Posts Tagged ‘tense’

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1

December 5, 2012

Title: The Walking Dead Compendium (Vol.1 issues 1-48)

Author: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn

Genre: horror, comic

Publisher: Image Comics

Publication Date: 2009

Pages: 1088

Geographic Setting: Georgia

Time Period: Post Apocalyptic

Series: yes- Walking Dead

Summary: Officer Rick Grimes and his family, as well as a rag-tag group of refugees, have to survive in a zombie infested world.

Subject Headings: zombie apocalypse

Appeal Terms: tense, suspenseful, dystopian world, horrific, supernatural, comic to tv show, survival, graphic, detailed, post-apocalyptic, zombies, bloody, atmospheric, character centered, dark, gritty, violent.

My Three: suspenseful, horrific, survival

Similar Fiction:

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (Crown:NewYork, 2006)
A Survivor-eye’s view of the conflict between zombies and humans. If you want a book that is a cross between fiction and nonfiction, and has a touch of history, this is one to try.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books, 2009)
The Jane Austen classic with a twist. For those who want to try something different when moving away from the tried and true.

Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore (Skyhorse, 2011)
Told from the zombie’s point of view, Peter Mellor, a college professor, tries to solve his own murder. Interesting because the main character can still pass for human.

Similar Nonfiction:

So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead by John Austin (Chicago Review Press, 2010)
Like the title says, this is a guide to being a zombie. Not meant to be taken seriously, but could be a nice reference book.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols by Michael P. Spradlin (William Morrow Publishing, 2009)
A spoof of favorite Christmas songs filled with zombies and other horrific bits. If you liked Nightmare Before Christmas, try this one for giggles.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks (Three Rivers Press, 2003)
What started out as the basis of an SNL skit turned into a fully comprehensive guide to surviving a zombie attack. Deadpan humor and extremely detailed. Bonus points that this is written by Mel Brooks’ son.

Name: Jennifer

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Sacred Stone

February 23, 2012

Author: Clive Cussler (and Craig Dirgo)

Title: Sacred Stone

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 406

Geographical Setting: Greenland, Iceland, United States, Europe, High Seas

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Oregon Files

Plot Summary:  A 50,000 year-old radioactive meteorite has just been unearthed in the remotest reaches of Greenland by a clandestine archeological team.  When the team is murdered and the meteorite goes missing, it’s time to call the Corporation.  Headed up by the enigmatic and fearless Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation is made up of two dozen or so of the most highly skilled individuals ever to have come out of the military, intelligence, and special-ops communities.  Disguised as a rusty cargo ship, the Oregon serves as the super high-tech floating command center for the group.  When governments around the globe encounter threats too advanced or sinister for their own people to handle, much less their citizenry to ever find out about, it’s the Corporation that gets the call.  In tracking down the meteorite, Cabrillo and his crew discover and must attempt to thwart not only a plot to reduce Western cities to radioactive rubble, but also a scheme to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth by way of poisoned prayer rugs.  A breakneck race against the clock ensues as the Corporation must call upon their every resource, as well as every bit of luck, in order to stop annihilation on a global scale.

Subject Headings: Terrorism – Prevention; Relics; Mercenary troops; Ship captains; Meteorites; Greenland; Suspense fiction; Erik the Red; Elton John.

Appeal: colorful, concise, straightforward, fast-paced, dangerous, dramatic, earnest, foreboding, menacing, intense, action-oriented, layered, conclusive, violent, contemporary, provocative, confident, confrontational, clandestine, energetic, swaggering, tense, urgent, volatile.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: action-oriented,

straightforward, fast-paced.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.

Fiennes “recounts his exploits as an explorer-adventurer, including traveling the Nile in a Hovercraft, four thousand miles of wild river journey in Alaska and Canada, and an overland trek to the North Pole” (Novelist), and that’s just a warm-up in a remarkable life filled with a remarkable number of near death escapes.  This work would do well with the reader enamored by the self-sufficient and ever resourceful adventurer character Cussler seems fond of placing in his novels (and probably thinks himself along those lines as well).

