Posts Tagged ‘relentless’


April 18, 2012

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


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

Let Me In

August 3, 2011

Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Author: Lindqvist, John Ajvide

Title: Let Me In

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2004; translation 2007

Number of Pages: 472

Geographical Setting: Blackeberg, Sweden

Time Period: October 21 through November 13, 1981

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Twelve year old Oskar is a lonely boy, friendless and bullied, with an overbearing mother and an eerie fascination with gruesome murders (he even keeps a scrapbook full of newspaper clippings). Nothing ever seems to happen in Oskar’s town until a boy Oskar’s age is found brutally murdered in the forests outside a nearby town. Most of the people in Blackeberg are terrified but Oskar is excited by the prospect of a real murderer. The night he finds out about the murder Oskar also meets one of his new neighbors, a mysterious child called Eli. As Oskar and Eli build a relationship, the murders in the area increase. Terrifying and bittersweet, Let Me In combines elements of a traditional vampire story with a coming of age tale. Relentless in pace but absorbing and compelling, this novel will appeal to readers of horror as well as those who enjoy character driven works with multiple intriguing individuals.

Subject Headings: Vampires-fiction

Appeal: Compelling, deliberate, relentless, chilling, foreboding, eccentric characters, character centered, violent, stark, sophisticated language, dark, creepy, disturbing, bittersweet

3 terms that best describe this book: Dark, relentless, bittersweet

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: Jenkins, Mark Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend (examines vampires in history and literature); Lang, Robert Boomburbs: The Rise of America’s Accidental Cities (how suburbs play a role in people’s lives and upbringing); Brown, Andrew Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared (a memoir of a small town in Sweden in the late twentieth century).

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors: Mankell, Henning Faceless Killers (Swedish setting, character driven); Butler, Octavia Fledgling (the “coming of age” story of a vampire); Ketchum, Jack The Girl Next Door (horror story with children as protagonists)

Meg Cichantk


May 26, 2010

Author: Karin Slaughter

Title: Undone

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 436

Geographical Setting: Atlanta, Georgia and neighboring rural Georgia

Time Period: Current

Series: Georgia Series, Volume 1

Plot Summary: The book follows multiple characters as their lives intersect due to a car accident involving a woman named Anna. Anna was accidentally run over by an elderly couple, leading emergency room doctor, Sara Linton, to discover that she had recently been starved and tortured. Detectives for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, are assigned Anna’s case when it is quickly discovered that other women are missing under similar circumstances. As Anna remains unconscious and unable to provide any details of her kidnapper or capture, the detectives struggle to save three other missing women while wrestling with their own personal problems. Detective Trent quickly discovers the hidden, underground torture chamber where Anna was kept, but not the other victims. Sara, the widow of a police officer, must work through her past to assist Agents Trent and Mitchell to catch Anna’s captor.

Subject Headings: Women physicians; Accidents; Violence against women; Kidnapping; Torture; Hospitals- Emergency service; Atlanta, Georgia; Suspense stories; Psychological fiction

Appeal: engrossing, relentless, chilling, claustrophobic, multiple points of view, strong secondary characters, multiple plot lines, tragic, contemporary, details of Atlanta and rural Georgia, descriptive, and vivid

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: relentless, multiple plot lines, and tragic

Similar Authors and Works:


  • My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of the World’s Most Notorious Murderers by Helen Morrison and Harold Goldberg: Chilling stories from a forensic psychiatrist who has worked with the FBI; engrossing and descriptive
  • Something for the Pain: One Doctor’s Account of Life and Death in the ER by Paul Austin: Focuses on the psychological impact of working as a doctor in the ER; vivid descriptions; urgent situations
  • Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge: Isolation due to a dysfunctional family; chilling tone; tragic frame; vivid descriptions


  • 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs: Relentless pace with multiple plot lines; part of a mystery/ suspense series; multiple characters trying to solve a murder; dark mood and descriptive style
  • Disturbing the Dead by Sandra Parshall: Part of a romantic suspense series; contains complex story lines; story contains a pair of detectives with personal problems working together; a fast-paced and chilling read
  • Alone by Lisa Gardner: A suspense story with a character who was kidnapped as a child; a fast-paced page-turner; the first book in a detective series; psychological twists

Name: Rebecca Dorsey

The Last Testament

May 26, 2010

Author: Sam Bourne

Title: The Last Testament

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 436

Geographical Setting: Middle East

Time Period: Modern Era

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:

