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Back Channel: A novel
Back Channel: A novel
by Stephen L. Carter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.03
70 used & new from $8.98

4.0 out of 5 stars intelligent Black woman who gets pulled into being the one ..., August 24, 2014
This review is from: Back Channel: A novel (Hardcover)
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Taut and suspenseful tale that could have taken place during the Cuban missile crisis. Carter skillfully blends the real events and participants at the time with a backstory about a young, intelligent Black woman who gets pulled into being the one hope for both the US and USSR to stop all out nuclear war. Margo Jensen is recruited to join Bobby Fischer who had apparently been approached by one of the Soviet chess players with information about Russia's plans in Cuba. The trip seemingly turns into a disaster as she is arrested and then somewhat mysteriously allowed to escape after being interrogated by a KGB agent named Fomin. She is brought back to the US and returns to Cornell. When Fomin suddenly appears at Cornell and enlists Margo to be the "back channel" between Kennedy and Krushchev, her entire world dramatically changes. Trust becomes the one thing of importance to all of the key players, Fomin tells Margo she is the only one he can trust, and Margo then must learn who she can trust in the shadowy world of Beltway politics. Interesting and well developed characters, and non-stop action make this a good escapist read.


The Golem of Hollywood
The Golem of Hollywood
by Jonathan Kellerman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.48
98 used & new from $5.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant medley of mysticism and detective work!, June 15, 2014
This review is from: The Golem of Hollywood (Hardcover)
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I have enjoyed Jonathan Kellerman's books for many years but this departure from his usually fine crated psychological thriller is a real tour de force. Once I started reading the tale of the seemingly hapless Jacob Lev, an alcoholic former homicide detective now working an desk in traffic, I could not put it down. Jacob is suddenly transferred to a Special Projects division which appears to have no real official LAPD location, nor staff. His assignment is to investigate a grisly murder where only the head of the victim has been found with "Justice" in Hebrew burned into a wooden counter nearby. Jacob learns the DNA tests on the deceased reveal a match to DNA from a brutal serial killer who had a string of murders in the LA area some yeara before that had never been solved. Jacob's investigation leads him to other killings throughout the US with the same MO and leads him to Prague and Oxford before he can finally put all of the pieces together. An incredible tale!


Never Fuck Up: A Novel
Never Fuck Up: A Novel
by Jens Lapidus
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.85
48 used & new from $4.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Real grit and noir, May 17, 2014
This review is from: Never Fuck Up: A Novel (Hardcover)
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All three of the main characters in this gritty novel are very bad guys....a terrorist wannabe, a mercenary and a bent cop. Their three avenues to their ultimate collision at the scene of a very private get-together with the pillars of both business and political power at a remote, highly guarded estate are carefully drawn. Lapidus gives us their inner thoughts as they weigh their own motivations for their actions. Not a pretty book but one hell of a great suspenseful ride!


Love and Treasure
Love and Treasure
by Ayelet Waldman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.33
80 used & new from $8.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical tale, May 1, 2014
This review is from: Love and Treasure (Hardcover)
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There are actually four stories in this beautifully crafted novel which all center upon treasure and the deeper meanings of both love and loss in the context of several different lives affected by World War II. An American Jewish soldier during World War II finds himself responsible for a train load of treasured good looted by the Nazis from Hungarian Jews. He meets a concentration camp survivor and falls in love with her but is thwarted by her plans to emigrate to Israel with a group of other Jews displaced by the Nazis and living in camps in the ruins of Europe. His grandaughter lates makes a promise to find the owner of a piece of jewelry he brings back from the treasure train and her adventures in Europe bring her to an expected love as well while finding out about the unusual original owner of the jewelry and her own very unique and interesting tale.

I was completely entralled by this masterful storyteller and how she wove together all of the generations and stories.


Casebook: A novel
Casebook: A novel
by Mona Simpson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.90
98 used & new from $3.24

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky families in California - a delight, April 26, 2014
This review is from: Casebook: A novel (Hardcover)
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This is another great Mona Simpson tale about life, love and adolescent thoughts and dreams in an upper class LA suburb. I have been a fan of Simpson's since Anywhere But Here and her treatment of the ups and downs experienced by Miles, a boy challenged by his parents divorce and his mother's romance with a mysterious character who pops in and out of their lives, is told in an adolescent voice that continuously rings true. When Miles and his best friend Hector decide to investigate the mysterious Eli, they learn the truth about him and his real life and then are troubled as to how to deal with this information. Meanwhile they are surrounded by an assortment of other parents, friends, classmates and acquaintances who all have their own quirks. A truly fascinating story!


