Monday, January 14, 2013

"Check out" these new bestsellers!!!!

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Publishers Weekly –

Two hundred pages into Wolfe's frantic potboiler about Miami's melting pot, a description of City Hall reminds readers of the vivid detail that made Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities) a literary icon. Yet despite flashes of "the right stuff", his latest novel comprises not an exposé of popular culture so much as a lurid compendium of clichés. The prologue features a scandal-fearing newspaper editor fretting as his wife tries to park her mini-hybrid at a trendy restaurant, but the action begins with marine patrolman Nestor Camacho speeding across Biscayne Bay. Unfortunately, his moment of glory dissolves into humiliation when he is condemned for arresting, after saving, a Cuban refugee. Resolute in pressing on, a bewildered Nestor works with reporter John Smith to unravel fraud at the city's new art museum and uncover the truth behind an incident of school violence. In the process, he meets elegant Haitian beauty Ghislaine, whose professor father desperately hopes she'll "pass" for white. African Americans, Russian émigrés, and Jewish retirees also appear: ethnic groups separated by language, tribe, and class; linked together by sex, money, and real estate. Filling his prose with sound effects, foreign phrases, accented English, and slang, Wolfe creates his own Miami sound machine—noisy, chaotic, infused with tropical rhythms, and fueled by the American dream. The result is a book louder than it is deep; more sensational than it is thought provoking; less like Wolfe at his best, more like tabloid headlines recast as fiction.

The Bone Bed (Kay Scarpetta Series #20) by Patricia Cornwell

Kirkus Reviews –

Having survived brushes with ruthless killers, human monsters and treacherous colleagues of every stripe (Red Mist, 2011, etc.), forensic pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta limps into her 20th case to encounter more of the same. Scarpetta's latest casts her as Zeno trying to overtake the tortoise. Before she can track the provenance of the video that's been emailed to her--a video apparently featuring footage of missing University of Alberta paleontologist Emma Shubert's severed ear--she has to testify, however unwillingly, for the defense in Channing Lott's trial for the murder of his vanished wife. Before she can leave for court, she has to examine the mummified remains of an unidentified woman who's been spotted in Boston Harbor--an examination that has to begin instantly, before the deterioration delayed by the corpse's long period of climate-controlled storage resumes at top speed. But before Scarpetta can get the corpse on a slab, it'll have to be gently cut loose from the leatherback turtle who's gotten tangled up with it, an animal whose endangered species status gives it priority over a mere human cadaver. The first half of this sprawling, ambitious tale may make the reader feel like Zeno as well, constantly struggling to catch up to what Scarpetta already knows about the latest round of traumas posed by her husband, Benton Wesley, her niece, Lucy Farinelli, and her investigator, Pete Marino. It's not till the second half, when Cornwell hunkers down to tie all these cases together, that excitement rises even as disbelief creeps in. An ingenious murder method, more hours in the mortuary and forensics lab than usual, an uncharacteristically muffled killer, and all the trademark battles among the regulars and every potential ally who gets in their way.

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Kirkus Reviews –

Facebook, Twitter and assorted other modern gadgetry provide a central link in Kingsbury's latest Christian romance, one in which a dash of old-world paternalism sparks the action. But first there is The Bridge, both place and circumstance. Charlie Barton owns The Bridge, an independent bookstore in Franklin, Tenn. The store and Charlie both work to bridge gaps between people and their dreams. As the story begins, Barton is attempting to cope with damage from the devastating 2010 floods that struck the Nashville area. The Bridge was destroyed. Barton had neither sufficient insurance nor sufficient resources to reopen. The second narrative thread follows the fractured romance between Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly, students of music at Belmont University. Molly was a rich man's daughter from California, a girl reluctantly set free to test her wings in music, although her controlling father expected her to come home and run the family business and marry the son of a friend. Ryan was a country boy from Mississippi, but one talented enough to work his way eventually onto the country music circuit as a guitarist. Molly's father learned of the budding romance, lied to Ryan about Molly's feelings and compelled Ryan to drop out of her life, something Ryan felt obligated to do by personal honor. Now it is seven years down the road, neither Molly nor Ryan have married, and Charlie Barton lies in a coma after an auto accident. The Bridge is scheduled for repossession by the building's owner. Ryan learns of the tragedy and rushes to help. Molly follows the effort through Twitter and soon feels compelled to fly to Franklin to support Charlie. Ryan and Molly meet again, both feeling jilted by that long-ago rejection. But with the characters addressing God personally, praying much, and receiving the right answers, a happy ending is ordained. A sentimental romance with a religious foundation, albeit with no confrontation of difficult metaphysical questions, this is sure to bring believers joy.

Cross Roads by William Paul Young

From Barnes & Noble –

Fans of William Paul Young's The Shack have waited five years for his next novel. Cross Roads does not disappoint. Early readers have been enthralled by its tale of a man who reawakens from a coma into a surrealistic world where his life choices are illuminated in striking ways.

Custer by Larry McMurtry

Kirkus Reviews –

A Pulitzer Prize winner's idiosyncratic take on one of American history's great blunderers. Clearly well-read on the subject--McMurtry (Hollywood: A Third Memoir, 2011, etc.) generously refers readers to Evan Connell, Nathaniel Philbrick and others for more detailed information--once the owner of a vast collection of Custer-ology, twice a visitor to the Little Big Horn battlefield, the celebrated novelist offers not quite a history and barely the "short life of Custer" he proposes. Rather, this effort is best understood as an informed commentary on the dashing cavalry officer and on the Custer moment, the closing of "the narrative of American settlement," which featured an unusual twist: a dramatic victory by the ultimate losers, the Native Americans. A few of McMurtry's observations are not especially interesting (the author's own encounters with the Crow and Cheyenne tribes), and some wander off topic (Sitting Bull's passion for Annie Oakley), but many offer fresh insights on the Custer story. McMurtry fruitfully muses on the striking similarities between Custer and another overhyped western legend, John C. Fremont, the "confusion of tongues" that complicated the period of Western settlement, the willingness of Custer's Indian scouts to accompany their commander to a certain death, George and Libbie Custer's complicated marriage and the "modern" (in 1876) media mechanisms poised to supercharge Custer's fame. Many products of that publicity machine are spectacularly reproduced here, including photos, maps, paintings, lithographs, posters, magazine covers and newspaper headlines, all of which attest to the national fascination with this endlessly revisited story and with the man whose final message to his subordinate--"Come on, be quick. Be quick"--went tragically unheeded. The distilled perceptions of a lifetime of study, beautifully illustrated.

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