Posts Tagged ‘unembellished’

The Next Always

April 4, 2012

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 352

Geographical Setting: Boonsboro, Maryland

Time Period: Present

Series (If applicable): Book One of The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy

Plot Summary: Clare is a war widow who has returned to her hometown with her three young sons.  Beckett Montgomery and his brothers are remodeling the Inn BoonsBoro, which happens to be across the street from Clare’s bookshop.  Beckett’s unrequited love for his best friend’s widow may finally have a chance now that Clare’s moved back to their quaint hometown. The author’s richly detailed descriptions of the small town and the remodeling project with a touch of the supernatural nicely frame the budding romance between Clare and Beckett .

Subject Headings: Small towns; Historic buildings – conservation and restoration; Second chances; Architects; Infatuation; Hotels; Single mothers; Widows; Booksellers; Homecomings; Small town life; First loves; Men/women relations.

Appeal: easy, engrossing, descriptive, richly detailed, strong sense of place, leisurely-paced, relaxed, unhurried, atmospheric, comfortable, heartwarming, hopeful, lighthearted, magical, optimistic, romantic, engaging, familiar, realistic, recognizable, series (characters), strong secondary characters, sympathetic, contemporary, detailed setting, small-town, accessible, colloquial, conversational, simple, unembellished, details of small town, details of restoration of old building.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: comfortable; heartwarming; richly detailed.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Under the Tuscan Sun  by Frances Mayes.  Under the Tuscan Sun and The Next Always both evoke strong sense of place using lush descriptions of the small towns where the story takes place and rich details of renovating once magnificent buildings (Mayes a countryside villa and Roberts an Inn).  Both also follow a love story that is framed by the restoration process.

The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran.  Doran amusingly recounts his relocation from LA where he was a TV producer to a tiny Tuscan town where he and his wife embark upon remodeling a 300 year old farmhouse. Doran’s optimism and witty commentary lead up to a happy-ever-after that The Next Always readers will appreciate.

My Boyfriend’s Back: True Stories of Rediscovering Love with a Long-Lost Sweetheart by Donna Hanover.  Beckett’s love for Clare has been unrequited since high school, but he gets a second chance with her in The Next Always.  Like the title suggests, My Boyfriend’s Back explores true stories of first loves rekindled later on in life. Both books will leave readers feeling hopeful about loves from the past.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Wedding Dress by Virginia Ellis. This light, heart-warming historical fiction by Ellis (who typically authors romance novels) centers around a Civil War widow and her sisters as they try to find hope in a bleak post-war life by sewing a wedding dress for the youngest sister.  Like The Next Always, The Wedding Dress offers hope, love, a happy ending, and even a ghostly twist.

The Inn at Eagle Point by Sherryl Woods.  This is the heartwarming first book of in the contemporary romance series, Chesapeake Shores.  Like the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy, Chesapeake Shores is about second chances and men/women relations and gives readers a strong sense of place.

Virgin River by Robyn Carr.  Virgin River is a leisurely-paced contemporary romance about a widow looking to start over in a small town.  A strong sense of place and a heartwarming story will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Next Always.

Name: Ally C.

Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye

March 21, 2012

Author: Victoria Laurie

Title: Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 304

Geographical Setting: Detroit, Michigan

Time Period: Present Day

Plot Summary: Abby Cooper, a woman with amazing psychic and intuitive abilities, finds herself in the middle of a police investigation after one of her clients is murdered. Abby has a deep dislike of law enforcement after a fellow psychic was arrested years ago, and finding herself forced to work with the handsome officer Dutch proves to be nearly as hard of a challenge as catching the killer. Abby realizes she must use her talent and wit to find the killer before he finds her, no matter her personal feelings for the officer at her side.

Subject Headings:

Paranormal phenomena
Murder investigation
Women psychics

Appeal: Witty, richly detailed, conversational, fast-paced, upbeat, familiar, realistic, series characters, sympathetic, gentle, contemporary, urban, simple, unembellished,

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: conversational, richly-detailed, realistic

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Psychic: My Life in Two Worlds by Sylvia Browne

One of the leading psychics in the world, Sylvia Browne discusses her journey to realizing her potential as a psychic and balancing her life in our world with that of the dead.

Discover Your Psychic Type: Developing and Using Your Natural Intuition by Sherrie Dillard

This is the go-to handbook for anyone who wishes to learn more not only about the types of intuition but also to find out what type of psychic you are and how to hone your talents.

History in Blue: 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives and State Troopers by Allan T. Duffin.

