Bernie's enterprise, the Little Detective Agency, limps along, waiting for the next job to arrive. While Chet freely admits that he doesn't always understand the humans around him, the mutt who failed to graduate from the police academy quickly establishes that he's got a nose made for sniffing out trouble — as well as the tasty morsel.
When the story begins, Chet and Bernie are settled into the companionable routine they established when Bernie got divorced and lost custody of his son. Riding shotgun for stakeouts in Bernie's beat-up convertible (and snarfing up doughnuts and beef jerky) is the perfect life for Chet, though he knows Bernie's worried about cash flow.
But their luck is about to change. During a nighttime stroll through the neighborhood — an older enclave in the southwestern desert that Bernie fears will soon be eclipsed by new development — the pair encounter a panicked neighbor, Cynthia Chambliss. Waving a wad of bills, she beseeches Bernie to find her daughter, Madison, a 15-year-old who has been missing for several hours.
Bernie heeds the call of cash and the urgency of parental concern, but Madison soon returns home on her own, only to disappear again in short order — this time for several days. Cynthia frantically rehires Bernie, but her ex, Damon Keefer, refuses to cooperate, insisting that Bernie be taken off the investigation. Nevertheless, intrigued by the young girl's apparent connections to a group of Russian thugs, Bernie and Chet follow a trail of clues that leads them into more danger than they'd bargained for.
As Chet and Bernie race across the desert toward Las Vegas in their sandblasted Porsche, Quinn's narrative unfolds with mounting suspense. At every stage of their journey, readers will warm to Chet's loyalty and courage — to say nothing of his delightfully doggy digressions — and be captivated by Spencer Quinn's deft blend of humor and thrills in this enormously entertaining tale, bound to be the first of many adventures.
Introducing Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde's no-nonsense, smart, funny, and loving heroine of his first series. We meet Thursday in an alternate mid-1980s Great Britain - one still fighting in the Crimea with Russia - and she is hot on the trail of forgers, Shakespeare impersonators, and book thieves. Everyone is mad for literature including Acheron Hades, the most wanted man in Britain, and it is Thursday's job to catch him once Jane Eyre is kidnapped from her book leaving the remaining pages of the beloved novel blank. Fforde's first novel is laugh-out-loud funny, including obscure literary in-jokes that even the most well-read bibliophile might miss, with a drop or two of sci-fi tech, and also quite terrifying when Thursday fights for her life atop the blazing Thornfield Hall. Fforde uses Thursday's world to comment on certain aspects of our own society including government interference by large corporations (signified by the hulking Goliath Corporation), over-commercialization, and the decline in literacy. Fforde's books suck you in, which is great because you'll want to follow Thursday through the rest of her books: Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, Thursday Next, and one more Thursday novel due sometime in 2010 (or so Jasper says); Thursday learns about the Bookworld and Jurisfiction, apprentices with Miss Havisham, fights grammasites in the Well, tracks the Minotaur, takes the indecisive Dane of Denmark under her wing, and saves Pride and Prejudice from the degredation of reality TV (now I've really got you wondering...I guess you'll have to read all the books now ) - it's all very accessibly, absurd, and fun to read. Once you've finished Thursday's published books, and need a tide-over until the next one, you can start on Fforde's Nursery Crime series (Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear), following DCI Jack Spratt and his partner, Mary Mary, as they solve hard-boiled nursery rhyme crime in Reading, and his new series, Paint by Numbers, will debut in December 2008.
The intricate tale begins when Blomkvist is convicted of libeling top Swedish industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. Unable to prove his innocence, Blomkvist prepares to leave his position at Millennium, the magazine he co-founded, now financially threatened by the verdict. But a summons from Wennerström's rival, the aging tycoon Henrik Vanger, presents an option he couldn't have imagined: In exchange for Blomkvist's writing the Vanger family history, Vanger promises to back Millennium financially and deliver incriminating evidence of Wennerström's crooked dealings.
But that's not all. The closets of the Vanger clan are littered with skeletons, and his new patron wants Blomkvist to set one at rest: the disappearance, 40 years ago, of Vanger's 16-year-old grandniece, Harriet. Intrigued by the cold case that was never solved despite multiple investigations, Blomkvist begins to dig for new evidence on an island north of Stockholm.
He is soon joined by Salander, a freelance investigator originally hired by Vanger to vet Blomkvist's reputation. Multiple piercings and tattoos are belied by the young computer genius's photographic memory. A victim of assault and harrowing abuse, Salander is driven by a relentless will and an astonishing capability for merciless retribution.
Larsson's narrative unfolds with mounting suspense, detailing the duo's intellectual ingenuity and increasing courage as they expose hidden cultures of right-wing fanaticism and misogyny and reveal the moral bankruptcy of big capital. As they race across Europe and on to Australia to trap their prey before another woman is tortured and killed, the reader is held in breathless anticipation until the novel's unforeseen conclusion.
The Flynn City Egg Man It's Easter 1969, and no one is more excited than Cyrus Flannery, the eccentric peddler known as, The Flynn City Egg Man. He's packed up the old panel truck with Easter goodies, and if everyone forgives him for his past business dealings, he just might make the rent this year. It all looks good until...Sandy True, the head cheerleading diva, and maximus drama queen of Flynn City High decides to plot a kidnapping. Her own kidnapping It may allow her time to get to Hollywood, and seek her dream of becoming an actress.
The last person she was seen with happens to be The Flynn City Egg Man, and Sandy's boyfriend, Tyler Armstrong has plans of the peddler. If the cops can't help, Armstrong will take matters into his own hands. After all, it was blood he saw in the Egg Man's kitchen.
Cuffy Landers, a seventeen-year-old reluctant hero enters the fray, and soon befriends the Egg Man. The two are pitted against a suspicious town, and a boyfriend who is hell-bent on revenge.
Recommended for adult, teen, and young adult reading with humor, suspense, and inspiration.
Wow. I finished this book after being completely consumed by it for several days and when I finally set it down, all I could think was, "Wow." Anna Jarzab's publishing debut is one she should be immensely proud of as I have very few complaints. The story is told from two points of view: Neily and Audrey. They begin to investigate the murder of their friend, Carly, who had once dated Neily and was cousins with Audrey. Amid the protected and dangerous world of their private school, they begin to unravel what really happened leading up to the night of the murder while they both deal with the devastating loss of their friend. Neily, Audrey, and Carly (by way of flashbacks) are all incredibly deep characters and the way Jarzab writes about their pain was breathtaking at times. It is refreshing to read about characters who are flawed, but you understand why because the author has done such a good job in her writing.
I was also impressed that this teen novel had so much depth to it. It was not just about love and school, it was about fear, loss, failure, hopes, dreams, and many other things that teens themselves go through every day. All Unquiet things is like a Judy Blume book that has been updated for 2010. And that is the greatest compliment I can give!
I am not always a fan of mystery or private investigator stories, and I tend more toward fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural but Michael Koryta is speaking at my departmental graduation ceremony in two weeks so I decided to check out his books. First of all, I was thinking local, 21-year-old author... okay... I guess I could find some time to at least skim over something. I WAS SO WRONG! Less than a chapter into Tonight I Said Goodbye, I had to stop to buy the book (which I NEVER do) and couldn't put it down until I finished, despite finals and papers with rapidly approaching due dates. The next day I went and got the next book in the series. Not only did I want to read more by the same author, but I could not bring myself to say goodbye - tonight or any other time - to Lincoln Perry (the main character). Rare is the author who can develop a character SO WELL that I feel like we're old friends and I had to find out what would happen to him next!
So Tonight I Said Goodbye starts out with the plot and character development in the first paragraph and just gets better from there. I never do this but I find I cannot convey why I wasn't able to stop reading any way but to show you the first paragraph:
"The last time John Weston saw his son alive, it was a frigid afternoon in the first week of March, and John's granddaughter was building a snowman as the two men stood in the driveway and talked. Before he left, John gave his son a fatherly pat on the shoulder and promised to see him again soon. He saw him soon - stretched out in a morgue less than forty-eight hours later, dead of a small-caliber gunshot wound to the head. John was saved the horror of viewing his granddaughter in a similar state, but the reason for that was a hollow consolation: Five-year-old Betsy Weston and her mother were missing."
Within the next few pages, Lincoln Perry - former cop and new private investigator - gets hired to find out what happened. What seems like it will follow a predictable PI novel pattern soon takes off completely away from the typical template of the genre into more twists and turns than I could have imagined! Koryta does an amazing job with developing characters so that you feel like you not only know ABOUT them, but you KNOW them. The plot, while totally intense, fast-paced, and unpredictable, is also somehow completely believable.
And before you believe that I am just praising a local author... of Tonight I Said Goodbye, Lee Child said: "A terrific, first-class debut full of suspense, tension, tricks, and charm," the Library Journal claims, "The twenty-one-year-old author excels at building characters and story..." and Steve Hamilton (author of Ice Run) says, "Michael Koryta hits the ground running with this masterful debut. He's already so good, it's scary." I don't have enough room to keep on this tack but there's plenty more!
