Tag Archives: Indiebound

Getting Lucky by DC Brod

19th December 2011

*I received an egalley through NetGalley from Tyrus Books. Buy it here from Indiebound. Buy the first in the series, Getting Sassy, here.

Robyn Guthrie is 40-something, caring for her ailing but sharp-tongued mother and stumbling through the complexities of a relationship on the brink of ruin. Her one solace? Her dog Bix and her job. As a freelance reporter, Robyn has a fair amount of autonomy until Claire, a reporter at the Fowler News and Record, is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Robyn feels a kinship with Claire because Claire was a dog owner as well and was actually killed while out walking her pup. Everyone else thinks the accident was a random hit and run, but Robyn is curious… Claire was working on a story about a community of eco-built homes in Cedar Ridge, and Robyn retraces her steps to figure out just what was going on in the development.

The last time I browsed NetGalley, I saw this book and grabbed it up mostly because of the cover and description. I kept reading because DC Brod wrote an intelligent, odd little mystery with a sense of humor that is more than a run-of-the-mill whodunit. Instead, it’s a novel of relationships. Robyn’s mother wants them to buy a home together, while Robyn is trying to figure out whether her boyfriend is ok with her desire not to have children. Robyn knows what she wants, but voicing it isn’t always easy, even for such a strong-willed woman. The mystery is not an afterthought, however, and Robyn’s journalistic investigation reminded me how much fun books with good reporters in them can be. This is most definitely a series you want to keep an eye on.

Read this: if you aren’t a huge mystery lover but want to give one a try. For you mystery lovers: grab it. You won’t regret it.

P.S. Sorry for going MIA last week. I was out of town for work with no Internet connection. Plus, the end of the semester is always a bit harried, even without a trip out of town. Hope all is well in your worlds!

A Single Shot by Matthew F. Jones

19th September 2011

*I received an ebook of A Single Shot from Mulholland Books through NetGalley. A Single Shot is on sale today. Buy it from Indiebound.

John Moon is a dude with bad luck. His dad lost the farm before his time. His wife left with his kid. And while he’s out poaching on someone else’s land tracking a wounded deer, he shoots something rustling in the bushes: a girl, a young one. And it seems she wasn’t alone. John finds tens of thousands of dollars in cash wadded next to a sleeping bag, a teddy bear, and a photograph. As John frantically tries to undo the damage of that one shot, he realizes the girl’s companion won’t stop until he hunts down John..and the money.

A Single Shot has such a simple premise: down-on-his-luck guy makes a bad mistake, finds money, goes on the run… Except John Moon doesn’t run. He stays right where he is, in his trailer in the mountains. Why? Because it’s his land, and a man doesn’t leave his land, even if it technically isn’t his anymore. And as the town becomes more and more claustrophobic and the evidence of his mistake mounts, John is in terrible danger.

This book scared the crap out of me. I mean, you guys know I’m a scaredy cat already, but this book was petrifying because I live near backwoods towns like this one, and every brutality, every threat of violence is so real.

With books like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which scared me like crazy), you know there are sickos out there like that, but it seems a little…outlandish. A Single Shot? There’s probably dudes like this all over the place. They’ve probably sat in my classroom. Backwoods guys – they know how to work a hunting knife. Need I say more? This book had my palms sweating and raised my heartbeat, too. It just doesn’t stop. It’s graphic and dirty, and I felt like I needed a shower for much of it, but I also couldn’t help but root for John.

In his own way, he tries to make good out of the bad. At times, Jones seemed to be making him out as a smart guy (or smarter than he’s given credit for), and he’s not that. I mean, he doesn’t go to the cops about the girl. He doesn’t leave the money. He doesn’t warn his ex-wife to take the baby and run. I think, more than anything, though, it’s because of his guilt. It stymies him, and he absolutely has no idea how to get out of it. So you sit, and you watch it play out, and when it ends, it’s not redemptive. But Jones doesn’t insult your intelligence as a reader. The book ends the way it should because the bad guys are bad guys. The good guys, well, they aren’t so good. And no one has an out.

Read this: if you like Cormac McCarthy. Or stories of guilt. Or thrillers.

Calling Mr. King by Ronald De Feo

29th August 2011

*I received this book at BEA from the great folks at Other Press. Buy it now from Indiebound.

What happens when a hit man is tired of being a hit man? He turns to architecture, of course. At least that’s what Mr. King does after he becomes increasingly distracted on the job. Mr. King is the go-to guy if you need someone hunted down and pegged, quickly and in a professional manner, but his latest target bothers him. The target seems cheerful, almost toying with his executioner, and when he buys a white carnation and places it in his lapel, taunting King, it’s game over. But King is thrown.

For a man who, for obvious reasons, has such difficulty in building a stable life, Mr. King suddenly wants one desperately, buying book after heavy book full of Georgian homes and their histories, seeking not just an abode but an area of interest. He knows how to hunt. He knows how to kill. He realizes, almost too late, he wants something more than either of those things.

The book isn’t action packed, which is not at all what you expect when the premise includes a hit man. Instead, King’s obsession takes control of everything, and there were several moments when I wanted to snap him out of it, but De Feo doesn’t let King – or the reader – off that easily, and King travels deeper into himself, unwilling to answer the phone call with his order to kill.

In the end, the symmetry of this novel was perfect. And it’s something I JUST CAN’T GIVE AWAY. And that drives me crazy. Because I totally want to sit and tell you how cool the ending is, but I can’t. And won’t.

This won’t be a book for everyone. In fact, if you are looking for a James Bond-style narrative, please do not pick this up. This novel’s intricacies lie in its exploration of obsession but also in structure and writing, and though not everyone will like that, I really did.

P.S. Read the first chapter here.