What books are people reading in Grand County?
April 18, 2008
A look at the top ten books checked out from Grand County Libraries for the 2008 reveals some interesting selections.
Mysteries, romance and crime fiction take the lead, but there are a few surprises.
Take a look at what books are being checked out @ Your Library.
Number One: “Shadow Music,” a novel, by Julie Garwood.
Julie Garwood has written many New York Times bestsellers. “Shadow Dance” and “Slow Burn” are just two of the many popular books she has penned.
In “Shadow Music,” Garwood takes readers on an absorbing ride into the realm of historical romance with a book set in the dramatic landscapes of medieval Scotland. The main character, Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel, leads the reader in a gripping story of love, murder, adventure and mystery.
Here’s a brief summary of the book Amazon.com: For Princess Gabrielle, Scotland has stunning vistas, wild chieftains, treacherous glens, and steep shadows – skullduggery, betrayal and murder. Princess Gabrielle is prized for her exquisite beauty. As the daughter of one of England’s most influential barons, she is also a perfect bargaining chip for a king who needs peace in the Highlands. King John has arranged Gabrielle’s marriage to a good and gentle laird. But this marriage will never take place as a war begins and intrigue builds.
The book has been described as “a crowning achievement” in Garwood’s “amazing” career. Other books she’s written include “Killjoy,” “Mercy,” “Heartbreaker,” “Ransom” and “Come the Spring.” More than 32 million copies of her books are in print.
Number Two: Plum Lucky, by Janet Evanovich.
This book is classified as modern mystery fiction.
Ten years ago Evanovich eschewed her earlier career as a romantic novelist and took up her pen to delve into a strange world populated by thugs, crooks, hookers and a certain sexy little bounty hunter named Stephanie Plum, the heroine of her books.
Publisher’s Weekly described “Plum Lucky” as follows: “Evanovich’s latest ‘Between-the-Numbers’ outing begins on St. Patrick’s Day, when bounty hunter Stephanie Plum spots her Grandma Mazur dragging a mysterious duffel bag down the street. Then Grandma Mazur vanishes, and Stephanie’s frantic mother begs Stephanie to track her down. Soon, Stephanie and her usual band of sidekicks (including sexy, inexplicably lucky Diesel) are on their way to Atlantic City and into a hilariously funny mess involving stolen mob money, a kidnapped horse and a thief/con artist who thinks he’s a leprechaun. Lorelei King does the story justice, milking the prose for every drop of humor with her amusing, distinctive and superlatively accented rendition of each character.
“Her voices border on caricature, but that’s entirely appropriate for this farcical, delightful New Jersey jelly doughnut of a novel, a satisfying snack for listeners anxiously awaiting Stephanie’s 14th full-length adventure.”
Number Three: “T is for Trespass,” Sue Grafton.
Grafton is now two-thirds of the way through her popular series of alphabetic murder stories starring P. I. Kinsey Millhone. The character Millhone, who has her own bio on Grafton’s web site, seems to have taken on a life of her own. Grafton says her heroine is “human-sized,” a simple gal solving complex, irresistible murder cases.
Barnes and Noble refers to this book as Grafton’s “most unsettling novel to date.” It’s also her “most direct confrontation with the forces of evil. Beginning slowly with the day-to-day life of a private eye, Grafton suddenly shifts from the perspective of Kinsey Millhone to that of Solana Rojas, introducing listeners to a chilling sociopath. Rojas is not her birth name. It is an identity she cunningly stole, an identity that gives her access to private care-giving jobs.
“The true horror of this novel builds with excruciating tension as the listener foresees the awfulness that lies ahead. The wrenching suspense lies in whether Kinsey Millhone will realize what is happening in time to intervene.
‘T is for Trespass’ deals with issues of identity theft, elder abuse, betrayal of trust and the breakdown in the institutions charged with caring for the weak and the dependent ” targets that are an all-too-real rip in the social fabric.”
