Friday, April 9, 2010

Recommendations from Julie

Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith
Billy Lafitte is fired from the New Orleans police force for involvement in some shady dealings after Katrina. He is still conducting shady deals but in the icy winter of rural Minnesota where he is a deputy sheriff. When a beautiful young woman asks him to find her boyfriend, Billy finds himself facing not just small-time criminals but terrorists. This is a fast-paced, exciting noir thriller.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
by Susan Jane Gilman
Two naive young women, fresh out of college, decide to backpack around the world. They start out in Hong Kong, moving on to China. This is in 1986 when China was rarely traveled by westerners. They soon find themselves in over their heads and as they travel, everything becomes more complicated, confusing and scary. This was a fascinating read--I couldn't put it down!

The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
This is a very unusual fantasy, mystery novel. It takes place in an unknown world where it's always raining and people are frequently asleep. The mysteries are things like "the man who stole November 12." It was a fantasy award winner and has been nominated for a Hammett award but, although it is engrossing, you will most appreciate it if you like fantasy dreamworlds.

The Salon by Nick Bertozzi
This graphic novel deals with Gertrude and Leo Stein and the many artists who inhabited their salon. Someone is killing--decapitating--artists in Paris. The Steins and friends believe it is the evil mistress of Gauguin. They have learned of a particular brand of blue absinthe that allows you to go inside a painting. This evil mistress has trapped Gauguin in a painting and the artists need to rescue him so he can stop the murders. I wanted an afterword with some explanation of the artists’ salon, what was based on reality, what was made up. Without this, it seemed rather pointless to me.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
This true-life novel about author Jeannette Walls' grandmother is a fun and lively read. Lily Casey is a tough, no-nonsense woman who lived during the first half of the 20th century. Breaking horses as a young girl well-prepared her for life: learning how to fall and how to get back up on the horse and ride again. I listened to this book, read by the author, and was completely entranced.

A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
Berlin. 1931. The Nazi party is in its early stages. A woman reporter finds her transvestite brothers’ picture on the wall in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. She investigates. Tremendously atmospheric setting, well-drawn characters, and lots of lurking in the shadows make this a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down!

The Book Shopper by Murray Browne
Author Murray Browne is a librarian, book lover and book shopper. Although I think it is somewhat arrogant of him to think that he's the expert on what every good used bookstore should have, nevertheless, it is fun to read and see if you agree.

Suffer the Little Children by Donna Leon
Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti mysteries never disappoint. In this novel, the carabinieri break into a pediatrician's home and take his baby. Brunetto must solve the mystery of why the baby was taken and why taken by the carabinieri.

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