This book discusses the history of women in the police force and how they broke down the  gender barrier in order to do the work they loved. Includes dozens of interviews with women of all ages and types of police work describing how they made their way up through the force.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Trouble with Magic (Bewitching Series #1) by Madelyn Alt

Cozy mystery/romance series concerning a 30 year old woman who must partner with her friends’ Wicca group in order to solve a mystery and clear their friend of murder charges. Fast-paced, conversational, witty and the first book of series.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is literally a woman without a soul and finds herself stuck in a whirlwind of paranormal occurrences after she accidentally kills a vampire. Fast-paced, witty, intelligent,  literary and romantic.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

The series that brought paranormal mystery/romance to the forefront. Sookie is a small-town mind reader whose life turns upside down when she meets Bill Compton, the new vampire in town. Fast-paced, imaginative, upbeat, contemporary and conversational.

Name: Courtney Rose

The Tall Stranger

February 15, 2012

Author: Louis L Amour

Title: The Tall Stranger

Genre: Westen

Publication Date: 1957

Number of Pages:126

Geographical Setting: Western United States

Time Period: Oregon Trail/Wild West

Plot Summary: Much like the other works of Louis L’Amour, this story concerns traveling to the Western United States in order to find a better life. Rock Bannon, a dedicated but solitary man finds himself heading west with a group of men from the East, none of which trust him. The group is lead by the charismatic and devious Mort Harper, who quickly becomes leader of the group, even though Rock does not trust his motives. As they move further from the tail Rock knows will lead them to a better life, he questions the morals and decision making of Mort and must decide whether to venture on his own or help his fellow travelers, including the beautiful Sharon.

Subject Headings:

Wagon trains — Oregon Trail
Pioneers — The West (United States)
Outlaws — The West (United States)
Frontier and pioneer life — The West (United States)

Appeal: Plot-driven, action-oriented, fast-paced, gritty, close-ended, details of western life, colloquial, unembellished, hard-edged, recognizable characters, physical, violent, cinematic

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: plot-driven, gritty, fast-paced

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Cowboy Life: Reconstructing an American Myth – William W. Savage Jr.

This book discusses the image of the cowboy in popular American culture, from the Western novel to the cinematic masterpieces and advertisements.

Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Luke Short and Others – W.B. Masterson

Deals with the history of some of America’s most interesting  cowboys and gunslingers and the men behind their  infamous names.

The Oregon Tail: A Photographic Journey – Bill Moeller

This book is comprised of photographs of The Oregon Trail, both of how it looks now and how it looked to emigrants to the West. It includes entries from diaries of those traveling on the trail during the 1800s.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

A Town Called Fury – William W. Johnstone 

Features stand-offs with Native Americans, an attack on a westward travelling wagon and a revenge plot of one man dedicated to right the wrongs done unto his family.

Last Reville – David Morrell

A fast-paced novel in which a talented scout on the Mexican border fights to eradicate Pancho Villa from the US while becoming a mentor to a young man.

War Cry – West Charles

A gritty yet romantic story in which scout Will Cason saves a woman and finds himself the enemy of a group of Native Americans determined to destroy him.

Name: Courtney Rose


July 25, 2011

Author:  Robert B. Parker

Title:  Appaloosa

Genre:  Western

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  276

Geographical Setting:  The town of Appaloosa, western United States

Time Period:  late 1800’s

Series:  Book 1 in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series

Plot Summary:  In the lawless Old West town of Appaloosa, ranch owner Randall Bragg and his ranch hands take and do pretty much whatever they please.  Sharpshooters and guns for hire Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are called in to tame Bragg and his hands.  West Point graduate Hitch and the mysterious Cole set up shop as town marshals and quickly establish a reputation as men not to be messed with, attracting the interest of manipulative town newcomer Allie French.  Just as Cole and Hitch seem to have everything under control, Bragg kidnaps Allie French and uses her to get under the skin of the usually calm and collected Cole.  The conflict between Cole, Hitch and Bragg culminates in an action that speaks to the nature of true friendship.  In Appaloosa, well-known mystery writer Parker crafts a gritty and action-packed look into the Old West, complete with cowboys, Indians, and showdowns.

Subject Headings:  Western fiction; frontier and pioneer life; ranchers; peace officers; outlaws

Appeal:  fast-paced, gritty, plot-driven, atmospheric, dramatic, dialect-rich, spare, concise, unembellished, vivid, recognizable characters, stereotypical characters

3 terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, gritty, spare

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: 

Draw: The Greatest Gunfights of the American West by James Reasoner: Readers who like tales of lawmen versus outlaws will enjoy Reasoner’s fast-paced and engaging look at famous shoot-outs.

Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Luke Shot and Others by W.B. Masterson: A collection of vivid mini-biographies on adventurous and well-known Old West personalities that were originally published as magazine articles in 1907.

Tough Towns: True Tales from the Gritty Streets of the Old West by Col. Robert Barr Smith: If readers enjoyed the lawless setting in Appaloosa, they might enjoy reading these accounts of small towns that fought back against gangsters and renegade gunslingers.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Crossfire Trail by Louis L’Amour:  Wanderer Rafe Caradec promised dying rancher Charles Rodney that his property would be left to his daughter, but when Caradec reaches the Wyoming ranch, he finds that other greedy ranchers have sent their sights on the land.  Crossfire Trail is a fast-paced, dialect-rich and action-packed story.

The Gunfighter’s Apprentice by Jerry S. Drake (Book 1 in the Tom Patterson series):  After killing the brother of a deadly gang leader in an act of self-defense, Matt McKay’s father hires a former gunfighter by the name of Tom Patterson to teach him how to
properly handle a weapon.  As Matt and Tom’s student/mentor relationship strengthens, they prepare for the final showdown.  Readers who appreciated Parker’s atmospheric and gritty western will enjoy The Gunfighter’s Apprentice.

The Lawman by Lyle Brandt (Book 1 in the Lawman western series): Gambler Jack Slade returns to Oklahoma to investigate the mysterious death of his estranged brother.  During his search, Slade is recruited as a deputy marshal and as a result, grapples between justice and revenge as the pieces fall into place.  Spare and fast-paced, this book will appeal to first-time and veteran
western readers.

Name:  Mieko Fujiura

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

April 20, 2011

Author:  Wes Moore

Title:  The Other Wes Moore

Genre:  Nonfiction

Publication Date:  2010

Number of Pages: 182

Geographical Setting:  Baltimore, the Bronx

Time Period: late 1970s to present

Plot Summary:  Two boys grew up in West Baltimore at the same time.  Neither of them had a father figure, both were in low-income households, both struggled in school and were pressured to make poor choices.  Both of them are named Wes Moore.  One of them is now serving a lifetime prison sentence, whereas the other is a Rhodes Scholar and businessman in New York City.  This book tells the story of parallel lives that turned out drastically differently.

Subject Headings:  Memoir, African American, coming of age story

Appeal:  engrossing, issue-oriented, layered, vivid, well developed, tragic, hopeful, urban, gritty, candid, frank, unembellished

3 terms that best describe this book:  Honest, inspiring, real

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. My American Journey by Colin Powell:  The author mentions this as a very influential book in his life and about how much he admires Colin Powell, a fellow soldier.
  2. Losing My Cool by Thomas Chatterton Williams:  A memoir about a young black man growing up on the poor side of town and the decisions that led him to a successful life.
  3. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc:  Journalist LeBlance spends ten years with two impoverished families in the Bronx, where Wes Moore spent his middle school years.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. Monster by Walter Dean Myers: Like the Wes Moore that participated in a robbery and ended up in prison, this book portrays the social and economic struggles of a young African American man who makes a few bad decisions.
  2. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton:  Set in South Africa, where Wes Moore studies abroad, the prize winning book describes a father’s pain upon learning that his son was sentenced to the death penalty.
  3. The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon:  An urban youth growing up in the early 80s struggles with the issues of race and violence.

Laura Melton

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

April 13, 2011

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Title: The Night Bookmobile

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 40 pages

Geographical Setting: Chicago, Illinois

Time Period: 1980-2004

Plot Summary: After a fight with her then-boyfriend, Lexi walks the streets of Chicago (specifically Ravenswood Avenue and Belle Plaine) trying to cool down.  Suddenly, she sees a battered Winnebago playing a Bob Marley tune she knows.  She approaches and finds that this is a Bookmobile.  But, this is not any bookmobile; it’s one that is full of every single thing that Lexi has read in her entire life.  It’s run by a man named Robert, a gentleman who serves her tea and doesn’t bother her as she uses the library for its entire hour of operation (from dusk until dawn).  The bookmobile doesn’t show up with any regular schedule; it shows up at different places in different times over the years.  Lexi is the only one who can see it.  She obsessively waits for the moments when she can interact with the bookmobile again.  She reads and reads in order to get back to it.  Lexi, through all of this reading, rediscovers her love for books and literacy and becomes a librarian. As time goes on, Alexandra decides she wants to work on the bookmobile…even after learning the high cost that comes with the job.

