Jamie Wagner is an underachieving lawyer without much ambition until he takes on the pro bono case of a lifetime. As he meets the plaintiff he is drawn to her and thus to her problem, which is a pip. She is in prison for killing her husband in cold blood, her daughter will die without a heart transplant, and she wishes to donate her heart to her daughter by committing suicide.
The plus side of this book is the interweaving of an old story that completely changes the facts as we know them. Wry humor and real human beings give this read a special voice. Enjoyed it immensely.
Read David’s Rosenfelt’s Heart of a Killer today!
Another Scandinavian mystery from Norway gains popularity in the U. S. and with good reason. A train wreck high, high in the mountains of Norway leaves over 300 people stranded. Fortunately, they gain shelter at a decent hotel that is about to be tested against the most intense blizzard in recent history. A perfect setting for murder(s)
In this icy setting we meet the enigmatic Hanne Wilhelmsen, a former homicide officer, now permanently bound to a wheelchair, which is another story. Hanne encamps in the lounge and from that point acutely observes the large cast of characters, soon suspects in murder quite cold.
The unique element of this story is the ever frightening storm that puts everyone under pressure. Reluctantly Hanne is pulled into the maelstrom. A real whodunit!
Check the catalog for 1222 and for other books by Anne Holt.
In this impressive work, there is one book and 8 CDs, so you can read and listen; I did both. Mostly I read, and then listened to catch a vocal impression of Jacqueline Kennedy.
These first of a kind conversations with Arthur Schlesinger were recorded within a year of President’s Kennedy’s death. Jacqueline Kennedy, with her strong sense of history, documented and preserved her first hand recollections of her husband’s political colleagues, friends, and events as she remembered them. They were sealed and put in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library per her wishes.
Now in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s inauguration, the Kennedy family has released these insightful and revealing tapes. So much has been written and conjectured about this family; it is refreshing to hear the very human memories of Jacqueline.
Reversely, the life of Jacqueline and her perspective are also illuminated. She reveals so much about herself as she expresses her views of her husband. It’s fascinating.
There so many people that the average reader will often refer to the footnotes. I would also add that these are the thoughts of a young woman, steeped in shock and grief, who bravely tried to preserve her husband’s legacy.
Check here to see if the book is available now.
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (2005)
This Icelandic writer is pure noire. He is grouped with the popular Scandinavian crime writers who are currently hot sellers. As read by George Guidall, Inspector Erlendur is an empathetic policeman who investigates a complex situation with stubborn persistence, always digging into the past. The paths finally come together, but the journey intrigues the reader. The voice of Guidall gives a humanistic touch that allows the listener to accept the cold, dark atmosphere of Iceland.
For more Scandinavian crime novels here is a list of our favorites.
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (2010)
Perhaps this book should be called “The Truth about Cleopatra, Last Queen of Egypt.” In reality, her life, filled with intrigue, danger, political upheaval, reads like an unbelievable adventure film. She lived by her wits with constant loyalty to Egypt.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff showcases her authentic research in this remarkable work. The historical truth of Cleopatra’s life demands that she be taken seriously. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the way Schiff presents myth versus truth.
The way she saved her skin and her kingdom from Julius Caesar is one story; the way she tried to preserve that same kingdom from another Roman soldier, Mark Antony, is another. The ability to present the truth is Schiff’s strength. She was more than a steamy seductress; she was a power unto herself.
To find about more about the book check out this Q&A with the author.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2011)
From page one, this story of a big pharmaceutical company plunging into the Amazon to investigate the development of drugs and, incidentally, the death of one of its doctors intrigued me. The story gathers momentum as the scene moves from Minnesota to the jungles of the Amazon. The characters are often flawed but so human. For a real thriller offering so much to think about, try Ann Patchett.
To read an expert from the book check this article from NPR here.
The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (2009)
Another Swedish author (Steig Larrson was the first.) makes her mark in the murder industry. For once, I agree with the endorsements on the book jacket: “Chilly, deceptive and lucid, just like the icy environment it describes.” –The Literary Review.
The plotting, the intertwine of characters, the environment and even the ending satisfy the reader. All things work together as the story gathers momentum. Lackberg develops her characters deftly, just enough to be realistically appealing or appalling as the case may be. This is my starred mystery for summer.
Keep up to date with the latest news about the author on her blog.
Blowback by Peter May (2011)
Blowback is the fifth book in the Enzo Files series. May continues Enzo’s quest to solve seven cold case murders. To really appreciate this book, you need to begin with Extraordinary People, the first book in the series. That being said, May produces another absorbing mystery.
This book takes us to the world of the three star Michelin restaurants in France where we begin to realize the dark side of the culinary arts. If you like food and France and an interesting older man with plenty of appeal, you will enjoy this book. Another point of interest is the ongoing story of Enzo’s personal growth in his relations with family, friends and, being Enzo, his lovers.
Check out the authors favorite recipes.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson (2010)
I haven’t read such fun book for a long time, the kind you hate to see end. Major Pettigrew is a “one of kind character,” warm, human, complex yet naïve. The author artfully tells the story from Pettigrew’s perspective. What a story it is. A lovely Muslim storekeeper is the Juliette of this September romance and they make a delicious pair as they tread their way through prejudice of a small English town, their families, and their own personal hang ups.
One of the strong points of the book is the pacing. It is a work of art the way the plots moves quickly along to a photo finish. The morality of change, good and bad, presents a fascinating dilemma but never in a boorish or boring way. Go for it.
Drop in the library for a book discussion on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:00.
Box 21 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom (2009)
Swedish crime is intriguing. If you liked the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, this book is for you. It is second in the Ewert Grens thrillers, a series with cutting edge crime and dark characters. I suggest reading the first book, The Beast, because two stories converge in Box 21 – an unfinished thread from the first book and a brand-spanking new blockbuster in the second. Although much of the plot circles around the sex slave trade, the authors show restraint in portraying this grueling subject.
Starred reviews indicate that this series could really fly. Time will tell.
For more on the authors, check out their website.