Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

The Day of the Jackal

October 3, 2012

Author: Frederick Forsyth
Title: The Day of the Jackal: 40th Anniversary Edition
Genre: Historical Thriller
Publication Date: May 2, 2011
Number of Pages: 416 pages
Geographical Setting: Europe – London, France, Germany
Time Period: 1960’s

Plot Summary:

A theme with an urgent matter shrouded in secrecy. The events takes place in the 1960’s Europe – a page turner that keeps you at the edge of your seat. The story unfolds gradually and builds in intensity. A couple of unsuccessful attempts had previously been made to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, President of France by some disgruntled members of the opposition group. Eventually, a decision is reached for a final assassination attempt-which has to be fool proof. An unknown, one man professional killer is hired to do the job. To keep his identity secret, he would take on a code name-The Jackal. Secret meetings are held, payment arrangements made and the killer let loose. As we get a step by step account of how the killer prepares for his job, tension gradually builds up. The government authorities somehow learn of the plot, this then sets off a roller coaster of events, leading to an intense man hunt for the assassin which moves the story at a very rapid pace. The various plans and schemes on how to capture the assassin are shrouded in secrecy making the story all the more suspenseful. As the story progresses, you are nervous as you watch the killer just one step ahead of the police. The book has multiple plots told from an omniscient point of view. This allows the reader to see into the minds of all the characters which adds to the tension. Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger increasing the sense of anticipation. Background details and era are well portrayed by use of such elements as “rotary” phones and “Citroen” cars. You also hear frequent use of French and Germain during dialogues. This is a must read for any thriller fan- this book has you on edge the entire time!

Appeal terms:
Gripping, intricately plotted, compelling, engrossing, insightful, informative, engaging, multiple plot, tense, suspense, thrilling, edgy, plot-driven

3 Terms that best describe the book:
Suspense, thrilling, intricately plotted

Subject terms:
Assassinations, assassins, attempted assassination, British in France, Conspiracies, Detectives, Disguises, Secrete agents, the sixties (20th century) Secret service, Intelligent officers, France

3 Fiction read-aikes:

The Columbus Affair: A Novel – Berry, Steve

This is another suspenseful historical thriller that deals with kidnapping, lies and murders. Similar to The Day of the Jackal, a strong sense of the unknown pervades the story with the protagonist being an unknown investigator with no background, no history and no trails who embarks on a treasure hunt. The story also takes place across country lines from Florida across Europe and Jamaica with a strong historical feel – landscapes and culture. And just as in The Day of the Jackal, the book ends with a mysterious twist and leaves you with question to ponder. I believe readers of The Day of the Jackal would enjoy such similar elements.

Private games By: Patterson, James

Those who loved the lone villain theme in Day of the Jackal would also enjoy this book as it incorporates an investigative one man chase. The book has a modern feel which some might appreciate. A page turner, with complicated story line.

The Innocent by David Baldacci

A thriller as The Day of the Jackal. Set in America, a hit man is sent to eliminate a target and-something goes wrong. Action packed with a lot of twists and turns. Those who loved the The Day of the Jackal but would prefer an American setting would welcome this.

Non –fiction read-alikes:

The murder of King Tut by James Patterson

This book delves into the controversial murder of King Tut. In a fast paced narrative, Paterson gives a look into the mystery surrounding the death of the Egyptian king. Also a page turner, mysterious and controversial.

Kill or Capture by Matthew Alexander

This is a thrilling true story of how the task force chased down an Al Qaeda leader. The book is a compelling personal account of all the interrogations that went on in this capture. Those mystified by works of the OAU and the police department in The Day of the Jackal would appreciate this insight.

Confessions of a Hit man by John Perkins

Anyone interested in real life account of shady deals in the American corporations and its effect in the global market would love this. Just as the various issues pertaining to the SAC , OAU the Germans etc. found in The Day of the Jackal –

The Homeland Directive

August 8, 2012

Author: Venditti, Robert & Huddleston, Mike

Title: The Homeland Directive

Genre: Graphic Novel / Action Thriller

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 148 p.

