Samantha Jones is a young single mother struggling to make a life for herself and her young son. Taking EMT courses when she is able, she earns a living as a repo truck driver–going out in the night to repossess automobiles. As she is loading a BMW onto her truck, the trunk pops open and inside is a badly beaten man. Sam believes that the man in the trunk, Marco, is an informant waiting to testify against the cartel, whose safe house was found by the ruthless drug dealers and the federal agents guarding him were killed. As Sam, her son and Marco run for their lives, Sam must place her trust in Marco, not knowing if he is someone she can trust with her life and that of her son. Shiver is a fast-paced romantic suspense, filled with action, thrills and, of course, romance.
This remarkable story of a young man’s childhood and eventual escape from North Korea reveals the astonishing brutality of the North Korean government and the horrors that most of its citizens must endure. Shin Dong-Hyuk was born and raised in a Total Control prison–one created for those who committed some crime against the regime, as well as their children and other family members. Raised in filth, forced to labor even as a young child, watching classmates beaten to death and encouraged to reveal crimes or secrets of others in the camp in order to survive, Shin was forced to watch the execution of his mother and brother. His education consisted of listening to teachers expound on the policies of the regime and then spending school hours working in fields or collecting human waste for fertilizer. For 23 years, his diet consisted of cabbage, cabbage soup and occasional tiny portions of rice. Children caught rats and insects and ate them in secret, fearing they would be punished for not sharing their food. At age 14, he was tortured for months and only survived due to the kindness and care of a fellow prisoner–the first kindness he had known in his life. Knowing nothing of the world outside the camp, Shin believed that others lived as he did–in brutal and inhumane conditions. After learning more about the outside world from a fellow prisoner who had been part of the elite class, Shin eventually escapes to China and eventually to South Korea and the US.He is the only known escapee from a Total Control prison. His difficulty in adjusting to a world of freedom and choice is heartbreaking–facing chronic illness, isolation, inability to form friendships, fear of technology are all issues facing other North korean defectors as well. His outrage at the world’s refusal to confront North Korea over the treatment of prisoners in these camps is understandable and justified.
Escape from Camp 14 is a haunting, gripping story, one that won’t be forgotten and one that deserves to be told.
Special Agent John Puller, Army CID, uses his R and R time to travel to Paradise, Florida after receiving a letter from his elderly aunt, in which she hints of mysterious happenings at night and people not being what they seem. He arrives to find her deceased–is it murder? The local police believe it is an accident, but Puller begins his own investigation. As the story unfolds, Puller uncovers layers of crime, deception and murder beneath the beautiful surface of the tourist town. Discovering a conspiracy that involves human trafficking and slavery, Puller races to save the prisoners as well as himself. Puller is a strong character–brave, smart and brash–the ideal hero who has a strong sense of right and wrong. The Forgotten is a fast-paced, intense, exciting thriller that keeps the reader guessing–characters are not what they appear and plot twists and turns add to the suspense. Baldacci has written another riveting action-filled novel! The first novel by Baldacci featuring the character John Puller is Zero Day.
C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series is a very popular mystery series, but Box has also written stand-alone novels, including Back of Beyond and Blue Heaven. Police from California are drawn to living in Idaho after retirement, so much so that it is known as Blue Heaven. A group of retired policemen are arguing in a wooded area when Annie and William, children who are heading to a creek to go fishing, witness the men shoot and kill one of the group. One of the men sees them and the children run for their lives. They manage to evade the killers and hide in a barn owned by rancher Jess Rawlins. Jess isn’t sure whether to believe their story, but hides them from search parties and the killer until he investigates. What he uncovers goes beyond their small town and involves conspiracies, bank robbery and murder. Box excels at evoking a stong sense of place in his novels–in this story his descriptions of the dark, damp forests filled with underbrush and dripping with rain add to the sense of suspense in the story line. Box has crafted a gripping thriller filled with action and suspense–a powerful novel about character, integrity and trust.
Bronte Talbot is an ad agency executive, working in New York City and living a fast-paced life. Having had a failed romance, she is not interested in developing a relationship with a new man. When Max Heyworth, a graduate student, comes into her life, she views him as an ideal man to have a fling with, as he is returning to Britain in a few weeks. Max, however, is interested in a long-term relationship and falls for Bronte in a big way. Due to her insecurities, Bronte is reluctant to commit to Max, and is surprised to discover that he is the future Duke of Northrop. Can they overcome their differences and find love? A Royal Pain is a charming love story–with smart, likeable main characters who change and grow emotionally. There are many humorous moments and colorful supporting characters that make this an amusing contemporary romance.