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger and George J. Tenet.

This title is a collection of some of the harrowing and clandestine operations embarked upon by the CIA since the beginning of the Cold War, and also of the high-tech espionage tools and weapons invented to help agents to live to spy another day.  Spycraft would have wide appeal for any Adventure fan but especially with Cussler’s legions, what with his love of Bond-ish high-tech gadgetry.

SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.

These are the guys who killed Bin Laden, rescued those people from the Somali pirates, and seem to be the go-to guys anytime the US government needs anyone saved, dead, or captured.  Wasdin was a Team Six sniper and gives a rare insider’s view into the grueling training and harrowing and deadly missions of this elite squad.  If Juan Cabrillo and the Corporation were real (and hopefully they aren’t) they would be rife with former Team Six people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin

At the behest of the President, Special Forces Major Carlos Castillo assembles a secret team of operatives to investigate a missing airliner in this terse, fast-paced action thriller.  Big appeal is here for the reader who enjoyed the more militaristic aspects and machinations of the Corporation and Sacred Stone.  Fans of the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven archetype of every person in the gang having a special skill (like the Corporation) would like this as well.  This is the first book in a series.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

As Cussler’s novels all seem to be water-bourn in some manner, it would seem a natural choice to suggest the granddaddy of aquatic adventure and danger and his masterwork.

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

Former NYPD detective John Corey is now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and must track down a notorious Libyan terrorist hell-bent on murder and destruction.  Another natural choice for Cussler fans, this time in line more with the anti-terrorism aspects of Sacred Stone.  This is also part of a series.

Name: Bill S.

The Keep

August 10, 2011

Author: Jennifer Egan; Audiobook read by Jeff Gurner and Geneva Carr

Title: The Keep

Genre: Literary fiction; Gothic fiction; Bestsellers; Audiobooks

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: Hardcover: 240; Audiobook: 7 discs – 8 hours

Geographical Setting: Castle in Central Europe; U.S. prison

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: After Danny’s involvement in a childhood prank that nearly left his cousin dead, he never expected to see Howard again. Yet when Danny is all out of options in his beloved New York, he finds himself accepting his cousin’s offer to help renovate a remote castle in Central Europe, despite his need for technological connections and an uncertainty about Howard’s motives for asking him. Howard’s goal is to create a hotel in which people leave technology behind to “be tourists of their own imaginations.” Yet as Danny explores the mysterious castle and gets to know the 98-year-old baroness who calls the keep her home, he and readers alike begin to wonder what’s real and what’s imagined. As paranoia builds in this storyline, another layer of uncertainty is added through the narration of Ray, a prison inmate who seems to be relating the story of the keep for his creative writing class. Eventually, these alternating threads weave together to form a complex tale with themes of power, imagination, connections, and how the past haunts us all. While some transitions and elements of the untraditional narrative structure don’t translate seamlessly to audio format, the narrators are able to make up for this by enhancing the book’s cinematic qualities and evoking a more emotional response from the listener.

Subject Headings: Gothic fiction, Castles, Cousins, Power, Revenge, Paranoia, Prison life, Creative writing, Story-within-a-story, Role of technology, Clash of old and new

Appeal: Atmospheric, atypical narrative style, complex characters, detailed settings, eerie, engrossing, interweaving storylines, multiple narrators, tense, tragic, vivid

Three Words or Phrases Best Describing this Book: Layered, creepy, cinematic

3 Similar Fiction Works and Authors
End of Story by Peter Abrahams (A psychological thriller based around a writing teacher in a prison and her connection with one of her students; a suspenseful page-turner for readers interested in the prison storyline from The Keep.)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Layered and eerie Victorian-era mystery with a strong sense of place; one of Egan’s style inspirations in writing The Keep.)

