Tales of Wall Street

The news from Wall Street has been a little too thrilling of late, but the high stakes world of high finance has provided a natural backdrop for some great fiction over the years. How do I balance my own need for a little respite from the increasingly bleak economic outlook with my creeping concern that I don’t understand nearly enough about the stock market’s ins and outs? Like many readers, I turn to stories that allow me to escape into a fictional world, and yet pick up some interesting tidbits about the real world of Wall Street along the way. Many of the books that follow are written by ex-brokers and traders, all of whom are, we may presume, currently at work now on their big bailout thrillers.

I read or skim through many of Akashic’s regional noir anthologies looking for stories for the library’s Thrilling Tales Adult Storytime, and I’m pretty sure I’ll include a few from this one, as timely as it is. Here are great crime stories by a range of leading hardboiled writers such as Peter Blauner, John Burdett, Reed Farrel Coleman and Jason Starr. Noir fiction is all about human vice, and this Continue reading “Tales of Wall Street”

Staff favorites: Three novels to check out now

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
Cynthia is a typical high school student who sneaks out one night to goof around with her boyfriend. She is caught by her angry father and she storms off to bed screaming how much she hates him. She realizes the next morning how horrible she was and she goes to apologize but she can’t find him. Strangely, her mom and brother are gone as well. The car is gone from the driveway and there is no note. Twenty-five years later, she is still desperately seeking answers to their disappearance. Her search for the truth will jeopardize her life and family. ~Jeff A.

Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear
An ancient retrovirus comes to life in southern Russia, causing mothers to lose their babies before they are born. Governments around the world treat the SHEVA virus as a dangerous disease that must be eradicated, but something else is afoot, namely a sudden evolutionary leap in the human genome, with unusual consequences. With events spinning out of control, a trio of researchers—disgraced archaeologist Mitch Rafelson, retrovirus expert Kaye Lang and globe-trotting CDC virus hunter Christopher Dicken—must convince governments of the truth. Fun, fast-paced, thought-provoking, and even a splash of romance, this is speculative fiction at its best. ~ Beth D.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
This is a magical story that will have you floating on air. You’ll fall in love with the Waverly women and Bascom, North Carolina. While wanting to find out what happens next you will also be dreading that this book is going to come to an end. Just read it, and you’ll be recommending it to others afterwards!     ~  Jesten R.

Scaring me in 2008

This year proves fertile ground for new kinds of horror — scary books that go beyond the splash-gore of Clive Barker or the pokey-fanged love of Tanya Huff and L.A. Banks. Even Stephen King is up to something new. Frankly, simply by his status as one of the most prolific horror writer in America, I was prepared to dismiss Stephen King’s latest tome, Duma Key, as a carbon copy of all the books that have kept him solvent for years. Yet despite some fairly standard hauntings and the usual eerie isolated house, this story is a grabber-keeper. Its newly divorced and maimed anti-hero, Edgar Freemantle, makes a fresh start in Florida and combats his inner rage with his art. Another Continue reading “Scaring me in 2008”

Suburban sleuths

Not all private detectives smoke pipes, carry arms and drive little red sports cars. Some suburban moms and dads solve murders before and after carpooling in vans and oversize station wagons. Authors Jeffrey Cohen, Susan Isaacs, Valerie Wolzien and Jon Katz are four authors have created suburban sleuths. 

Jeffrey Cohen writes humorous mysteries set in New Jersey. For Whom the Minivan Rolls, A Farewell to Legs and As Dog Is My Witness feature stay-at-home dad Aaron Tucker. Prolific author Susan Isaacs author of the early classic Compromising Positions writes about the murder of a wealthy periodontist in suburban Long Island. Valerie Wolzien is the author of mystery stories starring Susan Henshaw, housewife and amateur sleuth whose first appears in Murder at the PTA Luncheon.  Jon Katz wrote a number of witty suburban mysteries in the 1990s including Death by Station Wagon and The Last Housewife.

In these last few weeks of summer, go ahead and sit back, relax and let a suburban sleuth take over. ~ Susan F.

Book review: Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood

phryne2.jpgI’ve never encountered a detective quite like Phryne (rhymes with “briny”) Fisher before – but now I’m totally smitten. Divinely elegant and stylish, this smart, confident woman turned her back on 1928 aristocracy to live independently in Australia. In one of my favorites, Murder in Montparnasse, Phryne steps in to help her friends Bert and Cec when their buddies start dying under under suspicious circumstances. She suspects that the men – and perhaps Phryne herself – unknowingly witnessed a crime in Paris ten years earlier during World War I.  Even though I was attracted to the Art Deco cover art in this series, I resisted these books for a solid year. I finally realized my reluctance is connected not to the story or the character, but to the embarrassing fact that I had absolutely no idea how to pronounce “Phryne.” Continue reading “Book review: Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood”