Friday, August 17, 2012

Fathers, Piano Prodigies, and Haunted Memories

Light from a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris
It's early summer and Nellie Peck is on the cusp of adolescence--gangly, awkward, full of questions, but keenly observant and wiser than many adults in her life. The person she most admires is her father, Benjamin, a man of great integrity. His family's century-old hardware store is failing, and Nellie's mother has to go back to work. Meanwhile, Nellie's older half sister has launched an unsettling search for her birth father, and Nelie is often saddled through the long, hot days with her timid younger brother, Henry, whom she is determined to toughen up--herself as well. When violence erupts in the quiet Peck house, the prime suspect seems obvious. And although Nellie knows who the real murderer is, she is soon silenced by fear and the threat of scandal. The truth, as she sees it, is shocking and unthinkable, and with everyone's eyes riveted on her in the courtroom, Nellie finds herself seized with doubt.

A Million Heavens by John Brandon
On the top floor of a small desert hospital, an unlikely piano prodigy lies in a coma, attended to by his helpless father. Outside the clinic, a motley vigil assembles beneath a reluctant New Mexico winter--strangers in search of answers or escape, all watched by a disconsolate wolf on his nightly rounds. And above them, a would-be angel sits captive in a holding cell of the afterlife, finishing the work he began on earth, writing the songs that could free him.

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
Haunted by memories of the Great War, failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate--the Savoyard Plantation--and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But under the facade of summer socials and small-town charm, there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

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