Novel Suggestions: Staff Picks

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Reader's Advisor
A mystery introducing 61-year-old Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef whose
small-town policing skills are tested by first one gruesome murder and then another. She
was practically ready for retirement before all this pressure on her and her understaffed
department. The first book in a series written under a pseudonym by a "North American literary novelist," try this one if you like Kate Atkinson's mysteries. It is followed by a sequel,  The Taken.
Find this book in the Mystery collection of the Main and West Branch Libraries.

8 in the Box by Raffi Yessayan
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Reader's Advisor
Author Raffi Yessayan’s name isn’t as easy to remember as “Robert B. Parker”, 
but he was recently named by The Boston Globe as one of the up-and-coming 
authors likely to win a place in the hearts of readers missing Parker’s mystery 
series starring Spenser, the Boston private investigator. 8 in the Box introduces 
homicide detective Angel Alves, a family man. He’s newly promoted and is 
confronted with the case of the Blood Bath Killer, a serial murderer who leaves his 
female victim’s bathtub full of her own blood each time he kills. The Massachusetts

author spent 11 years as an assistant district attorney in Boston, and has set 8 
in the Box, his first mystery novel, in a fictional South Bay District courthouse 
where the DAs work closely with the police in cracking down on crime on the 
streets of Boston. The second book in the series, 2 in the Hat, is already out.

Find this book in the Paperback collection of the Main Library.


Honolulu by Alan Brennert
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Reader's Advisor 
An intelligent, headstrong Korean girl (named “Regret” for her parents’ 
disappointment that she was not born a boy) secretly learns to read and then 
submits a glamour shot of herself to a matchmaker in the hope of continu
ing in  
the education she is denied at home. When she reaches Hawaii to 
marry the man who had selected her from her photograph, the education she 
receives isn’t what she had hoped for. Under her new name of “Jin”, however, 
meaning “gem”, she stoutly makes a life for herself in
Honolulu. This is moving 
historical fiction about a Korean picture bride in mid-20th century
Hawaii, with 
local flavor and detail by the author of the book group favorite, Moloka’
Find this book in the fiction collection of the Main Library.

The Physick book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Start with some history of North Shore Massachusetts, a pinch of the 
supernatural, a dash of mystery, a smidge of romance, and you have The 
Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
.  Connie Goodwin is a Harvard graduate 
student trying to work on her dissertation when her mother asks her to handle 
the sale of her grandmother’s desolate house in near by Salem .  Thinking it an 
easy task she consents to handle the matter but while there she discovers an old 
key with parchment with the name Deliverance Dane on it.  And let the mystery 
begin!  Drawn into the history of the Salem Witch Trials and her mentor’s quest 
for fame, Connie is set on a path that will change the way she views her life and 
the people in it.  Rich with New England history, this book delivers a modern 
woman’s story and the past with eloquence.  I highly recommend it for any 
book club.
Find this book in the Fiction collection of the Main Library


The Reason for God:  Belief in an Age of Skepticism  by Timothy Keller
Recommended by Michelle, Head of Technical Services
While the title of the book may be a bit of a turn off for the non-philosophical 
thinker, it is remarkably readable and enjoyable.  In his book Keller provides a 
brief introduction to the arguments for Christianity, as well as an explanation of 
the philosophical and theological answers to many of the questions that the 
skeptic most often makes.  Interestingly enough this book is not aimed at 
Christians seeking converts, it is rather a book for Christians or those looking for 
answers in Christianity.  It lays out a surprisingly clear version of the Protestant 
view of sin and redemption.  It also answers questions about Christian salvation, 
citing the differences between religion and gospel.  Yet in this critic’s opinion, 
the most fascinating part of the discussion is the continuous thread of discourse 
on truth, including what it is, what it means to believe in anything, why people 
believe things, and how we come to believe things.  While Keller’s book may 
not be for everyone, it deserves wide reading among those who are either 
questioning their faith or seeking answers to questions that seem out of reach.  
It would, no doubt, make good reading for a Christian book group.
Find this book in the Nonfiction collection of the Main Library.



Admission by  Jean Hanff Korelitz
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 

Nearing 40, Portia Nathan figures she should be happy with her successful career 
as an admissions officer at
Princeton , a nice house  in the college town of
, and a long-term relationship with  Mark, the chair of Princeton ’s 
English department. Portia puts  everything into her job; she feels a personal 
connection to every new  freshman class, having had a role in their selection as 
one of the Ivy League elite.  But when Portia travels to a quirky, alternative  
school in
New Hampshire and meets someone from her former life (when she 
herself was a student at an Ivy League college), her carefully built-up life 
begins to fall apart. An intriguing, in-depth look at the college admissions process 
in the 
U.S. , but also a good novel in its own right. Recommended for readers 
who like
books by Meg Wolitzer, Cheryl Mendelson, and Joanna Trollope.
Find this book in the new fiction collection of the Main Library




