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Join our Newsletter! Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on
January 29, 2006

Hello, readers!

25 new reviews were recently posted to Click on the book cover to read the review; click on reviewer's name to learn more about the reviewer.

by Christopher Wilson
Reviewed by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

In 1950, a black boy is born in segregated Eureka, Mississippi. Nothing startling there, except that he is born with white skin and blonde hair. His mother is properly black and his father, long gone, is an Icelander. This boy's name is Lee Cotton. In the course of the next 20-odd years, he will have a series of adventures that defy reason, beg the imagination and stagger belief. Flat-out hilarious.

by Walter Mosley
Reviewed by Hagen Baye

It's 1966, the emerging counter culture is in full swing as well as the Vietnam War. And Easy Rawlins must raise $35K, anyway that he can, to save the life of his adopted daughter, Feather.

by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie

Set in Rio de Janeiro, Chief Inspector Espionsa receives a call from a hospital pyschiatrist claiming that his daughter has been kidnapped by his patient. But the patient turns up dead. As Espinosa learns more about the doctor’s history, it becomes harder to discern the stalker from the stalked, reality from fantasy, and the sane from the diabolical.

by José Latour
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Often called a "master of Cuban noir" writing, Jose Latour writes his darkest novel yet, one which appears on the surface to be a "Cold War" novel of espionage and suspense, though it is written long after the conclusion of the Cold War between the US and the USSR.

by Martin Cruz Smith
Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky

A stylish and atmospheric story set in Russia and the Ukraine. Pasha Ivanov, a super-rich member of New Russia's capitalist class, has plunged to his death from his Moscow condominium. The authorities have ruled that Ivanov committed suicide. However, stubborn and sharp detective Arkady Renko wants to dig deeper into the "whys" of Pasha's death.

by Martin Davies
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Combining natural history, a search for the remains of the Mysterious Bird of Ulieta, several love stories, and a number of exciting mysteries, the author keeps the reader totally engaged and on the edge of his/her seat for the entire length of the novel.

by John Banville
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Winner of the 2005 Man Booker award, Banville presents a sensitive and remarkably complete character study of Max Morden, an art critic/writer from Ireland whose wife has just died from a lingering illness.

by Susan Fletcher
Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie

Pregnant with her first child by the man whom she's adored for twenty years, Eve Green recalls her mother's death when she was eight years old and her struggle to make sense of her parents' mysterious romantic past and the years growing up with her grandparents in rural Wales. Suspenseful in a quiet sort of way. 2004 Whitbread Frist Novel winner.

by Ayelet Waldman
Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky

With wry candor and finely tuned prose, Waldman has crafted a strikingly beautiful novel for our time, tackling the absurdities of modern life and reminding us why we love some people no matter what.

by Kiran Desai
Reviewed by Poornima Apte

Mostly set in the town of Kalimpong in Northeast India, close to the Nepal border. Here live an old retired civil services officer, Jemubhai Patel, with his cook and dog, Mutt. Soon his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, joins the judge in his decrepit mansion.The judge's chatty cook watches over, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, hopscotching from one New York restaurant job to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS.

KINSHU: Autumn Brocade
by Teru Miyamoto
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Through the personal, confidential, and honest letters exchanged by a young Japanese couple, now divorced for ten years, Teru Miyamoto examines the many roles marriage plays in Japanese culture as he also contemplates the wider relationship between life and death.

by Diana Abu-Jaber
Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie

Thirty-nine-year-old Sirine, never married, lives with a devoted Iraqi-immigrant uncle and an adoring dog named King Babar. She works as a chef in a Lebanese restaurant, her passions aroused only by the preparation of food—until an unbearably handsome Arabic literature professor starts dropping by for a little home cooking.

by Paul Watkins
Reviewed by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

One man's quiet life is shattered when he's forced to confront terrifying secrets he'd thought he'd buried high in the Italian Alps. The little-known role of the army's mountaineer corps comes brilliantly to life in this story of men pushed to the limits of endurance and survival, and haunted by the ghosts of war.

