A noble patriarch, on his deathbed, tells his parson son make certain the unmarried children he leaves behind receive their fair share of the inheritance. The parson assures him it will be done. But the greedy, arrogant husband of the eldest heir bullies his way to the fore and takes much more than his due. Now the other heirs…two sons and two daughters…must find their own way in the world. The unmarried son wants to sue for wrongful damages. The daughters agree, but are fearful of their position in the world. One daughter will be going to live with her elder sister and the bullying husband, after all. The other daughter, who will be living with the parson son and his wife, wishes to pursue the lawsuit, but the parson and his wife fear losing the protection of their patron due to scandal. Both daughters wish to find good husbands, but their dowrys are not large and the honor of one daughter has been wrongfully impugned by an impertinent neighbor.
A novel of manners à la Austen or Trollope, a novel of political intrigue, a novel of the delicate savagery of uppercrust life, a novel of custom and tradition…a novel of a sort with which we are all very familiar. Or are we? All of the characters in Jo Walton’s clever, original, and quite compelling “Tooth and Claw,” you see, are dragons.
Henry Bright, a half-shattered young veteran of WWI, came home to rural West Virginia a changed man. With him comes the angel Bright first met in a church in France and whom Bright believes saved his life several times on the battlefield. The angel now speaks to Bright through his horse and Bright feels compelled to take its advice. The angel, foretelling the coming of the next King of Heaven, makes the young man elope with his childhood sweetheart, stealing her away from her family. When she, the most important thing in his life, dies in childbirth, Bright doesn’t know what to do with himself. But once again, the angel steps in, telling him to burn down his cabin and head off in search of a new mother for his child, the future King of Heaven. Bright is pursued on this quest by his late wife’s brutal, psychopathic father and brothers…as well as by the hellish forest fire sparked off by his cabin.
Lyrical, layered, and complex, Ritter’s debut novel is a moving examination of the traumas of war and a delicately limned portrait of a man attempting to move beyond his own past and find his way to a future. Beautiful and moving.
A cassocked monk stands on a mountaintop. Arms outstretched, he forms a tau, the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. Having escaped from within a cloistered Vatican-like chuch city compound called the Citadel, carved out of a mountain near the fictional Turkish city of Ruin, the escaped monk attracts media attention as he deliberately throws himself off the mountain. Brother Samuel, the escaped monk, knew a secret…a secret the monks of the Citadel have been protecting for thousands of years.
Now Liv Adamsen, an American journalist, learns that her phone number, carved into a small leather strap, has been found inside Samuel's stomach. It turns out Brother Samuel was her long-missing and presumed dead twin brother. When she travels to Turkey to claim his remains, she finds herself the focus of three separate groups...the monks of the Citadel, who wish to cleanse the outside world of any hint of their secret; members of an equally ancient group known as the Mala, who believe Liv and her brother are the ones prophesied to break the Citadel's reign; and the police, who simply want to solve the strange mystery of her brother's very public suicide. Enmeshed in intrigue, it isn’t long before she discovers that the monks of the Citadel will go to any length to protect their mysterious secret, known as the Sacrament, from the world...and the Mala will go to any lengths to expose that secret.
Though it draws the inevitable comparisons to Dan Brown, “Sanctus” is nevertheless a well-developed, entirely unique, and exciting debut with well-rounded characters and a plot that remains grounded despite the potential for hyperbole. I couldn't put it down!
Sure to draw comparisons to Erik Larson’s masterful true-crime epic, “Devil in the White City,” King’s “Death in the City of Light” unfolds the true story of a serial killer who stalked the streets of Paris during its occupation by the Nazi regime. A strange burning smell first alerted citizens that not all was right. When concerned firefighters entered the building from which the smell seemed to be emanating, they were appalled to discover severed body parts burning in a large furnace. Commisaire Georges-Victor Massu, the head of the Parisian Brigade Criminelle, was tasked by the Gestapo with bringing the murderer to justice. The main suspect quickly became Dr. Marcel Petiot, the owner of the building and, by current accounts, a reputable man. He was known as the “Peoples’ Doctor,” with a reputation for kindness and generosity and for providing free medical care to the poor. But when the police began digging into Petiot's background, a very different picture of the man emerged.
Petiot was soon charged with 27 murders…though authorities believed the true number of dead to be closer to 150. But who was being killed, and why? What Massu eventually unraveled was a plan of such deviousness and evil that it was shocking. When Petiot was charged, the city and the police hoped for answers and closure. What they got was a circus as the trial—for all of the cases simultaneously—stumbled over Petiot’s charm and wit and the effective and aggressive defense of his lawyer.
Gripping and detailed.
A lot of popular authors have books coming out this fall and winter! If you want to get a head-start on writing up your "to-read" lists, look no further!
Coming in November:
Evanovich, Janet. Explosive Eighteen
Grafton, Sue. V is for Vengeance
King, Stephen. 11/22/63
Patterson, James. Kill Alex Cross
Sanderson, Brandon. The Alloy of Law
Coming in December:
Connelly, Michael. The Drop
Cornwell, Patricia. Red Mist
Koontz, Dean. 77 Shadow Street
McCall Smith, Alexander. The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
Woods, Stuart. D.C. Dead
At Vishram Society Tower A, an aging apartment building in the slums of Mumbai, some news has shaken up the usually respectable middle-class residents. An offer has been made by Dharmen Shah, an ambitious developer who wants to tear down the tower and build luxury condominiums worthy of the "new" India. The temptation of money quickly convinces the younger residents of Tower B to leave their apartments, but Tower A remains stubborn. They are more complicated, and Mr. Shah must negotiate with them one-at-a-time, shamelessly using their long forgotten dreams and weaknesses to his advantage. One-by-one they give in until only Mr. Masterji is left, a retired teacher and widower-impervious to bribes, Shah’s intimidation tactics and even pressure from the other residents.
