Posts Tagged ‘detailed characters’

Gone Girl

October 17, 2012

Author: Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 415

Geographical Setting: North Carthage, Missouri and New York City

Time Period: 2005-2012

Plot Summary: On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne is faced with a nightmare when he learns that his quick-witted, beautiful wife, Amy, has vanished. While investigating Amy’s disappearance from the small town of North Carthage, police and media begin to unravel unflattering secrets of the Dunne marriage that soon put Nick in an incriminating position. Desperate to clear his own name and find his missing wife, Nick sets out on a psychological scavenger hunt in which he discovers dark and shocking secrets about the seemingly perfect Amy. Nick’s narration of the investigation is alternated with entries from Amy’s diary, adding layers to the mystery and leaving readers guessing which characters are trustworthy in this disturbing tale.  Flynn writes a well crafted, suspense story that is both thought provoking and dark. Gone Girl makes for an engrossing read with a disturbing, yet fascinating, conclusion.

Subject Headings: Husbands – Fiction, Married people – Fiction, Wives – Crimes against – Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Conflict in Marriage, Deception, Husband and Wife, Married People, Missing Women, Murder Suspects, Secrets

Appeal: Engrossing, Fast-Paced, Chilling, Foreboding, Psychological, Suspenseful, Detailed Characters, Multiple Points of View, Flashbacks, Layered, Thought-Provoking, Descriptive, Well-Crafted

Three Appeal Terms: Engrossing, Chilling, Suspenseful

Three Fiction Read-Alikes:

The Breaker by Minette Walters
Walters’ psychological suspense story begins with a disorientated three-year-old wandering the streets of Poole, England. Hours later, her mother’s body is found washed up on the beach. Police investigators reveal unsettling evidence that incriminates the woman’s husband as well as a young actor. Gone Girl fans who are looking for another compelling whodunit read might enjoy this disturbing mystery.

Die For You by Lisa Unger

When Isabel Raines’ husband mysteriously disappears she is determined to track him down despite his pleas for her to forget their life together. During her investigation, Isabel discovers her husband had stolen an identity and has been legally dead for a long period of time, among other shocking secrets. Readers who are looking for works told in multiple perspectives with a narrator revealing dark secrets about her spouse might enjoy this book.

In the Woods by Tana French

Detective Rob Ryan is called to investigate the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in a wooded area right outside of Dublin- a creepy coincidence as he witnessed the disappearance of two childhood friends in the same woods twenty years prior to this case. Readers who are looking for another dark, character-driven suspense story involving criminal investigation might also enjoy this title.

Three Nonfiction Read-Alikes:

The Cases that Haunt Us: from Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, the FBI’s legendary mindhunter sheds light on the mysteries that won’t go away by John E. Douglas

Through Nick’s narration of the investigation, readers are given detailed descriptions of a missing person case as police and FBI piece together clues in hopes of solving the puzzle and finding Amy. Readers who were intrigued by the crime scene/mystery aspect of Gone Girl might also enjoy The Cases that Haunt Us. Written by a former FBI agent, Douglas explores eight well-known unsolved mysteries and speculates the criminal and motive of each case.

The Gardner Heist: a true story of the world’s largest unsolved art theft by Ulrich Boser

Flynn writes with such detail while describing the investigation and discovery of evidence that Gone Girl sometimes reads like a true crime piece. The Gardner Heist should be considered for readers who liked the suspense of solving a crime but perhaps are not interested in missing person cases. The Gardner Heist details the true story of a 1990 museum robbery in which 12 highly valuable pieces of the collection (worth over $500 million collectively) were stolen. Boser writes of his own informal investigation, including interviews with art thieves and mobsters, taking readers through his collection of clues as he attempts to offer insight on this mysterious cold case.

The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn

Another strong title for those who enjoy reading about crime investigation; however, The Restless Sleep may also be of interest to fans who enjoyed the New York City setting found in Gone Girl. After interviewing NYC detectives, Horn writes a true crime piece that describes four unsolved murders, some of which have remained cold cases for over fifty years. Horn provides readers with an in depth view of each case and describes the dedication of the NYPD detectives who are determined to solve the mysteries and seek justice.