Different Seasons by Stephen King (This collection follows a theme of journeys through four distinctly different novellas, including the source story for The Shawshank Redemption, which most directly relates to The Keep; readers who enjoyed the eerie, cinematic quality of The Keep might want to check this out.)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts, and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages by J.E. Kaufmann and H.W. Kaufmann (Readers interested in the keep and its defenses, as described in pivotal scenes in The Keep, can turn here for a detailed, visual discussion of castles, keeps, siege tactics and weapons.)

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (Memoir of a former prison librarian and creative writing teacher, with parallels to characters from the prison thread of The Keep; moving, thought-provoking, blends moral reflections with wit.)

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle (An exploration of the power of technology and its impact on our social lives; readers who identify with Danny’s need to be connected or Howard’s desire to escape technology may be interested in this well-researched look at isolation and connectivity.)

By: Elaine

Judge and Jury by James Patterson

July 25, 2011

Author: James Patterson

Title: Judge and Jury

Genre: Suspense

Legal Thriller

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 421

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period: present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: FBI agent Nick Pellisante after a long chase finally brought to the trial a mob godfather, Dominic Cavello. One of the jurors selected for the court case against Cavello is Andie DeGrasse, a single mom and jobless actress. She does not even want to serve her jury duty, and her destiny takes her way beyond that. As soon as the trial starts, things go horribly wrong. Cavello sends an assassin to put the bus with all jurors on fire, and then escapes. Nick with an unexpected partner goes for a deadly chase after Cavello. This story has multiple plot twists and it will keep the reader on the edge of the seat. Short chapters and witty language splattered with some humor will make it a fast and entertaining read. Fans of Suspense will appreciate the sense of menace as Cavello and his people take unpredictable actions.

Subject Headings: Mafia trials – New York – Fiction; Women jurors – Fiction; Organized crime – Fiction; Suspense fiction

Appeal: plot-driven, fast paced, suspenseful, entertaining, dramatic, humor, chase, tense, deadly threat, sympathetic protagonists, villains, sense of menace, short chapters, alternating points of view, plot twist, uneasy atmosphere, roller-coaster style, resolved ending

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

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Gotti: Rise and Fall by Jerry Capeci – while Cavello appears to be “the most vicious and powerful mobster since John Gotti” (Goodreads.com), this book pictures the real Gotti and the New York organized crime; like in Patterson’s novel, bringing the mobster to justice is extremely challenging

A Trial by Jury by Graham D. Burnett – this true crime memoir of an ordinary citizen who serves as a juror on a New York’s murder trial explores in depth a situation in which Andie became involuntarily thrown

We’re Going to Win this Thing: The Shocking Frame-up of a Mafia Crime Buster by Lin DeVecchio – true story so unbelievable it reads like a fiction thriller; fans of Nick Pellisante may appreciate his efforts even more after reading a shocking story of an FBI agent framed for New York mafia crimes while trying to bring the mafia to justice

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Firm by John Grisham – like Judge and Jury it is a fast paced, plot-driven, and suspenseful legal thriller about the mafia chased by FBI

I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark – suspenseful, plot-driven page turner; the same setting – modern day New York

The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni – this Suspense/Legal thriller is fast paced, plot-driven, and with a sense of malice; like in Patterson’s novel the focus is more on non-stop action rather than legal details

Name: Anna Demitraszek

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

May 26, 2010

book

Author:  Steig Larsson

Title:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Genre: Adrenaline/ Mystery

Publication Date:  2008

Geographical Setting:  Stockholm/ Sweden

Time Period:  present day

Series:  first book of Millennium trilogy

Plot Summary:

Mikael Blomkivist was a respected journalist, as well as founder and publisher of Millennium magazine, who built a career exposing financial corruption. After losing a libel case against Wennerstrom, a crooked but well protected venture capitalist, Blomkivist anticipates a jail sentence, financial collapse and the sinking of his magazine. In a moment of uncharacteristic desperation, Blomkivist answers the call of Dirch Frode, a lawyer intently seeking the journalist’s services on behalf of his client. Henrik Vanger is the retired patriarch of the Vanger family- a long-standing name in Swedish finance. Vanger seeks Blomkivist assistance in investigating the cold-case disappearance of his niece Harriet that occurred 40 years earlier.

