Posts Tagged ‘series’

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Volume One by Laurell K. Hamilton

April 13, 2011

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Vol. 1 (Graphic Novel)Author: Laurell K. Hamilton, adapted by Stacie Ritchie (Issues 1-5) and Jess Ruffner-Booth (Issue 6)

Title: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Volume One

Genre: Graphic Novel, Mystery, Horror

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 168

Geographical Setting: St. Louis, Missouri

Time Period: 21st century

Series: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter

Plot Summary: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Volume One, collects the first six comic books into one graphic novel. Anita Blake is a necromancer for Animators, Inc. She raises the dead for a living, a useful skill when a will is contested or the only witness to a murder is the dead person himself. Anita Blake has other skills, talents which have earned her the nickname “The Executioner” from the vampire community. She kills vampires who have proven mortally dangerous to humans. At the beginning of Guilty Pleasures, Anita is approached at Animators, Inc., by a vampire who is willing to pay a large sum of money if she’ll find out who is slaying vampires. Anita refuses the job because she doesn’t work for vampires. The vampires, however, won’t take no for an answer. Using Anita’s friend Catherine as a bargaining chip, the vampires, through the St. Louis Master Vampire Jean-Claude, compel Anita through fear and violence to undertake the investigation. Furthermore, the vampire murders have attracted the attention of Edward, a fellow vampire slayer, which illustrates to Anita the enormity of the situation. Soon Anita is far deeper into the vampire world than she ever asked to be and has to figure out who can be trusted and how far before it’s too late.

Subject Headings: Vampires Missouri Saint Louis Comic books, strips, etc.; Werewolves Comic books, strips, etc.; Blake, Anita (Fictitious character) Comic books, strips, etc.; Saint Louis (Mo.) Comic books, strips, etc.; Romance comic books, strips, etc.; Graphic novels; Horror comic books, strips, etc.

Appeal: compelling, measured, dangerous, edgy, foreboding, sarcastic, series, violent, plot-centered, contemporary, moody, urban

3 terms that best describe this book: compelling world, dark characters, conflicted protagonist

Similar Authors and Works:
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Ghost Town: While St. Louis Sleeps by Eric Post, photography of St. Louis at night.
The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead by J. Gordon Melton, an exhaustive book on vampire lore.
The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, a true crime account of a serial killer in Italy.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher, fast-paced mystery/fantasy graphic novel about a wizard P.I. in Chicago.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, urban fantasy fiction about a mercenary caught in a power struggle between necromancers and shapeshifters.
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, fast-paced paranormal romance about a southern girl who discovers her own unique ability.

Name: Sasha Neri

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

March 16, 2011

Author: Alan Bradley

Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 370

Geographical Setting: England

Time Period: 1950

Series (If applicable): Flavia de Luce Mysteries #1

Plot Summary:
The quaint life of eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, a budding chemist with a special interest in poisons, is disturbed by the discovery of a dead bird left on the doorstep of her family’s English manor, a postage stamp impaled in its beak. This symbolic message visibly disturbs her reclusive, stamp collecting father, and when she finds a dying man in the cucumber patch only hours later, Flavia is mostly thrilled by the opportunity to investigate the relationship between the two events. Her investigation reveals links between her father, the recently deceased, and the suspicious death of a schoolteacher, and when her father is arrested, the precocious preteen is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Narrator Flavia is as charming as she is intelligent, and Bradley’s fictional Bishop’s Lacey, a small town in the English countryside, comes alive with his evocative descriptions and its colorful inhabitants.