Name: Elizabeth Hopkins

Dear John

April 18, 2012

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Title: Dear John

Genre: Romance, historical fiction

Publication Date: 2006

Number of pages: Audio book – 8 CDs

Geographical Setting: North Carolina, Iraq

Time Period: From late 1990s to 2007

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: John Tyree, a rebel turned responsible army soldier, meets the girl of his dreams on a short furlough from active duty. While courting each other, John and Savannah Lynn Curtis quickly realize that they may have found the greatest love of their lives. However, their long-distance relationship puts major strains on them – more than either could have imagined. John must ultimately choose between serving his country in the aftermath of 9/11 and settling down peacefully with his newfound love. Passionate and bittersweet, this novel will have readers questioning both their personal definitions of love, and what it means to truly love another.

Subject Headings: Love – Meanings, True love, Military life, 9/11, Habitat for Humanity, Cancer, Sacrifices, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Horses, North Carolina, Iraq

Appeal: Compelling, engrossing, densely written, detailed (characters), familiar (characters), intriguing secondary (characters), introspective (characters), layered, resolved ending, thought-provoking, bittersweet, contemporary, details of army life, heartwarming, nostalgic, romantic, timeless, conversational, graceful, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet, thought-provoking, romantic

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1). Horses Never Lie About Love: A True Story by Jana Harris – This story tells of a physically and emotionally scarred horse, True Colors, who is terrified of humans, but that eventually learns to live peacefully and love both humans and a new foal in her life. Readers may be interested in this testimony to the power and meanings of love in the life of a majestic and passionate creature.

2). Surviving Iraq: Soldiers’ Stories by Elise Forbes Tripp – A collection of candid tales from 30 soldiers who have served in Iraq in recent years. Honest and bittersweet, these stories tell memories from the lips of those who have served – uncensored and in full.

3). The House That Love Built: The Story of Millard and Linda Fuller, Founders of Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing by Bettie B. Youngs – The story of the founders of Habitat for Humanity, the world’s largest nonprofit homebuilding organization. This text will resonate with readers who are inspired by this organization and its mission to end homelessness and substandard housing through God’s love and the love of his people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1). A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans – This is the tale of a young woman who has become disgusted and nearly given up on finding romance in her life. While on vacation in Europe, Laura Foster meets the owner of a castle estate and unknowingly embarks on a new, and perhaps forever, romance.

2). In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden by Kathleen Cambor – This historical fiction work tells the tale of the collapse of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania dam in 1889. Though this event actually occurred, this story is fiction. Through this book, the author tells the stories of several different characters who live during this time, and who have vastly differing points of view. A bittersweet tale of love and destruction.

3). Look Back All the Green Valley by Fred Chappell – A nostalgic look at historical life in North Carolina with a man who is struggling with the deaths of his parents, and ultimately moving on in life. Jess Kirkman is amazed when he finds secret treasures among his father’s personal items that invite him to learn so much more about the man that had raised him.

Name: Melissa

The Shack

April 11, 2012

Author: Wm. Paul Young

Title: The Shack         

Genre: Inspirational fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of pages: 252

Geographical Setting: Oregon

Time Period: Present day

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack is a novel that takes readers on a journey from heartache and despair through metamorphosis into acceptance and joy. Mackenzie Allen Phillips, a family man who makes his home in the state of Oregon, has a faith in God that is nearly obliterated beyond recognition because of a great and unexpected tragedy in his immediate family. However, by going into and through his worst fears, both figuratively and literally, he is able to finally find peace and an infinitely more satisfying and wonderful life than he had ever dreamed possible. His faith in God thus becomes a living, growing relationship between the Savior and the saved.

Subject Headings: God, Christianity – The Trinity, Serial murderers, Faith, Family relationships, Friendship, Oregon

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, detailed (characters), introspective (characters), well-developed characters, familiar (characters), inspirational, issue-oriented, resolved ending, thought-provoking, tragic, bittersweet, detailed setting, mystical, philosophical, suspenseful, graceful, metaphorical, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: inspirational, thought-provoking, bittersweet

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch – MacCulloch takes a long and detailed look at Christianity from its beginnings to modern times. Includes influences that helped it to develop as well as discusses differences among today’s Christian sects or denomination.

2.) Founding Faith: the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Steven Waldman – This text explores the beginnings of faith from the founding fathers on into early America. Waldman debunks popular myths as well as largely discussing what America is most famous for regarding religion – freedom of belief and faith.