Little does Blomkivist know that before meeting Frode or accepting Vanger’s offer he was being watched. Lisbeth Salander, mysterious and meticulous sleuth who looks more like a punk rocker than professional investigator, had already compiled his full profile for Frode, a client of Milton Security. Promises that the Wennerstrom case and Vanger’s desire to employ Blomkivist are not to be believed.

Blomkivist and Salander become unlikely partners attempting to solve the mystery the Vanger family’s grisly, dysfunctional history. The pair finds themselves in dangerous territory as they unravel a tale of torture and serial killings against a backdrop of astonishing corruption.

Larsson’s book has won several awards including Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel, Anthony Award for Best First Novel, British Book Award 2009 Crime Thriller of the Year, Library Journal Best Books 2008.

Subject Headings:  Mystery Thriller, Cold cases (Criminal investigation), Murder investigation, Journalists, Hackers, Violence against women, Swedish fictionTranslations into English, award winner/best seller

Appeal Terms: complex, multi-layered, strong characters, sexy, dark, corrupt, violent, fast paced, tense, financial thriller, dangerous, exciting, grisly, dramatic, award winning

Three terms that describe this book: multi-layered, sexy, financial thriller.

The next two books in the series are:

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Relevant Fiction Works:

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

When her six-year-old neighbor falls to his death, and no one is willing to suspect foul play, Smilla Qaavigaaq Jasperson finds her own investigation taking her into the files of a Danish company.

Similarities: Strong, unusual female protagonist, conspiracy reaching back to WWII, multi-layered story

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
A black female elevator inspector must prove that her method of inspection by intuition, as opposed to visual observation, is not at fault when an elevator in a new city building crashes.

Similarities: Strong female protagonist, negotiating career in jeopardy, intertwining multiple plotlines
Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

Twenty years after Jens disappeared without a trace from the island of Oland, a package is mailed to the boy’s grandfather that contains the worn and mended shoe of a child, prompting the grandfather to contact the child’s mother, resume the hunt for the boy, and make a shocking connection between Jens’s disappearance and the island’s most notorious murder case.

Similarities: Translated Swedish author, Father-daughter relationship

Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

The boys on the tracks: death, denial, and a mother’s crusade to bring her son’s killers to justice by Mara Leveritt

Linda Ives’s simple search for truth in the case of her son, who along with a friend was killed by being pushed in front of a train, reveals a frightening web of multiple murders, government corruption, and political scandal

Similarities: Cold case/ unsolved mystery, murder investigation

The house of Mondavi: the rise and fall of an American wine dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler

Traces four generations of a Napa Valley wine-making family, from the arrival of Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi at Ellis Island in 1906, to the scandals that rocked the family throughout the twentieth century, to the battle over the family’s billion-dollar fortune.

Similarities: multi-generational family business scandals

The Madoff chronicles: inside the secret world of Bernie and Ruth by Brian Ross

Discusses the multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme masterminded by Bernard Madoff, including his motives for the financial betrayal and others who were involved in the scheme.

