Monthly Archives: October 2008

Too Close to Home

Title: Too Close to Home

Author:  Linwood Barclay

Publisher: Bantam, September 2008

Summary:  Derek was looking forward to the coming week. He was finally going to have a place for he and his girlfriend Penny to be together without any interruptions. So what if the place was his friend Adam Langley’s house. So what if Adam and his parents didn’t know Derek was hiding in their basement waiting for them to leave on their week long vacation. He wasn’t hurting anyone – he just wanted to have a good time with Penny. Too bad that, 10 minutes into the trip, Adam’s mom decided she didn’t feel well enough to travel that day. Perhaps the next day she would feel better.

As Adam and his family return to their home and Derek scrambles around in the basement looking for a new hiding place, a visitor appears at the Langley’s front door. Derek hears voices, then gunshots, footsteps, and finally silence. Derek ventures upstairs after he hears the shooter leave and discovers Adam and his parents have been shot dead. Frightened and confused, Derek flees the house and runs down the drive to his house set far back from the road. And this is just the prologue!

This is an action-packed page turner that will make you thankful for your security alarm and the two large dogs sleeping at the end of your bed.

Who will like this book?  Anyone who likes a good thriller.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator


Title: Serena

Author: Ron Rash

Publisher: Ecco, October 2008

Summary: Have you ever read a book that is so good, you just don’t understand how the author isn’t more well-known? For me, that book was the astonishing One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash. This talented author’s words are so devastatingly beautiful that they make you stop and re-read the same sentence over and over again. His latest book, like his previous efforts, is set in Appalachia, this time in the Western North Carolina’s logging fields of the late 1920s. It is there we meet Pemberton, the owner of a lumber company racing to clean out the forest before he loses his land to a planned National Park, and his wife, Serena.

Pemberton is an ambitious man, and Serena is more than his equal. Her unrelenting drive allows no questioning, and certainly no opposition. The violence and danger of life in a lumber camp is mirrored by the treacherous actions of Serena, who may be the most memorable female villain since Lady Macbeth. This fabulous book opens a window into a forgotten past, and will resonate with historical fiction fans, as well as readers who enjoy a good thriller.

Who will like this book? Fans of regional fiction. People who enjoy thrillers that aren’t procedural or formulaic.

If you like this, try this: One Foot in Eden and The World Made Straight, both by Ron Rash.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Dark Side

Title: The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals

Author: Jane Mayer

Publisher: Doubleday, July 2008

Summary: In The Dark Side, Jane Mayer, a staff writer for the New Yorker, documents some of the ugliest allegations of wrongdoing charged against the Bush administration. There are facts, which Mayer substantiates in persuasive detail.

Essential reading for those who think they can stand the truth.

Who will like this book?: Those interested in the subject of the ‘Imperial Presidency.’

If you like this, try this: The Way of the Worldby Ron Suskind. The Limits of Powerby A.J. Bacevich. The War Within by Bob Woodward.

Recommended by: Cliff, Reference

The Other Queen

Title: The Other Queen

Author: Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Touchstone, September, 2008

Summary: Mary, Queen of Scots, might be the most infamous royal in all of European history: She led a life of intrigue and scandal that landed her, at age 26 and a widow twice-over, in the hands of her cousin and rival, Elizabeth, Queen of England. In another well-crafted, fast-paced historical fiction, Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Constant Princess) has chosen to focus not on Mary’s tumultuous life in Scotland, but on her captivity in England, which lasted nearly 20 years. As a Catholic queen in a newly-Protestant country, she was at the center of countless plots to restore her not only to the Scottish throne, but also to put her in Elizabeth’s place.

The story centers on three people: Mary, and her married captors, the honorable George Shrewsberry, and his savvy wife, the remarkable Bess of Hardwick. As each intrigue bubbles to the surface and Mary scrambles to emerge victorious, we see the strain her presence in England puts not only on the kingdom, but on the marriage of George and Bess. This is a fascinating piece of nearly-forgotten history, and a must-read for fans of The Tudors and the recent HBO mini-series, Elizabeth.

Who will like this book?: Fans of historical fiction that focuses on the royals. Anyone with an interest in Tudor history, or the Scots queen.

If you like this, try this: In fiction, try Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George. For some non-fiction, look for Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Burma Chronicles

Title: Burma Chronicles

Author: Guy Delisle

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly, September 2008

Summary: Because his wife works for MSF (Doctors without Borders), French-Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle often finds himself living in countries that, for most of us, are shrouded in mystery. This graphic travelogue recounts the year he spent living in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, a small impoverished nation run by a military junta constantly sanctioned for human rights violations. It’s most notable citizen is the leader of its banned democratic party and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for nearly 13 years.

Delisle rarely gets political, even though he lives in a house just up the road from Suu Kyi, or ‘The Lady,’ as she is referred to by the Burmese people. Instead, he describes everyday life in Burma: The oppressive heat, the delight his neighbors take in his light-skinned baby Louis, and the ubiquitous Karen Carpenter songs playing in the grocery stores. He describes the difficulties NGOs like MSF have trying to reach the impoverished and disadvantaged populations they strive to aid, and the idiosyncrasies of living under dictatorship.

Who will like this book?: Fans of travel writing. People interested in human rights, or the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi.

If you like this, try this: Delisle’s other graphic travelogues: Shenzen (about China) or Pyongyang (North Korea.) A Perfect Prisoner: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Prisoner of Conscience by Justin Wintle.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Lost Girls

Title: Lost Girls

Author:  George D. Shuman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, September 2008

Summary: Sherry Moore is a blind woman with a unique gift. She has the ability to see the last 18 seconds of a deceased person’s memory, simply by touching their hand. When Sherry’s best friend. Admiral Garland Brigham, asks her to help rescuers searching for a lost climbing team on Mt. McKinley, she agrees. One member of the team has been spotted on a ridge, frozen to death during an unexpected storm. When Sherry holds the hand of the dead climber, Sergio Mendoza, she is able to direct the rescuers to the cave where the other climbers have taken refuge from the storm. Sergio’s last memories are not only of the deadly climb. While holding his hand she sees visions of a castle in a jungle and young women confined in cages and chained to walls. Admiral Brigham realizes that Sherry has seen the images of victims of human traffickers and Sergio Mendoza was somehow involved.

Now a young, rich American girl has gone missing during an excursion from a cruise ship, and is later found by a boater off the shore of the Dominican Republic. The victim bears the same voodoo tattoo on her cheek that Sherry had seen on the victims in Mendoza’s memory. Sherry is called upon again and the memories this young girl holds are very similar to the memories of Mendoza. It is now up to Sherry, Brigham, the young victim’s mother, and the few people they find along the way who are willing to risk their lives to battle the criminals responsible for the horrible crimes against these women. This is a fast paced story that takes you from the mountains to the jungle in no time.

Who will like this book?  People who like thrillers with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator