Posts Tagged ‘exciting’


August 8, 2012

Author: Robert B. Parker, Audiobook read by Titus Welliver

Title: Brimstone (3rd book in Appaloosa trilogy)

Genre: Western

Publication Date: May 5, 2009

Number of Pages: 304 (Paperback), 4. 5 Hours (Audio Book)

Geographical Setting: The West (United States), New Mexico, Texas

Time Period: Old West: Early to Mid 1800’s

Series: Book 3 of Western Appaloosa Trilogy

Plot Summary: In this follow up to Parker’s Appaloosa and Resolution, we meet up with Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two gun-slinging old friends who have a reputation for cleaning up towns as lawmen-for-hire. In this adventure, Virgil seeks to find the woman who stole his heart in the town of Appaloosa, Allie French. Moving across New Mexico and Texas, Cole and Hitch find Allie and the three try to start over in Brimstone. Things are not that easy as too much has happened between Allie and Virgil. The town of Brimstone also has its problems which Cole and Hitch are hired to solve as town deputies. Tricky solutions are their specialty one of which ties together the book wonderfully. The dialogue and friendship between Cole and Hitch makes this story more character-driven and along with the gun-slinging showdowns, mysterious murders, and fast-paced action, makes for a wonderful western.

Subject Headings: Western stories; Friendship — men; Small town life – The West (United States); Gunfights; Murder; Redemption

Appeal: Character-driven, Exciting, Suspenseful, Fast-paced, Multiple plot lines, Atmospheric, Series characters, Descriptive, Detailed setting, Rural, Friendship story, Well-drawn characters

3 Terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced, Exciting, Character-driven western

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters by Bill O’Neal

True facts and stories as well as myths and folklore about 225 well known gun-slingers and those all but forgotten. A book for those wondering what it was really like to be a gunslinger in the Wild West like Virgil and Everett.

2) Son of the Morning Star: Custer and The Little Bighorn by Evan S. Connell

For those readers looking for more information on the historical events of the Wild West in a form which reads more like a novel, this non-fiction story of Custer’s demise at Little Bighorn fills the reader with facts as well as a glimpse into Native American life and the characters involved in the battle.

3) The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich

A book of essays about her experience moving from a city in the east to very empty Wyoming, Ehrlich captures what it must have been like to live in the West during the time of Virgil and Everett and what it might take the reader to adjust to cowboy life, wide open spaces and the harshest of winters.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  Black Powder, White Smoke by Loren D. Elsteman

This is a story about the adventures of a freed slave and white bandit who eventually cross paths and team up as they are pursued by the law for different reasons, and their fates and lives intertwine. This book is for readers who liked the fast-paced adventure and atmosphere of the West evident in Brimstone.

2)  The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard by Elmore Leonard

A collection of atmospheric, and gritty Western short stories written by Leonard over 50 years, including 3:10 to Yuma, this is for those readers who appreciated Brimstone for its rich characterizations, plot twists and fast pace.

3) The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie, Jr.

Touted to be one of the books which shaped the Western fiction genre, this classic novel from more than fifty years ago tells the story of the adventures and travels three frontiersmen who live in and long for big open spaces. A good pick for those who want to try earlier works of the genre and who enjoy the relationship between Virgil and Everett in Brimstone.

Name: Bridget Optholt

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

May 26, 2010


Author:  Steig Larsson

Title:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Genre: Adrenaline/ Mystery

Publication Date:  2008

Geographical Setting:  Stockholm/ Sweden

Time Period:  present day

Series:  first book of Millennium trilogy

Plot Summary:

Mikael Blomkivist was a respected journalist, as well as founder and publisher of Millennium magazine, who built a career exposing financial corruption. After losing a libel case against Wennerstrom, a crooked but well protected venture capitalist, Blomkivist anticipates a jail sentence, financial collapse and the sinking of his magazine. In a moment of uncharacteristic desperation, Blomkivist answers the call of Dirch Frode, a lawyer intently seeking the journalist’s services on behalf of his client. Henrik Vanger is the retired patriarch of the Vanger family- a long-standing name in Swedish finance. Vanger seeks Blomkivist assistance in investigating the cold-case disappearance of his niece Harriet that occurred 40 years earlier.

Little does Blomkivist know that before meeting Frode or accepting Vanger’s offer he was being watched. Lisbeth Salander, mysterious and meticulous sleuth who looks more like a punk rocker than professional investigator, had already compiled his full profile for Frode, a client of Milton Security. Promises that the Wennerstrom case and Vanger’s desire to employ Blomkivist are not to be believed.

Blomkivist and Salander become unlikely partners attempting to solve the mystery the Vanger family’s grisly, dysfunctional history. The pair finds themselves in dangerous territory as they unravel a tale of torture and serial killings against a backdrop of astonishing corruption.

Larsson’s book has won several awards including Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel, Anthony Award for Best First Novel, British Book Award 2009 Crime Thriller of the Year, Library Journal Best Books 2008.