An ordinary Sunday morning in Washington, D.C. turns into a wild ride with global implications as a mysterious man enters Maggie Costello’s home.  The man is there to talk, which is after all Maggie’s profession.  Formerly a powerful political negotiator she has since given up that life for a more mundane foray into settling divorce negotiations, he poses an opportunity for Maggie to reenter the world of negotiation on a massive stage; a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine.  When she boards her flight, she has no idea that she will soon be in constant danger for her life, and will aid in tracking down one of the most meaningful and priceless artifact in the world.  The narrative moves rapidly and uses flashbacks to masterfully veil the truth in this suspense.

Subject Headings:

Adventure, Ancient Civilizations, Archeology, Islam, Judaism, Murder, Religion, Suspense, Thriller, Web 2.0

Appeal: Relentless; Engrossing; Dramatic; Dangerous; Action Oriented; Cinematic; Plot-Centered; Contemporary; Accessible; Direct; Political; Multiple Perspectives

3 terms that best describe this book: Engrossing; Cinematic; Action Oriented

Similar author and works (why are they similar?):


1)       Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

A suspenseful thriller entwined with religion draws many parallels in pacing, storyline, and the storytelling.

2)      Alexander Cipher by Will Adams

This novel draws on the components that may appeal to fans of The Last Testament, such as suspense archeology, and artifacts.

3)      The Book of Q by Jonathan Rabb

Tracing clues through different cultures and centuries and connecting them with modern day issues will endear readers who enjoyed the setting.


1)       Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine by David Schulman

The fictional peace treaty between Israel and Palestine in the novel manifests in this account of how peace can be achieved.

2) The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel by Thomas L. Thompson

Readers with interest in the archeological aspects of the story will be eager to learn more about the religious history and the artifacts that may offer a connection to the past.

3)     Palestine: A Personal History by Carl Sabbagh

Offers the discovery of a culture through the lens of an outsider which might invite readers who lack knowledge a perfect opportunity to learn about Palestine’s past.

Genghis: Birth of an Empire

May 23, 2010


Author: Conn Iggulden
Title: Genghis: Birth of an Empire
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2007
Number of Pages: 383
Geographical Setting: China
Time Period: around 1200
Series: Yes. This is the first of three books.
Plot Summary: This novel, based on the life of Genghis Khan, follows the life of young Temujin through his rise to power as one of the most ruthless leaders in history and his rebirth as Genghis, greatest Khan of China. The story starts with Temujin’s birth and the introduction of his four brothers.  While all four children are young, their father is cruelly murdered and a savage clansman takes over his role as Khan, forcing the family into the wilderness. From this early survival, Temujin’s spirit is hardened as he hones his skills of battle and leadership. He is tested again when he is brutally kidnapped by two of his former clansmen, and Arslan and Jelme, the strangers who provide his release, become two of his greatest allies.  As he gains followers, readers follow his steady rise to power through a series of bloody battles.  Political machinations, family turmoil, a great deal of historical detail, as well as a small thread of romance, are woven together in this gripping historical novel. This book ends when Temujin becomes Genghis, and two additional installments continue the story of Genghis Khan.  The author provides endnotes that clarify fact from fiction, making this worthwhile for both history and fiction buffs.
Subject Headings: Rulers– Mongolia, Genghis Khan, Survival, Revenge, Biographical Novel, Historical Novel, 13th Century
Appeal: Relentless, bleak, chilling, plot-driven, action-oriented, episodic, violent, historical details, details of warfare, austere, epic, straightfoward, vivid
Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Epic, Relentless, Historical Details
Similar Works:
Lord of the Silver Bow, by David Gemmell (battles, revenge, adventure, war stories, based on history)
The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great, by Steven Pressfield (battles, ambitious leader, ruthlessness, historical fiction, epic ruler, based on historical figure)
The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell (great battles, historical detail, revenging a father’s death)
Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone, by Martin Dugard (vast landscape, setting as character, epic story, adventure)
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford (ongoing history of Genghis Khan, set in China)
John Adams, by David McCulloch (biographical, similar tension in major battle scenes, epic nature)

The Strain

November 4, 2009

Authors: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Title: The Strain

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 401

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Present Day with a few flashbacks to the 1940s

Series: 1st book of the Strain Trilogy

Plot Summary: A plane lands in New York and immediately stops responding to air traffic control. Dr. Eph Goodweather of the Center for Disease Control is called to the scene to investigate. After boarding the plane he discovers that only four passengers are still alive and the rest have died under mysterious circumstances. The survivors do not remember what happened and are beginning to feel sick. Dr. Goodweather finds himself following a trail of bizarre clues, as the dead bodies do not display the normal characteristics of the dead, when all the bodies disappear. Soon he teams up with Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian, who has seen all of this before. They are the only ones who have realized that a vampiric virus is threatening to take over the entire city.

Subject Headings: Vampires –Fiction. Virus diseases — Fiction. Epidemics — New York (State) — New York — Fiction. New York (N.Y.) — Fiction.

Appeal: fast-paced, relentless, multiple points of view, action-oriented, cinematic, explicitly violent, flashbacks, investigative, plot twists, plot-centered, tragic, contemporary, urban, chilling, dangerous, darker, foreboding, menacing atmosphere, nightmare, suspenseful, jargon

3 Terms that best describe this book: cinematic, violent, suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Titles

Night Blood by James Thompson – A vampire disguises himself as a doctor as he attempts to cure his blood disease while his colleagues search for a killer who drains his victim’s blood. (another medical drama featuring doctors and vampires)

Fangland by John Marks – A television producer travels to Romania to investigate a story, and wakes up several months later in a Transylvanian monastery with no memory of what happened (a contemporary take on Dracula written by a former television producer which should appeal to readers who enjoyed the cinematic aspects of The Strain)

Hater by David Moody – A British man struggles to protect his family as people around him suddenly and inexplicably develop homicidal tendencies (another lone man fighting against a possible epidemic and Del Toro has bought the film rights)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Titles

Stiff: the curious lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach – A funny history of the many ways cadavers have benefited the living (for readers intrigued by the morgue scenes)

Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan – A detailed history of rats in New York City (this title was recommended by Del Toro and Hogan and should appeal to readers intrigued by rat’s roles in crisis situations)

Subwayland: Adventures in the World beneath New York by Randy Kennedy – Stories of what actually goes on underground (for readers who wonder what the subway system is like when vampires aren’t using it for their lair)

Bonus Title

The Vampire Survival Guide: How to Fight, and Win, against the Undead by Scott Bowen – Let’s face it Del Toro and Hogan’s vampires are seriously scary and the epidemic will spread fast if we’re not prepared!

Name: Elizabeth


October 28, 2009

Chuck Palahniuk
Publication Date:
Number of Pages:
289, numbered backwards
Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Geographical Setting:
a plane about to crash into Australia, various other locations throughout the US and the world via flashback
Time Period:
present-day/alternate reality of present-day

Plot Summary: Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the so-called “Creedish Death Cult”, dictates his life story into the recorder of a plane about to crash into the Australian outback.  From his childhood in the Creedish Church District, to his years of work for a family he never sees, to his meeting and subsequent sort-of romance with the elusive Fertility Hollis, to his encounters with his older brother, Adam, this is a twisted but darkly funny look at cults and post-cult life, as seen through Tender’s eyes.

Subject Headings: Cults
Religion — Commercialization


Suicide victims


Airplane accidents

Mass media

Popular culture
Black humor
Psychological fiction

Satirical fiction
Pacific Northwest literature

Appeal: relentless, steady, detailed, eccentric, intriguing, quirky, vivid, cinematic, strong language, open-ended, layered, thought-provoking, contemporary, evocative, darker, gritty, hard-edged, unpretentious, psychological, edgy, candid, spare, witty

Three terms that best describe this book: Eccentric, Psychological, Edgy

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders (psychological fiction, ambitious and power-hungry people)

Rushing to Paradise by J.G. Ballard (attempt at utopian community gone horribly awry)

Home Land: A Novel by Sam Lipsyte (hilarious confession of a “failure”)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): Evil Harvest: The True Story of Cult Murder in the American Heartland by Rod Colvin (the impact of cults and cult leaders)

Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History by Philip Jenkins (a history of cults in America)

Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America
by James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher (an in-depth look at a specific cult, and other cults throughout America)

Name: Anne

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

October 21, 2009

Author: Dan Brown

Title: “The Lost Symbol”

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: September 2009

Number of Pages: 504

Geographical Setting: Washington, D.C.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Series character, Robert Langdon

