Sunday, April 23, 2017

Batman, The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, 384 pages

Taking place during Batman's early days of crime fighting, this new edition of the classic mystery tells the story of a mysterious killer who murders his prey only on holidays. Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month. A mystery that has the reader continually guessing the identity of the killer, this story also ties into the events that transform Harvey Dent into Batman's deadly enemy, Two-Face.
This edition includes original 13-issue series as well as four additional story pages cut from the original series, which are presented fully colored and restored to their place in the story.  Also featured are sketches and an introduction by the director and writer of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer.

The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew, 368 pages

Tannie Maria, recipe writer turned crime fighter, writes the love advice and recipe column for the Klein Karoo Gazette: words of wisdom for the lovelorn, along with a recipe for something helpful and delicious. But Maria has a problem of her own. Her relationship with the rugged detective Henk Kannemeyer is still haunted by the memory of her abusive late husband, so she decides to check out a counseling group run by a man they call the Satanic Mechanic. Then a local land-rights activist is murdered-poisoned before her eyes-and Tannie Maria's quest for healing takes a more investigative turn. Which means her relationship with Henk is about to get professional. And more important, very complicated.
There is no shortage of conundrums personal and investigative for an amateur sleuth to confront in this delightful, warm-hearted sequel to Sally Andrew's . Blending a madcap mystery with lovable characters in the beautiful setting of South Africa's rural Klein Karoo, Sally Andrew really does have the perfect recipe for a crime series.
Recipes for Love and Murder

The African Queen by C. S. Forester, 246 pages

As World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle, Charlie Allnutt and Rose Sayer, a disheveled trader and an English spinster missionary, find themselves thrown together by circumstances. Fighting time, heat, malaria, and bullets, they make their escape on the rickety steamboat The African Queen...and hatch their own outrageous military plan. Originally published in 1935, The African Queen is a tale replete with vintage Forester drama-unrelenting suspense, reckless heroism, impromptu military maneuvers, near-death experiences-and a good old-fashioned love story to boot.
This is another one that I would have never picked up if not for my book club.

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, 244 pages

Omakayas and her family live on the land her people call the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Although the "chimookoman," white people, encroach more and more on their land, life continues much as it always has: every summer they build a new birchbark house, every fall they go to ricing camp to harvest and feast; they move to the cedar log house before the first snows arrive, and celebrate the end of the long, cold winters at maple-sugaring camp. In between, Omakayas fights with her annoying little brother, Pinch; plays with the adorable baby, Neewo; and tries to be grown-up like her big sister, Angeline. But the satisfying rhythms of their life are shattered when a visitor comes their lodge one winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever-but that will eventually lead Omakayas to discover her calling.
I'm so glad Rebecca told me about this book and let me borrow it after she read it. Very touching and bittersweet at times, I can't wait to read the next one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman, 351 pages

At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered past.
What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions-about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during her next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.
When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman's life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.

H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil by Adam Selzer, 430 pages

H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil is the truly first comprehensive book examining the life and career of a murderer who has become one of America's great supervillains. It reveals not only the true story but how the legend evolved, taking advantage of hundreds of primary sources that have never been examined before, including legal documents, letters, articles, and records that have been buried in archives for more than a century.
Though Holmes has become just as famous now as he was in 1895, a deep analysis of contemporary materials makes very clear how much of the story as we know came from reporters who were nowhere near the action, a dangerously unqualified new police chief, and, not least, lies invented by Holmes himself.
Selzer has unearthed tons of stunning new data about Holmes, weaving together turn-of-the-century America, the killer's background, and the wild cast of characters who circulated in and about the famous "castle" building. This book will be the first truly accurate account of what really happened in Holmes's castle of horror.
Exhaustively researched and painstakingly brought to life, H.H. Holmes will be an invaluable companion to the upcoming Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio movie about Holmes's murder spree based on Erik Larson's .
The Devil in the White City

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly, 341 pages

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast's castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.
The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast's castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.
Nevermore's