November Large Print 2009

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

In his thirties, Albom’s rabbi, after hearing him deliver a speech, asked Albom to deliver the eulogy at his funeral. Not big on faith and married to a Christian woman of Lebanese background, Albom was taken aback. He’d known Rabbi Albert Lewis since he was a child, seeing him as the tall and distant figure somewhere between God and the congregants of the synagogue in a New Jersey suburb. He consented and asked to spend time with Reb to get to know him as a man. In eight years, what began as a reluctant assignment grew into a treasured friendship with a man of unbounded joy, singing everything from show tunes to greetings to his visitors. In his new hometown of Detroit, where he developed a charitable foundation, Albom met Henry Covington, pastor of a dilapidated inner-city church and a humbled former drug dealer and ex-con. Covington’s church, with a huge hole in the roof and very few and very poor congregants, obviously needed help. But Albom wasn’t sure how much to invest until he began to witness the faith of Covington and his congregation, struggling to overcome poverty, addictions, and hopelessness. Albom parallels time spent with Rabbi Lewis, Pastor Covington, and his own personal spiritual journey as he learned the incredible complexities of faith, finding it, holding on to it, and seeing and appreciating it at work in others. Albom, author of the acclaimed Tuesdays with Morrie (1997), offers another inspirational and heartwarming story about the strength of friendship and power of faith.–Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2009 Booklist

 There Goes the Bride by M.C. Beaton

Near the start of bestseller Beaton’s splendid 20th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2008’s A Spoonful of Poison), the lovelorn middle-aged detective reluctantly attends the wedding of her ex-husband, James Lacey, in the market town of Hewes. But before James can tie the knot with the lovely, much younger Felicity Bross-Tilkington, the bride is shot to death. Felicity’s mother hires Agatha and her young detecting associate, Toni Gilmour, to find the monster responsible, despite the disapproval of Felicity’s real estate whiz father, George. As other corpses connected to George begin turning up, his visiting friend, the debonair Sylvan Dubois, flirts shamelessly with Agatha. Sylvan’s deadly charm puts Agatha in harm’s way after she figures out the Frenchman and George are involved in illegal activities. Some Beaton fans may wish her heroine will find lasting romance and happiness, but a closing twist or two suggests Agatha is unlikely to settle down with one man anytime soon. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

 Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke

The Christmas season provides the backdrop for bestseller Fluke’s sprightly 12th Hannah Swenson holiday mystery (after Mar. 2009’s Cream Puff Murder). When Hannah, the proprietor of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minn., stops by the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot one night to pick up a check, she discovers the body of the owner, Larry Jaeger, inside “Elf Headquarters,” the double-wide trailer that was Larry’s home. Hannah’s “slay-dar” has led her to yet another murder victim. With the support of various friends and family, including her lively and manipulative mother, Delores, Hannah investigates. Her sessions in a class on small business practices raise her suspicions about the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot. Cozy fans will cheer as Hannah survives a hair-raising confrontation with the killer to present an elegant Christmas eve banquet. Tempting recipes range from Hot Fudge Sundae Cakes to Triple Threat Chocolate Cheesecake Pie. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

 The Eleventh Victim by Nancy Grace

Inspired by lawyer and television personality Grace’s own beginnings as a prosecutor and the tragic death of her fianc, “The Eleventh Victim” is a compelling debut mystery full of intrigue that thrills from start to finish.

 The Physick book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Written by an author completing a Ph.D. in New England Studies, and whose ancestors had been accused witches in Salem, “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” travels seamlessly between the trials in the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery and discovery.

 Pilgrims: a Wobegon Romance by Garrison Keillor

Margie and Carl Krebsbach haven’t made love in a long time, and now Carl’s decamped from theirs into what used to be their eldest’s bedroom. Margie still loves Carl, but how does he feel? What to do? When she gets a call from an Italian woman claiming to be the previously unknown daughter of Lake Wobegon’s World War II hero August Gussie Norlander, she gets a glimmer. She organizes a trip to Rome to put Gussie’s picture on his tombstone on the strength of Gussie’s brother’s promise that he, in no shape to do it himself, will give Margie what Mother Norlander left to cover such a pilgrimage a cool $150,000. Party of 12 for the Eternal City! Which includes the hometown success story, radio personality and author Gary E. Keillor, who, through an excited misstatement, promises to cover the same expenses, leaving the 150 thou for Margie. Once in Rome, complications ensue that ensure this will be an exceptionally memorable trip for Margie. Keillor re-justifies the comparisons to Mark Twain he has garnered over the years by not only making his usual comic poetry out of Minnesota idiom but also by injecting some ludicrous saints’ lives and papal history into the mix.–Olson, Ray Copyright 2009 Booklist

  Evidence by Jonathan Kellerman

#1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman writes unforgettable tales of crime and detection that expose the shadowy side of glittering Los Angeles. And in Evidence, readers are once again in the dexterous grip of a master storyteller and stylist equally skilled at teasing your brain and taking your breath away. In the half-built skeleton of a monstrously vulgar mansion in one of L.A.’s toniest neighborhoods, a watchman stumbles on the bodies of a young couple murdered in flagrante and left in a gruesome postmortem embrace. Though he’s cracked some of the city’s worst slayings, veteran homicide cop Milo Sturgis is still shocked at the grisly sight: a twisted crime that only Milo’s killer instincts and psychologist Alex Delaware’s keen insights can hope to solve. While the female victim’s identity remains a question mark, her companion is identified as eco-friendly architect Desmond Backer, who disdains the sort of grandiose superstructure he’s found dead in. And the late Mr. Backer, it’s revealed was also notorious for his power to seduce women. The rare exception is his ex-boss, Helga Gemein, who’s as indifferent to Desmond’s death as she apparently was to his advances. Though Milo and Alex place her on their short list of suspects, the deeper they dig for clues the longer the list grows. An elusive prince who appears to harbor decidedly American appetites, an eccentric blueblood with an ax to grind, one of Desmond’s restless ex-lovers and her cuckolded husband all are in the homicidal mix spiced with eco-terrorism, arson, blackmail, conspiracy, and a vendetta that runs deep. But when the investigation veers suddenly in a startling direction, it’s the investigators who may wind up on the wrong end of a cornered predator’s final fury.

 Razor Sharp by Fern Michaels

 Keeper of the Keys by Perri O’Shaughnessy

For ambitious, troubled architect Ray Jackson, the nightmare begins one sultry California night when his wife disappears. No phone call, no ransom note, no body, reveals whether Leigh is dead or alive. Then, suddenly, a woman shows up on Ray’s doorstep demanding answers: Kathleen, an old friend of Leigh’s. Ray wants answers, too, but his questions seem strange and shady to Kat. Suspected by his wife’s friend and by the police, Ray launches a desperate and alarming search of his own. Using a collection of keys he has held on to since he was a boy-keys to homes he and his mother once lived in-Ray quietly yet boldly enters each house, one by one, hoping to unlock the secrets of his own past. As past and present collide, as a chilling mystery begins to unravel, Ray is suddenly confronted with the most agonizing decision of his life-to face his own violence-laden past, acting to prevent another horrendous act of violence, or not. His choice will leave nothing and no one the same.

 Hardball by Sara Paretsky

*Starred Review* A snippet from Paretsky’s own life informs her fifteenth V. I. Warshawski crime story, which harks back to the riots during Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 visit to Chicago; at that time, Paretsky was working in Chicago as a community organizer. As usual in the series, the city, especially its working-class neighborhoods, is vividly characterized, as are its politics and ethnic and cultural conflicts. V. I. is at her most vulnerable here. Though ever the champion of the disenfranchised and the poor, and still pretty fast on her feet, the sometimes-reckless private investigator now sees 50 on the horizon. Having parted from yet another lover, she has begun to wonder if her stubborn devotion to work, which often wreaks havoc with those she cares about most, makes her unable to sustain a long-term relationship. The disappearance of her lively, twentysomething cousin, who was in Chicago to work on the campaign of an up-and-coming politician, adds to her nagging self-doubt. Surely savvy V. I. should have been able to keep the girl safe. Her angst-ridden determination to put things right eventually leads her back to the sixties and to a shocking secret about her family’s history. Nuanced, well-realized characters and an intricately braided plot mark another stellar performance from a storyteller as dedicated to entertainment as to exposing humankind’s treachery and greed.–Zvirin, Stephanie Copyright 2009 Booklist

The Professional by Robert Parker

The latest (after Rough Weather) in the long-running Spenser series finds the wisecracking Boston PI employed by a bevy of beautiful women to investigate a handsome gigolo with a habit of seducing and blackmailing young wives of wealthy older men. Fists and literary allusions fly, accompanied by psychological commentary courtesy of Spenser’s longtime girlfriend, Susan Silverman. Many series regulars make cameos as Spenser unravels the gigolo’s blackmail scheme only to uncover other tangled webs of influence and victimization. The dialog crackles, and the plot moves quickly as Spenser discovers once again how sex, greed, and stupidity can disrupt the best laid plans, and how a personal moral code can be quite separate from social conventions or legal authority. Verdict A fast-paced, enjoyable trip through familiar territory for fans of the series. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/09.]-Bradley A. Scott, Brighton Dist. Lib., MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

 The Lost Hours by Karen White

 Hothouse Orchid by Stuart Woods

Bestseller Woods piles on the coincidences in his modestly entertaining fifth thriller to feature CIA agent Holly Barker (after Iron Orchid). When Holly returns home to Orchid Beach, Fla., where she was once chief of police, she’s reunited with both welcome and unwelcome figures from her past. Renegade ex-CIA agent Teddy Fay, sporting a new identity, has chosen to settle in nearby Vero Beach. Lauren Cade, a former military comrade, is now a sergeant with the Florida State Patrol. Holly is shocked to learn that James Bruno, her former commanding officer who was tried and acquitted of raping Lauren and who once tried to rape Holly herself, is Orchid Beach’s new police chief. Holly’s not so shocked to learn that a serial killer and rapist is at work in the area. Woods glibly lets the reader stay well ahead of the legal posse tracking the killer while still keeping a card or two up his sleeve. Playful dialogue and romantic sexual escapades lighten the atmosphere. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

 

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