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Sunday, July 21, 2019

A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb

Mysteries set in another time period have their own allure.  Murder  and murderer have never been limited to time or place, and the reasons for murder vary and remain the same.  The old axiom for motives:  "love, lust, lucre, loathing" can incorporate a longer list that fit somewhere in sub-topics under those four or combinations thereof.

For those of us who love historical mysteries, the motives are also related to societal norms and events.  Interest also comes from the characters tasked with solving the murders and the methods employed long before all of the technology present- day investigators have at their disposal.

Candace Robb's excellent mysteries are set in the late Middle Ages in the time of Geoffrey Chaucer and John of Gaunt.  

 After the death of John Thoresby, Archbishop of York, Owen Archer finds himself at a crossroads.  Despite the frequent difficulties and differences of opinion Owen experienced with his late patron, Owen had gained respect and affection for the man.     Now, he has decisions to make about the future for himself and his family.

As usual, an engaging mystery and well-developed characters backed by excellent research.

I love this series.

Read in April.  Blog review scheduled for July 21.

NetGalley/Severn House
Medieval Mystery.  Aug. 1, 2019.  Print length:  256 pages.  

More June and July Reading

Darkness on the Fens is the 10th? book in Joy Ellis' Nikki Galena series, which I read like gum drops with each new entry.

Dark Greenborough is a traditional festival celebrated much like Halloween with ghost walks, haunted houses, and people dressed as zombies, monsters, and other creepy characters.  Nikki isn't happy about the darker content of the festival which has changed since she was young, but the festival is an economic boon for the town.  This year, however, a note arrives telling the police that the festival this will be dangerous.  The reality is even worse.  (from my review on my other blog)

I liked Dave's role in this one and his interest in historic homes.  Joseph's friend Victor is becoming a staple in trying to keep Nikki's mother Eve and her friends safe.

This is not my favorite in the series because of the elaborate and gruesome plot, but Ellis' characters are, as always, worth catching up with. :)  And Eve and her "golden girl" network is really growing on me.  I'd love to see them get a book of their own.

NetGalley/Joffe Books
Police Procedural.  July 16, 2019.  Print length:  302 pages.

I've been following Evan Currie's Odyssey One series for several years now (and yes, loving this military scifi series).
Now, new technology has created the Archangel Squadron of ships to be led by Commander Stephen "Stephanos" Michaels .  Their orders are to impersonate mercenaries as they move into deep space seeking intelligence to help defeat the Empire.

I love the action, the technology, and the characters in these books.  Archangel One gives Stephanos a larger role in this parallel  series connected to the larger Odyssey series, but focusing on the mission of intelligence gathering.

Stephanos, with his willingness to take risks, is perfect for the mission.  

These books are like graphic novels in many ways.  There's a screenplay quality to this series, and the books are action, not character driven.  The characters are likable, and I appreciate the continuity from book to book with its ensemble cast.  

The books are great fun, full of suspense, and hard to put down.  

NetGalle/47 North
Military SciFi.  Sept. 1, 2019.  Print length:  272 pages.

He Will Find You is the third in this series featuring DI Harry Blaker and DS Maddie Ives.   I read the first one last year, but missed the second one.

A young boy covered in blood, terrified, and unwilling or unable to speak; a man completing tasks for some kind of online group; a young man taken in by the same promises, but who wants out, even when he is in too deep.

Gruesome and full of twists.  Not exactly my favorite kind of book, but I didn't want to abandon it either.

NetGalley/Joffe Books
Thriller/Police Procedural.  July 19, 2019.  

The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele will satisfy those who want a hopeful dystopian novel.

I liked some of the ideas of a community working together to salvage what they can in a world gone horribly wrong and to adjust to the changes forced upon them by the lack of electricity, a population decimated by a virulent flu, and the collapse of government.  

Beatrix, however, was annoying and almost everything connected to her part of the story was more than a little pedantic.  Much of the time, I wanted to shake her sense of righteousness.  (Obviously, if she and her activist friends had been in charge, the world would never have descended into to chaos.)

