Cameron Harris is a paraplegic Afghanistan War vet, back home in Mississippi living with his sister Tanya. Life has been rough for Cameron - his father left early on and his mother died when Cameron was in high school. Unable to cope, Cameron dropped out of a promising football program, worked construction - even on their own Katrina-ravaged house - until one day Cameron left Tanya and Mississippi and enlisted.
But now he's home, pounding back beer and chain-smoking, letting Tanya push him to the convenience store on the corner in the afternoon.
Until, one day, Cameron stands up and walks - right in that convenience store parking lot.
Cameron finds himself in the middle of a media storm about his miracle. Tour buses of believers start to show up at the BIZ-E-BEE and the doctors at the VA clinic scramble for an explanation at the same time the catholic church sends an investigator and reality TV sends a film crew.
Cleverly written as if this were a non-fiction book exploring the inexplicable story of Cameron's recovery, Anatomy of a Miracle takes the reader down a dizzying number of paths to the basic truth that 'some things just happen'.
Different and intriguing.
Dennis Lehane proved long ago that he's a master storyteller with a gift for tension and psychological suspense. His new novel, Since We Fell, is among his best.
Rachel Childs is a gifted reporter who has long been searching for her biological father. She has an "it couple" marriage and an up and coming network career to go along with her fashionable series about her upbringing.
100 pages into this story, I was hooked on her character, but wondering why Lehane was writing a book about a woman whose career and marriage implodes and who becomes a virtual shut-in after an on-air meltdown.
150 pages in, the novel took a turn when Rachel ventures out, only to see her husband, who should be halfway across the Atlantic, getting into the back of a dark SUV.
By page 225 the story explodes. Rachel's second husband has a lot of secrets, and they are all deadly ones.
The action and tension build page by page from there. The fact that Lehane so calmly laid the groundwork for his story, only gradually adding discordant notes until, abruptly, you realize you're reading an entirely different story than you thought you were is just masterful - conceived and executed like no other thriller I've read.
Reviewers and fellow writers alike are bowing down before this book. Wow.
Author Karen Cleveland was a CIA employee and spent six months on rotation to the FBI, working closely with a Joint Terrorism Task Force, so when her character Vivian, a CIA analyst, gets herself into trouble, we get the sense that this is a plausible scenario.
Vivian has written a program to try to predict people who might be Russian sleeper agents - US citizens living normal lives, but in reality are Russian agents feeding information back through a handler. One day Vivian's program strikes gold and she's gained entry into a suspect's computer. Everything looks innocuous enough, but when she clicks on a folder labeled 'friends', five photos show up. And five, she's learned, is the number of sleeper agents in each cell.
She can hardly believe her luck as she clicks through the pictures until one stops her cold. The face she's looking at is that of her beloved husband and father of her four precious children.
Instantly, Vivian's life becomes a nightmare and we're taken on that nightmare with her right up to the final twist of the knife.
Bestseller Lee Child says "Prediction: if you read chapter one, you'll read chapter two. If you read chapter two, you'll miss dinner, stay up far too late, and feel tired at work tomorrow. This is that kind of book. Superb."
After reading A Mind At Play, the biography of Claude Shannon, Gaylord's most famous native son, I found myself wondering several things:
- How did I, who have lived in Gaylord over 20 years, know so little about the genius who reduced communication theory to an essence of ones and zeros - essentially inventing binary code?
- Why did my children, who attended school here, not learn about this man's accomplishments in depth?
- Why doesn't our high school, which boasts Shannon's mother as a former principal and Claude himself - a man with so many honorary doctorate degrees he built a revolving rack upon which to hang his stoles - have Claude Shannon competitions, celebrating the fact that this graduate explored, among so many other things, juggling, cryptography, robotics, and chess - tinkering and building contraptions to solve problems large and small throughout his life?
- And why do mathematicians, engineers, and scientists the world over revere this native son when we here have scant knowledge of his life and accomplishments?
A Mind At Play celebrates the spirit of curiosity which took Shannon from Gaylord to U of M to the hallowed halls of academia to the famously productive Bell Labs to MIT. While giving chapters to the mathematical and scientific accomplishments of this acknowledged genius, the authors continue to point out that Shannon had a real spirit of fun driving his theoretical discoveries, and that to the end he remained a humble man of humble origins - right here in Gaylord, MI.
Conman turned lawyer Eddie Flynn is back in this twisty legal thriller.
