Friday, September 21, 2007

Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial by Nicole Hollander

"For the last quarter century, Hollander's comic strip Sylvia has dared to say publicly what most women only smirk about with their favorite girlfriends. Now Hollander's taking on the ultimate female nightmare—getting old. While men think they still look swell when they're older, aging is hard on women. In a series of hilarious sketches, Hollander takes on everything from late-life sex with vibrators to peculiar herbal remedies for menopausal symptoms, rounding it all off with a most astonishing afterlife fantasy, where she's reborn as Rex Stout. There's practical advice, too. A lot of problems stem from things we think we should be doing, but aren't, like having a fantastic love life. Hollander was 50 when she realized she was holding onto love affairs way past their sell-by date, ruining decades of her life. Now she reminds herself that she's already been married, even if it was 40 years back and only lasted four years. Brimming with bad attitude, Hollander is a real gift to women of a certain age."

~Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Widow's Curse by Phillip DePoy

"Welsh legends, ghosts, a Cherokee artifact, a valuable portrait—all combine in unexpected but ingenious ways in Shamus-finalist DePoy's fourth Fever Devilin mystery (after 2005's A Minister's Ghost), set in the Georgia Appalachians. In past adventures, the folklorist and failed academic has helped Sheriff Skid Skidmore investigate murders involving strangers, but this time trouble directly involves Fever's family and heritage, which makes it worse for him and better for the reader. A phone call about an unusual silver medallion purchased from someone in the town of Blue Mountain prompts Fever to invite the caller to visit. When the caller ends up dead in Fever's cabin, Fever has no choice but to untangle the twisted origins of the medallion even when it leads deep into his own family's somewhat sordid past. Adept at clever word play, DePoy has a comfortable command of his characters, their land and their history."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett

"This promising first in a new series from the pseudonymous Dunnett, aka Kathy Lynn Emerson (Face Down Beside St. Anne's Well), introduces spunky Liss MacCrimmon, a 20-something dancer forced into early retirement by a knee injury. Adrift and depressed, Liss returns home to Moosetookalook, Maine, to help her aunt run a small store specializing in Scottish kitsch. Soon after she learns that the Scottish Emporium is in precarious financial shape, she discovers one of her former schoolteachers dead in the shop. Suspicions that Liss did the deed herself only grow when, much to Liss's shock, she turns out to be the woman's sole heir. Meanwhile, her first cousin is telling fibs about his job, neighbors gossip about sparks flying between Liss and her old buddy Dan, and a shady real estate developer may be using underhanded tricks to snap up local properties. Strong local color and a surprise ending will make this a hit with the cozy crowd.

~Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Guardians by Ana Castillo

"In her latest work, award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist Castillo (Peal My Love Like an Onion ) explores the gritty, grimy, and ultimately deadly world of the Mexico-U.S. border. Beautiful, middle-aged Regina, a public school aide, is raising her saintly nephew Gabo. Gabo's mother was murdered seven years ago by "coyotes," traffickers in humans and drugs. Now the boy's father, a frequent border crosser, has gone missing. As Regina begins her frantic search, she works with Miguel, a brilliant, charismatic, and disillusioned teacher whose estranged wife has also disappeared. The story of the anguished searches of these courageous, loving people is variously narrated by Regina, Gabriel, Miguel, and Miguel's grandfather. Castillo's voice is as much political as poetic: she writes of corrupt or powerless officials on both sides. That most of the victims are "legal" makes little difference to the tragic finale of this gripping novel."

~Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lottery by Patricia Wood

"Perry Crandall has an IQ of 76, but is not retarded, as he'll have you know: his IQ would need to be less than 75 for that, and he knows the difference even if others may not. Perry, the 32-year-old narrator of Wood's warm-fuzzy debut, has worked at the same marine supply store for half his life and lives with his wisecracking grandmother Gram, whose gems of folk wisdom help him along. But when Gram dies, Perry's selfish, money-grubbing family members swoop in and swindle him out of the proceeds from the sale of her house—and then come a-knocking again when Perry wins $12 million in the Washington State Lottery. Suddenly everyone is paying attention to Perry, but who can he trust? Even his friends from the marine supply store behave differently, and on top of everything else, Perry finds himself falling for convenience store clerk Cherry, who has problems of her own. Despite his family's shenanigans and sinister maneuverings, Perry holds his own and discovers abilities he didn't know he had."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Led Zeppelin Crashed Here by Chris Epting

"Epting's latest guidebook to pop-culture landmarks (after The Ruby Slippers, Madonna's Bra, and Einstein's Brain: The Locations of America's Pop Culture Artifacts) is dedicated to rock 'n' roll. Divided into themed sections, it covers, e.g., locations of famous performances, blues and jazz spots, and rock 'n' roll museums. Two somewhat macabre sections (whose entries are arranged alphabetically by artist) are dedicated to death and burial sites. This thematic organization is handy, unless you want to track down all the entries on a particular artist, in which case you'd have to look in every section. Even artists with entire chapters dedicated to them, like Elvis and the Beatles, have stray entries in the book's other parts. Organization aside, the entries are engaging and diverse. Epting manages to pay tribute to the major players without marginalizing the minor ones, choosing moments in musical history that cover a broad range of styles and generations."

-- John Helling, Aguilar Branch, NYPL Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Hatred for Tulips by Richard Lourie

"Dark and fascinating.... Lourie's prose is spare and evocative, the plot compelling." - The Wall Street Journal

"According to Lourie's fictional account, the informant who turned Anne Frank and her family in to the Nazis was a mere adolescent, motivated more by a desire to feed his dying father, who was subsisting on tulip bulbs, than by an obsessive hatred for Jews or by an unalloyed greed. When the brother he hasn't seen for 60 years visits from America, self-pitying Joop confesses his terrible boyhood secret, which he claims prevented him from marrying, cultivating friendships or leading a normal life, and relives the war years. Events include Joop's brief play at sabotage (discovered by a Dutch Nazi uncle and reported to Joop's father, who savagely beats him); Joop surviving diphtheria (he's blamed when a similarly infected sibling dies); and Joop's parents' unhappy marriage and casual anti-Semitism, which cast shadows over his ordinary activities. Lourie's rendering of Anne Frank's fictional betrayer as a callous, misguided youth is stark and deftly written."

~Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.