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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (2009)
Libby Day was seven when she testified that her brother murdered their family in a brutal rampage. Years later, she begins to question her recollection and sets out to uncover the truth. A can't-put-down read!

Listen to the author talk about her first book Sharp Objects, read reviews at Amazon.com and visit the author's website.
IPPL Staff

The Two Mrs. Grenvilles by Dominick Dunne

The Two Mrs. Grenvilles by Dominick Dunne (1985)
This novel was inspired by the sensational Woodward murder case of 1955 in which a well-born society figure, William Woodward, was shot by his actress/showgirl wife.

In the novel, showgirl Ann Arden marries wealthy Billy Grenville hoping to be accepted by high society and become the well-bred woman of her fantasies. To do this, she must contend with the disapproval of her patrician mother-in-law, Alice. Ann's rag-to-riches ascent into New York society comes to a halt when she shoots and kills her husband, claiming she thought he was a burglar. The newspapers call it "the shooting of the century." Alice has no doubts her son was deliberately killed. The Grenvilles and their high-society friends draw a protective shield across the tragedy, and, as a result, the two Mrs. Grenvilles become bound together in a conspiracy of silence.

Read the reviews at Amazon.com and visit the author's website.
Denise

Vertical Run by Joseph Garber

Vertical Run by Joseph Garber (1995)
This is not a new book, but it’s still a great read! I found it hard to put down, with fast-paced, nonstop action and suspense. It’s a thriller about a man trapped in a Manhattan office tower where he works. Upon his early arrival to work one day, he quickly discovers that nearly everyone he encounters, including his boss, is trying to kill him. The plot centers on his attempts to determine why these people want him dead and to do everything in his power – especially using techniques learned during his combat experiences in Vietnam – to save himself.

The main character's sense of humor and the flashbacks to his days in Vietnam really add to the appeal of this story.

Read a review at Amazon.com and visit FantasticFiction to see other books by the author.
IPPL Staff

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein (2009)
Set amid the treasures of the New York Public Library, Linda Fairstein gives us a fascinating glimpse into the history of the NYPL including its start as a scholarly research facility that housed rare books, documents, and maps. What I enjoyed, besides the mystery itself, was learning about the curators, cartographers, conservators, special librarians and rare, priceless donations still housed in the building. It was very cool that librarians with their special knowledge, background and expertise were crucial in helping the police solve the mystery.

Go to the author's website and watch the video tour of the NYPL before you read the book! Read an excerpt from the book and check out Harlan Coben's review plus others at Amazon.com.
Mary P.

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (2008)
The novel tells the story of a present day 19th wife, Becky Lyn, who is accused of murdering her husband. Her son, Jordan Scott, comes to her rescue even though he was banished from the polygamous sect at fourteen. He perseveres to find the true killer and save his mother from a disastrous fate.

The author also tells the parallel story of the real Ann Eliza Young, the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young. She was known as the "rebel wife" because she divorced her husband, wrote two autobiographies (the first of which help put pressure on the Mormon community to outlaw polygamy) and gave lectures on the evil ways of a polygamous life.

Histories intertwine, stories are told, and the deep psychological complexities of polygamy are examined in a very entertaining work of fiction. Visit the author’s website to get links to interviews and podcasts with the author, background information, discussion questions, and an excerpt.

For a lighter take on the subject, watch HBO’s television series Big Love, which follows a Salt Lake City man and his three wives. For a true account, check out Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife by Irene Spencer.
IPPL Staff

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard (2008)
Twenty years after the horrors of the French Revolution, sometimes medical student Hector Carpenter is minding his own, rather aimless, business, when the mysterious Vidocq involves him in the search for the missing (or dead) lost Dauphin. Vidocq, a real life police detective and founder of the Brigade de Sûreté, leads his young friend through dangerous escapades through the French countryside and Paris until they find the truth about the lost Dauphin. Or do they?

Visit the author's website, read reviews at Amazon.com and check out the reading guide for the book.
IPPL Staff

Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins

Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins (1998)
Michael O’ Sullivan is a soldier who served in the U.S. Army during WWI. During Prohibition, O’Sullivan provides for his family by working as a ruthless but honorable enforcer for the Looney crime family. His nickname is “The Angel of Death.” When O' Sullivan's oldest boy, Michael, witnesses a murder committed by the crime boss and his son, the Looney family kills O’Sullivan’s wife and other son. But Sr. and Jr. O' Sullivan escape, hitting the road to Perdition, Kansas, where the boy's aunt and uncle live. Along the way, “The Angel of Death” exacts his revenge on the Looneys.

The graphic novel is stylishly drawn by the English artist Richard Piers Rayner in black and white Noir style, which suits the O’Sullivans’ travels through the Depression-era Midwest. The graphic novel was made into a movie by the same name. There is more going on than just the usual violence; it is a story about fathers and sons, a familiar story of family, loss and revenge.

Check out the reviews at Amazon.com and read a Time magazine article about the graphic novel.
IPPL Staff

A Cure for Night by Justin Peacock

A Cure for Night by Justin Peacock (2008)
This novel will jar your perspective of legalese, presenting new twists and turns. Peacock invents a plausible plot that takes place mostly in the seediest part of Brooklyn. The story unfolds through the eyes of a young male attorney. He is mentored by a young female attorney, who plunges him into her high profile murder case. Wow. Step by step, the reader follows the process of the preparation for trial, the trial, and the aftermath of the trial. The conclusion is the final twist of ironic justice.

Read an inteview with the author and view reviews at Amazon.com.
IPPL Staff

Final Theory by Mark Alpert

Final Theory by Mark Alpert (2008)
Albert Einstein’s colleagues are being killed by someone trying to discover his long-hidden theory. A science historian receives a key from one of the dying men. To unlock the key, he encounters one puzzle, which leads him to another puzzle. He’s trying to solve the mystery while running for his life. This suspenseful novel is a good read-alike for people who like The Da Vinci Code.

View the author's YouTube video about his book and read the New York Times review.

Mary

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (2008)
In Stalin's Russia there is no crime--at least none that the State will publicly acknowledge. What does Leo Deminov, WWII war hero turned state investigator, do when he uncovers a series of children who were murdered? To admit that the crimes and perpetrator exist is certain death to Deminov and his wife Raisa. This atmospheric page turner grabs you from the start.

Watch the author's YouTube.com video clip and read a Newsweek article about the book.
IPPL Staff

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine (2005)
The Minotaur is classic Barbara Vine – an enthralling gothic-creepy tale. It has a 1960s family living in an ancient house with mysterious rooms and neurotic relatives. Set in rural Essex, it is the story of the dysfunctional Cosway family, who are locked in a power struggle. The story is narrated by the young Swedish nurse hired to care for the only son, John who suffers from what we now know as autism. True to her style, Vine tells the story in flashback, which has a dramatic impact.

Preview the book before you visit the library and read a review at Mystery Ink.com.
Mary

Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (2004)
Inspector Arkady Renko, first introduced to readers in Gorky Park, investigates the alleged suicide of billionaire Pasha Ivanov. While Renko navigates the waters of the “new” Russia, his investigation takes him to Chernobyl and its evacuated zone. Smith has delivered another outstanding thriller filled with wonderful characters and insights into life in contemporary Russia.

Read an excerpt and reviews of the book and watch a video of the author at Simon & Schuster's website.

IPPL Staff

Undertow by Sydney Bauer

Undertow by Sydney Bauer (2008)
From start to finish, Bauer hooks the reader with her compelling first novel of political intrigue. Characters, dialogue and plot meld together to produce such a fast pace that you’ll be breathless at the end.

Visit the author's website to learn more about the author and her other books.
IPPL Staff

Spotlight: Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine

Spotlight: Ruth Rendell and Barbara VineRuth Rendell, who also writes under the name Barbara Vine, is an English bestselling mystery and psychological crime writer. Her Ruth Rendell novels are about police detective Chief Inspector Wexford, guardian of fictional south of England town, Kingsmarkham or about individual psychological suspense thrillers, with no detective and no recurring characters. She specializes in examining the inner darkness of her characters, whether they are ordinary or alarmingly aberrant. Try Murder Being Once Done, a Chief Inspector Wexford title, for a taste of this fine series.

Writing as Barbara Vine, she crafts psychological crime novels (such as A Dark Adapted Eye) which explore the minds of people who commit murder, often through obsession or social inadequacy. The Vine books maintain the theme of relationships between families by delving back into the past, which set them apart from the Rendell work.

Under either name, her novels are complex in character development and precise in sense of place. Always suspenseful and viscerally compelling, I highly recommend them.

Check back next month to read Sally’s review of The Minotaur by Barbara Vine.
IPPL Staff

Orbit by John J. Nance

Orbit by John J. Nance (2006)
A private space company sends lottery winners into orbit around the earth. Through a freak accident, Kip is stranded alone, stuck orbiting the earth. He starts journaling his life on the computer, but little does he know everyone on Earth is able to read his journal.

Preview this book before you visit the library and check out the author's website.