Monday, May 28, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin

by Lionel Shriver

Eva Khatchadourian was once a successful travel writer. Now, she considers it a success if she can remove the remnants of the vandalism that's left behind by irate haters. For you see, two years earlier her son Kevin orchestrated a massacre at his local high school, killing several students and a teacher who had considered Kevin a challenge.

A very well written book, We Need To Talk About Kevin is composed of letters that Eva has written to her  husband, Franklin. Letters that allow her to express herself completely in regards to the mother-son relationship that she shared with Kevin.  Her inability to bond with with her troubled son, as an infant and throughout his teen years, and the subtle and sinister behavior that he displayed with sociopathic zest.

Brutally tragic, this novel will remain in your mind long after you've finished reading it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Girlchild: a novel

Tupelo Hassman has left me intrigued. Her debut novel is part poetry, part visual art, and a significant portion is just great storytelling. I have written her name down on my ‘need to read list’ so I will remember to jump on the ‘hold’ list for her next novel.
Rory Dawn Hendrix lives with her mother on the margin of society in the Calle de las Flores, a trailer park outside of Reno. Her mom tends bar at the local ‘Truck Stop’ and then spends her after work hours drinking her earnings. Growing up has been left largely to Rory to figure out on her own– supplemented with occasional advice from her grandmother. Early in her elementary years, Rory discovers The Girl Scout Handbook and she has checked it out so often that her name fills all the lines on the circulation card. But even clearly defined chapters such as The Right Use of Your Body and Finding Your Way When You are Lost does not provide the necessary direction she needs to survive life on the Calle. Even with the handbook’s guidance, Rory still must face the fact that she is in a troop all her own. With intelligence, wit, and brassiness, she is able to navigate an escape route when she finds herself on her own.
This is a book unlike any I have ever read. The brevity of some chapters hit the mark dead on. The complexity of the characters are so well developed that I swear that I definitely know these people by the time I finished the book.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Before the Poison

Chris Lowndes is a former Yorkshire native who has retuned to the Dales.  In California, he made a good living writing music for movies, but now needs some time away to recover from his wife's death and work on a personal composition.  He buys sight unseen a large rambling mansion where he senses some ghostly presence.  When he is told the murder of a former landowner by his beautiful young wife occured in the house fiftty years earlier, he becomes intrigued.   Grace Fox was found guilty and was subsequently hanged of the murder of her husband, Dr. Ernest Fox.  Evidence was circumstantial, but she was deemed a wanton woman because of an affair.  Chris feels a need to find out the truth about the murder and begins asking questions of his new friends and neighbors.
This is a lovely and charming book, part mystery and part historical novel.  At the beginning of each chapter is a page from Grace's diary kept during World War II.  She was a Queen Alexandra nurse and traveled with the soldiers during the war.  Did this have anything to do with the murder of her husband?  This novel is moving and you can find yourself  very involved with the characters.
Peter Robinson usually writes the Inspector Alan Banks mystery.  This is a very welcome stand alone novel.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

THE LOST YEARS by Mary Higgins Clark

  In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark, America's Queen of Suspense, has written her most astonishing novel to date.
At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history--"the holiest of the holy"-- and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world.
  Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments, a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ.  Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever.
  Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts.  But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in.
  Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen who is suffering from Alzheimer's, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon.  Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair.  Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend?  Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing?
  It is up their daughter, twenty-eight-year-old Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father's death.  Mary Higgins Clark's The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archaeological treasure of all time.

Adult Fiction, Mary Higgins Clark, Suspense