Subject Headings: Bookmobile, Books, Collecting, Chicago, Graphic Novel, Art

Appeal: Intimate, Accessible, Candid, Dramatic, Simple, Unembellished, Eccentric Characters, Accurate Setting, Thought-Provoking, Spare Linguistically, Steady, Surprising, Melancholy

3 terms that best describe this book: Artful (both in storytelling and illustration), Evolutionary, Emotional

3 Relevant Fiction Works:

Insomnia by M. K. Perker: A graphic novel that chronicles the misgivings of a rare book expert.

The Uncommon Reader by Allan Bennett: Features a bookmobile in a more amusing light.

Filthy Rich by Brian Azzarello: A graphic novel that, though it’s on a different topic, reflects Bookmobile’s melancholy tone.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir by Lauren Slater: A woman who has a complex obsession takes readers into her mind to explore a constantly restless conciousness.

Ex libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman: This collection of essays discusses the central importance of books and reading in someone’s life.

The New Woman as Librarian: The Career of Adelaide Hasse by Clare Beck: This is the story of what one controversial woman suffered through in order to achieve her career goal of becoming a librarian.

Annie on My Mind

June 24, 2010

Author: Nancy Garden

Title: Annie on my Mind

Genre: GBLT Romance

Publication Date: 1982

Plot Summary: Artistic Annie Kenyon is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art singing to herself one day when Liza Winthrop followers her tune and they meet for the first time. The story includes the intimate and passionate hyper-awareness of new love and weaves the confussion of new realizations intricately into the prosaic dialogue. This is a romantic and poignant story of two girls who find themselves and each other. This is a bittersweet story because they feel the need to keep their relationship a secret and thought-provoking events evolve from this issue-oriented book. Will Liza accept her newly discovered orientation? When will she decide to live her life in the open? And what will her family, friends, and the town say? When Liza agrees to house sit her teacher’s pets one week and invites Annie, we find out. With surprising plot twists, this one big flashback to a secret love will keep you reading all night.

Subject Headings: Lesbian — fiction


bittersweet, character centered, compassionate, descriptive w/o overdoing it, engaging characters, episodic, familiar characters, hidden/secretive, intimate (setting), issue-oriented, poignant, prosaic, realistic characters, romantic, sensual, thought provoking, thoughtful, unembellished, well-crafted

3 words to describe book: secret, poignant, engaging

Read a likes:


Girl Walking Backwards – Bett Williams

Just like Liza, Skye is lonely and confused until she meets another girl she falls in love with.

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson

A famous author that has a similar writing style to Garden, discusses being a teenage lesbian whose mother tries to train her.

The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks

A bestselling author writes about a man reading a diary to a woman he doesn’t know. The story turns out to be his story of when he was young and in love and their parents kept them apart. Similar because it’s a love story.


Covering: the hidden assault on our civil rights – Kenji Yoshino

This is a memoir that brings into legal aspects of homosexual civil rights.

Love, Ellen: a mother/daughter journey – Betty DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres’s mother writes a memoir about her reaction when her daughter told her she was homosexual, and how their relationship changed and evolved over time.

Jocks: True stories of America’s gay male athletes – Dan Woog

A collection of true stories about athletes that come out to their athletic community, their reactions and relationships, and how coaches did and should respond.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

June 21, 2010

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Author: Haruki Murakami

Title: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: a memoir

Genre: Best Sellers / Audiobook

Publication Date: 2008

Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc

Format: MP3 Audiobook

Number of Pages: 192

Geographical Setting:  Japan / Hawaii / East coast / U.S.

Time Period: 2005-2006

Series (N/A)

Plot Summary:

In this audio book, read by Ray Porter, Murakami reflects back on pivotal points in his life and career during a five-month preparation for the New York City Marathon. We are taken from Hawaii to Cambridge to Japan and back to the East Coast of the United States, while running and exercise are kept as the backdrop to all places. We are let in on the lesser-known aspects of Murakami’s life: such as his days owning and running a Tokyo jazz club in the 80’s where the late hours and the smoking allowed him to write his first book but eventually started taking away his energy to maintain a vital creative life. Running six days a week for over two decades is the focus and story of the book and are also what enables him to maintain both his creative and physical energy, which for Murakami go hand in hand. This is evident when he states that running enables him to keep going when “the points where my body surpasses the balance between imaginative power and physical abilities that sustain it have crumbled.” It is through the repeated practice of writing and running that he reflects and understands what kind of life he has lead and where to place his personal standard while maintaining balance.

