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Book reviews

Let’s Roll

Lisa Beamer

Tyndale House Publishers

Lisa Beamer’s book is a wonderful testimony of love, hope and faith.

The widow of Todd Beamer, one of the heroes of United flight 93, states her belief that “It’s important for people to connect with the people intimately connected to the tragedy” and she accomplishes that task very well.

Going back two generations, Beamer details the couple’s roots, their early years together, their marriage and their strong commitment to evangelical Christianity.

Co-authored with Ken Abraham, who wrote “Payne Stewart: The Authorized Biography,” the book paints a bigger picture of Todd “than what was known of him in one half-hour at the end of his life.”

In the end, the writer manages to convey her strong faith in the promise of an afterlife, and it is that faith that sustained her in the dark hours after 9/11.

– Pat Lane

Cedar Ridge

Q is for Quarry

by Sue Grafton

Putnam, 2002

As the story goes, the murdered body of a teen-aged girl was found 18 years ago in the Grayson Quarry near the Santa Theresa, Calif., home of Kinsey Mollhone, private eye and star of Sue Grafton’s novels. This is the 17th in a series that began with “A is for Alibi” in 1983. It is also the first in this series to be based on an actual case.

The girl is unrecognizable; no one has reported her missing. Her dental work, though extensive, is not identifiable. Authorities finally give up on the case, but 18 years later, two of the original detectives, Con Doyle and Stacey Oliphant, now retired, reopen it to satisfy their frustration with it and hire Kinsey to help them investigate.

Grafton fans love Kinsey, who is 38, independent and occasionally lonely. Married and divorced twice, she treasurers her single life and her privacy in a small remodeled unit in Santa Theresa. A subplot in the book involves relatives whom she has never seen and doesn’t really want in her life.

The author is known for her complicated plots, which keep readers on the trail. Details are devious but carefully delineated by careful, dedicated detective work.

If you like Kinsey and her work, and you will, her previous novels, from “A is for Alibi” to “P is for Peril,” can be found in new and used bookstores, and in both local main libraries. Enjoy.

– Joan Agar

Nevada City

The Dive From

Clausen’s Pier

Ann Packer

Alfred A. Knopf

Carrie Bell is one of those “old” young people. We’ve all known them. They’re very, very responsible and their lives have few ups and downs – just an even keel.

But at 23, Carrie is beginning to believe there must be more in life to experience. She’s had the same boyfriend, Mike, for years, but she knows in her heart that her feelings for him have faded.

Then comes one of those moments that alters life forever. (This happens on page 2, so I’m not giving away any plot secrets here.) During a Memorial Day picnic, perhaps in an effort to impress Carrie, Mike dives from Clausen’s Pier. The water’s level is down more than three feet from normal, and he breaks his neck. Mike is taken to the hospital in a coma.

Of course, Mike’s isn’t the only life that changes on that fateful day at Clausen’s Pier. But the reaction of Mike’s friends and loved ones is the real tale that Ann Packer weaves.

Consider yourself warned: This story is far from predictable.

– Dixie Redfearn

Cascade Shores

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