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: Orwellian present

Series:

Plot Summary: This political/medical thriller takes place in a dystopian present setting where Dr. Laura Regan, head of the National Center for Infectious Disease, is a dedicated researcher and authority in the viral and bacteriological field. Her research partner is suddenly murdered and she is framed for his death. Soon she is drawn in the middle of a dangerous bio-terrorist conspiracy and has no option than evade law enforcement in order to uncover the truth. With the help of three rogue federal agents Dr. Regan manages to escape mercenaries and invasive cyber-detectives before the threatening scheme takes a dangerous turn against the lives of all Americans. In The Homeland Directive readers will find a page-turner government frame-up story with visually sophisticated artwork.

 

Subject Headings: Women researchers; Virologists; Murder investigation, Intelligence officers; Political crimes and offenses; Conspiracies; National security United States; Fugitives; Communicable diseases; Frame-ups; Civil rights.

Appeal: Cinematic, fast-pace, paranoid, intriguing, thought-provoking, thrilling, dangerous, suspenseful, action-oriented, plot-centered, political, unique artwork.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  Cinematic, fast-pace, intriguing.

Similar Fiction Authors and Works

Edmondson, Nathan. Who Is Jake Ellis; The story follows Jon Moore, a mercenary spy runaway, and his psychic invisible protector Jake Ellis. This is another fast-pace, action-packed and cinematic graphic thriller featuring a fugitive, secret agents, and suspense.

Willis, Connie. Doomsday Book; Kivrin is a time-traveling history student stranded in the Middle-Ages with the Black Death around the corner. To complicate the situation, a virulent influenza epidemic has also erupted at the Oxford research facility of her original time period.  This interesting science fiction plot deals with biological threads to civilizations and appeals to readers interested fictional apocalyptic stories associated with infectious, viral and bacteriological diseases.

Edmondson, Nathan. Activity. A military fictional thriller that follows a highly-trained and secret unit that gathers global conflict related intelligence to defend American interests. Just like The Homeland Directive, this graphic novel centers on advanced and secret missions and operations connected to potentially real larger threads to society.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism. A historical account focused on the issue of war and biological weapons from a military and political angle. This book includes information about biological agents and disease transmission, as well as the threat of bio-terrorism proliferation and national security.

Ventura, Jesse. American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells Us. An account of controversial government conspiracies and cover-ups.For those who enjoyed the intriguing political aspects of The Homeland Directive, Ventura’s investigative work provides insight to real acts of deception in America.

Solove, Daniel J.. Understanding Privacy. A comprehensive overview of the concept of privacy, its complexity, and the boundless debates it generates in today’s evolving technological society.  The Homeland Directive tackles the question of personal privacy vs. national security; this thorough look at this relevant subject may interest those who would like to explore the topic further.

Fanny Camargo

John Dies @ the End

August 1, 2012

Author:  David Wong

Title: John Dies @ the End

Genre: Horror

Publisher/Publication Date:  Thomas Dunne Books, New York. 2009

Number of Pages:  377

Geographical Setting:  “Undisclosed Location” in Midwest, United States of America

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series:  First two books of Web-Published novel

Plot Summary:  “Watch out for Molly.  See if she does anything unusual.  There’s something I don’t trust about the way she exploded and then came back from the dead like that.”  Such is the humor of David Wong and his buddy John, who dies at the end.  Dave is a guy in his mid-twenties, working a dreadful job at a video store, when John “accidentally” injects him with the black soy “sauce,” and everything around them goes to hell.  You see, Dave and John know the world’s going to end, and it is up to them to defeat the evil Korrock, a grotesque being from another dimension.  Along the way they recruit nerdy babes and hard-boiled cops, encounter genuinely scary (and original) foes like centipede-men who wear bad wigs, a man who is literally made of cockroaches, giant slugs and jellyfish, and the deadly bratwurst creature that can’t wait to “meat” you.  This is a tale for nerdy guys and the girls who love them, horror movie fanatics, and those who love creepy crawlies, because there are a lot of them.  Told in a style that is both funny and extremely graphic, you’ll be taken aback at how the characters develop over time, and you will care for them all the way to the explosive conclusion.

