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At the Captiva library: Fiction well worth reading

September 21, 2012
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Perla by Caroline De Robertis?A coming-of-age story, based on a recent shocking chapter of Argentine history, about a young woman who makes a devastating discovery about her origins with the help of an enigmatic houseguest. Perla Correa grew up a privileged only child in Buenos Aires, with a cold, polished mother and a straitlaced naval officer father, whose profession she learned early on not to disclose in a country still reeling from the abuses perpetrated by the deposed military dictatorship. Perla understands that her parents were on the wrong side of the conflict, but her love for her pap is unconditional. But when Perla is startled by an uninvited visitor, she begins a journey that will force her to confront the unease she has suppressed all her life, and to make a wrenching decision about who she is, and who she will become.

The Blind Spy by Alex Dryden

"Russia never accepted Ukraine's independence and now the Patrioti, Putin, his elder statesmen, and seasoned generals dedicated to rebuilding their fallen empire are using the KGB's controversial elite and clandestine forces of Department S to destabilize the young democratic nation and bring it back under Russian control. Cougar -- the powerful private intelligence company that overshadows even the CIA in its reach -- learns of Russia's plans and strikes at the heart of its plot with its own lethal weapon - the gorgeous exKGB colonel Anna Resnikov. More than a gifted spy and expert killer, Anna lost the love of her life and the father of her child at the hands of her former countrymen. Her defection to Cougar has made her the most wanted woman in Russia, but she'll risk any danger to herself for the chance to destroy the evil that rules her homelandin Ukraine, she meets a formidable foe, a mysterious KGB spy whose aims are suspiciously unclear but whose power is unmistakably deadly.

What They Do In the Dark: A Novel by Amanda Coe?"Spoiled but emotionally neglected Gemma, who seems to have everything, and semi-feral Pauline, who has less than nothing, are two very different ten-year-old girls growing up in a tough Yorkshire town in the 1970s. Pauline longs for the simple luxuries of Gemma's life: her neatly folded socks and her clean hair. Gemma, upset by her parent's breakup, loses herself in fantasies of meeting the child television star Lallie. When Lallie shoots a movie in their hometown, Gemma and Pauline grab the chance for their wildest dreams to come true. But the film becomes a terrible catalyst for the larger forces acting on the two girls, a dysfunctional adult world that trickles down to the children; and playground bullying escalates, with dreadful consequences." *

Helsinki White: An Inspector Vaara Novel by James Thompson?"Two days after their daughter is born, Kari Vaara drops a bombshell on his American wife, Kate: He has a brain tumor . . . and he's been handpicked to run a rogue black-ops unit, using crime to fight crime. After recovering from surgery, he gets to work. The black-ops unit is small, and reports directly to Finland's national chief of police. They have secrecy, autonomy, and the cash to buy all the high-tech gear. Soon the unit is cleaning house, robbing Helsinki's mobsters blind of their cash, dope, and illegal firearms. But Kari's team is too good, and their actions have unintended consequences. . . Meanwhile, Finland roils with hatred as its most extreme right political party gains popularity despite having no agenda besides xenophobia. When the country's leading immigrants' rights advocate is assassinated and her head sent by mail to the Finnish Somalia Network, the president assigns Kari to the murder. Cracking this case will involve the unsolved kidnapping of a billionaire's children, a Faustian bargain with a former French legionnaire-and Kate." *

The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson?"From the New York Times bestselling author of One Good Dog 'My name is Justine Meade and in my forty-three years there have only been a handful of people that I have loved. No, that's an exaggeration. Two. Two that I lost because of stupidity and selfishness. One was my son. The other was my dog.' If there's been a theme in Justine Meade's life, it's loss. Her mother, her home, even her son. The one bright spot in her loss-filled life, the partner she could always count on, was Mack, her gray and black Sheltie-that is, until she is summoned back to her childhood home after more than twenty years away. Ed and Alice Parmalee are mourning a loss of their own. Seven years after their daughter was taken from them, they're living separate lives together. Dancing around each other, and their unspeakable heartbreak, unable to bridge the chasm left between them. Fiercely loyal, acutely perceptive and guided by a herd dog's instinct, Mack has a way of bringing out the best in his humans. Whether it's a canine freestyle competition or just the ebb and flow of a family's rhythms, it's as though the little Shetland Sheepdog was born to bring people together" *

Schmidt Steps Back by Louis Begley?"When we last saw Albert Schmidt Esq. ("Schmidtie" to all near and dear), he had been expelled from paradise: his love Carrie, the Puerto Rican waitress forty years his junior, had taken up with a blond giant nearer her age and possibly the father of her baby-assuming it isn't Schmidt. Meanwhile, his only confirmed child, Charlotte, had proposed a truce in their perennially strained relations, which Schmidt accepted, despite its obliging him to resume dealings with her repulsive husband and her mother-in-law-cum-psychiatrist, whose life's work has been turning Charlotte decisively against Schmidt. The curtain rises on Schmidt Steps Back some thirteen years later: New Year's Eve 2008, the dawn of the age of Obama. Schmidt's affection for the young president-elect is boundless, and as he imagines a better day for his country, he dares to hope there's one for him too. It so happens Schmidtie is readying his Hamptons house for the visit of a lady from Paris: the irresistible Alice Verplanck, widow of his former law partner and surely a more appropriate prospect for a man now seventy-eight. But there's a history, and it's complicated. In fact, Schmidt hasn't seen Alice since the summer of 1995, when he behaved like a brute upon discovering a betrayal of sorts and pronounced her unworthy of his unstinting love and commitment. Alice is finally ready to forgive him, but she still doubts that Schmidtie can ever be content. She demands that he think long and hard about their past, and while he's at it Schmidtie finds himself also reviewing the reversals and tragedies that have brought him to an unimagined isolation and loneliness. With no family he can claim but Carrie, now married and expecting a second child, and only two real friends left-his college roommate Gil Blackman and the irrepressible billionaire Mike Mansour-Schmidt sees in Alice's impending visit his last chance, before the sun sets on the Hamptons, for a life that is more than merely staying alive. At once darkly funny and deeply poignantthe most emotionally nuanced installment of the drama that began with the acclaimed About Schmidt." *

* Book jacket/publisher description

 
 

 

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