Plot Summary:  Robert Langdon returns to use his brains to help out an organization as the reader is toured around a detailed set of Washington, D.C..  Langdon finds that he has been called to the Capitol building to help out a long-time friend, Peter Solomon, and to return a mysterious packaged item that has been entrusted to him.  He arrives only to discover that the severed hand of his friend has been tattooed and set up in the middle of the room, pointing upwards.  Peter’s sister, Katherine, joins the search for her brother.  The CIA join as well, except that that are not concerned with finding Peter’s captor, but will do anything to get the package held by Landon, which is said to reveal all the secret knowledge held by the legendary secret society, the Masons .  Questions litter this tale: Who has captured and tortured Peter?  Is he alive?  How has he come to know all that he does?  How did the CIA get involved?  Whose interests do they have at heart?  What exactly is this secret knowledge that has been guarded vehemently for centuries?

Subject Headings: Washington, D.C., Secret societies – Masons,

Appeal:  fast paced, relentless, series character, eccentric villain, complex storyline, investigative, plot twists, informative details, detailed depiction of Washington D.C. architecture, historical details, contemporary setting, political backdrop, dangerous, dangerous mood, conversational language, natural description, resolved ending, easy yet researched

3 terms that best describe this book:  Historical, Exciting, Dangerous

Similar Authors and Works
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

“The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capitol:  The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.” by David Ovason.  This text notes several important founders who were involved in the construction of D.C, such as James Hoban (designer of the White House) and notes how their designs reflect well-known Mason symbols.  This may in fact be a source Dan Brown used for his own text, as it was published in 2002.

“Insight Guide Washington, D.C.” by Insight Guides.  A great resource for Washington architecture, offering plenty of historical details and little bias.

“Secret Societies: And How They Affect Our Lives Today” by Sylvia Browne.  This text documents sixteen different societies, offers a brief history of each, and whether or not it is known to be active today and how.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

“The Kabalyon Key” by Charles Westbrook.  A religiously controversial tale of secrets and conspiracy wherein the world is threatened as historical secrets are revealed.  Westbrook peels the layers of mystery similar to Dan Brown so that the reader is taken on an exciting adventure.  Historical facts and illustration are also used to supplement the story.

“Spartan Gold” by Clive Cussler.  Like Brown, Cussler chronicles the hunt for a secret treasure (once belonging to the ancient world and then again to Napoleon) while two parties race to solve the clues to finding it.

“The Doomsday Key” by James Rollins.  This text intertwines history and science (like The Lost Symbol does).  Scientific experiments are explored that have the magnitude to change mankind, offering high suspense.  Also similar is the usage of series characters, for those who appreciate comfort with their narrator.

Name:  Melissa


October 7, 2009

Author: Lee Child

Title: Tripwire

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 343

Geographical Setting: Mainly New York City but also Key West, small towns in New York state, St. Louis, Dallas, Hawaii, and Vietnam.

Time Period: Present day (1999)

Series: Jack Reacher series (Book #3)

Plot Summary: Jack Reacher is a former military policeman living “off the grid” in the Florida Keys.  Digging swimming pools by day and bouncing at a local strip club by night, Reacher’s reclusive lifestyle is interrupted when a private investigator named Costello comes looking for him and is soon after discovered beaten to death with his fingertips removed.  Feeling responsible, Reacher flies to New York City to track down Costello’s employer whom he discovers was his recently deceased mentor, Lean Garber.  Reunited with Garber’s daughter Jodie, Reacher and his forbidden love interest take up the case of locating an elderly couple’s son who went missing in Vietnam.  But many questions arise:  Why won’t the government confirm Victor Hobie’s death?  Who are the dark-suited goons trying to kill Reacher and Jodie in broad daylight?  How is the disfigured loan shark with the hook hand linked to the Hobie’s missing son?  Reacher and Jodie must travel from New York to St. Louis to Hawaii’s Central Identification Laboratory to solve the mystery and effect justice for the elderly Hobie’s.  But above all, Reacher and Jodie must stay alive.

Subject Headings: Reacher, Jack;  Murder — Key West, Florida;  Vietnam veterans — Key West, Florida;  Vietnam War, 1961-1975 — Missing in action;  Suspense stories, American.

Appeal: relentless, compelling, engaging and eccentric hero, strong female characters, series, action-oriented, cinematic, investigative, multiple plot twists, resolved ending, contemporary, details of military life and weaponry, edgy, menacing atmosphere, suspenseful, smart, clean and direct language.