Subject Headings:  Mystery Thriller, Cold cases (Criminal investigation), Murder investigation, Journalists, Hackers, Violence against women, Swedish fictionTranslations into English, award winner/best seller

Appeal Terms: complex, multi-layered, strong characters, sexy, dark, corrupt, violent, fast paced, tense, financial thriller, dangerous, exciting, grisly, dramatic, award winning

Three terms that describe this book: multi-layered, sexy, financial thriller.

The next two books in the series are:

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Relevant Fiction Works:

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

When her six-year-old neighbor falls to his death, and no one is willing to suspect foul play, Smilla Qaavigaaq Jasperson finds her own investigation taking her into the files of a Danish company.

Similarities: Strong, unusual female protagonist, conspiracy reaching back to WWII, multi-layered story

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
A black female elevator inspector must prove that her method of inspection by intuition, as opposed to visual observation, is not at fault when an elevator in a new city building crashes.

Similarities: Strong female protagonist, negotiating career in jeopardy, intertwining multiple plotlines
Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

Twenty years after Jens disappeared without a trace from the island of Oland, a package is mailed to the boy’s grandfather that contains the worn and mended shoe of a child, prompting the grandfather to contact the child’s mother, resume the hunt for the boy, and make a shocking connection between Jens’s disappearance and the island’s most notorious murder case.

Similarities: Translated Swedish author, Father-daughter relationship

Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

The boys on the tracks: death, denial, and a mother’s crusade to bring her son’s killers to justice by Mara Leveritt

Linda Ives’s simple search for truth in the case of her son, who along with a friend was killed by being pushed in front of a train, reveals a frightening web of multiple murders, government corruption, and political scandal

Similarities: Cold case/ unsolved mystery, murder investigation

The house of Mondavi: the rise and fall of an American wine dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler

Traces four generations of a Napa Valley wine-making family, from the arrival of Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi at Ellis Island in 1906, to the scandals that rocked the family throughout the twentieth century, to the battle over the family’s billion-dollar fortune.

Similarities: multi-generational family business scandals

The Madoff chronicles: inside the secret world of Bernie and Ruth by Brian Ross

Discusses the multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme masterminded by Bernard Madoff, including his motives for the financial betrayal and others who were involved in the scheme.

Similarities: White-collar crime, fraud and corruption investigation

Kiss the Girls

May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

Author:  James Patterson

Title:  Kiss the Girls

Genre:  Fiction – Adrenaline

Publication Date:  1995

Geographical Setting:  South Carolina and San Francisco, CA

Time Period:  1990s

Series:  Alex Cross

Plot Summary:

“Casanova” is kidnapping, torturing, and killing young coeds from South Carolina to Florida, while another killer known as “the Gentleman Caller” with a similar m.o. is claiming victims on the West Coast.  At first, the authorities believe them to be one and the same person operating on both coasts.  It turns out that there are, in fact, two separate murderers and there is a bond of some kind between the two – they are long-time friends who share their warped fantasies with each other.  Psychologist / detective, Alex Cross is assigned to the case when a young woman’s body is found bound and mutilated.  He becomes personally involved with both killers when his niece turns up missing from Duke University.  The evidence indicates that Casanova has kidnapped her.  Cross’s niece has become part of Casanova’s collection of beautiful, intelligent, talented young women.  They have been kidnapped and hidden in underground chambers for Casanova’s personal use, so he can fulfill his secret fantasy.  When he tires of one, becomes disappointed in her, or if she breaks one of his rules, he tortures then kills her.  Naomi (Cross’s niece) realizes that she is not alone in the underground chamber and figures out a way to communicate with the other victims.  Casanova is able to move among the authorities as one of them.  He knows how to cover his tracks and expertly does so.  Cross races against time as he puts the pieces of the “puzzle” together to rescue his niece and the other women before it’s too late.

Subject Headings:  Mystery & Detective Stories, Police Procedural, and Serial Killers

Appeal Terms:  dramatic, violent, fast paced, dark, unsettling, tense, compelling, dangerous, exciting,

chilling, quick-read, psychotic.

Three terms that best describe this book:  dark, suspenseful, and fast paced.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell portrays M.E. Kay Scarpetta dealing with an elusive serial killer.

The Broker by John Grisham is fast-paced and engrossing with a political power broker becoming the object of a CIA plot to see who will assassinate him first.

The Judgment by William J. Coughlin involves a serial killer, political corruption, and a corrupt police chief who is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit by the more-corrupt mayor.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Last Victim:  A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer by Jason Moss and Jeffrey Kottler contains memoirs resulting from interviews with real serial killers.

Zodiac by Robert Graysmith retells the story of the well-known killer in the San Francisco area during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Nightmare in Wichita by Robert Beattie gives an inside look at the 36-year hunt for the bind-torture-kill murderer.

Tags:  Serial Killers, Suspense, Police Procedural, fast-paced.