Subject Headings:
Child detectives, England, Murder investigations, Chemistry, Poisons, Sisters, Father and daughter, Stamp collecting, Child prodigies

Witty, compelling, quirky, descriptive, extravagant, upbeat, playful, polished, well-drawn characters, evocative, folksy, investigative, series, lush, details of poisons, detailed setting

3 terms that best describe this book:
Upbeat, playful, compelling

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Told from the perspective of 15 year-old Christopher, an autistic math prodigy, this touching and unique tale follows him as he tries to solve the mystery behind his neighbor’s dead dog and stumbles upon some revelations about his absent mother.
Similarities: Young prodigy solving a mystery, quirky characters, family relationships

Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries #1) by Carola Dunn
After her husband is killed during World War I, Daisy Dalrymple decides to make an independent living as a journalist. When a murder occurs while Daisy is researching her first assignment at Wentwater Court, she aids Scotland Yard in finding the killer.
Similarities: Amateur investigator, Historical English setting

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
This quirky novel is accented by illustrations and footnotes from 12-year-old narrator and prodigy, T.S. Spivet. When he travels to Washington, D. C. to accept an award, he meets a colorful cast of characters.
Similarities: Young prodigy as narrator, richly detailed, family relationships

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Poisons: From Hemlock to Botox and the Killer Bean of Calabar by Peter Macinnis
Details the many uses of popular toxins, how they are detected and created, and how poisons have been used throughout history and popular literature.
Similarities: Poisons are narrator Flavia’s passion

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks
In this memoir, acclaimed science writer and distinguished neurologist Oliver Sacks recalls his childhood love affair with chemistry and the pains of growing up in wartime England.
Similarities: Child chemists, England in the 1950s, quirky family

Blue Mauritius by Helen Morgan
Provides a history of the most valuable stamp of all time, the passionate collectors in pursuit of it, and how stamp hunting became a popular hobby.
Similarities: Investigative, Stamp collecting is Colonel de Luce’s hobby of choice

Name: Cassie Carbaugh

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

March 16, 2011

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

Author: Walter Mosley

Title: The Long Fall

Genre: Mystery, Private Investigator

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 306

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: 21st Century

Series: A Leonid McGill Mystery (Book One)

Plot Summary: Leonid Trotter “LT” McGill is a 53 year old private investigator past his prime. Trying to be more selective in his work due to too many shady dealings in the past, imagine LT’s surprise when three men he finds for a client turn up dead. Discovering the man who hired him used an alias, LT calls on various connections to track the man down, but what he finds only leads to more questions. To add to his troubles, LT is in a loveless marriage, and goes to great lengths to monitor a charming teenage son too smart for his own good. With the tenacity of the ex-boxer he is, LT bounces back from each physical and mental blow to discover who is behind the murders and why, and even finds time to save his son.

Subject Headings: Private investigators, Gangs, Fathers and sons

Appeal: fast-paced, dark, gritty, series, action-oriented, contemporary, urban, conversational, resolved ending, brooding, street-smart, compelling, character-driven

3 terms that best describe this book: moral ambiguity, colorful New York environments, flawed character

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Alphaville: 1988, Crime, Punishment, and the Battle for New York City’s Lower East Side (2010) by Michael Codella describes the author’s experience as a plain-clothes narcotics officer working to take down a drug lord.
A Cop’s Tale—NYPD: The Violent Years: A Detectives Firsthand Account of Murder and Mayhem (2009) by Jim O’Neil is a riveting account of police work in New York City in the ’70s and ’80s.
Bad Seeds in the Big Apple: Bandits, Killers, and Chaos in New York City, 1920-40 (2008) by Patrick Downey offers a historical view of crime in the Big Apple.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
New York Dead (1991) by Stuart Woods, the first novel in the Stone Barrington series, a PI working in Manhattan.
The Last Gig (2009) by Norman Green, the first novel in the Alessandra Martillo series, features a Puerto Rican female PI working in the Bronx.
Voyeur (2010) by Daniel Judson, a standalone novel featuring a former Manhattan PI working on one last case.

Name: Sasha Neri

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

February 23, 2011

Author: Orson Scott Card

Title: The Lost Gate

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 378

Geographical Setting: U.S.A.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Mitherages, vol. 1

Plot Summary:  14 centuries after Loki closed the gates between Westil and Mittlegard (earth), the Families of mages that were once revered as gods have lost much of their power.  Danny North, a member of the same Family as Thor and Loki, is unwanted and believed to be a drekka (a member of the Family with no power).  Danny realizes that he is a Gate Mage and he is in more danger than he ever knew because the Families have sworn an oath to kill all Gate Mages.  He escapes his family compound and embarks on an adventure among ordinary humans.  As he deals with the Family, the mysterious Gate Thief, and the problems faced by ordinary teens with no place to call home, he discovers his true destiny.

