The Fourth Watcher by Timothy Hallinan

Last year I had this to say about Timothy Hallinan’s A Nail Through the Heart [It] is a captivating and emotional novel. It is both an exciting expatriate detective novel and an exploration of the power of love and family in the midst of darkness and chaos. I look forward to getting to know Poke Rafferty better as the series continues. Well, the release of the next Poke Rafferty novel, The Fourth Watcher, gave me just that chance.  And Hallinan has met my high expectations and put...

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Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

I have been trying to put my finger on why I didn’t like the first installment of the Thrusday Next series by Jasper Fforde.  I mean I like satire and books that blend or bend genres.  But I have now finished another book in the series, Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, and althoug I liked it better I can’t say I am a fan. So what happened?  Well, I think it has to do with the style and the lead character.  You either like them of you don’t.  And for whatever...

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Duck by Nic Bettauer

I am a sucker for quirky novellas.  I have always been intrigued by short works about unorthodox subjects.  Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t but my interest remains. I bring this up because I recently finished just such a book: Duck by Nic Bettauer.  Duck, which was a movie before it was a book, is described by the publisher thus: It is the very near future and the country has lost its social services, social graces, public parks, and common sense. Arthur is a...

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Duck by Nic Bettauer

I am a sucker for quirky novellas.  I have always been intrigued by short works about unorthodox subjects.  Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t but my interest remains. I bring this up because I recently finished just such a book: Duck by Nic Bettauer.  Duck, which was a movie before it was a book, is described by the publisher thus: It is the very near future and the country has lost its social services, social graces, public parks, and common sense. Arthur is a...

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In the Mail: Paperback Fiction

–> The Almost Archer Sisters by Lisa Gabriele Publishers Weekly There were never such devoted sisters, or ones so hilariously and heartbreakingly conflicted about loyalty and love as the ones in Gabriele’s brisk second novel (Tempting Faith DiNapoli). Thoughtful, married-mom Georgie Peachy Archer and big-city-girl Beth, her older sister, grow up on a Canadian farm with their hairdressing, Vietnam draft–dodging dad, Lou, and share the pain of their mom’s suicide. But...

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Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

Book cover via Amazon ***Speaking of quick hits, here is one now*** I had always heard about Leif Enger’s Peace Like A River in such hallowed terms that I think I raised my expectations to high.  As I have noted before, expectations can often play a large role in how you react to, or interact with, a book (or a movie, album, etc.).  And when a blurb on the front says that the book “serves as a reminder of why we read fiction to begin with” then it is hard to not have...

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Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

Book cover via Amazon ***Speaking of quick hits, here is one now*** I had always heard about Leif Enger’s Peace Like A River in such hallowed terms that I think I raised my expectations to high.  As I have noted before, expectations can often play a large role in how you react to, or interact with, a book (or a movie, album, etc.).  And when a blurb on the front says that the book “serves as a reminder of why we read fiction to begin with” then it is hard to not have...

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In the Mail: Fiction edition

–> The Plain Sense of Things by Pamela Carter Joern Publishers Weekly Set against the backdrop of the Nebraska prairie, Joern’s powerful second offering follows three generations as they navigate the greater part of the 20th century. In 1930, Gramp comes to collect five-year-old Billy after his mother dies. This stoic beginning sets the tone for the rest of the novel as characters endure poverty, illness and betrayal. Subsequent generations share storytelling duties;...

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The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

“A boy. A tiger. And the vast Pacific Ocean. This is a novel of such rare and wondrous storytelling that it may, as one of the characters claims, make you believe in God. Can a reader reasonably ask for anything more?” So reads the dust jacket of the novel The Life of Pi by Yann Martel . My answer: yes. To be more accurate I am not sure the book lives up to this haughty claim. And if it does make you believe in God, what kind of God is it and why do you believe? In other words The...

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