Thursday, July 21, 2011

Graves and Ghosts

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving him up?

The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor
The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumored to have been haunting Jerusalem ever since student Frank Oldershaw claimed to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds and was locked up because of his violent reaction to these disturbed visions. Desperate to salvage her son's reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts--a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion--to investigate. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts an uneasy status quo as he glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr. Carbury, ever could. And when Holdsworth finds himself haunted his fate is sealed. He must find Sylvia's murderer, or else the hauntings will continue.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apes, Bears, and Dragons!

Ape House by Sara Gruen
Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelanie, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships--but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language. Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but animals she gets--especially the bonobos. Isabel feels most comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans...until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what's really going on inside. When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and "liberating" the apes, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he'll rick his career and his marriage to follow.
The Bear in a Muddy Tutu by Cole Alpaugh
Newspaper man Lennon Bagg is mourning the loss of his job and the abduction of his daughter by his ex-wife. Lennon rescues Graceful Gracie the runaway bear, and helps her rejoin her trainer at a traveling circus, which has illegally pitched its tents on a small island on the Jersey Shore. Their self-proclaimed shepherd is Billy Wayne, a wannabe cult leader, but when Lennon arrives, he is the one they turn to. Unbeknownst to Lennon, his daughter Morgan is in Bermuda, having been told that her father is dead. Believing that dead people become birds, she is convinced that one day he will fly to her. Meanwhile, Lennon and Billy have hatched a plan to save the circus. Lennon boards a plane headed to the Bermuda Triangle, along with a man who holds the record for being struck by lightning. And it's starting to cloud up...

Dragon's Time by Anne McCaffrey
Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Psychological Thrillers, Suspense and Madness

Cast Into Doubt by Patricia MacDonald
Shelby Sloan, a successful Philadelphia businesswoman in her early forties, has one child, a daughter whom she raised on her own. She gives her daughter, Chloe, and son-in-law, Rob, a Caribbean cruise as a gift, while she takes the opportunity to mind her four-year-old grandson. But her life becomes a nightmare when Rob calls to tell her that Chloe has disappeared overboard. The cruise line and the police decide it was an accident. Shelby refuses to accept the official verdict. But as she struggles to learn what really happened to her daughter on her vacation cruise, a trail of life lead her back home, both to Chloe's painful secrets, and to someone who will stop at nothing to protect a hidden life.

Thou Shalt Kill by Daniel Blake
Detective Franco Patrese has a history that goes deep into Pittsburgh's Catholic working-class soil. Teamed with his straightlaced, God-fearing partner, Patrese takes pride in keeping his emotions at bay. Even when he is looking at a murder scene that's like nothing he's every witnessed before: a prominent surgeon immolated in his upscale condo. The first burning is just the first of many. The media goes ballistic, and a killer nicknamed The Human Torch terrifies and fascinates a city that has clawed its way back from the brink of oblivion. As the murders pile up, Patrese and his partner find their investigation lurching wildly.

The Color of Night by Madison Smart Bell
Mae, a Las Vegas blackjack dealer, spends her free time wandering the desert with a rifle, or sitting in her trailer obsessively watching replays of an old lover escaping wreckage of 9/11. What she sees in those images is different from what the rest of us would see. She revels in pure anachy, thrills at the destruction. These images recall memories of a childhood marked by unthinkable abuse, of her drift into a cult that committed the most shocking crime of the 60s, of her life since then as a feral and wary outsider, caught in a swirl of events at once personal, political, mythic.