More Summer Reading
Posted by Gail | Filed under Gail Reads
Liked the last book list? Here’s another for those lazy July and August days sitting on the beach with the kids or just hanging out at home enjoying the lazy days, rain or shine. Enjoy.
Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark begins with the kidnapping of a billionaire Hollywood director’s daughter. The kidnapping ends badly and Detective Baily Keller and Deputy District attorney Rachel Knight set out to catch the bad guy. Part police procedural, part courtroom drama, the story is a thrilling ride that had me holding my breath.
You remember Marcia Clark. She’s a former prosecutor who came to our attention during the OJ Simpson trial. It’s her courtroom experience that brings so much reality to her story-telling. And she makes no bones about how celebrity affects outcomes when it comes to the American justice system. You just know that her main character, Rachel Knight, is experiencing what she, Marcia, experienced when she was at the crux of that landmark trial.
A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson tells the story of Fifteen-year-old Mosey Slocumb, her brain-damaged mom, Liza, called Little, and her grandmother, Jenny, called Big. Every fifteen years, trouble comes to the Slocumb women in the form of unplanned pregnancy. Now, as the youngest Slocomb turns fifteen – big and little are watching carefully. But there’s a whole new kind of commotion. Mosey witnesses the uneaerthing of a grave beneath her mother’s favourite tree in the backyard. Her mother’s garbled words — understand only by Mosey and Big — point clearly to the fact that LIttle isn’t Mosey’s mom. It’s a long journey to the truth and some hard lessons are learned about love, family and what you think you know is real. The dialogue is snappy and pitch-perfect, and you can almost smell rural Mississipi.
Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint was wonderful. This is the second book I’ve read by Charles de Lint, and I’m blown away by his prose, his imagination and his ability to keep me guessing. In this story, Isabelle is the young student of the brilliant and extremely demanding artist, Vincent Rushkin. Acclaimed as a master, Vincent is determined to pass on what he knows to Izzy, pushing her hard, even hurting her, to ready her for what he wants to impart to her.
De Lint is a master of characterization. You feel you know the friends who gather in his books. Set in the mythical North American city of Newford, he creates a rich tapestry of myth and magic. Told partly in the present, partly in flashback, de Lint doles out the details in fragments that are colored by Izzy’s perceptions. It’s a literary trick that worked well to hook me into the mystery. So, you know what? I’m going back for more!
I loved Inferno: A Novel by Dan Brown. I think it’s the fact that I feel smarter after I’ve read one of his books. Robert Langdon is back, this time chasing down a mystery that threatens life on earth and is linked to Dante’s Inferno. Having been to both Florence and Venice, the settings for Inferno, I felt like I was revisiting them, this time with a tour guide who knew lots and lots that I missed the first time. And then Robert heads to Istanbul and the Haya Sophia, which I’ve been dying to visit.
Aside from the fabulous tour, the story is gripping. Robert is up against a chilling adversary and must unravel an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Could not put it down.
All Mortal Flesh is another Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer Fleming. Russ and Clare have fallen head over heels and Russ has told his wife, Linda, who has booted him out. Tongues are wagging. They’re about to wag even harder because Linda turns up murdered and guess who is prime suspect number 1. Meanwhile, since Clare is a Episcopalian minister, her uppers aren’t looking kindly on the fact that she’s entangled with a married man.
Julia Spencer Flemmings writing is wonderful. Her characters are real, her dialogue authentic and her story engaging. And she has a way of creating twists that drive the story in unexpected directions.
Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie begins with a body discovered floating in a Thames river lock. Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his right had woman, Sergeant Gemma James are summed from Scotland Yard to figure out what’s what. This is the second death to strike the household of a famous London opera family and before the story is through a lot of deeply buried feelings will be brought to light both from the past and in the present. Wonderfully written, well told, the story had me until the very end.
Syndrome E was a huge French bestseller and is the first of Franck Thilliez books to be translated into English. It starts with a young man watching an old classic movie and then developing a case of spontaneous blindness. From there it delves into the origins of violence, twisting and turning as the protagonists unravel how subliminal images impact the psyche. Part police procedural, part cutting-edge science, the story is intriguing and the characters beautifully drawn. Franck Sharko is a schizophenic police analyst who joins forces with Lucie Henebelle to unravel a dark conspiracy that seems to be at the root of people being murdered all over the world. Great book.