Subject Headings:  Magic; Mythology; Contemporary America; Urban Fantasy; Fantasy

Appeal Terms: measured, magical, detailed, lifelike, multiple points of view, recognizable, series, strong secondary characters, well-developed, world-building, imaginative, mythic references, contemporary, accessible, descriptive magical elements

3 terms that best describe this book: magical, world-building, recognizable

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.  Campbell’s study of the phenomenal existence of the mythological Hero found throughout the world.  The Lost Gate is full of references to gods and myths from different cultural groups.
  2. The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths by Padraic Colum.  Here is a retelling of the traditional Nordic myths featuring Odin, Thor, and Loki who are also characters in The Lost Gate.
  3. Don’t Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in human History but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis.  An excellent guide to the mythological themes and characters found throughout The Lost Gate.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. An exploration of the sleeping gods and myths that were brought to America by Europeans immigrants and their desire to return to power.
  2. Jumper by Steven Gould.  Davy, a young man who shares Danny North’s ability to teleport, is being chased by those who want to kill him because of his ability.
  3. Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier. The first of Sage of the Light Isles series that follows a Wolfskin warrior in the service of Thor who goes in search of glory for himself and his people.

Name: Mike Monahan

The Eyre Affair

February 16, 2011
Book Jacket

Author: Jasper Fforde

Title: The Eyre Affair

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 2001

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting: Alternate England

Time Period: 1985

Series (If applicable): Thursday Next, #1

Plot Summary:
Fforde blends genres seamlessly in this literary Fantasy and Mystery, riddled with wordplay and humor. In an alternative version of Great Britain in the 1980s, where the Crimean War still rages on, time travel is a routine occurrence, and one can be literally lost in literature, Thursday Next works as a Special Operative in Literary Detection. When Dickens’ manuscript for Martin Chuzzlewit disappears, Thursday becomes embroiled in increasingly strange literary malfeasance, culminating in the kidnapping of characters from beloved works of fiction. Jane Eyre’s disappearance prompts Thursday to enter Charlotte Bronte’s master work, where she must confront the world’s Third Most Wanted villain and prevent a literary homicide.

Subject Headings:
Women detectives, Time travel, Characters in literature, Great Britain, Criminal investigation, Jane Eyre, Crimean War, Women in military service

Fast-paced, humorous, quirky characters, witty, literary references, alternative history, entertaining, episodic, descriptive, playful, dramatic, investigative, imaginative, conversational, contemporary, series

3 terms that best describe this book: Witty, literary, quirky

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker Series #1) by Douglas Adams
Fun and quirky science fiction series chronicles the intergalatic adventures of Earthling Arthur Dent and his extraterrestrial friend Ford Prefect, meeting an eccentric cast of characters along the way.
Similarities: witty and humorous prose, quirky characters, fast-pacing, series, British protagonists

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Epistolary novel depicting the struggles of a society whose communication is increasingly limited by a government’s ban on using letters from the alphabet.
Similarities: clever wordplay, alternate reality, witty prose

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
Chabon imagines that Alaska is declared the homeland for the Jews following World War II rather than Israel, and with good humor follows Detective Meyer Landman and his cousin Berko as they investigate a murder.
Similarities: alternative history, witty and descriptive prose, blend of Mystery and Literary Fiction

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan
NPR book critic Corrigan discusses the books that have had a significant impact on her life and ruminates over the power and magic of books in all of our lives.
Similarities: literary references, Jane Eyre references

A Few Good Women: America’s Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee
A history of female military service in America past and present supplemented by interviews and archival material from servicewomen.
Similarities: Fforde’s main character Thursday Next is an ex-servicewoman in the British Armed Forces.

Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-1856 by Trevor Royle
Accounts the causes, battles, and consequences of the Crimean War, fought by Britain, France and Turkey against Russia, responsible for introducing trench warfare and up-to-date press coverage among other innovations.
Similarities: true account of Crimean War, mentioned often in The Eyre Affair

Name: Cassie Carbaugh

Fudge Cupcake Murder

June 7, 2010

Fudge Cupcake Murder bookcover

Author: Joanne Fluke

Title: Fudge Cupcake Murder

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 305

Geographical Setting: Lake Eden, Minnesota

Time Period: Current

Series: 5th in the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series

Plot Summary: Bakery owner and amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen is back for her fifth installment with some puzzles to solve. On her to do list: Get pet cat Moshie to swallow vitamins and/or tolerate senior kitty food, discover the secret ingredient in the late Mrs. Keoster’s fudge cupcakes, and negotiate her torn love life amongst the prying eyes of her judgmental mother and very pregnant sister, not to mention the rest of the small-town. Things in Lake Eden are running as smoothly as can be expected with the election for town sheriff approaching. Hannah’s brother-in-law, Bill, is favored to win against incumbent Sheriff Grant. That is, until Hannah discovers the body of Sheriff Grant in a dumpster behind the high school where she is teaching her cooking class. Bill is named the prime suspect in the investigation, but it turns out that Sheriff Grant had a long list of enemies. In order to clear her brother in law’s name Hannah must prove his innocence and find the real killer!

Subject Headings: Women detectives, Police, Murder, Hannah, Bakeries, Minnesota, Culinary mystery stories, Cozy mystery stories, Gentle Reads

Appeal: Lighthearted, domestic, sweet, recipes included, descriptive, tasty, quirky characters, homey, intimate, cozy, quick-read, series

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: light, small-town, culinary mystery

Titles in the Series:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (2000)

Strawberry Shortcake Murder (2001)

Blueberry Muffin Murder (2002)

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (2003)

Fudge Cupcake Murder (2004)

Sugar Cookie Murder (2004)

Peach Cobbler Murder (2005)

Cherry Cheesecake Murder (2006)

Key Lime Pie Murder (2007)

Similar Authors and Works:


  • Dewey: The Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World by Vicki Myron

This book traces the author’s discovery of a half-frozen kitten in the drop-box of her small community Iowa library, and the feline’s development into an affable library mascot whose intuitive nature prompted hundreds of abiding friendships.

Similarities: small town life, cat-lovers

  • Talking with my Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes and Other Kitchen Stories by Bonny Wolf

The food commentator for NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” journeys into the heartland of America to discuss those foods that we eat for holidays, family gatherings, comfort, and other occasions, with essays on great regional specialties and more than seventy recipes for such classic foods as popovers, Southwestern chili, shepherd’s pie, Irish raisin soda bread, and chicken la king.

Similarities: quintessentially American, lighthearted, food oriented

  • The lost night: a daughter’s search for the truth of her father’s murder by Rachel Howard

The bizarre small town murder of Stan Howard was never solved. Author Rachel coped by keeping silent and trying to pretend the murder had never happened. Now seventeen years later, she attempts to uncover what happened by reconnecting with her father’s family. Rachel sorts through their memories of his death and presses the less-than-helpful detectives, and seeks her former stepmother and stepbrother, neither of whom she has seen since her father’s funeral.

Similarities: small town murder mystery, female protagonist, family themes.


  • Chocolate Dipped Death by Sammi Carter

Candy shop owner Abby must use her sleuthing skills to solve the murder of a local girl turned millionaire trophy wife that occurred on the eve of the Tenth Annual Confectionery Competition

Similarities: Small town, confectioner turned amateur sleuth, recipes included

  • A Catered Halloween: A Mystery with Recipes by Isis Cawford

“Hired to cater a charity haunted house at the old Peabody School, sisters Bernadette and Libby Simmons find murder on the menu when the death of wealthy socialite Amethyst Applegate could hold the key to solving the decades-old “accidental” death of a young girl.” (Novelist 2008)

Similarities: small-town, cozy culinary mystery with, sister relationship and Halloween season recipes.

