Mystery Monday: Paranormal Mysteries

Mystery MondayIn anticipation of Halloween, it seems fitting to discuss mysteries that have paranormal or ghostly elements to them.  These mysteries may have vampires, werewolves, witches or people with psychic powers.   As so aptly stated by, these are ”…mysteries solved by involving the things that go bump in the night, are solved by people with powers or at times by people who aren’t really people at all.”

Storm FrontMy husband’s favorite series is the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  This series follows Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator who works hard to protect the general public in modern day Chicago from the mythical creatures (ghouls, vampires, werewolves, zombies, fairies, etc.) and other dark forces out to destroy them.  There are currently fifteen books in this series.  I would strongly recommend reading this series in order beginning with the first book, Storm Front.

On the lighter side, check out the Ghost Hunter Mysteries by Victoria Laurie.  In this series, M. J. Holliday runs a ghost busting business with her best friend, Gilley Gillespie.  There are currently eight books in this series: What’s a Ghoul to Do? (#1), Demons are a Ghouls Best Friend (#2), Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun (#3), Ghouls Gone Wild (#4), Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls (#5) and Ghoul Interrupted (#6), What a Ghoul Wants (#7)  and The Ghoul Next Door (#8). No Ghouls Allowed (#9) will be coming out in January of 2015.  An interesting tidbit:  Victoria Laurie is a real life professional psychic and also writes another mystery series: Psychic Eye Mysteries.

And for those of you who have loved the True Blood Series on HBO, check out the Southern Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris, featuring Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress who deals with vampires and werewolves.  Here’s a list of this series in order: Dead Until Dark (#1), Living Dead in Dallas (#2), Club Dead (#3), Dead to the World (#4), Dead as a Doornail (#5), Definitely Dead (#6), All Together Dead (#7), From Dead to Worse (#8), Dead and Gone (#9), Dead in the Family (#10), Dead Reckoning (#11), Deadlocked (#12) and the final book in the series Dead Ever After (#13).

Happy Haunting!

– Carol W.


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Celebrating Season’s Eatings at the Library


Cooler weather and shorter days always inspire us to warm up our kitchens with foods that satisfy our urge for something just right, foods that smell and taste delicious. We dream about snuggling in by a toasty fire, with a good book or movie and a delicious meal or snack. It’s comfort food time, and whether you are cooking and enjoying it yourself, giving it as a holiday gift, or reading and watching more about it, comfort is where it’s at.


Do you believe that food makes everything better? A lot of people do– just ask any “foody” why they love it so much. Be sure to consider some of one of the wonderful, current memoirs and other non-fiction books that center around food and cooking when you need gift ideas for the food enthusiast in your life. You can look them over first for yourself at the library!








Want something on DVD? Watching movies about food is almost as fun as eating it!





For people with special dietary needs, finding healthy food to enjoy is a challenge to be met every day. The good news is, there are more books than ever to help maintain a special diet that’s tasty and balanced, and that still provides a festive celebration for the holidays.

So don’t forget to warm up the coming months with all things food related, and enjoy your Season’s Eatings!



For a list of Season’s Eatings materials, click here!



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The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

DelightfulDebutsBannerThe Queen of Tearling is a fantasy adventure trilogy poised to make a splash, especially considering the buzz about a movie adaptation,  starring Harry Potter’s Emma Watson!

Queen of TearlingThree hundred years ago, Kelsea’s forefathers fled a collapsing modern civilization to establish a technology-free society on a newly-discovered continent. This land has since divided into four nations, but the power resides within the one called Mortmense, in the form of a cunning sorceress known as the Red Queen.

Kelsea is born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a magical jewel of immense power. Hiding in the forests of the Tearling since her mother’s death, Princess Kelsea has been training for the role of Queen. Now, on her nineteenth birthday, the loyal soldiers of the Queen’s guard, or what is left of them, appear to escort Kelsea to the capital to take her rightful place as the Queen of the Tearling. Kelsea’s journey is fraught with intrigue and danger, and reveals to her the shocking evil within her kingdom. As Kelsea grows in strength and resolve into her new role, she gathers her true allies, including the Queen’s guard, and a notorious outlaw named “Fetch”. When she breaks a treaty with neighboring Mortmense she angers the Red Queen to a murderous degree. Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire. Will it forge a legend . . . or destroy her? Oh, to be Queen!

This story reminded me so much of Rae Carson’s excellent trilogy for young adults– with strong appeal for adult readers –Girl of Fire and Thorns. I suggest that readers who can’t wait for the next installment consider checking out Carson’s read-alike books, beginning with The Girl of Fire and Thorns.



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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


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.


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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


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


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!



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Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks


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.


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