The Hungry Ocean

May 26, 2010

Author:  Linda Greenlaw

Title:  The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain’s Journey

Genre: Adventure/Non-fiction

Publication Date: 1999

Number of pages:  265

Geographical Setting:  Gloucester, MA and Northern Atlantic Ocean

Time Period: 1996

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  This book is an autobiographical account of a 30 day commercial swordfishing trip in the North Atlantic Ocean by Captain Linda Greenlaw of the Hannah Boden, sister ship of the Andrea Gail which was immortalized in Sebastian Junger’s novel The Perfect Storm.  With humor and simplicity, Greenlaw, at the time the only female swordboat captain in the US, takes the reader through the entire journey from preparing for the voyage (groceries $3,500) to the selling of the swordfish ($2.61 per lb.) to the net pay made by the crew ($5,484.84).  This is not a tragic story, like The Perfect Storm, but the journey is filled with adventure and peril such as violent squalls and gales, sick crew members, subterfuge and politics between sea captains, and sharks.  In her story, Greenlaw, in great detail, portrays her crew and their relationship with each other and her.  Another topic visited many times throughout the book is Greenlaw’s gender and the impact it has on her career as a “fisherman” and captain.  After every chapter, a “mug-ups” or a short chapter with fishing information, biographies, or anecdotal fishing stories is included.  She ends with an epilogue which follows up on her crew members, an itemize account of the Hannah Boden’s expense, and a map of their journey.

Subject Headings: Non-fiction, Adventure, Autobiographies, Deep Sea Fishing, Female Fishing Captains, Gender Roles and Identity, Interpersonal Relationships, Fishing Laws, the Culture of Fishing and Fishermen,

Appeal:  Compelling, Candid, Informative, Violent, Details of Deep Sea Fishing, Colorful, Earthy, Exciting, Character Oriented, Action Oriented, Layered, Vivid

3 terms that best describes this book:  Informative, Engrossing, Entertaining,

Similar Authors and Works


The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger  – A biography of the Andrea Gail and her crew on a commercial swordfishing trip in the North Atlantic Ocean during a violent and “perfect” storm.  Along with sharing the setting and premise, the book also is rich with detail and well researched.

The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Ocean by Andrew Byatt – A reference resource for information on the ocean environment.  Special focus is given to the animal life found in the various different climates in the ocean.

Seafaring Women: An Untold Maritime History by David Cordingly – This title looks at 300 years of female maritime history.  The author uncovers women pirates, captains, seafarers, and explorers in this male dominate area.


Moby Dick by Herman Melville – Based off of actual events, Moby Dick is an adventure story of a whaling captain obsessed with killing the white whale which attack his ship and bit off his leg.

Crazy in the Cockpit by Randy Blume – This is a story of a woman in the male dominated field of aviation.  A story of fiction, author Blume is also a female pilot who tells of the discrimination and harassment women suffered from men in this career.

Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler – Book 15 of the Dirk Pitts Adventure, an adventure series frequently involving the sea.  U.S. National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) Special Projects Director Dirk Pitts must save the world from an army of evil who are attempting to flood the world.

Name:  Summer

The ex-Mrs. Hedgefund

June 15, 2009

Author: Kargman, Jill

Title: The ex-Mrs. Hedgefund

Genre: Women’s lives & relationships/chick lit

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 304p

Geographical Setting: New York City, NY

Time Period: 2006

Series: (if applicable) N/A

Plot Summary:

In this witty, fast-paced tale of New York City’s rich and famous, Holly Talbott becomes disenchanted with her life among the elite Upper East Side society, comprised of über-rich hedgefund managers and their wives. Holly’s situation is further complicated when she discovers her husband’s infidelity and files for divorce. Holly and her ex-sister-in-law, Kiki, set out on an adventure in search of fun and romance in New York City in this entertaining and upbeat romp.

Subject Headings:

Divorced women; rich people; extramarital relations; dating (social customs); conflict in marriage; New York City


Romantic, fast-paced, witty, dialogue-filled, plot-centered, easy, familiar characters, racy, rich and famous, romp, domestic, exciting, steamy, urban, contemporary, detailed New York City setting, edgy, emotionally-charged, humorous, upbeat, vivid, candid, chatty, entertaining

3 Terms that best describe this book:

New York City, upbeat, romp

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

Lauren Weisberger, Everyone Worth Knowing and Chasing Harry Winston, are novels about young, rich women having the time of their lives in New York City. These novels are exciting, fast-paced, candid and entertaining romps for chick-lit readers.

Holly Peterson, The Manny is a novel for readers who like fast-paced, New York City based, chick-lit novels about wealthy, Park Avenue women and trends.

Plum Sykes, The Debutante Divorcee is for fans of juicy, New York City’s Upper East Side-based chick-lit novels. Fast- paced, it is about divorced women who turn into high-society husband huntresses.

Similar Non-fiction Authors and Works:

Paul Weitz, Privilege, is the story of two Upper East Side brothers and how their lives change when their father is accused of insider trading.

Pamela Keech, The Curious Shopper’s Guide to New York City: inside Manhattan’s shopping districts is a guide to the different shopping districts in Manhattan and many stores in this book are mentioned in The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund.

Karen Covy, When Happily Ever After Ends: how to survive your divorce – emotionally, financially and legally presents divorce settlement options and strategies and dealing with a difficult ex-spouse.

Name: Natalie Ochockyj