  • The Chocolate Cupid Killings: a Chocoholic Mystery by JoAnna Carl

“Chocolatier Lee and her Aunt Nettie are suspected of involvement in the murder of private detective Derrick Valentine while trying to keep secret the identity of one of their employees.”  (Novelist 2009)

Similarities: cozy culinary mystery set in a small town, murder investigation revolving around a sweet shop, law enforcement officer murdered, and female detectives

Name: Amy

Storm Front

February 17, 2010

Author:  Jim Butcher

Title: Storm Front

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 2000

Geographical Setting: Chicago, IL

Number of Pages: 322

Time Period: Present Day

Series: The Dresden Files

Plot Summary: Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire. His services include finding lost items, paranormal investigations, consulting, and advice. Karen Murphy is a Chicago police officer who is in charge of the special investigations division and when there are cases that need normal logic can’t solve she turns to Dresden for help. On this day Murphy comes to Dresden to ask his help on some unexplainable deaths that have taken place. Can Dresden’s unique skills help the Chicago police solve the case before more people turn up dead?

Subject Headings: Dresden, Harry (Fictitious character), Chicago (Ill.), Wizards, Fantasy, Detective and mystery stories, Mystery, Magic.

Appeal: Character-centered, witty, vivid, easy, urban, dark, simple, series, plot twists, complex, chilling, intriguing,  humorous

3 terms that best describe this book: Plot twists, engrossing, edgy

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  • Criminal Investigation by Wayne W. Bennett and Karen M. Hess. A book that covers both the private and public sectors of investigations. Shows the whole investigation process and how to handle all aspects of an investigation.
  • John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America’s First Celebrity Criminal by Dara Matera. A biography on one of Chicago’s most famous criminals. The story covers all the crimes that Dillinger committed.
  • American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power by Thomas Reppetto. A novel about the establishment of organized crime in the United States.  Tells of how law enforcement had to change in order to deal with the new epidemic of crime that was caused from the Mafia.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini. A story about a boy who finds a dragon egg and begins to find out that he is able to do magic.
  • Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. Rachel Morgan is a witch who has just left her job working for the Inderland Runner Service to become a freelance bounty hunter. She has her earth based magic in her bags but is that enough to help her survive the bounty that was placed on her head.
  • Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita Blake is a vampire hunter who uses her necromancy to take out vampires who break the law but when innocent vampires are being killed what is she to do

Name: Emily

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

October 28, 2009

Author:  Jeff Lindsay

Title:  Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date:  2004

Number of Pages:  304

Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If Applicable): Dexter, 1

Plot Summary:  Dexter Morgan is a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami police department.  This is a good job for him because Dexter has a secret life that only he and his late foster father Harry knew about.  Inside Dexter is a monster who needs to kill and it is currently controlled by the “Code of Harry” which states that Dexter is only to kill bad guys – not good guys.  This job keeps him close to those bad guys that need to be taken care of.  A killer is on the loose in Miami cutting up women and Dexter starts to relate to the killer and uses his insight to help his sister, Deborah, who is also a cop move from “streetwalker” patrol to homicide.  Dexter understands what makes this guy tick and he begins to admire the killers work.  He struggles to live his life like other normal humans but inside he feels the Dark Passenger demand that he kill again.

Subject Headings:  Serial murderers, Forensic scientists, Psychopathic criminals, Vigilantes,
Murderer-detectives, Adoptees, PolicewomenMiami, Florida, PoliceMiami, Florida,
Brothers and sisters, Father and son, Serial murders, Serial murder investigation, Crime scene searches, Crime laboratories, Mutilation, Secrets, Personal conduct, Men/women relations,
Miami, Florida, Psychological suspense stories

Appeal: Dark, Methodical, Thriller, Horror, Graphic, Mutilation, Ominous, Strange, Twists, Unresolved ending, Series, Chilling, Measured Pacing, First Person Narration, Creepy, Psychological Suspense, Madness, Serial Killers, Disturbing, Page-Turner.

