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At the Library: Find new perspectives in fiction at the Captiva Memorial Library

By Staff | Apr 22, 2015

“The Trace”

by Forrest Gander

“‘The Trace’ is a masterful, poetic novel about a journey through Mexico taken by a couple recovering from a world shattered. Driving through the Chihuahua Desert, they retrace the route of nineteenth-century American writer Ambrose Bierce (who disappeared during the Mexican Revolution) and try to piece together their lives after a devastating incident involving their adolescent son. With tenderness and precision, Gander explores the intimacies of their relationship as they travel through Mexican towns, through picturesque canyons and desertscapes, on a journey through the the heart of the Mexican landscape. Taking a shortcut through the brutally hot desert home, their car overheats miles from nowhere, the novel spinning out of control, with devastating consequences…Poet Forrest Gander’s first novel ‘As a Friend’ was acclaimed as ‘profound and relentlessly beautiful’ (Rikki Ducornet). With ‘The Trace,’ Gander has accomplished another brilliant work, containing unforgettable poetic descriptions of Mexico and a story both violent and tender.” *

“A Song to Die For”

by Mike Blakely

“It’s 1975 and guitarist and singer/songwriter Creed Mason hopes to ride the new wave of Texas-style, Austin-based country music all the way back to the big time. A one-hit wonder whose Nashville career was cut short by a trip to Vietnam, Creed is desperate to get back into the business. His break arrives when a country legend, Luster Burnett, comes out of a 15-year retirement for one last album and tour in order to pay off a huge debt to the I.R.S. As Luster’s new guitarist and band manager, Creed jumps at the chance of a lifetime. Rosa Martini, a young mob princess from Las Vegas, is found dead just outside of Austin. Texas Ranger Captain Hooley Johnson looks into the case, only to find a second young woman murdered, a friend of Rosa’s. To complicate things, Rosa’s adoptive brother, mob hit man Franco Martini, is spotted nosing around Austin in the wake of the murders. Soon it appears to Johnson, and to Creed, that the mob-related murders and the band are somehow connected. When the band wins an unexpected booking at the biggest casino in Vegas, Creed begins to wonder what kind of contract his band is being set up for; a major-label recording deal, or a mob hit?” *

“Caught Dead”

by Andrew Lanh

“One of the beautiful Le sisters is dead. Hartford, Connecticut’s small Vietnamese community is stunned. Mary Le Vu, wife of a poor grocery-store owner, is gunned down in a drive-by. Her twin sister insists dutiful Mary ‘wouldn’t be caught dead’ in that drug-infested zone. The police rule it an unlucky accident. Skeptics hire private eye Rick Van Lam to get to the truth. Amerasian Rick-his father an unknown US soldier-is one of the Bui Doi, children of the dust, so often rejected by Vietnamese culture. But his young sidekick, Hank Nguyen, a pureblood Vietnamese, can help Rick navigate the closed world of Little Saigon. Surrounded by close friends-a former-Rockette landlady, his crusty mentor, and his ex-wife Liz-Rick immerses himself in a world that rejects him, but now needs his help. Especially when a second murder strikes in Little Saigon. Rick and Hank delve into the families of the Le sisters, one poor, one very rich, and uncover a world of explosive ethnic tension and sinister criminal activity ranging from Hartford’s exclusive white suburbs to the impoverished inner city. To solve the murders-and bring closure to Mary’s grieving circle-Rick looks to long-buried memories of his Buddhist childhood for the wisdom that will lead him to a murderer.” *

“Risky Undertaking”

by Mark de Castrique

When Cherokee burial remains are unearthed on the site expanding a local cemetery, the dual occupations of Barry Clayton, part-time deputy and full-time undertaker, collide. Then, during the interment of the wife of one of Gainesboro, North Carolina’s most prominent citizens, Cherokee activist Jimmy Panther leads a protest. Words and fists fly. When Panther turns up executed on the grave of the deceased woman, Barry is forced to confront her family as the chief suspects. But the case lurches in a new direction with the arrival of Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkin’s Army pal, Boston cop Kevin Malone. He’s on the trail of a Boston hit man who arrived at the Cherokee reservation only days before the murder. Malone is convinced his quarry is the triggerman. But who paid him? And why? The accelerating investigation draws Barry onto the reservation where Panther’s efforts to preserve Cherokee traditions threatened the development of a new casino, a casino bringing millions of dollars of construction plus huge yearly payouts to every member of the tribe. Leading an unlikely team -his childhood nemesis Archie Donovan and his elderly fellow undertaker Uncle Wayne-Barry goes undercover. But the stakes are higher than he realized in this risky undertaking. And the life of a Cherokee boy becomes the wager. Barry must play his cards very carefully” *

“The Happiest People

in the World”

by Brock Clarke

“Take the format of a spy thriller, shape it around real-life incidents involving international terrorism, leaven it with dark, dry humor, toss in a love rectangle, give everybody a gun, and let everything play out in the outer reaches of upstate New York-there you have an idea of Brock Clarke’s new novel, ‘The Happiest People in the World.’ Who are “the happiest people in the world”? Theoretically, it’s all the people who live in Denmark, the country that gave the world Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and the open-face sandwich. But Denmark is also where some political cartoonists got into very unhappy trouble when they attempted to depict Muhammad in their drawings, which prompted protests, arson, and even assassination attempts. Imagine, then, that one of those cartoonists, given protection through the CIA, is relocated to a small town in upstate New York where he is given a job as a high school guidance counselor. Once there, he manages to fall in love with the wife of the high school principal, who himself is trying to get over the effects of a misguided love affair with the very CIA agent who sent the cartoonist to him. Imagine also that virtually every other person in this tiny town is a CIA operative. The result is a darkly funny tale of paranoia and the all-American obsession with security and the conspiracies that threaten it, written in a tone that is simultaneously filled with wonder and anger in almost equal parts.” *

“Genocide of One”

by Kazuaki Takano

“During a briefing in Washington D.C., the president is informed of a threat to national security: a three-year-old boy named Akili, who is already the smartest being on the planet. Representing the next step in human evolution, Akili can perceive patterns and predict future events better than most supercomputers, and is capable of manipulating grand-scale events like pieces on a chess board. And yet, for all that power, Akili has the emotional maturity of a child–which might make him the most dangerous threat humanity has ever faced. An American soldier, Jonathan Yeager, leads an international team of elite operatives deep into the heart of the Congolese jungle under presidential orders to destroy this threat to humanity before Akili’s full potential can be realized. But Yeager has a very sick child, and Akili’s advanced knowledge of all things, medicine included, may be Yeager’s only hope for saving his son’s life. Soon Yeager finds himself caught between following his orders and saving a creature with a hidden agenda, who plans to either save humanity as we know it–or destroy it.” *

“The Architect’s Apprentice”

by Elif Shafak

“Turkey’s preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire. In 1540, 12-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultan’s menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and befriends (and falls for) the sultan’s beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empire’s chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chota’s help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they build Sinan’s triumphant masterpieces-the incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosques-dangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among Sinan’s four apprentices.” *

* Book jacket/publisher description

-Senior Librarian Ann Bradley is branch manager Captiva Memorial Library.