Archived Staff Picks - April 2015
The Skeleton Road
By: Val McDermid
Recommended by Marilyn
Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid is one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business, whose acutely suspenseful, seamlessly plotted novels have riveted millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, The Skeleton Road, she delivers a gripping standalone novel about a cold case that links back to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.
In the center of historic Edinburgh, builders are preparing to convert a disused Victorian Gothic building into luxury flats. They are understandably surprised to find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn't been touched by maintenance for years. But who do the bones belong to, and how did they get there? Could the eccentric British pastime of free climbing the outside of buildings play a role? Enter cold case detective Karen Pirie, who gets to work trying to establish the corpse's identity. And when it turns out the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, Karen will need to dig deeper than she ever imagined into the tragic history of the Balkans: to war crimes and their consequences, and ultimately to the notion of what justice is and who serves it.
The Skeleton Road is an edge-of-your-seat, unforgettable read from one of our finest crime writers.
This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.
By Susan Mallery
Recommended by Ann
After nearly a decade as a sous-chef in a trendy eatery, and fresh off a divorce from the owner, Jenna Stevens is desperate for a change. So when she spots a for-lease sign in her hometown, she impulsively decides to open her very own cooking store. Her crash course in business is aided by a streetwise store manager and Jenna's adoptive mother. But as soon as she gains a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents--aging hippies on a quest to reconnect.
Now Jenna must figure out how to reconcile the free-spirited Serenity and Tom with the parents who raised her and decide whether to open her heart to a man who just might be the best thing to happen to her in years. All without sacrificing her newly found dreams. In the end, Jenna will find that there is no perfect family, only the people we love....
This title is available in Paperback, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.
The girl on the train
by Paula Hawkins
Recommended by Yvonne
The girl on the train is author Paula Hawkins' first suspense novel but not her first published work. She has also written lightweight romance novels using Amy Silver as her pen name. There is no lightweight romance to be found among the pages of her new gripping novel. Instead, we meet Rachel, a 30-something Londoner whose life is in a downward spiral due in part to her attempt to numb the pain of her broken marriage with alcohol. She takes the same commuter train every morning and again every night in an effort to grasp hold of the life she has lost. Day after day she longs for what her life could have been as she roars past her old dream home and the perfect-looking neighbours a few doors down.
Rachel is fascinated with "Jess and Jason" until one day she sees something that ruins her fantasy of the seemingly golden couple. The next day "Jess" goes missing. Rachel is immediately obsessed with trying to help solve the mystery but her addiction, poor judgement and memory lapses obscure her ability to decipher what has happened.
The novel's other two narrators are Megan ("Jess") -the missing woman and Anna, Rachel's ex-husband's new love. Both characters are more troubled then they first appear and deliver surprising twists and turns, right through to the riveting last page.
The girl on the train asks the agonizing question - Can we ever really truly know our spouse or even ourselves? Everyone is to blame for something...
This title is available in Regular Print, Book on CD and Downloadable eBook formats.
A History of Loneliness
By John Boyne
Recommended by Janet
This haunting, compelling story of power, corruption, lies and deceit illustrates the damage that happens when we turn our eyes from wrong.
Father Odran Yates, a good man, is a parish priest during the dark and troubled history of the Catholic Church (especially in Ireland). He is caught between Church authority and the sexual duplicity and cover-ups that created countless victims among families and even the religious community.
When a family event opens wounds from his past Father Yates is forced to confront the demons that have raged within the Church and to recognize his own complicity in their propagation within the institution and among his loved ones.
This title is available in Regular print, Downloadable AudioBook and eBook formats.
By its Cover: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery
By: Donna Leon
Recommended by Pauline
Donna Leon's critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting in Venice, the humanity of its characters, and its fearlessness in exploring politics, morality, and contemporary Italian culture. In the pages of Leon's novels, the conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they never have been before.
One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem--the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor does not exist.
As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.
This title is available in Regular and Large Print formats.
Recommended by Rachel
Vincent MacKenna is a retired Vietnam veteran living in Sheepshead Bay. He is a grumpy alcoholic who smokes and gambles excessively. He's always in trouble with gambling debts and has successfully driven everyone one away except for Daka a pregnant Russian prostitute.
Maggie a single mother and her 12 year old son Oliver move in next door to Vincent. When Oliver has his keys, cell phone and wallet stolen by bullies at school he goes to Vincent to see if he can stay until his mother is home. Maggie pays Vincent for his help and he offers to babysit after school.
While babysitting Vincent takes Oliver to the race track, strip club and a dive bar, a high end retirement home where his wife who suffers from Alzheimer's lives, and teaches him how to fight the bullies picking on him. Then everything goes wrong. He's three months behind on his wife nursing home payments and they want to kick her out, Vincent's loan sharks want their money now and are coming to collect when Vincent suffers a stroke but he needs hospitalization and physical therapy.
Oliver, Maggie and Daka help Vincent to recover, but he becomes irritable and depressed after finding out that his wife has died while he was hospitalized. Oliver's father, who is a lawyer, finds out about where Vincent has been taking him, he uses this to get joint custody with supervision, and Vincent is told that he can no longer see Oliver. But Oliver decides to choose Vincent as his hero for his "Saints Among Us" project for his school, where he interviews everyone who knows Vincent and compiles his life story together, before naming Vincent as his saint.
The movie is funny moving and proves that even with the roughest of us can have a heart of gold.
This title is available in DVD format.
By Christina Baker Kline
Recommended by Krista
Orphan train tells a moving story of two orphans that are eighty years apart but share parallel stories and experiences. First is Molly a Goth Penobscot Indian teen unsettled and unaccepted in her foster care home. After she steals a book and requires community service to keep her out of juvie she meets Vivian a ninety year old lady who has stashed all her memories in her attic and needs help "sorting". Through this sorting we hear of Vivian's past as an Irish girl named Naimh, who has emigrated from Ireland to New York only to have her family fall victim to a fire. With her family gone and her devastated mother unable to care for her, Naimh, is sent on a cross country journey into the unknown that over two hundred thousand orphans have also embarked on.
Kline does a great job painting a picture of this orphan experience using textures, sights and smells. She provides insight into transience of their lives and the precariousness with which they live. Although their lives seem worlds apart, their relationship will help both women heal.
This title is available in Regular Print, Book on CD, Downloadable AudioBook and eBook formats.