Archive for the ‘US Southwest’ Category

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

ALL THE LAND TO HOLD US by Rick Bass

ALL THE LAND TO HOLD US is an apt title whose protagonist is the land – and it is a strange and powerful land. The harsh desert environment of West Texas is extremely arid, bitter and bleak. This environment shapes much of the novel’s character and the characters’ characters. The area receives much less rainfall than the rest of Texas and the temperature has been known to hit 120ºF in the summer. “An easterner, after making the stage trip and experiencing the danger of Horsehead and the Trans-Pecos country, wrote to friends back home that he now knew where hell was.” The setting also includes Castle Gap and Juan Cordoba Lake, an inland salt lake.

December 23, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Literary, Texas, US Southwest, Wild West

QUEEN OF AMERICA by Luis Alberto Urrea

Like its predecessor, THE HUMMINGBIRD’S DAUGHTER, Urrea’s sequel, QUEEN OF AMERICA is a panoramic, picaresque, sprawling, sweeping novel that dazzles us with epic destiny, perilous twists, and high romance, set primarily in Industrial era America (and six years in the author’s undertaking). Based on Urrea’s real ancestry, this historical fiction combines family folklore with magical realism and Western adventure at the turn of the twentieth century.

November 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Facing History, italy, Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, NE & New York, New Orleans, New York City, Texas, United Kingdom, US Southwest, Washington, D.C., Wild West

ASSUMPTION by Percival Everett

The hardscrabble desert land of New Mexico is the perfect setting for Percival Everett’s new novel, ASSUMPTION, mainly because it mirrors the protagonist’s character incredibly well. Ogden Walker is a deputy in the sheriff’s office in the small town of Plata, where he serves after a brief stint in the army. Plata might be where mom Eva Walker lives but Ogden finds her presence not enough of a comfort to overcome his unease with his mixed African American heritage (he is biracial) or his general malaise with what seems to be a dead-end career. He finds it hard to be content hunting for the small fish even if a colleague tells him, “A big fish is fun, I suppose, but so are small ones sometimes. Depends on the water. If I catch a ten-incher in a creek that’s two foot wide, that’s a big fish.”

November 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Southwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust

CHOKE HOLD is novelist and former peep show girl Faust’s second title for Hard Case Crime, and it’s a sequel to MONEY SHOT. Faust is Hard Case Crime’s first female novelist, and if you think that means a tender, sensitive look at crime, then think again. Faust’s protagonist is tough former porn star, Angel Dare, a woman who feels more comfortable giving a blowjob than extending a sympathy hug. In Money Shot, Angel, owner of an adult modeling agency came out of retirement for one last gig. Big mistake. The job is a set-up by some particularly nasty gangsters who are hunting for a briefcase full of cash. Angel, who’s raped, beaten and stuffed in the trunk of a car, finds herself on the wrong side of a prostitution ring.

October 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Noir, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Southwest

THE BORROWER by Rebecca Makkai

Debut novelist and elementary schoolteacher Rebecca Makkai combines a wily, madcap road trip with socially poignant conundrums and multiple themes in this coming-of-age story about a twenty-six-year-old children’s librarian, Lucy Hull, and a ten-year-old precocious book lover, Ian Drake, in fictional Hanibal, Missouri. (Guess who is coming-of-age? Answer: not so evident.)

Lucy isn’t entirely sure that she’s a reliable narrator—part of our reading pleasure is to figure that out. She tells us in the enigmatic prologue “I’m not the hero of this story.” Is she the villain? And, if she is not the hero, who is? The answers turn out to be thoughtfully complex and yet exquisitely simple for those of us–and only for those of us–whose love of reading is almost religious (upside down pun there).

July 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Reading Guide, US Southwest