 I'm happy that there are people who stand up for their beliefs (many of which I agree with), but ugh--the smug, condescending attitude of the Beatrix before and after the collapse is irritating.  

Beatrix has good qualities, but the author's attempt to give her this activist background has such a holier-than-thou feeling.   Being committed to a cause is one thing; being smug and condescending is another.

Carson's journey on foot across the continent to find Beatrix has him meeting more good and generous people than dangerous ones.   I love the idea that people would be so generous, sharing the little they have with others, and I know that this could be the saving grace of humanity in such a situation--it might be hopeful to expect such generosity from so many.   

I don't regret reading The Lightest Object and the writing is excellent, but especially with what is going on in our society today, it may be too optimistic.

NetGalley/Algonquin Books
Dystopian.  July 9, 2019.  Print length:  329 pages.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Snap Shot by Marilyn Todd

Although the cover has no real connection to the book which is set in 1895 and is not gory in the way the cover implies, I liked the description and the Victorians setting and decided to give it a go.

from description:  1895, London 

Taking risqué photographs is the only way Julia McAllister can retain her independence as a young widow in London. 

But one by one, her models are dying — and now she is being framed for their murders. 

The relentless Inspector Collingwood is on the case and Julia knows he’s watching her every move. 

With young women still dying, and her own life on the line, Julia must unmask the real killer before it is too late… 

Can Julia clear her name? Will Collingwood believe her?

Or will the dark secrets of her past come back to haunt her…? 

Snap Shot is the first in a new series featuring Victorian photographer Julia McAllister.   Julia is intelligent and skilled; however, in order to keep customers, she has to pretend that the previous owner of the studio is still alive.  An independent woman with her own business doesn't sit well with the Victorian social norms, so Julia keeps up the facade of being the apprentice photographer.  But taking the ordinary pictures of the trade barely sustain her, and Julia wants a nest egg large enough to help her travel and take artistic photographs.

Thus the sideline of naughty pictures.  I was happy with this one, which has some light moments among the more serious incidents...until the end.  I wasn't as pleased with the end.  

I imagine the next book will be about Julia becoming a crime photographer.  She mentions that the French have already begun using crime photography.  I imagine she is referring to 
Bertillon, who pioneered the practice of mug shots and crime scene photographs.    (some of the photos are graphic.)

Read in June; blog review scheduled for July 18.

NetGalley/Sapere Books
Historical Mystery.  July 29, 2019.  Print length:  252 pages.

Welcome to the bookstore...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Stuff That Interests Me

Letters and Tearooms

 Ten Illuminating Letters From Authors to Authors  

Tea rooms and Feminism 

A Mighty Girl--Book and film suggestions for girls of all ages:

Twelve Amazing Canadian Women--including Lucy Maud Montgomery, Margaret Atwood, and Buffy St. Marie.

Six Mighty Women Who Deserve a Film of Her Own:  Iday B. Wells, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maria Tallchief, Rachel Carson, Nancy Wake, and Wanagri Maathaie.

Beyond Harry Potter: 35 Fantsy Adventure Series Starring Mighty Girls

And on and on with so many girls and women, real and fictional.  

Picture Books

The Right Books at the Right Time

Why Picture Books Are So Important

books vs tv


For those of us who love mysteries and psychological thrillers, this article is about gaslighting in psychologyThere are actually a surprising number of articles about gaslighting, a fact that makes me a little uneasy.  

Gaslighting is one of the creepiest and most sinister forms of manipulation, and I can think of several novels that have made great use of the technique.   The first ones that came to mind:

The Breakdown by B.A. Harris
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

What are some of the novels you can think of that have included gaslighting?

Every once in a while I go through links I've saved.  It is interesting to go through them again.  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan excels in his world-building and character development.  Age of Legend, the fourth book in this six book series, takes place after a gap of five years from the last book and during a stalemate in the war.

Persephone takes a backseat during this book and other characters get their time in the spotlight.

Sullivan writes the kind of epic fantasy that keeps you turning the pages, engrossed in the characters and in the action.  If you decide to read the series, start at the beginning (Age of Myth) to see the character development and the beginning of the rebellion.

