Tag Archives: Crime

Canada

canada

Title: Canada

Author: Richard Ford

Publisher: Ecco , May 2012

Summary/Review:  Dell (the narrator) and Berner Parsons are ordinary fifteen year old twins living a somewhat isolated life with their parents in Montana circa 1956.  Their father has failed at a number of ventures in his life but has oddly always envisioned himself as a successful bank robber.   So being a little short on money, he decides to carry out a plan and takes their mother along as his accomplice.  They are undetected for a little while, but one day the police finally come and take the parents away to jail, leaving the brother and sister to fend for themselves.  Mrs. Parsons, fearing they would be caught had arranged for a friend to look after the kids, but by the time she shows up, Berner has left for California on her own.  So she drives Dell to Canada to be taken in by her brother.  The brother turns out to be not at all what he first appears to be and when the reasons he is in Canada become evident it provides a twist in the story. Amazingly, Dell never assigns blame or feels anger and continues to believe that both his parents, though misguided, did truly love him and his sister. What happens in this novel is very unpredictable and leaves you wanting to read more to see what finally happens.  There is some foreshadowing as Dell alludes to events which he has not yet related, but you don’t see how can occur until they unfold. The themes of crossing all sorts of boundaries and the force and effect of corrupt acts make this a thought provoking and absorbing read.

Who will like this book:  Someone who likes thought provoking fiction.

Recommended by:  Jan,  Administration

If you would like to see if this book is available or place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog [Link will open in a new window]

Schroder

schroder

Title: Schroder

Author: By Amity Gaige

Publisher: Grand Central, 2013

Summary/Review: Erik Schroder is writing a letter to his estranged wife. It is an apology and an explanation as to why he felt compelled to kidnap their daughter. Writing from the correctional facility from which he awaits trial, Erik recounts his life and the choices he’s made that have brought him to this point.

Soon after fleeing East Germany with his father, a young Erik made his first mistake, the ramifications of which were not fully realized until several years later. This lie, his invention of a new name and life history on a summer camp application seemed harmless enough at the time. Out of desperation to leave his German roots and Boston home behind him, Erik Schroder becomes Eric Kennedy. It is as Eric Kennedy, not Erik Schroder that he attends summer camp, goes off to college, falls in love and gets married. It is as Eric Kennedy that he kidnaps his daughter, but it is as Erik Schroder that he now sits in jail.

This is a moving and thought provoking novel that will demand discussion, making it a great choice for book groups. The moral and ethical issues that arise, as well as who may be Erik’s most sympathetic victim, are all fodder for a lively conversation.

Who will like this?: Someone who’s looking for a book that will cause a lively discussion.

If you like this, try this: “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock touches on this subject, though in a very dark way. “Room” by Emma Donoghue shows an alternative viewpoint, of the kidnapped rather than the one kidnapping.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if this book is available, or to place a hold on it! [Link will open in a new window]

After the Fall Before the Fall During the Fall

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TitleAfter the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall

Author: Nancy Kress

Publisher: Tachyon, April 2012

Summary/Review: In 2035, the Earth as we know it is no more. An alien attack by the mysterious ‘Tesslies’ has devastated the planet, transforming it into a poisoned wasteland.  A small band of humans have been culled to survive in The Shell, a futuristic shelter installed on the Earth’s damaged surface by the aliens. Damaged by radiation, the survivors are desperate to reproduce, thrive and restart the human race. In 2013, a brilliant statistician working for the FBI is trying to connect the dots between seemingly random kidnappings of young children and bizarre robberies occurring all over the East coast. All the cases, witnesses insist, end in a bright flash of light and the disappearance of the assailant and whatever they were taking. And in 2014, an undetected bacterium is slowly attacking plant life all over the planet.

Nancy Kress is an award-winning science fiction force and this book is a great introduction to her work. Told in the voices of Julie, the FBI analyst and Pete, a teenager born in the Shell, After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall weaves together three separate timelines that tell the story of the end of the world as we knew it.

Who will like this book? This short novel is a great choice for fans of dystopian fiction and ecological non-fiction. It is suitable for both adults and older teen readers. And with a surprising twist at the end, it’s not as bleak as it sounds.

If you like this, try this: “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman. “Eternity Road” by Jack McDevitt. “Life as We Knew It” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

If you think you would like this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!  [Link will open in a new window]

Dangerous Instincts

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Title: Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Feelings Betray Us. (Fear Can’t Help You. An FBI Profiler Can)

Author: Mary Ellen O’Toole, Ph.D.