Three terms that best describe the book: Cinematic, Menacing, Engaging Hero

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Closers (Harry Bosch series #11) by Michael Connelly —  After leaving the LAPD, detective Harry Bosch returns to the force to work the cold case unit.  When he’s assigned to investigate the shooting of a 16-year-old girl, he uncovers department politics, corruption, and a possible cover-up involving a white supremacist group with LAPD ties.  (engaging loner hero, series, plot twists, details of military life, suspenseful.)

Point of Impact (Bobby Lee Swagger series #1) by Stephen Hunter —  Twenty years after Vietnam, Bobby Lee Swagger is a disgruntled former sniper of legendary skill living in seclusion in the Arkansas mountains when he’s recruited for one last mission by a shadowy government agency.  When Swagger is framed for an assassination attempt on the president, he must use his unmatched skills to clear his name and achieve justice.  (engaging loner hero, series, plot twists, details of military life and weaponry, suspenseful, action-oriented)

Hondo by Louis L’Amour —  In this classic western set in 1874, a U.S. Cavalry rider named Hondo Lane defends Angie Lowe and her son from the vicious Apache warrior Vittoro.  (engaging hero, details of military life, clean language, commitment to justice)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Where They Lay: Searching for America’s Lost Soldiers by Earl Swift —  This informative study by a seasoned military journalist chronicles the efforts of Hawaii’s Central Identification Laboratory to recover and identify the remains of Vietnam MIAs.  The book’s focus on finding a missing helicopter crew mirrors Jack Reacher’s work with the CIL to identify Victor Hobie’s remains.

Living Off the Grid: A Simple Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Self-Reliant Supply of Energy, Water, Shelter, and More by David Black —  This general guide to more self-sufficient living offers tips on living without being connected to major utilities.  Also included are guidelines to communicating and making a living “off the grid.”  These topics would be of great interest to Jack Reacher prefers to fly well under the radar.

Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind by Nancy Sherman —  Written by a philosopher and US Naval Academy intstructor, this book examines how the ancient philosophy of Stoicism influences soldiers to “suck it up,” to endure, and to put aside their feelings to accomplish the mission at all costs.  Though he may not have read Cicero, Reacher’s single-minded relentlessness in pursuing justice may have its roots in Stoicism.

Name: Russ

Mary, Mary: A Novel

October 7, 2009

See full size image

Author: James Patterson

Title: Mary, Mary

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: November 2005

Number of Pages: 392

Geographical Setting: Various places in USA: Washington D.C., and Seattle, WA, but mainly Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: Contemporary (post e-mail invention)

Series: Alex Cross Mysteries 11

Plot Summary: Alex Cross is finally getting away on vacation in Disneyland with his three children and grandmother when he finds himself pulled into the latest case. Someone assuming the name Mary Smith has started to pick off wealthy, successful mothers in LA and Alex’s expertise is needed once again. There are also other linked killings which do not fit this profile. Meanwhile, as every target is hit, an e-mail by the person claiming to be the killer is sent to a popular critic for an entertainment magazine. Parallel to the serial killings plot, there are also events taking place in Alex’s personal life involving his ex-wife, Christine and his youngest son, Alex Jr.

3 fiction read-alikes and why:

  1. John Sandford Prey Series for the lover of suspense and graphic details
  2. Harlan Coben Tell No One for the lover of the fast-paced, simplistic page-turner
  3. Douglas Kennedy The Big Picture for the engrossing, edge-of-seat appeal

3 nonfiction read-alikes and why:

  1. Ted Schwarz The Hillside Strangler: the three faces of America’s most savage rapist and murderer and the shocking revelations from the sensational Los Angeles trial! For the reader who wants to read a book set in LA about a graphic account of a psychotic serial killer. Also includes interviews from policeman and psychiatrists who worked on the case.
  2. Clifford L. Lindecker Night Stalker: a shocking story of Satanism, sex, and serial murders for a reader who likes serial killing set in LA.
  3. John Gilmore Severed: the true story of the Black Dahlia is a good documentation on the unsolved murder of an aspiring LA starlet.

3 terms that best describe the book: murder investigation, psychological suspense story, cinematic

Subject Headings:

Police – Fiction

Police Psychologists

Murder – Investigation

Psychological Suspense Stories

Los Angeles, California

Crimes against Actors and Actresses

Suspense Stories

Mystery Stories

Name: Susan