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Kern County Library Staff Suggests...: January Recommendations for Adults

Monday, January 3, 2011

January Recommendations for Adults


The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin - A haunting vision in the woods sets off a series of tragic events, leaving Nicholas Close lost amid visions of ghosts trapped in their often violent, final moments. These uniquely terrifying apparitions lead him on a thrilling and suspenseful ride to confront a wicked soul, and will leave an indelible mark on lovers of high-quality suspense and horror alike. Stephen M. Irwin is the kind of debut author that readers love to discover. His electric use of language, stunning imagery, and suspenseful pacing are all on full display here. The Dead Path is a tour de force of wild imagination, taut suspense, and the creepiest, scariest setting since the sewers in Stephen King’s It.

Half Price Homicide: A Dead-End Job Mystery by Elaine Viets - A posh Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resale shop provides the snazzy scene of the crime in Viets's superior ninth mystery starring Helen Hawthorne, the queen of dead-end jobs and magnet for murder (after 2009's Killer Cuts). Helen and Vera Salinda, the owner of Snapdragon's Second Thoughts, are shocked when Chrissy Martlet, a wealthy developer's sexy trophy wife, is found fatally bonked on the head with a Limoges pineapple, then hung with a Gucci scarf after trying to sell Vera some of her designer goods. Identifying Chrissy's killer as well as the culprit who bashes in the head of a model friend with a beer bottle tests Helen's sleuthing abilities to the limit. A teasing plot twist serves up a reminder that even if her greedy ex-husband, Rob, might finally stop pestering her and better jobs appear, there are still mountains to climb before Helen can rest easy with Phil, her PI honey. Viets doesn't waste a word in this tight, fast-paced installment as she deftly balances comedy and tragedy. - Review from Publisher’s Weekly.

Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel by Armistead Maupin - Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, a gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband. Mary Ann finds temporary refuge in the couple's backyard cottage, where, at the unnerving age of fifty-seven, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes. Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to reengage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her checkered past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined. More than three decades in the making, Armistead Maupin's legendary Tales of the City series rolls into a new age, still sassy, irreverent, and curious, and still exploring the boundaries of the human experience with insight, compassion, and mordant wit.

Take One Candle Light A Room by Susan Straight - Fantine (FX) Antoine is a travel writer, a profession that keeps her happily away from her Southern California home. When she returns to mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of her closest childhood friend, Glorette, she finds herself pulled into the tumultuous life of Glorette’s twenty-two-year-old son—and Fantine’s godson—Victor. After getting involved in a shooting, Victor has fled to New Orleans. Together with her father, Fantine follows Victor, determined to help him avoid the criminal future that he suddenly seems destined for. Fantine’s own fate will be altered on this journey as well: her father will reveal the wrenching secrets of his past, and she will be compelled to question the most essential choices she’s made in her life. As they cross from California to the heart of Louisiana, all three characters will come face-to-face with the issues of race that beset them: Fantine, whose light skin has allowed her a kind of invisibility; her father, who grew up in the Jim Crow South and has tried to guard his family against that world; and Victor, whose fall into violence mirrors the path of so many other young black men. For Fantine, finding Victor could offer them both a way to face the past and decide between different futures.


Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex by Lowell Dingus - A century after his stunning discovery of the most fearsome dinosaur in the world comes the biography of its discoverer. One of the most famous scientists in his day, Brown’s passion for collecting dinosaur fossils allowed him to roam the world as representative of the American Museum of Natural History on expeditions that often served to disguise his covert spying for the U. S. government and oil companies. Brown’s fame extended beyond the dusty fields of paleontology, he was also known as a flashy dresser, gambler and ladies man in the higher circles of society. This absorbing biography takes full measure of a man equal to his historical legacy, making it the definitive account of the life and times of a singular man and superlative fossil hunter.

The Elephant to Hollywood by Michael Caine - When he was in his late fifties, Michael Caine believed his glamorous, rags-to-riches Hollywood career had come to an end. The scripts being sent his way were worse and worse. When one script really disappointed, he called the producer to complain about the part. The producer said, "No, no, we don't want you for the lover, we want you for the father." Salvation came in the unlikely form of his old friend Jack Nicholson, who convinced him to give acting one more shot. What followed was not only an incredible personal transformation but also one of the most radical comebacks in film history. Learning to accept his new role both on camera and in his own life, Caine went on to win his second Oscar, be knighted by the queen, and deliver some of his best performances to date. Now he shares the spectacular story of his life, from his humble upbringing in London's poverty-stricken Elephant and Castle, his military service, touching marriage and family life, and lively adventures with friends, to legendary meetings with fellow stars, forays as a restaurateur, and hilarious off-screen encounters from his glittering five-decade career. Caine brings his gift for storytelling and his insider's view to a tale that is funny, warm, and deeply honest.

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in Sudan by John Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech - One of thousands of children who fled strife in southern Sudan, John Bul Dau survived hunger, exhaustion, and violence. His wife, Martha, endured similar hardships. While John was raised in a centuries old village and Martha in the city of Juba, both convey the best of African values while relating searing accounts of famine and war. There’s warmth as well, in their humorous tales of adapting to American life. For its importance as a primary source, for its inclusion of the rarely told female perspective of Sudan’s lost children, for its celebration of human resilience, this is the perfect story to inform and inspire readers of all ages.

The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist’s Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases by Gary Small - True stories are more bizarre than any fiction, and Dr. Gary Small knows this best. After thirty distinguished years of psychiatry and groundbreaking research on the human brain, Dr. Small has seen it all—now he is ready to open his office doors for the first time and tell all about the most mysterious, intriguing, and bizarre patients of his career. Here we are presented with a spellbinding collection of the doctor's most bewildering cases, from hysterical blindness to fainting schoolgirls, and frighteningly psychotic romantic desires. It is an illuminating journey into the mind of a practicing psychiatrist and a behind-the-scenes look at the field and a variety of mental diseases that, in their puzzling eccentricities, make us human. His career and personal life come full circle when his own mentor becomes his patient, making Small realize that no one is beyond mental exploration—not even himself.


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