Publisher: Penguin, 2011

Summary/Review: The author knows her business.  She is a retired FBI profiler and has seen and interviewed violent criminals of all types: mass murderers, rapists, kidnappers, pedophiles.  The purpose of this book is to impart to readers how people don’t make safe decisions on a regular basis:  hiring a contractor in the home, deciding at whose home your child can play, or even opening the door to a complete stranger.  We get lulled into a false sense of safety because our biases lead us to deem someone harmless when we really don’t have enough information to make a decision. The author tries to instruct on how to assess risk: physical risk, health risk, social or emotional risk, professional, or financial.  Being a good listener is key; but “listening between the lines” is even better.  She also discusses how to observe a persons behavior to try to make an assessment.  She also discusses those people in our society who are most dangerous:  the sociopath.

Scary when I think of the number of times that I have done exactly what the author warns us against.  I will never be able to read someone’s mind, but I will try to employ some of these techniques in my own danger-filled life!

Who will like this book?:  Those who are interested in psychology, or are interested in true crime.

If you like this, try this:  If you are interested in the psychology topics discussed in the book, Malcolm Gladwell has a number of books, including “Blink” which you may find interesting- especially because he discusses the decisions made on impulse.  “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout may also be interesting for you, as she discusses the nature of humans and what makes them stray from a healthy psychological profile.

If you would like to learn more about criminal profiling, Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, Erik Larson’s “Devil in the White City”, and Vincent Bugliosi’s “Helter Skelter” might be good choices, but beware – they may be graphic.

Recommended by: Sue Z, Reference Librarian

If this looks like your kind of book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check if its available and place a hold. [Link will open in a new window]

Defending Jacob

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Title: Defending Jacob

Author: William Landay

Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2012

Summary/Review: Andy Barber has been a well-respected assistant district attorney in Massachusetts for many years until his 14-year-old son Jacob is accused of killing former classmate Ben Rifkin. As the community presumes Jacob’s guilt before the trial starts, Andy and his wife, Laurie, struggle internally and externally to maintain their son’s innocence. Even after evidence points toward his son, Andy sticks to his belief that the neighborhood pedophile is responsible for this murder.

As the story unfolds, it brings up many questions, such as how well do parents know their own child, how far would they go to protect him, what role do genes and family history play in influencing an individual’s destiny, and do childhood actions indicate future behavior?

Defending Jacob is a compelling novel with a shocking ending. Once you start it, you can’t put it down.

Who will like this book?:  Someone who is interested in crime dramas but who is more interested in the psychology of crimes and the criminal mind.  Someone who is interested in
family bonds and how far someone will go to protect them.

If you like this, try this:  If you’re interested in novels about the criminal mind, try “Hannibal” or “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris, which both focus on the question of mental insanity.  If you would like a newer novel that focuses on criminal minds, try any Chelsea Cain book.

If you are more interested in the suspense/thriller aspect, try Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” or the popular Stieg Larsson novels.  Michael Connelly and John Grisham are also well-known for their legal thrillers.

If you’re interested in this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]

Finally, this isn’t William Landay’s first book- his historical novel is focused on the Boston Strangler, entitled “the Strangler”, and he also writes other fiction such as “Mission Flats”.

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation Assistant

Don’t Ever Get Old

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Title: Don’t Ever Get Old

Author: Daniel Friedman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2012

Summary/Review: “Old age is not for sissies”, “Old age isn’t so bad – when you consider the alternative”, (and the more optimistic) “every day I wake up on this side of the grass is a good one.” Aging is inevitable, and if you hit eighty seven with the sharp mind and wit of Baruch “Buck” Schatz, you’re doing fine.

Don’t Ever Get Old is Daniel Freedman’s debut novel about the cigarette smoking, gun toting, wickedly funny former police officer, Buck Schatz, who finds himself drawn into the hunt for a former Nazi war criminal and a fortune in gold. Buck is assisted by his grandson, Tequila, who has a lot to learn from his caustic grandfather. It’s easy to see the tough guy, take no prisoners cop that Buck used to be as he stalks his prey with the help of his more technologically savvy grandson, but Friedman never lets you forget that Buck is closing in on ninety and is facing the serious health and independence issues that old age brings. Rose, his wife of many years, is slowing down and there is the great fear that he will no longer be able to care for her at home. The issues that come with aging are never trivialized yet you know that Buck will definitely not be “going gentle into that good night.”

It would be great to see a Buck Schatz series, though given his age it might be a short one.

Who Will Like This: Anyone who likes a fast paced thriller, no matter how old the protaganist.

If you like this, Try this: I couldn’t help but think of Miss Marple, only a lot edgier, and packing a .357.