Subject Headings:  Psychic Powers–Time-Travel–Aliens–Cockroaches–Shadow Men–Bugs (Slugs, Worms)–Meat–Teenagers–Mental Disabilities–Amputation–Las Vegas–Reptiles–Jellyfish–Video-stores–Drug Addiction–Art (Paintings)–Hell–Guns–Explosions–Video Games–Dark Comedy–Romance–Bro-mance

Appeal: Bizarre,Shocking, Graphic, Genuine, Comical, Quirky, Action-Packed, Bloody, Emotional, Character-Driven, Over-the-top Violence, Dark Humor, Manly, Geeky, Blunt, Silly, Intense, Weird

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Comical, Original, Bizarre

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

A History of Ghosts:  The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters.  Peter H. Akyroyd.

This is a novel about a man (a skeptic) who grew up in a household where Seances were a normal thing, and talking with ghosts was treated like a normal part of everyday life.  That man is Peter Akyroyd, grandfather of the actor Dan Akyroyd, who supposedly based much of his screenplay Ghostbusters on his grandfather’s life.  Did you know “ectoplasm” is something that actually exists?  This funny, insightful novel will appeal to Wong’s fans for its humor, quirkiness, and downright fun family history full of spirits!  Ghosthunters, look no further.

You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking but Utterly True Facts.  By Cracked.com

David Wong is the pseudonym of Jason Pargin, editor-in-chief of Cracked.com (the online humor magazine).  This hilarious novel combines articles from the various authors of the website into nugget-sized “facts,” with a semi-serious journalist tone.  Readers will love these tales that never take themselves too seriously, yet contain actual, researched information that skews societal norms, but, in turn, also defends them.  David Wong would be proud!

Fangoria’s 101 Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen:  A Celebration of the World’s Most Unheralded Fright Flicks.  Adam Lukeman, Fangoria Magazine.

Simply put, those who truly love horror subscribe to Fangoria magazine.  In fact, most probably came to know about John Dies @ the End because of it.  This handy reference guide contains a plethora of reviews on horror films, comics, video games, music, and books!  This guide contains a fair amount of “Terror-Trivia” that will appeal to fans of Wong’s work, providing geeky insider knowledge into the myriad details that are the horror world.  Both common and obscure horror titles are included.  Not to be missed!

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft:  Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre.  H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth (editor)

This collection of short stories contains perhaps the “best” stories Lovecraft has to offer (The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Out of Time).  The ancient monster Cthulu is obviously a creature of great influence in David Wong’s work.  These disturbing stories contain dark creatures from other dimensions, insane human beings, devilish animals, and wicked prophecies and blood-thirsty insects.  Deeply moody and always frightening, a bit of dark humor is thrown in from time to time.  Truly for adults only, make sure not to read these before you go to bed.

Knee-Deep in the Dead ( Doom #1)  Dafydd ab Hugh, Brad Linaweaver

This first book in a series based on the popular computer game Doom contains far more depth than one might associate with violent computer games.  You are a marine with a troubled past, and have now just heard things are not going too well on a moon-post created for “mysterious purposes.”  All of a sudden, you hear a terrible noise, inhumane screaming over your radio.  A swarm of creatures, grotesque, devilish, have just emerged from a portal nearby.  Will you survive the inevitable onslaught?  This book is full of insane battles, logic puzzles, and vividly depicted locales told in a fashion quite similar to David Wong’s.  Highly cinematic.

Parasyte (Volume 1)  Hitoshi Iwaaki

“They arrive in silence and darkness. They descend from the skies. They have a hunger for human flesh. They are everywhere. They are parasites, alien creatures who must invade – and take control of – a human host to survive.”  Such is the introduction to Hitoshi Iwaaki’s sprawling sci-fi/horror manga series, Parasyte.  Shin is a typical high school student until he is infected by one of the alien parasites.  Instead of destroying the parasite he instead forms a mutual bond with it and travels about Tokyo, challenging evil beings and humans alike.  Very gritty and graphic, this series also has strong characters, philosophical musings, and fast-paced, unique battles.  Quite unique indeed.

Brimstone

July 24, 2012

Brimstone

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Title: Brimstone

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 752

Geographical Setting: Italy

Time Period: Modern Era

Series: Part One of the Diogenes Trilogy

Plot Summary: This story follows Agent Pendergast in one of his most puzzling and foreboding cases where it seems a murder victim may have entered into a “Faustic” pact with the devil leaving only smoldering remains along with hoof prints singed into the floor. Pendergast knows that everything points to the super-natural, but he is not so sure.
This story is definitely a mind blowing adventure that is face paced, yet filled with twists and turns. Follow Agent Pendergast is his thrilling quest to find out if there truly was a pact with the devil or a man who might be the devil himself. This is the first book in the Diogenes Trilogy.