Number Four: “Three Shirt Deal,” a Shane Scully Novel by Stephen J. Cannel.
Stephen J. Cannel is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer of such TV hits as “The Rockford Files,” “Wiseguy” and “The A-Team.” Cannell has also embarked on a successful career as a crime novelist with his popular line of Shane Scully detective thrillers.
In “Three Shirt Deal,” lead character Truit Hickman is a small-time crook doing life in California’s brutal Corcoran State Prison for the murder of his mother, states a Barnes and Noble synopsis. Although he admitted to the crime, he now claims his confession was forced upon him by the cops. A beautiful Internal Affairs detective, Secada “Scout” Llevar, asks Shane Scully to help investigate, and he agrees after learning the original homicide detective was Brian Devine, a ruthless cop with whom Scully has a bad history.__
What begins as a routine review quickly turns into something much more deadly, as readers will discover in this edgy thriller in which Shane is tried in ways he has never been, risking his family, his job, and his life.
Number Five: Three Sisters, by James Doss.
James Doss spins tales that have strong Colorado connections.
Publishers Weekly states that “Three Sisters,” the 12th Charlie Moon mystery from world-class storyteller Doss, has more twists and turns than the road to Charlie’s acerbic Aunt Daisy’s.
The ratings for Colorado’s most famous TV psychic, Cassandra Spencer, go through the roof when she describes a truck-stop murder as it takes place, but she fails to predict the horrific death of her newly wed eldest sister, Astrid, apparently mauled by a wild animal. Rancher Charlie Moon, a Ute tribal investigator, and his best friend, Granite Creek police chief Scott Parris, team up with Aunt Daisy and her connections in the spirit world to search for an inhumane-and possibly inhuman-killer, while Cassandra and her remaining sister, Beatrice, vie for the hand of Astrid’s widower, who has secrets of his own. Doss’s narrative and chatty asides are finely cut gems.
This latest Colorado mystery leaves no doubt that Doss has carved out his own niche.
Doss is the author of eleven previous Charlie Moon mysteries, two of which were named one of the Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly. Originally from Kentucky, he lives in Los Alamos and Taos, N.M.
Number Six: “Double Cross,” by James Patterson.
This book is in the renowned Alex Cross detective series by Patterson, which has been rated the number one bestselling detective series with more than 50 million copies sold.
In “Double Cross,” Alex Cross rejoins the police force to face the most diabolical villain he’s ever encountered – a serial killer with a hunger for mega-celebrity. Publishers Weekly says Patterson’s 13th Alex Cross thriller pits the legendary profiler, now retired from law enforcement and working as a psychiatrist in private practice, against two serial killers. Criminal Kyle Craig, Cross’s former colleague in the FBI, has managed to escape from a Colorado maximum-security prison and is steadily working his way through his list of those he holds responsible for his capture and incarceration. Cross, who heads the list, is drawn back into police work by his love interest, Maryland homicide detective Brianna Stone, who’s been assigned to the task force focusing on the D.C. This is a true page-turner.
Patterson once famously declared he wanted to be known as “the king of the page-turners.” While that may seem like a pretty grand ambition, Patterson is as worthy of that title as any author working today.
Number Seven: “Duma Key,” by Stephen King.
“The plot of ‘Duma Key,’ ghastly in itself but certain to bring horrified pleasure to King’s enormous readership, could have been sketched on the reverse side of Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, a grisly examination of the magic of art.”
Those are the words of James Campbell of the New York Times Book Review in describing King’s book “Duma Key.” In this book a terrible accident takes Edgar Freemantle’s right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. His marriage ends and he finds a new home on the isolated Duma Key. There, he begins to paint, sometimes feverishly; many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When a local friend’s past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.
As many readers know, few authors have tapped into our secret fears as adeptly as Stephen King, Master of the Macabre and one of the most widely read novelists writing today. With his trademark blend of fantasy, horror, and psychological suspense, this prolific and immensely popular contemporary writer continues to remind us that evil is still a potent force in the world.
