Archive for March, 2011

SEPARATE KINGDOMS by Valerie Laken

Just living isn’t the easiest thing in the kingdoms of Valerie Laken. In her psychologically engrossing short story collection, there is always that gaping divide: between countries, cultures, or lovers, or even that schism within ourselves.

March 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: Russia, Short Stories, United States, y Award Winning Author

EQUATIONS OF LIFE by Simon Morden

EQUATIONS OF LIFE by Simon Morden is a profoundly dystopian romp that takes place approximately twenty years in the future and it is great fun to read. Unlike much of contemporary science fiction, the science is pretty much correct as befits an author with a Ph.D. in planetary geophysics. It is the first in a trilogy, to be followed by THEORIES OF FLIGHT and DEGREES OF FREEDOM, all featuring Samuil Petrovitch, scientific genius, physical wreck, reluctant hero, and academic fraud.

March 29, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Scifi

WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK by Manuel Munoz

What do you see in the dark? Well, that partly depends on your perspective. In Munoz’s stylistic mise-en-scène novel, the second-person point of view frames the watchful eye and disguises the wary teller. Reading this story is like peering through Hitchcock’s lens—the camera as observer’s tool and observer as camera–with light and shadow and space concentrated and dispersed frame by frame, sentence by sentence.

March 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Whiting, y Award Winning Author

SING THEM HOME by Stephanie Kallos

This is a saga, a sweeping family story that lodges in your marrow, the kind of story that makes you smile, laugh, weep, snort, chortle, sing, spread your arms wide and lay your heart wide open.

With flavors tender, ribald, ironical, farcical, tragic, magical, and wondrous, Sing Them Home narrates an epic story of a family emotionally disrupted by the disappearance of their mother (and wife), Hope, in a Nebraska tornado of 1978. Hope was swept up, along with her Singer sewing machine and a Steinway piano, but she never came down. Due to the absence of her remains, all that stands in the graveyard is her cenotaph.

March 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, Reading Guide, US Midwest

DOPE THIEF by Dennis Tafoya

Dennis Tafoya’s first novel, DOPE THIEF, published in 2009 is an excellent novel and more emotional of a book than I thought it would or could be. Ray, a young man of 30 who has spent time in “Juvie” and prison for much of his life, has found a way to get some money with his friend Manny by stealing from independent drug dealers. These mostly small-time dealers are unlikely to seek help from the police or the mob in getting back their money or drugs. Ray and Manny even have the DEA jackets to scare the dealers into submitting to them. This seems like a good deal for Ray and Manny until they find much more money and drugs than they expected from some hick drug dealers working out of a farm in northern Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

March 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Noir

13, RUE THERESE by Elena Mauli Shapiro

In Paris-born Shapiro’s first novel, a young visiting American professor, Trevor Stratton, catches the attention of his prospective Parisian secretary, Josianne, not for his scholarship in 19th-century French literature, but for his poetry translations: “A translator, caught in the space between two tongues.”

In hopes that he is a little different (and after an appreciative look at his photograph), Josianne places a box with a red-checked cover in an empty file cabinet in his new office.

March 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, France, Unique Narrative