While I have my own favorite genres, I am ALWAYS willing to read something that is incredibly well-written no matter what it is about. This is one of those books. I don't care if you don't like PI novels or mystery or thrillers: it's completely and totally worth it to drop whatever you're in the middle of and read this! As much as I'd love to extol the book and the author for a few pages more, I have to get back to the next book...
In the Lincoln Perry series, the books are Sorrow's Anthem (Lincoln Perry Series #2), A Welcome Grave (Lincoln Perry Series #3), and The Silent Hour (Lincoln Perry Series #4). Koryta has also written stand-alone novels Envy the Night and So Cold the River, coming out June 9, 2010.
What if a group of influential politicians in Britain managed to broker a peace with Nazi Germany early in 1941, avoiding years of bloody war, but also allowing Hitler to remain in power with a sympathetic government in place in London? This is precisely the situation the world is in at the beginning of Farthing when one of the architects of that peace is found murdered at the Farthing estate, with a Star of David stabbed into his chest. Told from the points of view of Lucy Kahn, the daughter of one of the members of the Farthing Set who married a Jewish man, and Inspector Carmichael, the Scotland Yard detective sent to investigate the murder, what follows is a taut mystery, full of political intrigue. Jo Walton manages to deliver a terrific story that combines the best elements of alternate history with a classic country house mystery.
When I learned to read in the early 1980s, I picked up any book I could get my hands on. And when those books had animals on the covers, it was all the better. One of the first books I ever remember owning, I selected from a Reading Is Fundamental event at my local library. It was Mystery Cat and the Monkey Business (Susan Saunders, 1986), and I chose it because clearly, from the title, it was a mystery—plus there was a cat on the cover. Fast forward twenty-five years, and I still love pet mysteries, from Dog On It to The Dogs of Babel. Something about an animal that can identify the unknown delights me. Seeing The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy, transported me back to my childhood, and I knew I had to read it. This book was a true detective novel, complete with a red herring, a distracting new case that sidetracked the detective from his original intent, and all the while, told from a dog’s perspective in a believable way. And this dog is definitely smart, logical, and funny. The Buddy Files series will appeal to readers ages 7 to 11, even reluctant ones, due to its fun approach, its cast of characters, and its ability to leave you wondering what will happen in his next case. This summer, I noticed many students’ summer reading lists included this book as an option. I definitely recommend it above most others.
This brilliant drawing-room mystery by an Agatha and Anthony Award-winning author features flawless plotting and slyly calibrated clues.
When a genteel family gathering at Quebec’s sumptuous lake-front Manoir Bellechasse terminates with a brutal homicide, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache interrupts his own holiday to find the culprit. It takes only a few pokes at the Finney family tree to bring down a full bushel of suspects: Vicious sibling rivalries and jealousies seem to be festering everywhere. As usual, Gamache, “the 21st century version of Hercule Poirot,” stays on top of the case, ferreting out wrongdoers as he moves closer to identifying the killer.
Lincoln Perry's back! And, once again, I have nothing but praise. A Welcome Grave is somewhat darker than its predecessors, but I again read the book cover-to-cover, unable to look away until I reached the end. With how easy Koryta makes it to empathize with the good guys, hate the bad guys, and worry through the shades of gray, it's no wonder it's so easy to be completely swept up into this not-so-fictional world.
By this book, the reader knows that Lincoln lost his job on the police force when he found out his fiancée was having an affair with prominent lawyer, Alex Jefferson, got drunk, drove to see him, and punched Jefferson in the face. So when the first lines of the book are, "Sometime after midnight, on a moonless October night turned harsh by a fine, windswept rain, one of the men I liked least in the world was murdered... The detectives went looking for suspects -- people whose histories with Jefferson were adversarial and hostile. At the top of that list, they found me..." you know right away Lincoln's in trouble. Being investigated for murder by the very department for which he used to work, Lincoln complicates matters more by being unable to refuse an assignment by the widow Jefferson, his ex-fiancée. She sends him to find her late husband's estranged son and let him know of his inheritance. Instead of the simple assignment he expected, Lincoln ends up in a jail in Indiana, and Jefferson's son ends up in the morgue. With the case against him growing increasingly strong, Lincoln must race against time to find the real killer and clear his own name.
With an unrelenting pace and depth far surpassing expectation, it's no wonder this new addiction is so compelling. More please!
