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd –When a radical terrorist group successfully gets away with millions in ransom money, Steve Vail, former FBI agent and current bricklayer, is asked to track them down because he doesn’t have to follow bureaucratic rules. The fast-pacing and Vail’s hero factor take this thriller to the next level.
Faithful Place by Tana French—Dublin detective Frank Mackey returns to his childhood home after being away for twenty years when his first love’s suitcase is found in abandoned home. On the night of their elopement so many years ago, Rosie never showed up and Frank thought he had been dumped. Now he must investigate her death as well as deal with former friends and family. Although this is the third book with Frank as a character, it can be read alone. The complex family relationships and haunting story will stick with you for a long time.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett—This is the story of three black maids and their relationships with their families, the families they serve, and each other is set in 1960’s Alabama during the onset of the Civil Rights Movement. I actually listened to this one and would highly recommend the audio version with its rich, multi-voice format.
The Burying Place by Brian Freeman—Detective Jonathan Stride is asked to help locate a missing baby in rural Minnesota when a young female officer lost on patrol stumbles upon a serial killer’s victim barely alive. Although it is the fifth book in a series, it can stand alone. The flawed characters, multiple plot twists and unrelenting action make this a book you won’t want to put down.
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman—When Elizabeth Benedict was 15-years-old, she was held captive by a serial killer, and was the only one he didn’t kill. Now a married adult with a new name and family, the last thing “Eliza” expects is to have Walter Bowman find her and request her presence on death row before his execution. I’m a big fan of Lippman’s standalone psychological suspense and, WOW!! This one is her best yet. Don’t even start this book unless you have the time to read it in one sitting.
The Edge by Jeffrey Deaver—An avid game-theory expert, secret agent Corte is assigned to protect a DC police officer and his family while staying one step ahead of the man hired to kill them. As usual, Deaver keeps you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think you have things figured out, you realize that he’s tricked you with a red herring clue and you’re really several steps behind. This is a truly amazing read.
Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko—Subtitled “thousands of simple food swaps that can save you 10,20, 30 pounds—or more!” this book shows you in full color what TO eat and what NOT TO eat. Really, how simple can it be? Enough said.
There by Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn—When a countess and her show dog are kidnapped, Chet and Bernie are hired to find them. Chet is a police-trained K-9 German Shepherd who failed his final exam when he chased a cat and Bernie owns a detective agency. The story, told through Chet’s eyes, is filled with kibble-sized tidbits of what dogs really think of humans. I’m really a cat person, but I LOVE these books!
The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley—On her second caper, teen sleuth Flavia de Luce sets out to investigate the suspicious death of famous puppeteer Rupert Porson with astonishing results. Clever writing, hijinks galore and a feisty main character make this series get better and better.
A popular insurance company commercial uses a character named “Mayhem” as a villan who wreaks havoc on people’s lives and property. Mayhem lurks around every corner with a sly smile just waiting for someone to slip or not pay attention. Several thriller authors also do a great job using mayhem as an integral part of their plots.
Linwood Barclay is probably one of the best at using mayhem in his thrillers using the common theme of an ordinary person whose life is turned upside down by a single event. The character must then find a missing loved one, prove their innocence, or some similar feat. For example in No Time for Goodbye a teenage girl wakes up from a night of partying to find her parents and brother vanished without a trace. In his book, Never Look Away a newspaper reporter takes his wife and young son to an amusement park because she’s been depressed. In an instant, she disappears and he can’t find anyone who even remembers seeing her.
Harlan Coben is also a master of mayhem. In Tell No One a doctor gets a cryptic email telling him his wife may still be alive eight years after she was supposedly murdered at a deserted summer camp. Similarly in Gone for Good, a man digs for details of an old neighborhood murder that happened at the same time his brother disappeared.
Joseph Finder is another mayhem master. His talent is putting an ordinary man in an extraordinary position in a big business or government setting. In Killer Instinct a nice-guy salesman befriends an ex-special forces truck driver, getting him a security job in his company. Is it just a coincidence that his sales increase dramatically as any competition vanishes? In Paranoia a low-level employee is caught embezzling funds and coerced into becoming a spy in a rival firm—a bigger risk than he ever bargained for.