I started with Age of Myth in 2016.  Then--knowing that it would be at least a year until the next book, I binged on the The Riyria Revelations, starting with the Theft of Swords and was completely caught up with the characters and suspense.

Honestly, as much as I've enjoyed the books in the Age of Legends of the First Empire series, I still think my favorites are the books in The Riyria Revelations trilogy.  I still think of Royce and Hadrian   as real people.  :)

Read in May.  Blog review scheduled for July.

NetGalley/Grim Oak Press
Epic Fantasy.  July 9, 2019.  Print length:  480 pages.  

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Save Me From Dangerous Men, Old Bones, and The Merciful Crow

The opening chapter of Save Me from Dangerous Men was very much old-fashioned Noir, which is not my thing, but by the end of the first chapter, I was intrigued.

The style changed, and I was hooked on Nikki , private investigator, bookstore owner, and vigilante.  Now, although I believe a woman can be a physical threat in the right circumstances, Nikki does go a bit overboard.  Regardless of how skilled a woman might be, men are typically at an advantage physically--so although Nikki prevails in the book, it isn't a logical outcome for most women to depend on strength and technique against a male opponent.    

Nikki becomes something of the graphic novel hero in that regard.  Not that we aren't delighted with the outcomes, but maybe less Lisbeth Salander and more Jessica Jones.  :) 

I hope the next book has more input from the characters in the Zebras, the bookclub that meets at Nikki's bookstore.  This could easily become a series I want to follow, but I'd like more character-driven stories and much more about the bookstore and the book club members. 

Read in June. 

NetGalley/Flatiron Books
PI/Suspense.  March 19, 2019.  Print length:  326 pages.

Although I can never resist a Preston & Childs book, Old Bones takes a somewhat different path.  This is the first book in a series featuring Norah Kelly, a character in several of the Agent Pendergast books.

from description:The first in the groundbreaking Nora Kelly series from #1 bestselling authors Preston & Child blends the legend of the Donner party with a riveting suspense tale, taking the dynamic duo's work to new heights.

I actually liked rookie Agent Corrine Swanson, who also has appeared in an earlier book, better than Norah--which was a little surprising.

So...the book was...a little slow and didn't engage me the way some of the previous books have.  Special Agent Pendergast makes only  a cameo appearance at the end, and I was disappointed with the lack of weirdness he usually brings to these novels.  Because Pendergast IS the reason I gobble up these strange, silly, supernatural books!  

Read in June.

NetGalley/Grand Central Publishing
Thriller?  Aug. 20, 2019.  Print length:  384 pages.

OK, first sentence:  "Pa was taking too long to cut the boys' throats."

The Merciful Crows are the mercy killers of those dying of an excruciating plague.  When a village seeks their help, they send for the Crows to end the suffering of the infected and to dispose of the bodies before the plague spreads.  

In a world of castes, the Crows--despite their uses--are pariahs and preyed upon by other castes.  The book opens with the Merciful Crows called upon to end the suffering of a royal and dispose of the body by ritual burning, but there are two victims instead of one.  And neither one has the plague.

Since the Crows are immune to the plague, they play an important role in the safety of the kingdom, but are still despised.  Fie, sixteen-year-old daughter of the Crow chief is full of personality and grit and sees a desperate chance to improve the lot of her fellow Crows.
Spanish cover

There is a wicked queen who wants the Crown Prince and his body double dead; a group of night marauders from the Oleander Gentry; a troupe of misfit Crows, and lots of suspenseful moments.  

It took me a couple of chapters to get a fix on the magic system, but once I had that, I was engrossed with the characters and their adventures.  Like the best of YA fiction, the only thing that separates it from other books in the fantasy genre is the age of the important characters.

Read in June.

NetGalley/Henry Holt
YA/Fantasy.  July 30, 2019.  Print length:  384 pages.  

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, De Gaulle, and Von Choltitz Saved the City of Light

Although I usually read nonfiction slowly, The Liberation of Paris  proved one of those books that caught my interest early and refused to let me quit reading until I was finished.

Jean Edward Smith (born October 13, 1932) is a biographer and the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University.[1] He is also professor emeritus at the University of Toronto after having served as professor of political economy there for thirty-five years. Smith is also on the faculty of the Master of American History and Government program at Ashland University.[2]
The winner of the 2008 Francis Parkman Prize and the 2002 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, Smith has been called "today’s foremost biographer of formidable figures in American history."[1][3]

One of those rare historians who can make history come alive, Jean Edward Smith's account of the liberation of Paris is an engrossing narrative of the three men who worked together to save the city.  All three had to circumvent difficult situations (and often  their immediate superiors) to do what they thought best.

At De Gaulle's request, Eisenhower's decision to liberate Paris--which Allied Planners wanted delayed--was largely political, to avoid the communist resistance gaining power, while Von Choltitz, knowing the war was lost and not wanting the blame for destroying  Paris, did his best to avoid Hitler's command to defend the city to the last man and leave the city in ruins.  

The machinations of all three men to save the city required some devious thinking, especially on the part of Von Choltitz, who was ordered to destroy the seventy bridges of Paris and reduce the city rubble.  The communications between De Gaulle and Eisenhower are especially interesting, as are the communications between Von Choltitz and his superiors.  

The liberation of Paris was a morale booster, but it did delay the end of the war by giving the Germans the opportunity to regroup.  Regardless of whether it was the best decision possible, liberating Paris was a momentous emotional success, and the story that led up to  the liberation is fascinating.

If you are interested in WWII, I highly recommend this compelling account of the liberation of Paris.

Read in April; blog review scheduled for July 9, 2019.

NetGalley/Simon & Schuster
Nonfiction/WWII.  July 23, 2019.  Print length:  256 pages.  

I'm interested in Another Life.  I have to know how VBS got out of hand!

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Gretchen by Shannon Kirk, Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis, and The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris

Strange landlords and tenants with secrets, Gretchen will give you  some nightmarish and sinister moments that will make your skin crawl.

The beginning catches the suspenseful feel of a mother and daughter on the run.  Someone tried to kidnap Lucy when she was two, and after her mother gets her back, the two have been on the move for the last fifteen years, never too long in one place, always taking precautions to keep from being recognized.

At fifteen Lucy is exhausted with the need to keep on the run, and even if she understands her mother's paranoia, Lucy is tired of never having friends or stability.

After failing to maintain all of her mother's rules at their last location, Lucy must abandon another school.  The two end up in a small New Hampshire town, and Lucy falls in love with their prospective rental.  The landlord has a few rules and boundaries that Lucy doesn't mind, but that make her mother reluctant to sign the rental agreement.  

After a bit of a power struggle, Lucy gets her way. She's tired of running, more and frustrated with her mother's refusal to provide information about their circumstances, and eager for a permanence she's never had.  But even though she's able to force her mother into staying, Lucy knows their landlord and his daughter are...weird.

I didn't see the unexpected twist until the author wanted me to.

Gretchen would make a great Halloween read (it's seriously creepy). Or you can go ahead and read it now and use the chills to combat summer heat!   

Read in June.  Blog review scheduled for 

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer
Thriller.  July 23, 2019.  Print length:  353 pages.

Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis, the latest in Ellis' Nikki Galena series will comfort you with the return of Nikki, Joseph, and their team and unsettle you with their most recent case.  

Retired fire inspector John Carson has been following several small fires that he suspects is an arsonist learning his craft.  Something about these fires makes him suspect that the arsonist has a much bigger plan in mind.  Carson eventually reaches out to his old friend DCI Cameron Walker whith his fears about escalation.

Soon, Nikki and her team find themselves with an arsonist who sets fires after making sure his victims can't escape.  The victims mount, and Nikki and her team are at a loss as to how these victims are related--and they must be, because the arsonist seems to have a list.  

Another great addition to the DI Nikki Galena series.  If you want a new series of good police procedurals be sure to check out Joy Ellis--I look forward to each new addition.

Joffe Books
Police Procedural.  2018.  Print length:  313 pages.

I saw an article about The Lost Words on Brain Pickings and could not resist this marvelous combination of art and poems.  

"In early 2015, when the 10,000-entry Oxford children’s dictionary dropped around fifty words related to nature — words like fernwillow, and starling — in favor of terms like broadband and cut and paste, some of the world’s most prominent authors composed an open letter of protest and alarm at this impoverishment of children’s vocabulary and its consequent diminishment of children’s belonging to and with the natural world."   (Brain Pickings)

It is an over-sized, gorgeous book, and I absolutely love it.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager and Ancient Blood and Mojado by R. Allen Chappell

The blurb sounded interesting, so I decided to give Lock Every Door a try--even after being pretty apathetic about Sager's The Last Time I Lied.

from the blurb:  The next heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost more than it pays.

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

OK, mostly it feels like it was inspired by Rosemary's Baby --the brownstone with a sordid history,  strange tenants, etc. 

It fell flat for me, but may thrill you.  

Read in June.  Blog review scheduled for 

NetGalley/Penguin Group
Mystery/Thriller?  July 2, 2019.  Print length: 384 pages.

Of course, I've continued with R. Allen Chappell's Navajo Nation Mysteries, and Ancient Blood adds even more interest with the introduction of Charlie Yazzie's former archaeology/anthropology professor, George Custer and childhood friend Harley Ponyboy.  

The professor's most recent dig is a kiva that might help with his theories about the migration of the Anasazi, but even before his team arriveshe is attacked and the site vandalized.   

Charlie and Thomas Begay begin looking into the suspects, trying to prevent further vandalism and attacks on the site.


The professor's theories are controversial and some members of an Indian Rights movement would rather not have them published.   The violence escalates from damage to the site to more serious and deadly acts.

Harley is now my favorite character because of the humor he adds.  

Mojado takes a different turn with a serial killer who has no specific prey--a professional from Mexico, he kills anyone who might reveal his presence.  Man, woman, matters little to the Mojado, who is on the run and has a private goal. 

The murders are callous and cold-blooded, but they don't celebrate violence.  The Mojado has no compunction about killing, but neither does he take delight in killing.  

As Charlie Yazzi, Thomas Begay, and Harley Ponyboy pursue the killer through the harshest areas of the reservation, all four men approach exhaustion.

Aside from the characters who continue to grow, I love the way Chappell presents the land and the culture of the Four Corners region.

I reviewed the first two books in the series here.

---------The Garden kept me busy in June.

-----------Some of June's Snail Mail

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The Unlucky Ones by Kerry Wilkinson

I'm happy to have had another Jessica Daniel mystery from Kerry Wilkinson.

from description:  A man who survived being drowned ends up in Manchester’s canal. Someone who was hit by a car is shoved in front of DC Archie Davey’s patrol vehicle. 

Killers generally aren’t a happy bunch but this particular one seems to have a problem with second chances. 

In The Unlucky Ones, not only is someone making sure that those who barely escape death on one occasion, die the way they were "intended"--but maybe taking things one at a time is too darned slow.

 Jessica also has another problem to solve.   The Lees Estate has been particularly troublesome in the past, but about eight months ago crime reports suddenly began slowing down.  Now, the estsate is almost crime free, and Jessica is suspicious of the sudden lapse in criminal activity and of a man who seems to have unusual control over the estate.  He moved in at about the same time things on the estate improved, but isn't that a good thing?

This series begins with The Killer Inside and introduces some of the characters who continue throughout the series.  Not only Jessica, but secondary characters, are three-dimensional and convincing in their roles.  

Police Procedural.  July 9, 2019.  Print length:  352 pages.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Shamed by Linda Castillo

Last year, I read Down a Dark Road, my first foray into Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder series. (Thanks, Kay, for the heads up on this series.)

Shamed is another excellent entry set in Painters Mill, Ohio and the Amish community.

from description:   An Amish grandmother is murdered on an abandoned farm, her seven year old granddaughter abducted. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder plunges headlong into a case that quickly becomes a race against the clock. She knows the longer the girl is missing, the more likely a tragic outcome. The family of the missing girl is well thought of—a pillar of the Amish community. Their pain is palpable and they cooperate in every way, but Kate soon learns they’re keeping secrets...

