The Secret History

For anyone looking for a fun read, definitely pick up a copy of Donna Tart's The Secret History. By "fun" I mean this was a real "page-turner." There's so few new mysteries out there these days that are actually impressive, it made this somewhat morbid book extremely compelling. It may sound like an exaggeration for a modern mystery, but it could be described as "Dostoyevsky-esque." The story is narrated by a pathological liar, and the opening scene reveals that a murder has taken place that the narrator and his friends were involved in. The true mystery of the book lies in what lead up to the murder as well as the narrator's examination of the nature of his college life. The Secret History plays with ideas of guilt, punishment, and social pathology paralleled with everyday apathy.

Girl at Sea...romance, mystery and Italy!

Despite the semi-hoochie book cover this is a smart, thoughtful, adventurous tale about a 17 year old girl named Clio, on a whirlwind summer mystery trip with her eccentric father on a yacht in Italy. The cast of characters includes her dad's girlfriend, Julia an English researcher on a mysterious archealogical dive, her bubbly daughter, Elsa and Julia's very cute research assistant, Aidan. A centuries old mystery about a sunken ship, Pompeii, scuba diving, art supplies, jellyfish and tattoos all figure in this quirky good book. Maureen Johnson has done it again with Girl at Sea.

Voices heard year round

In recent years there have been oodles of Scandinavian mystery novels to lose your self in. I’ve become particularly engrossed with Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason and his best selling & award winning crime novels featuring detective Erlendur. (I’m not usually into mystery novels and I can’t seem to get enough of this series!)

Recently translated into English are Jar City, Silence of the Grave, Voices and most recently The Draining Lake. Voices begins with Erlendur as his usual somber and misanthropic self, thinking about his past and his troubled daughter. It’s Christmas time and there’s been a rather shocking and interesting murder at one of Reykjavik’s largest hotels. Erlendur and his usual cohorts are thrown into the case and are soon involved in figuring out the mystery of an abused child as well. Christmas is often a season for children, old and young, past and present, and that is surely true in this novel.

Promise Me

Harlan Coben's Promise Me gets a four out of ten in my personal book rating system. This 2006 release was reviewed as being a very exciting exploration into one of Coben's most popular characters- it was the first book centered around Myron Bolitar in six years.

While this still makes it a good read for fans of the series, it doesn't change the fact that it would be lackluster for any first time readers of Coben's work. The story gave a sense of constantly waiting for the plot to take off, but rather than feeling suspensful it instead felt a bit droning. Not that it was terrible, the book did delve into two interesting topics: whether sworn promises outweigh unspoken understandings, and where the line should be drawn in adult involvement in children's lives.

TweenSpace: Mystery Quest @ Malletts Creek, Tuesday, October 2

Calling all gumshoes! Join us Tuesday afternoon (4:30-6:00 pm) at the Malletts Creek branch to practice your detective skills. Look for clues to solve a mystery, test your observational skills, and hang out with other kids. If you've loved mystery/detective books like The Westing Game, Harriet the Spy, and Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, you won't want to miss this! For 4th and 5th graders.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #88

Interred With Their Bones*, a literary thriller by first time novelist Jennifer Lee Carrell was the big book at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair and was predicted to be most eagerly anticipated debut thriller of 2007.

At the heart of the richly imagined mystery that spans centuries and involves players from both the Old and the New World, is Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio.

Kate Stanley, a Shakespeare scholar in London directing Hamlet at the Globe theatre is approached by her estranged mentor Roz Howard, bearing a mysterious gift and a cryptic message to “follow where it leads”. Where it leads is Roz’s murder and mounting body counts, a fascinating look at the history of English theatre, church politics, Renaissance literature and Shakespeare lore. More importantly for Kate, it is a race to find the lost play before the killer makes her the next victim.

The fast pace, intricate plot twists and plenty of red herrings will make this a pleasure for discriminating mystery fans. Shakespeare lovers will find a treasure trove of tantalizing trivia from a renowned Shakespeare expert. Well worth the hype.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #85

Considered by people-in-the-know (Bill Ott @ Booklist) to be possibly “the thriller of the year” - HeartSick* by Chelsea Cain is a must read for fans of Thomas Harris and Ridley Pearson, and those who likes them "gritty, grim, and gory".~Publishers Weekly

Set in Portland, OR, this outstanding thriller pits Archie Sheridan, a police detective addicted to painkillers and pink-haired newspaper reporter Susan Ward, against a psychotic serial killer targeting high school girls. Added to the suspense is Archie’s ambiguous relationship with the imprisoned Gretchen Lowell, a sadistic serial killer who carved her trademark (a heart) on Archie two years ago. Archie now hopes Gretchen could help him catch the After School Strangler.

“Cain (Confessions of a Teen Sleuth: A Parody) never misses a beat here, turning the psychological screwdriver tighter for both Sheridan and Ward while drawing us deep into the nightmare that lives inside Gretchen Lowell's head”. Projected to be the first of a series, so don't let this one slip by.

* = Starred Reviews

Sherlock Holmes

The nights are starting to get longer as summer comes to a close, and blustery weather is on the way. But look on the bright side: cold, windy weather= ideal mystery reading conditions! There's few things better than being inside on a dark, rainy night with your favorite blanket and a good mystery to read or watch. For a reading choice you should definitely check out the original detective story, none other than Sherlock Holmes. The library owns many editions of Arthur Conan Doyle's work, in addition to several DVD's based on the stories such as Sherlock Holmes Collection Volume 1, Sherlock Holmes Collection Volume 2, and Sherlock Holmes Collection Volume 3.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #82

The Chicago Way*, is a debut thriller by Michael Harvey, a Chicago-based attorney and the co-producer of the A&E award winning documentary Cold Case Files : The Most Infamous Cases (1998), which inspired the likes of CSI and Cold Case.

Michael Kelly, “the latest incarnation of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe”, (Library Journal) is an ex-Chicago cop turned PI, “ with a taste for liquor, (and an) esoteric penchant for classical literature". When his former partner turned up dead after asking Michael for help on an 8 year-old rape case, and the local brass showed up at his door, Michael smelled cover-up, big time!
In this “… fast-paced thrill ride through Chicago's seedy underbelly” Harvey has created a tough, smart crime fighter (think Spenser and Sam Spade). What stand out in this first novel are not only Harvey's knowledge of forensics and his firm grip on criminal investigations, but also how Chicago is rendered in all its many moods and facets.

For another recent debut of note set in the Windy City, try Marcus Sakey's The Blade Itself

* = Starred Review

Take a brief recess with Perry Mason!

perry masonperry mason

The devastatingly handsome Raymond Burr is available for your viewing pleasure! Watch as Perry Mason humiliates Prosecuting Attorney Hamilton Burger time and again with his courtroom superheroics! AADL now has season one and season two of the original Perry Mason TV series (1957). You can also watch Raymond Burr take on Godzilla in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. He's unstoppable!

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