Monday, April 29, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

An unusual San Francisco book store is the setting for this whimsical tale that is part mystery, part quest, and part rumination on the future of books.  It has conspiracy, romance, adventure, code-breaking, high tech data mapping, and even a secret society. I loved it.

Private by James Patterson

Former Marine helicopter pilot Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe.  It is where you go when maximum force and maximum discretion is required.  Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multimillion - dollar NFL gambling scandal and the horrific serial killings of teenage school girls when he learns of the murder of his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover.  It nearly pushes him over the edge.  This is a really good book and fast read with short chapters.  It is full of action and story content.  I loved it.

Damn Few by Rorke Denver

Damn Few, by Rorke Denver, is far from a simple autobiography.  It is the story of a modern United States Navy SEAL, from his entry into the program, through his intense training and eventual deployment in combat situations.  Long recognized as a leader among his SEAL teams, Denver eventually circled back and became a trainer for new classes of SEALs.  The book explores the SEAL mindset, and how America came to view SEALs in a new and respected light after the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  While Denver admits that SEALs are trained killers, he makes the point that that is far from the only thing they do.  SEALs are no less than the most highly trained group of warriors on the Earth.  For a taste of the secretive, demanding, and intimidating world of the Navy SEAL, Damn Few is a highly recommended read.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

     This is a modern day drama of a working, single mom who loves her teenage daughter. Kate gets a call while she's at work that Amelia has been suspended and that she needs to come and pick her up. This is crazy news to Kate because Amelia is a good student who never gets into trouble. The real shocker comes when Kate gets to school  and finds the Amelia is dead
     At first Amelia's grief is so deep that she accetps te explanation that Amelia killed herself because she was upset about being caught cheating. But when she receives a text that says Amelia didn't jump, it confirms what she knew all along. Somebody pushed Amelia.
     The rest of the book is a search to find out what really happened. The texts, facebook entries, and blog all reveal things about Amelia's last few weeks that bring several people under suspicion. Was it members of the girls' club, the Magpies? Was it Ben, the supportive texting friend or Woodhouse the administrator, or Liv, the beloved English teacher? Or perhaps one of Amelia's schoolmates; Sylvia, Ian, Dylan, or Zadie? The possibillties are numerous. The author keeps you guessing until the very end.  A great read.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they're found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters' diaries.  What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies.  Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of Saint Tancred's death, the English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint's tomb.  Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicut, grotesquely and inexplicably masked.  Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place?  The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out.  And what she unearths will prove there's no such thing as an open-and-shut case.  I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one in the series.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

Hunter S. Thompson has long been famous  for his,“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and its pull-no-punches morbidly hilarious journalistic style.  Now Charlie LeDuff takes up some portion of Thompson’s mantle with "Detroit: An American Autopsy," which would make for a darkly hilarious novel of its own if not  every word of the book were true.  LeDuff grew up in Detroit, moved away, and then returned in recent years to take a job as a reporter for the Detroit newspaper.  His journalism takes him to the heart of the problems with Detroit, from the abject poverty, to the rampant civil corruption, to the random, constant building arsons.  For anyone trying to figure out how things could have possibly gotten so bad in Detroit, located in a supposedly “first world” country, LeDuff provides invaluable insight into one of the nation’s largest boom-and-bust towns.  Highly recommended.