Monday, June 15, 2009

A Thriller with a Heart

You have got to read this book. Put everything else aside, find a comfortable chair, and start reading. Actually, you won't even need a comfortable chair, because once you start reading, you won't notice where you are or what you're sitting on. This book is that good. This was my first time to read John Hart, and after reading The Last Child, I intend to go back and read his two previous books as soon as possible. It is the perfect blend of page-turning suspense, intriguing plot, and characters that come alive on the page. Johnny Merriman is a 13-year-old boy who has had to grow up way too fast, and Clyde Hunt is the detective who always seems to be one or two steps behind Johnny. (That was my one and only complaint about this book--I was disappointed that it took Hunt so long to figure out what Johnny was up to!) Johnny's sister Alyssa disappeared a year ago, his father left shortly after that, and his mother totally fell apart. Johnny's life is devoted to trying to find Alyssa, escaping the wrath of his mother's cold and heartless "boyfriend" (more like drug supplier) Ken, and trying to watch out for his fragile mother as best as he can. Hunt, who was the lead detective on Alyssa's case, is obsessed with the case and tries to keep tabs on Johnny and his mother. Then another young girl is abducted, and the nightmare escalates. If you like a good crime novel, or a good character-driven novel, you will love this book. Read it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Remembrance of Times Past

Remembering the Bones, by Frances Itani, is a delightful book about a delightful woman in a not-so-delightful predicament. Georgina Danforth is on her way to visit the queen when her life takes a big turn. She shares Queen Elizabeth II's birthday, so she is one of 99 who is invited to a big party celebrating their 80th birthdays. On her way to the airport, Georgie, who is excited and distracted, veers off the road and into a ravine. She is injured and unable to move very far. Her car and herself are hidden from the road. She comforts herself by remembering and naming all the bones of the body, which she learned as a child by poring over her grandfather's anatomy books. She also remembers many scenes from her life, and reflects on whether she has lived a worthy one. At least one reviewer has said that Georgie's musings are very awkward and disordered, but wouldn't your thoughts be a little in disarray if you were in pain and lying in a ditch, wondering if you would ever be found? This is a wonderful story about a woman's life, with a tension growing with every page, as the reader wonders about Georgie's fate. This is the Morning Book Club's selection for June. Come and discuss the book with us on June 26, at 9 a.m.