Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Broken Promise: A Thriller by Linwood Barclay

A Thriller
by Linwood Barclay

Hardcover, 512 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Linwood Barclay's thrillers just keep getting better and better. Tight, complex, human, and realistic. Not a word is wasted in this gripping novel.

He draws you in with the first page and you are hooked until the end. Actually, past the end. Now I have to wait for the next one.

The novels are not serial, but there are links between them. Familiar names and faces and stories that progress as time goes on. I love it. I absolutely love it.

Broken Promise delivers. A double entendre, Promise Falls is the name of a town that is failing, and the effects of promises broken are myriad.

A great summer read. Or fall read. Just a great book.

From the Back Flap:

From the New York Times--bestselling author of No Safe House comes the first novel in an explosive trilogy about the disturbing secrets of a quiet small town.

     After his wife's death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can't find a way to stop his descent.

     Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David's cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David's mother asks him to check on her, he's horrified to discover that she's been secretly raising a child who is not her own--a baby she claims was a gift from an "angel" left on her porch.

     When the baby's real mother is found murdered, David can't help wanting to piece together what happened--even if it means proving his own cousin's guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla's mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

     Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past . . . in blood.

LINWOOD BARCLAY is the New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of twelve critically acclaimed novels, including No Safe House, A Tap on the Window, Trust Your Eyes, which has been optioned for film, and No Time for Goodbye. Visit him at www.linwoodbarclay.com.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mãn: A Novel by Kim Thuy

A Novel
by Kim Thuy
Trade Paperback, 160 pages
Publisher: Vintage Canada

Looks can be deceiving.

From such a slim book, so much. I was about to say what the so much is - but I cannot narrow it down to words. Magic. Simplicity. History. Honour. Tradition. Strength. Perseverance. Trust. And love.

And food! Let's not forget the food. For a while, one of the safest ways Mãn could feel and express emotion.

A tapestry of life. An opening to love.

A delicious book.

It changed me. In the short time it took to read it.

My texts became more poetic. I became more patient.

I loved this book.

From the Back Flap:

A triumph of poetic beauty and a moving meditation on how love and food are inextricably entwined, Mãn is a seductive and luminous work of literature from Kim Thúy, whose first book, Ru, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, received a Governor General's Literary Award and won the nationwide book competition Canada Reads.

     Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband--a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal. Thrown into a new world, Mãn discovers her natural talent as a chef. Gracefully she practices her art, with food as her medium. She creates dishes that are much more than sustenance for the body: they evoke memory and emotion, time and place, and even bring her customers to tears. Mãn is a mystery--her name means "perfect fulfillment," yet she and her husband seem to drift along, respectfully and dutifully. But when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Mãn discovers the all-encompassing obsession and ever-present dangers of a love affair. Full of indelible images of beauty, delicacy and quiet power, Mãn is a novel that begs to be savoured for its language, its sensuousness and its love of life.

KIM THÚY has worked as a seamstress, interpreter, lawyer and restaurant owner. She currently lives in Montreal where she devotes herself to writing.

SHEILA FISCHMAN is the award-winning translator of some 150 contemporary novels from Quebec. In 2008 she was awarded the Molson Prize in the Arts. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and a chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec. She lives in Montreal.


Excerpt from the Hardcover Edition:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Name of The Devil: A Jessica Blackwood Novel by Andrew Mayne

Name of the Devil (430x648)
The Name of The Devil
A Jessica Blackwood Novel
by Andrew Mayne
• Paperback: 432 pages 
• Publisher: Bourbon Street Books

Absolutely incredible! Even better than his first novel, Angel Killer - which I loved.

You know how procedural crime novels can sometimes take too much of the magic out of the story by the end? Magic is part and parcel of his novels, as well as complex mystery and crime. And elements of magic remain throughout.

One of those books where you ask yourself how they kept all those elements going.

Andrew Mayne is rocketing to the top of my favourite authors to read.

Do yourself a favour - read The Name of The Devil.

From the Back Flap: 

In this electrifying sequel to Angel Killer, magician-turned-FBI-agent Jessica Blackwood must channel her past to catch a killer consumed by a desire for revenge.

When a church combusts in rural Appalachia, the bizarre trail of carnage suggests diabolical forces are at work. Charged with explaining the inexplicable, the FBI's Dr. Ailes and Agent Knoll once again turn to the ace up their sleeve: Agent Jessica Blackwood, a former prodigy from a family dynasty of illusionists. After playing a pivotal role in the capture of the Warlock, a seemingly supernatural serial killer, Jessica can no longer ignore the world, and the skills, she left behind. Her talent and experience endow her with a knack for knowing when things are not always as they appear to be, and she soon realizes this explosion is just the first of many crimes.

As the death toll mounts, Jessica discovers the victims share a troubling secret with far-reaching implications that stretch from the hills of West Virginia to cartel-corrupted Mexico to the hallowed halls of the Vatican. Everyone involved in what happened on that horrible night so long ago has tried to bury it—except for one person, who believes that the past can be hidden, but never forgiven. Can Jessica draw on her unique understanding of the power and potential of deception to thwart a murderer determined to avenge the past?

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42108About Andrew Mayne

Andrew Mayne is the star of A&E's magic reality show Don't Trust Andrew Mayne, and has worked with David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blaine. He lives in Los Angeles. Connect with him through his websiteFacebook, or follow him on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The New World: A Novel by Andrew Motion

The New World
by Andrew Motion

Hardcover, 368 pages
Doubleday Canada

A leap from my usual fare - that seems to be my theme this summer, expanding my horizons. And how better to expand my horizons than with an adventure book?

The New World is the second in a series of post-Treasure Island books by the renowned writer, Andrew Motion. 

It's been a while since I read Treasure Island, if I ever did. And I didn't read the first of this series, Silver. I was afraid I might not be able to follow as easily but that was not an issue at all.

Adventures are meant to be taken for what they are. An adventure! When Jim and Natty found themselves shipwrecked in the New World, a new adventure began. We see the cultures through their eyes. The differences between tribes and cultures. The effects of colonization. The wild-west feeling of building new nations, the hardship of foraging anew.

They come across a variety of outlandish characters in the book and we are around for the ride.

I can definitely see these books becoming a movie or two. 

Let the adventure begin!

From the Back Flap:

The breathtaking new novel about unexpected adventure from Andrew Motion, internationally acclaimed author of Silver.
     Washed ashore after a harrowing shipwreck, English seafarers Jim and Natty find themselves stranded on the Gulf Coast in Texas. Their ship, the Nightingale, has been destroyed, and to Jim and Natty's horror, only one other survivor remains. But the shocked and grief-stricken duo soon realizes they're not all alone on the beach. When a band of Native Americans approaches the shore in a threatening fury, they brutally kill Jim and Natty's last shipmate, rob their dead crew and take the two desperate survivors hostage.

     Suddenly, Jim and Natty are thrust into an Old West adventure unlike anything they've ever experienced. Starting with a desperate escape from a violent Chief, who obsessively keeps close on their trail, they join up with a troupe of entertainers who take them to a thriving and dangerous New Orleans, and finally, head back to the high seas where Jim and Natty hope to seek passage home.

     In magnificent, free-wheeling prose and in a high-flying style, Andrew Motion has spun a fantastic yarn that will win the hearts of adventure lovers everywhere.

ANDREW MOTION is a poet, critic, novelist, biographer, and, for many years, a professor and poetry editor. He served as Poet Laureate of the UK for ten years and was knighted for his services to literature in 2009. He is now a professor of creative writing at the University of London and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in London.