Thursday, January 29, 2015

Deep Down Dark

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar has written a stirring account of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in a collapsed mine more than 2,000 feet below the surface. For 69 days! Can you imagine? In August 2010, these miners traveled underground for what they thought would be a 12-hour shift. At some point during that day, the mountain rumbled, and a large stone, estimated to be twice as heavy as the Empire State Building, fell and blocked the only exit from the mine. For the first 17 days of their ordeal, the miners had no idea if rescue was even a possibility. They had only a small amount of food, and not much light other than their battery-operated head lamps. Unknown to them, workers on the surface were scrambling to devise a rescue plan. The government became involved, and mine experts from around the world gathered to help. On the 17th day, a team finally broke through with a drill making a small hole in an area in which they had "guessed" the men would be. From that point on, the men had hope and could receive notes and supplies from the surface. The fact that you may have already seen the news accounts and know the final outcome doesn't detract from the immense readability and suspense of Deep Down Dark. While underground, the men took an oath to protect their story and decide as a group what book and movie rights would be given. Tobar is the author they chose to tell their story. He spent hours interviewing the men, family members, rescuers, and mine officials to piece together a narrative that is factual but also wonderfully personal from many viewpoints. Even if you normally don't read nonfiction, you will enjoy this book.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Steadfast Heart


     This book is the first in a series, Brides of Seattle and set up for the continuing story.    There are four main characters, Lenore, Kolbein, Abianna & Wade.  Plus let's not forget the "3 Aunts" who took Abianna in as a young child & run a "Bride School."  

    Lenore's father is trying to marry her off to a gentleman, more his age than hers.   Lenore knows she much take action quickly.
Than the is Abianna, who lives with the "aunts", and is Lenore best friend and is force to attend the Bride school, but is more interested in what is going on in the world instead of learning to keep house.

    Kolbein came from Seattle to find his sister.  Thinking that she was going to attend the Bride school, he first looks for her there.  Never expecting to find two lovely young woman, make that one lovely woman and one chatty woman.  Wade is a wagon maker who has made it his job to keep up with Adianna and keep her out of trouble.  Well-defined characters bring the story to a beautiful garden of personalities and events

     I enjoyed reading Steadfast Heart and look forward to the second book of this series.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French

Thanks to a well read patron, I have found a new author.  This is Nicci French's sixteenth novel, the second starring psychotherapist Freda Klein.  Freda lives in London and has become involved in helping Det. Chief Inspector Karlsson and his team solve murders.  She has a sister-in-law who is the antithesis of herself, a niece and a lover who has just moved too far away.  So she is somewhat at loose ends, when she is asked to give her opinion on a woman found in a dirty, odoriferous apartment with a dead man who has had a finger removed.  The woman makes no sense when questioned, and it is determined that the dead man was just one of her "collections" she had found in the street. 
Through Freda's persistence, it is learned that the dead man was a con man who stole someone else's name and possibly the money of many others.  But who killed him?  This is a dark and brooding novel with a touch of foreboding.  Freda must help her sister-in-law deal with a divorce from her own brother and help her niece deal with her parents neglect.  She takes long walks alone down London streets to help deal with her own turmoil regarding the murder.  Karlsson is dealing with his own personal problems, budget cuts and a staff who don't want help from Freda.
My mistake was in picking this second book before reading the first one, as I now know more about the murder solved in Blue Monday and will not need to read it.  I admire and like Freda.  She is caring enough to help those who were conned, but she finds that she herself can also be manipulated.  Nicci French is the writing team of husband and wife, Nicci Gerard and Sean French.