May We Suggest…?
Staff reviews of books you may be interested in reading.
♦ Honestly Dearest, You’re Dead by Jack Fredrickson
Dek Elstrom lost his career and his wife. He’s been reduced to living in the unfinished, unheated stone tower he inherited from his grandfather. And even though he’s been cleared of the charges that cost him everything, he’s been unable to move on.
The phone call tells him he’s been named executor of the estate of Louise Thomas. The problem is Dek has never heard of Louise Thomas. But he can’t afford to refuse the $700 executor’s fee for what should be a day or two of easy work. Then one look at Louise’s typewriter tells him he’s in for much more than he bargained for.
Honestly Dearest is the second in a new series about Elstrom by Jack Frederickson. The first book, A Safe Place for Dying was a Shamus Award nominee in 2006. At times laugh out loud funny, Frederickson’s Elstrom follows in the footsteps of Robert Parker’s Spenser – complete with unusual sidekick and a beautiful conflicted significant other in his life. Watch for Elstrom’s musings about Oreos, Wal-Mart and the end of the world.
♦ The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
Readers of Wally Lamb’s previous novels will expect a lot from his newest book, and they will not be disappointed. Lamb spent nine years writing this sprawling (740-page) novel. The protagonist is Caelum Quirk, an English teacher who has the misfortune of working at Columbine High School in April of 1999, when one of the most horrific school shootings in American history occurred. Caelum’s wife, Maureen, is a school nurse at Columbine and witnesses the shootings from inside a cabinet where she has hidden. The author uses the real events of Columbine as the central example of how cause and effect reverberate through people’s lives in unexpected and far-reaching ways.
The novel touches on many issues of modern life : violence, criminal justice, homosexuality and alcoholism for starters. As Caelum finds out more about his family history in the course of the novel, questions about heredity and family secrets arise. This book is filled with unrelenting tragedy, yet the underlying hope and resilience of the human spirit shine through. This novel is beautifully written and impeccably researched. Readers will be both disturbed and inspired.
Wally Lamb is the author of two previous novels : She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much is True. He has also edited two books of his students’ work from a writing group he leads at a women’s prison in Connecticut.
♦ Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
Diesel is back and so is Stephanie Plum in this kooky new book by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie is stuck “baby-sitting” a monkey named Carl when Diesel appears again. Joe Morelli is baby-sitting his brother who’s been thrown out of his own house, so that leaves Diesel and Ranger to look out for Stephanie and Lula. Stephanie is after a genius named Munch who has hooked up with the evil Wulf who also happens to be Diesel’s cousin. A lot of the story takes place in the Jersey Pine Barrens. As usual, not too much makes real sense, but it’s a funny book and I laughed out loud in quite a few places. Janet Evanovich is the author of 14 numbered books (#15 on the way!). This is her third “between the numbers” Plum book and she has authored or coauthored numerous love stories in paperbacks.
♦ Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer.
If you loved Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer, you will love this book even more. This is Archer at his best…murder and revenge! Danny Cartwright gets engaged and charged with murder all on the same night. He is convicted but who he meets in prison and how they help him is so absorbing it was hard to put the book down. It is a big book (501 pages) but it reads fast and furious. This book shows how people born to money have it so much easier in the justice system (of England at least) than people born in the lower classes. Danny spends a lot of years in prison but they eventually pay off successfully for him. It was a great book by an author who can really write about revenge. I would definitely give this book 5 stars.
Jeffrey Archer is the author of 13 novels, numerous short stories, plays, screenplays and his own prison diaries. He lives in England.
Facts in Fiction - a recap of books from our Fall Book Discussion group, Killer Angels, Lincoln, The March, and Song Yet Sung.