3.) Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West by Timothy Egan – Egan takes us on a journey into the rich history of the pacific northwestern United States and carries us on into today’s struggles, adventures and possibilities for the future of the area and its inhabitants. This text is at once moving and depressing, but always realistic.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

.) For One More Day by Mitch Albom – Charles Benetto, a grief-stricken alcoholic, comes to terms with himself and the loss of his mother in this moving, inspirational novel. The author takes us on a journey back into time to truly repair Benetto’s relationship with his deceased mother.

.) Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed stranger: New and Selected Stories by Lee Smith – A collection of bittersweet short stories with a distinctly southern feel, these tales are ones of love, forgiveness, adaptation, and redemption. Smith includes both new tales and old favorites here also.

.) Where No Storms Come by John F. Deane – This Christian love story is at once a poet’s delight and a thought-provoking romance. It tells the tale of two individuals who each pursue a life in religious vocations – lives filled with brutal awakenings and other eye-opening spiritual revelations.

Name: Melissa

Homer’s Odyssey

March 28, 2012

Author: Gwen Cooper

Title: Homer’s Odyssey

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Publication Date: 2009

Number of pages: 299

Geographical Setting: Miami, FL; Manhattan, NY

Time Period: 1990s – 2000s

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Gwen Cooper, a writer currently residing in New York, tells the story of one special cat named Homer and how he changed (and continues to change) her life in endless manners. Homer had a raging eye infection at just two weeks of age that nearly took his life, but one committed veterinarian saw the true potential in him and therefore, performed a surgery to remove his eyes and thus, save his life. Gwen adopted Homer when so many refused and he has been there for her (and countless others) in so many unspoken and spoken (or “meowed”) ways. Cooper once stated in her memoir that she is his eyes, and he is her heart (283). Homer taught her about love, loss, commitment, responsibility and generosity, and Gwen clearly and beautifully writes of all of this in her book. For example, Homer saved her from a burglar; taught her how to love unconditionally; and provided her with hours and weeks and years of humor, entertainment, and inspiration. This is a true masterpiece of a memoir about one woman and her “blind wonder cat.”

Subject Headings: Cats – Nonfiction; Blind cats; Miami, FL; Manhattan, NY; Memoirs; Writers; Families; Love relationships; Friendships; Marriage; 9/11/01; Terrorists

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, detailed (characters), intriguing secondary (characters), well-developed (characters), gentle, inspirational, resolved ending, thought-provoking, heartwarming, graceful, nostalgic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: engrossing, inspirational, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) 9/11: The World Speaks by Tribute WTC Visitor Center – This book is a collection of stories, comments, photos and drawings left at the WTC Visitor Center in New York from persons from across the globe. Readers who would like to learn more about international personal accounts regarding the events of 9/11 would very much appreciate this text.

2.) Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa – This book details the life of a cat named Oscar who has a gift of being able to point out who is on their way to the next world (a.k.a. – Heaven). Dosa’s text is as much about cats and their remarkable abilities, and listening and showing compassionate care for others.

3.) Soul Mates: Honoring the Mystery of Love and Relationship by Thomas Moore – Moore has here created a text which discusses relationships between partners, spouses, friends and others and draws upon history, philosophy and spirituality. Readers may enjoy reading his suggestions for honoring all of the relationships in our lives, whether with humans or animals.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

3.) May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: A Novel by Peter Troy – Troy’s novel tells the story of four individuals (many whom are immigrants) during the nineteenth century in America. This is an engrossing novel that, in the end, brings together the lives of all four persons as well as two love relationships.

1.) Those Christmas Angels by Debbie Macomber – This novel focuses on Macomber’s familiar, recurring angels named Shirley, Goodness and Mercy who are, in fact, matchmaking angels. They are working together in this novel to help two individuals to find love during the holiday season. This book will hit home for readers who enjoy heartwarming tales.

2.) Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho – Coelho’s novel is about a young woman who, after a failed suicide attempt, ends up in an asylum. Once there, Veronika eventually finds that life is so much more than what she had previously thought and that every moment here is truly precious. An inspirational read.

Name: Melissa

Garden of Beasts

November 30, 2011

Author: Jeffrey Deaver

Title: Garden of Beasts

Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 11 discs

Geographical Setting: New York City, New York; Berlin, Germany; other various

Time Period: 1936

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  When hitman Paul Schumann finds himself caught in a sting set up by New York City police, he recognizes that his luck has run out.  Preparing himself to be tried, jailed and probably executed, Schumann is surprised when he is given a choice: instead of facing the consequences in America, he can work a job for the American government and assassinate a political leader in the burgeoning Nazi government.  When he accepts, Schumann is sent off on a wild and crazy ride through Berlin where he meets local characters, beautiful women, and the most dangerous and evil villains in the world at that time.  Narrated by several characters other than Schumann, including a German police detective hot on Schumann’s heels and the object of Schumann’s assassination plot, the audio book version’s performer Jefferson Mays does a decent job of differentiating between characters and uses accents to provide local color.

Subject Headings: Mafia hitman; Nazi Germany; German Olympics; Adolf Hitler; Jesse Owens; Assassination plot; Detectives; Anti-semitism

 Appeal: Builds in intensity, engrossing, fast-paced, atmospheric, dangerous, dramatic, menacing atmosphere, stark, detailed characters, flawed characters, strong secondary characters, multiple points of view, action-oriented, character-centered, cinematic, investigative, multiple plot lines, plot twists, thought-provoking, detailed setting, historical details, political, unpretentious language, jargon

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Builds in intensity, flawed characters, historical details

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

A piece of narrative nonfiction, this title describes the lives of the William E. Dodd, the American ambassador to the Third Reich, and his family as they lived in Berlin during the period before World War II.  Figuring in the story also are the characters of Göring and Goebbels who are featured in Jeffrey Deaver’s novel of almost the same title.

Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger’s Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld by Howie Carr

This biography of Johnny Martorano, a hitman for the mob tells the story of life for a real hitman.  It also discusses the knowledge of some politicians and the FBI of Martorano’s activities.  This mirrors Schumann’s eventual connection to political and law enforcement organizations as well as giving more information about his line of work.

Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany by Robert Gellately

This title discusses and rejects the idea that the German population as a whole knew nothing about the atrocities committed by Hitler and his minions.  It discusses this point of view using primary sources including case studies and news sources.  Some of the terms and ideas touched on in Garden of Beasts are presented and expounded upon in this book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell

The third in a series about German crime reporter Hannah Vogel, this title takes place during the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Berlin, Germany.  This historical mystery shares a time period and setting with Garden of Beasts.

Casino Royale: a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming

This first James Bond novel has 007 taking on the Soviet Union.  It includes many elements similar to Deaver’s Garden of Beasts including adventure, international intrigue and assassins and is written with a fast-paced and suspenseful style.

Killing Castro by Lawrence Block

This novel, written in 1961 tells the story of 5 Americans offered $20,000 to kill Fidel Castro.  The fast-paced suspense story includes multiple plot lines and a suspenseful feel that may appeal to fans of Garden of Beasts.

Name: Christi H.

The Lost Symbol

July 25, 2011

Author:  Dan Brown

Title:  The Lost Symbol

Genre:  Suspense

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  509

Geographical Setting:  Washington, D.C.

Time Period:  Present day

Series (If applicable):  Same main character (Robert Langdon) as his novels The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons

Plot Summary:  Robert Langdon is pulled into yet another quest for answers in Dan Brown’s latest novel.  This time set in Washington D.C., only Langdon has the knowledge to solve the latest hunt for one of the biggest secrets in American history.  Langdon and this new cast of friends, law enforcement, and enemies race through our nation’s capitol on a suspenseful quest to protect the Masons longest-kept and most precious secret.

Subject Headings:  Suspense fiction; Washington, D.C.; Freemasonry

Appeal:  Fast-paced, engrossing, austere, suspenseful, detailed characters, multiple points of view, series character, well-drawn characters, action-oriented, cinematic, layered, detailed setting, academic, complex, well-crafted, well-researched

3 terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, well-researched, suspenseful

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

–       Paul Naudon’s The Secret History of Freemasonry: Its Origins and Connection to the Knights Templar – for anyone interested in learning more about the history of the Freemasons that are discussed so much in this novel

–       Scott W. Berg’s Grand Avenues: The Story of the French Visionary Who Designed Washington D.C. – discusses Pierre L’Enfant’s role in designing the architecture of Washington, D.C. as discussed in the novel

