Archive for October, 2010

BOUND by Antonya Nelson

Set mostly in Wichita, Kansas, Antonya Nelson’s BOUND drops us right into the lives of a handful of characters. These characters are mostly connected by familial or marital bonds, and yet there are other bonds here too–the bonds of loyalty and friendship. At the centre of the story is Catherine Desplaines, married to a successful, wealthy, and much older businessman husband, Oliver.

October 25, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Family Matters, Reading Guide, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author

FIRST OF STATE by Robert Greer

In FIRST OF STATE, Robert Greer goes back in time to the early career of his main character, C.J. Floyd. The series started in the 1990s, but this book begins in the fall of 1971 when 20 year old Calvin Jefferson Floyd returns to Denver, Colorado to live with his bail bondsman uncle Ike Floyd, after serving two years in the Navy in Viet Nam. This very enjoyable book not only provides details about how Floyd became a successful bail bondsman and part-time private investigator, but also provides a great mix of characters and mystery as Floyd searches for several years to find the murder of pawnshop worker and collector Wiley Ames.

October 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, US Frontier West

WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child

Those who enjoyed Lee Child’s 61 HOURS were prepared for a breathtaking follow-up. How sad that WORTH DYING FOR is a throwback to a more one-dimensional Jack Reacher, a far less interesting protagonist than the one in 61 HOURS. In the previous installment, it was thrilling to see a new version of Reacher—a man with flaws who made mistakes and was not able to win every battle. He also revealed a bit more of his background during telephone conversations with a woman named Susan whom he never meets. Since 61 HOURS ended in a cliffhanger, many of us expected that Child would pick up where he left off, perhaps heading in even more new directions.

October 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Frontier West, y Award Winning Author

QUEEN OF PATPONG by Timothy Hallinan

In THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, the fourth in Hallinan’s involving Poke Rafferty Bangkok thriller series finds the American travel writer enjoying family life with new wife Rose and adopted daughter Miaow.

Miaow, a former street kid, now attends a multi-national private school where, determined to be like everybody else, she’s renamed herself Mia. Rose is Rose, tall, edgy, beautiful, happy in her newfound domesticity. Then a blast from her bargirl past turns up and in minutes there’s blood drawn and terror in their hearts.

October 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, Thailand-Bangkok

THE BLINDNESS OF THE HEART by Julia Franck

In the original German version, so I’ve been told, the title of this book is Die Mittagsfrau, or “The Noonday Witch.” According to legend, the witch appears in the heat of day to spirit away children from their distracted parents. Those who are able to engage the witch in a short conversation find that her witch-like powers evaporate.

In Julia Franck’s brilliant English version (translated by the very talented Anthea Bell), Helene gradually retreats into silence and passivity, losing her ability to communicate effectively. We meet her in the book’s prologue as the mother of an eight-year-old boy, leading her son towards a packed train in the direction of Berlin. Before the train arrives she tells him a white lie, abandoning him at a bench, never to return. In the succeeding 400 pages, the reader gains a glimpse as to what drove Helene to this most unnatural act.

October 22, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Germany, Translated, World Lit

DEATH OF THE ADVERSARY by Hans Keilson

What is the relationship between persecutors and their victims? In THE DEATH OF THE ADVERSARY – poised on the brink of what soon will be one of the world’s most horrific tragedies – an unnamed narrator in an unnamed country reflects on an unnamed figure who will soon ascend to power. Although the figure (“B”) is never revealed, it soon becomes obvious that he is Hitler and that the narrator is of Jewish descent.

October 22, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Allegory/Fable, Classic, Facing History, Germany, World Lit