Similarities: White-collar crime, fraud and corruption investigation

Smoke Screen

May 26, 2010

Author: Sandra Brown

Title: Smoke Screen
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 398
Geographical Setting: Charleston, SC
Time Period: Present Day
Series: No
Plot Summary: In this gripping romantic thriller, local newswoman Britt Shelley wakes up to find her friend and occasional lover Jay Burgess dead. Authorities suspect foul play, and Britt suddenly turns from news star into news story. Raley Gannon is Jay’s childhood best friend whose life was derailed in a circumstance similar to Britt’s, when he was found in bed with a dead woman five years before Jay’s death.  The two find themselves in a race to find out what happened to Jay, and just what, if anything, the two deaths have to do with a devastating fire at the Charleston Police Department. Romance and suspense blend together as Raley and Britt encounter a slew of nefarious characters and a major twist that will shock even astute readers.
Subject Headings: Murder, Police Investigations, Charleston, SC, Romantic Suspense, Relationships
Appeal: Plot-centered, fast paced, romantic, suspenseful, action-oriented, racy, edgy, direct, tense, quirky secondary characters, plot twists, conversational style.
Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: fast paced, suspense, racy
Similar Works:
Fiction:
Amber Beach, Elizabeth Lowell (suspense, contemporary romance, adventure scenes)
Mercy, Julie Garwood (suspense, contemporary romance, fast-paced, female protagonist, Southern setting)
Raven on the Wing, Kay Hooper (romantic suspense, contemporary setting, strong female protagonist)
Nonfiction:
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt (murder, Southern setting, eccentric secondary characters)
Devil in the White City, Erik Larson (suspense, murder, fast paced)
My Horizontal Life, Chelsea Handler (racy, adventures, strong female protagonist)

Kiss the Girls

May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

Author:  James Patterson

Title:  Kiss the Girls

Genre:  Fiction – Adrenaline

Publication Date:  1995

Geographical Setting:  South Carolina and San Francisco, CA

Time Period:  1990s

Series:  Alex Cross

Plot Summary:

“Casanova” is kidnapping, torturing, and killing young coeds from South Carolina to Florida, while another killer known as “the Gentleman Caller” with a similar m.o. is claiming victims on the West Coast.  At first, the authorities believe them to be one and the same person operating on both coasts.  It turns out that there are, in fact, two separate murderers and there is a bond of some kind between the two – they are long-time friends who share their warped fantasies with each other.  Psychologist / detective, Alex Cross is assigned to the case when a young woman’s body is found bound and mutilated.  He becomes personally involved with both killers when his niece turns up missing from Duke University.  The evidence indicates that Casanova has kidnapped her.  Cross’s niece has become part of Casanova’s collection of beautiful, intelligent, talented young women.  They have been kidnapped and hidden in underground chambers for Casanova’s personal use, so he can fulfill his secret fantasy.  When he tires of one, becomes disappointed in her, or if she breaks one of his rules, he tortures then kills her.  Naomi (Cross’s niece) realizes that she is not alone in the underground chamber and figures out a way to communicate with the other victims.  Casanova is able to move among the authorities as one of them.  He knows how to cover his tracks and expertly does so.  Cross races against time as he puts the pieces of the “puzzle” together to rescue his niece and the other women before it’s too late.

Subject Headings:  Mystery & Detective Stories, Police Procedural, and Serial Killers

Appeal Terms:  dramatic, violent, fast paced, dark, unsettling, tense, compelling, dangerous, exciting,

chilling, quick-read, psychotic.

Three terms that best describe this book:  dark, suspenseful, and fast paced.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell portrays M.E. Kay Scarpetta dealing with an elusive serial killer.

The Broker by John Grisham is fast-paced and engrossing with a political power broker becoming the object of a CIA plot to see who will assassinate him first.

The Judgment by William J. Coughlin involves a serial killer, political corruption, and a corrupt police chief who is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit by the more-corrupt mayor.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Last Victim:  A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer by Jason Moss and Jeffrey Kottler contains memoirs resulting from interviews with real serial killers.

Zodiac by Robert Graysmith retells the story of the well-known killer in the San Francisco area during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Nightmare in Wichita by Robert Beattie gives an inside look at the 36-year hunt for the bind-torture-kill murderer.

Tags:  Serial Killers, Suspense, Police Procedural, fast-paced.

Blood Memory

February 24, 2010

Author: Greg Iles

Title: Blood Memory

Genre: Adrenaline, Suspense

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 800

Geographical Setting: New Orleans and Mississippi

Time Period: Present

Plot Summary: Pregnant by her married lover, three days sober and in the middle of solving a case of vigilante serial murders; stressed doesn’t even begin to describe Catherine Ferry. When the crime scenes start triggering panic attacks and terrifying images of a part of her childhood she never knew existed she begins to explore her past with the help of her lover, one of the main suspects, and her family members who want to keep their secrets buried.  These repressed memories make her question everything she ever knew about her father’s passing, her family and connect her to the serial killings in a way she never thought possible.