–       Robert Hieronimus & Laura Cortner’s Founding Fathers, Secret Societies: Freemasons, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, and the Decoding of the Great Seal – for readers interested in learning more about America’s secret societies

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

–       Daniel Silva’s Portrait of a Spy – recently published suspense spy novel with a similar fast-paced, suspenseful, and intricately plotted story

–       Robert Ludlum’s The Icarus Agenda – a fast-paced, suspenseful spy story involving the government

–       Jonathan Rabb’s The Book of Q – suspense story centered around centuries-old secrets and conspiracies, similar to Brown’s stories

Name:  Julie Foote

The Hobbit

July 25, 2011

Author:  J.R.R. Tolkien

Title:  The Hobbit

Genre:  Fantasy fiction

Publication Date:  1966

Number of Pages:  272

Geographical Setting:  Middle Earth

Time Period:  Unknown

Series (If applicable):  Precedes The Lord of the Rings series

Plot Summary:  Hobbit Bilbo Baggins is enticed from his comfortable life in his Hobbit-hole to go along on a journey with 12 dwarves and a wizard to act as their thief on their mission to recover their lost treasure.  The group sets out across dangerous Middle Earth, facing trolls, elves, goblins, wolves and more to find the dwarves’ treasure and free it from the fierce dragon that guards it.  Tolkien creates a new world for readers to journey through alongside lively characters and original creatures in this timeless story.

Subject Headings:  Fantasy fiction; epic fiction; Middle Earth

Appeal:  Relaxed pace, atmospheric, magical, detailed characters, series characters, action-oriented, plot-driven, cinematic, detailed setting, timeless, candid, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book:  Adventure, timeless, world-building

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

–       Brian Sibley’s The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy – could interest avid J.R.R. Tolkien fans that want to read anything to do with the series

–       Michael N. Stanton’s Hobbits, Elves and Wizards: Exploring the Wonders and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” – further reading for fans of the world and creatures Tolkien created

–       Daniel Grotta’s The Biography of J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth – this would be a good choice for anyone wanting to learn more about the author that changed modern fantasy fiction

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

–       J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series – similar characters and worlds; both have a good mix of plot and characterization

–       Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series – adult fantasy series that share’s The Hobbit’s relaxed pace and strong sense of place.

–       Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series – fantasy fiction with a similarly plot-driven story

Name:  Julie Foote

The Summer Tree

July 23, 2011

Author: Kay, Guy Gavriel

Title: The Summer Tree

Genre: High Fantasy

Publication Date: 1984

Number of Pages: 323

Geographical Setting: Mythical World of Fionavar

Time Period: Indeterminate

Series: The Fionavar Tapestry

Plot Summary: Five earthbound university students (Kimberly, Dave, Jennifer, Kevin, and Paul) are approached by the mysterious Loren Silvercloak, a mage from the realm of Fionavar, to accompany him on a short visit to his realm for an anniversary celebration for the High King of Brennin (two weeks in Fionavar equals a few hours on Earth).  However, this “short visit” turns out to be an epic quest for them all; they have gotten much more than they bargained for in a world full of dwarfs, ancient Gods, seers, exiled princes, and talking animals.  The relaxed pace of the story gradually builds in intensity, as a great evil, stirring in the depths of Mount Rangat, breaks its chains of imprisonment, seeking revenge on its enemies—the forces of good in Fionavar.  This intricately plotted, character-driven tale of self-discovery takes readers on a journey to another world, and is sure to please anyone looking to escape into the magical unknown.

Subject Headings: Fantasy stories, College students—Fiction, Time travel—Fiction, Wizards—Fiction, Fionavar (Imaginary Place)—Fiction, Arthurian legend, Coming of age stories, Stories of self-discovery, Quest stories

Appeal: Relaxed pace, atmospheric, magical, reflective, detailed characters, engaging, flawed characters, character-driven, intricately plotted, imaginative, mythic, detailed setting, timeless, descriptive language, lyrical

3 terms that best describe this book: character-driven, imaginative, intricately plotted

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage—Adam Ardrey (quest aspects, magicians, mystical beliefs)

Adventures in Unhistory: Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends—Avram Davidson (fits well into the fantasy genre, covers the origins of mythical characters, imaginative subject matter)

