Highly Recommended Reading: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Jane Harper knocks it out of the park again with her new book, Force of Nature. In Force of Nature, Federal Agent Aaron Falk, whom we met in The Dry, is under pressure from his superiors to obtain key documents that will support charges of money laundering against members of a family-run accounting firm.

To obtain the documents, Falk and his partner recruit/coerce (as law enforcement does) one of the top management employees at the firm who is not a member of the family, Alice Russell. This setup runs smoothly until Alice disappears while on a weekend corporate retreat, hiking and camping with her co-workers in the wilderness.

Told in chapters which alternate between events occurring during the retreat and the investigation into Alice's disappearance, Force of Nature quickly turns into a suspenseful page turner. Did Alice disappear by choice or was she murdered? If she was murdered, was that related to her work with Agent Falk or was it related to heinous crimes which took place i…

Highly Recommended Reading: The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George

Elizabeth George's latest book featuring Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley is everything a novel should be: gripping, layered, and thoroughly enjoyable.

In The Punishment She Deserves, the powers-that-be in New Scotland Yard are pressured by a member of Parliament into reviewing the death of a man while he was in police custody. The events occur in a small college town. The dead man was a local deacon who had been accused of child molestation. Local authorities reviewing the death concluded that it was suicide. The deacon's father does not believe the accusation or that his son killed himself. His threat of a lawsuit and pressure on his local member of Parliament result in Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and her boss, Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, being sent out into the field to determine if the suicide conclusion was reached properly.

Havers is suspicious. Chief Superintendent Ardery is not, although Ardery's attention to the investigation is distract…

Highly Recommended Reading: The Mad Wolf's Daughter by Diane Magras

One of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time is The Mad Wolf's Daughter by Diane Magras. The book's target audience is readers ages 9 to 12, and the lean text reflects that age group, but The Mad Wolf's Daughter is an exciting adventure story that anyone will enjoy.

Set in Scotland during the Middle Ages, the heroine is 12-year old Drest. Drest lives with her father and five brothers; she never knew her mother. The family works together as a household troop, a war-band that goes out to fight and conduct raids. Drest, too, has learned to fight but, because she is the youngest, she has remained home while her family goes out on adventures. One night after her father and brothers returned, very tired, from a raid, a group of knights invade their home turf, a high point of land that extends out into the Scottish waters. On her father's orders, Drest hides from the invaders. And although she escapes harm, her family is captured and taken away by boat.


More Cormoran Strike novels from J.K Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith

Good news mystery fans: A fourth book is on the way in the J.K. Rowling series featuring Cormoran Strike. The new book is reportedly called Lethal White. Additionally, a BBC television series based upon the books is coming to the US this year, reportedly via HBO.

The first three books in the series are excellent and I urge you to check them out. Strike is a private investigator, a former member of the Royal Military Police who lost part of a leg in the Afghanistan war, and the son of a rock star. Rowling pulls all these threads together to make an interesting character, and her imagination and great storytelling skills make for highly entertaining reading.

America is Not the Heart

Hey, hey - I'm currently reading a novel called America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo. An excerpt from this book was posted by the folks at Literary Hub Daily and you can read it by clicking here.

"What does she think she looks like" by Rosemary Hill

From the London Review of Books, an interesting essay by Rosemary Hill about women and clothes, with plenty of literary references.

  Classic styling.

Book Awards - ALA Carnegie Medals

One of the useful things about book awards is that they serve as a reminder to dig into your stack of to-be-read books. The authors of two books in my stack were recently awarded the American Library Association (ALA) Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction: Jennifer Egan for Manhattan Beach (fiction) and Sherman Alexie for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (nonfiction). I'm looking forward to reading both of these books.

Egan previously won a Pulitzer Prize for A Visit from the Goon Squad. Alexie has won many awards, including the National Book Award for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. That book was also the most challenged book of 2014 according to the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom, which annually compiles a list of books that people attempt to ban from schools, libraries and our communities. Making the ALA's banned book list is a resounding recommendation for a book, in my opinion. I read and greatly enjoyed The Absolutely T…