Mystery Monday: Should Some Secrets Stay Buried?

Mystery MondayMystery tales often involve a secret that has been buried for many years and then someone starts digging for information with the end result that new victims start popping up.  Should some secrets stay buried?

The Burning RoomThat’s the question that arises in The Burning Room, the latest Harry Bosch tale (#19 in the series) by Michael Connelly that will be published on November 3rd.  Harry Bosch was first introduced in 1992 in the book The Black Echo, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel. Harry is a veteran homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.  Michael Connelly worked as a crime reporter for several years, first in Florida and then in LA so he knows what he writes.

In The Burning Room, Harry has a new partner, Detective Lucia Soto who is brand new to the homicide department and has no homicide experience.  They’ve been asked to investigate the death of a victim who had recently died from a gunshot wound that was inflicted 10 years previously.  As they dig into this case other evidence leads to an incident 20 years earlier where several children were killed in a fire.  As their investigation begins to threaten careers and lives, Harry and Detective Soto have to decide whether it’s best to leave some secrets uncovered.

Harry was called “one of the most popular and enduring figures in American crime fiction” by the Chicago Tribune.  He seems to be always in conflict with authority yet is able to solve the many mysteries that come his way.  There is usually a romantic interest in each of his books but they don’t last long.  Two fascinating aspects of this character that Michael Connelly created is that Harry Bosch has made cameo appearances in books by other authors: Strange Bedfellows (2006) by Paula Woods, Cons, Scams & Grifts (2009)by Joe Gores and The Last Detective (2004) by Robert Crais.  Harry is also the fictional half-brother of Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer), another series by Michael Connelly and has appeared in additional Mickey Haller tales: The Brass Verdict and The Reversal.

Check out Harry Bosch!

– Carol W.

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Author Brings Legacy to Library

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spiderwomandaughterJoin us at the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock on Saturday, October 4, 6:30pm as we welcome NYT bestselling author Anne Hillerman. The writer will talk about her first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter.  The book continues the late Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee mystery series. Anne is no stranger to writing, before this novel she published eight award-winning non-fiction books.

Anne grew up with imaginary uncles Leaphorn and Chee at the dinner table. She said that they were and are a part of the Hillerman family. Anne and her father talked about her continuing their story after his death. Spider Woman’s Daughter debuted at number ten on the New York Times bestseller list. Rave reviews from all corners followed:

“Chip off the literary block-there are a lot of things Tony taught his daughter, Anne, and one of them was how to tell a good story. Spider Woman’s Daughter is a proud addition to the legacy, capturing the beauty and breath of the Southwest as only a Hillerman can.” - Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries.

“You will love this novel!  Not only are old friends Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee back, we get to know the delightful, intrepid and thoroughly modern Navajo police officer, Bernadette Manuelito. Anne Hillerman comes naturally to writing mysteries, and Spider Woman’s Daughter is nothing less than a smashing debut.” - Margaret Coel ( Killing Custer)

tonyhillermanslandscapeMore accolades for the book followed, and Anne was presented with the much coveted  Spur Award, for Best First Novel of 2014, by the Western Writers of America. According to Ms. Hillerman, the Golden Spur Award was one that her father also received and one he treasured. I can tell you from hosting Anne Hillerman’s events at the library (Tony Hillerman’s Landscape in 2010) and Tattered Cover, that she is an excellent speaker. She and her husband Don have many irons in the fire, including the prestigious annual Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference, which is detailed below.

This will be a wonderful evening and a perfect date night at the library. Books will be sold at the event – register here!

Wordharvest offers Tony Hillerman Conference

Anne Hillerman and business partner Jean Schaumberg have a great line-up of professional writer/teachers for the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference which opens November 6, 2014. Through their business, Wordharvest, Anne and Jean have been presenting the conference since 2002. Highlights this year include pre-conference workshops which focus on hands-on writing exercises and challenges. It also includes a day devoted to the craft of writing, an evening of flash critiques with award-winning novelist David Morrell, and a look at the business of writing– including e-books.

The winner of the 2014 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel will be announced at the conference.

~ Lisa C.                                                      Program Liaison- JHL branch

 

 

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Mystery Monday: Missing Children

Mystery MondayFiction often reflects what is happening in the headlines.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, from 1984 through March 2012, there were more than 187,800 missing-child cases.  175,200 children were recovered.  Over 12,000 were not.  The U.S. Department of Justice reported that 797,500 children younger than 18 were noted missing in a one-year period of time studied–that’s an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.  The majority were victims of family abductions but that is not always the case.

A new mystery series by Chelsea Cain that has also received a lot of positive buzz in the mystery world, examines the world of child abductions and child pornography.  Though this sounds like a subject that could be disturbingly graphic, Ms. Cain handles the topic well–she gives enough information for the reader to understand the plot without going overboard.

One KickIn One Kick, the first book in this series,   Kick Lannigan, was abducted at age six and then discovered alive when the FBI raided a house suspected of producing child porn six years later.  This book is a fascinating look at Kick’s life after her abduction with flashbacks to give you an insight into what she’s lived through.  Though her parents provided Kick with a litany of therapy, it was only through learning survival skills including marksmanship, martial arts, knife throwing, boxing and archery that Kick is able to deal with life.  At age twenty-one, she is still struggling but is on a mission to help find missing children.  When she is approached by a man named Bishop to help find two missing children in Portland, she’s on the case even though it isn’t clear why an ex-weapons dealer like Bishop is using his resources to locate these children.  You’ll also discover along the way why it’s so important for Kick to be involved with this case.

Edgy and with several tense moments, don’t start this book if you have a busy schedule–you won’t want to do anything else but read this book to its conclusion once you start.    The second book in the series is due out August, 2015.

–Carol W.

 

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The Genius of Dogs: how dogs are smarter than you think, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

geniusofdogsDo you have the smartest dog around? Or are you often reminded that, while you love your pet, your Fido is perhaps not the brightest bulb in the box? Readers on either side of this question will find this book a revelation. The Genius of Dogs is a fascinating account of the canine species, those amazingly adaptable creatures who are so integral to the lives of their human companions.

How well do you think you know your dog? In recent years, studies at the Duke Canine Cognition Lab and other research facilities around the world have tackled questions that we humans have only pondered and probably disagreed about until now. Consider this– do dogs feel guilt? Do they pretend they can’t hear us? How powerful is their need for reward of some kind from humans? Pioneered by Brian Hare, the research shows how all dogs are capable of a kind of “genius” for getting along with people that is indisputably unique in the animal kingdom, with all due respect to you cat lovers out there.

Aside from being a fact-filled, fun-to-read foray into animal research, the book reveals how the notion of dog genius can meaningfully impact how we live with, work with, and train our dogs. So, get ready to take another look at the dogs in your life.  I even found myself talking to my own dog about this book. While he declined to discuss, his seemingly impassive gaze has now taken on new meaning for me.

~djc

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Mystery Monday: Hercule Poirot is Back!

Mystery MondayWith the blessing of the Christie estate, Sophie Hannah has written a new Hercule Poirot mystery, The Monogram Murders, and the reviews are impressive.

mongramAs Hercule is dining alone in a London coffee shop in 1929, a terrified young woman arrives and asks Poirot NOT to investigate her death when she is murdered.  She insists that no one can help her and no one should search for her killer.  Soon Hercule and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard are dealing with 3 bodies–2 women and 1 man who are found poisoned in a hotel near Piccadilly Circus and each victim has a monogrammed gold cuff link in their mouth.  With such an amazing beginning, one might wonder if Hannah can keep the pace going (which she does brilliantly).  She inserts dazzling deductions from Poirot, subtle clues and “Christie-style” red herrings with expertise.

When it was announced last year that Hannah would be writing a new Poirot novel there was a lot of speculation thrown around that she would be resurrecting Poirot (no, he really was killed in Curtain by Agatha Christie) or that she would update him.  Hannah’s response to these concerns was “So, am I, perhaps going to update him?  Heavens, no.  Poirot is a classic character from fiction, not a MacBook Air; he would not benefit from updates.  What about ‘recreate’, then? No again.  His inventor created him so well that there is nothing to add.  We all love (and are intermittently infuriated by) Poirot just the way he is.”

So enjoy a wonderful new mystery with Hercule Poirot brilliantly solving every last puzzle and making perfect sense of all of the clues.  You won’t be disappointed!  Also, if you can’t get your hands on this book immediately, take a look at Sophie Hannah’s Zailer and Waterhouse Mystery Series: Little Face (#1)The Truth Tellers Lie (#2),The Wrong Mother (#3), The Dead Lie Down(#4),  Cradle in the Grave (#5), The Other Woman’s House (#6) and Kind of Cruel (#7).

– Carol W.

P.S.  One fun fact that I discovered about several of the character names in this mystery (including Catchpool), is that the author got her inspiration from names in a cemetery near her house (Mill Road Cemetery in Cambridge, England)!  Hannah doesn’t use exact Christian & surnames from the gravestones (she felt that would have been too much of a boundary violation) but used the headstones as her inspiration for names.

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Fall Buzz Books from Harper Collins

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Recently we hosted publisher’s representatives Virginia Stanley and Annie Mazes from Harper Collins as they presented DCL staff with a webinar preview of some hot upcoming titles for fall, and into the next year. Some of these titles are available to request now–Click here to see.

Here is a sampling of what’s in store from Harper Collins!

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

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Accomplished mystery author Sophie Hannah has successfully channeled Agatha Christie, and with the blessings of the late author’s estate, has launched what has been called “the literary event of the year.” Starred reviews from both Publisher’s weekly and Library Journal lend credence to the predictions that fans will delight in this all new mystery, featuring Christie’s legendary Hercule Poirot.

 

 

 

Us by David Nicholls

UsFrom the publisher: “Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood, the regrets of abandoning youth for middle age, and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?”

 

Yes Please by Amy Pohler

untitledAmy Pohler has hit it big, starring in an award winning and hilariously irreverent television comedy series, Parks and Recreation, and finding success as a comedian, director and producer. With this memoir, she can add author to her list of accomplishments. Yes Please is full of thoughts, stories and advice from one of the top performers in the entertainment business today.

As an aside, I’ll never forget Parks and Recreation’s seriously funny take on the local library, which is the nemesis of Pohler’s character in the show. She loathes those librarians, who manage to garner the lion’s share of the funding from the small community where the series is set. Perhaps that plot was hatched before Pohler’s desire to author books, but let’s agree not to hold it against her!

~djc

 

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Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks

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Occasionally a new novelist garners high praise with a debut, as is the case with Malcolm Brooks and his vivid and poignant, Painted Horses.

Catherine Lemay is setting out for a summer in Montana to prove herself. It’s the 1950’s paintedhorsesand as a newly minted archaeologist and a woman, she has a lot to prove. She soon suspects that her inexperience and sex are the very reasons she was the person sent to explore a doomed canyon for artifacts, right before it is to be submerged by a huge dam project. The people she meets are interested in Catherine and her work, but for different reasons. She is drawn into this western setting, which proves to be both untouched and untamed and is at odds with a country hell bent on post war progress. The locals are an enigma, particularly John H., a horseman who holds his secrets as deeply as the landscape itself.

By blending astutely drawn characters, a wonderfully compelling plot and a singularly memorable setting, Brooks creates a story that offers both a literary tone and wide reader appeal. This is no small feat for any writer, and Painted Horses has drawn comparisons to the works of Wallace Stegner and Cormac McCarthy. This is one for the keeper shelf.

~djc

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Mystery Monday: Labor Day!

Mystery MondayIn honor of Labor Day, I thought it fitting to showcase a mystery series by a Colorado author who gave us some great tales that were truly “labored” over so that we could enjoy the end results.

Booked to DieIn Booked to Die, The Bookman’s Wake, The Bookman’s Promise, Sign of the Book and The Bookwoman’s Last Fling, John Dunning has created a mystery series that examines the used and rare book industry and the places it can take you– from the troubled South in 1860 to the modern day racetrack circuit.

Similar to Spanish police detective Hector Selgado mentioned last week (The Summer of Dead Toys), Cliff Janeway is a homicide detective who goes after a suspect with both fists.  Unlike Hector, Det. Janeway loses his job.  To make ends meet, Janeway turns to his long-time passion–rare books and opens a small bookshop on seedy East Colfax in Denver that specializes in rare and 1st edition books.  Rare volumes begin to turn up but so do dead bodies.

If you haven’t read this series, check it out.  In John Dunning’s biography posted on the Old Algonquin Books website, it’s noted that John always wanted to write and overcame ADD to make it happen.  As his bio states, “Often the inability to concentrate demanded eight or ten hours of effort for two good hours of work”.  We are fortunate to reap the rewards of his efforts.  We wish him the best as he deals with the challenges in his life!

– Carol W.

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The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

BigBuzzBannerAs any history buff understands all too well, “time is of the essence”. For people who feel assassinationofMTtoo busy to read novels, short stories could be the answer. Those featured in Hilary Mantel’s upcoming collection, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, are contemporary, not historical, but the themes of “marriage, class, family and sex” are timeless. Save yourself time by clicking on the title to request your copy.

Mantel has been awarded the Man Booker Prize not just once—but twice– for the first two novels in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. The books paint a fascinating picture of England in the 1520’s, and chronicle the machinations of an ambitious Cromwell at the behest of Henry VIII. Besides winning great critical acclaim they have been a treat for Anglophiles and history buffs alike.

wolfhall         bringupbodies

Oh, and here’s another tip for the hurried and harried reader. BBC/Masterpiece will air a 6-part adaptation of the novels in Spring of 2015, starring Damien Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell. Read—watch—it will be worth your time!

~djc

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Mystery Monday: The Summer of Dead Toys

DCL_MysteryWe read books for a variety of reasons.  While I enjoy reading a cozy mystery for the lightness of the mystery, I also love to read a book with layers that grabs you and really pulls you into the story.  One book that I recently finished that fits the latter category is The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill. (Check out his books in our catalog under Toni Hill.)

The Summer of Dead ToysSet in Barcelona, Spain, this story seems simplistic at first glance but develops into a surprising multi-layered tale that keeps you guessing to the last page.  Even when things seem resolved, there’s another surprise waiting around the corner.

Hector Salgado is a great and experienced detective for the Barcelona police department.  Unfortunately, while working on his last case that involved human trafficking, he lost his cool and assaulted one of the suspect’s.  This is never good for a police officer no matter how brilliant your career has been.  To save his career, Hector is told to take a vacation.  When he returns, he is fortunate to still have a job but he has been assigned to look into an accidental death–a case that could have been assigned to someone with less experience.  As Hector pieces together the details of that fateful night, he begins to realize that there are pieces that don’t fit and secrets that indicate the death was more than an accident.  Hector seems to have his own secrets as well though and the suspect that he assaulted has disappeared. (This is where in a film, dark music would begin…)

I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading Hill’s next mystery, The Good Suicides.  My only complaint is that the dust jacket for The Summer of Dead Toys is not very exciting, so especially in this case, don’t judge the book by its cover!  For more information about Antonio Hill, check out this link.

Please note: I received a copy of this book to read courtesy of Blogging for Books.  However, my favorable review reflects the quality of the book not the paperback edition that I received to review it.

– Carol W.

 

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