Subject Headings:

Sports and Competition—Racing—Track and Field

Biography and Autobiography—Autobiography—Writers

Adult books for young adults

Murakami, Huruki, 1949—

New York City Marathon

Authors, Japanese—21st century—Biography

Marathon runners—Biography

Marathon Running

Distance running—Training

Japan—Social life and customs—21st century

Autobiographies (Adult literature)

Sports literature


Relaxed, easy, candid, earnest, thoughtful, detailed, introspective, familiar, episodic, inspirational, accessible, simple, unembellished

3 Terms that best describe the book:

Earnest, thoughtful, inspirational

Similar Authors and Works:


What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver — Not only does Murakami give a shout out to Carver for using his title, but the characters in this collection are straightforward and honest; admitting past mistakes and trying to overcome them.

Once a Runner: a novel by John L. Parker — Distance runner Quenton Cassidy is suspended from the track team for his involvement in an athlete protest and risks his future prospects to train on a monastic retreat with an Olympic medalist. (Novelist)

Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe – This book describes a man’s constant fighting the onslaught of the never-ending sands that fall down upon him as he lives in a the bottom of a sandpit. The self-acceptance and resignation to his place and nature remind me of many aspects in Murakami’s memoir.


No Shortcuts to the Top: climbing the world’s 14 highest peaks by Ed Viesturs– A veteran mountaineer recalls some of his most harrowing and dangerous climbs as he pursues the goal of reaching the summit of the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, detailing his dedication to the philosophy that “getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory” while discussing some of his own close calls, rescues, and errors in judgment on the part of fellow climbers. (Novelists)

Born to Run: a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall McDougall reveals the secrets of the world’s greatest distance runners–the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico–and how he trained for the challenge of a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans. (Novelist)

Strides: running through history with an unlikely athletes by Benjamin Cheever — In a deeply personal history of running, the author traces the evolution of the sport from the ancient world to the present day while reflecting on his personal, decades-long devotion to, and experiences of, the sport. (Novelist)


November 17, 2009

See full size image

Author: Donald Goines
Title: Dopefiend
Genre: African American Literature
Publication Date: 2004 (orig. 1971)
Number of Pages: 319
Geographical Setting: Detroit, Michigan
Time Period: Present Day (at the time that it was published – 1970s)
Series: No
Plot Summary: Goines shows us what desperation truly is when addicted to dope and living on the mean streets of Detroit. We first meet a young couple, Teddy and Terry. Teddy is already bordering on addiction in the beginning of the story, while Terry is an occasional user who comes from a good family holds a good job, and maintains her own car. We also meet Porky, who runs the dope house located in the slums. This character makes it his mission to  hook people into “the lifestyle” using his drugs to wield control over them– especially women. We watch as Teddy and Terry fall deeper into their habits, doing things they never thought that they would do and losing so much in order to feed their addictions.

Subject headings: Drug addicts – Fiction. | Drug abuse – Fiction. | African Americans – Drug use – Fiction.
Appeal: Bleak, dark, dramatic, hard-edged, conversational, direct, unembellished, vivid, fast-paced, engaging, explicitly violent, issue-oriented, linear, plot-centered, sexually explicit, strong language, tragic, urban.

Three terms that best describe this book:  poignant, coarse, graphic.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Pimp: The Story of my Life by Robert Beck (AKA Iceberg Slim) (Like Goines’, Beck also writes about street life (Chicago), urban problems, and falls under the subgenre of African American literature. This is a story based on the real life of the former pimp, Iceberg Slim).

The End of a Primitive (or If He Hollers, Let him go?) by Chester Himes (Similar to Dopefiend because of its theme of addiction and illustration of how it affects the love relationship of the interracial couple in this story. Set in 1950s New York.).

The Scene by Clarence Cooper Jr. (This book contains themes of street life, drug abuse, prostitutes and pimps. A specific city is not mentioned).

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Out of the Madness: From the Projects to a Life of Hope by Jerrold Ladd (A real-life story about one African American man’s life experiences in the projects with a heroin-addicted mother. The author ultimately beats the odds and reaches his goals of escaping and creating a new life for himself).
Parallel time: Growing up in Black and White by Brent Staples (Staples, a black journalist, writes about growing up in Chester, Pennsylvania. He highlights his father’s drinking problem, the family’s financial problems, constant moves, his drug dealer brother and his murder, and shoddy education. Staples beats the odds by going on to college and landing a professional job. After he leaves, his family life becomes even grimmer.).
Low Road: The Life and Legacy of Donald Goines by Eddie B. Allen Jr. (Allen writes Donald Goines’ biography. He details his life of hustling, pimping, felony, incarceration, and drug addiction. In the end, (which is placed at the beginning of this book) Goines’ fast life catches up with him when he is murdered in his Highland Park apartment in 1974.).

Name: Susan

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