Subject Headings: Italy – Fiction; Mystery — Fiction; Serial Murders– Fiction; Super-Natural – Fiction; Suspense – Fiction

Appeal: Super-natural, Psychological, Thrilling, Action, Adventure, Dangerous, Dark, Creepy, Suspenseful, investigative, Serial murder, Cerebral, Fast-paced

Three appeal terms: Super-Natural, Psychological, Suspenseful

Three read-alikes:

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
This story is a psychological suspense-thriller. It follows Alex Cross as he tries to outsmart a psychopathic serial kidnapper and murderer who terrorize government agencies. Twists and turns abound in this gripping story.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Lisbeth Salander is a computer hacker who does background investigations when she gets mixed up with financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist who has just been convicted of libeling a financier. Lisbeth is not opposed to her own interesting forms of retribution against those who harm her. She helps Carl unravel the sick mystery behind a missing girl where twists and turns abound. This book also deals with violence against women and psychological trauma. This is the first book in the Millennium Series.

The Suicide Effect by L.J. Sellers
Sula works at Prolab, a company that develops drugs. When she overhears the shocking truth behind a drug being developed by her company she is indecisive about what to do. The drug’s lead scientist disappears, so it’s up to Sula to expose the truth. Many people’s lives are at stake but her CEO is desperate and will do anything to stop her from telling the truth about the new drug.

Three related non-fiction titles:

Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Marc Olshaker
This book follows the twenty-five year career of John Douglas with the Investigative Support Unit. This is a true look into some of his most gruesome, dark, and chilling cases.

Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by George Jonas
This is the true story of five every-day Israelis who are tasked to hunt down and kill the PLO terrorists responsible for the attacks at the Munich Olympics in 1972. A true story filled with suspense and secrets.

Florida Pulp Nonfiction: True crime in the Sunshine State by Bob Norman
Journalist Bob Norman writes about true crimes in Florida. Everything from terrorists, gun-smuggles, drug lords, and off the reservation federal agents. This book is a great read to look into the ugly heart of the sunshine state.

– Charles Ford

Beat The Reaper

July 23, 2012

Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown #1)

Author: Josh Bazell

Title:  Beat the Reaper

Genre:  Suspense, Thriller

Publication Date: January 7, 2009

Number of Pages: 310

Geographical Setting:  Manhattan, NY

Time Period:  Present day

Series:  Peter Brown #1

Plot Summary:  The first novel by Josh Bazell (who is also a medical resident) follows a single, horrible day in the life of Pietro Brwna, an emergency room doctor and witness-protection program participant, living under the name Peter Brown. Flashbacks reveal that after Pietro’s grandparents (his only family) are murdered, he is taken in by David Locano, a mob boss and father of Pietro’s childhood friend, Adam. Fuelled by his hunger for vengeance, and aided by the Locanos’ resources, Pietro finds and murders his grandparents’ killers, and eventually becomes a hit man for the Locano family.  A falling-out with the Locanos causes Pietro to enter the witness protection program, and to later become a medical resident in the worst ER in Manhattan, where a former mob associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out.

Subject Headings:  Assassins, Federal Witness Protection Program, Hospitals, Organized crime, Physician and patient, Physicians, Pseudonyms and anonyms, Secrets

Appeal:  Fast-paced, relentless, dangerous, hard-edged, humorous, menacing atmosphere, suspenseful, eccentric, character-driven, strong secondary characters, action-oriented, cinematic, flashbacks, details of ER procedure, anatomy, and contract killing.

3 terms that best describe this book:  Fast-paced, Dark Humor, Suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

 1)    Plugged by Eoin Colfer

“When his girlfriend and several people close to him are murdered, Daniel McEvoy finds himself targeted by the New Jersey mafia, corrupt cops, and an eccentric neighbor.” — NoveList Plus

2)    Crisis by Robin Cook

“Shocked and humiliated by a medical malpractice lawsuit, physician Craig Bowman receives help from his estranged brother-in-law, medical examiner Jack Stapleton, who discovers trouble after exhuming the body of Craig’s alleged victim.” – NoveList Plus