I’m sure there are many more masters of mayhem out there. Who’s your favorite?
I love to read scary, thriller/suspense/horror books and have probably read hundreds, if not more. Probably some of the most famous scary books are The Shining by Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, or Ghost Story by Peter Straub. But, there a few less famous books that stand out in my mind as the scariest stories I’ve ever read.
At the top of my list is Intensity by Dean Koontz. OK, technically I didn’t read this one, but listened to the audiobook traveling back and forth to work. It is the story of Chyna Sheppard a young psychology student who is a guest in a Napa Valley farmhouse and becomes trapped in a fight for survival with Edgler Vess, a self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer.” All I can say is that as Vess creeps up the farmhouse stairs in the dark intent on killing the occupants and feels a spider hanging from the ceiling hit his face, HE EATS IT!!! I looked down at my speedometer and it was at 80 mph. Enough said.
Next is The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, the story of heavy-metal rocker Judas Coyne who likes to collect macabre things. (Think Ozzy Osbourne) When he receives an email about a ghost for sale, of course he agrees to buy it. “It” comes in a heart-shaped box containing a black suit, and ends up being the spirit of the dead stepfather of one of Judas’s ex-girlfriends who is bent on revenge. In case you didn’t already know, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son and the old adage “like father, like son” is definitely true here.
For my final choice, I’m going to say Hell House by Richard Matheson. I looked all over for more of Matheson’s books after I read What Dreams May Come (great book but awful movie) and stumbled upon Hell House at my local library. It is the story of a wealthy publisher who wants to establish the fact of life after death and hires a physicist and two mediums to prove his case. They travel to a long-abandoned house in Maine, spending one long night there, and learning the hard way exactly why the locals call it “Hell House.” This has to be one of the scariest haunted house stories ever written.
Reading some scary books of your own? Don’t forget to leave the lights on!
There’s something about these crisp October days that just makes you want to curl up with a good book. Here are a couple of my recent favorites.
If you’re in the mood for a book with foreign flavor, historical details, and maybe a hint of romance, try Juliet by Anne Fortier.
When their Aunt Rose dies, twins Julie and Janice Jacobs inherit everything, but not equally. Janice gets the estate, and Julie gets a key for a safe deposit box that belonged to her dead mother in Siena, Italy. Soon Julie learns that her birth name was Guilietta Tolomei and that she has a namesake ancestor who lived in Siena in 1340. Inside the safe desposit box are five versions of the play Romeo and Juliet–all previous to Shakespeare’s version. Could it be possible that her ancestor was the original Juliet? This first novel is captivating. I loved both stories–the one set in 1340 and the one in the present. And, lots of historical details add to the story.
If you’re in the mood for something a little faster paced, try The Burying Place by Brian Freeman.
Still recovering from injuries sustained in a fall from a high-level bridge, Detective Jonathan Stride is asked to help his partner investigate a baby’s kidnapping. To make matters worse, one of their department’s young female officers gets lost in the fog while on patrol and finds a serial killer’s next victim barely alive. Could it be possible that the serial killer had something to do with the baby’s disappearance? Although this book is the fifth in a series, it can stand alone. Flawed characters and multiple plot twists make The Burying Place a book you won’t want to put down.
Today is “Follow Your Library Day.” Did you know we’re on Twitter and Facebook, in addition to our blogs? Why follow my library you ask? Well, here are just a few reasons.
Looking for something good to read beyond the bestsellers? Our librarians personally have read and reviewed thousands of books and linked them in a reader’s advisory database The Reading Room. We post the new entries each week in this blog, but you can also search by similar authors, similar titles, or descriptors (think tags). When you find a entries by a librarian that has reading tastes close to your own, you can even limit your search by their initials. For example, if you like reading crime fiction or thrillers, try using my initials EJ in your search.
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