Posts Tagged ‘menacing atmosphere’

Heart-Shaped Box

October 31, 2012

Heart-Shaped Box Book CoverTitle: Heart-Shaped Box

Author: Hill, Joe

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting: New York, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia

Time Period: Present Day/Contemporary

Plot Summary:  In this chilling tale that should be read with all the lights on, aging rock star Judas Coyne is no longer touring and releasing album. Instead he spends his time dating Goth chicks, such as his current lady Georgia, and expanding his bizarre, macabre collection of artifacts including a witch’s confession and a snuff film.  So when his assistant Danny mentions an auction for the suit of a dead man that comes with a ghost, Judas is hooked and must have it.  But when the suit arrives, danger and chilling nightmares enter Judas’ life.  He begins to see the dead man everywhere swinging a deadly razor from a chain or rocking in a Shaker chair.  Judas cannot escape the ghost’s hypnotizing presence or the haunting words about taking “a ride on the nightroad.”  It turns out the ghost has a link to Judas’ past and it is out for revenge of the deadliest kind.  As the terror and sense of dread builds, Judas and Georgia are eventually forced to hit the road to face their pasts and solve the mystery surrounding the dead man to avoid the dreaded “nightroad.”  Winner of the Bram Stoker Award, it is a horror novel reminiscent of your favorite classic ghost stories but with a contemporary feel.  You will be wary with each turn of the page as the uneasy, menacing atmosphere builds throughout the story until its satisfying conclusion.  This is a great novel for both newcomers and seasoned veterans of the horror genre, and will have you rooting for its flawed, compelling characters to triumph over evil.

Subject Headings: Ghost stories, Rock Musicians, Suspense Fiction, Supernatural, Paranormal Phenomena, Apparitions, Men/Women Relations, Life after death

Appeal:  builds in intensity, atmospheric, chilling, suspenseful, menacing atmosphere, flawed characters, plot twists, well-crafted, uneasy mood, character-driven, creepy, dangerous, haunting, macabre, sense of dread, compelling, violent, engaging characters, foreboding, vivid storyline, descriptive

Three Most Relevant Appeal Terms: Creepy, Flawed Characters, Suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft

Horror fans and novices can enjoy this classic collection of ghostly stories from a pioneer of the genre.  Here are 16 classic tales to chill the bones and haunt your dreams, and are just as menacing and creepy as The Heart-Shaped Box.

Christine by Stephen King

Go from haunted suit to a haunted car with this classic novel by Stephen King. Written by Joe Hill’s father, here is a similarly compelling and suspenseful horror novel where teen Arnie Cunningham falls in love with a 1958 Plymouth car dubbed “Christine.”  This car is not as simple as it seems, and it starts to haunt and endanger Arnie as well as those around him.  With Christine, you can get to know the work of Stephen King to whom Heart-Shaped Box was dedicated.

Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson

A horror story that also has hypnotism and a similar mood, Tom Wallace mockingly agrees to be hypnotized at his brother-in-law’s party.  But when Tom awakens from the hypnotism, he discovers that he can hear the thoughts of those around him.  Even more compelling and terrifying, through this new ability he receives a message from beyond the grave that leads Tom onto a dangerous, creepy path in order to solve the message.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Crap I bought on eBay: 101 Crazy Bizarre, Seriously Weird, Ridiculously Raunchy Items Exposed by Cary McNeal and Beverly L. Jenkins

A great book for those fascinated by the macabre collection of character Judas Coyne.  The book highlights 101 of the craziest things actually bought on eBay by the authors.  Enjoy a mixture of laughter and shock as you browse these real-life items.

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars and Vince Neil

Get to know the crazy rock n’ roll world of Judas Coyne with this tell-all book about 80’s heavy metal group Motley Crue.  Written by member of the band with the help of music writer Neil Strauss, this book reveals the tours, drugs and alcohol, rock music and sex.  A fun glimpse into a crazy rocker’s world.

Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis by Robin Waterfield

Hypnosis was featured throughout the novel, and with this book you can become more familiar with it.  You will get to know the history, practice and modern uses of this controversial field.

Name: Margita Lidaka

Where the River Runs

September 26, 2012

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Author: Richard S. Wheeler

Title: Where the River Runs

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 1990

Number of Pages: 180

Geographical Setting: The West (United States)

Time Period: 1840s

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Jedediah (Jed) Owen leads a group of twelve men on a mission to bring peace to the Indian nations. After leaving from Fort Leavenworth and traveling through the Missouri River to Fort Union on the American Fur Company steamboat, they disappear. Jed’s journey in the wilderness includes viewing the deaths of all of the other members of his group, surviving the trip and dealing with Indians along the way. Several months pass by; not hearing from Jedd, his fiancée Susannah St. George goes on a mission to find him. Susannah hires Jean Gallant, who works for the American Fur Company; to help find her fiancée. She knows that he is somewhere out there. The book explores the journeys of Jedd and Susannah in this book about love in the Wild West.

