Russell, Alan. Burning Man.

Las Vegas: Thomas & Mercer, 2012.0

Russell is the author of a large number of thrillers of one sort or another but I confess he’s new to me. Michael Gideon is a Los Angeles K9 cop who, with his German shepherd partner, Sirius, tracks a serial killer through a canyon firestorm and captures him, but is badly burned in the process. And that’s just the prologue.


Mullen, Thomas. The Revisionists.

NY: Little, Brown, 2011.

I’ve always read a lot of science fiction and I have a particular thing for time travel stories, perhaps because all my academic background is in history. There are certain themes and tropes you’re almost certain to come across in those books, one of which is the “time patrol” — a body of travelers whose job it is to make sure visitors to the past don’t screw up their own future. That’s sort of the conceit here, but Mullen takes it much farther than I have ever encountered before.


Higashino, Keigo. Malice.

NY: St. Martin, 2014.

This absorbing murder mystery was first published in Japan in 1996, where it was a bestseller. In fact, the author has become one of the most popular novelists in East Asia, with multiple TV and film adaptations of his work. I have to wonder why it took nearly two decades for his first novel to be translated into English.


Published in: on 21 June 2016 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Auchincloss, Louis. Diary of a Yuppie.

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986.

Robert Service is a thirty-two-year-old New York attorney, a specialist in corporate takeovers, who, after eight years as an associate in his large firm, has been promised a partnership at the beginning of the year — but does he really want it? Service analyzes absolutely everything around him and a close analysis of the leadership of his firm leads him to conclude that it’s a slowly sinking ship.


Published in: on 19 June 2016 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holland, Cecelia. Rakossy.

NY: Atheneum, 1967.

I’ve been a big fan of Holland’s historical novels almost the appearance of her first book, written while she was still a college undergraduate and published shortly after she graduated. This is her second novel, written when she was twenty-one.

The year is 1523 and Janos Rakossy is master of Hart Castle, in the foothills to the east of the wide Hungarian Plain. Just beyond his closely-held territory are the Turks, who are making their way farther into Eastern Europe with each passing year — but this is where they will be stopped if Rakossy and the other Magyar barons have any say in it.


Battles, Bret. Destroyer.

Seattle: 47North, 2016.

This sequel to Rewinder picks up a few months after Denny Younger, “personal historian” and time traveler from an alternate version of our world, made an inadvertent minor change in his own world’s history that had vast repercussive consequences for the future.


Cleeves, Ann. Blue Lightning.

NY: St. Martin, 2010.

This is the fourth in the author’s series of police procedural murder mysteries set in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, between the Atlantic and the North Sea, and I think it’s the best yet. Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, head of the small Shetlands police force, hails from Fair Isle, the most distant of the islands — in fact, the most remote inhabited spot in the entire United Kingdom.


Published in: on 11 June 2016 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Battles, Brett. Rewinder.

Seattle: 47North, 2015.

Denny Younger is a very bright young man living in New Cardiff on the west coast of British North America, but he’s an Eight, and people born into that low caste are destined to fill low-level jobs. His father works at the power plant and that’s where he expects the State to assign him, too. The rigid social structure of the Kingdom can’t be avoided.


Cleeves, Ann. Red Bones.

NY: St. Martin, 2009.

I’ve become a real fan of this author’s police procedural murder mysteries set in the Shetland Islands, out in the North Atlantic between Scotland and Norway. Even with the Internet, and with shopping and vacation trips to the mainland paid for by oil money, it’s still a very isolated place to live. In many ways, this means everyone knows everyone else’s business, especially at the local neighborhood level, where nearly all the families are each other’s cousins. But it also means family secrets are kept even tighter than they would be in London or Edinburgh.


Hicks, Faith Erin. Friends with Boys.

NY: First Second, 2012.

After being homeschooled all her life, Maggie is dealing pretty well with her first day at the public high school. She’s found her classes, and the Grade 9 bathrooms, but she hasn’t yet found “her people.” Even her three older brothers aren’t much help. Her dad is busy being the new small-town police chief. And the ghost from the nearby cemetery is just annoying.