Posts Tagged ‘murder’

The Graveyard Book

October 31, 2012

The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book

Genre: Horror, Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: October 2008

Number of Pages: 312 pgs.

Geographical Setting: Cemetery grounds in Great Britain

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: When he was just a baby Nobody Owen’s family was murdered by the man called Jack. Fortunately for Nobody he escaped this man and crawled to safety to the cemetery up the hill. There Mr. and Mrs. Owen found the boy and with the help of his new guardian Silas the boy would grow up protected in the graveyard. He is given “the freedom of the graveyard” which allows him to communicate with the dead and the living. He even learns skills of fading, dream walking, and the languages of nonhuman being. Over the years however curiosity got the best of him and he finds himself on many adventures, both in and out of the graveyard. Some involving witches, ghouls, ghosts, werewolves, snake like creatures and more. Even attending a school for the living doesn’t go as planned for Nobody. Throughout his youth, the man named Jack is in constant pursuit of the boy and wishes to finish what he started years ago. He will not stop until his job is complete.

This coming of age story will appeal to those in their teen years as well as any adult with an imagination. Darkly written at times with a chilling atmosphere, this book is sure to please those who like suspense novels. Witty and humorous at times, this book will ease those who don’t want to be “scared to death” but enjoy a darker tales.

Subject Headings: Orphan boys, Cemeteries, Ghosts, Supernatural, Werewolves, Dead, Boys

Appeal: Orphan boy, Graveyard, Murder, Ghosts, Suspenseful, Friendships, Creepy, Witty, Fast Paced, Bittersweet, Coming of age, Scary

Three appeal terms that best describe this book: Coming of Age, Scary, Ghosts

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Weird encounters: true tales of haunted places (Sep 2010)
This book tells the stories of over 75 hauntings and supernatural experiences found throughout the United States. If you liked the idea of a boy growing up in a graveyard and at times haunting people you may like to read about “real” haunting in the US.
Similarities: Ghosts, Graveyards, Scary

2. Orphan Train Rider: One boy’s true story (1996) by Andrea Warren
Tells the story of one mans trip on the orphan train and how over 200,000 abandoned children were relocated to new homes between 1854-1929.
Similarities: Orphan boy, Coming of age
3. Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England ghost town (2009) by Elyssa East
Tells the story of a ghost town in Massachusetts. Where murder took place and witches still hold ceremonies in the woods surrounding the town to this day. People claim sightings of pirates and ghosts.
Similarities: Ghosts, Murder, WitchesThree Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:1. Ghostgirl (Aug 2008) by Tonya Hurley
If you liked reading about a boy growing up in a graveyard, you may like reading about a girl who goes to a high school for the dead. She lives among the dead but wishes to go to the school dance with the living and her crush. Switching roles from a live person living with the dead to a dead person wishing to be alive again will give readers a chance at a different view on the meaning of life and death. Similarities: Ghosts, Fantasy, Death2. Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children (Jun 2011) by Ransom Riggs
If you liked reading about a boy with some unusual abilities then you’ll enjoy Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children. In this book a young boy goes to visit the orphanage his grandfather was sent to in order to escape the Nazi’s. Upon arriving he finds that the children from his grandfathers stories are still there and are in danger and so is he.
Similarities: Orphans, Suspenseful, Supernatural, Creepy

3. The replacement (Sep 2010)
Mackie, a changeling, replaced a human baby when he was just a baby. Every seven years the inhabitants of the underground dwelling take a human baby as a sacrifice and leave in its place a changeling. Now with another baby gone, Mackie finds himself going back to his place of birth and setting things right, before the townspeople find out who he really is.
Similarities: Creepy, Fantasy, Supernatural

Name: Madison Gailus

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

Two Little Girls in Blue

October 7, 2009

Author:  Mary Higgins Clark

Title:  Two Little Girls in Blue

Genre:  Suspense

Publication Date:  2007

Number of Pages:  416

Geographical Setting:  North Carolina and Cape Cod

Time Period:  Present Day

Series (If applicable): NA

Plot Summary:  Two three-year-old twin girls are kidnapped the night of their third birthday party while their parents are at a black tie affair.  The babysitter is left unconscious and the children are gone.  The kidnappers leave a ransom note for eight million dollars on the girls’ bed.  The local police along with the FBI are now on the case looking for the mastermind of the kidnapping who calls himself the Pied Piper and his or her accomplices.  The ransom money is paid and at the time when the twins are to be rescued only one of the twins is recovered and the authorities think the other is dead.  When the rescued twin starts to show signs and experience things that are happening to the other twin, there is a renewed hope that she is really alive.  They race against time to find the missing twin and the kidnappers.

Subject Headings: Twin sisters, Twins, Three-year-old girls, Kidnapping, Girl kidnap victims, Missing girls, Ransom, Suicide, Suicide notes, Murder, FBI agents, Telepathy, Missing Persons investigation,  Mistaken identity

Appeal:  Fast- paced, suspenseful, simple, realistic, mystery, gentle, chilling

3 Terms that best describes this book:  Suspense, Twins, Character-Driven

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

3 Non-fiction Works – Works about twins.

It’s Twins!: Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy through Adolescence by Susan Heim – Advice for raising twins from birth to adolescence.

Twin Telepathy: The Psychic Connection by Guy Lyon Playfair – case histories, research studies and provocative explanations regarding telepathy between twins.

Twins: And What They Tell Us About Who We Are by Lawrence Wright – outlines the newest research being conducted regarding twins, describing how separated-twin studies have thrown open the door on the nature-vs.-nurture debate.