Subject Headings: missing persons; wilderness survival; Indians of North American; scouting (reconnaissance), Piegan Indians; pioneer women; the forties (19th century); nineteenth century

Appeal: colloquial, descriptive, detailed setting, dramatic, fast-paced, homespun, investigative, menacing atmosphere, multiple points of view, nostalgic, romantic, rural

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: menacing atmosphere; nostalgic; romantic

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

-De Voto, Bernard Augustine, 1897-1955, Across the Wide Missouri (fur trade in middle 1800s, information on the American Fur Company)

-Dary, David, The Oregon Trail: an American saga (describes the difficult travels and lives of groups of people traveling through the Wild   West)

-DeLay, Brain 1971- War of a thousand deserts: Indian raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (describes tension between Americans and Indians in 1840s, explains the economic and societal state U.S. in 1840s)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

-Zollinger, Norman, Meridian: A Novel of Kit’s Carson’s West (set in 1840s, conquest of the west)

-Blevins, Winfred, So wild a dream (adventure to the west in frontier west)

-Compton, Ralph, The Shadow of a noose (brothers have mission looking for sister, brothers get into trouble on the way)

Name: Samantha Biegel

The Proving Trail

September 26, 2012

Author: Louis L’Amour

Title: The Proving Trail

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 1978

Number of Pages: 215

Geographical Setting: The main character travels through multiple states, including Texas, Colorado, and Kansas.

Time Period: Late 1800s

Plot Summary:  This is a suspenseful tale of crime and corruption in the American West. Kearney McRaven was only a teenager when his father was killed after he had won a lot of money while gambling. He was determined to solve his father’s murder and keep his father’s winnings. This lead McRaven on a cross-country journey of self-discovery to search for information related to his family history and why it seemed like his father was previously running from someone that had attempted to kill him.  Through out this journey Kearney McRaven had to learn to stay alive while out running these same outlaws that had murdered his father.

Subject Headings: Western stories, Outlaws, Murder

Appeal terms:  action-oriented, investigative, menacing atmosphere, fast-paced, chilling, gritty, plot-centered, explicitly violent, tragic, foreboding, details of frontier life, well-crafted

Three appeal terms: action-oriented, investigative, menacing atmosphere

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction:

West Texas Kill by Johny D. Boggs: This work is about fighting outlaws and corruption in Texas.

Hard Luck Money by J.A. Johnstone: This is a tale about solving a murder and fighting outlaws.

The Badger’s Revenge by Larry D. Sweazy: This story questions why outlaws want to seek revenge against the main character while he tries to stay alive.

Non-Fiction:

Big Trouble: a Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America by J. Anthony Lukas: This is a non-fiction book about a real murder in America’s west.

Sacagawea’s Nickname: Essays on the American West by Larry McMurtry: This is a non-fiction book of essays written by a well-known author of Western fiction.

Gunfighter Nation: the Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America by Richard Slotkin: This is a non-fiction book that examines the influence of the frontier myth on American culture and politics.

 Name: Rachel Fischer

Lonigan

July 16, 2012

   Author:  Louis L’Amour

   Title:  Lonigan

   Genre:  Western, Short Stories

   Publication Date:  1988

   Number of Pages: 177

   Geographical Setting:  The West (United States)

    Time Period:  Old West (late 19th century)

Series:  n/a

Plot Summary:  This book contains six separate short stories about the Wild West.  Each centers around one character as they come up against challenges and strive to do what is right according to the way of the West.  It features pioneer life, ranches and outlaws.

Subject Headings:  Frontier and pioneer life – The West (United States), Outlaws, Ranches, Gunfights.

Appeal:  fast paced, adventurous, sentimental, romantic, dangerous, historical details, detailed setting, rural, gritty, menacing atmosphere, strong secondary characters, flawed characters, criminal behavior, justice.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  adventurous, rural, ranches.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Growing up western: recollections edited by Clarus Backes.  Seven old writers of the West reminisce about their growing-up years, how their rural upbringings shaped their lives.  Growing up western will appeal to readers who want to learn first-hand how living in the Wild West was in the early 20th century.

Historic ranches of the Old West by Bill O’Neal.  A number of ranch headquarters still serve their original function; others are museums or guest ranches.  This book offers a visit back to a romantic and fascinating era.

