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!

Power Play By Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder is a best-selling author known for his business thrillers (Paranoia and Company Man). Power Play is another white-knuckle tale of suspense. This time Finder focuses on the aviation industry, telling the story of Jake Landry, a low-level executive at Hammond Aerospace.

When Landry's boss is called away, he is invited to attend the company's team-building retreat with the rest of the company's top management. The retreat is held in a remote lodge in the British Columbia wilderness. What is supposed to be a fun and challenging weekend quickly turns into a nightmare when a gang of woodsmen take over the lodge and hold the executives hostage.

Finder hooked me with an alluring premise: watching overconfident, swaggering businessmen recoil into the shadow of the story as Landry, a smart-mouthed, former juvenile delinquent, takes on the woodsmen.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #81

If you don’t read another mystery this summer, you must read The Tenderness of Wolves* by Stef Penney

The winner of the 2006 Costa Book of the Year (formerly known as the Whitbread Awards), this debut novel by a former filmmaker is set in Dove River, an isolated settlement in the Canadian tundra of 1876. Mrs. Ross, our primary narrator, stumbled onto the brutal murder of her neighbor Laurent Jammett, a reclusive fur trapper, the same night her teenaged son Francis, went missing, along with a mysterious ancient bone tablet of great value.

Penney seamlessly weaves multiple plotlines, (including the disappearance of two young girls 17 years ago) as the search parties trek northward on the trail of the killer, bracing brutal elements and the threat of predatory wolves, towards an explosive conclusion.

Tenderness is much more than a mystery - it is a psychological thriller, an adventure tale, a well-research period piece that captures the cultural and social history of the Canadian north, and most of all, a probing exploration of the unfathomable topography of the human heart.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #78

Looking for a fast-paced, adrenalin-fueled mystery/thriller? I recommend Lee Vance’s debut Restitution.

A graduate of the Harvard Business School and a retired partner of Goldman Sachs, Lee is no stranger to the rarified world of Wall Street’s rich and powerful, where we meet up with our protagonist Peter Tyler.

A high-power career, a beautiful wife and a dream home would not stop Peter from engaging in a one-night stand with a mystery colleague, and lands him squarely as the prime suspect in his wife’s murder. A cross between Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent and The Fugitive, this compelling read with a twisty plot pits Peter against an embittered ex-cop, the Russian mob, nasties in unexpected corners as he races across the globe to find his wife’s killer and to clear his name. A hell-of-a-ride. Nicely done.

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