Monday, August 11, 2014

Don't miss these new bestsellers!

Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst

Library Journal –

In Furst's latest suavely detached historical spy thriller, Cristián Ferrar is a Spanish emigré living in Paris. It's 1938, and the Spanish Civil War is raging while the Nazis are taking over Germany. Having fled Spain years earlier with his family at age 12, Ferrar has adapted well to France and is now a successful lawyer at a French law firm. He agrees, however, to do what he can to help the Spanish Republic after he's asked to assist with buying arms for the war effort. His first foray into weapon dealing takes him to Berlin, where Nazi rule has gotten uncomfortably dangerous. Some quick thinking and inspired negotiating free his compatriot from imprisonment and gain them a source for weapons. This takes Ferrar and company next to Poland, where they have to recover a hijacked train full of weapons. VERDICT Despite an intriguing and several escapades fraught with danger, there is little here of the suspense one expects from a spy thriller, leaving the reader a bit underwhelmed. Strictly for Furst fans.—Melissa DeWild, Kent District Lib., Comstock Park, MI

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Kirkus Reviews –

In his latest suspenser, the prolific King (Joyland, 2013, etc.) returns to the theme of the scary car—except this one has a scary driver who's as loony but logical unto himself as old Jack Torrance from The Shining. It's an utterly American setup: Over here is a line of dispirited people waiting to get into a job fair, and over there is a psycho licking his chops at the easy target they present; he aims a car into the crowd and mows down a bunch of innocents, killing eight and hurting many more. The car isn't his. The malice most certainly is, and it's up to world-weary ex-cop Bill Hodges to pull himself up from depression and figure out the identity of the author of that heinous act. That author offers help: He sends sometimes-taunting, sometimes-sympathy-courting notes explaining his actions. ("I must say I exceeded my own wildest expectations," he crows in one, while in another he mourns, "I grew up in a physically and sexually abusive household.") With a cadre of investigators in tow, Hodges sets out to avert what is certain to be an even greater trauma, for the object of his cat-and-mouse quest has much larger ambitions, this time involving a fireworks show worthy of Fight Club. And that's not his only crime: He's illegally downloaded "the whole Anarchist Cookbook from BitTorrent," and copyright theft just may be the ultimate evil in the King moral universe. King's familiar themes are all here: There's craziness in spades and plenty of alcohol and even a carnival, King being perhaps the most accomplished coulrophobe at work today. The storyline is vintage King, too: In the battle of good and evil, good may prevail—but never before evil has caused a whole lot of mayhem. The scariest thing of all is to imagine King writing a happy children's book. This isn't it: It's nicely dark, never predictable and altogether entertaining.

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

Kirkus Reviews –

Personalized account by Greenwald (With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, 2011, etc.) regarding his encounters with Edward Snowden and their exposure of the National Security Agency's program of “indiscriminate mass surveillance.” The author’s crisp, comprehensible outrage reflects the profound issues raised by Snowden’s whistle-blowing: “Thanks to Snowden’s bravery…we have an unparalleled firsthand look at the details of how the surveillance system actually operates.” Greenwald first examines how the secretive Snowden reached out to him due to his experience in writing about the NSA. After contentious negotiations with his Guardian editors, Greenwald traveled to Hong Kong to interview Snowden prior to the first articles revealing the NSA’s telephone and Internet monitoring endeavors: “He exuded an extraordinary equanimity when talking about what the US government might do to him,” writes the author. Next, Greenwald delves into a healthy selection of the NSA documents, providing excerpts and interpretations of PowerPoint presentations, training manuals and internal memos that demonstrate the chilling literality of the NSA’s unofficial motto, “Collect It All.” The author portrays the NSA as the epitome of Orwellian overreach, "the definitive rogue agency: empowered to do whatever it wants with very little control, transparency, or accountability." Greenwald then narrates the response to these revelations, which included Snowden and himself being slandered as rabble-rousers. The author’s partner was even detained at Heathrow Airport, while journalists like David Gregory suggested that Greenwald should face criminal charges. He depicts these responses to the legitimacy of his reporting for the Guardian as both menacing and absurd, while the “attacks on Snowden were of course far more virulent.” Greenwald’s caustic assessment of this response, and his close analysis of NSA documents and tactics, go a long way to support his assessment that “[g]iven the actual surveillance the NSA does, stopping terror is clearly a pretext.” Greenwald’s polemical tone does not lessen the disturbing quality of these revelations.

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

“[The One & Only] is a book you can glide through this summer. Find a shady spot, get a cool drink, and just luxuriate in the joy of a book well written.”The Huffington Post

“Giffin knows a thing or two about writing a page turner.”Southern Living

“Brace yourself for a tearjerker: A tale of friendship and loyalty in a small, football-crazed Texas town shows how quickly things can change when tragedy challenges all that the characters hold dear.”InStyle

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