The Bookshelf 6/7/07
“The Overlook” by Michael Connelly. From best-selling author Connelly comes this electrifying new Harry Bosch novel. In his first case since he left the LAPD’s open unsolved unit for the homicide special squad, Bosch is called out to investigate a murder that may have chilling consequences for national security. Bosch must break in a new partner, rookie Iggy Ferras, when they’re called to look into the execution of physicist Stanley Kent on a Mulholland Drive overlook. When a special FBI unit, headed by Bosch’s former flame, Rachel Walling, arrives and tries to usurp his case, claiming it’s a matter of national security, Bosch refuses to back down. This is a quick read, almost half the length of Connelly’s previous novels, but he spares no punches when it comes to complexity and suspense. The scramble to investigate threats to national security, justified or otherwise, is a timely subject and one on which Connelly puts a brilliant new spin.
“In the Woods” by Tana French. Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, this novel marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense. Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller. When Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl from Knocknaree, a Dublin suburb, is found murdered at a local archeological dig, Det. Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, must probe deep into the victim’s troubled family history. There are chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and the disappearance 20 years before of two children from the same neighborhood. The plot climaxes with a taut interrogation by Maddox of a potential suspect, and the reader is floored by the eventual identity and motives of the killer. Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a tale of murder and repressed childhood trauma.
“Crashing Through” by Robert Kurson. Kurson returns with another thrilling adventure, the stunning true story of one man’s heroic odyssey from blindness into sight. Mike May spent his life crashing through. Blinded at age 3, he defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur and family man. He never yearned for vision. Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news – a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore May’s vision. He began to contemplate an astonishing new world, but would he still be Mike May? The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond May’ s wildest dreams. There were countless reasons for May to pass on vision. He could think of only a single reason to go forward. Whatever his decision, he knew it would change his life. Beautifully written and thrillingly told, “Crashing Through” is a journey of suspense, daring, romance and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. This is a fascinating account of one man’s choice to explore what it means to see and truly live.
“Chosen by a Horse” by Susan Richards. The horse Susan Richards chose for rescue wouldn’t be corralled into her waiting trailer. Instead Lay Me Down, a former racehorse with a foal close on her heels, walked right up that ramp and into Susan’s life. This gentle creature – malnourished and plagued by pneumonia and an eye infection – had endured a rough road, but somehow her heart was still open and generous. It seemed fated that she would come into Susan’s paddock and teach her to embrace the joys of life despite the dangers of living. An elegant and often heartbreaking tale filled with animal characters as complicated and lively as their human counterparts, this is an inspiring story of courage and hope and the ways in which all love, even an animal’s, has the power to heal.
“Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World” by Joan Druett. In the winter of 1864, five seamen are aboard the schooner Grafton, which is wrecked on the remote and icy Auckland Island, 285 miles south of New Zealand. Under the leadership of Captain Thomas Musgrave, these men defy their slim chance of survival. With their bare hands they build a cabin and, incredibly, a forge, where they manufacture every single nail, as well as most of their tools. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the same island, 20 miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away, another ship is wrecked during a horrible gale. Nineteen men struggle ashore. They succumb to utter anarchy, and only three survive, while all the Grafton men survive for nearly two years before building a vessel and setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages ever. Award-winning maritime historian Druett tells a gripping cautionary tale about leadership, endurance, ingenuity and the tenuous line between order and chaos.
Compiled by manager Susan Beck at The Book Seller, 107 Mill St., Grass Valley, 272-2131. Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
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