Eddie's estranged wife, Caroline, has unwittingly signed papers at her high-powered Manhattan law firm that could send her to prison for a long while. Eddie learns this when he arrives at his office to find it full of government agents who have a deal he can't refuse. Eddie has just hours to get a prominent tech billionaire just arrested for murdering his girlfriend to hire Eddie as his defense lawyer and take a plea deal. If he can swing that, Eddie is told, the FBI can use the tech wizard to turn on the corrupt law firm, and Eddie's wife will get immunity from the blood bath to follow.
Well! Easier said than done, obviously, and of course our man doesn't quite have all the facts here.
Full of slick legal maneuvering, corrupt attorneys, ruthless government agents and a quirky sense of humor, The Plea is a seriously entertaining read.
Karen Perry is the pen name of two award winning Dublin authors.
David is a professor of history and Caroline, his wife, has just returned to work. They are caring for David's aging mother and have two school-aged kids, Robbie and Holly. They've had their ups and downs, but right now things seem to be on an even keel.
Then one day a young student appears in David's office at the university to tell him that she believes he is her father. And everything changes. Zoe begins to insert herself into their lives and everything begins to fall apart.
There is palpable tension in this book. The reader is stacking up the stranger lies and deceptions, waiting for something big and awful to happen. But when it does, it's almost anti-climatic. Good as the authors were at ratcheting up the tension, I'm not sure the finale delivers.
One thumb up, one thumb down - what do you think?
I raced through this thriller by the author Stephen King called "...an absolute master".
Agatha stocks shelves at the supermarket, and the one thing that keeps her going is glimpses of Meg - a woman about Agatha's age who lives the glamorous lifestyle of Agatha's dreams. She's pregnant, just as Agatha is, but instead of toiling all day and returning to a lonely, dismal flat at night, Meg has coffee with her friends, goes to yoga and then picks up her two darling children and returns home to her handsome, famous husband.
Finally the two meet, and the similarity of their due dates gives them common ground. Agatha daren't tell Meg the truth about herself, and has no idea that Meg, too, has secrets and a far from perfect life.
Soon the lives of these two women are entangled in a way the reader only gradually sees coming. This was one of those peeking-through-your-fingers, "oh no, it's not going to be that" novels that felt original, memorable and as powerful as a thriller gets. It's a must read.
The teaser on the front of my advance reading copy of this psychological thriller says 'it isn't paranoia if it's really happening' and that phrase not only sums up this remarkable debut, but would perhaps have made a better title than the title.
The Woman in the window is Dr. Anna Fox. Since her husband and daughter left her, she's become severely agoraphobic - unable to leave her house. She occupies her days online and pointing her camera out the windows to watch her neighbors.
And her new neighbors are fascinating indeed. Right up until she sees young Jane Russell with a stab wound, sliding down the window, trailing her hand through her own blood.
Anna tries to go outside to help her after dialing 911, but wakes up in the hospital with police telling her she hallucinated the whole thing.
This is a creepy thriller and Finn has somehow put us right there inside Anna's mind with her as she fights for her sanity.
This book is very accomplished for a first novel. You must check out The Woman In The Window.
This smart thriller is set against the backdrop of the Munich Conference of 1938, and is peopled with real characters - from Hitler to Chamberlain and Mussolini.
Hugh Legat is a lowly private secretary to Neville Chamberlain, and a rising star in the British diplomatic service.
His old mate from his Oxford days, Paul von Hartmann, is on staff for the German Foreign office, but he's a secret member of an anti-Nazi faction and working behind the scenes to prevent Hitler's ambitious expansion plans. When Legat and von Hartmann are both assigned to their respective country's delegation, the chance for them to reconnect and possibly impact world events is suddenly a possibility.
I liked the way the story was set against a background we've all read about before, but managed to put a fresh spin on events that made me feel as if I was reading a real behind-the-scenes narrative.
Robert Harris has the chops to pull this off, and he does it assuredly. Two thumbs up.
In 1982 in a small town in upstate New York, three young friends - Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah - become inextricably linked by a terrible crime.
Fast forward to 2008. Patrick and Hannah are married, but the things they've kept from each other about that summer they were 13 is a wedge that's driving them apart. When Matthew, who ended up serving time after that fateful summer, reappears in their lives, no one can tell if it's to make amends or something far more devastating.
As what really happened in the woods in '82 is slowly revealed, the reader begins to gradually sense the real tragedy of this story. Grist Mill Road is a gripping, unsettling read you won't soon forget.