Remembering Pearl

pearlCraig Nelson’s Pearl Harbor recounts Japan’s infamous on our naval and air bases there on December 7th, 1941, 75 years ago today.  Nelson treatment of the run-up to the raid recalls the chaotic and ultimately futile negotiations –Japan’s civilian government kept trying to head-off the war while the army pushed for it, whole Admiral Yamamoto, who conceived the attack, favored peace but put the navy on timetable for war.  Nelson also shows how American commanders on the island failed in their response to war warnings from Washington.  As for the raid itself, Nelson’s depiction is a “blow-by-blow narrative of destruction sprinkled with individual heroism, bizarre escapes, and equally bizarre tragedies.”

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Sassy suspense

 

janoturboIn Turbo Twenty-three (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich, Larry Virgil has skipped out on his latest court date; bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is tasked to bring him back. Luckily for Plum, Larry, who was  arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon, is just stupid enough to attempt almost the same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.  No word from the critics on this one, but you’ll want to read it anyway.

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An ecclesiastical thriller

concWhen the pope dies suddenly of a heart attack, the Vatican must work fast to ensure an orderly transition.   As the cardinals gather from around the world to vote, factions quickly develop around the leading contenders, among them Joshua Adeyemi of Nigeria, who’s seeking to become the first black pope, and Vatican insider Aldo Bellini. Presiding over the conclave is  Cardinal Jacopo Lomeli, who a month earlier had sought permission to retire to a religious order.  So begins Conclave, a smart thriller by Robert Harris, which the times described as an“ecclesiastical version of House of Cards” (Times).

 

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Buried Treasure

odessaIn Odessa Sea by Clive Cussler, Dirk Pitt and the NUMA go diving in the Odessa Sea. Their goal?  Lost treasures of the Romanov dynasty and a lost bomber from the cold war that carried a deadly cargo.  Modern day smugglers will try to beat them to the spot.

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Bad boys (and girls)

In Cross the Line by James Patterson,a serial killer is on the loose in Washington D.C.  Among his victims? Washington’s chief of detectives. Alex Cross must manage a panicked city, a rudderless department and a long list of suspects. In Chaos by Patrica Cornwell, Kay Scarpetta investigates the death of an acquaintance apparently killed by a lightning strike.  Except that she died on a clear night.  Scarpetta begins to wonder if an old nemesis is at work. In Sex, lies and Serious Money  by Stuart Woods,   Laurence Hayward, an Eton schoolmaster wins $612 million playing Powerball, heads for the US on a spending spree, and hires a personal shopper. Unfortunately, his guides brother is a criminal with eyes for his bucks. Unless Stone Barrington can help.

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What Area Book Groups are Reading (non-fiction)

mercy7Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Memoir of the man who founded the Equal Justice Initiative to argue for death row inmates.  Waking up White by Debby Irving.  A school teacher’s cringe worthy attempts to bridge the racial divide leads her to confront her ideas about race.

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Real Life: comdey and drama

joyIn Hungry Heart, author Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed) “takes the raw stuff of her life and spins it into a collection of tales …as uproariously funny as the best of Nora Ephron and Tina Fey.” Born in Louisiana but educated at Princeton, Weiner spent years feeling like “a Lane Bryant outtake in an Abercrombie & Fitch world” before finding her people in newsrooms and her voice as a novelist.  “No subject is off-limits in these intimate and honest stories.” In The Future Tense of Joy, author Jessica Teich finds in the obituary of a brilliant Oxford student a “ghostly echo” of her own struggles.  This is a “luminous account of one woman’s efforts to free herself, and her family, from the demons of the past.”

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