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic—Alberto Manguel & Gianni Guadalupi ( a tool to discover other books of interest, contains a descriptive entry about Fionavar and its story, good way to immerse the reader in the landscape aspect of the genre)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Lord of the Rings (series)—J.R.R. Tolkien (elements of good versus evil, coming of age story, high fantasy)

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time series)—Robert Jordan (ordinary characters face extraordinary challenges, magical/mythical characters, quest adventures)

Lord of the Changing Winds (Griffin Mage Trilogy)—Rachel Neumeier (strong female character reminiscent of Kim Ford, relaxed pace, world-building, lyrical)

-Jessica Bartz

 

 

Heart-Shaped Box

April 5, 2011

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting: Upstate New York, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary:  Aging rock star Judas (Jude) Coyne is a collector of macabre memorabilia.  His assistant, Danny, receives an email about an online auction in which a woman is selling her deceased step-father’s ghost, which haunts one of his old suits.  Judas wins the auction, and shortly receives a package of a heart-shaped box, with the dead man’s suit inside.  Soon, strange things start happening, as the dead man begins to appear to Jude.    Jude discovers that the ghost has ties to someone in his past, and that winning the auction for the old man’s ghost was no accident, but actually a sophisticated and morbid plan for revenge.  Quickly, Jude realizes that the ghost is trying use hypnosis and mind tricks that he had been an expert in when still living, to get him to kill himself and those around him.  Eventually Jude and his girlfriend, Marybeth, realize that in order to rid themselves of the ghost, they must confront the woman that sold it to them, and so they head out on a supernatural and bloody road trip of the American south.

Subject Headings: Horror Fiction; Music – Rock and Roll; Ghosts; Hypnosis; Paranormal

Appeal: Fast-paced, builds in intensity, chilling, foreboding, haunting, suspenseful, detailed characters, flawed characters, cinematic, flashbacks, imaginative, profanity, violence

Three terms that describe this book: Chilling, fast-paced, engrossing

Relevant non-fiction works:

Night Stalks the Mansion: A True Story of One Family’s Ghostly Adventure by Constance Westbie and Harold Cameron (The story of one family’s ordeal with a supernatural presence in their Philadelphia mansion)

Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross (The biography of one of the rock stars used as a model for Judas Coyne,  and whose song the book was titled after)

Hypnosis for Beginners by Dylan Morgan (A beginners guide to hypnosis, a skill used by the ghost to wreak havoc on Judas and Marybeth)

Relevant Fiction works:

The Dark Half by Stephen King (A horror novel about a supernatural being taking revenge for his own death)

The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin (A murder mystery involving a legendary rock band)

Darkness Falling: A Novel of Vampirism and Rock and Roll (Another novel that incorporates rock and roll into a horror/paranormal story)

Lee R. Sigman

Jack Absolute

February 16, 2011

https://i0.wp.com/img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n29/n145424.jpgAuthor: C.C. Humphreys

Title: Jack Absolute

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 310

Geographical Setting: Present-Day United States/Canada, some parts in England

Time Period: American Revolution

Series: Jack Absolute (Book 1 of 3)

Plot Summary:  After many years in the American Colonies, and then several more seeking his fortune in India, Captain Jack Absolute returns to England.  He soon founds himself forced to flee London and return to his old army regiment in America, where, though he is sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, he finds himself spying for the British army.  In America, Jack fights not only American Revolutionaries, but also a secret society that seeks to kill him.

Subject Headings: American Revolution, Espionage, War, Historical Fiction, Adventure

Appeal: Intense, detailed characters, introspective, evocative, descriptive, adventurous, fervid, historical details, action-filled, detailed setting, sexually explicit, layered

3 Terms That Describe This Book: Adventurous, historically and geographically detailed, occasionally violent

3 Relevant Fiction Works:

Benedict Arnold: A Novel by William J. Wolf (Another historical novel based in the American Revolution)

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (The first in a series of books about espionage and adventure)

A Matter of Honor by William C. Hammond (The first in a series of tales of American  Revolution maritime adventures)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works:
The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence by John H.  Rhodehamel (A collection of more than 70 Revolution-era writers, on both sides of the  war)

History of My Own Times by William Otter (Autobiography and memoir of an average  citizen of colonial America)

Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia by Woody Holton (An account of the lesser-known groups that played involuntary roles in the founding of the United States)

Lee Sigman