There are now eleven books featuring Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police in Painters Mill, and the two books that I've read have had compelling mysteries with complex situations.  Insights into the Amish community and the contrast of the peaceful lifestyle and the violence that intrudes makes the books even more engrossing.

Read in March; blog review scheduled for June 30.

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Mystery/Crime.  July 16, 2019.  Print length:  320 pages.
I love Steve McCurry's photographic blog and this entry is about reading in different settings, in different countries, for different reasons.  

Everywhere I go in the world, I see young and old,rich and poor, reading books.Whether readers are engaged in the sacred or the secular,they are, for a time, transported to another world.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Liar's House by Carla Kovach and Some Interesting Takes by Behavioral Scientist Paul Dolan

The Liar's House is the fourth in the series, but I haven't read the first three.  DI Gina Harte has a past having to do with her abusive husband that she would rather not be made public, but years later, her equally despicable brother-in-law turns up in her current case.

In her current case, Jade Ashworth has been murdered, and 
seven years ago, Samantha disappeared.  At first glance--nothing appears to connect the two women.  Yet as Gina and her team investigate, the connections appear.

A suspenseful plot with several twists.  My main problem is with the number of controlling men and the women who allow the control.  It isn't that I don't realize that this sort of thing can happen, but this book has way too many women who are easily dominated by the men in their lives.

The plot involves a wife-swapping group, and most of the women don't want to take part, but are pressured by their husbands or partners.  Of course, the women have to have been habituated to that kind of pressure even before the "parties," but it is discouraging to read about so many women in unequal relationships, who feel it so necessary to have a man in their lives that they give up their own autonomy.

The reviews of this one are overwhelmingly positive, and it is suspenseful and the guilty party unexpected, but it was depressing.  

Read in May.  Blog review scheduled for June 28.

Crime/Police Procedural.  July 2, 2019.  Print length:  337 pages.

Behavioral scientist Paul Dolan "analyzed data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS)"   that indicates single women without children are happiest: Unmarried Women Are the Happiest and Healthiest.  The same survey is also in The Guardian and The Independent.  Interesting and taking in several factors that make sense, and yet....

This might be true if there were no pressure to marry and have children, but there is tremendous social pressure to have a partner and few women can resist it.  A bit of a conundrum.   "Despite the benefits of a single, childless lifestyle for women, Dolan believes that the existing narrative that marriage and children were signs of success meant that the stigma could lead some single women to feel unhappy."

It is interesting that I read these articles after reading The Liar's House which already had me curious about why so many women find such unsuitable partners--women who are willing to sacrifice their own beliefs and who choose partners who make them miserable.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
surprised me; it turned out to be more than what I expected.  
from description:  A short, irresistible, and bittersweet coming-of-age story in the vein of Stranger Things and Stand by Me about a group of misfit kids who spend an unforgettable summer investigating local ghost stories and urban legends
Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls - a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place - Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turns twelve, he befriends a pair of siblings new to town, and so Calvin decides to initiate them all into the "Saturday Night Ghost Club." But as the summer goes on, what begins as a seemingly light-hearted project may ultimately uncover more than any of its members had imagined. With the alternating warmth and sadness of the best coming-of-age stories, The Saturday Night Ghost Club is a note-perfect novel that poignantly examines the haunting mutability of memory and storytelling, as well as the experiences that form the people we become, and establishes Craig Davidson as a remarkable literary talent.
When the novel began with the observations of a brain surgeon, I was a bit taken aback.  The narrative is about misfit kids and an unforgettable summer, but there is also an acutely philosophical theme of memory and its vagaries.  The adult Jake moves from his current career as a neurosurgeon to his memories of the summer when he was twelve--his family, his friends, and his understanding of events in the past.

Read in March; review scheduled for June 26.

NetGalley/Penguin Group
Coming of Age.  First published in 2018; July 9, 2019.  Print length:  240 pages.