Rory Mackenzie has returned home to Ransom River and is serving on a jury when two gunmen enter the courtroom and hold the jury, judge and spectators hostage, with a siege that begins a long, nightmarish ordeal for Rory. She is singled out by the gunmen and later accused by police of being an accomplice in their crime. Surrounded by a dysfunctional family and unsure of whom to trust, Rory must race to uncover the reasons for the courtroom violence and to discover why she has been made the target of attacks. Edgar Award-winning author Gardiner has created a taut, complex, fast-paced novel filled with action and suspense–one that will keep you guessing until the end.
Jennifer Pharr Davis spent four months hiking the Appalachian Trail after her college graduation. How many women would wear the same pair of socks for days on end while hiking mostly on her own for 2,175 miles, encountering moose, rattlesnakes, armies of bugs, lightning storms, blizzards, rain and hail? Unlike her fellow hiker, Cheryl Strayed whom I wrote about in the review, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Jennifer chose to backpack with a lighter pack getting along without the best equipment. Her trials were similar but her background was far less ‘wild’, coming from a stable southern Christian family. Jennifer’s experiences with people she meets along the way are funny, frightening and an education. Her miles traveled per day seemed nearly impossible to me. The second time she hiked the AT she set the fastest record for men or women on thru-hikes averaging 47 miles per day. This book is a great motivator to get outside and enjoy nature while you exercise!
Ready Player One, the debut novel by Ernest Cline is a great read! The story takes place in the not too distant future of 2044 and the world is a pretty bleak place to live for most people. The main character, Wade Watts lives in the “Stacks” a trailer park where the trailers are stacked on top of one another. Like many others, Wade prefers to spend most of his time in the virtual reality world of OASIS which is much more pleasant than the real world. Wade, along with fellow gunters (Easter egg hunters) spend all of their spare time searching for an “Easter egg” hidden in the virtual reality world of OASIS by multi billionaire James Halliday, the recently deceased creator of OASIS. The person that finds the egg first, will inherit Halliday’s vast fortune. The Sixers are a particular group of gunters that work for IOI, a large corporation that is determined to inherit Halliday’s billions and take control of OASIS. They will stop at nothing to find the egg, including murder. To find clues to where the egg is hidden, gunters must immerse themselves in the life of James Halliday and the things that he loved. Chief among those is 80’s pop culture and video games. If you grew up in the 80’s (like myself) you will particularly enjoy this book. It was fun to reminisce about old episodes of Family Ties, playing Atari, and watching movies like Back to the Future. Didn’t grow up in the 80’s? This is a great way to educate yourself about the 80’s while having a great time! Fans of the book will also have the movie to look forward to, as the movie rights have already been sold to Warner Bros.
Can your whole life change in 15 Seconds? Dr. Henry Steadman finds out that it can–Steadman arrives in Miami for a medical conference when he is stopped for a minor traffic violation. While the police officer is writing up a warning, a car pulls up to the officer, shooting and killing him. Henry is on the scene, and suddenly he is the target of a massive manhunt. As his life spirals out of control, Henry realizes that he has been framed for crimes he didn’t commit and has to try to save the life of someone he loves. Author Andrew Gross skillfully weaves the story line between Steadman’s actions and those of the character controlling Steadman’s situation. This is a fast-paced thriller, filled with action, plot twists and suspense, a story that is hard to put down. If you like Robert Crais, karin Slaughter or James Patterson, you will enjoy Gross’ latest thriller.
Mountaineers have been climbing in the Himalayas for years, and without the assistance of the guides and porters–men from many ethnicities in the region including Pakistanis, Bhote and most famously, the Sherpas–climbers would be unable to carry the equipment and items necessary to summit the tallest peaks in the world. The term sherpa has now come to identify any person who acts as a guide for the groups hoping to “bag a summit” such as Everest or K2, and many sherpas have climbed Everest many times as part of western expeditions–fixing rope on routes, carrying oxygen and guiding climbers in trouble. Buried in the Sky tells the story of a disastrous day in 2008 on K2 when 11 climbers perished on the mountain, several of whom were sherpas who, after making it back to base camp exhausted and freezing after a long day of climbing, returned to the slopes to attempt to rescue others in the climbing party. The book details the history of the attempts to conquer K2 as well as the history and culture of the indigenous people of the region. The authors chronicle the series of events of that day in 2008 that resulted in the highest death toll ever on the mountain, detailing the ambition and choices that resulted in life or death. Portraits of the sherpa guides provide an insight into their culture, beliefs and courage, despite their knowledge and experience being discounted by many of the climbers in the group. Research is thorough and writing is clear and factual while remaining exciting and suspenseful–this is an enthralling book for anyone interested in extreme sports or mountaineering. If you enjoyed Into Thin Air, you will find this book equally fascinating.
15 year old David Geist steps forward at a track practice to defend a handicapped student from being bullied, resulting in the bully tormenting and threatening David. At the same time, his estranged and abusive father is trying to re-enter the lives of David, his mother and his younger sister Janie. His father Max plans a canoe trip for himself and the children to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota,hoping for a reconciliation. However, Max’s inability to admit that he does not have the experience nor the knowledge to plan the trip leaves the family ill-prepared for a canoe trip into the wilderness. When Max has a disagreement with a group of men outside a motel, he incites anger in the group, who track the family through the wilderness. Eventually their confrontation leads to violence and death. David is the only uninjured person in his family and must save Max and his sister from the remaining men. His journey to escape and survive tests both his mental and physical limits, forcing him to find strength and bravery within himself. In The Devil You Know, author Johnson offers insights into the thoughts and feelings of the characters and the descriptions of the characters and landscapes are elegant and detailed–more so than the usual suspense novel. David’s character is a touching portrait of a young man trying to protect the people he loves–his caring and protective relationship with his sister is heartwarming and believable and his conflicted feelings for his abusive father are also realistic. This is a riveting psychological thriller and coming-of-age story that is fast-paced and full of suspense as well as a story about family relationships.