by Joyce Carol Oates
Reviewed by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

A solid collection of tales of suspense and violence by this accomplished author.  These nine stories portray women at their most murderous, motivated by passion, desperation, righteousness, or just plain nastiness. 

by Thomas Keneally
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Taking place in an unnamed oil-rich country in the Middle East ruled by a tyrant who calls himself Great Uncle, the novel centers on a man calling himself "Alan Sheriff," a short story writer given one month to write an "autobiographical novel" for which Great Uncle will take full credit.

by David Albahari
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

The speaker of this long monologue is a teacher of Serbo-Croatian language and literature, a 50-year-old Jewish man who has been trying to fill in the spaces in his family tree after World War II in Yugoslavia.

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
by Jane Smiley
Reviewed by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

Over an extraordinary twenty-year career, Jane Smiley has written all kinds of novels: mystery, comedy, historical fiction, epic. "Is there anything Jane Smiley cannot do?" raves Time magazine. But in the wake of 9/11, Smiley faltered in her hitherto unflagging impulse to write and decided to approach novels from a different angle: she read one hundred of them.

by Michael Robotham
Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky

Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz of the London Metropolitan Police is a man who lives on the edge and makes his own rules. One night, he is pulled out of the Thames after having been shot in the leg, and nearly bleeds to death. Eight days later, Ruiz emerges from a coma with no memory of the events surrounding the incident.

by Peter Temple
Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie

Australian Jack Irish is an ex-lawyer and sometime debt collector, cabinetmaker and barfly. When Jack gets a desperate message from Danny McKillop, whom he defended years before on a hit-and-run charge "at the beginning of the forgotten zone, the year or so I spent drunk," he takes a while to call him back. When he does, Danny, who was fresh out of prison, is dead. Jack's guilt fuels his ensuing search for the truth about Danny's murder.

by Linda Fairstein
Reviewed by Peggy Lindsey

Teaming up with longtime friends -- NYPD's Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace -- Assistant DA Alex Cooper investigates the disappearance of world-famous dancer Natalya Galinova, who has suddenly vanished backstage at Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House -- during a performance.

by Will Ferguson
Reviewed by Brian Farey

When an enormous self-help manuscript lands on Edwin's desk, it's headed for the trash. Edwin's cynicism of self-help books, coupled with his filthy mood that morning, results in him dismissing Tupak Soiree's What I Learned on the Mountain and using it as a doorstop. However, Tupak's manuscript is unique -- a self-help book that actually works. Before Edwin knows it, a chain of events begins that affects not only his own life but the world at large.

by Chris Grabenstein
Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie

There isn't much fun in the sun when a billionaire real estate tycoon is found murdered on the Tilt-A-Whirl at a seedy seaside amusement park in the otherwise quiet summer tourist town of Sea Haven. John Ceepak, a former MP just back from Iraq, has just joined the Sea Haven police department. The job offer came from an old army buddy who hoped to give Ceepak at least a summer's worth of rest and relaxation to help him forget the horrors of war.

by Jacqueline Carey
Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie

The last book in this fantastic romantic adventure is every bit as exciting as the first two books in the trilogy. Read Jana's reviews of each to the three books in the series.

by Bill Bonanno & Joe Pistone
Reviewed by Hagen Baye

In case you don't recognize the Joe Pistone name -- he's Donnie Brasco, the undercover FBI agent the infiltrated the Mafia. Bonanno is a former member of the Boananno crime family. The authors provide an inside look at both a Mafia family and the FBI in this collaborative novel.

by Matthew Reilly
Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky

Teams from various countries are racing against time to find the Golden Capstone that once stood on top of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Alexander the Great broke the Capstone into seven pieces and hid each piece in one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Whoever assembles all seven pieces of the Capstone will gain absolute power for the next thousand years.


Happy reading!

Judi Clark


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