Friday, December 26, 2014

More great bestsellers are now @ your library

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

A decade after the disappearance of an elephant researcher, her 13-year-old daughter, a washed-up private detective and a has-been psychic team up to find answers. … As a young graduate student doing fieldwork at an African game preserve, Alice studied the grieving rituals of elephants, which include revering the bones of departed ancestors and burying deceased loved ones with leaves and grass. In Africa, Alice recognizes a kindred spirit in a visitor, Thomas, who runs a New Hampshire sanctuary for abused elephants rescued from circuses and zoos. She joins him there, marries him, gives birth to Jenna and begins to question her husband's sanity. Thus the seeds are sewn for a thriller that involves noble pachyderms, adultery and a breathless chase across several states.

Havana Storm by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

Cussler addicts crave action, and the authors deal it out liberally. … Cussler's regulars are on hand, including Al Giordino, Dirk's number two, with "the burly build of a professional wrestler combined with the toughness of an elder crocodile." Chief villains are two, both greedy Cuban commies. Gen. Alberto Gutier has political ambitions, and he's charged ruthless Juan Díaz with financing those ambitions via rogue deep-sea mining. Díaz dupes the CEO of a Canadian mining company, an enlightened, environmentally conscious fellow who's a bad judge of business partners, into providing the high-tech equipment. … Few read Cussler for literary nuance and protagonists steeped in irony, but Pitt and company are the stuff of heroic dreams: beautiful and high-minded and generous rich folks with cutting-edge technology and ample time to save the world. Another super Cussler fun read fit for a lazy weekend.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Grisham has long proved himself to be a trustworthy provider of legal thrillers—formulaic, to be sure, and tossed-off, yes, but delivering the goods if you're not too particular about the niceties of style. He is also uncommonly timely and topical. This book's no exception: Our heroine is a bright young Ivy Leaguer newly furloughed, in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse, from Big Law up on Wall Street. The deal: The company might call her back in a year if she uses the time to be a do-gooder somewhere in the real world. …  Grisham is good as always on matters of legal procedure and local color; as one character notes, sagely, "When you sue a coal company in Appalachia you can't always count on an unbiased jury." Still, the reader can't help but feel that we've been here before. Literary fast food: It's tasty enough, but it's probably not so good for you, with or without the lumps of coal.

Desert God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Wilbur Smith

Delving again into ancient history, Smith (Vicious Circle, 2013, etc.) returns to the adventures of Taita, first a slave and then diplomat-warrior for pharaohs. … Smith, in fact, tends to write characters as uniformly good or bad. In a narrative that often seems rushed, key elements are covered by quick exposition to accelerate the plot… However, there’s also much action, battles and gore, and sufficient particulars of landscapes and people, food and drink to satisfy history buffs.

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk

"Palahniuk continues to push limits in this satire of sex and consumerism... His cheeky wit is at its best in this grotesque novel; his semi-erotic writing is efficacious and there are some downright beautiful scenes."

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