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IPPL Staff

An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (2014)

officerspyThis is a fictional re-telling of the infamous Dreyfus Affair which tore France apart in the late 1890s, and revealed a deep-seated anti-Semitism in French society. The novel is told from the point of view of Georges Picquart, an intelligence officer who came to believe in Dreyfus’s innocence and was himself persecuted for his refusal to let an innocent man die in prison without a fight.  Many historical novels based so closely on real events can be stiffly told with flat characters, but Robert Harris manages to fill An Officer and a Spy with real people in an era that he brings to life on the page.
Jennifer

Runner by Patrick Lee (2014)

runnerGripping, suspenseful, definitely need to suspend disbelief, but oh what a ride. In Runner, Patrick Lee keeps you guessing from beginning to end. In the wee hours of the morning, ex-special forces operative Sam Dryden encounters 12-year-old Rachel. She’s terrified, on the run, and can’t remember anything from before two months ago. What follows is a heart-pounding adventure with endearing characters.

Raúl Esparza narrates the book brilliantly – I kept inventing excuses to stay in the car so I could listen to just a bit more of the audiobook.
Hugh

Sycamore Row by John Grisham (2013)

sycamorerowA very rich man (Seth) kills himself by hanging and leaves much of his estate to his black caregiver by a holographic will. Of course, Seth’s family challenges the will; a jury must determine whether Seth’s handwritten will is valid.

John Grisham’s masterful storytelling leads the reader through the trial, the families’ histories and a look at justice and redemption. This is one of Grisham’s best novels set in Clanton, Mississippi, with a street lawyer (Jake) from A Time to Kill as the principal character. Grisham teases the reader to find out why a deceased man would abandon his children and grandchildren in such a manner; how he accumulated such a fortune; and what became of his brother who is mentioned in the handwritten will. Amazing characters, afflicted with greed, stupidity, racism and drink color the story in Sycamore Row and entertain the reader as he navigates through this engaging tale. For more information, read this review in the New York Times.
IPPL Staff

The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer (2014)

cairoaffairIt may be a spy novel, but it’s deeper as it involves feelings. The Cairo Affair takes place in the Middle East; the characters are Egyptian Americans, Libyans, and CIA agents. Olen Steinhauer’s writing provides a very warm, poetic description of Cairo. This book will stay with you for a while, not leaving your thoughts.
Elizabeth

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline (2014)

keepquietJake Buckman is a successful businessman who longs to have a closer relationship with his 16-year-old son. He gets his wish when both of them try to cover up a tragic accident. Lisa Scottoline’s Keep Quiet includes plenty of suspense and is a good page turner.
Denise

Oxygen by Carol Cassella (2008)

oxygenThis medical thriller captivated me from the start, with fascinating, thought-provoking descriptions of an anesthesiologist’s role in the operating room. Author Carol Cassella, a practicing anesthesiologist herself, has created an absorbing story that starts with the tragic death of an 8-year old girl who dies during surgery. The story line focuses on the personal and legal effects on the anesthesiologist who is held responsible for her death. Oxygen contains a great combination of twists and turns, as well as issues involving love, family, reconciliation, and betrayal.
Nancy R.

The Woods by Harlan Coben (2007)

The woodsNot only do you get drawn into the book immediately because of the murder of Paul Copeland’s sister almost twenty years prior, but you realize that the case he is currently prosecuting prosecuting (against a group of rich fraternity kids) is putting his life in danger.

Check out The Woods by Harlan Coben today.
Denise

Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner (2014)

index.aspxThis is a fast-paced psychological suspense thriller, filled with many twists and turn. An added bonus is the interesting cast of characters, especially a woman who has an extremely rare genetic mutation wherein she cannot feel pain. This is an actual condition that I found fascinating to learn more about. Although there are some graphic, gory descriptions of the murder victims, I feel that these are outweighed by the interesting character studies and absorbing, edgy storyline. If you enjoy Fear Nothing, you can try other books in Lisa Gardner’s Detective D.D. Warren series.
Mary

Double Exposure by Michael Lister (2009)

index.aspxRemington James abandoned a successful advertising career to pursue his true passion—nature photography. Late on a fall evening, he checks his camera trap on the northern Florida property which he inherited from his father. As he reviews the footage, he is horrified when he views a brutal murder that the film captured. Soon the killers appear, and Remington is on the run in the dark, cold woods trying to make his way safely to the river.

Michael Lister’s Double Exposure has suspense, unique writing, beautiful descriptions of northern Florida’s endangered wildlife and fauna, and Remington’s musing on the best photographs of the last century.
Mary

The Innocent Sleep by Karen Perry (2014)

index.aspxHarry and his wife Robin lost their young son Dillon in an earthquake when they lived and worked as artists in Tangier, Morocco. Or did they? Harry believes that Dillon is still alive, even though everyone, including Robin, insists that Dillon is dead. Dillon’s body was never found, which fuels Harry’s belief that Dillon is still alive somewhere. Robin has tried to move on with their new life in Ireland, and to not blame Harry for some mistakes he made prior to the earthquake.

When Harry spots Dillon on the streets of Dublin, he renews his search. His search unravels secrets that he and Robin have kept from each other. The flawed, complex characters combined with images of Tangier, and an intricate plot that keeps the reader guessing, made this psychological thriller hard to put down.

Check out Karen Perry's The Innocent Sleep today.
Hugh

Refusal by Felix Francis (2013)

Although Dick Francis died in 2010, his legacy of English horseracing mysteries continues under the very capable pen of his son Felix Francis. Refusal, his third novel without his father as coauthor, fits nicely into the genre. The principal is an ex-jockey who reluctantly takes up his prior vocation as a private eye to sort out blatant corruption that clearly would give a bad name to the racing sport. The novel keeps the reader in suspense wondering how the principal will keep himself and his family safe as he confronts the bad bullies attempting to fix racing results.

 
 
IPPL Staff

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (2013)

After hearing rave reviews of Louise Penny’s mystery series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, I decided to try her latest one, How the Light Gets In. The audiobook is beautifully narrated by Ralph Cosham, who captures the quaint essence of the village of Three Pines perfectly. This is the ninth book in the series and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is investigating the murder of the last remaining Ouellet quintuplet, Constance Pinot. Gamache is surrounded by a rich cast of characters from the little village that includes an eccentric poet with a duck for a pet.

Despite not having read any of the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I would like to go back and start at the beginning. A great novel with a cozy winter setting that draws you in.
Mimi

The Litigators by John Grisham (2011)

This is John Grisham at his best doing what he does best – a courtroom drama. The setting is Chicago and the lawyers claim they have a boutique law firm. In reality, they are ambulance chasers. When they get a chance at a class action lawsuit, they are in hook, line, and sinker. Their newest partner is on a learning curve and wants nothing to do with corporate law.

If you want to really see what happens in a class action courtroom, The Litigators is the book for you. It also has lots of laughs. Movie rights have already been sold.
Hugh

Spotlight: Seasons of Grace series by Beverly Lewis (2009-2010)

I enjoy listening to relaxing stories when I lay down at night and Beverly Lewis’ novels as audiobooks are just right for that purpose. These books might be called an Amish soap opera, but one where every character cares about others in the family and community. Of course there are some very troubling secrets from the past that cause a mother to first wander about the fields at night and then leave home without telling her husband or children. The oldest daughter, Grace sees her leave with the community taxi driver. Suspicion and gossip pervade the community and Grace with her new friend Heather search for Grace’s mother in out of state communities where cousins reside. Heather is an interesting character too as she, an outsider to the Amish community, has been diagnosed with cancer and elects to ignore her doctor’s advice and seek traditional cures.

Start with The Secret before moving on to The Missing and The Telling. And for more novels about the Amish, check out our bibliography titled The Plain People.
 
 
IPPL Staff

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (2012)

This novel which at first appears to be an elegant comedy of manners takes a turn for the better to become a ghost story. The story takes place in a manor house somewhere near Manchester, England, in April 1912 on the eve of Emerald Torrington's 20th birthday. Preparations are being made, guests invited, and but for The Great Central Railway everything would have gone on as planned. A dreadful accident throws the household into confusion and misbehavior.

The combination of rich with period detail, well-imagined characters and a pleasing resolution makes The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones worth picking up for a quick read.