An international best-selling thriller, The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, transports us to present day Sweden where crime, corruption, and the little known world of human trafficking run rampant. Lisbeth Salander, a smart, tattooed, self-sufficient computer hacker, is the focus of a criminal investigation centered on the murder of two journalists who are close to exposing the international sex trade business. Mikael Blomkvist, a magazine publisher whose magazine was to eventually publish the expose, has a history of working with Salander and is intent on proving her innocence – if he can find her before the police do. On the run from authorities, Salander’s alarming past is revealed and she is intent on revenge.
The twists and turns in this book will keep you wondering if she is innocent or guilty and, most importantly, what is the motive for these murders if she is the culprit? Even though this book is the second in the Millennium series, it is easy to start with this book before reading the first book in the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The final book in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, will be published later this spring. Sadly, Stieg Larsson died in 2004 while working on his fourth book. This series will also hit the big screen with the first installment being released in 2010. This is an exciting book that combines contemporary Scandinavian culture with the elements of a little-known underworld of betrayal, deceit, murder and corruption.
Designer Knockoff by Ellen Byerrum is the latest Lacey Smithsonian mystery. As a fashion reporter for a second-rate Washington D.C. newspaper, she investigates the disappearances of two young women. Occurring decades apart, they begin to seem related as Lacey delves into the contemporary fortunes and World War II era history of the Bentley fashion empire.
Lacey’s Aunt Mimi left her a trunk of (now) vintage dresses, a “Bentley” suit, patterns, photos and letters from the 1940’s. These provide clues to the mysterious fate of a talented designer who worked for the Bentley plant during the war.
Lacey continues to develop as a character – and to wage her ongoing battle against the monochrome suits that are the norm in Washington. Her relationship with her co-workers and a bevy of eccentric friends are a plus, as is insight into the strict clothing regulations during the war.
Here’s an opportunity to give yourself a little pre-Christmas bonus. November is going to be a huge month for fiction. The biggest names are going to hit the shelf with what I assume is what they intend to be everyone’s stocking stuffers.
Nothing says you can’t get your hold in right now on DPL’s copy. Here’s a taste. Hit the forthcoming fiction page for a full look at what’s to come as things start to chill out outside.
Clive Cussler — The Wrecker
John Grisham — Ford County
James Patterson — I, Alex Cross
Sue Grafton — U is for Undertow
Robert Jordan — Gathering Storm
Sandra Brown — Rainwater
Stephen King — Under the Dome
Dean Koontz — Breathless
Every once in a while I get a hankering for the classics. Okay, I’ll confess — it’s usually in the wee hours of the morning and the only books on my shelf that I haven’t read are the classics. So it was with My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier.
I’d loved the author’s Rebecca which I’d read many years ago, but somehow this one had escaped me. For those of you not already familiar with the book, it relates the story of Philip Ashley, whose privileged life on his ancestral Cornwall estate is turned upside-down by a sophisticated and mysterious older woman. Orphaned at a young age, Philip was raised by his bachelor uncle Ambrose, who falls in love and marries while traveling in Florence. When Ambrose dies under suspicious circumstances, Philip is determined to hate “his cousin” Rachel forever — that is until she shows up at the estate and Philip, too, falls under her spell.
If you enjoy historical fiction, and a little romance with your mystery, then this is a good fit for your late-night or rainy-day reading.
Flavia deLuce is one of the most winning heroines to come along in a long time – wickedly funny, whip smart with a passion for chemistry (especially poisons) – and all of eleven-years-old. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie delivers this unique and charming voice in one of the best mysteries of the year.
It’s 1950 in England where Flavia, her Father the Colonel and her two older sisters live at Buckshaw, their decaying family mansion. The family, in the tradition of English novels, is full of eccentrics with the Colonel proccupied with his stamp collecting, and Flavia’s sisters having little time (or regard) for her. Flavia keeps busy in her well-stocked chemistry lab, plotting revenge.
When a murder is committed in the cucumber patch at Buckshaw, Flavia believes it is “by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life”. When her father is arrested for the crime, Flavia leaps to action. Riding her trusty steed (bicycle) Gladys, she asks questions, investigates clues and begins to put together the web of intrigue. She’s daring, resourceful and perceptive and gets to the answer quicker than anyone else. After all, who better than a young girl to find the answers – children are mostly unseen and their intelligence is usually underestimated, allowing Flavia more freedom then adults.
Readers will be happy to know that this is the first of a planned series of six books with the next title due early next year, where we can follow Flavia in another unique predicament.
This is the 11th in the Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery series, but the first one I’ve read. As a historical mystery, it makes for an interesting genre, but what I found even more intriguing was that the author, Charles Todd, is a pseudonym for a mother-son team who don’t even live in the same state! Even in this high-tech world, I still marvel at that kind of skill, but for now, let’s focus on the story.
A Matter of Justice takes place in 1920’s England, and the main character, Rutledge, is an inspector for Scotland Yard. He is called to the rural village of Somerset to investigate the brutal murder of a successful London financier, Harold Quarles. There are no shortages of suspects, as many of the villagers openly admit to totally despising the man. Even Quarles’ wife and the town’s police officer are under suspicion.
In what turns out to be a very effective technique, the reader is clued in to the real killer early on, and as the pages kept turning, I began to fear that Rutledge would arrest the wrong person or never literally bring the “matter to justice.” Another useful ploy was the voice of Hamish in Rutledge’s head. Hamish, a soldier who died under Rutledge’s command in the trenches of WWI, serves as a sort of guilty conscience for the inspector. This contributes greatly to making him a fully human character and not just some singular sleuth. Though some will find this similar to an Agatha Christie mystery, I found it refreshingly superior.
Although I enjoy James Patterson and Harlan Coben it’s nice to come across a solid suspense novel by someone else. City of the Sun grabs you from the beginning as 12 year old Jamie Gabriel disappears while on his morning paper route. We come to understand his parents desperation as month after month passes with one dead end after another. As all hope of finding Jamie is essentially lost, the Gabriels’ last plea for some closure comes from a former police officer turned private detective, Frank Behr. This colorful character adds his own tortured subplot to the story. We finally learn that Jamie’s disappearance is related to the youth slave trade. With renewed hope Frank and Jamie’s father track down the ring in Cuidad del Sol – the City of the Sun. The ending is climactic to say the least.
David Levien writes concisely yet allows you to feel the overwhelming emotions of the characters involved. The story is tense and exciting; well worth reading!