Blame by Michele Huneven
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 
Blame -- Michele Huneven's third novel -- grips you with its Hallen College professor in Altadena , California -- known for loud, lascivious behavior at faculty parties and for missing the occasional class 
after a night of drinking and pills. She plays the odds, partying when she knows 
she shouldn't, until her luck runs out. Patsy, who has a suspended license, is 
arrested and jailed for killing a mother and daughter  -- Jehovah’s Witnesses -- in 
her own driveway. She remembers nothing about the accident, but has to live with 
the guilt and remorse, facing the bereft husband and brother in court. The hard, 
manual labor and indignities of amost two years in jail come as a relief to Patsy, 
but the desire for a drink never leaves her. If you like literary novels by authors 
like Sue Miller or Ian McEwan, you should discover Michele Huneven ASAP. 

Find this book in the new fiction collection of the Main Library.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie  by Alan Bradley
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 
This is an old-fashioned-styled mystery with a charming young heroine, 
Flavia De Luce, an eleven-year-old chemist and would-be poisoner. The 
body of a stranger is found in the cucumber patch of the big, old country 
house Flavia shares with a distant father and her two irritating older sisters, 
outside the English village of Bishop ’s Lacey. The household includes two 
loyal family retainers (cook/housekeeper Mrs. Mullet of the infamous 
custard pie, and Dogger, the chauffeur/handyman suffering from post-
traumatic stress syndrome) who come under suspicion, along with everyone 
else, as Flavia tries to sleuth out the murderer’s identity, afraid all along that 
it could really be her father.  Like Mrs. Mullet’s custard pie, this novel by 
Canadian author and screenwriter Alan Bradley is light enough for summer, 
but substantial enough to stick with you for a while.
Find this book in the Fiction collection of the Main Library.



The Best of Times  by Penny Vincenzi
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 
A perfect vacation read for the beach or cottage, Penny Vincenzi’s latest 
extravaganza of characters and conversation, The Best of Times, parcels out 
the stories of a random group of people when events conspire to put them on 
the same stretch of major highway in heavy Friday afternoon traffic.  A tractor 
trailer truck jackknifes, sets off a chain of collisions and a massive traffic jam 
that changed the lives of many involved. Vincenzi’s trademark humor makes 
this soap opera for the smart set a guilty pleasure worth having. (“When all 
else failed, Georgia prayed. Not because she believed in God, exactly; but 
because He did seem, on the whole, to be very good about listening to her and
letting her have what she wanted. Which meant, she supposed, that she really 
ought to believe in Him a bit more; and be a bit more grateful.”)
If you’ve ever thought Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher are nice enough, but a
tad too tame, try bestselling British author Penny Vincenzi.  

Find this book in the Fiction collection of the Main Library



The Local News  by Miriam Gershow
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 
What is it like for the family left behind after a child vanishes and a police
 investigation turns up nothing? This subject has been explored in other novels 
(e.g. Every Visible Thing by Lisa Carey, The Deep End of the Ocean by 
Jacqueline Mitchard, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold) but this first 
novel by Miriam Gershow delves equally well into the guilt, grief, and horror 
felt by the family and friends of Lydia Pasternak’s older brother, Danny, who 
disappears one day on the way home from a ballgame. Lydia , especially, 
struggles with her mixed feelings, as she had disliked her brother, who had 
been mean to her over the last few years. Recommended for anyone
interested in the human response to tragedy on an individual scale.
Find this book in the Fiction collection of the Main Library

Beat the Reaper  by Josh Bazell
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 
So many books are called thrillers these days that you can’t really trust the 
label, but this book actually does keep you on the edge of your seat most of 
the time. Don’t read it if you’ve got a hospital stay planned, because Dr. 
Peter Brown -- known in Mafia circles as Bearclaw -- makes TV’s House 
look like someone who says no to drugs, and the things he and other hospital 
staff do on duty will make you want to cancel your surgery. The gross factor 
is high, and so is the implausibility of the story. The overall body count in the 
book is also high, but, as debut author Josh Bazell says in an interview, “they 
deserved it.” If you liked the dark humor of Darkly Dreaming Dexter by 
Jeffry Lindsay,you will probably enjoy Beat the Reaper.
Find this book in the Fiction collection of the Main Library




The Blood Detective  by Dan Waddell
Recommended by Laurie, Fiction Readers Advisor 
The first novel by London journalist and nonfiction author Dan Waddell, The 
Blood Detective has all the hallmarks of a classic English police procedural—
a sardonic, hard-boiled Detective Chief Inspector (Grant Foster), his younger,
understanding sidekick Detective Superintendent Heather Jenkins, and a 
murderer who likes to taunt the police in his method of killing—but the book 
takes a few pages from the popular serial-killer suspense genre, ramping up 
the action. Genealogists, take note! Family historian Nigel Barnes tracks 
ancestral bloodlines to help solve the crime. Try this if you want a traditional-
style British mystery and don’t mind some descriptions of violence.
Find this book in the Mystery collection of  the Main Library

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