The Red Room (A Risk Agent Novel)
The Red Room (A Risk Agent Novel)
by Ridley Pearson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.72
119 used & new from $3.76

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had its moments but not one of his best, April 24, 2014
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The first third of the book just did not flow, the characters and their interactions seemed somewhat stilted. About midpoint when real action, via kidnapping of Grace took place, things came together a bit more. The story line was imaginative but delivery just wasn't up to par.


The American Mission
The American Mission
by Matthew Palmer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.11
93 used & new from $1.41

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great thriller from a true life perspective, April 24, 2014
This review is from: The American Mission (Hardcover)
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This is a thoroughly enjoyable tale of conflict in the Congo written by an American diplomat who has seen the real inside of diplomacy. Our hero is a disgraced member of the diplomatic corps who has been "put out to pasture", processing visa applications in a remote area. He is suddenly "rehabilitated" and called back to serve his mentor when another senior consulate member dies in a plane crash. As he learns more about the situation in the Congo, the current ruling regime, the various "rebels" and "revolutionaries", he begins to see that the real danger to democracy in the Congo are not only the dictators but the corporations looking to loot the country of its natural resources. A well crafted tale!


The Blonde
The Blonde
by Anna Godbersen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $2.47
89 used & new from $0.25

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very simply terrific!, April 24, 2014
This review is from: The Blonde (Hardcover)
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Ms Godbersen certainly had a lot of guts taking on another spin at the Marilyn Monroe story after Joyce Carol Oates' tour de force several years ago. However this extremely well written novel spins the tale of Marilyn, the reluctant Soviet agent....although the premise sounds preposterous, Ms Godbersen develops the tale so skillfully with an interesting group of fleshed out characters, both famous and fictional, that the story really starts to make you wonder "what if". By the time I got to the midpoint of the book, I could not put it down! I dont want to spoil this for other readers, but the final acts in the saga are not only great storytelling, but also very imaginative. I highly recommend this and will be looking for more adult fiction from this young writer.


Ripper: A Novel
Ripper: A Novel
by Isabel Allende
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.82
144 used & new from $1.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!, April 2, 2014
This review is from: Ripper: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I have never read one of Ms Allende's books until now....I believe after reading this one I have been missing something. Truly interesting and quirky characters all involved in trying to solve a series of murders in San Francisco. Mother Indiana is a gifted healer with two very different men in love with her, while trying to raise her daughter, Amanda, who leads an online group called Ripper. The various kids with their own created online personalities start with the first murder, carefully gathering information and then sifting through it to formulate their own conclusions. The police including Amanda's father, Indiana's ex, have no clues and are increasingly puzzled by each new murder...are they the work of a serial killer? Are they connected?

Meanwhile Indiana strives to heal many strange and damaged folks in her holistic practice while barely making a living. Surrounding these two interesting ladies are various characters who care for them in different ways as well as quirky family members. The characters are very well developed and real...the adventures of Amanda and her crime solving band of online misfits in seeking to solve the true identity of the murderer or murderers will keep you reading this book into late at night. One of the best new books I have read in a long time.


The Dinosaur Feather
The Dinosaur Feather
by Sissel-Jo Gazan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.51
81 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - a new author, I want to follow, March 20, 2014
This review is from: The Dinosaur Feather (Hardcover)
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This starts as a scientific debate, albeit highly charged and acrimonious. Then it becomes a murder mystery when a distinguished professor dies suddenly and horrifically while his colleagues and graduate students who all seem to despise him for one reason or another become potential suspects. The police investigator himself has a past and as he continues to try to find any leads to the murderer, his past comes back to haunt him. Then there is another grisly murder of one of the graduate students who was working closely with the dead professor......is it related to their work? When even the "mortal enemy" of the dead professor comes to his funeral, the plot gets more intriguing.

This reminded me of many of Michael Crichton's scientific thrillers especially in the level of intelligence it is written. There are many subplots involving many of the characters who are all trying to figure out who the murderer or murderers are....extremely well written and thoroughly enjoyable!


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