One day 12 year old Alyssa Merrimon goes missing. Two weeks later his father leaves overwhelmed by the guilt of having not picked her up when he was supposed to. A year later Alyssa's twin, Johnny, is still looking for her. He knows the town, its history, and the characters who just might be responsible for his sister's absence.What follows is an absolutely gripping mystery filled with indelible characters and dense plotting. Alyssa's disappearance has shaken police officer Clyde Hunt who has spent the last year, as well, looking for her. Part of that is added by personal feelings for Alyssa's mom, Katherine, who is now just a shell of a woman.I found myself unable to put this book down after a while. Hart has put together a tour de force of mystery that leaves me longing to read more of his work.
I used to read mystery novels incessantly. If you had looked at my reading list a decade ago it would have been chock full of John Sandford, Lawrence Block and Stuart Woods. I have to admit there was even a James Patterson novel or two thrown in there. I was also a sucker for true crime books.However, when my first child was born I found it harder and harder to read stories about crime and murder. To read about a parent meeting their demise or a child coming to a violent end was just too much for me. I need a break from the genre.As of this past week I am responsible for ordering mystery novels for the library. Hence a return to the genre I once loved. Starvation Lake, a solid debut by Bryan Gruley, was a great place to start. This is a solid thriller set in the northern part of lower Michigan. A disgraced reporter returns to his hometown to edit his local paper. Years ago, as the goalie for the local hockey team, he had allowed the winning goal in the state championship. He subsequently became the town goat and had a falling out with his coach. Years later his coach died in a snowmobile accident. The resurfacing of that snowmobile brings question to whether or not it was an accident.Worth a read if you like mysteries.
Tom Sawyer.Sherlock Holmes.Atticus Finch.Joseph K.The literary world is full of indelible characters. Those fully-fleshed out individuals that are so original, so unique that they jump off the page and come to life in your mind.Alongside the Heathcliff’s and Phillip Marlows there must now be space made for Lisbeth Salander. The heroine of Larsson’s posthumous girl trilogy is at once sympathetic, iconic and elusive.And in the second novel Larsson really brings us into the psyche and tortured history of this character. Mystery novels are churned out at an alarming rate and the vast majority of them are instantly forgettable. Lisbeth Salander, however, will not let you easily forget this one. Introduced to us in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Salander is a skilled computer hacker who also has been pronounced incompetent by the Swedish Judicial System. However, there is more to her than the tattoos, modifications and technological sleight-of-hand.Once again, Salander’s path crosses with the main character from Dragon Tattoo, Mikael Blomvquist. However, this time the story will not only force Salander to confront her own past but also find her wanted for murder.We get one more book from this masterful voice who died too soon. If you haven’t read either of the girl books then by all means pick them up before the final volume, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, is released in May.
If you are on the lookout for a highly suspenseful, action packed thrill ride then look no further than this debut novel, the first of two to come out by Patrick Lee. Travis Chase is trying to pick up the pieces of his life after serving the past 18 years in prison. The former police officer finds himself deep in the Alaskan wilderness pondering whether or not to return home to Minnesota or stay secluded. Stumbling upon the downed wreckage of a jumbo airliner he discovers the body of the First Lady of the United States. However, what he finds is nowhere near as shocking as what has gone missing. Unless he can find it and stop the cataclysmic chain of events that have been set in motion the world will never be the same again.Mixing the best of thriller writing with elements of Science Fiction this is a novel not to be missed.
There have been a number of political novels that have launched salvos in recent weeks. Alongside Jenny Sanford’s memoir and the Andrew Young tell-all, Game Change has been a source of discussion across the country.Written by two highly regarded political writers, this book is a behind the scenes look at the 2008 campaign that purports to go behind the scenes unlike any of the other books that have already been released. The authors claim that all of this is substantially backed up, although there are no footnotes.Regardless of the exactitude of the book it is an engrossing read. John Edwards is painted as an empty suit whose delusions of power even at the time that he was most in the snares of Rielle Hunter is staggering. Palin is, of course, portrayed as the political idiot that she is. McCain’s campaign is of course ineffectual.I have read several books about the campaign thus far. This is, by far, the most enjoyable. I just would have liked a little bit of citation to go along with it.
In 2002, when Nolan Richardson gave his famous press conference that blended elements of US race history with a call to buy out his contract at the University of Arkansas I was one of many who thought that it was time for him to go. Granted, I did not know the entire story at the time and the debacle that has been Arkansas Razorback basketball has caused a deep sense of regret that the greatest figure in Arkansas sports history does not still roam the sidelines.In this book, Bradburn recounts Nolan’s rise from the poorest neighborhood in El Paso to arguably the most important black collegiate basketball coach of all time. He does a remarkable job of placing Nolan’s meltdown into its full context. Nolan does not escape without any scars in this telling but the greatest damage is done to the legacy of Frank Broyles, the most powerful Athletic Director in the country who could not tolerate any coach being more popular or successful than he was.That Nolan’s story ended at the University of Arkansas so poorly is a sad testament to the bitter specter of racism that has plagued this nation for far too long. Nolan was a trailblazer in many ways. How sad that he is not still coaching my favorite team. Arkansas basketball might never regain the prominence that he led them to.