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

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell is a small book but reads like a tome, with such literate and beautiful imagery that I was enthralled. The book centers around the mystery of the explosion at Arbor Dance Hall in 1929. The explosion killed 42 people, many unrecognizable in death with their bodies broken up or burned beyond recognition. Alma Dunahew lost her sister Ruby in the explosion and for years has been trying to discover the answer to what happened. Those years have been hard on her with several of them spent at the Work Farm in West Table, Missouri, due to her psychic breakdown caused by rage and grief …

December 21, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Noir, US South

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

LIGHT FROM A DISTANT STAR by Mary McGarry Morris

Nellie Peck is thirteen years old going on forty. She is wise, intelligent and impulsive. Despite her precociousness, however, she is still a child. She lives with her parents and two siblings, Ruth and Henry; Ruth is a half-sister from a relationship that her mother had in high school. The Pecks are struggling financially. Nellie’s mother works as a hair dresser and Nellie’s father owns a hardware store that is slowly going under. Her father’s passion is his writing – he is writing a tome about the history of their town, Springvale. His goal is to get it self-published so that it can be read by a wide audience.

October 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters

THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian

In Chris Bohjalian’s THE NIGHT STRANGERS, Chip Linton is a forty-year-old commercial airline pilot who is traumatized when, through no fault of his own, one of his regional planes goes down in Lake Champlain. In the aftermath of the accident, Chip, Emily, and their ten-year-old twin daughters, Hallie and Garnet, move from Pennsylvania to an isolated three-story Victorian near Bethel, New Hampshire, in the scenic White Mountains. Emily resumes her career as a lawyer, the kids enroll in the local school, and Chip becomes a do-it-yourselfer, replacing wallpaper, painting, and doing carpentry around the rickety old house.

October 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Horror, NE & New York, Psychological Suspense, Speculative (Beyond Reality)

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Louise Penny

Three Pines is a village near Montréal that is so small it does not appear on any map. For its size, this town has had an inordinate number of murders; solving them is the job of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté de Quebec and his team of detectives. This time, the victim is a woman, Lillian Dyson, whose art criticism years ago was so caustic that she was responsible for putting an end to budding careers. Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light is all about artists—their insecurities, craving for recognition, pettiness, resentment, and jealousy.

September 2, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Canada, Character Driven, Reading Guide, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author