Subject Headings: Forensic science, serial murders, Deep South, molestation, repressed memories, Vietnam, child abuse

Appeal: Tense, fast-paced, Deep South, investigative, layered, graphic, character centered, plot twists, resolved ending, sexually explicit

Three terms that best describe the book: Haunting, suspenseful, vivid

Similar authors and works:

Nonfiction

Exploring the controversy around childhood memories versus “false memories” Lenore Terr uses true stories to explore the issues and the science behind repressed memories in Unchained Memories: True Stories of Traumatic Memories Lost and Found.

Wendy Becker uses case studies in Crime Scene: How Forensic Science Works to take the reader into the mind of a forensic scientist from the moment they walk into a crime scene until the case is solved.

Hannah Rosen explores suffrage, racial tensions, and equality through testimonies of what life was like in postemancipation United States in Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South.

Fiction

In Dead Sleep Greg Iles brings back Detective John Kaiser to help Jordan Glass solve the disappearance of her sister that is somehow connected to a series of paintings known as “The Sleeping Woman.”

The Lesson of Her Death: A Novel of Suspense by Jeffery Deaver throws Lt. Bill Corde into solving the murder of a coed. It soon takes a turn exploring sexual obsessions in academia as well as his own family.

Terry McCaleb just received a heart transplant. The donor? A victim in a string of serial killings. When her sister comes to McCaleb asking for help can he turn away? Michael Connelly connects his main character to the murder in unimaginable ways in Blood Work.

Name: Michael Ann

Meg

February 24, 2010

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Author: Steve Alten

Title: Meg

Genre: Adrenaline, Thriller

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 278

Geographical Setting: Pacific Ocean (Guam, Mariana Trench, Hawaii, Coastal California)

Time Period: Present

Series: Shark series 1

Plot Summary: One-time ace submersible pilot and current crackpot paleontologist, Jonas Taylor is an authority on Carcharodon megalodon.  Jonas’ unpopular theory that the Megalodon (or “Meg”)  never followed its prehistoric ilk into extinction was born from a face-to-face encounter with the beast while on a top secret mission for the Navy– a mission that went horribly awry, killing everyone but Jonas.  Racked with guilt, haunted by memories, betrayed by an adulterous wife, Jonas finds himself back in the pilot’s seat, diving for an old friend.  This favor brings twisted validation to the battered Jonas Taylor:  a live Megalodon.  Released from the Mariana Trench during a salvage mission, Meg ravages the Pacific Ocean.  Professionally redeemed, Jonas must now assume the charge of protecting the ecosystem from this perfect predator.

Subject Headings: Paleontologists, sharks, prehistoric animals, Carcharocles megalodon, Carcharodon megalodon, sea monsters, deep diving, suspense stories—American

Appeal: graphic, cinematic, action oriented, unrelenting, tense, fast paced, pop science

Three terms that best describe the book: rip-roaring, pulpy, outrageous

Similar authors and works:

Nonfiction

Equal parts gorgeous coffee-table book and academic text, Discovering Fossil Fishes by John G. Maisey will certainly satisfy curiosities concerning how “Meg” fits in the world of fishes.  Caveat:  although Carcharodon megalodon is mentioned in this work, it is not the focus.

Fans of Meg will recognize the Farallon Island setting of The Devil’s Teeth:  A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey, a suspenseful account of pioneering biologists studying shark behavior off the coast of San Francisco.

Descent:  The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss by Bradford Matsen handles the birth of deep-sea exploration in this accessible account of revolutionary adventurers (and depression-era celebrities) Otis Barton and William Beebe.

Fiction

Surprise!  A prehistoric monster eats your head!  Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park provides another raucous fling that bends the rules of science for thrills.

“Demonrays” rule the sea and the sky in Natural Selection by Dave Freedman.  This terrifying tale of giant rays that have learned to fly bridges the gap between Meg and Jurassic Park.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is an essential underwater adventure.

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