The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black

The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin BlackThe Black-Eyed Blonde
by Benjamin Black
(pub. 2/14)

Departing from his sterling series featuring Dublin-based pathologist Quirke, the author recreates Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and sends him unraveling a mystery set in mid-20th Century Southern California.  Chandler fans will rejoice but the plot is so clever, the characters so rich, the pervasive atmosphere so compelling and the hardboiled dialogue so entertaining that a reader need not be a Chandler fan to enjoy thoroughly.  An engrossing read from first page to last.

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Wolf by Mo Hayder

Wolf by Mo HayderWolf
by Mo Hayder
(pub. 4/14)

The Edgar-award winning author does not disappoint with her latest thriller – the 7th featuring troubled detective Jack Caffery.  Each of her books follows a distinctive story line but all share an ominous air of threatening, ill-defined evil.  This atmosphere is especially intense in this novel as Caffery’s investigation of a lost dog is – unknown to him – related to a family held hostage by a pair of imaginatively cruel characters.  As the many plot twists unfold, Caffery confronts a brutal slaying that occurred years before but continues to affect the present and the characters reveal themselves to be sharply different from what they originally seemed and secrets emerge to the final pages.  An absolute page-turner Coming May 2014.

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Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

Lawrence in Arabia by Scott AndersonLawrence in Arabia
by Scott Anderson
(pub. 8/13)

The title with the underscored In is telling because is this book is more about the events in the Middle East during World War I than an addition to the bulging shelf of T. E. Lawrence biographies.  Although that near-mythical figure plays a central role, the book focuses on the complex political and military maneuvers among then European Great Powers.  In addition to Lawrence, German diplomat/spy Curt Prurer,  Zionist Aaron Aaronsohn and William Yale, an American who simultaneously acted on behalf of his American oil company employer while advising governments.   As the history moves to its ultimately disastrous conclusion, the author speculates on how a much more positive outcome might have evolved had Lawrence’s vision of an independent Arab state been realized.  This is a penetrating new look at an era that continues to influence today’s news.

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Dam Busters by James Holland

Dam Busters by James HollandDam Busters
by James Holland
(pub. 11/13)

This fascinating history describes the destruction of two key hydroelectric dams in Germany’s industrial heartland during World War II. The reader meets the courageous British airmen who carried out the raid, using weapons developed specifically for this purpose by a group of brilliant scientists and military planners.  The author brings the era to life with lucid descriptions of the technical challenges, as well as the rich portraits of  the people involved.  Although the attack was extremely important contributor to the Allied victory, the dam raid has not received the attention it deserves until this detailed account.  Complete with maps, illustrations and a postscript that tells what happened to the principal participants during the reminder of the war and beyond.

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Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith

Tatiana by Martin Cruz SmithTatiana
by Martin Cruz Smith
(pub. 11/13)

The adventures of Moscow-based Andy Renko continue, reflecting the changes in culture from the oppressive dreariness under Communist rule described in Gorky Park (the first novel in the series) to the current Russian-style, gangster-influenced capitalism that is at the heart of Tatiana.  As Renko investigates the suspicious suicide of an investigative journalist who specialized in unearthing official scandal, he encounters a range of memorable characters and a number of twists in a complex but easily followed plot.

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Bitter River by Julia Keller

9781250003492Bitter River
by Julia Keller
(9/13)

Who killed Lucinda Trimble?  That’s the central question driving this second novel featuring West Virginia prosecutor Bell Elkins.  But this well-written, fast-moving novel has other topics to explore, including Bell’s sometimes tense relationship with Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, a possible terrorist threat, a visitor from Bell’s past and the characters that make up a poor but proud mountain community.

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Enon by Paul Harding

9781400069439Enon
by Paul Harding
(8/13)

This sequel to the author’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Tinkers” is set in the same New England village.  The story traces the effects of a beloved daughter’s sudden death on her doting father.  In the immediate aftermath, Charlie Crosby remembers fondly the many experiences he shared with Kate and mediations on the past in his history-rich village.  But gradually his thoughts turn darker into drug-induced hallucinatory nightmares as Charlie descends into despair.  This is a novel of the mind rather than action but the writing is so intense and rich in description that it grips one’s interest throughout.

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