Recommended by: Sue D’Num, Library Assistant

Does Buck Schatz sound like your kind of guy?  If so, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to take a look at its availability and/or to place a hold [link will open in a new window]

So Cold the River

TitleSo Cold the River

Author:  Michael Koryta

Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, June 2010

Summary: Once a highly sought after cinematographer, Eric Shaw’s film career is in a downward spiral. He shouldn’t be surprised-punching a famous director in the face will often have that effect. Eric’s personal life isn’t faring much better. He walked out on his wife Claire when he began to feel that she and her father were starting to think of him as a failure. Eric’s gift has always been his innate sense of knowing which pictures or footage would move the audience. His new career is using that gift to make personal memorial videos for funerals, weddings, and other occasions. When the sister of a woman memorialized in one of his videos offers to hire Eric to make a video about her dying father in law, Campbell Bradford, Eric agrees. Armed with his camera and a curious bottle of vintage mineral water that belonged to Bradford, Eric travels to French Lick, Indiana, to begin his project. What he finds there contradicts all he was previously told about Campbell Bradford. This and the fact that the bottle of mineral water he’s been carrying around keeps getting colder and colder to the touch, even as the temperature around him rises, should have been enough to convince Eric that he was heading toward danger. But, alas, Eric plunges ahead and ends up in a fight to save his life and his very soul. This is a fast paced, action packed supernatural thriller with great characters and a very clever plot. I enjoyed this from cover to cover.

Who will like this book? Supernatural and thriller readers.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

The Interpretation of Murder

Title: The Interpretation of Murder

Author: Jed Rubenfeld

Publisher: Picador, May 2007

Summary:  The year is 1909 and Sigmund Freud has arrived in the United States with his protégé Carl Jung for a series of lectures at Clark University.  The same day of Freud’s arrival a young heiress is murdered, apparently by a serial killer. Another wealthy young socialite is suffering from amnesia after a second attack by the same criminal.

Dr. Stratham Younger, a thirty-three-year-old Harvard graduate teaches at Clark University.  He  is in New York to accompany Dr. Freud back to Clark.  Younger finds himself caught up in the murder mystery, being consulted about the use psychoanalysis to help the young woman recall the attack.

The plot is multileveled and intricate and includes a rivalry between Jung and Freud, a conspiracy theory against Freud’s teachings, a fascinating episode on the construction of the Manhattan Bridge, and corruption in the New York city police force. I found the story riveting and the details of that period in New York’s history to be fascinating.

Recommended by: Barbara, Head of Children’s Services

The Information Officer

Title: The Information Officer

Author:  Mark Mills

Publisher: Random House ,February 2010

Summary:    It’s the summer of 1942 and Malta is quickly becoming the most bombed place on earth. The strategic location of the island, between Europe and Africa, has increased its value to both the Germans who are bombing it, and the Allies who are stationed there. The residents fear a German invasion, but the lack of protection against the constant air raids has weakened their loyalty to the Allies.

British officer Max Chadwick has been given the position of Information Officer. His assignment is to manipulate the news coming in to Malta to buoy the spirits of the troops and the island residents. What the Maltese do not know is that a psychopath walks among them, killing young women and leaving their bodies out in the open to appear as if they were killed during a bomb strike. When another young woman is found dead Freddie, a friend of Max’s and a doctor at the local hospital, discovers the true cause of death. He confides in Max that this is the third murdered woman who has come into the morgue recently. This time, though, a shoulder patch from a British officer’s uniform is found in the dead woman’s clenched hand. Max knows that if this news is released to the public, Maltese loyalty to the Allies may finally be shattered.

The Information Officer is both a love story and a murder mystery, with occasional glimpses into the mind of the killer. The crucial role that Malta played during the war may not be common knowledge, and will certainly appeal to readers of historical fiction. Mills is masterful at expressing a sense of place, with his descriptions fueling the reader’s imagination.

Who will like this book? Fans of  historical fiction and suspense novels.

Recommended By: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Evil at Heart

Title: Evil at Heart

Author:  Chelsea Cain

Publisher: Minotaur, September 2009

Summary:  This is the third book featuring detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen, also known as the Beauty Killer, is on the loose. Archie is in a mental health facility attempting to recover from the physical and psychological wounds she has inflicted on him. The media has glamorized the vicious murderer and now Beauty Killer fan clubs are springing up left and right. When body parts start turning up at previous murder sites, Archie is called upon to help capture Gretchen once and for all. Is it really Gretchen leaving these gruesome calling cards? After all, she did promise Archie she wouldn’t kill again, right? If you can’t trust a serial killing psychopath to keep their word, who can you trust?

Evil at Heart is a thrilling cat and mouse chase, although you’re never really sure who the cat is and who is the mouse. From eyeballs to spleens, no part of the anatomy is safe from this scalpel wielding lunatic so you might want to read this on an empty stomach, unless you’re a seasoned veteran of grisly thrillers like me. Fast-paced with page turning suspense, this is a great book.

Who will like this book? Fans of  thrillers and suspense novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator