Mailbox Monday is on tour! That's right-- my favorite weekly meme is out and about. For the entire month of September you'll be able to find Mailbox Monday on Bermudaonion's Weblog. If taking a look at the books other people discovered in their mailboxes intrigues you, and if you'd like to participate, this just might be the meme for you. Thanks for hosting, Kathy!
I know many of you are familiar with putting books on hold at your local libraries, but here in the Sonoran Desert, it seems that someone put a season on hold. Although it's supposed to be autumn in a couple of days, we're breaking records. We'll break another one today if Mother Nature has her way-- 108°F. (42°C.). Stay in the pool with a good book and a cold drink, eh?
This week I started hauling myself back up on the restraint-in-book-buying wagon. I sent 12 books to new Paperback Swap (PBS) foster homes and received 4. Here's the scoop on the four that I pulled out of my mailbox:
- Slipknot by Linda Greenlaw (PBS). "Jane Bunker gave up her law-enforcement job in Florida to become a marine consultant in Green Haven, Maine. She was hoping for a little quiet time, inspecting businesses for insurance-code violations, but what she found instead was a dead body, a murderous conspiracy, and a town where everybody seems to have a secret. The author, who lives in Maine (where she operates a lobster boat), does an excellent job of portraying a small town and its citizens. Her handling of the mystery elements of the story is less solid—she's guilty of a few rookie mistakes, such as making key plot points just a little too obvious—but she's a smooth writer, and Jane is a likable protagonist. Given room to grow, this series could enjoy a long life."
- Buck Fever by Ben Rehder (PBS). "County game warden John Marlin and Sheriff Herbert Mackey lock horns when two dumb-and-dumber poachers accidentally shoot another idiotic guy wearing a deer costume. The poachers also wound a particularly rambunctious big-antlered buck, which just happens to be Marlin's former pet. Elsewhere in the county, a body is discovered beneath a shoddily repaired bridge, and a slick, drug-dealing Colombian comes looking for a game, ranch-owning, crooked lobbyist. This is a wild and crazy first novel, crowded with weird people, unusual relationships (both animal and human), and frequent humor that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, and other comic mystery writers."
- A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson (PBS). "The real star of this gripping and beautifully written mystery (which won the British Crime Writers' Golden Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel last year) is Portugal, whose history and people come to life on every page. Wilson tells two stories: the investigation into the brutal sex murder of a 15-year-girl in 1998, and the tangled, bloody saga of a financial enterprise that begins with the Nazis in 1941. Although the two stories seem unrelated, both are so strong and full of fascinating characters that readers' attention (and their faith that they will eventually be connected) should never waver. The author creates three compelling protagonists: middle-aged detective Jose Coelho, better known as Ze; Ze's late British wife, whom he met while exiled in London with his military officer father during the anti-Salazar political uprisings of the 1970s; and Ze's wise, talented and sexually active 16-year-old daughter. The first part of the WWII story focuses on an ambitious, rough-edged but likeable Swabian businessman, Klaus Felsen, convinced by the Gestapo to go to Portugal and seize the lion's share of that country's supply of tungsten, vital to the Nazi war effort. Later, we meet Manuel Abrantes, a much darker and more dangerous character, who turns out to be the main link between the past and the present. As Ze sifts through the sordid circumstances surrounding the murder of the promiscuous daughter of a powerful, vindictive lawyer, Wilson shines a harsh light on contemporary Portuguese society. Then, in alternating chapters, he shows how and why that society developed. All this and a suspenseful mystery-- who could ask for more?"
- Waking the Ancients: A Novel of the Mogollon Rim by Gail Wanman Holstein (PBS). "Leah Ellis has been disturbed by her husband's behavior ever since they moved to Phoenix. Heir to a fortune back east, Branson now denounces his Philadelphia family. He is captivated by the ruins of ancient people who disappeared centuries ago and speaks of the Anasazi as if he knows them personally. His only possession is his medicine bundle, a spooky heap of fetishes, feathers, and bones. Branson's new mentor, a charismatic renegade archaeologist, does little to calm Leah's jitters. She remains devoted and supportive, however, until a camping trip to the massive Mogollon Rim with their children and her best friend turns into an outrageous experiment. Suddenly Leah must learn new skills: how to hunt with stone-age tools, how to live with ghosts. Most of all, she must control her fear and resentment. As nights turn frigid and the ponderosa forest grows lonelier, the little tribe's existence becomes a desperate struggle for survival. But Leah has her 'magic' from a cave, which might be powerful enough to summon the ancients to her rescue—if she lives long enough to use it."
Have any of you read any of these four books? Would you recommend them? If they're new to you, did you add any of them to your own wish lists? Which ones? You know I'm nosy!
Now comes the best part: visiting all the participants to see what goodies they discovered in their mailboxes!
See you next Monday with another batch of lovelies from my mailbox!