MR. TOPPIT by Charles Elton

The first half of MR TOPPIT takes its readers for a grand ride. This debut novel, written by Charles Elton, has had quite a following in the United Kingdom and has just been released in the United States. It is a novel about speculation and conjecture, the ‘what ifs’ of life, and wishing things might have been different. Mostly though, it is about Luke Hayman and how he became immortalized in his father’s Hayseed Chronicles as the boy who eluded Mr. Toppit in the Darkwood.

December 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Debut Novel, United Kingdom

THIS WICKED WORLD by Richard Lange

Jimmy Boone is a certain kind of maverick – out of the box and not quite a civilian. After serving his time in the Marines, Boone becomes a partner in a security firm. He works as a bodyguard for the rich and famous. He spends his time in Hollywood, Hawaii, Aspen or wherever those with money gather. It is his job to protect and defend them. However, one of his jobs goes awry. Jimmy believes that his client is sexually molesting his daughter and beats him to within an inch of his life. Jimmy later finds out he was set up by the man’s wife as part of a mean divorce. The man he almost killed may have been innocent. Jimmy goes to jail and, when THIS WICKED WORLD opens, Jimmy is out on probation. He is bartending by night and acting as super of an apartment complex.

December 18, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide


For the longest time, growing up in rural Virginia, Birdie Baker is convinced she is destined to follow the path set forth by her devout Christian parents. Like them, as a Jehovah’s Witness, she will spread the word of the Lord, marry, settle down and wrap it up. But the sense of unease that plagues her even after she is married to a church-going man named Judah, is worsened when she runs into her high school drama teacher at the grocery store. “What are you still doing here?” he asks, “I figured the next time I saw you it would be in a movie.” Eventually, leave Virgina she does. Birdie pools all her savings toward a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles.

December 14, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, California, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Drift-of-Life

THE REVERSAL by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly brings together criminal defense attorney Michael (Mickey) Haller and his half-brother, the cynical and battle-scarred LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, in Connelly’s latest legal thriller, THE REVERSAL. Mickey calls himself “the defender of the damned,” a job he has had for over twenty years. “During that time,” he states, “I’d grown a suspicion and distrust of prosecutors and police….” Still, the Los Angeles District Attorney convinces Mickey to become an independent special prosecutor in the second trial of forty-eight year old Jason Jessup. The defendant has spent twenty-four years in San Quentin for abducting and strangling twelve-old Melissa Landy. Over the last two decades, Jessup has vociferously proclaimed his innocence while filing numerous motions and appeals in an attempt to have his conviction overturned.

October 5, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, California, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage

Elizabeth Brundage’s third novel A STRANGER LIKE YOU is her darkest to date. Her first novel THE DOCTOR’S WIFE is a tale of a woman married to a doctor who works a women’s clinic and performs abortions. The couple runs foul of anti-abortion activists in this tale which examines marital obligations against the backdrop of larger social issues. SOMEBODY ELSE’S DAUGHTER is set in an exclusive school for the children of the wealthy, but when the protected, elite environment is breeched, various ugly realities seep in. A STRANGER LIKE YOU is a post-9-11 tale: unrelentingly bleak and merciless in its examination of a decaying society of damaged people.

September 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Contemporary, Reading Guide, Thriller/Spy/Caper

MY HOLLYWOOD by Mona Simpson

Mona Simpson’s book, MY HOLLYWOOD, explores the relationship of mothers, children and nannies in southern California, most particularly in Santa Monica. The novel is told from two vantage points, the first one Claire, a mother in her 30’s with a 2 1/2 year old son, William. The other vantage point is Lola’s, the Filipina nanny who works as a live-in nanny for Claire and her husband Paul during the week when she takes care of “Williamo.” Lola also has a second job on the weekends, taking care of the son of a friend of Claire and Paul’s.

September 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Family Matters