What we're reading in October 2009
Ever wonder what the folks who work at a mystery bookstore like to read? Well, here's your answer. Each month we ask everyone here to pick a book, current or older, that they truly enjoyed and are enthusiastic about. Of course, if you visited the store, we'd tell you directly what we like but for those of you who can't come see us, this is the next best thing. Our special thanks to Judi for pulling this feature together and to all the staff who contributed their picks.
Presented here are the picks for this month, an archive of earlier months is available from the menu at the left.
What Margo is reading
Deborah scores a touchdown with her well constructed police procedural, the latest in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones series. This time, the case gets personal when an acquaintance, a fabric artist married to a Pakistani lawyer, goes missing in London’s East End, leaving a young toddler behind. As Emma and Duncan sift through the remnants of this family’s life we come to learn that The East End is a place of great contradictions, an ethnic neighborhood with chic clubs and Georgian homes, and above all, dark secrets.
What Mary Alice is reading
Watching the PBS presentation of Ken Burns's film about the National Parks I noticed that park ranger and mystery writer Nevada Barr was a technical advisor. This put me in mind of some of her National Park adventures, particularly Blind Descent. Barr thrills fans with Blind Descent that takes Park Ranger Anna Pigeon to the Carlsbad Caverns in a nail-biting adventure in Lechuguilla cave. A friend of Anna’s has been injured while exploring a cave and before shecan be pulled to safety, she sends for Anna. Only one problem: a crushing fear of confined spaces has kept Anna out in the open her whole life. This is some of Barr’s finest writing with the underground scenes a standout.
What Richard is reading
Sometime all you want is a fast-paced, well-written thriller with good characters and plenty of action. For those times, David Baldacci is the guy to read. Divine Justice is Baldacci's fourth (perhaps last) novel to feature Oliver Stone and the Camel Club and it opens with a spectacular assassination that leaves Stone on the run and isolated. The plot continues at breakneck pace as Stone finds himself in an isolated West Virginia town where some sinister things are underway. Great entertainment.
What else Richard is reading
Arsenault's debut novel is an utterly captivating tale with an appealing if socially inept protagonist who stumbles upon a mystery while working at a company that publishes dictionaries. Billy lands his first job out of college at the Samualson Company, a New England dictionary publisher that time has forgotten. One day he comes across a curious citation which appears to be from a non-existent book called The Broken Teaglass. Teaming up with a young woman colleague the pair comb through the cite files and find a trove of similar entries that gradually unfold a story of murder. A charming novel full of eccentric characters that is a delight for any word lover.
What Lynne is reading
Canadian author Andrew Pyper is a widely acclaimed author of the literary mystery. His writing is exquisite, yet chilling, and his plots are notably gripping and well developed. His new book is another fine specimen of Pyper’s consummate mastery of form and language. While the plot is one that’s been previously explored—death and disaster within the perimeter of a writing circle—Andrew Pyper takes the narrative thread beyond what could have been a hackneyed retread in less skillful hands. I won’t tell you any more, though, because you’ll need to read The Killing Circle to see for yourself that writer’s block is not even close to the worst that can befall aspiring writers.
What Judi is reading
Superintendent Brahim Llob of the Algerian police is bored. Nothing seems to need his attention in an unusually peaceful Algiers. Then suddenly, peace is shattered in ways Llob could never have imagined, putting him on a path down avenues he has never encountered and forcing him to delve into his beloved country's brutal past.