August 2012 Book Review
● By ALS Editor
Bring Your Books Inside And Cool Off
By Ray Saadi / Book Editor
The Good Father
By Noah Hawley
Dr. Paul Allen answers his front door to find two Secret Service agents who inform him that his son, Daniel, has shot and killed a leading Democratic presidential candidate. Allen refuses to believe it even after seeing TV news clips showing Daniel, his son from his first marriage, with the gun struggling with an unidentified man. Ostracized by friends and associates and plagued by reporters, Allen, his second wife and twin boys, move to Arizona to start anew and be nearer to the federal prison where Daniel is held even though his son refuses to see him. This is a gut-wrenching novel of love, anger and guilt and virtually impossible to put down.
By Alafair Burke
Julia Whitmire, the 16-year-old daughter of famed punk rock producer, Bill Whitmire, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, a bottle of wine nearby and a hand written suicide note on her bed. Detectives Ellie Hatcher and her partner J.J. Rogan write it off as a suicide but Julia’s influential parents won’t accept that conclusion and call in favors from police superiors who order the case investigated as murder. Now pressured to pursue the case as a homicide, Ellie finds herself pulled into a world of privileged teens as well as street kids, and a blogger who invites bullying responses. The plot’s twists and turns will have you guessing until the final pages.
By James Rollins
William Morrow $27.99
The President’s pregnant daughter is missing, kidnapped by Somali pirates, but no ransom request is made. The kidnappers don’t want the daughter, but her baby, for fertility experiments in developing a breed of human immortals. SIGMA Commander Gray Pierce is immediately enlisted to rescue daughter and baby and he calls on former Army Ranger Capt. Tucker Wayne and his amazing military dog, Kane, (the real hero here.) Rollins mixes exciting fiction with facts in this exciting thriller. And he documents those facts in an afterword that may be more incredible than the story itself.
By Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard
Henry Holt $28
Although the assassination of President Lincoln is an event known even to grade school kids, the authors have added enough material to add suspense to that horrendous event. Lincoln had just been reelected, and with the Civil War ended, the president finally felt entitled to enjoy a night out with his wife, Mary. Lincoln chose the popular play “My American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre, a fortuitous choice for assassin John Wilkes Booth, a popular actor who knew the logistics of the theatre well. Booth was shot and killed by soldiers and other conspirators were hanged.
By Alex Stone
From age five, when his father gave him a magic set, Stone knew he wanted to become a magician. He began to seriously study and practice close-up magic, later attending many Magic Schools. He eventually became expert enough to achieve membership in the Society of American Magicians, which later demanded his resignation for violating Magic’s cardinal rule by revealing not only thesecrets of his own tricks, but many of other magicians as well. He didn’t resign and they didn’t pursue it. Stone does reveal an expert’s method, (with credit), for remembering names and more by “storing images in imaginary spaces” in your mind. I’m hoping it works for me.
What’s On Your Mind?
Plenty, according to these three authors: In neuroscientist David Eagleman’s, “Incognito” (Pantheon), he examines for example, why you subconsciously hear your name in a conversation you weren’t listening to and why we are always tempted to tell a secret? Charles Duhigg’s “The Power Of Habit” (Random House) illustrates how unknown Pepsodent became the best selling toothpaste of its time and how scientific discoveries explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Finally, there are five tips in Jonah Lehrer’s, “Imagine”explaining how creativity works: Get Stumped; Stick With It; Take a Break; Become an Outsider; and Channel Your Inner Seven-Year-Old. Read all three.
Top Of The Rock
Warren Littlefield with T.R. Pearson
NBC Execs may very well be asking, “Where is Warren Littlefield when we need him?” In the mid-June Nielsen ratings, NBC had only one show in the top 10 (“America’s Got Talent”), putting the network about where it was some years ago when Littlefield became President of Entertainment. In just a five year period, he turned the Net from “Also Ran,” to a Billion Dollar moneymaker with some of the greatest shows ever: Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier, Cheers, ER and more that made it, particularly on Thursdays, “Must See TV.” In unscripted conversations with the stars and producers of the shows, we get a backstage view of the laughs to petty jealousies and drug interventions. True TV fans will love this.
New, Local, And Noteworthy
Camilla Hunt Cole, a former English instructor at UL Lafayette and a licensed professional counselor pens “Mesquite,” a story of Molly, her broken marriage, imminent bankruptcy, and nowhere to turn except back to her home in Mesquite, Texas where she finds strength in touring her roots. Dianne Dempsey-Legnon,another Lafayette educator turned novelist spins a warm tale of life in “Belair Cove,” a nearly Prairie Cajun Village, where “Memiere” recalls for her grandchildren, the story of her life, moments of laughter and poignancy. Anthony J. Lomas delivers a very funny James Bond parody, “Operation Aspic,” with not just one 007 but many triple 0’s and a slew of other agents whose mission is to steal a secret Cajun recipe so the British culinary team can win the World Culinary Olympics. (Even with the recipe, it won’t taste the same.)
New Orleans New Elegance
By Kerri McCaffety w/Intro by Julia Reed
The Monacelli Press $50
Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was forced into creating anew as is elegantly shown in these sumptuous McCaffety photographs. They feature forty luxurious houses and apartments from all areas of the city, many with fantastic Dale Chihuly chandeliers and one boasting an incredible floor to ceiling Swarovski Cascade chandelier designed by Vincent Van Duysen. Even if yours is not a St. Charles Avenue mansion, you’ll find exciting decorating ideas to fire up your imagination.
Hey, What’s for Dinner?
Want Italian? Try Hazan family favorites (Stewart,Tabori & Chang) and their 85 “Beloved Italian Recipes” collected by Guillano Hazan from a 56-year-oldnotebook. Forty sumptuous color photos illustrate dishes from soup to desserts. E 'buono! For Vegetarians, Sally Butcher, chef-proprietor of Persepolis in London, fills “The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian” (Interlink) with recipes that might have you passing up steak for eggplant, tomatoes stuffed with olives or Artichoke Hearts with Pistachio Sauce, to name just a few. And, if you’ve always wished for a book of authentic Cajun dishes, your wish is granted with John Gravois’ “A Cajun Family Cookbook.” Gravois, a former newspaperman from Houma, now an editor at the “Fort Worth Star-Telegram,” reveals recipes his mother taught him for cooking all the essential Cajun dishes. C’est Bon!
The Inquisitor's Key
By Jefferson Bass
William Morrow $25.99
Are bones found in a chest in a newly discovered chamber beneath the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France, those of Jesus of Nazareth? Although the inscription makes that claim, Anthropologists Dr. Bill Brockton and his protégé, Miranda, are skeptical, even after the bones are linked to the Shroud of Turin. Still, at least three parties are determined to make the “relics” theirs at all costs including the lives of the anthropologists. Prepare yourself for a frightening, whirlwind tour of murder and torture amid the palatial beauty of Avignon. If you’re not already a fan of the“Bone Farm” series, this one will definitely make you a believer.