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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Masterminds by Gordon Korman, 323 pages

Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a tree house. honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie-they know it's a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places.
Eli has never left Serenity...why would he ever want to? Then one day he bikes to the edge of the city limits and sometimes so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one-least of all their own parents....

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson, 285 pages

It had been a well-kept secret for centuries, but now the existence of vampires is all over the news, thanks to Betsy Taylor's half sister (and the frustrated former Antichrist), Laura. Life for the undead will never be the same, and it's up to Betsy to do some damage control. But her interview on the local news doesn't exactly put out the fire. It more or less pours kerosene on it.
With all the added attention on supernatural beings, the werewolves are more than a little agitated (never a good thing) and demand that Betsy gets her interview skills, and her family, in order. And while thing go from bad to worse in the world, Hell continues to be hell-especially when Betsy's new parole program becomes about as complicated as you'd expect.
With a PR team launching a vampire-friendly campaign, the devil at large and out to make trouble, and mermaids on hand to see who falls-and how hard-the end isn't just near. It's here. And if anyone knows how to go out with a bang, it's the queen of Hell.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright, 320 pages

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than four hundred people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-seventeenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose club in his gracious townhouse-a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis, for which there was no cure. And in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her in the notorious Typhoid Mary.
Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstances have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are, in hindsight, almost too strange to believe. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we've suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history's most gripping and deadly outbreaks and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they've shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca, 436 pages

In 1917, on the day before Valentine's Day, eighteen-year-old Ruth Cruger disappeared. When the police gave up, a mysterious woman in black vowed to find her...
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Grace Humiston, the detective and lawyer who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation's greatest crime fighters during an era when women were rarely involved with investigations. After agreeing to take the sensational Cruger case, Grace and her partner, the hard-boiled detective Julius J. Kron, navigated a dangerous web of secret boyfriends, two-faced cops, underground tunnels, rumors of white slavery, and a mysterious pale man, in a desperate race against time.
Grace's motto "Justice for those of limited means" led her to strange cases all over the world. From defending an innocent giant on death row to investigating an island in Arkansas with a terrible secret, from the warring halls of Congress to a crumbling medieval tower in Italy, Grace solved crimes in between shopping at Bergdorf Goodman and being marked for death by the sinister Black Hand. Grace was appointed the first female U.S. district attorney in history and the first female consulting detective to the New York Police Department. Despite her many successes in social justice, at the height of her powers Grace began to see chilling connections in the cases she solved, leading to a final showdown with her most fearsome adversary of all.
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is the first-ever narrative biography of this singular woman the press named after fiction's greatest detective. Her poignant story reveals important clues about the relationship between missing girls, the media, and the reals truth of crime stories. The great mystery of Grace's life-and the haunting twist ending of the book-is how one woman could become so famous only to disappear from history completely.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell, 440 pages

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?
It should be simple-a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden's, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy's last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape-created from her very own dreams.
Aurora isn't alone-a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent's agents follow her every move, Aurora must discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is.
Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell, 376 pages

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?
Aladdin is a street rat. There's really no getting around that. Like most, he's just trying to survive another day in impoverished Agrabah.
Jasmine is a princess, one who is about to enter into an arranged marriage. All she wants is to escape her fate, to see what lies beyond the palace walls.
But everything changes when the sultan's trusted adviser, Jafar, suddenly rises to power. With the help of the ancient lamp, Jafar becomes determined to break the laws of magic and gain control over love and death. Soon Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion to stop the power-mad ruler. But their fight for freedom grows costly when it threatens to tear the kingdom apart.
This isn't the story you already know. This is a story about power. About revolutionaries. About love. And about one moment changing everything.

The Secret of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien, 249 pages

Ever since last summer, Mrs. Frisby has been worried about Timothy, her younger son. Timothy has had pneumonia-he almost died-and now he is too frail and weak to be moved. But if the Frisbys don't move immediately, they'll all be killed!
Mrs. Frisby is frantic. Then she hears about the wonderful Rats of NIMH-rats who are strong, smart, able to do almost anything. They've escaped from the lab at NIMH. They can save the Frisbys. But will they?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Not a Girl Detective by Susan Kandel, 294 pages

Biographer and amateur sleuth Cece Caruso freely admits that she spent her youth idolizing girl detective Nancy Drew, a fantasy that undoubtedly influenced her grown-up job writing biographies of dead mystery writers. But as Cece will discover driving down the highway in her Jackie O. sunglasses and a borrowed baby-blue Cadillac, some fantasies die harder than others.
Researching the life of Carolyn Keene, the pseudonymous author of the Nancy Drew mysteries, Cece meets a flamboyant collector of "Blue Nancys," the original books with blue covers. When he finds out she is taking a road trip to Palm Springs to deliver the keynote speech at the annual Nancy Drew fan convention, he offers her the use of his swanky vacation house. But the last thing Cece expects to find lying around the swimming pool is one very body.
In a race against time that takes her from a secret enclave of restored Victorians near downtown L.A. to the driest stretches of California desert, Cece will have to channel her former idol and then some to unmask a sly killer-before he comes after her. Of course, it helps to have a knockout collection of vintage clothing, though Cece prefers Azzedine Alaia semigloss knits and Halston silver sequined berets to Nancy's prim suits and gloves.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Librarian and the Spy by Susan Mann, 337 pages

A librarian’s journey from the checkout desk to fast cars, stolen treasures, and international intrigue / with an introduction by suave, handsome “insurance” agent James Lockwood.

Adventure-hungry Quinn Ellington’s job solving mundane mysteries for library patrons entangles her in a mission to decode the whereabouts of a weapons cache from a priceless work of art before arms dealers beat her to it. Her adventure is filled with twists, turns, and a budding romance. Transcontinental pursuit, daring rescues, and intense covert flirting follow.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shinju by Laura Rowland, 367 pages

It is January 1689 in Edo, the city that would one day become Tokyo. The bodies of a young man and a beautiful noblewoman, bound together, are dragged from the murky Sumida River: a typical shinju, a ritual double suicide committed by a pair of star-crossed lovers.
But when Sano, a tutor, a samurai, and now a reluctant police officer, begins a routine investigation, he comes to suspect murder. And as he unravels the twisted story behind these deaths, he stumbles upon a trail of deceit and assassination that threatens the very underpinnings of the shogun's Japan.
Shinju is a suspenseful, page-turning journey through the seductive world of medieval Japanese culture, politics, and sex. Filled with exceptional detail and color reminiscent of James Clavell, informed by the sort of investigatory suspense that inspired Gorky Park, Shinju merges breathtaking historical fiction with a first-rate detective tale.