Archive for June, 2011

THE RESERVOIR by John Milliken Thompson

Tommie Cluverius is on trial for murder in the first degree. The charge is that he killed Lillie Madison and threw her into a reservoir where she drowned. The year is 1885 and Richmond, Virginia is the scene of the crime. Did Tommie kill Lillie or was it suicide? Did someone else kill Lillie and try to pin the crime on Tommie? The outcome of the trial will determine whether Tommie lives or goes to the gallows.

June 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, US South

FUN AND GAMES by Duane Swierczynski

Imagine a kick-ass action flick–say one starring that perennial crowd-pleaser, Bruce Willis, and then imagine the source material, and you’d just about have an image of Duane Swierczynski’s latest book, FUN AND GAMES. This is the first entry in the Charlie Hardie trilogy. HELL AND GONE follows in October 2011, and the third novel, POINT AND SHOOT is scheduled for publication in March 2012. FUN AND GAMES delves into the old Hollywood story that studio fixers leap in to stabilize publicity nightmares. This legend has bounced around Hollywood for decades and still lingers over the deaths of notables such as Jean Harlow’s husband, Paul Bern.

June 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper

EXILES by Cary Groner

The core of this exotic fusion of mainstream and literary fiction is defined by the eponymous title– displacement, exclusion, alienation, and even expulsion. The exquisite, poetic first chapter thrusts the reader immediately into a remote setting in Kathmandu 2006, where American cardiologist, Peter Scanlon and his seventeen-year-old daughter, Alex, face a guerilla death squad in the Himalayas. The reader is instantly spellbound with the story, where survival and danger coalesce in a taut, tense thriller that examines contrasts in exile: spirituality within human suffering, inner peace outside of war, and prosperity beyond pestilence.

June 19, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, India-Pakistan, Thriller/Spy/Caper

THE SECRET HISTORY OF COSTAGUANA by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

When Joseph Conrad was working on NOSTROMO in the early 1900s, and setting it in the fictional Latin American country of Costaguana, he found that his first-hand knowledge of the region, based on a couple of brief shore visits a quarter-century earlier, was insufficient. He therefore consulted friends who had spent greater time in northern South America and constructed a setting that is entirely believable, not only in its composite geography but also in its way of life and political turmoil. Now Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez imagines that Conrad might have had one further contact, José Altamirano, born in Colombia but recently arrived in London as an exile from Panama, following the province’s secession from Colombia in the revolution of 1903. Writing now in 1924, the year of Conrad’s death, Altamirano believes that the novelist has stolen his life story and that of his country to make a fiction of his own, utterly obliterating him in the process.

June 18, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Latin American/Caribbean, South America, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE STRONGER SEX by Hans Werner Kettenbach

The German novel, THE STRONGER SEX, by Hans Werner Kettenbach is ostensibly about a lawsuit–a very grubby lawsuit, but the story is really about the tangled relationships between the people involved in the case. Lawyer Alexander Zabel, in his late twenties, is rather surprised to find himself pressured into representing the elderly, ailing German industrialist, Herbert Klofft in a case involving his former employee, 34-year-old Katharina Fuchs. Katharina, an engineer who has worked in Klofft’s company, Klofft’s Valves, for eleven years was fired after requesting sick leave.

June 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Germany, Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense, Translated, World Lit

MY AMERICAN UNHAPPINESS by Dean Bakopoulos

One of Zeke Pappas’s biggest heroes is Joseph Cornell, an artist who created “assemblages”—most of Cornell’s work were glass-fronted boxes filled with a stunning variety of found objects. Zeke loves Cornell because he “devoted his life to the collecting the unhappy scraps left behind by others and trying to distill them and make sense of them. Cornell’s work to me is about our abandonment of joy, about our reckless inability to hold on to something meaningful. This is an attempt to find meaning—no, to find magic—in our collective dross, in the castoff and the forgotten,” Zeke says during one of his annual visits to the Cornell boxes collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

June 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Midwest