Heroic Measures; Jill Ciment ---From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review. Ciment's spare and surprisingly gripping novel details one long weekend in the life of Ruth and Alex Cohen, an elderly New York couple hoping to sell their East Village apartment of 45 years. Ruth is a retired teacher and Chekhov devotee, and Alex is an artist, currently adding colorful illuminations to the couples' old FBI files. As they ready for an open house, a gas tanker truck gets stuck in the Midtown tunnel, seizing the city with gridlock and fear of a terrorist attack. (In scenes that border on parody, the local news adopts a Danger in the Tunnel graphic and runs viewer polls about whether terrorists take drugs.) Meanwhile, the Cohens' beloved dachshund, Dorothy, falls ill and has to be taken to an uptown animal hospital. As the real estate market swings in response to the news about the tanker, the Cohens wait for news about their dog and confront the reality of leaving their home. Ciment plays the veterinary, real estate and domestic details like elements of a thriller plot, while the couple's love of their dog provides heartrending texture—literature with commercial crossover.
- The Neighbor; Lisa Gardner -From Publishers Weekly........In bestseller Gardner's gripping 11th thriller, Sgt. Det. D.D. Warren, last seen in 2007's Hide, looks into the curious disappearance of Sandra Jones, a sixth-grade social studies teacher, from her South Boston home: Sandra's keys and purse were on the kitchen counter, nothing was disturbed, and her four-year-old daughter, Ree, to whom she was devoted, was asleep upstairs. The missing woman's reporter husband, Jason, becomes an immediate suspect because he refuses to answer questions and appears to have destroyed evidence. As a media frenzy envelopes the case, Warren's investigation reveals the couple's life as anything but perfect or normal. Full of inventive twists, this highly entertaining novel delivers a shocking solution as well as a perfectly realized sense of justice. Fans will appreciate the deft way Gardner weaves in a key character from 2008's Say Goodbye.
- The Earth Hums in B Flat; Mari Strachan---From Publishers Weekly................Twelve-year-old Gwenni Morgan bears witness as her family crumbles under the weight of its secrets in Strachan's lyrical debut. In a small Welsh village swirling with secrets and gossip, few are willing to tell the truth about who they are. Gwenni soars above the local intrigue in her dreams—each night as she drifts off to sleep she flies away from her family and over the nearby fields and farms—and hopes someday to fly during the day as well. Though most, including her mother, see Gwenni's unending curiosity as a nuisance, local schoolteacher Elin Evans nurtures Gwenni's dreams of a different life. When Elin's husband, Ifan, disappears, town tongues wag, and when his body is found, Gwenni's mother mourns him more than seems proper. Strachan ramps up the tension, as Gwenni is caught between loyalties and learns some damning family secrets. The author's light touch keeps the story unfamiliar and surprising, while Gwenni's über-precocious narration revels in a love for language and reveals an unspoiled innocence about the world. It's small, quiet and nicely done.
Not that I needed these, but I couldn't resist; they all sound like books I'd enjoy.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Library Loot - 7/28/09
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg.