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By Herman Koch, Sam Garrett (Translator)
ISBN: 9780385346856
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Published: Hogarth - October 29th, 2013

This book was Saturn’s Book of the Month selection, and it was fun to hear everyone’s comments.

The dinner is told in the five ‘courses’ of a five course dinner and narrated by Paul as her and his wife, Claire, have dinner in a fancy restaurant in the Netherlands with his funning-for-prime-minister brother Serge and his wife. 

At first you think Paul is merely cranky, complaining about the restaurant, the company, ect, but slowly you get to see that it’s all a little more sinister than that and that Paul is narrating as though any normal person would share all of his opinions and that he’s a sympathetic character, while you as a reader stay to get a handle on the underlying story and become increasingly repulsed.

This book is a best-seller around the world and I can see why it’s one everyone wants to discuss – come get your copy and let’s talk! 

ISBN: 9780062311115
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Published: William Morrow & Company - April 21st, 2015

The Bone Tree is the sequel to last year’s big Natchez Burning, and the second in a trilogy of stories set in Mississippi  that begin with unsolved Klu Klux Klan murders in the 60’s.

Penn Cage, the mayor of Natchez, has seen his beloved father charged with the murder of his old nurse, Viola.  Rather than stand and face the charges as Penn expects, his elderly and ailing father goes on the run, and it looks as if he’s enlisted the help of old friends and maybe even killed a state trooper in the bargain.

The law in two states and the FBI are involved, and Penn’s fiancé, newspaper editor Caitlin, can smell a Pulitzer.

With just about all of the players working at odds with each other, a deeper story of corruption and evil at the very highest levels starts to be revealed.

You will definitely get more out of The Bone Tree if you’ve read Natchez Burning, and the two books together are a must read for fans of Iles, historical fiction, political thrillers and on and on.  It’s the “must-read” book right now, and we have a few signed first editions in the store at  this time ( 6/2015).

ISBN: 9780545561549
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Published: Scholastic Press - March 31st, 2015

Jennifer Nielsen, author of one of my favorite middle grade trilogies, The Ascendance Trilogy (The False Prince, ect.), has begun a new saga set in an alternate Rome where the Emperor is threatened by senators and generals with access to magic from the gods.

Nic, an escaped slave, has unexpectedly been given magic and the ability to communicate with animals, including a griffon.  But an un-asked for power is seldom a gift, and Nic finds himself in a fight for his life and that of his family and friends…

Mark of the Thief is clearly the beginning of a fun new series all middle grade readers should just devour.

ISBN: 9781451626124
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Published: Touchstone Books - April 7th, 2015

I zipped through this 700-pager like a guilty pleasure on Thanksgiving.

It’s narrated by Margaret Pole-who, to hide her claim to the throne that the Tudors ascended, marries beneath herself to a kindly and stalwart Tudor supporter.  She has no plans to threaten the new royal family and wind up in the Tower liker her beloved brother and other relatives before him.

But eventually Margaret becomes guardian of Prince Arthur of Wales and then advisor to his new bride, Catherine of Aragon.

Another story of power and intrigue, lust and greed, The King’s Curse gives us what Philippa Gregory does best – a titillating peek behind the curtains of a most intriguing period of British history.

ISBN: 9780385532556
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Published: Doubleday Books - March 24th, 2015

I’d read an early David Levien book, but this one seemed far more cohesive and compelling to me – Levien has come into his own alongside the gory ranks of Tomi Hoag and Cody McFadyen and the like.

When Frank Behr, a down on his luck PI in Indianapolis notices a billboard with a $100,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of a young woman, he takes the no-win case and stumbles onto the trail of a serial killer who is leaving his artfully arranged ‘masterpieces’ all around town.

This is a gory book, and not for the faint of heart.  But if you like your heroes struggling with their own inner demons and your bad guys to be pure evil, this one’s for you.

ISBN: 9780399171642
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Published: Blue Rider Press - December 17th, 2014

Daniel Pyne is a screenwriter (Manchurian Candidate, Pacific Heights, Fracture) who has also written extensively for TV and recently, turned to novels.

His background goes a long way toward explaining the staccato writing that brings Fifty Mice alive.

Jay Johnson is an average-ish guy with an average-ish life.  When one day he wakes up sure that someone is in his apartment, he chalks it up to a bad dream.  And when he’s subsequently abducted and secreted away on an island, he’s convinced they’ve got the wrong guy.

And, as readers, we aren’t so sure either.  Does Jay have a life we know nothing about?  Does his mind harbor valuable secrets, or is he deeply paranoid?

This novel unspools like a film, and if you can wrap your head around the movie you’re reading, you’ll love the uncertainty that never really leaves you until the very last page.   

ISBN: 9780060004903
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Published: William Morrow & Company - March 10th, 2015

Joe Coughlin is consigliere to Tampa’s infamous Bartolo crime family in this 1940s mobster tale from mystery veteran Dennis Lehane.

When a rumor surfaces that someone wants Joe dead, he has only a few days to figure out who is behind the plot and what it is they are really after.

As the US becomes embroiled in WWII, the mob scene in Florida and Cuba is changing in ways the old families never anticipated, and if Joe is to remain on top, he will have to do some long-term strategizing.

An interesting, solid crime novel from Lehane.

ISBN: 9780143125310
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Published: Penguin Books - April 29th, 2014

LeCarre was born in 1931 and has been writing some of the world’s best spy novels for the last 50 years.

In A Delicate Truth, a ‘low flying’ civil servant is tapped to be the eyes and ears of a counter terror operation in Gibraltar.

Three years later a disgraced Special Forces soldier comes forth saying that, unlike the rousing success Operation Wildlife was believed to be, it was really a debacle that has been covered up at the highest levels.

Sadly, this, as many of LeCarre’s other novels, has a ring of truth and shows understanding of the way our society and government now work.

Twisty and compelling, A Delicate Truth is another espionage triumph for the undisputed master.

ISBN: 9780062267528
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Published: William Morrow & Company - February 3rd, 2015

This book is everything I like in a good mystery – smart writing, lots of red herrings, and a great ending.

There are crosses, double crosses, characters who lead perfectly normal lives who are anything but normal themselves.

In the spirit of a good, twisty old Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes story, Swanson turns your expectations upside down.

I can’t wait for him to write another!

ISBN: 9781476728001
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Published: Atria Books - June 3rd, 2014

A woman out birdwatching in the early morning witnesses what she thinks is a crime.

Nick Davis, the Federal Prosecutor, initially doubts her, but goes along to the scene to investigate.  Sure enough, they find a body.

But then more bodies start turning up, and the investigation becomes close to home and personal to Nick.

This is a well plotted legal thriller that poses moral and ethical dilemmas we hope we never have to face.

If you’re a Defending Jacob fan, or you love a good legal mystery, do yourself a favor and pick up Indefensible