While we wait for the snow to stop falling, the temperatures to rise and the sun to come out, what better way is there to beat the late winter blues than losing yourself in a great new book? Here are ten that have recently arrived on the shelves at Sewickley Public Library, of all sorts and genres:
NO PLACE FOR A DAME by Connie Brockway – Booklist *Starred Review*
Avery Quinn is counting on the fact that a gentleman always honors his debts, and Giles Dalton, the Marquess of Strand, is definitely in Avery’s debt. If it wasn’t for Avery’s flair for drama, Giles would find himself married to the vain, venal, and very annoying Sophie North. Now all Giles has to do to settle his debt is to help Avery present her findings on the comet she discovered to the Royal Astronomical Society. There is just one small problem: the misogynistic idiots at the Royal Astronomical Society refuse to accept any scientific work from a woman. Of course, if Avery were to disguise herself as a young man and Giles were to then present Avery to the society as his new protege, there wouldn’t be any problems. At least that is Avery’s plan. Expertly threaded with danger and desire, imbued with simmering sensuality, and richly seasoned with wicked wit, No Place for a Dame in which Giles claims his place as hero after appearing in Brockway’s Promise Me Heaven (2013) and All Through the Night (2013), both available in new editions is top-drawer historical romance from an author who never disappoints.–Charles, John Copyright 2010 Booklist
THE SILENCE OF THE WAVE by Gianrico Carofiglio – Publisher’s Weekly Review
A desperate search for human connection is at the heart of this moving novel from Carofiglio (The Past Is a Foreign Country). Roberto Marias, who infiltrated major drug cartels during his time as an undercover Italian cop, is on leave after coming close to blowing his own head off. His calendar has only two fixed points, his twice-a-week therapy appointments. Roberto, who drifts through life in a haze with minimal interactions with others, sometimes finds that “remembering and thinking are not beneficial activities” for him. A chance encounter with Emma, an attractive woman he recognizes from a TV commercial, may offer a chance of relief from his malaise. Some chapters related from the perspective of someone named Giacomo, who’s entranced by a classmate named Ginevra, add suspense, as the relationship of this subplot to the main one doesn’t become clear until the end. The author subtly and simply conveys the backstory to Roberto’s suicidal ideation. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire. A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown. The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey. The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him. The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears. S., conceived by filmmaker J. J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand, and it is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.
A DANGEROUS DECEIT by Marjorie Eccles – Booklist Review
The sleepy village of Folbury is upset by not one but two recent deaths. Respected local Osbert Rees-Talbot, a distinguished veteran of the Boer War, drowns in his bath, and the body of an unidentified man is found buried on the edge of the estate of wealthy landowner Lord Scroope. The former seems to be a tragic accident, while the latter is clearly murder, but with no clues or suspects and nothing to identify the victim except a South African coin in his pocket. Then a third death occurs, that of local businessman Arthur Aston, who’s found suffocated in a sandpit. Three unique cases with nothing to connect them, or is there? Ambitious local copper Joe Gilmour is determined to find out. His investigation leads him back in time to South Africa’s Boer War. Good period ambiance, a rich cast of characters, and numerous plot twists make this mixture of period drama and police procedural a gripping and satisfying read.–Melton, Emily Copyright 2010 Booklist
THE INVISIBLE CODE by Christopher Fowler – Publisher’s Weekly Review
London’s perpetually-in-jeopardy Peculiar Crimes Unit gets a reprieve in Fowler’s excellent 10th mystery featuring senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May (after 2012′s The Memory of Blood). Oskar Kasavian, the Home Office security supervisor who oversees the PCU, hires Bryant and May unofficially to deal with a personal problem. His much-younger wife, Sabira, has begun acting strangely, and with Kasavian due to take the helm of a major European antiterror initiative, it’s vital that any scandal be avoided. When Sabira insists that devils are out to get her, the two sleuths take her fears seriously. They look into a possible tie to the death of Amy O’Connor, who dropped dead in a church from unknown causes shortly after two children identified her as a witch and plotted to kill her. In the light of the challenges that Fowler has given his heroes in prior books, it’s particularly impressive that he manages to surpass himself once again. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
If Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May series is new to you, check out Full Dark House, the first in the series.
THE CASE OF THE LOVE COMMANDOS: FROM THE FILES OF VISH PURI, INDIA’S MOST PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR by Tarquin Hall – Booklist *Starred Review*
Vish Puri of Delhi, head of Most Private Investigators, Ltd., is regarded by many (and himself) as the best private eye in India. Puri’s closed cases for the month of June include delivering an enormous ransom and recovering a pampered pug from its kidnappers, as well as helping a celebrity chef with a hacked computer. The chef responds by treating Puri to a spirit-transforming plate of papri chaat and tamarind chutney. Puri’s love of food and Hall’s descriptions of the dishes he enjoys is one of the delights of this series. From pampered pugs to hacked computers, Puri is plunged into a much more serious investigation at the behest of one of his operatives, a member of a real group called the Love Commandos, dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples. The Love Commandos have engineered the rescue of a young woman of the high-caste Thakur family from an arranged marriage. The young woman wants to marry an untouchable Dalit boy. The young man goes missing. Puri and his operatives infiltrate the Dalit boy’s home in a tiny Indian village, so traditional that schoolchildren automatically arrange themselves according to caste. As in any Puri novel, a great deal of humor about Puri’s family life is mixed with skillful plotting and realistic descriptions of contemporary India’s overflowing street life. Hall, a British journalist who has lived in South Asia for more than a decade, is also the author of the memoir Salaam Brick Lane.–Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist
If Tarquin Hall’s Vish Puri series is new to you, check out The Case of the Missing Servant, the first of the detective’s cases.
SEA OF HOOKS by Lindsay Hill – Booklist Review
Christopher Westall was an awkward child with parents who never understood him and never took the time to try. Marked by odd hobbies and strange mannerisms, he rarely made friends, and though he did find some sympathetic allies to assist along the way, all too often his childhood was plagued by tragedies that shaped him in unpredictable ways. Now a young man, he is traveling to Bhutan in the wake of his mother’s suicide, seeking some kind of solace or new beginning. A fresh take on the coming-of-age theme, this maze of a story is told as a collection of irregularly interspersed thoughts, flashbacks, and current narratives, most no more than a paragraph long. The abrupt changes in time and place plus the briefness of each installment might make it hard for readers to feel invested in the story or its characters, but the method mirrors Christopher’s confused state of mind and perfectly sets the pace for a few surprising discoveries. Discerning readers in search of a uniquely woven yarn will especially appreciate first novelist Hill’s unusual style.–Ophoff, Cortney Copyright 2010 Booklist
PERFECT: A NOVEL by Rachel Joyce – Publisher’s Weekly Review
An 11-year-old boy makes an error that brings tragedy to several lives, including his own, in Joyce’s intriguing and suspenseful novel. One summer day in a small English village in 1972, Byron Hemmings’s mother, Diana, is driving him and his younger sister to school when their Jaguar hits a little girl on a red bicycle. Diana drives on, unaware, with only Byron having seen the accident. Byron doesn’t know whether or not the girl was killed, however, and concocts a plan called “Operation Perfect” to shield his mother from what happened. Previously, she has always presented the picture of domestic perfection in trying to please her martinet banker husband, Seymour, and overcome her lower-class origins. After Byron decides to tell her the truth about the accident, she feverishly attempts to make amends by befriending the injured girl’s mother, but her “perfect” facade begins to splinter. Joyce sometimes strains credibility in describing Diana’s psychological deterioration, but the novel’s fast pacing keeps things tense. Meanwhile, in alternate chapters, Jim, a psychologically fragile man in his 50s, endures a menial cafe job. Joyce, showing the same talent for adroit plot development seen in the bestselling The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, brings both narrative strands together in a shocking, redemptive (albeit weepily sentimental) denouement. The novel is already a bestseller in England. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch – Booklist *Starred Review*
Announced as early as 2008, the long, long, long-awaited sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006) and Red Seas Under Red Skies (2007) finally arrives. The story picks up almost immediately after the end of Red Seas. Locke Lamora, professional thief and con artist, has been poisoned (He was being unknit from the inside; his veins and sinews were coming apart). He has only a handful of days left, but rescue from certain death comes from a most unexpected source: the Bondsmagi, the powerful sorcerers who haven’t exactly been Locke’s best friends until now. After ridding his body of the poison, they, of all things, offer him a job. They want him to help rig a local election, which doesn’t sound all that tricky, except that someone else is working the other side of the street, and she’s at least as clever and ruthless as Locke: Sabetha Belacoros, Locke’s long-lost love. This rousing adventure expands on themes introduced in the first two books and tells the full history of Locke and Sabetha, whose relationship was tantalizingly sketchy in the first installment. The Bondsmagi, too, are shown here in more detail than ever before, and Lynch has some serious surprises in store for fans of the first two books. It might have taken Lynch a lot longer to publish the book than fans wanted, but it was definitely worth the wait. A landmark publishing event in the science fiction world.–Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
THE PRODIGAL: A RAGAMUFFIN STORY by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett – Booklist Review
The Prodigal is the much anticipated novel by the late best-selling spiritual writer Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel, 2000) and theologian and author Garrett. Manning’s signature honesty, wit, and compassion are evident in this redemptive tale, a modern take on the prodigal son. Jack Chisolm knows what it’s like to live the good life. He’s one of America’s best-known pastors and has a beautiful family, wealth, and the conviction that God is on his side. After a fall from grace, however, Jack finds himself with nothing, dragged back to Texas by the father he hasn’t spoken to in a decade. As Jack gets back on his feet, he rediscovers what it means to live a life of faith. He also comes to recognize the power of a father’s love and the importance of community. Manning and Garrett do a wonderful job bringing to life the downfalls of a superficial form of contemporary Christianity, while dramatizing struggles readers can easily relate to. This story of love found and grace extended will bring hope to everyone who reads it.–Richard, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
Click the title links to find these books in the catalog and request for pickup at Sewickley Public Library. All reviews from sources as noted.