Monday, June 28, 2010
by Danielle Evans - to be released in September 2010
I've never been a big fan of short stories. They remind me of the 45 records I used to buy when I was a teenager. On the "A" side was the hit song you wanted to purchase, but the "B" side was usually a song you had never heard or didn't like but the music companies weren't going to sell you two "A" songs on one 45.
BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF is a wonderful book of short stories that doesn't have any "B" sides; they're all "A"s. Danielle Evans has written stories that deal with the difficulties of family life, friendships, reaching adulthood and inequality in equal measure for African-American and biracial protagonists.
There is honesty, pain and beauty in each of the stories. My favorite was "SNAKES", the story of a young biracial girl's summer with her white grandmother. Ms. Evans' characters find hope and joy despite their heartbreaking situations making BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF a delight to read.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
by Dana Haynes - available in hardcover
When I first started reviewing books and blogging back in February of this year, CRASHERS by Dana Haynes was one of the first reviews I wrote on the blog after reading an advance copy. I loved this book and when I saw the hardcover in my local bookstore this week I decided to re-run the original blog entry for anyone who missed it. Hope you enjoy the book!
This book was terrific and definitely lived up to the hype of the other mystery writers' reviews. Takes the reader to a totally different vantage point than other aircraft disaster novels. This doesn't deal with the victims or survivors but rather with the experts connected to NTSB who recreate the disaster to find the cause of the crash.
I read this book in one day because it's very well written, has good character development and is impossible to put down. Loved it, loved it and I'm looking forward to more books from Haynes.
Friday, June 25, 2010
by Bryan Gruley - to be released in August 2010
THE HANGING TREE is the second book in the Starvation Lake series by Bryan Gruley. I liked the first one, STARVATION LAKE, and I thought this one was even better.
Gus Carpenter is still working for the small town paper in his hometown of Starvation Lake. Darlene Esper, his high school love is now his girlfriend and is a sheriff's deputy.
When Gracie, Gus's second cousin, is found dead from what appears to be a suicide, Gus and Darlene set out to prove it was murder instead. To do that, Gus has to delve deeper into Gracie's life when she lived away from Starvation Lake. Hockey is everything to this small town in Michigan and Gus begins to wonder if Gracie's fate had anything to do with a wealthy group trying to build a state-of-the-art hockey rink in this small town in the middle of nowhere.
Likable characters, engaging storyline, fun to read.
Monday, June 21, 2010
by David Carnoy - to be released in July 2010
Handsome trauma surgeon Ted Cogan is the physician who treats teenager Kristen Kroiter for injuries following a car accident. Because of his reputation as a player, when Kristen commits suicide entries in her diary allude to a sexual relationship between her and Cogan. Ted is suspended from his job and hounded by the police while trying to find out the truth about Kristen's death and clear his name. It doesn't help that there is an eye witness to their relationship.
Very engaging in the beginning, the author loses track in the middle, making it a little hard to keep the reader's interest. KNIFE MUSIC isn't an awful book, but it's not great.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
by Lisa Unger - to be released in hardcover in August 2010
Ricky Cooper's friend, Charlene, is missing and his parents are at odds about his involvement. Maggie Cooper, a psychologist, is convinced her son would never harm Charlene, yet her detective husband, Jones, isn't so sure.
The stress between the Coopers is exacerbated by the other storyline that Ms. Unger weaves throughout the search for Charlene. A classmate of Maggie and Jones disappeared and was murdered twenty years earlier and Charlene's disappearance reverberates throughout the community. As FRAGILE unfolds, some of the characters are forced to face half-truths and misconceptions of that earlier tragedy.
FRAGILE is a good, strong mystery; a nice read.
Friday, June 18, 2010
by Lisa Scottoline - available in hardcover
I don't know what's happening to some of my favorite mystery writers, but I've been really disappointed lately (see previous review for THE RULE OF NINE). I've read every one of Lisa Scottoline's books, but THINK TWICE may just be my last.
The author writes in her acknowledgements that this book is a story about a mother's love. It's actually a very wacky story about identity theft and good versus evil with the most absurd scenarios I've ever read.
Bennie Rosato's twin sister, Alice, has drugged her, buried her alive in the middle of nowhere and taken over her identity!?! While the premise is slightly plausible, the high jinx that Ms. Scottoline takes us through are ridiculous and totally unbelievable.
Entertaining but silly, you should skip this one.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
by Steve Martini - available in hardcover
Paul Madriani and his associates have been threatened by the FEDS to not discuss anything about a nuclear explosion at the Coronado naval base. He's also being pursed by Liquida, a hit man, who's been hired to kill Paul so that a group of terrorists can reach their main target in Washington.
So far fetched as to be ridiculous, the bodies are stacking up as the threat tightens around Paul. He teams up with Joselyn Cole, a weapons control expert, to flesh out the details of the threat to himself, his associates and the real reason behind the attack on the Capital.
It's so disappointing when one of your favorite authors "goes off the rails". I don't know if it's me or if I've just been jaded by reading some really good mysteries in the past few months, but I thought this book was pretty bad.
Friday, June 11, 2010
By Tracy McMillan - just released
Television writer Tracy McMillan's life story is amazing and enthralling. The daughter of a pimp and one of his prostitutes, Ms. McMillan invites us along on her journey to find herself; through foster care, prison visits, multiple marriages and into adulthood. Despite her horrific childhood, her humor makes it possible for us to read her story without having our hearts broken, although I must admit she brought me to tears more than once.
Despite her many difficulties, Ms. McMillan meets wonderful people along the way who love her. But it's the things she learns about herself that are the most insightful. Anyone reading this book will find something that touches their heart, no matter how good or bad their own childhood was.
This book was truly awesome; bravo to Ms. McMillan for overcoming so much and creating a happy, stable life for herself and her son.