Posts Tagged ‘hard-edged’

Just Too Good to be True

August 13, 2012

Author:  E Lynn Harris

Title: Just Too Good to be True

Genre:  Multi-cultural

Publication Date:  2003

Number of Pages:  336 (audio: 9 hours, 52 minutes)

Geographical Setting:  Georgia

Time Period:  Present

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:  Brady Bledsoe is the only son of single mother Carmyn Bledsoe and the star senior on his college football team.  They are very close and Carmyn is proud of the fact that Brady has been involved in their church and is part of the “Celibacy Circle”.  As his final football season ends changes start building between the two.  Brady gets his first serious girlfriend; aggressive sports agents start knocking, and secrets about Carmyn’s past and Brady’s father start coming out.  The relationship between mother and son is tested in ways it never has been before.

One interesting thing about the audio book is that three different readers read each point of view. 

Subject Headings: Mothers and Sons- Fiction, African-American college athletes-Fiction, Family Secrets- Fiction, Celibacy- Fiction, Football- Fiction

Appeal:  compelling, deliberate pacing, dramatic, multiple points of view, character centered, episodic, layered, strong language, racy, hard edged, candid, colorful

3 terms that best describe this book:  character centered, candid, multiple points of view

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Fifty Years of College Football- Bob Boyles and Paul Guido

Jam-packed with information about college football, the book is perfect for the reader looking up a fact or in search of a good read.  As the ultimate college football reference book, it is a must-read for true fans.  Readers who enjoyed the college football aspect of Just Too Good to be True and want to know more about the sport will enjoy this book.

License to Deal:  A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent by Jerry Crasnick

During baseball’s evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game’s agents have played a pivotal role in driving the sport.  License to Deal follows Matt Sosnick as he deals with up-and-coming clients while trying to keep his love of baseball and his integrity.  The integrity of sports agents is a big subject in Just To Good to be True and this book examines one sports agent and his quest to keep his honor in this profession.

Raising Sons Without Fathers: A Woman’s Guide to Parenting Strong, Successful Boys by Leif Turdel and Patricia Kennedy

Dr. Leif Terdal and Patricia Kennedy describe the problems faced by sons without fathers and advise single mothers about how to raise more self-reliant young men. Providing practical, hands-on advice, the authors offer solutions to a variety of problems, including but not limited to, raising a boy’s self-esteem; discipline from preschool to adolescence; helping a boy get the best education he can; and how mothers can survive alone.  Readers who appreciate the dynamic between Carmyn and Brady will enjoy this non-fiction parenting book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Preacher’s Son by Carl Weber

Bishop T.K. Wilson, popular pastor of the largest African American church in Queens, New York, has decided to run for borough president. In public, his wife and two children are a shining example of respectability. Yet privately, the Wilson kids are giving in to the same temptations as any other young adults. And their parents have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors.  This page-turner also deals with the way family dynamics can change when secrets come to light.

Mothers & Sons by Jill M Morgan, Diana Gabaldon, and others

This book is an anthology of memoirs and fictional stories about relationships between mothers and their sons.  Some stories are wonderfully sweet, while some are painfully sad.  Readers who enjoyed the dynamic between Brady and Carmen in Just Too Good to be True will appreciate this collection of stories about mothers and sons.

Romancing the Zone by Kenna White

Liz Elliott is a business woman and single mother to nineteen-year-old daughter, Becca. Becca is a freshman at Ashton College and a star of the basketball team, like her mother was years ago. But in those early days, a dirty little secret collapsed Liz’s world.  When Liz accepts Becca’s challenge to return to college and complete her degree as well as play her last year of basketball eligibility, she is met with resistance from the new head coach. Coach Sheridan Ross has no patience for babysitting an over-the-hill athlete, but sparks soon begin to fly. This is another sports fiction book that deals with family secrets.  Romancing the Zone is similar to Just Too Good to be True, but with GLBTQ themes.

Name:  Becky Ozinga

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Kill Me if You Can

July 23, 2012

Author: James Patterson & Marshall Karp

Title: Kill Me if You Can

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 361

Geographical Setting: New York City; Paris; Amsterdam

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Not applicable

Plot Summary: Matthew Bannon’s life changes the day he is at Grand Central Station and finds a bag filled with diamonds. An ex-marine and a struggling art student, it seems like his luck is changing, until he realizes that two of the world’s greatest assassins Marta Krall and the elusive Ghost are hunting him and his girlfriend, Katherine. Now his and Katherine’s lives are at stake, and as they try to stay two steps ahead, Matthew learns the price of trying to change his luck. An unraveling, suspenseful plot that from the first paragraph grabs the reader’s attention. The worldwide manhunt for Matthew Bannon keeps him and the reader’s on their toes. The plot twists are unexpected and unfold at the height of the action, only causing the action to increase tenfold. The romance, the assassins, and the antihero protagonist are all a hook that will cause any reader to become addicted to Patterson’s work.

Subject Headings: College students — Fiction. Art students — Fiction. Assassins — Fiction. Diamonds — Fiction. Revenge — Fiction. New York (N.Y.) — Fiction. Suspense fiction. Suspense fiction.

Appeal: compelling, gritty, hard-edged, suspenseful, multiple points of view, vivd, plot twists, multiple plot lines, sexually explicit, strong language

3 terms that best describes this book: breakneck pacing, action-oriented, engaging characters

3 Nonfiction Read-a-likes:

Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob has Invaded America, by Robert Friedman

A journalist tells the story of the Russian mob during the fall of Soviet Russia to their infiltration of the United States. The book discusses the mob’s role in the financial world, drug trafficking, weapons sales, etc. If you were interested in the Russian mob in Kill Me if You Can, then this book will is great for background history.

Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones, by Greg Campbell

A freelance journalist describes the destruction done to the community surrounding the Sierra Leone diamond mines. Three to four percent of all diamonds sold are smuggled and mined in war zones, at the expense of the resident’s lives. The diamond trade plays an integral role in Kill Me if You Can, and this book will help Patterson readers understand about this black-market business.

Making the Corps, by Thomas E. Ricks

Follow a platoon through their first year of Marine Corp training, from when they arrive at Parris Island, to their first year as members of the Corp. In this tenth anniversary edition read the new afterward from the author. Matthew Bannon learned all his fighting skills from the marines, now read about real live marines who endured the same training

3 Fiction Read-a-likes:

Rules of Deception, by Christopher Reich

After the death of his wife, Dr. Jonathan Ransom receives a mysterious note that sets in motion a world-wide manhunt for him. Along the way, he discovers that his wife had many secrets that he struggles to unveil. A good choice if you liked Kill me if You Can’s fast-paced manhunt.

The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum

An amnesia victim wakes up to the name Jason Bourne, hired by a U.S. Government agency to assassinate his rival Carlos. A good read-a-like for readers who like to read about hired assassins like in Kill Me if You Can.

What Doesn’t Kill You, by Iris Johansen

CIA operative Catherine Ling is on the hunt for Hu Chang who creates a deadly drug that others are hunting him for. Now Catherine has to try and protect Hu Chang, her mentor growing up, from those who want to take the new drug for themselves. A good read for those who enjoy the break-neck speed of Patterson’s work and stories about assassins.

