Archive for the ‘Character Driven’ Category

BREWSTER by Mark Slouka

BREWSTER reads like a melancholy ballad sung by Leonard Cohen, Dylan, or Bruce Springsteen. It’s like driving down a remote, one-lane dark road surrounding a black reservoir, the starless sky doomy and vast. You are headed toward a forgotten city. Now and then a beacon in the distance blinks like a metronomic eye. Brewster is a static town in upstate New York, where it always feels like winter, “weeks-old crusts of ice covering the sidewalks and the yards, a gray, windy sky, smoke torn sideways from the brick chimneys.”

February 5, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Literary, NE & New York

YOU DISAPPEAR by Christian Jungersen

In Christian Jungersen’s YOU DISAPPEAR, translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra, forty-two year old Mia Halling’s life will never be the same following a family vacation in Majorca. Mia notices that her husband, Frederik, who is at the wheel of their rental car, is speeding through hairpin turns like a madman. She implores him to slow down, to no avail. Although they crash, they manage to survive. What should have been a relaxing and enjoyable holiday nearly ends in tragedy.

February 4, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Denmark, Family Matters, Psychological Suspense, Translated, y Award Winning Author

THE BIRD SKINNER by Alice Greenway

For any reader who revels in confident, lyrical prose – rich in detail with meticulously chosen words – Alice Greenway’s book will enchant.

The storyline focuses on the elderly and irascible ornithologist Jim Kennoway, who, at the end of his career, retreats to a Maine island after his leg is amputated. There, tortured by past memories and fortified by alcohol and solitude, he eschews the company of others. Yet early on, he receives an unwanted visitor: Cadillac, the daughter of Tosca, who teamed with him as a scout to spy on the Japanese army in the Solomon Islands.

January 31, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, NE & New York

THE FIRST TRUE LIE by Marina Mander

This novel is told in the first person, from the point of view of Luca, a young primary school student living in Italy. His mother is 37 years old and has been profoundly depressed for years, talking little, moving slowly and feeling like her life has ebbed slowly out of her. Often she cries and Luca does not know how to console her. “When Mama has nightmares, she says it’s not possible even to sleep in peace in this world, and that’s what I think too. Other times she says the pills have stolen her dreams, that sleep is just an inky-black nothingness, and she wakes up confused and doesn’t know which way is up. Sometimes she makes coffee without putting in the water or else the coffee.”

January 21, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Unique Narrative, World Lit

THE KEPT by James Scott

From the opening line of this striking debut novel, the mood and voice are both haunting and laced with shame.

“Elspeth Howell was a sinner.”

It is three years shy of the turn of the twentieth century, upstate New York, bitterly cold and snowy with grey, smudgy skies. Elspeth is trudging miles from the train station to her family’s isolated home, and she is carrying gifts for her five children and pious, Bible-quoting husband. She’s been gone for four months, not unusual for her midwifery practice. As she rises up the crest of the last hill, she sees her house…

January 18, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Literary

DARK TIMES IN THE CITY by Gene Kerrigan

I’ve become an avid fan of Gene Kerrigan’s Irish mysteries. They are literate page-turners that are complex in plot with wonderful characterizations. This is the second one that I’ve read and I plan on reading each of them.

In this novel, Danny Callaghan has gotten out of jail seven months ago after serving an eight year term for manslaughter. He beat a man to death with a golf club when he was 24. He is now 32 and trying to live by the letter of the law, working for his bar-owning friend Novak, doing pick-ups and deliveries of people and materials. While he was in jail, his marriage to Hannah ended in divorce and he is alone with little support except for Novak, who is his confidante. While he was in jail, Novak was basically the only person who visited him there.

January 4, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Ireland, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Noir