3 Fiction Works – Works about very young girls who go missing.

Vanished by Karen Robards -Ten years after her five-yearold daughter disappears without a trace, Sarah Mason receives a phone call from a child with her daughter’s fiveyearold voice, causing Sarah to turn in desperation to private investigator Jake Hogan.

Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon – Guiltily joining the investigation into a kidnapping she failed to recognize, Rhonda endeavors to identify an elusive child snatcher and finds herself haunted by the disappearance of a childhood friend years earlier.

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond – Photographer Abby Mason’s life is changed forever by the disappearance of the young girl with whom she had been walking on a cold and foggy beach, and her desperate search for the truth behind the child’s vanishing.

Name: Chris S.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

April 15, 2009

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Title: Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Genre: Latin American/Colombian fiction, literary fiction
Publication Date: 1981, 1982 (translation)
Geographic Setting:Colombia
Time Period: Modern; Early 20th Century
Series: N/A
Plot:
A man returns to the town that a brutal murder occurred 27 years earlier in order to get to the bottom of it. If everyone knew Angela Vicario’s twin brothers were going to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring her, why did no one stop it? The more the story unfolds, the less is understood and at the end not only are the two murderers put on trial, but also the entire society.
Subject HeadingsDeath–Fiction; Honor–Fiction; Murder–Fiction; Revenge–Fiction; Colombia–Fiction
Appeal Terms:first person narrative, honor, revenge, murder, depictions of Colombian life, male/female relations, family relations, culture clashes, marriage, Colombian society, violence, flashbacks, violence, justice
Red Flags: violence against women, graphic murder, blood and guts, strong language
Read Alikes:
Fiction:
A tale of the dispossessed by Laura Restrepo: (depictions of Colombian life, violence, male/female relations, Colombian society)
The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz: (violence, murder, justice, revenge)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare: (revenge, murder, family relations, justice)
<Non-Fiction:
Columbia by Sarah Woods: A Bradt travel guide about the people and culture of Colombia.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden: The rise and fall of real life Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and how his network of terror kept the entire country hostage.
Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family by Karen Tintori: “But Josie had a sister that nobody spoke of. Her name was Frances, and at age sixteen, she fell in love with a young barber. Her father wanted her to marry an older don in the neighborhood mafia–a marriage that would give his sons a leg up in the mob. But Frances eloped with her barber. And when she returned a married woman, her father and brothers killed her for it. Her family then erased her from its collective memory. Even 80 years and two generations later, Frances and her death were not spoken of, her name was erased from the family genealogy, her pictures burned, and her memory suppressed.”
Name: Michelle B

Fahrenheit 451

February 25, 2009

Author: Bradbury, Ray

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: original publication date 1953

Number of Pages: 179 pp. (1996 Del Ray edition)

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: the future (post 1990)

Plot Summary: Guy Montag enjoys his job as a fireman. He has a lovely wife and a modest home. He thinks of himself as a happy person. Until Clarisse, a teenage girl from the neighborhood, asks him that much. Through their newfound friendship, Montag realizes that she and her family are more interested in what happens around them rather than what happens on television. They appreciate depth and content; books and nature. And as he begins to question this, a series of events begin to unravel Montag’s life. His lovely wife attempts suicide to end a life of artificiality and sentimental distance. His station chief, Captain Beatty, questions Guy’s national commitment to burning books and homes. Clarisse and her family vanish. These episodes spark Guy’s temptation to read a cache of books he had stolen. He seeks out Faber, a retired English professor, whom he once met some time ago, to help sort out his thoughts. Beatty’s questioning becomes suspicion. Even the mechanical hound at the station dislikes him. Montag finds himself a fugitive after his wife turns him in and Beatty burns his home down. He struggles to flee civilization and find safety with a group of outsiders that have voluntarily fallen off the grid and have happily rediscovered books and literature. Fahrenheit 451 is Bradbury’s tale of anti-censorship and the ominous result if technology is misused. It is a tale of beware and forewarning with a pace that is swift and storyline that is detailed but not overwhelming.

Subject Headings: fire, burning, kerosene, fireman, banned books, censorship, government oppression, conformity, non-conformity, technology, digital media, robot, dystopia, future, science fiction, totalitarianism, fascism, tyranny, outcasts, and alternate realities

Appeal: Orwellian, stark, dark, dim, moody, plot-centered, individual point-of-view, murder, evenly-paced, political, dramatic, thought provoking, violent, vivid, paranoia, comparative, symbolic, persistent, foreboding, and contemporary lessons

Similar Authors & Works: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is the author’s portrait of a possible future world that is sterile and conformed, without individuality and thoughtfulness. 1984 by George Orwell is another take on a dystopian world where freedom has died and Big Brother controls the population through constant surveillance and Thought Police. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore is a graphic novel that depicts a world where Germany has won the Second World War and a totalitarian existence has bloomed and fascism has run amok throughout.

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors & Works: 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature by Nicholas J. Karolides is a frank portrait of 25 different titles that have been banned at one time or another by several countries, especially the United States. Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth by Marjorie Heins is a detailed retelling of historical movements, laws, and efforts to shield the youth from corrupting influences and how that movement has become more perverse and pervasive. It’s Not the Media: the Truth about Pop Culture’s Influence on Children by Karen Sternheimer is a case study into why the media and pop culture always tend to be the main reasons why there is a dissent of values and ethics in children.

Andy