Reading Recommendations · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (November 2011)
Only a few books reach the top of the fiction bestseller charts, but there are many more terrific new titles available at the Library. Here are some recent favorites.
Adrenaline is certainly an apt name for this book. At her request, CIA agent Sam Capra runs out of the London office to meet his pregnant wife, only to have his world jarred from a blast that demolishes the building. Assuming his wife to be kidnapped when he watches a car drive away with her as a passenger, he needs to find her. But first he has to convince the CIA that neither of them could have set this up. A fast-paced storyline and heart-on-his-sleeve action hero combine in this new smart, heart-pounding series.
Celebrate the award-winning year of Julian Barnes with his third collection of short stories. The British author was just honored with David Cohen Prize for Literature, given to a UK citizen for a lifetime of literary achievement, and his newest novel, A Sense of Ending, just won Britainï¿½s Man Booker Prize in mid-October. This anthology examines the idea of human connections and how we yearn for them, from a quartet of dinner party scenes to a series of stories saluting the human senses.
Urchin Jaffy Brownï¿½s life takes a turn for the better when he is snatched up in a tigerï¿½s mouth. The owner of the tiger, which was running loose on the streets on London, is Charles Jamrach, ï¿½naturalist and importer of animals, birds, and shellsï¿½, collector extraordinaire. Jamrach takes Jaffy in, gives him a job caring for his animals, and then sends him on a sea voyage to capture a dragon. ï¿½Put Moby-Dick, Treasure Island, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner into a pot, add a pinch of Dickensï¿½ï¿½
This exquisite, unsentimental look at an adulterous affair is so personal it seems Gina Moynihan is talking directly to you. From her first glimpse of Sean Vallely, Gina remembers the small things that etch their way into our brains ï¿½ the sunlight just so, the contrast between the cloth seat and what he wore, what was eaten or not eaten. With simplicity that heightens the tension, this is not a love story but a barefaced look at what happened between two people, with no remorse, no regrets.
Gothic overtones envelope the story of a 17-year-old American boy sent to England to attend the prestigious Harrow School. Itï¿½s no coincidence when Andrew Taylor is cast in the role of Lord Byron for the school play; heï¿½s the spitting image of the Harrow alum. His dreams are haunted by the ghostly figure of a previous thespian, and his life becomes less and less his own as it takes on the lascivious lifestyle of the Romantic poet. Something definitely is in the air, and it isnï¿½t just the mustiness of his 400-year old dormitory.
Maggie Silver works for a PR firm that represents some of the poshest, and most in need of a refreshing whitewash, personalities in LA. When Senator Paxtonï¿½s aide is murdered, tarnishing his potential run for vice-president, Maggie is sent in to spin the story. Maggie and Annabelle Paxton, the senatorï¿½s daughter, were best friends in high school but have become estranged over the years. Will Maggieï¿½s obligation to her firm overrule the society family that took in an awkward young girl and showed her what money can buy?
Although history records that Cleopatra died from an asp bite, debut author Headley proposes that she faked her death and made a deal with the ancient goddess Sekhmet to retrieve Mark Anthonyï¿½s soul. But the spell doesnï¿½t go quite the way Cleopatra intended and sheï¿½s now a bloodthirsty zombie, not only looking for a loversï¿½ reunion, but also stowing away to seek revenge on Augustus and the Roman Empire. A clever frenzy of heightening suspense begins a trilogy blending fantasy, history, and the supernatural.
ï¿½No one makes killing bad guys more fun, no one is smarter at blending research and invention, and no one offers a higher body count of ingenious hits.ï¿½ Edgar-winning author Perry brings The Butcherï¿½s Boy out of semi-retirement when some vacationing Mafia henchmen recognize him in Brighton, England. Itï¿½s kill or be killed in an all-out organized crime show of power, although Justice Department official Elizabeth Waring would love to see BB, aka Michael Schaeffer, in the Witness Protection Program.
Returning to the arena of moral dilemmas and the characters brought to life in Reservation Road, Schwartz sets this tale 12 years later. Dwight Arno has served his prison sentence and is settling into his new life, but not a day goes by that he doesnï¿½t reflect on what revealing his past would do to upset the careful balance he has created. Suddenly his estranged son Sam shows up, with a psychological burden of his own creation, as well as a chip on his shoulder for a father who had to be absent from his life.
Despite the ï¿½pet noirï¿½ label, this debut mystery series is still pretty darn cozy. Pru Marlowe can hear animalsï¿½ thoughts, but they donï¿½t tend to communicate in nice long flowing phrases like humans. She has been working with a rescued pit bull ï¿½ in fact, her best client ï¿½ when the owner turns up dead and Lily/Tetris is framed for the murder. Pru uses her own cat, Wallis, as a sounding board as she collects evidence from a ferret and looks for a kittenï¿½s missing mama all the while working to free the condemned canine.
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