Booklists · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (December 2012)
Only a few books reach the top of the fiction bestseller charts, but there are many more terrific new titles available at the Library. Here are some recent favorites.
“People come and go in our lives; that’s as old a story as there is. But some of them the heart cries to keep forever, and that is a fresh saga every time.” Regional storytelling is elevated to the highest level in the hands of Doig, who spotlights another resident in his continuing stories of Two Medicine County, Montana. The Bartender’s Tale is actually told by the bartender’s son, Rusty, who lived a perfect bachelor existence with his father, growing up listening to the saloon conversations through the heating vent, until age twelve when females enter the mix.
The fundamentals of caregiving can be taught in a class, certifying the student and legitimizing his employment, but everyone knows there is so much more than what you learn in a class. Abandoned and nearly broke, Ben takes on his first client. Trevor is a wheelchair-bound 19-year-old, trying to face frustration and everyday life with as few setbacks as possible. A road trip stretches the limit of trust between the two and opens up the small world that Trevor has had at his door step. Dark humor and sharp wit define the endearingly peculiar duo.
Sam Elling is a romantic with no romance. He’s a software engineer writing programs for an online dating company that’s losing money because the matches are so successful that return customers are rare. When he tries it himself and gets paired up with coworker Meredith, you know they will be a hit. All is hearts and roses until Meredith’s beloved grandmother dies. Sam decides to cheer his sweetie up by designing a computer program to send Meredith emails from her dead grandmother. But a friendly favor may not turn out so well.
We all know getting old is a …well, really tough. Allan Karlsson, the title character in this international best-seller, is just trying to avoid his birthday party when he decides to elude the staff at the old folk’s home and see how far his money will take him. Unfortunately he borrows a suitcase, unaware that it is full of cash and part of a criminal plot. Since he’s turning 100, Allan takes time to reminisce about twentieth century events and his career as an explosives expert while dodging the bad guys. A quirky, amusing history lesson from Sweden.
What starts out as a simple guys’ golfing weekend turns into a moral dilemma when one of the Princeton grads makes a snap decision to kidnap a convenience store clerk. As the minutes turn to hours and the hours turn to days, Will, Nolan, and Jeffrey try to resolve the crime that has been committed. Unfortunately, victim Marie isn’t in as much of a hurry to leave as they are to be rid of her and decides to take advantage of the situation. A surprise ending puts the entire roller-coaster-paced, side-swerving plot in perspective.
This National Book Award finalist will likely be on every list of best books of 2012. Written by an Iraqi War veteran, the story centers around two young soldiers, John Bartle and Daniel Murphy. It is both a story of the war and the after-war, but only one of the two returns to tell the how the war haunts him and will continue to haunt him for the rest of his life. It is a story of inner conflict and male friendship that will likely resonate with all veterans and help the rest of us to understand a little bit better what these young men experience.
Hopefully the beginning of a new series, local author Resnick took time from his prolific science fiction writing to pen an old-fashioned detective story about a down-and-out Cincinnati private eye. Hurting for cash, Eli Paxton takes on a case involving a show dog shipped from Cincinnati but never arriving in Arizona. A simple missing dog case turns quickly to murder and involves a Mexican drug cartel. Resnick is a dog breeder/show judge himself, and his involvement in the dog world adds to the flavor of the tail…whoops tale.
A retired Wall Street trader himself, Sears’ experience gives him the insider knowledge to talk the talk for a very credible financial thriller. Former multimillionaire Jason Stafford has just completed his prison sentence for illegal trading when he’s hired to investigate oddities involving a junior trader. Besides getting a job and his self-respect back, Jason is also tackling the Herculean task of raising his autistic son. The boy’s obsession with patterns is key in the storyline and “The Kid’s” presence provides a very humanistic side to the hero.
Making a copy of a painting is not illegal; trying to pass it off as the real thing is. So technically Claire, who paints for Reproductions.com, wouldn’t be committing a crime. Intrigued and repulsed at the same time, Claire recognizes the painting that Markel has asked her to copy as one stolen in 1990 from the Gardiner Museum in Boston. Technical details about how to forge a Degas will delight art buffs, while the Gardiner Museum heist is probably one of the most interesting unsolved crimes in the art world. Fun to ponder “What if….”
It’s the 11th of December, with every passing day counting down to the predicted end of the world on the 21st. Dr. Stanton, a specialist in prion diseases, is called to evaluate a rare possible case on the same day that Chel Manu, a Getty Museum employee, comes to possess an undiscovered Mayan codex. The two will end up working together, combining science and ancient wisdom to save the world from ultimate destruction. Comparable to Michael Crichton, this story should probably be read sooner rather than later, if you’re the superstitious type.
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