The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West by Michael Willis.  This book chronicles the history of the 101 Ranch and discusses how the ranch’s traveling show embodied the spirit of the American frontier.  The book will appear to readers who want to learn about a ranch life.  This features a ranch in Oklahoma.

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

Best stories of the American West, vol. 1 edited by Marc Jaffe- This book features contemporary short stories set in the American West.  Like Lonigan, Best Stories of the American West is full of over twenty stories, featuring the pioneering life, relationships and adventure.

Ghost brand of the wishbones: a western trio by Peter Dawson.  This book contains a trio of short stories set against the backdrop of the Old West.  It features a story about an elderly lawman, a range war and a robbery of an entire cattle train.  This book features fast paced adventure about pioneer life.

On dangerous ground: stories of western noir edited by Ed Gorman  This book features short stories that are character driven but in a more bleak, moody atmosphere.  Like Lonigan, this book features short stories of the Wild West, looking at the dark tones of living out in the elements.

Name:  Olivia Button

The Calling of the Grave

April 18, 2012

nullAuthor:  Simon Beckett

Title:  The Calling of the Grave

Genre:  Suspense, Audiobook

Publication Date:  February 2011

Number of Pages:  336, 9 hrs and 54 mins

Geographical Setting:  England

Time Period:  Eight years ago and present

Series (If applicable):  Dr. David Hunter series (book 4)

Plot Summary:

Eight years ago, forensic anthropologist Dr. David Hunter was helping the police attempt to locate the bodies of two teenage girls.  The man who confessed to and was convicted for their murder, Jerome Monk, was brought out of prison in order to help the police locate the burial site.  When Monk’s involvement ends in violence, the search is called off.  In the intervening eight years, David’s life has changed in ways that he couldn’t have imagined, but he’s shocked when the lead investigator in the missing girl’s case shows up on his doorstep to tell him that Jerome Monk has escaped from prison and might be targeting people involved in the previous investigation.  Quickly following that, a call from a woman he briefly met on the investigation eight years prior involves David in a quest to locate the murderer and ensure the safety of himself, Sophie, and anybody else involved in the investigation.  The narrator, Jonathan Keeble, gives the audiobook the appropriate sense of foreboding and helps to drive this suspenseful, fast-paced story to its conclusion.

Subject Headings:

Forensic anthropologists — Fiction.

Murder — Investigation — Fiction.

England — Fiction.

Hunter, David (Fictitious character) — Fiction.

Mystery fiction.

Detective and mystery stories.

Serial murder investigation–Fiction.

Appeal:  fast-paced, chilling, darker, menacing atmosphere, plot-centered, violent, straightforward, evocative setting, investigative, plot twists, suspenseful, foreboding, gritty

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

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist–William R. Maples:  This book gives the reader insight into the real experiences of a man in the same field as David Hunter.

Murder in the First-Class Carriage: The First Victorian Railway Killing–Kate Colquhoun:  This true story is a suspenseful murder story set in England, with the extra bonus of historical accuracy.

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders–Vincent Bugliosi:  This true crime book describes how Charles Manson made his followers commit murder, the investigation, and the ensuing trials.  This is a gritty, faced-paced book with a menacing tone.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Flesh and Bones—Kathy Reichs:  Like David Hunter, Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist investigating murders in this series of suspenseful, fast-paced novels.

Private—James Patterson:  This is another fast-paced suspense novel, but the investigator in this book is dealing with cold cases, like David Hunter does in this book.

Dead End—Leigh Russell:  Another novel that is a part of a series, this suspense story also takes place in small-town England, features violence against women, and serial killers.

Name:  Amanda

In the presence of mine enemies

March 28, 2012

Author: Harry Turtledove

Title: In the Presence of Mine Enemies

Genre: Science Fiction (Alternative Histories)

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 454p.

Geographical Setting: Berlin*

Time Period: Present-day (-ish)*

*In the Presence of My Enemies is a work of fictional alternate history wherein Germany has won the 2nd and 3rd World Wars (the 3rd resulting in the nuclear destruction of all significant American cities, and a new capital in Omaha, in case you were wondering about the home team) and has exterminated (to their satisfaction, at least—think slave labor) the world’s population of Slavs, Jews, Blacks, and a plethora of other racial, ethnic, and nationalist groups.  They are cozy with the Japanese Empire.

Series (If applicable): Not yet.

Plot Summary:  A small community of Jews, loosely allied by family and friendship, struggle to raise families, work, continue the Jewish faith, and survive clandestinely in “present day” Berlin as good “Germans” alongside their unknowing, yet legitimately Aryan, German friends and colleagues.  Adding to their many daily trials, the Reich has been hurled into a new and uncertain direction toward “reform” that leaves the Empire, and especially Berlin, in a heightened state of political and national unrest, boldness, and uncertainty, by the appointment of a progressive new Fuhrer and the political emergence of an enigmatic Party rabble-rouser (think Gorbachev and Yeltsin!).

