Staff Picks

Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!

March 21, 2016

The Killing Season

The Killing Season
by Cross, Mason

Caleb Wardell is a ruthless killer. He’s been tried, convicted, and locked away in prison on death row in Illinois. But when the van transporting him to Terre Haute is attacked and he finds himself a free man, he decides to make the most of it. That’s when Carter Blake gets an early-morning call; Blake is the man you call to find someone who doesn’t want to be found. The FBI is also trying to find Wardell and some (most) of the agents are none too pleased to have some upstart working with them, especially a man whose methods differ so from theirs. Wardell has nothing to lose and goes about doing what he does best; the people determined to thwart him only make the game that much more exciting for him. This is Cross’s debut novel and already his character, Carter Blake, is being compared to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher: a flawed “loner” hero. The action may also appeal to readers of Owen Laukkanen, Vince Flynn, and Tom (Hinshel)Wood.

The Killing Season is also available as a downloadable e-book.

            --Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library


March 14, 2016

The Andalucian Friend

The Andalucian Friend
by Söderberg, Alexander

A few year ago many fiction readers took up Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series. At that time I was dubious of Scandinavian Crime Fiction as a genre. Since then authors like Alexander Söderberg have reshaped my skepticism to acceptance. I recently read Söderberg’s The Andalucian Friend and was astonished by his cast of guileful characters. Söderberg begins with Jens Vall, an antihero despondently tethered to a criminal arms vector; Sophie Brinkmann, a moored hospital nurse taking a seemingly simple risk when befriending a patient; and Lars Vinge, an unhinged cop recruited by malfeasant senior police. Once the main characters are established the plot spirals towards raging swath revealing mostly vile characters, unscrupulous alliances, and visceral adversaries. Readers won’t find redemptive subtext or lyrical prose, but an author testing the limits of unabashed readers and their credulity. If you are a crime fiction devotee, or appreciate tarantinoesque showdowns, check out The Andalucian Friend.

The Andalucian Friend is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and an audiobook on CD.

               —Recommended by Ryan Houdek, Central Library


March 7, 2016

Jade Mountain Dragon

Jade Dragon Mountain
by Hart, Elsa

Settings long ago and far away allow us to immerse ourselves in another culture and time, to become the proverbial armchair traveler. Jade Dragon Mountain, a first novel by Elsa Hart, takes place in a backwater city in southwest China near the Tibetan border. The time is late eighteenth century. Lyrical descriptions help set the tone. Vivid characters populate the novel. Li Du, the sleuth of the novel, is a librarian exiled for political reasons, a travelling scholar. There are also delightful passages in which Hamza, an itinerant Arabian storyteller, spins his tales. Tulishen, the magistrate of the city of Dayan, provides a bureaucratic counterpoint. The action takes place just before and during the Emperor’s visit during which he is expected to predict the eclipse of the sun.

To top it all off, there is a mystery. Clues are given throughout the novel, but it was difficult to figure out who might have killed an aging Jesuit astronomer. Clues are interspersed with false leads providing intriguing twists in the plot. Curiosity kept me reading. This is a thoroughly satisfying read from 1st page to last, quite an accomplishment for a first novel. Expect to hear more from this author.

Jade Dragon Mountain  is also available as a downloadable e-book.

--Recommended by Janice Swan, Glendale Library


February 29, 2016

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
by King, Stephen
808.02 KIN

I have been a fan of Stephen King's fiction for years. So, in high school my parents gave me On Writing as a Christmas gift. I didn't get it. "But, I’m not a writer!" I thought. Now I realize that they knew me better than I knew myself. Recently I drafted a novel, and reread this book again.

King starts out with what he calls his CV, an autobiography that provides a rich background into his character and upbringing. You can see his evolution, with the help of his single mom and older brother into a voracious reader and tentative writer. He describes the trials and tribulations of perfecting his craft while working odd jobs to support a growing family. And then, he gets down to the nitty gritty, practical tips on writing. King is both self-deprecating in his suggestions and critical of others. He doesn’t pull punches for anyone.

On Writing is currently helping me get through the long slog of revisions and "What was I thinking?" moments. It is a must have for writers and King fans alike, reminding us of the commandment to be honest in our writing.

For instance he suggests: If you curse in real life, then don't have your characters substitute curse words, unless it is for a good reason. If your character is the type to yell "Sugar!" when hitting her thumb with a hammer, that is characterization in and of itself. His advice is invaluable to aid writers in ego and anxiety checks alike.

On Writing is also available as a downloadable e-book and in large print.

--Recommended by Kasey Panighetti, Franklin Road Library


February 22, 2016

We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy

We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy
by Gaines, Caseen
791.4375 GAI

Back to the Future is one of those movies that keeps you guessing. It’s good clean 80s fantastic movie-going entertainment. No matter how many times you see the film, even 30 years after it was first released, the film’s depiction of time travel is still fascinating.

I found We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy to be incredible and mesmerizing. The book, by Caseen Gaines, perfectly captures the fundamentals of what made the Back To The Future films such iconic films in movie history. From the very first chapter, the author takes the reader on a gripping incremental journey, delivering behind the scenes facts on casting changes, pitching, script revisions, stunts, special effects – yes, the Hover Board is finally explained! - and other eye-opening aspects about the production process. The attention to detail concerning the preproduction, casting decisions, creative flexibility, studio involvement and salary negotiations make this book, indubitably, one of the best behind-the-scenes books I’ve ever read.

We Don’t Need Roads is also available as an audiobook on CD.

        --Recommended by Montoya Barker, Lawrence Library