Monday, November 19, 2012

Danny's Mom

I had a hard time reading this book....not hard as in difficult to understand but hard emotionally. But I still couldn't put it down.

Beth Maller's son, Danny is killed in an automobile accident. She didn't want him to drive that night because he'd just gotten his license and snow was predicted. But her husband overrules her saying she's babying him and won't let him grow up. So, off he goes, never to return.

Beth blames her husband but also herself for not being stronger and more assertive. When she returns to her job as a high school guidance counsellor, her meekness is put to the test by a needy student, homophobic slurs against another teacher, and an uncooperative administration.

While reading this novel, I was Beth. I was back in high school dealing with teenagers and all their problems. How many times did I ignore issues so as not to sway the ship? How many students slipped through the cracks because I followed the rules? I'll be haunted by these thoughts and Beth for a long while.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Miracle Cure

I just can't resist Harlan Coben. So when Amazon sent me an email announcing this first book of his was now in Kindle format, I had to download it, of course.

The book is set in the late 80s. Harvey Riker is a scientist working on a cure for AIDS. Things are looking good when several of his experimental patients test negative for the virus. But, now, those survivors are being killed off one by one.

Sara Lowell is a journalist doing a story on the clinic. Her husband is a star basketball player who contracted the AIDS virus through a blood transfusion in the Bahamas six years earlier. Now, he is undergoing Riker's miracle cure. Then he disappears....

This was a quick read. Coben's writing is still immature in it; it lacks the humor and sharp edges of his more recent work. But, it's still plenty good!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

Any title that has the word "bookstore" in it will always catch my attention. And this one was no different.

Clay Jannon is the night clerk at Mr. Penumbra's bookstore. But, it's a weird bookstore. Sure, there are some recent books at the front but the rear of the store is what fascinates Clay. Stacked from floor to ceiling are old books. He's told never to look in them. When patrons come into the store looking for a certain volume, he's to fetch it but that's all.

Of course his curiosity gets the better of him and he peeks. But he can't make out anything because the books are all in code. With the help of several computer geek friends, he embarks on a mission to decode the books.

Robin Sloane's writing is crisp and fresh. But, I have to admit I did get bogged down for awhile in the middle. Maybe it was me but I just didn't care all that much what happened. I put it down and read another book but then went back to it and managed to finish it. I'm glad I did. I liked it. I didn't love it like I thought I would and I can't really put my finger on why. The characters are interesting but there seemed to be something missing in their development.

Overall, though, the concept is cool and worth the money I spent on it.