3 Terms that best describe this book: Disturbing, Graphic and Suspenseful

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

3 Non-Fiction Works

Inside the Minds of Serial Killers: Why They Kill by Katherine Ramsland – This book details a wide variety of motives for why people become serial killers. It shows that there is not a profile for serial killers.

Serial Killers: The Method and the Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky – This book talks about the history of serial killers and documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder.

Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World’s Most Barbaric Criminals by Nigel Cawthorne – This book describes what makes ordinary people turn into killers.  It explores the minds of these people who commit these crimes and why people are so fascinated by them.

3 Fiction Works

Dearly Devoted Dexter: a Novel by Jeff Lindsay – Book 2 in the Dexter series continues the story of the first book.  There is a new serial killer on the loose and Sergeant Drakes is getting more suspicious of Dexter.

Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag – Two boys and a girl stumble on a murder victim of the “See No Evil Killer” who just may turn out to be the father of one of the boys.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris – Will Graham has the ability to project himself into the minds of psychopathic serial killers.  He is called on to investigate the murders of two suburban families.

Name: Chris S.


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

The Face of Deception

October 7, 2009

Title: The Face of Deception

Author: Iris Johansen

Publication Date: 1998

Number of Pages: 354

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Geographical Setting: Georgia

Time Period: Present Day

Series: Eve Duncan novels, Bk. 1

Plot Summary: Eve Duncan is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Ten years ago her only child, Bonnie, was murdered at the age of seven and her body has never been recovered. Since then, Eve has spent her life reconstructing the skulls of unidentified murdered children hoping to do for those children what she could never do for her own, bring them home. Mysterious millionaire John Logan approaches Eve with a request to reconstruct and identify the skull of an adult male who he believes was the victim of a murder. Against her better judgment and against the advice of her close friend, detective Joe Quinn, Eve agrees to Logan’s request and with that she and all those associated with her are thrust into a world of danger and political intrigue that reaches all the way to the White House. Multiple plot twists keep the reader guessing as to the real identity of the skull and once Eve has finished her reconstruction, no one in this tension-filled story is safe from the relentless pursuit of those who will stop at nothing to keep the identity of the skull a secret. All through this action-packed story, Eve struggles to stay strong and focused as she fights unscrupulous individuals while trying hard to ignore her growing attraction to Logan.

Subject Headings: Women forensic sculptors; Facial reconstruction (Anthropology); Billionaires — Virginia; Forensic anthropology; Murder victims; Virginia; Suspense stories, American.

Appeal: fast-paced, relentless, danger, strong resourceful heroine, mysterious hero figures, series, action-oriented, multiple plot twists, political conspiracies, resolved ending, paranormal situations, edgy, uneasy, suspenseful, subtle romantic undertones, direct language

Three terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, Romance, Political Conspiracies

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Night Sins by Tami Hoag – Female field agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the town sheriff find themselves increasingly drawn to each other as they join forces to solve the case of a local boy who has been abducted by a town member. (Action-packed, suspenseful, strong heroine, romantic relationship between characters).

Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper – Cassie Neil, a psychic with a gift which enables her to see into the minds of serial killers, comes to the aid of a small town judge and finds herself pursued by the killer even as romance heats up between her and the judge. (Edgy, suspenseful, strong heroine, romantic relationship between characters, paranormal situations).

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen – A female heart surgeon who survived the attack of a sadistic serial killer two years ago discovers that she is again a target so she works with detectives to capture the killer before he can kill her. (Strong female protagonist, danger, suspense, romantic interest).

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Forensic Facial Reconstruction by Caroline Wilkinson – Detailed description of facial reconstruction from skeletal remains includes a discussion of the challenges of reconstructing children’s faces. The book explains how facial reconstruction is used to identify remains.

The Bone Lady: Life as a Forensic Anthropologist by Mary H. Manheim – Collection of stories that are entertaining as well as educational told by a leading forensic anthropologist.

Conspiracies and CoverUps by David Alexander – Presents the facts and the fiction of many of the twentieth- century’s most controversial conspiracy theories.

Name: Maggie