Name: Alison Kulczak

CBGB OMFUG

April 18, 2012

Author: Various (22 authors and illustrators collaborate for 9 vignettes)

Title: CBGB OMFUG

Genre: Graphic novel

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 112p

Geographical Setting: New York City (the Bowery)

Time Period: 1970’s, present day, the future

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary:  Through nine separate vignettes, the history and lore of the legendary, mythical, pivotal, incredibly dirty, and defunct Lower East Side punk rock club is examined and explained.  CBGB’s was ground zero for the mid-70’s NYC punk rock scene.  Artists that would emerge from CBGB’s include Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, and Talking Heads, as well as lesser-known, yet highly influential acts, such as Television, the Heartbreakers, the Dead Boys, and the Dictators. Varying in time period, some of the stories use the club as a main character, while others use it merely as a backdrop or meeting place.  The common theme running throughout the book is that of CBGB’s as a fertile haven for inspiration, community, discovery, expression, freedom, individuality, and lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Subject Headings: Punk rock music, New York City—nightclubs, 1970’s, Artists, Drugs and alcohol, Rebellion, Nostalgia, Nonconformity, Antisocial behavior, Self discovery, Youth, Fandom.

Appeal:  Breakneck, fast-paced, relentless, atmospheric, edgy, flamboyant, gritty, hard-edged, humorous, impassioned, magical, idealized, romanticized, nostalgic, sarcastic, sensual, artsy, bohemian, punk, vivid, inspirational, mythic, sexually explicit, strong language, urban, colorful, informal, passionate, witty, hedonistic, rebellious, reflective, street-smart, rowdy, energetic, fun, aggressive, joyous, enigmatic, self-aggrandizing, loud.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Energetic, passionate, enigmatic

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Please Kill Me: the Uncensored History of Punk edited by Legs McNeill and Gillian McCain

This is an oral history of the New York punk scene from its infancy in the early 1970’s to its slow death in the early 1980’s strung together by interviews with the people who were there and making things happen.  The people who are still alive, anyway.  Interviewees (many of whom are portrayed in CBGB) include Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and members of the Ramones, the Stooges, New York Dolls, Television, Blondie and many more artists and other scenesters.  This is a great read for fans of ribald accounts of debauchery and degeneracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle For the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler

In the 1970’s, large Northern cities found themselves broke, decaying, crime-ridden, and desperate.  None had it worse than New York.  The tumultuous year of 1977 is examined here; a year that included Son of Sam, the Blackout, punk rock, Studio 54 and disco, and ruthless political battles.  What is the conduit Mahler uses to examine and piece these events together?  — the World Series winning Yankees, of course.

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever by Will Hermes

Sure, New York had the punk thing happening in the mid-1970’s, but during those years the city also witnessed the birth of hip-hop, disco, and salsa as well as playing host to fertile jazz and avant-garde/minimalist music scenes.  Here is an examination of those years, where the music seemed to get better as the urban blight grew worse.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

My Brain Hurts: Vol. One by Liz Baille

This graphic novel series chronicles a group of gay,teenage New York punks making out, drinking beer, getting arrested, and flexing their gay activism muscles.  I include this as there was no mention in CBGB as to how entangled the NYC punk scene was with the seedier side of gay culture on Manhattan at the time (many a near destitute musician made rent by moonlighting as “chickens”, as in a homosexual prostitute who may not necessarily be gay but will do x for money.  Dee Dee Ramone has talked extensively about this topic [see: ‘53rd and 3rd by the Ramones], as well as others).

What We Do Is Secret by Kief Hillbery

Hollywood 13-year-old punk and gay hustler Rockets Redglare must come to terms with the suicide of his idol/guru Darby Crash, lead singer of the Germs (circa 1980).  This book is the closest equivalent to the seediness and nihilism that personified the L.A. punk scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s (as far as fiction goes.)

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

While this book is the farthest thing from the seediness that CBGB and the Lower Eastside personified, it is an excellent portrait of the feeling of freedom, possibility, and wonder that a night out in the big city can give a person as they find themselves on the cusp of adulthood and independence.  Even for rich kids from New Jersey.