Is a hot July in Kansas getting you down? How about spending a few hours in frigid New England during a December snowstorm? In the Bleak Midwinter is a riveting mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming set in Millers Kill, a small town in the Adirondacks of New York. This first story begins a series with Clare Fergusson, an ex-army helicopter pilot and rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and the local chief of police, Russ Van Alstyne. A baby is found in a box on the steps of the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church by the new-to-town former Army chaplain and she calls for the assistance of the police to identify the parents. This tough, former helicoptor pilot is a determined and kindhearted sidekick to the chief of police and the sparks begin to fly between these two as they cross paths looking for answers. This chiller is guaranteed to give you goosebumps during the hottest 100 degree July days. There are six books in this series with the seventh due out late 2012.
The Hungry Ocean was published in 1999 and became a New York Times bestseller. Recently I found it while looking for something totally different to read and I was not disappointed. This riveting tale of a woman swordboat captain is the reason I love reading non-fiction. Linda Greenlaw leads such a different life from me and any of my landlubber friends that I can’t imagine she lives on the same planet. What an amazing story of a gutsy lady from Maine who spends her life on the ocean.
Linda Greenlaw is captain of the Hannah Boden, a sister ship of the Andrea Gail, a boat that was lost in the horrible storm of 1991 and portrayed in the movie The Perfect Storm. Captain Greenlaw is in command of five men who spend month-long trips fishing over 1000 miles off the northeast coast in the Grand Banks. She has to fight weather, mechanical failures, close quarters with very little time for personal hygiene, disagreements, illness, and all the decisions of where to fish in order to bring home a full boatload that will pay their expenses. The story of her personal experiences in how to run a complex operation is fascinating.
Abbey Straw is a Princeton drop-out and amateur astronomer who captures a photo of a meteor that crashes into an island off the coast of Maine. She and her friend Jackie decide to hunt for and sell the meteor. They locate the impact area, but the only evidence of the meteor strike is a deep, straight hole that goes far into the earth. People are dying from wearing jewelry made from “honey” stones, and Wyman Ford, ex-CIA agent, is asked to investigate the mine in Cambodia that is the source of the stones. Rather than a mine, he locates the exit hole from a meteor that has passed through the earth. Mark Corso is a scientist working on a Mars mapping project when he discovers evidence of gamma rays coming towards the earth from Mars. Their lives intersect as they race to discover the source of the meteor and evade a killer who is looking for a hard drive that contains classified information about the Mars project. Impact is a fast-paced thriller that will keep readers guessing until the end and offers an interesting and intriguing view of what first contact with civilizations from other worlds might be like. Preston has create a novel with interesting characters and a plausible story line—a hard-to-put-down story!
In The Innocent, David Baldacci’s latest suspense thriller, a government assassin is teamed with a teenaged girl and an FBI agent to determine the connections between several murders and to keep themselves alive in the process. Will Robie is the agent who assassinates enemies for the government–he is a loner and is careful and plans for any and every possibility that something could go wrong, trusting no one but himself. But an assignment goes wrong when he is told to kill a woman and her children–his refusal makes him a target and he is on the run, the hunter becoming the hunted. While fleeing from the scene, he crosses paths with Julie Getty, a 14 year old runaway who witnessed the murder of her parents. He saves her life and the two team up to try to discover the reason for the murders. They encounter Agent Vance when she is involved in investigating the murders and she eventually believes in Will and Julie and wants to help them solve the cases, but circumstances create more questions than answers. More killings, a plot with twists and turns and more turns, strong and complex characters, and wonderful descriptions of characters and settings combine to make this a story that is hard to put down. If you enjoy the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child or the Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum, The Innocent is a book you will enjoy!
>In this wonderfully inventive debut, Mark Hodder pulls together a variety of genres (including time travel, steampunk, alternate history, mystery and more) into a rolicking story set in an alternate Victorian England.
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, a Victorian era Renaissance Man, follows a different path in life when he is asked by the prime minister in 1861 to investigate the sightings of the (possibly mythic) figure Spring Heeled Jack. What follows is a tale of werewolves, a talking orangutan, steam-powered velocipedes and rotorchairs as Burton tries to locate Spring Heeled Jack and find out why boys from the East End are disappearing. Burton recruits his friend, the poet Algernon Swinburne, to aid him in his investigation as he faces off with such Victorian era giants as Charles Darwin, Laurence Oliphant, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Florence Nightingale.
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is the first in the planned Burton and Swinburne series. While Hodder pulled everything together into a satisfying ending for Spring Heeled Jack, there is more than enough there for another narrative featuring the intrepid Burton and Swinburne.
> This multi-layered offering from author Rucka and illustrator Williams is a wonderful addition to the world of Gotham as the new Batwoman (now lesbian and Jewish) battles the new High Madame of the Religion of Crime. Kate Kane takes up the mantle of Batwoman in a personal quest to serve and must face the new High Madame, a Lewis Carroll-quoting goth Alice. This nuanced story is full of action in the present day setting in the first half of the volume and full of psychological drama and social commentary in the second half of the volume as Batwoman’s personal connection to the High Madame is revealed. The illustrations of this volume are eye-catching and lend depth to the wonderful storytelling of Rucka. The illustrations from the different periods in Kate’s life are drawn in distinct styles to help differentiate the parts of her story and the evolution of her character.
Batwoman : Elegy has been on several Best Graphic Novels of 2010 lists, including the lists from Publisher’s Weekly and Entertainment Weekly.