Three books about military service in honor of Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who are serving or have served in the armed forces. To mark the day, consider reading one of these novels or short story collections that portray military experiences during the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bring Out the Dog by Will Mackin
In this collection of 11 loosely connected short stories, U.S. Navy veteran Mackin tells stories based on his own wartime experience serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In their starred review, Library Journal called it “a well-plotted group of small fictions for readers wishing a feel for the reality of recent U.S. ground wars.”

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
Eden Malcolm, injured when his Humvee hit a pressure plate in the Hamrin Valley, lies in a coma in the burn unit at San Antonio as his wife, Mary, waits by his side. A fellow soldier killed in the same explosion that injured Eden is the narrator, detailing their time together in the service, the thoughts going through Eden’s head, and Mary’s fears. Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Road Ahead: Fiction from the Forever War ed. by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner
These 25 short stories by military veterans chart the way combat experiences have changed in the years since U.S. forces first arrived in Iraq and Afghanistan, focusing as often on the struggle of returning home as on time in the service.

~ posted by Andrea G.

Defective Detective Departments

What happens when cranky, poorly motivated or seemingly-incompetent individuals are all sidelined together into a single work unit? They end up solving the mysteries that no one else could, of course. Or, at least, in fiction they do. These books are all the first in series that find professional pariahs taking care of business.

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Chief Detective Carl Morck has always been difficult to get along with, but he was tolerated because he was good at his job. Sidelined after a shooting left him injured and his partner paralyzed, Carl finds himself dubiously in charge of Department Q, responsible for cold cases. With just a lackluster assistant, Assad, Carl starts investigating the 5-year-old disappearance of politician Merete Lynggaard. The reader knows Lynggaard is still alive; can Carl and Assad find her? While darkly humorous, this novel shares elements with other Scandinavian Noir mysteries such as Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, including some violence and a more somber undertone. Continue reading “Defective Detective Departments”

Three Views of Seattle

Seeing your city through different eyes can be revelatory, bringing to the fore details you may not have noticed. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life, just moved in, or are somewhere in between, pick up one of these books for a new lens on Seattle.

Seattle Walk Report
Exploring 23 Seattle neighborhoods, Seattle Walk Report uses charming comic book-style illustrations to highlight landmarks, history, and the quirky people, places and things she’s seen on her walks since 2017. How many people did she see jaywalking in Ballard? What did she observe in the span of five minutes on the corner of 8th Ave S. and S. King St.? Who is Ernestine Anderson? What are the top three poses you can strike in front of the Gum Wall? Read this book and you’ll know.
— The artist behind Seattle Walk Report will be in conversation with Paul Constant (co-founder of Seattle Review of Books) at the Central Library Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7pm. Continue reading “Three Views of Seattle”

Get Out of the Lake!

The lake is where you want to be on a beautiful August day, unless you’re a character in a mystery novel. I’m here to tell you that, in my experience as an avid mystery reader, an idyllic remote lake can often double as the scene of a crime. Which is why these mysteries are wonderful choices for atmospheric lakeside (or backyard or park) reads.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman: Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this noir-inspired stand-alone novel from Lippman. Maddie Schwartz leaves her husband and son and pursues her dream of being a journalist. She’s obsessed with two murders and her involvement by happenstance in the first one helps her land a job at a reporter. The second murder is the LADY IN THE LAKE, a tale that has all sorts of urban lore around the case. Lippman, in my opinion, is one of the finest crime fiction writers today and I eagerly anticipate each new book from her, and this one delivered. Booklist said in a review: “This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the ’60s.” This is a Peak Pick, too! Take it to the lake, but don’t stay in the water too long … Continue reading “Get Out of the Lake!”

Three on a Theme: There’s a Rabbit on Your Book

Two new novels and one of last year’s fiction gems have an obvious link with a distinct long-eared creature on the cover. What these books really have in common, however, is within their pages of bitingly funny fiction.

Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum (May 2019)
It’s been ten years since we’ve been treated to a novel by the hilarious Kirshenbaum, and this new one is worthy of a celebration. In Rabbits for Food, Bunny, a novelist, heads into a clinical depression as she waits for a therapy dog that never arrives. How could this possibly be funny? Well, Continue reading “Three on a Theme: There’s a Rabbit on Your Book”