Name: Bill

The Coldest Winter Ever

April 11, 2012

Author:  Sister Souljah

Title:  The Coldest Winter Ever

Genre:  African American Fiction, Urban Fiction

Publication Date:  1999

Number of Pages:  337

Geographical Setting:  New York

Time Period:  1990s

Series:  n/a

Plot Summary:     Winter Santiaga, the teenage daughter of a notorious Brooklyn drug dealer, must struggle to survive on the streets after her father is arrested.  When her family’s estate is confiscated by the police, Winter turns to her father’s associates for support.  When this fails and she is caught by the Department of Children and Family Services, Winter turns to crime in order to return to her lavish lifestyle. The Coldest Winter Ever is a gritty, sobering work of urban fiction with well-developed characters and an authentic feel.

Subject Headings:  Drug dealers, Drug use, City life, Inner city, Street life, African American teenagers, African American women, Imprisonment, Public housing, Violence

Appeal:  Gritty, Hard-edged, Sexually explicit, Sobering, Stark, Well-developed, Authentic, Character-centered, Urban, Dialect, Strong language, Violent

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Gritty, Character-centered, Urban

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Original Gangster:  The Real Life Story of One of America’s Most Notorious Drug Lords by Frank Lucas-  Frank Lucas, former organized crime boss and heroin dealer, describes his experiences in Harlem during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Original Gangster:  The Real Life Story of One of America’s Most Notorious Drug Lords and The Coldest Winter Ever both deal with drug dealers in New York. 

Our America:  Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago by LeAlan Jones- Our America consists of several interviews from tenants of the Ida B. Wells housing project.  Our America:  Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago will appeal to readers that are interested in learning more about public housing projects and inner city life.

A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown- This disturbing autobiography recounts the author’s experiences with gangs and drugs on the streets of Los Angeles and her struggle to rebuild her life.   A Piece of Cake and The Coldest Winter Ever both deal with African American teenage girls who struggle to survive the streets on their own.

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

Let That be the Reason (Let That be the Reason Novels, 1) by Vickie M. Stringer-  After being abandoned by her drug dealing boyfriend, Pamela becomes the head of a call-girl operation to help her survive the streets.   Like The Coldest Winter Ever, Let That be the Reason is a gritty work of urban fiction that deals with a young African American woman trying to survive on the streets.

Push by Sapphire- After being  abused and raped by her father, sixteen year old Precious works to turn her life around with the help of a teacher.  Like The Coldest Winter Ever, Push is gritty and sobering work of urban fiction that deals with an African American teenage girl facing adversity.

Thieves’ Paradise by Eric Jerome Dickey- With no job and an older woman to impress, Dante turns to crime to make quick money.   Both The Coldest Winter Ever and Thieves’ Paradise are gritty, character-driven novels about young African Americans who take drastic measures during difficult times.

Elissa

 

The Midnight Club

February 22, 2012

Author: James Patterson

Title: The Midnight Club

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 1989

Number of Pages: 349

Geographical Setting: New York City; New York State – various cities; Atlantic City, NJ

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): N/A.

Plot Summary: John Stefanovitch, a New York detective, has been stalking a ruthless murderer and crime lord, nicknamed Grave Dancer, for the past two years. When a sudden violent catastrophe changes Stefanovitch’s life forever, he vows to never give up on the search for the Grave Dancer, no matter the personal consequences. Full of twists and turns and told from multiple points of view, this fast-paced novel portrays Stefanovitch’s (and others) search for a new serial killer, one who has been murdering major crime head’s simultaneously throughout the world. Desperately trying to find out who the mysterious new criminal mastermind is, as well as put his own life back together, John ultimately must also save an innocent journalist and her son from persecution as well.

Subject Headings: New York City, police officers, serial killers, violence – physical and sexual, psychopaths, drug lords, detectives, prostitution

Appeal: fast-paced, intriguing secondary (characters), multiple points of view, action-oriented, complex, explicit violence, plot twists, strong language, bittersweet, darker (tone), hard-edged, menacing, dramatic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, multiple points of view, menacing

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

City Lights: Stories About New York by Dan Barry – Barry takes readers on a poetic and bittersweet journey through the city of New York, but instead of gathering stories from mainstream New Yorkers he instead writes about those whose lives often get overlooked in everyday activities therein.

