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Showing posts from February, 2017

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

Under the Harrow is Flynn Berry's debut novel.  It's a fairly gripping, fast read with chapters that fly by--due in part to their brevity as well as the engrossing story.  Set in England, the story takes place in a small English village about an hour's train ride from London.

When Nora arrives to visit her sister Rachel for her semi-regular weekend visit, Nora is shocked to find a brutal blood bath in her sister's home instead, and at its center, her sister's lifeless body, viciously stabbed nearly a dozen times.  Unmoored by her grief and with little faith in the police detectives' ability to find her sister's killer, Nora embarks upon her own investigation to find both her sister's murderer and the man who brutally assaulted Rachel and left her for dead when she was a teenager.  Is it possible her sister's attacker and murderer were the same man?

The police investigation reveals to Nora the secrets her sister kept even from her.  There was Rachel&…

Escape Clause by John Sandford

Escape Clause is the ninth Virgil Flowers novel by John Sandford.  I have previously reviewed the first eight installments of this series here on the blogs.  Here's a link to the last one: Deadline.  And you can click on the John Sandford tag or search John Sandford on the blog to find the others.  In this installment Flowers takes on a wild case that quickly escalates from thievery/catnapping to murder.

When two rare, endangered tigers are catnapped from the state zoo, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension puts their best investigator on the case that could become a public relations nightmare if the tigers turn up dead.  Unfortunately scant clues and even less evidence leads to few leads for Flowers to follow up.  So he does what he does best: he starts asking questions, gathering information, and learning the local players in the illegal animal poaching and traditional medicine communities.  Eventually he bumps up against a name, Winston Peck, M.D., a shady character in the tradit…

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is a British writer; if I counted correctly on her website, this is her nineteenth novel.  I previously read about half of Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan, and then stopped because classes started.  I never picked it back up and haven't finished it.  The Bookshop on the Corner follows a similar plot from Little Beach Street Bakery and at least one other of Colgan's novels: a woman must leave most everything behind and start over again in a location where she finds a new home, love, and friends.  The Bookshop on the Corner is Colgan's love letter to readers and book lovers everywhere (she says so in the foreword of the book).  And the main character is very much a reader and lover of books.

When Nina's library is downsized and closed, the book loving librarian loses her job.  But her misfortune presents Nina with the perfect opportunity to chase her dream of opening a small bookshop.  And that's exactly what she does.  She finds a van for sa…

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit is the author of 15 books, among them Men Explain Things to Me, as well as essays and atlases.  The tagline on the home page of her website describes Solnit as "writer, historian, and activist."  Men Explain Things to Me is a slim volume of essays including the essay that lends its title to the volume.  I don't remember where or how I first came across Men Explain Things to Me, but it has been on my to-read list for quite a while.  It begins with the essay of the same title which is a deep exploration of the phenomenon now popularly referred to as "mansplaining."

The essays in this collection explore a number of ideas that share a common theme: society's silencing of women in a multitude of ways.  There is the silencing of women's voices through social mores ingrained in women from childhood through adulthood that condition the devaluation of the female voice.  Solnit also traces much of the violence that men commit against women to the…