3)    The Contortionist’s Handbook by Craig Clevenger

John Dolan Vincent is a talented identity forger, on the run from both the cops and the mob.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1)    Hospital Survival: Lessons Learned in Medical Training by Grant Cooper

“This book relates some of the countless, colorful stories that have occurred during the first year of clinical rotations and presents them in a manner that will not only entertain but will also mentor with the hope that the lessons of others will allow a smoother path for the next generation of students.” – Amazon

2)    The Mob and Me: Wiseguys and the Witness Protection Program by John Partington and Arlene Violet

            “This revealing first-person narrative, by one of the founders of the Witness Protection Program and a personal protector to more than five hundred informants, offers an eye-opening, dead-on authentic perspective on the safeguard institution.” – Amazon

3)    Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier’s Life in the Gambino Crime Family by Dennis Griffin

This book chronicles the life of Andrew DiDonato, who began his criminal career at the age of 14 under the watchful eyes of the local mob.  But by 1996, DiDonato had run afoul of both the law and his friends, turning him into a hunted man on two fronts.

Name:  Vadim Seyfer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mediterranean Caper

July 23, 2012

Author:  Clive Cussler

Title: The Mediterranean Caper: A Dirk Pitt Novel

Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Suspense

Publisher/Publication Date:  Berkley Books, New York.  1973

Number of Pages:  372

Geographical Setting:  The Island of Thasos, Greece.

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series:  Dirk Pitt series

Plot Summary:  One of the first novels of Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series, this is a tale of intrigue, sabotage, and scientific exploration.  Dirk Pitt  is a rough-and-tumble, modern-day adventure-man with a troubled past, charming wit, and the occasional mean streak about him.  A member of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), Dirk and his brainy colleagues embark on a mission to discover a missing creature in the evolutionary chain, only to be thwarted by a WWI bi-plane.  Pitt’s revenge on the nefarious plane leads to a tale laced with suspense, intrigue, picturesque Roman vistas, tricky villains, snarky quips, beautiful babes, and explosions galore.   This action-infused thriller is a page-turner and never lets up till the exciting conclusion.  As far as thrillers go, Cussler certainly knows what he’s doing.

Subject Headings:  Dirk Pitt (character)–Thosos (Greek Islands)–Military Bases–Submarines–Sabotage–Navy–WW I Planes– Bi-Planes–Classic Cars–Boats– Military History–Roman History–Greek Vistas–Aegean Sea–Labyrinths–Mediterranean–Troubled Pasts–NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency)–Adventure–War Criminals–Nazis.

Appeal:  Edgy, Informative, Shocking, Smarmy, Un-pretentious, Action-packed, Witty, Fast-paced, Richly detailed, Violent, Smart, Gut-wrenching, Spry, Loud, Serious.

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Smart, Fast-paced, Loud.

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Blood of the Reich.  William Dietrich.

Those who enjoyed the German threads (and machines) in Cussler’s The Mediterranean Caper may enjoy this similar tale about a modern-day publicist who must find the truth about a story on the history of Nazi SS officers and an American Zoologist looking for a legendary energy source in Tibet.  Fast-paced and suspenseful, this story provides a female protagonist akin to Dirk Pitt who is thoughtful, playful, witty, and smart.  Told in alternating chapters (both the past and the present), this tale should please anyone looking for an engaging, page-turning thriller.

State of Fear.  Michael Crichton.

This thought-provoking suspense novel by Crichton is an eco-thriller taking place in various exotic locales such as Paris, Iceland, and the Solomon Islands.  Those who find Cussler’s technologically  intense scientific and militaristic facts intriguing will enjoy this tale about a millionaire dealing with a present-day concern: global warming.  This compelling, richly told tale is both intellectually stimulating with the action-packed, fast-paced pace readers love.

Thunderball.  Ian Fleming.

Those who love Dirk Pitt’s brash, some-what dark, womanizing ways will most likely enjoy this James Bond tale by Ian Fleming.  In this tale Bond deals once again with the evil criminal organization SPECTRE, which has just hijacked an NATO airplane containing two atomic bombs , and is demanding ransom.  Will Bond succeed?  And, will there be beautiful women to cavort with whilst examining cool gadgets and sketchy situations.  Most certainly so!

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Castles of Steel.  Robert K. Massie.