Drug lords: the rise and fall of the Cali Cartel, the richest, most powerful crime syndicate in history by Ron Chepesiuk – This work of non-fiction chronicles the history and ultimate demise of the Cali Cartel, an international drug “business.” Fast-paced and full of gritty details, this book also demonstrates the power and wit of collaborative law enforcement around the globe.

Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World’s Most Barbaric Criminals by Nigel Cawthorne – Cawthorne takes us into the lives and crimes of many of the world’s most known serial killers. Discussed therein are the murderers’ childhoods and suspected motivations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Hardcase by Dan Simmons – After a New York detective Joe Kurtz is released from jail for the injury of a villain, he takes on many other criminals – national and international, and also those involved in organized crime. Partially motivated by revenge because of the murder of his girlfriend, Kurtz is a well-trained and skillful killer. The pace is breakneck and will keep readers guessing.

Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell – Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta investigates several unusual murders (one of them was someone relatively close to her) and finds a highly-dangerous extremist religious group that may be to blame. With the help of the FBI, Scarpetta, a familiar character for many readers (series character), takes us on a detailed and graphic investigation into this religious cult in order to halt them before they ruthlessly devour more victims.

Love you more: a detective D.D. Warren novel by Lisa Gardner (Release Date: 2/28/12) – When a state trooper’s husband is found dead and daughter goes missing, D.D. Warren and Bobby Dodge have quite a mystery on their hands. Told from multiple points of view, Garner’s book will have readers questioning whom they can truly trust.

Name: Melissa

Appaloosa

February 15, 2012

Author: Robert B. Parker

Title: Appaloosa

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 276

Geographical Setting: “untamed territories of the West”

Time Period: 1800s

Series (If applicable): 1st of the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch Series

Plot Summary: Renegade rancher Randall Bragg and his men have been living off the citizens of the small Western mining town of Appaloosa “like coyotes live off a buffalo carcass.” After Bragg kills the last marshal and deputy, Appaloosa’s aldermen hire town tamers Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch to restore order in the town. Things seem OK after Bragg’s trial, but some twists, turns, and deception threaten the peace Cole and Hitch have brought to Appaloosa.

Subject Headings: Deputy marshals; Wanderers and wandering; Honor in Men; Ranchers Men – Friendship; Fugitives; Escaped convicts; Gunfighters; Outlaws; Small town life – The West (United States); Gunfights; Manipulation by women; Men/women relations; Cole, Virgil; Hitch, Everett

Appeal: Fast-paced, Atmospheric, Strong sense of place, Gritty, Hard-edged, Well-drawn characters, Familiar, Cinematic, plot-centered, Details of old West, Spare, Homespun,Witty

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced; Atmospheric; Gritty.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Wallis, Michael. Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. “Both the facts and the legend pick up in 1877, when Henry—already known to some under the alias Kid—shot a man who was bullying him and began a life on the run. Wallis’s reconstruction of the Kid’s exploits is engrossing. But even more, Wallis (Route 66 ) shows Billy the Kid as a product of his era, one of profound social dislocation. Billy the Kid was, indeed, only the most legendary of a generation of ‘desperate men’ who knew how to handle a gun. Wallis, the host of PBS’s new American Roads , writes clean prose, occasionally enlivened by a particularly lovely turn of phrase (“the liquid rustle of cottonwood leaves”). The writing style of Billy the Kid may appeal to reader’s who enjoyed Appaloosa‘s spare but witty dialogue.

Guinn, Jeff.  The Last Gunfight: the real story of the shootout at the O.K. Corral—and how it changed the America West. “Describing the many social, political and other forces that set the stage for the gunfight (including new edicts regarding arrests and carrying guns), Guinn details the historic events of the cold afternoon of Oct. 26, 1881: drunken outlaw Ike Clanton’s wild threats against Wyatt Earp and Holliday; Virgil’s attempt (together with his brothers and Doc) to disarm Ike and his cowboy buddies; and the 30-second exchange of gunfire that left three cowboys dead. Just the facts—and still a great story” (Kirkus).  Like Appaloosa, The Last Gunfight is a fast-paced and compelling read that looks at lawmen who make laws and decisions that may straddle the line between right and wrong.