Subject Headings: Nazi Party (Germany), Jews—German, World War 2, 21st century, Jewish families, Middle class families, Secrets, Secret identity, Identity (Psychology), Political upheaval, Political demonstration, Secret police, Police state, Fascism, Adolf Hitler, Revenge, Genetics, Germany—Politics and government, Genocide, Adultery.

Appeal: plot-driven, dark, surreal, steady, bleak, candid, claustrophobic, foreboding, melancholy, menacing atmosphere, paranoid, suspenseful, detailed, authentic, imaginative, intense, tense/anxious, multiple plot lines, thought-provoking, political, urban, concise, straightforward, ominous.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: plot-driven, dark, thought-provoking.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

While the suggestion of reading this book might seem as appealing to a reader as stabbing themselves in the eye with a fork, it does merit consideration as Turtledove’s Nazi Empire is wholly dependent on it as both their Constitution and their Bible.  While the plot line of radical reformists calling for adherence to the more democratic-minded first edition of Mein Kampf in order to extend freedoms, liberties, and self-determination to the citizens and conquered nations of the Reich is clever and ironic, the real shivers happen as it becomes clear that Hitler has achieved God-like infallibility and reverence in Turtledove’s nightmare world.

What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany by Eric A. Johnson

Can genocide become an everyday facet of society? Apparently so, the author would argue.  Over 3,000 Germans of the era (Jews and non-Jews, victims and perpetrators) took part in the research for this book.  The conclusion: the average German lived not in fear of the Gestapo or anything else for most of Hitler’s reign, but existed rather comfortably and prosperous.  The estimated 1/3 of Germany that knew of what was happening in the concentration camps, chose to ignore what was going on in their backyards, as well as those citizens that knew of the extermination through rumor.  By the time of Turtledove’s Reich, the extermination of millions (billions?) of people around the globe is viewed simply as historical fact and a privilege of the victors.  This book is a well-deserved kidney punch to German ambiguity and nostalgia when it comes to the pre-War years, as well as to those who think a movement like the Nazis could never threaten the globe again.

Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany by Marion A. Kaplan

This book attempts to answer the age-old question of why the Jews didn’t leave Nazi Germany en masse.  The author uses interviews, diaries, letters, and other first person accounts to portray a Jewish population as confused as they were frightened as the Nazis slowly stole freedom and property until they were trapped in a hostile country, completely deprived and isolated.  This book puts the machinations of genocide into motion with enough momentum to be a fully realized institution for the Jewish families in “Presence”, who know fully well any disclosure of their true identities would result in immediate execution.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Legendary and iconic sci-fi author Dick gives his version of a world in which the Germans and Japanese won the 2nd World War.  Almost a companion piece to In the Presence of Mine Enemies in depicting the goings-on on the other side of the globe, Dick portrays a 1960’s United States that is German-Japanese occupied and has reinstated slavery.  What few Jews who survived live hidden under the cloak of assumed identities.  Sound familiar?

1945: A Novel by Robert Conroy

This is another WW2 based alternate history.  The twist here is that instead of surrendering after the dropping of the atomic bombs, military extremists assume control of the nation, vowing never to surrender.  The ensuing U.S. invasion of the home island unleashes death and carnage in apocalyptic proportion.  This is all the more disturbing given the fact that in reality the Emperor being deposed in a coup by hardline generals vowing to fight to the last man, woman, and child was a very real possibility, narrowly escaped.

Into the Storm: Destroyermen, Book One by Taylor Anderson.

Again, WW2 is the stepping off point for this first book in an on-going series.  In the heat of battle the bloodies and battered destroyer USS Walker seeks escape from faster, deadlier Japanese boats by heading directly into a massive, otherworldly looking squall.  As the storm subsides, the Captain and colorful crew notice that while geographically things look familiar, everything else in the parallel Earth they find themselves trapped in is very, very different.  In no time at all, Walker is tossed into the middle of a genocidal (and carnivorous) war begun by the Grik (human sized vicious, but mindless, lizards) against the Lemurians (human sized noble and peace-loving lemurs).  As this New Earth is technologically somewhere in the 18th century, the allegiance, modern armament, and know-how of Walker and its crew may prove decisive to the fate of this world.

Name: Bill S.

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.

“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.

