The dictionary defines “inverted” as reversed, upturned, and this aptly describes the goings on, again and again in John Dalton’s latest novel, The Inverted Forest, an impressive follow-up to his award winning debut, HEAVEN LAKE. That the two stories are quite diverse in setting and subject serves the reader well, as HEAVEN LAKE, set in Taiwan and China, was one of those wondrous, luminous novels difficult to surpass. THE INVERTED FOREST takes place in 1996 in a rural Missouri summer camp, a sun-dappled, bucolic environment that still manages to impart a sense of subliminal unease.

September 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary

LAST MAN IN THE TOWER by Aravind Adiga

When does the heartfelt convictions of one solitary man negate the jointly held consensus of the rest of any civic society?

That is the question posed at the center of Aravind Adiga’s audacious new novel, an impressive and propulsive examination of the struggle for a slice of prime Mumbai real estate. It is a worthy follow-up to Adiga’s Booker Prize novel, WHITE TIGER, as he goes back to the well to explore the changing face of a rapidly growing India.

September 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, India-Pakistan, Reading Guide, World Lit

OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY by Justin Cartwright

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 £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.

June 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Reading Guide, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author


If for nothing else, A YOUNG MAN’S GUIDE TO LATE CAPITALISM will be remembered as a clear-eyed, unsentimental look at money and our complicated relationship with it. The protagonist in Peter Mountford’s debut novel is a young biracial man, Gabriel de Boya, who is on assignment for The Calloway Group, a New York hedge fund. He finds himself in La Paz in Bolivia—where the novel is set—on the eve of the election that would usher in Evo Morales as President.

Gabriel’s assignment is to predict first the outcome of the election, and subsequently its effect on the Bolivian gas industry. Gabriel’s boss in New York, the aggressive Priya Singh, would essentially like to speculate about whether Morales would nationalize the Bolivian gas industry right away, as he promised. To obtain such sensitive information, Gabriel works incognito in the city passing off as a freelance reporter on assignment.

April 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Humorous, Reading Guide, Satire, South America

THE SEVERANCE by Elliott Sawyer

Author Elliott Sawyer earned a Bronze Star while serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a captain in the 101st Airborne Division. His intimate knowledge of military operations enables the actions scenes to come alive and lend credibility to his characters. Jake Roberts has a not-so-pretty past, and his punishment is to lead a platoon of misfits with past drug, alcohol and assault charges. The battalion commander sends the Kodiak Platoon on the “dirty” missions that no one else wants. During one of these night details, the platoon stumbles across a cache of funds, stolen by a corrupt contractor. Jake and his men opt to smuggle the cash back to the U.S. when they’re discharged rather than turn it over to the authorities. They call it their severance pay.

December 30, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Afghanistan, Debut Novel, Thriller/Spy/Caper

THE PRIVILEGES by Jonathan Dee

Jonathan Dee’s latest, THE PRIVILEGES, is a psychologically astute exploration of the toll privilege exacts on two generations – the self-made and the born-elite– of the Morey family. Cynthia and Adam Morey are easy to hate: they’re beautiful, socially adept, and madly in love – and unapologetic about it. As Adam’s brother says in his speech at their wedding (which opens the book), “They are a charmed couple. No one who knows them can doubt that they are destined to spend a long, happy, extraordinary life together.” At the worldly age of 22, the bride and groom don’t doubt it either and they traipse through their wedding day with the breeziness and ease of people certain of their impending prosperity. From here, life only gets better.

December 1, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, Reading Guide