Tefertiller, Casey. Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend.  “Using a wide variety of primary sources, Tefertiller manages to summon up a human, complex figure and, while not omitting flaws, to persuasively demonstrate that Earp believed in the law and did his best in hard times to defend it. A great adventure story, and solid history” (Kirkus). Though fictional, Cole and Hitch also believe in and do their best to uphold the law, though all three are flawed characters.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Estelemen, Loren – Aces and Eights is the “dramatic account of the death of gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok and the trial of Jack McCall, the man hanged for the murder of Deadwood’s legendary marshal” (NoveList). Like Appaloosa, Aces and Eights is a fast-paced, atmospheric Western that revolves around a murdered marshal.

Leonard, Elmore.  Hombre features “John Russell, a young man nicknamed Hombre by the Apaches who raised him, has a deadly confrontation with a determined gang of stagecoach robbers” (book description).  Leonard and Parker both write Mysteries and fast-paced, atmospheric and gritty Westerns with a darker mood.

Kelton, Elmer – Texas Standoff: a novel of the Texas Rangers. “Newly married Texas Ranger Andy Pickard and his new partner, Logan Daggett, investigate a series of murders and cattle thefts in central Texas, a task complicated by a gang of masked vigilantes and the appearance of a notorious gunman” (NoveList). Both Appaloosa and Texas Standoff are fast-paced and atmospheric with a strong sense of place that center around two lawmen partners.

Ally C.

The Tall Stranger

February 15, 2012

Author: Louis L Amour

Title: The Tall Stranger

Genre: Westen

Publication Date: 1957

Number of Pages:126

Geographical Setting: Western United States

Time Period: Oregon Trail/Wild West

Plot Summary: Much like the other works of Louis L’Amour, this story concerns traveling to the Western United States in order to find a better life. Rock Bannon, a dedicated but solitary man finds himself heading west with a group of men from the East, none of which trust him. The group is lead by the charismatic and devious Mort Harper, who quickly becomes leader of the group, even though Rock does not trust his motives. As they move further from the tail Rock knows will lead them to a better life, he questions the morals and decision making of Mort and must decide whether to venture on his own or help his fellow travelers, including the beautiful Sharon.

Subject Headings:

Wagon trains — Oregon Trail
Pioneers — The West (United States)
Outlaws — The West (United States)
Frontier and pioneer life — The West (United States)

Appeal: Plot-driven, action-oriented, fast-paced, gritty, close-ended, details of western life, colloquial, unembellished, hard-edged, recognizable characters, physical, violent, cinematic

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: plot-driven, gritty, fast-paced

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Cowboy Life: Reconstructing an American Myth – William W. Savage Jr.

This book discusses the image of the cowboy in popular American culture, from the Western novel to the cinematic masterpieces and advertisements.

Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Luke Short and Others – W.B. Masterson

Deals with the history of some of America’s most interesting  cowboys and gunslingers and the men behind their  infamous names.

The Oregon Tail: A Photographic Journey – Bill Moeller

This book is comprised of photographs of The Oregon Trail, both of how it looks now and how it looked to emigrants to the West. It includes entries from diaries of those traveling on the trail during the 1800s.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

A Town Called Fury – William W. Johnstone 

Features stand-offs with Native Americans, an attack on a westward travelling wagon and a revenge plot of one man dedicated to right the wrongs done unto his family.

Last Reville – David Morrell

A fast-paced novel in which a talented scout on the Mexican border fights to eradicate Pancho Villa from the US while becoming a mentor to a young man.

War Cry – West Charles

A gritty yet romantic story in which scout Will Cason saves a woman and finds himself the enemy of a group of Native Americans determined to destroy him.