Nora Roberts concludes her Boonsboro Inn trilogy (The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend) with The Perfect Hope, the story of the third Montgomery brother Ryder and the innkeeper Hope. Hope has come to Boonsboro after losing her heart to the wrong man and her hotel manager job in Washington, D.C. She loves the restored Inn Boonsboro and runs the inn with care and attention to detail. Her close friends Avery and Clare are in relationships with two of the three Montgomery brothers who worked to restore the old inn to it’s current grandeur. Ryder has always been a mystery to her–a man of few words who appears short-tempered and not particularly sociable. When her former boyfriend appears with a less than respectable proposal, Ryder comes to Hope’s defense, and both realize the unavoidable attraction between them. Roberts writes with humorous, witty dialog and touching family interactions. The entire family becomes involved in trying to solve the mystery of the inn’s ghost Lizzy’s “Billy”–who was he and why is she waiting for him? This is a charming story with likeable, strong and independent characters, a sweet love story and a strong-willed ghost–a perfect ending to this trilogy.
In Tempting the Bride David Hastings, haven fallen in love with Helena Fitzhugh when he was 15 years old, does anthing he can to gain her attention, including torment her and make rude comments. His pride keeps him from disclosing his true feelings, and Helena grows into a vibrant, independent, well-educated business woman who wants nothing to do with Hastings. When Helena makes a decision that could result in scandal, Hastings is there to save her reputation,and the couple is forced into marriage. Helena despises Hastings until an unfortunate accident erases her memory of the recent past. Hastings finally has his chance to make his true feelings known and to court the woman he has loved for most of his life. The characters in this romance are strong personalities–both are arrogant and obstinate but also vulnerable, dialog is witty and the love story is believable and touching–a charming and entertaining story.
This thriller by Italian author Carrisi was a bestseller throughout Europe before being translated into English and released in the US. The Whisperer is a gripping murder mystery about a serial killer that preys on children, but also watches the investigation and places roadblocks and questions in the path of the investigating team of police, seemingly taunting the team. Goran Gavila is a criminologist heading the team, and Mila Vasquez is a profiler brought in to assist the team in locating the missing children. These as well as the other characters in this novel are well-drawn with distinct points of view. The police procedural aspect of investigating the crimes is detailed and fascinating. The Whisperer is a fast-paced complex mystery, filled with twists and turns, that revolves around the theme of good vs. evil and what is the true nature of evil. This is a page-turner, a psychological thriller that will keep you up at night until the final page is read.
Tis’ the season for Manhattan Public Library to be adding lots of new holiday fiction to the collection, just in time for Christmas. Some of the new titles include Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot–Celia Anderson is a widow running a boarding house to provide for her daughter and hoping to find love in her life. When a man comes to town searching for his father, he takes a room for the Wyoming winter, not expecting to find love in the remote town–a heartwarming tale of Christmas miracles. Twelfth Night Secrets by Jane Feather is the story of Lady Harriet Devere, who assisted her brother Nick in spying against the French until his death. In an attempt to uncover the spy responsible for Nick’s death, Harriet is asked to try to discover if Julius Forsythe, Earl of Marbury, is a double agent for the French. As she observes Julius, she realizes her attraction to him, but can she fall in love with a spy? Other new holiday titles include A Christmas Garland by Anne Perry, The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen, An Amish Gift by Cynthia Keller and Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson. Check at the Information Desk for more holiday titles!
New York Times bestselling author Greg Kincaid will speak about his newest book, A Christmas Home, Saturday December 8 at 12:30 in the library’s auditorium. Greg Kincaid is the author of Christmas with Tucker, and A Dog Named Christmas. The later title was made into a motion picture by Hallmark, and is available on DVD. Mr. Kincaid will give a presentation, answer questions about his work, and sign copies. Claflin Books will be at the event with books available for purchase. His latest book is another heartwarming tale about Todd, his beloved dog Christmas and the threat of the local animal shelter closing just as Christmas approaches.
After his father’s accidental death, Ray Kilbride returns for the funeral and to care for his brother Thomas, mentally ill and with an obsession for maps. Thomas spends all of his time using a map program that allows him to explore the world from his computer. A savant, he is able to memorize each city and its streets, and believes he is working for the CIA to create maps in his memory for use in some future catastrophe. In his exploration of New York City, Thomas sees an image in a window that appears to be a murder. Unwilling to leave home, he asks Ray to investigate the image. Ray and Thomas uncover a deadly conspiracy and must run for their lives. Trust Your Eyes is a fast-paced thriller with non-stop action, plot twists and turns, likeable and unique main characters and lots of suspense–this is a story that will keep you glued to the pages until the end!
