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September 26, 2003

Reader's Forum at Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on August 26, 2004.

Hello, readers!

Eighteen new reviews were posted to in the last few days. Click on the book covers to read the reviews; click on reviewers name to learn more about the reviewer.

Reviewed by Judi Clark

After a hurricane whips into Southwest Florida, two things turn up: a baby's skull and a woman's body. I was long overdue in writing up this review. I like this book but, like a few others in my growing pile, I just kept waiting for time to get to writing the review. With the obvious connection of a real life hurricane in the same area I was inspired to set fingers to keyboard -- because watching the news got me thinking about this book.

Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Here's a novel for baseball lovers, and especially Red Sox fans (sorry Chuck!). Eight years old when the novel opens, E. A. lives in Kingdom Common, a rural Vermont town which may be the most baseball-loving town in America, a place where every radio is always tuned in to Fenway Park broadcasts and where evenings are spent watching the town team's spirited games on the common. A coming of age, baseball fantasy, funny and heartfelt.

LOST SOULS by Michael Collins
Reviewed by Judi Clark

This novel is as much character study (of a self-destructive person and of a small town in economic downslide) as it is murder mystery. Though bleak, it is an astounding read. Between this novel and his previous one, The Resurrectionists, this author is at the top of my list.

Reviewed by Mary Whipple

The return of an old friend turns life upside down for a group of "twertysomethings" in this quirky novel set in contemporary London. Meanwhile, the city's pigeons have divided into two warring factions. Neate tells the story of the Pigeon Wars from point of view of Ravenscourt, a pigeon soldier.

STRANGE BUT TRUE by John Searles
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Five years after Ronnie Chase's death in a prom-night automobile accident, his girlfriend, Melissa, finds herself miraculously pregnant with Ronnie's baby. The fractured Chase family doesn't know what to believe.

THE PROGRAM by Greg Hurwitz
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Hurwitz continues the story of Tim Rackley, the U.S. Marshall introduced in The Kill Clause (now available in PB) which we reviewed last year. This time Rackley gets involved in trying to recover the Hennings' daughter who is lost to a cult.

KILLER SMILE by Lisa Scottoline
Reviewed by Chuck Barksdale

Mary DiNunzio is obsessed with a pro bono case in which she is to fight for restitution for an Amadeao Brandolini. A man who committed suicide while interned with ten thousand other Italians during World War II, a little known fact. Historical aspects are inspired by Scottoline's on family history.

SEE JANE DIE by Erica Spindler
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Jane was nearly killed while swimming one day, she didn't die, but it did change her life. Seventeen years later, she's happily married and expecting her first baby. But this happiness busts wide open when her husband is accused of murder and her estranged half-sister is the cop on the case. I first became aware of Erica Spindler through one of the mystery groups that I lurk on, so I was happy to have Cindy review not only one but two of her stand alone mysteries. (See next book.)

IN SILENCE by Erica Spindler
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Journalist Avery Chauvin is devastated when she receives word of her father's suicide. How could her father, a dedicated physician, have taken his own life? Returning to her hometown of Cypress Springs, Louisiana, Avery desperately searches for answers. Instead she hears whispered rumors of strange happenings and of neighbors who go missing in the night.

A SON OF WAR by Melvyn Bragg
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Though not necessary to read it first, A Son of War continues the story of the Sam Richardson, his wife Ellen and son Joe, who live in Wigton, a small village in Cumbria, England after World World II.

THE SARI SHOP by Rupa Bajwa
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Ramchand, a 26-year-old shop assistant in Sevak Sari House in Amritsar, spends his days patiently showing yards of fabric to the women of "status families" and to the giggling girls who dream of dressing up in silk but can only afford cotton. When Ramchand is sent to a new part of the city to show wares to a wealthy family preparing for their daughter's wedding, he is jolted out of the rhythm of his narrow daily life.

THE PTOLEMIES by Duncan Sprott
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Sprott brings the political, social, and religious life of Alexandria and Memphis under Ptolemy Soter into focus through the sometimes mischievous voice of Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom and magic, and scribe of the gods. Ptolemy Soter was the first of the Greek Pharaohs and until now, mostly forgotten.

THE REPO by Bill Eidson
Reviewed by Judi Clark

Ex-DEA Agent Jack Merchant is living on his sailboat in Charlestown, Massachusetts when he is approached by repo-woman Sarah Ballard to help locate a missing boat, in this first book of a new series.

Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Baily Weggins is a contributing writer for Gloss Magazine in New York City. But it's not exactly as you'd think, she's writes about true crime and seems too often be directly involved in the cases, such as this one where all the bridesmaids of her college roommate's wedding that took place the previous year, seem to be all dying. And she was a member of that wedding party.

WHAT TO KEEP by Rachel Cline
Reviewed by Kam Aures

A smart and witty first novel about a Ohio girl who goes to Hollywood to make it as an actress and eventually winds up in New York City as a playwright. All about the tangled families we keep in an ordinary life.

THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

This is the second volume of The Baroque Cycle (sequel to Quicksilver). This time Stephenson explores the workings of the financial markets in his swashbuckling historically-based tale. Another absolutely brilliant novel.

DEATH MATCH by Lincoln Child
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Imagine, the perfect matchmaking service which for a mere $25,000 finds you a near perfect soul mate, and in a few cases the matches are absolutely 100% perfect. But why are the best matched couples committing suicide? A fast-paced thriller.

BLEEDING HEARTS by Josh Aterovis
Reviewed by Judi Clark

This is a new sleuth series that is so different; it's more of a boy-meets-boy coming-of-age story than a detective novel. Told in first person narrative in such a way that you really, really get to see what the world is like for a teenage boy discovery that his sexuality isn't the norm, yet the excitement at finally learning why he hadn't fit in before his self-discovery.

Check out the Booker longlist just announced.

That's it for this update.

I hope everyone is enjoying these last summer days. I keep promising myself time off but I fear that another summer is going to be gone before I figure out when to put in for my vacation days. I'm so conflicted! Here in New England weather is so unpredictable and I want my days off to be HOT, I want them to be SUNNY. So I hate putting in for days ahead of time because, really, who knows what I'll get. Carl says take them anyway, "you need them." So I did put in for three earlier this month. It rained with temps in the low seventies. Good for writing reviews -- and shopping -- which I swear I hadn't done in nearly a year so I really did need to go -- but not the weather I ordered. Is it a self fulfilling prophecy to obsess so much about which days to take off that it actually will be the wrong three days? I'm going to try again in September -- at least I won't be expecting beach weather so I shouldn't be as disappointed.

Happy reading!

Judi Clark

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