Archive for December, 2013

LET HIM GO by Larry Watson

The simple plotting of Larry Watson’s Let Him Go – the quest of Margaret and George Blackridge to reclaim their young grandson, who lives with his mother and rotten-to-the-core stepfather – belies the strong emotional impact of this exquisitely powerful book.

December 31, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, End-of-Life, Literary, Wild West

PIG’S FOOT by Carlos Acosta

Oscar Kortico might be living in the slums of Havana now but the story he narrates is one of voluptuous plenty — populated by a vast array of colorful characters in a seemingly idyllic setting. “In the 1800s Pata de Puerco was just one small corner of a sweeping plain with a few scattered shacks between the Sierra Maestra mountains of Santiago de Cuba and the copper mines of El Cobre,” Kortico says, as he describes the Cuban village where his grandparents settled.

December 29, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Cuba, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, World Lit

THE PROFESSOR OF TRUTH by James Robertson

On December 21, 1988, almost exactly twenty-five years ago as I write, Pan American flight 103 from London to New York was brought down by a bomb and crashed over the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and eleven more on the ground. Although others may have been implicated, only one man was convicted of planting the bomb, a Libyan national who was released several years later on compassionate grounds; he died of prostrate cancer in 2012. His death may well have been the trigger for Scottish author James Robertson’s imaginative and morally profound novel; it is certainly the event with which it opens.

December 28, 2013 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Thriller/Spy/Caper

MOTHER, MOTHER by Koren Zailckas

Koren Zailckas’ Mother, Mother is a tale of psychological horror–a savage portrayal of a narcissist, Josephine Hurst, who lies compulsively, shamelessly manipulates her family, and tries to destroy anyone who crosses her. This disturbing story is told in alternating chapters by twelve-year-old William Hurst and his sixteen-year-old sister, Violet. William is mommy’s prissy little boy whom Josephine home schools (he has been diagnosed with autism and epilepsy) and infantilizes; Will is completely dependent on his mother and will do anything to stay in her good graces. Violet, on the other hand, is a rebel. She chops off her hair, takes mind-altering substances, and refuses to be intimidated by Josephine’s sick behavior. Josephine’s husband, Douglas, is, for the most part, an ineffectual bystander who gives his wife free reign. Missing from the picture is twenty-year-old Rose, whom Josephine was grooming to be a famous actress. Rose left home abruptly and never returned.

December 28, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense

THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT by Tom Schreck

Although Duffy Dombroski was getting heat from his supervisor to go to a required training program so that he could perform better at his social worker job, Duffy jumped at the chance to go to Las Vegas as a sparring partner for Boris Rusakov, the Russian heavyweight champion. Duffy even somehow finds a way to bring his dog Al on the plane and he convinces all his friends but his trainer Smitty to go with him. Duffy doesn’t care that his doctor is worried about his head injuries; Duffy just wants the chance to go to Vegas. Once he’s in Vegas though, things don’t go the way he hoped and he ends up in some unanticipated situations. Tom Schreck provides an entertaining book with lots of adventures, including some difficult and often touching moments with humor and entertaining moments, primarily provided by his basset hound Al and Duffy’s bar friends.

December 26, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Humorous, Sleuths Series, US Southwest

HELLGOING by Lynn Coady

Lynn Coady’s new story collection, HELLGOING, brings together nine self-contained stories that take a realistic and thought provoking look at a wide range of human relationships in today’s world. Reading them we are pushed or pulled into something like a voyeur role, observing in close-up fragments of ongoing or evolving relationships between an array of distinct characters, be they in couples, with family or friends, or crossing paths in professional or casual encounters. Some of the stories can take you on a bit of a rough ride; they rarely are smooth, easy or the content just pleasant. While they might leave us with a sense of unease they also stimulate us to consider more deeply the underlying questions and issues that the author raises.

December 24, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Canada, Giller Prize, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author