For more Lincoln Perry see Tonight I Said Goodbye (Lincoln Perry Series #1), Sorrow's Anthem (Lincoln Perry Series #2), and The Silent Hour (Lincoln Perry Series #4). For Michael's stand-alone novels, check out Envy the Night and his new release,So Cold the River.
After finishing Michael Koryta's first novel, Tonight I Said Goodbye (Lincoln Perry Series #1), it took all of five minutes before I was in the car, on the way to get the next book. After a sleepless, page-turning night, I was once again impressed with the "unputdownableness" (official Barnes & Noble lingo!) of Koryta's writing.
Sorrow's Anthem is the second of (so far, I hope!) four novels starring former cop PI Lincoln Perry, only this time, the case is personal. In fact, no one even hired Lincoln. Plagued by guilt over his involvement in his childhood best friend, Ed Gradduk's, arrest, Lincoln is shocked to hear that the now ex-con is the prime suspect in a murder/arson case. Still wanting to try to do right by Ed, Lincoln seeks him out. After only a brief insight into what had happened, a police car arrives on the scene and Ed is killed in the chase, right before Lincoln's eyes. Against the advice of his partner, Joe, and against the wishes of Ed's mother and the rest of the neighborhood, Lincoln dives headfirst into the case and, inevitably, his own past. Intent on clearing Ed's name, Lincoln's fervor brings trouble down on Joe and himself as the discovery of another murder confuses the case even more.
Sorrow's Anthem is fast-faced, riveting, and explosive without being plot-heavy, as it left me feeling even closer to the characters than the first book. I will DEFINITELY keep reading and you should, too!
Life has not gone smoothly since Sam accidentally burned down Emily Dickinson's house (oh, and killed two people in the process) ten years ago. Now Sam is out of prison and ready to begin life anew. He is forced to move in with his nutty parents while he looks for a job. Sam also tries to apologize to the man who's mother he killed and the craziness continues.
When other author's homes begin to burn to the ground, Sam must discover who is out to get him and continue to try and build a life for himself in the process.
A quick and fun book that is great for any reader.
Like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, this realistic novel begins in an everyday suburban situation and rapidly escalates into fast-breaking terror and uncharted suspense.
A yard sale at an old Victorian house, hosted by a young couple, the wife eight months pregnant with their first child. Among the eager bargain hunters is a barely recognized former classmate of these happily married high school sweethearts. This aggressive, nervous woman, also expecting, talks her way into the aging mansion. She is never seen again. Suspicion begins to slip around the necks of the young couple; when incriminating evidence is found, the husband is arrested for murder. The wife, left to investigate on her own, begins to realize that she scarcely knows the man she married. What she doesn’t yet know is that the surprises have just begun…..
Christmas is coming to Flynn City, and it seems everyone needs a miracle. Especially, the Flynn City Egg Man. His investment in the “Claser,” results in all of his assets seized and he finds himself broke. Angry, he takes it out on an iguana, in a town that worships the reptile. Now, he finds himself in a Mexican jail.
Sandy True, the local drama queen who orchestrated her own kidnapping back in Easter 1969, in The Flynn City Egg Man, is pregnant, and her boyfriend Tyler Armstrong is about to be released from jail. Cuffy Landers returns back to Flynn City from college to spend winter break in the coal patch with his father, and to keep out of Tyler’s way. After all, can you really forgive someone who tried to kill you?
A major snowstorm strikes the area, and it will take more than one Christmas miracle to save a town already on the verge of dying. Will there be enough miracles to go around?
Jenkins paints a holiday landscape of hope, inspiration, and a coming of age journey promising to take you back to a place in time that offers up Christmas in a brand new light. Recommended for adult and young adult reading.
I am such a sucker for a mystery with romance involved. Violet and Jay have been best friends for what seems like forever, but just as every other girl in school starts to notice him, so does Violet. She achingly tries to ignore her new crush on him as she is also haunted by a special gift she has: she can sense death and feels a certain call from dead bodies and those who killed them.
Imagine dealing with school, a hot best friend, and a serial killer on the loose who you're trying to find!
Kimberly Derting creates a great mystery as she gives both the point of view from Violet and the killer! I hope she considers making this a series or writes more mystery/love stories.
Jeff Vandermeer's latest is a tough one to categorize. Is it Fantasy?, New Weird?, Hardboiled Detective?, or Science Fiction? Yes. But the easiest way to describe it is "The best book you haven't read this year." Mixing genre tropes has become such a common practice among writers today, that it can become easy to overlook titles as just another Paranormal Romance, or Detective Fantasy, etc. Don't do that with Finch. This is that perfect mix. Finch is Lovecraft, Chandler, and so much more.