Neverwhere

September 28, 2011

Author: Gaiman, Neil

Title: Neverwhere

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 370

Geographical Setting: London, England

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Richard Mayhew, a young man with a steady job and a demanding fiancée, is living a perfectly normal life in London, until one night he encounters a young woman bleeding on the sidewalk and comes to her aid. After helping this young woman named Door, Richard finds himself part of a world that exists under London where rats rule and is filled with strange people and creatures who have fallen through the cracks of Upper London. Door is being pursued by the diabolical Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, who have already killed the rest of her family, and Richard joins Door on a quest to find out why her family has been killed and why she is next. The quest takes Richard into a dark and dangerous world that will change his life forever.

Subject Headings: London, Urban Fantasy, Adventure/Quest

Appeal: Menacing Atmosphere, Dark Humor, Suspenseful, Multiple Points of View, Eccentric characters, Imaginative, Violent, Character-centered, Plot Twists, Descriptive, Urban, Gritty

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Imaginative, Violent, Urban

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?): Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Charles de Lint, Robin McKinley. According to NoveList, readers who enjoy the humor in Neil Gaiman’s books, will enjoy Terry Pratchett’s British humor (The Color of Magic). Stephen King’s fantasy novels are darkly humorous (The Gunslinger). Charles de Lint and Robin McKinley write urban fantasy novels (The Onion Girl, Sunshine)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1) London Under: The Secret History Beneath The Streets by Peter Ackroyd. The author takes the reader into the fascinating, hidden world beneath Modern-day London.

2) Rats: Observations o the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan. This book contains everything you ever wanted to know about the urban rat.

3) Secret London: Exploring the Hidden City with Original Walks and Unusual Places to Visit by Andrew Duncan. This would be the perfect book for anyone inspired by Neverwhere to explore hidden London on their own.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1) The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. This novel would appeal to readers who enjoyed the humor in Neverwhere.

2) Sunshine by Robin McKinley. This novel has dark humor and involves a quest with two unlikely companions.

3) The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. This series features a quest across a dark landscape filled with dangerous creatures.

Name: Elizabeth Allen

Monster

August 17, 2011

 

Author:  Frank Peretti

Title:  Monster

Genre:  Christian fiction, Horror, Suspense

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  419

Geographical Setting:  Abney, Idaho and surrounding forested area

Time Period:  Present day (not explicit)

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary:  Reed and Rebecca (“Beck”) Shelton head to Abney, Idaho to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.  However, plans for a peaceful escape into the wilderness soon become dashed as Reed and Beck discover that the forest contains much more than your typical wildlife.  As night falls, they begin to hear strange noises, and the sound of giant steps in the surrounding forest.  They quickly realize these creatures aren’t there to make friends, and flee into the surrounding darkness.  They’re not quick enough; Beck falls and is kidnapped by one of these hairy, hulking, smelly creatures and carried off into the night.  When Reed returns to the nearby town of Abney to get help, no one believes his story involving giant, ape-like, foul-smelling, hairy beasts with unbelievable speed and agility; they assume that they’re dealing with a bear attack.  However, evidence mounts up to the contrary, and soon others begin to realize that they may be dealing with a legendary beast: Bigfoot…or are they?  Are these beasts actually man-made, the result of altering chimpanzee DNA to create a super creature?  Suspense builds in this fast-paced tale of horror that is both action-oriented and issue-oriented, centering around the discussion of man’s involvement in DNA splicing and the concept of evolution.  A quick, exciting read, even fans that hold beliefs contrary to Peretti’s won’t be able to put down this cinematic tale.

Subject Headings:  Northwest, Pacific—Fiction, Wilderness areas—Fiction, Supernatural—Fiction, DNA research, Evolutionary beliefs, missing persons investigations, supernatural

Appeal:  fast-paced, menacing atmosphere, chilling tone, dangerous, didactic, foreboding, nightmare, scary, suspenseful, uneasy, familiar characters, action-oriented storyline, cinematic, investigative, issue-oriented, linear, detailed setting, details of Pacific Northwest forests, accessible

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul—Edward Humes (religion and evolution, novelistic approach, accessible style)

Bushwhack: A Serial Story of Off-Trail Hiking & Camping in the Pacific Northwest Wilderness—Gerald M. Chicalo (similar setting, also about a hiking trip gone awry, suspenseful elements)

Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America—Loren Coleman (supernatural element, investigative aspects, accessible style)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Prodigal Son—Dean R. Koontz (man messing with creation aspect, fast-paced, horror aspects)

Adam—Ted Dekker (fast-paced, Christian fiction/horror, suspenseful tone)

Double Helix—Sigmund Brouwer (DNA experimentation theme, Christian fiction, suspenseful tone, scary, issue-oriented)

–Jessica