The suspenseful showdown between Mr. Shah and Mr. Masterji is not just about the apartment, it is about old vs. new India, the changing class system and maintaining respectability in an increasingly greedy society. Adiga introduces the strengths and flaws of both men, complicating the readers’ alliances and sympathies. Will Mr. Masterji crumble under the overwhelming efforts of Mr. Shah to destroy his home? Or will this battle prove that money is not always power? This book is sure to be another gem from Adiga, who won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 for his book, The White Tiger.
Written in a series of short stories and vignettes, We the Animals is not what you would expect from a coming-of-age story. It delves deeply into the lives of a family continually balancing on the edge. Set in an unknown town in upstate New York, the unnamed seven year-old narrator and his two older brothers, Joel and Manny, experience a freedom foreign to most children their age, roaming the streets day and night while their mother works the graveyard shift and their father disappears for days at a time. What the boys fail to see is the dark reality of their situation; that their freedom is really neglect, their mother’s deep love for her children is also a form of her desperation, and their parent’s relationship, while passionate, is also volatile and dangerous.
Through glimpses we see the boys experience seemingly traumatic events: learning to swim by being abandoned in deep water, watching their father dig a grave in the backyard for no one in particular, packing up and leaving with their mother only to return after not knowing where to go, and understanding them as nothing extraordinary, as every-day life. As the boys grow they come to learn what it means to be an adult. While the narrator’s older brothers fall into their family’s vicious cycle of failure, aggression and indifference, he is desperate to separate himself from them, but at what price?
Even though the novel is slim, it packs an emotional punch. If you’re a fan of poetry, you will appreciate how Torres structures his novel and delicately navigates the story with a sensitivity that will stay with you long after you have finished it.
Everywhere you look these days, zombies are rearing their decaying heads. From films like "Zombieland" to novels likePride and Prejudice and Zombies" to the website of the Centers for Disease Control, it seems that the zombie is our new favorite monster. But the ranks of the mindlessly hungry undead have not only invaded classic literature, they have also been joined by new brethren who think between nibbling on brains and are able to tell their own stories in their own words. The zombie fiction genre is expanding as new authors sink their teeth into the subject. For a few new and different takes on the shambling undead, try some of these titles!
Ajvide Linqvist, John. Handling the Undead
Becker, Robin. Brains: a zombie memoir
Brown, Ryan. Play Dead
Browne, S.G. Breathers: a zombie's lament
Goldsher, Alan. Paul is undead : the British zombie invasion
Kenemore, Scott. Zombie, Ohio: a tale of the undead
Moore, J. P. Toothless
Rowland, Diana. My Life as a White Trash Zombie
Turner, Joan Frances. Dust
Angel Crawford, a high-school dropout on probation for possession of a stolen car, is going nowhere with her life. Stuck in a dead-end relationship with a dead-beat boyfriend, taking care of and hiding from her alcoholic father by turns, drinking to excess and taking illegal drugs, she is a mess. A white trash mess. So she’s not too terribly surprised when she wakes up in the hospital one day and is told she was found by the side of the road, naked, having overdosed on drugs after leaving the bar with a man other than her boyfriend. What DOES surprise Angel is that there’s not a scratch on her when she clearly remembers being flung through the windshield after a terrible car accident. A mysterious benefactor has left her a cooler full of some kind of coffee drink with strict instructions to drink one every day and has arranged a job at the local morgue for Angel. Uncertain as to what’s going on, Angel nevertheless follows instructions and shows up for the job as a morgue van driver and autopsy assistant. It isn’t long before she realizes that she has a strange, insatiable craving for brains…a craving she resists as long as possible. But when she gives in, she realizes that she’s stronger, better, and more alive after eating them. When a horribly decaying man ambushes her van one evening looking for brains, it’s a short mental hop from there to the fact that Angel herself is now one of the living dead. Now she must figure out how to “live” in her current state, who her mysterious benefactor might be, and, more alarmingly, who is out there killing other zombies before falling victim herself.
Funny, intriguing, and surprisingly touching, My Life as a White Trash Zombie is hopefully only the first installment in the undead adventures of Angel Crawford.
It all started with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Suddenly zombies, werewolves, vampires, and beasts of all descriptions were invading our classic literature! These mash-ups, as they’re termed, take many forms. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies simply wove zombies into Jane Austen’s original text, with hilarious and oddly seamless results. Other mash-ups include a higher percentage of newly-created text. Still others, for a twist on the genre, take a real historical figure and add creatures to his or her real history. Whichever type, the books are fascinating in their way, often funny, and always engaging.
Brown, Eric. War of the Worlds, Plus Blood, Guts, and Zombies
Erwin, Sherri. Jane Slayre
Grahame-Smith, Seth. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Grand, Porter. Little Women and Werewolves
Gray, Sarah. Wuthering Bites
Jensen, Van. Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer
Moorat, A.E. Queen Victorian: Demon Hunter
Nazarian, Vera. Mansfield Park and Mummies
Weston, Lucy. The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer
Winters, Ben. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Winters, Ben. Android Karenina