Name: Courtney Rose

Dutch

November 17, 2011

Author: Teri Woods

Title: Dutch

Genre: Urban Lit

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 242

Geographical Setting: New York and New Jersey

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: 1st in the Dutch Series

Plot Summary: Bernard James Jr., better known as Dutch, is a New York drug kingpin, but when the book starts, he’s on trial and it seems like his empire is about crash all around him. As the trial continues, the testimony and a series of flashbacks serve to show Dutch’s rise to power from a teen working at a pizza place to a car thief, and after a stint in prison his eventual transformation into one of the most infamous druglords in the East Coast.

Subject Headings: Gangsters, organized crime, street life, mafia, African-American men

Appeal: fast-paced, dark, gritty, hard-edged, stark, plot-driven, dialect-heavy, compelling, flashbacks, steamy, chilling, flawed characters

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, gritty, flashbacks

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Dyson, Michael. “Mercy, Mercy, Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye”. Not quite a biography, Dyson’s book shows how various factors—his abusive father, living in the inner city, cultural racism, religious upbringing, alcoholism and drug abuse—shaped Marvin Gaye into the popstar and man he became. Woods does similar in creating the story of Dutch.

Greene, Robert.  “48 Laws of Power”. Dutch was all about power—who had it, how to earn, it, how to keep it, even during Dutch’s stint in juvie. In this book, Greene discusses the concept of power and creates a series of laws based on popular leaders, such as Machiavelli, Henry Kissinger, Sun-Tzu and Queen Elizabeth. Dutch would probably keep this book on his nightstand.

Moore, Wes. “The Other Wes Moore”. Popular book showing the true-life story of two black men named Wes Moore who grew up on the streets; one ended up in jail, the other was a Rhodes Scholar. Dutch seemed to blame society for his fate, and this book focuses on society’s effects on black inner city youth.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Ashley and JaQuavis. “The Cartel”. The Diamond family is the most infamous drug cartel family in Miami; when Carter dies, his illegitimate son takes over; but a rival group tries to take them down. Like Dutch, Young Carter is a new kingpin that must take on rivals in a gritty urban lit title.

Dickey, Eric Jerome. “Thieves’ Paradise.” Dante Black is a low-level hood, as opposed to Dutch’s far-loftier lifestyle. However, both must deal with betrayal within their circle of friends, ex-lovers, and others in this urban lit book.

Puzo, Mario. “The Godfather.” Although a different sort of gangster in some ways, Dutch probably modeled himself in some ways after Don Corleone, the eponymous Godfather. This is the book that was the basis for the movie, and a classic in its own right.

Name: Brian C

“I Heard You Paint Houses”: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa

November 16, 2011

Author: Charles Brandy

Title: “I Heard You Paint Houses”: Frank “The Irishman”
Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of
Jimmy Hoffa

Genre: Non-Fiction; True-Crime

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 309

Geographical Setting: USA

Time Period: 1930s-2000s

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:  A first-person narrative of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran’s life.  The story is composed from passages of Sheeran’s
own words while author Charles Brandt provides the  background story.  Sheeran’s issues begin as a young boy who is
encouraged by his father to start bar fights for beer money.  The story follows Sheeran through his 411
days of active duty during World War II where he claims on the orders of higher
ranking officers he learned how to conduct private executions of German
prisoners and follow orders effectively.
Once returning to America Sheeran began working as a hustler and  as a hitman for notorious crime boss Russell
Bufalino.   Sheeran provides information
on mob relations, notorious mob hits, and even the Kennedy assassination.  The most interesting part of this book is
Sheeran’s relationship with Jimmy Hoffa.
Sheeran is introduced to Hoffa by Bufalino and this is where the phrase,
“I heard you paint houses” originates.
Sheeran would not only become Jimmy Hoffa’s muscle but close personal
friend.  Through Sheeran’s own words this
book brings to light to the details surrounding the mysterious end of Jimmy
Hoffa’s life.