Number Eight: “Playing for Pizza,” by John Grisham.
Here’s a book that takes a delightful turn away from the macabre, murder and violent suspense genres. This book is fun and entertaining for people who like football, Italy; and who just enjoy a fun read.
Here’s what Publishers Weekly says about “Playing for Pizza:”
“Christopher Evan Welch kicks and scores with his engaging narration of Grisham’s charming tale of touchdowns and tortellini. Rick Dockery, a 28-year-old third-string NFL quarterback, is playing for the Cleveland Browns. In the final minutes of a decisive game, Rick is brought off the bench to disastrous results. The Browns lose the game and a chance at going to the Super Bowl. After the team unceremoniously dumps him, the quarterback agrees to play for a small but tenacious team called the Parma Panthers – whose playing field is in Parma, Italy. Welch perfectly captures the tone for this humorous and often touching fish-out-of-water story.”
Grand County readers know Grisham as the master of the legal thriller. He was a criminal and civil lawyer in Mississippi when he published his first book “A Time to Kill.” His next book, “The Firm,” became a blockbuster and established him as a master.
Number Nine: “The Darkest Evening of the Year,” by Dean Koontz.
Set mostly in Southern California, says Publishers Weekly, this topnotch thriller from bestseller Koontz depicts with unabashed emotion and wit the magical powers of golden retrievers – in particular, a female named Nickie, who will stop at nothing to save innocent children and protect their guardians. Amy Redwing, the survivor of a horrifying marriage, establishes Golden Heart to rescue golden retrievers, rehabilitate the abused ones and find “forever homes.” A supernatural chain of events ensues after Amy and her architect boyfriend, Brian McCarthy, rescue Nickie during a violent intervention in a family dispute. Soon the pair is on a mission that leads to a transformative confrontation with a number of ugly characters – Gunther Schloss, a frustrated aspiring novelist turned killer-for-hire; Moonglow, a psycho in the Mommie Dearest league; and Moonglow’s lover, Harrow, a self-obsessed sicko.
This is the perfect book for thriller addicts who know the darkest hour is just before dawn and for canine lovers who remember “dog” spelled backwards is “god.”
Amazingly prolific and relentlessly suspenseful, Dean Koontz can be counted on for chilling, sometimes gory stories that occasionally overlap genres. His novels can jump from straightforward crime to sci-fi to horror, but the one thing he’s consistent about is delivering nail-biting yarns that have kept fans reading for more than three decades.
Number Ten: “Dark of the Moon,” by John Sandford.
Publishers Weekly has high praise for this novel: “What a pleasure to find a novel with an upbeat hero paired with a reader who is more interested in telling a story well than in demonstrating the outer limits of his vocal range. Far from the usual cynical, borderline-depressed investigator, Virgil Flowers is a likable, hang-loose sort of sleuth who enjoys life and seems to relish handling the ‘hard stuff’ for his boss, Lucas Davenport. Flowers’s assignment is to investigate several gruesome murders in a small town . . . ‘Dark of the Moon’ is more of an entertainment, allowing Flowers to supplement his determined quest for justice with witty conversation and several romantic interludes.
“Conger matches the lighter moods with a mellow, almost mesmerizing matter-of-fact delivery, adjusting his vocal range just slightly to differentiate speakers. But when the action demands it-such as the grim opening murder scene or the suspenseful storming of the cult leader’s encampment-Conger’s voice takes on a properly hardboiled intensity.
John Sandford began his career as a journalist using his real name, John Camp. He won a Pulitzer for feature writing before turning to mystery-suspense novels, simultaneously releasing two “first” novels under two different names in 1989.
From detective thriller to romantic suspense, it’s obvious that Grand County readers like to be entertained while reading books by top-notch writers.
You can read what the rest of Grand County has been reading too. Just check any of these “Top Ten” books or more @ Your Library.
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