This historical, non-fiction novel tells the tale of early, 20th-century naval history between the British and Germans during WWI.  The writing style of this work is filled with intriguing details, is thoughtfully described and is very scholarly, but not boring.  It is a military narrative of the finest proportions, and a good place to start for Cussler fan’s who enjoy his intricately described boats and machines of olden times.

Ancient Greece: A history in eleven cities.  Paul Cartledge.

Those who enjoyed the lushly detailed, mysterious vistas of The Mediterranean Caper might enjoy this historical novel about the development of eleven Greek city states and the politics thereof.  The book contains many significant details and contains a time-line, glossary, and list of important figureheads of the time.  Engaging and well-researched, fast-paced and highly accessible reading.

Horrible shipwreck!a full, true and particular account of the melancholy loss of the British convict ship Amphitrite, the 31st August 1833, off Boulogne, when 108 female convicts, 12 children, and 13 seamen met with a watery grave, in sight of thousands, none being saved out of 136 souls but three!   Andrew C.A. Jampoler.

This amusing, startling story tells the tale of the convict transport ship Amphitrite, and how it came to its ultimate demise off the shores of France in 1833, carrying over 100 women prisoners and their children.  Though non-fiction, this book is action-packed, written in the thriller/adventure style, and is full of intrigue and historical comedy and intrigue.  It contains bibliographical details and an index as well.

The Graveyard Book

July 17, 2012

The Graveyard Book

 

Author: Neil Gaiman   Illustrator: Dave McKean

Title: The Graveyard Book

Genre: Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 307

Geographical Setting: England

Time Period: Modern

Plot Summary: This is the story of “Nobody” Owens (nicknamed Bod for short) who as a toddler, escapes his home while his family is murdered. He wanders into a graveyard and ends up being raised by the dead. As he gets older he finds out the truth about his family and “the man Jack” who is still out to kill him. This adventurous fantasy starts out a bit relaxed, but becomes more quickly paced towards the end. It is a suspenseful and sometimes creepy story filled with witty and engaging language and characters. Neil Gaiman portrays the atmosphere and characters of this old English graveyard using dialect-rich language.

Subject Headings: Cemeteries, Ghosts, Werewolves, Orphans, Dead, Supernatural, Paranormal

Appeal: scary, suspenseful, quick-paced, witty, heartwarming, dialect-rich, engaging characters, atmospheric, creepy, humorous, clever, descriptive, attention grabbing

3 terms that best describe this book: suspenseful, witty, engaging plot and characters

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.      Creepy Chicago: A Ghosthunter’s Tales of the City’s Scariest Sites by Ursula Bielski (Illustrated by Amy Noble) – Just like the haunted graveyard in The Graveyard Book, this book tells about local Chicago sites that are said to be haunted.

2.      The Haunted Cotswolds by Bob Meredith (Illustrated by Peter Reardon) – This book would appeal to readers who would like to learn about a true ghost hunter who writes about supernatural happenings throughout Cotswold.

3.    England: An Illustrated History by Henry Weissser – There are many historical references in The Graveyard Book so this nonfiction companion would appeal to those who would be interested in learning more about the history of England.

Ursula Bielski (Author)

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3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1.      The Color of Magic: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett – If you enjoyed the British “feel” and humor in The Graveyard Book, you may also enjoy this.

2.      Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill – You may enjoy this book if you enjoy reading scary fiction books about ghosts.

3.      The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling – The Graveyard Book has a similar theme to Kipling’s book where a child is raised under unusual circumstances.

Name: Patty Prodanich

The Last Templar

April 18, 2012

Author:  Raymond Khoury

Title:  The Last Templar

Genre:  Thriller, Adventure

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  523

Geographical Setting:  United States, Turkey, Greece, Palestine

Time Period:  13th Century, Contemporary

Series:  Sean Reilly Thrillers

Plot Summary:  After witnessing the theft of valuable artifacts on loan from the Vatican, archeologist Tess Chaykin joins with FBI agent Sean Reilly to help track down the thieves and recover the artifacts.  Discovering that one of the artifacts leads to the famed hidden treasure of the Knights Templar, Tess and Sean engage in an adventure -filled treasure hunt across the Mediterranean. The treasure they discover is not what they expect; instead, it is a powerful secret that can change the face of Christianity.  This fast-paced, suspenseful thriller with loads of action will take the reader on an historical adventure that spans eight hundred years.

