Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nevermore: Tami Hoag, Pat Conroy, Sharyn McCrumb and more!

Nevermore opened with praise for Tami Hoag’s novel The 9th Girl, a thriller about a serial killer whose victims are adolescents.   Detectives Nikki Liska and Sam Kovac are faced with trying to identify his latest victim, a girl whose body was found on New Year’s Eve.  Hoag balances the characters’ home lives with the case, and shows a shrewd understanding of high school culture and the role social media plays in the lives of young people—not to mention that this is an extremely well done thriller.  Our reviewer praised the strong characterization and commented that while Hoag isn’t an author that’s usually at the top of the list, this book was very good indeed.  Other reviewers have said that this is one of Hoag’s best.

The next book up was The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy.  Most of Conroy’s fiction is thinly disguised autobiography, but this nonfiction book is very open about its sources: Conroy’s real family.  The book concentrates on the last few years of Conroy’s father, the model for the father of The Great Santini.  Our reviewer said that some sequences bordered on the fantastical, but felt Conroy was trying to tell the story as honestly as he could. He pulls no punches in the telling, either.  All his siblings were strongly influenced by their father, but the reactions to his domineering ways were varied.  The verdict was that this wasn’t a book that she enjoyed as much as some, but it was worth reading.

Innocence by Dean Koontz had been picked up by another reader who felt that parts of it were excellent.  He read a thought-provoking selection but then added that for him the ending fell flat, which was sad in a book that had so much promise.

Two series were recommended without a great deal of in-depth comment.  Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs was praised as a World War I era detective novel series, one that might surprise you with a woman as the private investigator.  The other series applauded was by Oliver Pötzsch, set in Germany in the 1600’s about a man who carries on the familial tradition of being an executioner.  In that time, executioners performed a necessary duty but were shunned by society.  The series contains four books, beginning with The Hangman’s Daughter.

Finally, King’s Mountain by Sharyn McCrumb was brought to the table once again.  With a nod to the local history of the North Carolina/Tennessee area, McCrumb writes novels that are a great blend of fiction and history.  Set during the American Revolution, this is a story of the Carolina Overmountain Men and their commander John Sevier.

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