Friday, March 8, 2013

Bestsellers galore @ your library

Two Graves (Special Agent Pendergast Series #12) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Kirkus Reviews

Preston and Child's (Cold Vengeance, 2011, etc.) thriller completes the Helen trilogy featuring the weird and unworldly Aloysius Pendergast, special agent for the FBI. The conclusion opens with Pendergast called to meet Helen, the wife he presumed dead, in New York City's Central Park. There's a touching, tentative reunion, and then Der Bund strikes again, kidnapping Helen and leaving Pendergast wounded. Pendergast offers a treatise on detection perfection, tracing Helen from hither and yon to Sonora, Mexico. There's another shootout. Helen's killed, and principal bad guy, Wulf Konrad Fischer, escapes. Pendergast retreats to his Dakota apartment in New York City and into a grief-and-guilt-driven drug addiction. Friends intervene. Lt. D'Agosta, city police detective, pleads for Pendergast to help search for a serial killer. Corrie Swanson, criminal justice student, is in danger after stumbling on a Nazi safe house in her quest to help Pendergast. With Pendergast's aid, Corrie takes refuge with her estranged father, only to find him framed for a bank robbery. Psychiatrist Dr. John Felder discovers the institutionalized Constance Greene may truly be a century and a half old. Pendergast, intrigued by the bizarre serial murders, applies DNA analysis, which leads him to think the murderer is his brother Diogenes, a villain supposedly dead in a Sicilian volcano. Further analysis reveals truths even more grotesque. The most simplistic of the narratives follows Corrie clearing her father; the most gothic follows Felder seeking proof of Greene's age; and the most violent follows Pendergast as he uncovers secrets about Helen and then takes revenge by breaching a Nazi refuge in Brazil. Pendergast's narrative offers angst and ample bloodletting in gothic locales and confrontations with the issue of Mengele's twins experiments mated with quantum mechanics and genetic manipulation. If Preston and Child fans haven't read the first two volumes in the Helen trilogy, confusion will reign. Pendergast--an always-black-clad pale blond polymath, gaunt yet physically deadly, an FBI agent operating without supervision or reprimand--lurks at the dark, sharp edge of crime fiction protagonists.

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The Third Bullet (Bob Lee Swagger Series #8) by Stephen Hunter

Kirkus Reviews

Bob Lee Swagger comes out of retirement to solve the murder of John F. Kennedy. Lots of people are killed in hit-and-run accidents, but Jean Marquez isn't so sure that her husband was one of them. In the weeks before his untimely death, James Aptapton, an alcoholic writer and gun fanatic whose hero, Billy Don Trueheart, will surely ring a bell for fans of Hunter (Soft Target, 2011, etc.), had been bitten by the JFK conspiracy bug, and his widow has come to Idaho to ask Swagger what he thinks. He thinks he'll pass until she drops one last detail: The ancient raincoat found in an elevator mechanism compartment in the Dal-Tex Building, just yards from the Texas Book Depository, showed signs of being run over by a bicycle. Hunter is at his best in unmasking problems with the evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman--why did the third bullet he allegedly fired at the president explode without leaving any recognizable traces? Why did Oswald cock his rifle once more after the kill shot? Why, after shooting Officer J.D. Tippit three times, did he stop to administer an unnecessary coup de grace?--and proposing an alternative scenario that provides logical answers. But neither the conspiracy he invents nor the people who act it out, from Russian gangsters and oligarchs to a rogue CIA officer determined to protect the nation from Kennedy's policies and the tight little crew he gathers around him, are credible for a moment, and his decision to alternate sections of the chief conspirator's tell-all journals with Swagger's dogged pursuit of him produces less tension than bemusement. If it weren't for the promised firepower at the showdown, all but the staunchest conspiracy buffs would give up midway. An uneven thriller that's unpersuasive as revisionist history but has its points as a hard-knuckled critique of conventional wisdom on the assassination and a portrait of the hapless Oswald.

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To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink

From the Publisher –

From the bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind comes a surprising—and surprisingly useful—new book that explores the power of selling in our lives.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase.

But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges:
Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight.
Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.

To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it's no longer "Always Be Closing"), explains why extraverts don't make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an "off-ramp" for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.

Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result is a perceptive and practical book—one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home.

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