Subject Headings:  Knights Templar, The Crusades, Archeology, The Vatican, Catholic Church, Christianity, Conspiracies, Cryptography, Treasure Hunting, Women Archeologists

Appeal:  fast-paced, suspenseful, dramatic, flashbacks, cinematic, investigative, multiple points of view, multiple plot lines, action-oriented, thought-provoking, historical details, details of The Knights Templar

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  suspenseful, dramatic, fast-paced

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Crusades:  The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land:  by Thomas S. Asbridge-    The Crusades tells the story of the Holy Wars from both the Muslim and Christian perspective.  The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land will appeal to readers interested in the battles of the Templars in The Last Templar.

Discovery!:  Unearthing the New Treasures of Archeology by Brian M. Fagan- Through first-hand accounts, renowned archeologists discuss how their discoveries have helped to mold our understanding of history.  Discovery will appeal to readers who are interested in Tess Chaykin’s profession in The Last Templar.

The Templars:  The Secret History Revealed by Barbara Frale- The Templars:  The Secret History Revealed utilizes recently discovered Templar inquisition transcripts to provide a more thorough examination of the enigmatic order of medieval knights.  Both The Last Templar and The Templars:  The Secret History Revealed have the Knights Templar as a main topic.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte- When hired to assassinate two Englishmen visiting Madrid, seventeenth -century sword for hire Diego Alatriste finds himself torn between his conscience and fulfilling his contract.  Like The Last Templar, Captain Alatriste is a suspenseful, fast-paced novel rich in historical detail.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown-  While working to solve a murder, a French cryptologist and an American symbologist  uncover secrets that can discredit the traditional beliefs of the Christian Church. Both The Last Templar and The Da Vinci Code are suspenseful, fast-paced novels about the Catholic Church, conspiracies, and cryptography.

Sanctus by Simon Toyne- While investigating the death of a monk, an American journalist becomes entangled if a web of conspiracy involving the Catholic Church.  Like The Last Templar, Sanctus is a dramatic, fast-paced novel filled with conspiracy and nonstop action.

Elissa

The Andromeda Strain

February 22, 2012

Author:  Michael Crichton

Title:  The Andromeda Strain

Genre:  techno thriller, medical suspense, science fiction

Publication Date:  1969

Number of Pages:  285

Geographical Setting:  Arizona

Time Period:  Late 1960s

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:  When a government satellite lands in a small Arizona town killing all but two people, a team of four scientists are called upon to investigate the extraterrestrial virus that entered the earth’s atmosphere with the satellite.  From a top-secret military base in Nevada, they work to identify the virus, discover similarities between the two survivors, and find a cure before the virus causes millions to perish.   Maps, computer data, and details of microbiology sprinkled throughout the novel, add a feel of authenticity to this techno thriller that will both frighten and inform the reader.

Subject Headings:  Viruses, Microbiology, Extraterrestrial Life, Satellites, Medical Suspense, Medical Technology

Appeal:  fast-paced, suspenseful, foreboding, dramatic, cinematic, investigative, plot-centered, informative, jargon-filled, well-researched, accurate, details of microbiology

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  suspenseful, investigative, plot-centered

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Coming Plague:  Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett- The Coming Plague examines the outbreak of recent diseases and what can be done to preclude new plagues.  Both The Andromeda Strain and The Coming Plague have viruses as a main topic

First Contact:  Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth by Marc Kaufman- Using recent scientific research, Kaufman provides evidence for the probable existence of extraterrestrial life. First Contact will appeal to readers interested in the extraterrestrial microorganisms in The Andromeda Strain.

Virus Hunter:  Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World by C.J. Peters- A top official at the CDC recounts his career battling viruses.  Virus Hunter will appeal to those readers who enjoyed the individual experiences of the doctors in The Andromeda Strain.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

The Cobra Event by Richard Preston- Government officials attempt to stop a scientist who uses a new virus to depopulate the human race.  Both The Andromeda Strain and The Cobra Event are fast-paced, jargon-filled, medical suspense novels about viruses.

The Hades Factor by Robert Ludlum- An army virologist works to identify and cure an unknown virus before millions perish.  Like The Andromeda Strain, The Hades Factor is a fast-paced, medical suspense novel that deals with viruses.

Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card- A virologist works to stop a geneticist who is altering human DNA for evil purposes.  Like The Andromeda Strain, Invasive Procedures is a fast-paced, medical suspense novel dealing with a virus and a top-secret agency.

Elissa

That Yellow Bastard (Sin City Vol. 4)

August 10, 2011

Author: Frank Miller
Title: That Yellow Bastard (Sin City volume 4)

Genre: Graphic Novel, Thriller

Publication Date: 1996

Number of Pages: 223 (primarily black and white images)

Geographical Setting: Basin City, a fictional urban city in the western United States

Time Period: Unspecified (contemporary)

Series: Sin City

Plot Summary: The fourth volume of the graphic novel series, Sin City, centers around Detective Hartigan as he struggles to instill a sense of justice in a society characterized by corruption, organized crime, despair. Hartigan, plagued by heart problems and getting old, is one day from retirement when he faces one last mission: to save an 11 year old girl before she falls victim to a murderous mad man. Always adhering to his strict sense of justice and morals, Hartigan proves determined to rescue the girl at any cost. He succeeds and severley injures the mad man, Junior. In the process, Junior shoots Hartigan; the detective slips into a coma. While unconscious, corrupt police  frame Hartigan for the rape of the girl he saved. The real culprit, Junior, is the son of a corrupt politician and cannot be exposed. Hartigan serves an eight year sentence, never forgetting Nancy, the girl he rescued.. Finally out of prison, Hartigan once again proves good as he attempts to protect Nancy from a mysterious yellow figure who bares a striking resemblance to Junior.
Frank Miller’s stark black and white artwork helps convey the bleak mood of this gritty graphic novel that resembles film noir. The images and content both appear violent and sexually explicit. The action-based plot unfolds at a breakneck pace that is sure to keep the pages turning. Although this novel is not for the faint of heart, it is likely to pique the interest of many readers demanding a quick, adrenaline-raising read.

Subject Headings: Organized Crime–Fiction, Police–Fiction, Corruption, Noir–Fiction, Kidnapping–Fiction, Murder–Fiction, Rape–Fiction, Political Conspiracy–Fiction

Appeal: Breakneck, Bleak, Compelling, Dangerous, Gritty, Series (characters), Intriguing, Action-oriented, Atmospheric, Cinematic, Explicitly Violent, Sexually Explicit, Strong Language, Stark, Urban, Unsettling

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Gritty, Explicitly Violent, Action-Oriented

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Street Solider: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob by Edward MacKenzie (This memoir describes life in the rough neighborhoods of Boston. MacKenzie is involved in organized crime; the betrayal of his corrupt boss lands the author in prison. Eventually, MacKenzie proves good in a harsh environment. The book is gritty, urban, compelling, violent, and filled with action.)

Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence by Jamar Nicholas
(This graphic novel represents an adaptation of Geoffrey Canada’s description of a violent and dangerous Bronx neighborhood. Canada’s book describes political action that exacerbates crime and violence in the urban setting. The graphic adaptation relies on unsettling images sure to captivate the reader. The tone of the book is gritty; the mood is bleak and dangerous.)

L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City by John Buntin
(This compelling book details the history of Los Angeles through the lens of two historical figures-a mob boss and the police chief continuously hunting for him. The author describes the role of Los Angeles in influencing the thoughts, actions, and lives of these two men. This gritty book is a page turner that relies on its dangerous urban setting to create an intriguing story.)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Luna Park by Kevin Baker
(Baker’s graphic novel often resembles noir fiction. It relies on black and white images that frequently appear explicitly violent. The result is a fast paced, atmospheric, and gritty graphic novel, detailing organized crime and street life in a dangerous New York City setting.)

100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello
(This graphic novel-the first in a series-describes a violent setting consisting of gangbangers and mob bosses. It centers around a mysterious agent who offers ordinary citizens the chance to exact violent revenge upon those who have wronged them. The graphic novel ponders the theme of morality amid corruption and injustice. The graphic novel is bleak and violent in tone. It is also fast paced and gritty.)

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
(This novel revolves around a violent massacre and the decision of a bystander to profit from a stash of heroine and two million dollars found on the scene. The decision lands the protagonist in the midst of a dangerous environment characterized by drug lords, corrupt police, and violence. The novel is bleak and disturbing in tone. It also features a gritty writing style and atmospheric mood.)

Dan Thorson