THIRTY GIRLS by Susan Minot

THIRTY GIRLS by Susan Minot is a powerful novel that is based on a true story. It takes place in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan and is the story of the abduction of over one hundred girls from a convent school in Uganda. A nun by the name of Giulia travels to the site of the abductors, who call themselves the LRA, and negotiates for the release of all but thirty of the girls. Thus, the title of the book.

February 11, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Facing History, World Lit

PLUGGED by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer? He writes those kid’s books, Artemis Fowl, doesn’t he? What’s someone who writes really popular children’s books doing writing a crime novel? Well according to the dedication, Irish author Eoin Colfer says the book is “For Ken Bruen who made me do it.” So we have Bruen to thank for this first book in what promises to be an entertaining series.

September 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Keplar

THE HYPNOTIST, written by Lars Kepler (a pseudonym for a husband and wife team writing together in Sweden), was tauted by Janet Maslin of The New York Times as “The summer’s likeliest new Nordic hit.” The writing is compared to that of Steig Larsson and Henning Mankell. Other than the novel taking place in Sweden, I observed little or no similarities to either of these two writers.

August 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock

Out of the funk and foul methane mist comes this almost mythical tale of legendary proportions, a lugubrious story ripe and ribald with gallows humor and the kind of tragedy that is crawling with comic perversity. This amoral cast of hillbilly trash will make your eyes twitch and your forehead darken as you turn the pages with unabashed glee and lick your foaming lips with depraved delight. These are people who are devoted to the Lord with fire and brimstone dedication, a demonic depravity that fills them with Jesus juice and strychnine.

July 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Short Stories

VIENNA TWILIGHT by Frank Tallis

VIENNA TWILIGHT, the fifth installment in Frank Tallis’s superb mystery series, focuses on a serial killer obsessed with death; a degenerate artist, Herr Ludo Rainmayr, who paints emaciated young girls in the nude; and an agitated mental patient named Norbert Erstweiler. Dr. Max Liebermann is a psychiatrist and disciple of Sigmund Freud. He also unofficially assists his close friend, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt. Max and Oskar attend concerts, chat over meals, make music (Max plays the piano and Oskar sings in a rich baritone), drink brandy, smoke cigars, and track down felons. Max’s knowledge of abnormal psychology helps him understand the subconscious forces that drive people to commit unspeakable acts.

April 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Sleuths Series, World Lit

THE COLOR OF NIGHT by Madison Smartt Bell

I have chosen this rather longer quotation to show how Madison Smartt Bell can turn on a dime between a realistic description of a California druggie cult in the late sixties to an evocation of the revels of Dionysian maenads from the earliest age of Greek mythology. The link here is an acid trip, but Bell does not need chemicals to effect his alchemy. In 2001, when the book opens, the narrator Mae is a middle-aged croupier in a Las Vegas area casino. Bell’s description is realistic and immediate: “Only the whirl of lights and the electronic burbling of machines, rattle of dice in the craps table cups, and almost inaudible whisper of cards, the friction-free hum of roulette wheels turning.” But two sentences later, he has already made the shift: “It was a sort of fifth-rate hell, and I a minor demon posted to it. A succubus too indifferent to suck.”

April 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Contemporary, New York City, US Southwest, y Award Winning Author