LIGHTNING PEOPLE is an electrifying book, a high voltage tightrope of five 30-something characters that are walking the edge in the post 9/11 New York City. Itâ€™s a book about true connections, missed connections and downright parasitic connections. Its energy strikes and surges randomly, briefly illuminating, sometimes plunging back into the darkness. And by the end, it leaves the reader rubbing eyes as he or she emerges back into a transformed light.
September 19, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 21st-Century, Life's Moments, Post 9/11, Soft Skull Press Â· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, New York City
The book jacket of the hard-bound edition is entrancingly deceptive. Printed on what feels like watercolor paper, it shows a colored vignette of men in white playing cricket on a village green watched by spectators relaxing in the shade of a spreading chestnut tree. It could well be the nineteenth century, except that the skyline in the background is Manhattan, and Joseph O’Neill’s novel is set in the first years of the present century. Written in a style of such lucidity that it might almost be an autobiographical memoir, it is the narrative of three years or so in New York City. The protagonist Hans van den Broek, a Dutch-born financial analyst, thirtyish and near the top of his profession, arrives there at the start of the millennium with Rachel, his English wife, herself a high-powered lawyer. But after the attacks of 9/11, Rachel returns to England with their infant son. Hans stays on.
On May 21 this year, many Christians waited for an event, the Rapture, which was to physically transport them to their savior, Jesus Christ. Spurred on by a minister in California, Harold Camping, many were disappointed when the event they were confident was to happen, just never came to pass.
In his new book, author Tom Perrotta explores the what-ifs of what eventually turned out to be a non-event. What if an event like the Rapture did happen? What happens to the people who get left behind, the Leftovers? If Perrottaâ€™s vision were to come true, most of the people who get left behind resort to their own special brand of religious fanaticism.
As Daniel Silva’s PORTRAIT OF A SPY opens, art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon and his wife, Chiara, are living quietly in a cottage by the sea. Silva sets the stage with a series of events that are eerily familiar: Countries all over the world are “teetering on the brink of fiscal and monetary disaster;” Europe is having difficulty absorbing “an endless tide of Muslim immigrants;” and Bin Laden is dead, but others are scrambling to take his place. Government leaders in America and on the Continent are desperate to identify and thwart the new masterminds of terror.
July 25, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 2013 authors, 21st-Century, Art, Daniel Silva, Job-centered, Political Â· Posted in: Denmark, France, New York City, Saudia Arabia, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom, Washington, D.C.
This is Julian Trevelyan-Tubal, CEO of Tubals’, the last family-owned bank in London, founded by his ancestor Moses Tubal over three centuries before. He stands uneasily in the titanic shadow of his father, Sir Harry Trevelyan-Tubal, still the titular head of the bank, but long since removed from day-to-day affairs. Sir Harry lives in luxury in his villa in Antibes, his mind damaged by a stroke, dictating daily letters to his son which only his secretary Estelle understands and even reads. He is unaware of changes at the bank since his days in the office. Adventures in the hedge fund and derivatives markets have caused much the same damage to Tubals’ as to other banks, and now Julian must fly to Liechtenstein to divert Â£250,000,000 illegally from the family trust to contain the damage long enough for him to sell the bank and get out, keeping this a secret from the financial world and even his own relatives.
Paul McEuen, a professor of physics at Cornell, makes good use of his scientific knowledge in Spiral, a provocative and frightening techno-thriller. The story opens in 1946, with biologist Liam Connor witnessing a horrifying scene of destruction from the deck of the USS North Dakota. Liam is a prodigy whose expertise includes “saprobic fungi, the feeders on the dead.” At twenty-two, he already has an impressive rÃ©sumÃ©, having spent four years at Porton Down, “the center of British chemical and germ weapons research.”