Subject
Headings: Hoffa Jimmy 1913-1975?, Sheeran Frank, International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, Gangsters, Mafia.

Appeal: compelling, easy, fast-paced, chilling,
candid, menacing atmosphere, hard-edged, psychological, well-drawn, flawed,
character-centered, explicitly violent, flashbacks, political.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Character-centered,
explicitly violent, flashbacks.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Westies: Inside New
York’s Irish Mob
, by T.J. English.  The story of a notorious New York West Side
gang who specialize in a dismemberment execution style that was feared among
the toughest factions of the mob.

 Mob Killer: The Bloody Rampage
of Charles Carneglia, Mafia Hit Man
, by Anthony DeStefano.  This book is a look into the mind of Charles
Carneglia who was associated with John Gotti.
The book covers much of the mob’s history and address famous mob
personalities such as those from the
movie Goodfellas.

JFK and the Unspeakable:
Why He Died and Why it Matters
, by James Douglass.  Similarly to Jimmy Hoffa the truth behind the
assassination of President Kennedy has always been open to question and filled
with various conspiracy theories.  This
book presents the view that it was not the mob but rather the military and
intelligence agencies in the United States that were behind the assassination of
JFK.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

For Nothing, by Nicholas Denmon.
This fast paced thriller is about an undercover cop who goes deep in an
organized crime family to seek out the assassin that killed his friend.

Who is Lou Sciortino?: A
Novel About Murder, the Movies, and Mafia Family Values,
by Ottavio Cappellani.
A fictional violent mafia comedy that is often compared to the
television show the Sopranos.  The story
takes place in New York City and Sicily.

Cut Throat Mafia, by Derrick Johnson.
A story about a mafia family in Cleveland Ohio that was on top as far as
mob activity goes until they started to slip with the introduction of other
mafia families.  The family finds
themselves doing all they can to survive against other families with similar “cut
throat” tactics.

Name: Bill P.

Off the Mangrove Coast

July 30, 2011

Author: Louis L’amour

Title: Off the Mangrove Coast

Genre: Western, Adventure

Publication Date:  June 2000

Number of Pages: 277

Geographical Setting: Various settings including American West, a Parisian Café, and small town fight clubs

Time Period: Varies due to short story format

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Collected short stories. The premise of all stories is men and women fighting for justice and their dreams when the odds are far from favorable. The reader gets to experience many different adventures in one book.

Subject Headings: Adventure stories, war stories

Appeal: atmospheric, hard-edged, dramatic, action-oriented, detailed setting, well-crafted, cinematic, violent, intriguing, suspenseful, hopeful, dangerous

3 terms that best describe this book:

Adventurous, detailed, Gritty

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1.         Call of the Wild: My Escape to Alaska- by Guy Grieve

The author felt trapped and at a dead end. He hated his job as well as his commute. The author tells his story of moving to Alaska and the adventure that followed.

2.         Gifts of the Wild: A Woman’s Book of Adventure- another collection of short stories this time featuring women. This is the opposite of Off the Mangrove Coast because it focuses mainly on female characters but the theme is still adventure.

3.         The Edge of the Sea- Rachel Carson

This book explores the sea. The reader gets to explore the sea through the words eyes of the author.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.         The Jungle-Clive Cussler

A story filled with action and adventure about the crew of the ship the Oregon. The crew encounters many trials and obstacles as they continue on  their rescue mission. This is another tale of survival that readers of Off the Mangrove Coast can enjoy.

2.         Bad Luck and Trouble- Lee Child

Murder, action, and adventure drive this book .A man is killed and the character Jack Reacher is on a mission to find out the truth.

3.         Edge- Jeffery Deaver

The action begins when police detective Ryan Kessler becomes a target of a “lifter”.  He and his family are immediately put under the protection of Corte. The question of Corte’s loyalty drives this suspenseful story.

Name: Juanita Fisher