Archive for October, 2010

MOZART’S BLOOD by Louise Marley

In spite of the bodice-ripper cover, MOZART’S BLOOD is not a romance. Unless of course by romance you mean a romantic age or setting. It is a vampire tale set in the world of opera and spans centuries. The details of the struggles, competition and fleeting rewards of being an opera singer create a very romantic backdrop indeed.

October 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Speculative (Beyond Reality)

SKELETON HILL by Peter Lovesey

History professor Rupert Hope takes a time-out from his role as a dead Cavalier in an annual reenactment of a 1643 battle with the Roundheads on Lansdown Hill, and unearths a human femur. Excited by the find – certain it’s part of a centuries-dead soldier – Hope keeps digging. Until someone stops him.

Shortly after Hope is reported missing, a woman walks into Supt. Peter Diamond’s Bath station and turns in a suspiciously human looking bone her dog found.

October 30, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

THE LEGACY by Kirsten Tranter

Every now and then, a novel comes along that is addicting. Nothing else gets done. Dinner gets burned, if it is even made, phones aren’t answered, and appointments are canceled. This is one of those novels. It is seductive, darkly sexual, haunting, and even frightening. You start waiting for the penny to drop, as the pages keep turning and the clues keep mounting. This is one very hypnotic novel.

October 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Australia, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, New York City, Noir, Reading Guide

HOW TO READ THE AIR by Dinaw Mengestu

If there’s one useful outcome that has come out of Jonas Woldermariam’s trying childhood, it is this: Jonas has become an expert at varnishing the truth. This ability to embellish facts comes in especially handy at Jonas’s first job. He works at a law firm that helps newly arrived immigrants with the asylum process. Jonas’s job is to help the immigrants with their essays and edit them for structure and grammar. But Jonas can’t help adding some spice to their stories…

October 28, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Family Matters, Literary, Reading Guide, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

GOD ON THE ROCKS by Jane Gardam

And so begins the delightful 1978 novel by Jane Gardam, with an exquisitely described trip on a local train that “went slowly, see-sawing from side to side in the dusty coach with blinds with buttoned ends and a stiff leather strap arched like a tongue on the carriage door,” a pitch-perfect evocation of Britain between the Wars. What begins for Margaret Marsh is nothing less than the gradual opening of her eyes to the complexity of the adult world.

October 27, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Facing History, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author


Andrew Winer has written a potboiler that is also literary. Writing about such a serious subject as the Holocaust sometimes constricts a novelist into a more conventional form of storytelling/historical fiction. But as we have seen with such books as Frederick Reiken’s DAY FOR NIGHT and Nicole Krauss’s more postmodern GREAT HOUSE, as well as Death as a narrator in Markus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF, the only unwritten rules are to grip the reader in a credible story and to edify through words. Winer has done both, and he puts his unique stamp on it with his fluid, page-turning, thriller style blended with his out-of-the-box imagination and mellifluous prose. Like Plath did so craftily with THE BELL JAR, Winer will reach a wider audience by his hewing of the elevated with the pedestrian. Saul Bellow meets Stephen King. I applaud his ambitious style, which he succeeded with on many levels. Two stories parallel and merge, reaching forward in one, backward in the other, fusing in a transmigration of redemption.

October 26, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Literary, World Lit