Finch is the last book in the Ambergris cycle, following City of Saints and Madmen and Shriek, and like its predecessors works perfectly as a stand alone, so don't feel you have to read the first 2 before Finch (but they are great too). John Finch's latest case is a double murder that looks to be unsolvable. With his inhuman Grey Cap bosses (who make Big Brother's government seem Utopian) demanding results he sets to find the truth, through the decrepit, decaying, and transforming Ambergris. Every clue found leads more questions and more enemies that each are trying to pull Finch in their direction. By turn funny, compassionate, brutal, dark, weird, and packed with beautifully crafted prose, Finch is like nothing you have read before.
Finch is that rare book that you can't wait to read, stealing every free moment you have until you are finished, and one that you can't stop recommending to friends, strangers, family. Best Book of the Year!
What happens when you mix hard-boiled detective pulp with a Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn movie and add in enough alcohol to make Charles Bukowski blush? You get two of author Dashiell Hammett's most famous characters, Nick and Nora Charles. Written over 75 years ago, The Thin Man is chock full of 30's colloquialisms and dated policing methodology, but is still clever and edgy enough to compete with any modern equivalent. While this is the only novel Hammett wrote with these two amusing and well-developed characters, they resonated so much with readers that six movies, a radio drama and TV series were made about them.
The novel follows Nick, a former detective of some notoriety, and Nora, his wealthy, young socialite wife, as they solve a series of related murders that are closely associated to Nick's past. In between an ever-escalating amount of cocktail parties and gin joints, we are introduced to a motley cast of cops, crooks and New York's upper crust. Hammett brings the same amount of energy to ever character in this drama and develops each personality so adeptly, that the reader would be compelled to follow the story no matter which character was being focused on.
Hammett has the uncanny ability to keep this violent, and at times misogynistic tale, upbeat. Rarely can an author keep his audience in suspense and laughing at the same time, but Hammett pulls it off effortlessly. The Thin Man is the perfect book for fans of the detective genre, but is equally enjoyable for any reader who enjoys a witty book. Like its namesake, the novel is thin in size and is an ideal traveling companion.
I picked this book up over the summer on a recommendation from a friend. I was actually a little unsure as I had been devouring the latest teen books and wasn't sure I was ready to read a serious mystery while lounging by the pool. Honestly, I wanted a quick and easy read but this, the story of the investigation to find the killer of a young girl, grabbed my attention from the first page.
What I liked about In The Woods is that Tana French did not write it to be pretty. The descriptions are gritty, the characters have flaws, and even the plot and resolutions during the story will not always leave you feeling content.
My only real complaint about the novel might be the length as I felt it was long at some parts just for the sake of being long. Maybe French wanted her readers to feel how dragged out the case was for the main characters, Detectives Ryan and Maddox. As a reader, I got frustrated when the detectives did and felt invested in the quest to find the killer of the young girl.
Oh, and the story takes place in Ireland so, if you're like me, you'll read the entire thing with an accent. I hope I'm not the only one who does that
Thirsting for an intricate heist like Ocean's Eleven with a fantasy flair? Interested in a modern reflection of Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser? Or are you looking for a series where wits count for more than magic? If any of these questions make you pause, then take a moment to check out Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.
The story follows Locke & Jean as members of the Gentleman Bastards as they bilk the nobles of Camor out of their riches. They've been doing it rather successfully for a number of years, Locke earning the reputation as the Thorn of Camor. The heist gets complicated when the Gray King begins to run his own counter-scam against the thieves of Camor. Add the Spider, Camor's own spymaster, you end up so many intrigues going on it's hard to determine who's going to come out on top. Fantastic!
I enjoyed that the story doesn't follow the usual linear format, rather it jumps forward and backward in time. This tool was helpful in building suspense as well as allowing peeks into the fundamental instances of the characters' lives. Neither did it detract from the story as repeated flashbacks often do. Not a common technique in fantasy, it added another dimension to the already convoluted scheming of the novel.
One of the reasons I found this story appealing is I've found that I've become attracted to the crime story. Whether it's my Godfather collection or some Hard Case Crime, I like to see the seedy underbelly of humanity. On top of that, the story smacks of Robin Hood. While Locke might not quite give back to the poor, he's certainly making the rich pay out the nose.
Once you are through with Lies, you don't have to wait for the second novel in the series, Red Seas Under Red Skies . As for the rest of the books, I'm anxiously awaiting them, and I'm sure you will be as well.