Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nevermore: Deep Dark Descending, Christmas Hope, Raven Rock, Triple Agent,

Reported by Kristin

The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens took a Nevermore reader on a thrilling and most enjoyable ride.  Homicide detective Max Rupert has a tragic past, losing his wife in a hit-and-run accident.  While still grieving, Max dedicates himself to his job, but what happens when he learns that the accident that took Jenni’s life was not actually an accident, but murder?  Retreating to a frozen lake near the Canadian border, Max must come to terms with the past as he seeks out the person who killed his wife.

Another reader had enjoyed Anne Perry’s No Graves As Yet and found it to be a good murder mystery.  In the spirit of the season, she picked up Perry’s A Christmas Hope, and was somewhat disappointed.  In Victorian England, Claudine Burroughs is unhappily married, but finds purpose in volunteering for a clinic for downtrodden women.  Of course her husband doesn’t approve of this, especially as Claudine is quickly drawn into the murder of a young prostitute during the Christmas season.  Our reader didn’t find much closure in the book, and much preferred Perry’s more vigorous mysteries.

Thinking back to her time working in the United States government, a reader just had to check out Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff.  Beginning during the Cold War, officials carefully laid plans in order to evacuate many individuals, from the President down to smaller but still important government employees, in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the Capitol.  Using thousands of formerly classified documents and interviewing many current and former employees in the Continuity of Government (COG) program, Graff has plumbed the depths of governmental secrecy and paranoia, and laid it out for the public to see.

The Triple Agent: The Al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA by Joby Warrick made another reader think deeply about the wars in the Middle East.  Jordanian spy Humam Khalil al-Balawi managed to make his way to a very high level of al-Qaeda.  Turning to the CIA, he then provided intelligence on the terrorist organization, but eventually betrayed the United States by detonating a thirty-pound suicide bomb, killing seven CIA agents.  Our reader was disturbed by the massive loss of life and so much hate on all sides.

Finally, our last reader enjoyed The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb.  The author retells a story based on historical fact, that of young Zona Heaster who was murdered by her new husband, Erasmus Trout Shue.  Set in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, the Greenbrier ghost has been passed down as a folktale.  While Zona’s death is first deemed caused by a fall down the stairs, Zona appears to her mother Mary Jane and tells her that her death was no accident.  Our reader said that as always, McCrumb researched her story meticulously and told the story so beautifully.

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