Sean Dolan has spent his adult life traveling from war zone to disaster zone, offering his services as a nurse to the injured and sick. He has distanced himself from his home and family in Massachusetts both physically and mentally. Following the lingering death of his mother from Huntington’s, Sean decides to commit his life to helping others as long as he is able, not knowing if he carries the gene for Huntington’s. Treating the injured in the war-ravaged areas of Africa have taken a toll on Sean, and he returns to his home. There he finds his elderly Aunt becoming confused, his quirky nephew is having problems at school and his sister is ready to head off to New York. Sean reconnects with old friends and his family while leaving open the option to return to his nursing career in third world countries. But his ties to home and the people he cares about draw him in a different direction, even though his life becomes more complicated. The Shortest Way Home is a charming novel about the complications and love that comes with being part of a family, along with the importance of forgiveness and understanding. The characters are appealing, interesting and well-drawn–a touching portrait of a family with all of it’s flaws, humor and joys. Fay is also the author of two other novels about family life, Shelter Me and Deep Down True.
In Life After Death, Damien Echols recounts his life spent on Death Row, for 18 years, following a wrongful conviction for murder. Like many young men dismissed by society and rebelling against authority, Echols was a teen who grew up in poverty and remained on the outside of acceptable society, wearing black and with long hair–characteristics which drew the attention of local police. When three young boys were murdered, Echols and 2 friends were arrested, charged and convicted of the crime. They became known as the West Menphis Three. Echols describes his life on death row–the lack of humanity and privacy, deplorable living conditions and cruel jailers. His strength and his ability to rise above his circumstances are nothing short of amazing. Echols studied and learned about many religions, finding strength and solace in Zen Buddhism, spending many hours meditating in his cell. HIs spirituality and his love of reading helped him to survive the isolation and desolation of prison. The case drew the attention of several celebrities following a documentary made by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, titled West of Memphis, and the publicity created a demand for the case to be re-opened. Echols and the other two men were released from prison in August of 2011. This is a remarkable story of not only survival but of courage and dignity under the most dehumanizing conditions and raises many questions about the harsh treatment of prison inmates and about the death penalty itself.
In the town of Wall, there is a stone wall with a gap that leads to a meadow where the Faerie Realm begins. Every 9 years, there is a fair in the meadow where once Dunstan Thorn fell in love with a beautiful woman from the other side of the wall. 9 months later, a baby, Tristan Thorn, is left at the wall. Dunstan raises the boy and Tristan falls in love with Victoria Foster. As they walk hand in hand , they spot a falling star and Victoria agrees to marry Tristan if he brings her the star. Tristan crosses through the wall and his adventures begin. He encounters deadly trees, a unicorn, talking animals, faerie sprites and he finds the fallen star, who turns out to be the daughter of the moon, Yvaine. As they make their way back to Wall, they are pursued by the Lords of Stormhelm, who want a jewel that Yvaine is carrying, and by an evil witch who wants Yvain’s heart to find eternal youth. When they reach Wall, Tristan realizes that what he thought he wanted isn’t what his heart wants, and that he is not who he always thought he was.
Stardust is a charming story, filled with wonderful images, good and evil characters and a very likeable main character who learns about life and himself on his quest for love–a terrific fairy tale for adults!!!
Catherine Ann Benson is a child forced to move from California and an exclusive lifestyle to a small town in Texas after her parents are killed. She moves in with her grandmother and is befriended by two boys in a similar circumstance–both have been abandoned by their parents. The three forge a bond of friendship that lasts throughout their school years. The boys are football stars, revered in their small Texas town, and Catherine is planning to attend medical school. Tragedies occur that change their futures and send them all on separate paths. Over the next twenty years, their lives change and all follow their own course, but all have secrets that they carry. One of the three returns to their small town after 20 years away, determined to reveal the secrets that caused the divisions between them. Filled with themes of friendship, betrayal, loss and forgiveness, Tumbleweeds is a saga with twists, turns and drama that will keep the reader captivated. Roses is the previous novel by Leila Mecham that also takes place in Texas.
This exquisetly written first novel by Vaddey Ratner is the story of the tragic results of the rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970′s, as seen through the eyes of 7 year old Raami. Raami’s father is a part of the royal family and is a poet, who has instilled in Raami a love of stories. Her father returns home one day bringing news of rebellion and chaos in the city. Soon, rebels force Raami and her family–her parents, sister, aunt, uncle, cousins and grandmother–to leave their home. They are taken into the countryside and into forced labor as the Khmer Rouge attempt to eliminate all class and personal identities from the citizens of Cambodia. As her childhood is stripped from her, Raami must learn to live with violence and death–her memories of the stories and poems of her father are the only remainders of her former life, and her courage and strength are what allow her to survive. This compelling, touching and beautifully written story is one that imparts both the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime and the loving memories and stories that Raami treasures of her father and her family.
In the Shadow of the Banyan is based on the author’s own experiences as a 5 year old child in Cambodia during this revolution. Her story is also one of amazing resilience–after surviving 4 years of forced labor and starvation, she and her mother (all that remained of her family) came to the U.S. in 1981 as refugees with no English language skills. In 1990 she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and graduated with highest honors from Cornell University. Her ability to convey her experiences in the form of a novel is exceptional and moving and, with over 2 million Cambodians killed during this revolution, she tells a story that is important for the world to remember.