I totally dropped the ball and forgot to include Linda’s Top Picks of 2017! So without further adieu and with my sincerest apologies, here are Linda’s top picks:
Glass Houses by Louise Penny: Once again Ms. Penny is number 1! Her use of historical knowledge and classical literature build a frame for the exploration of human nature and our deepest motives. She is an incredible wordsmith turning and twisting words into succinct declarations with the tap of one letter – “clever, cleaver words” that cut straight to the heart of the matter. She uses simple children’s rhymes to remind us of what we all know, but don’t want to think about. Once again her plot is tight and complex, taking us to the brink and pulling us back again with a sudden burst of humor. Inspector Gamache and his entire cast of characters are at their finest in a deadly match with infinite risk and consequences for the idyllic Three Pines and those they love most.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan: A down and out young man hangs himself in the attic of the bookstore and is found by Lydia, one of the cashiers. He was one of her favorites and the tragedy hits her hard. Why would Joey do that? Things get really strange when Joey’s landlady finds Lydia and tells her she is Joey’s contact person and she has to come get his stuff. In his belongings Lydia finds a picture of her 10 year old self on her birthday. Lydia has a secret past that no one is supposed to know about. How did Joey get this picture and what did he know about her? These questions lead Lydia on a return journey to the worst moment of her life; the murder of her childhood friend, Carol, which has never been solved. The plot carries this book with plenty of twists to confound and puzzles to unravel. This book reminds us that every action we take sets in motion a ring of consequences, for good or for evil.
Pulse by Felix Francis: This book made my 2017 Top Books list for one reason only – it surprised me! In some respects it is quintessential Francis, horses, racing, murder, tough protagonist. It was like visiting an old friend and quite enjoyable, until several pages in – a brand new twist, one I never saw coming. This hero is flawed, like most, but in a rather unique way. It took me places I’ve never been and gave me new insights into human frailty and strength. Felix Francis would make his father proud with this one.
Demon Spirit, Devil Sea by Charlene D’Avanzo: My favorite thing about this book is the setting. It takes place on an island off the coast of British Columbia in Canada and centers around the culture of the native people there and the impact of global climate change on their lives and the choices they face. Once again Ms. D’Avanzo educates through entertainment. The story was engaging, catching me up in the swirling waters of the first kayak trip and carrying me through to the conclusion. Her protagonist, Mara Tusconi is quickly becoming my friend. I admire her principles and her courage in carrying them out. This is the second book in this series and I can’t wait for the next one.
Loch Ness: I just discovered this DVD in our collection. It is brand new and it is quite a treat. In a way it reminds me of Broadchurch because it takes place in a small village, in which everyone has secrets. Once again we are dealing with a cunning serial killer. This first season kept me on the edge of my seat, so to speak. If I had the time I would have watched all six episodes in one sitting. The acting is very good and I didn’t guess the killer until the final reveal.