Posts tagged: Sharra

Book List: Genre-Bending Authors

By , July 25, 2015

We all have our favorite type of fiction – for example, I tend to read science fiction and fantasy more than anything else. We also tend to have our favorite authors that are our go-to reads in those genres. So what do we do when our favorite science fiction author puts out a romantic comedy novel set in current times? Or our favorite historical fiction writer suddenly gets the idea to write a science fiction thriller?


The Bourbon Kings, J. R. Ward1.First on our list is J.R. Ward. Her Black Dagger Brotherhood series features vampires, romance, and horror – good combinations for those guilty-pleasure reads that have a little bit more…ahem…bite to them. People typically group J.R. Ward with authors like Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charlaine Harris, and her books have a huge following. However, her latest novel moves away from the vampire-loving crowd, and into the exploits of a rich Southern family at the heart of the bourbon empire in a novel called The Bourbon Kings. There is a distinct class division in this – the upper-crust family and their hired help. When lines are crossed between the two, chaos and heartbreak ensues. Changes are coming, in the return of the prodigal son of the family. This novel presents a shift for J.R. Ward and her fans. The novel comes out on July 28th of this year, and coincidentally, she will be at the Nashville Public Library to promote it as part of the Salon @ 615 series! For more information (and tickets) please check out the link here.


Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice2. The next author on the list is Anne Rice. Many people know her for the Vampire Chronicles featuring the adventures of the vampire Lestat, as well as the Mayfair Witches books. She also wrote the book Cry to Heaven which is a historical fiction novel based on the lives of 18th century Italian castrati (male sopranos who were both revered and loathed in Italian society). Under another name, A. N. Roquelaure, she wrote a trilogy of erotica novels (simply called the Beauty series) that rivals 50 Shades of Grey. Under the name of Anne Rampling, she wrote two more novels, Belinda and Exit to Eden. Belinda is strongly reminiscent of the novel Lolita, with a bit more dimension in the characters. Exit to Eden seems to be yet another erotica, but this one takes place in the Caribbean, at a very exclusive club. There was a movie made out of it (starring Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O’Donnell) that came out in 1994.


The Casual Vacancy, J. K. Rowling3. Anyone who has access to books in the past decade or so has probably run across the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The series about the Boy Who Lived was one many people grew up with. Each book that came out showed Harry and his friends a year older, a year wiser (sometimes), and facing new challenges in their wizardry careers. After the final book in the series, J.K. Rowling wrote an adult novel called The Casual Vacancy. It was a dark novel,  following the aftermath of the death of a member of a parish council, and the ensuing war for his place. Conflict seems to be at the center of this novel – husband against wife, teenager against parent, rich against poor, and the ending is far more depressing than anything seen from her previously. J.K. Rowling also wrote mystery novels under the name Robert Gilbraith. When the first one came out (before she was revealed as the author), demand for the books exploded. The Cormoran Strike series is expecting a new addition (Career of Evil) sometime this year.


Naked In Death, J. D. Robb4. Speaking yet again of authors and pseudonyms, Nora Roberts typically writes contemporary romance novels, that sometimes have a hint of the paranormal to them. Several of her novels have an Irish angle to them – either in the characters or location. Her novels regularly have a long hold list on them at the library – but so do her science fiction hardcore cop dramas (called the In Death series) written under the name of J.D. Robb. In these novels, Detective Dallas is a hardcore detective in the homicide department, in New York City. It is the future, and guns have (for the most part) disappeared.  Homicides take place in interesting ways, and the novels are spent with Detective Dallas and (later) her husband Roarke, as they solve them.


On, Off by Colleen McCullough5. Last on our list is Colleen McCullough. Although she typically wrote historical fiction (she has series entitled Masters of Rome which chronicles the life and times of various important figures and wars in Roman history), she also had a series of five books that were murder mysteries (called the Carmine Delmonico series), focusing on forensic science and suspense. These books were a bit more sensational – with murders, sexuality, and detailed descriptions of forensic science. Looking at other people’s reviews of this book, it is obvious to see people who were surprised to see someone who wrote such detailed historical fiction diving into the murder mystery genre.

Book List: My Dad’s Top Five

By , June 14, 2015

My father is where I get my love of science fiction and fantasy. I grew up around Robert Heinlein and Marion Zimmer Bradley (I was even named after one of her books!). Both of my parents encouraged me to read growing up, which has made me the bibliophile I am today!

Since the theme of Summer Challenge this year is Super Heroes, and Father’s Day is fast approaching, I thought I’d ask my Dad what his favorite books are. My Dad went above and beyond, and gave me a four book series and his favorite book!

Here is my Dad’s top five list:


Arabian Nights book cover

Arabian Nights, translated by Sir Richard Burton

First up on my Dad’s list is The Arabian Nights. You might recognize such tales as “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. I picked, specifically, the Richard Burton translation, because it seems to be the most comprehensive one. His translation spanned ten volumes, with a couple of supplementary books of tales. The book is written as a “stories within a story”, wherein a king of Persia kills off his virgin brides before they can betray him (after one night of marriage). After his vizier can no longer find him any more brides, the vizier’s daughter, Scheherazade, offers herself up. In order to keep the king’s interest, she starts telling him a story – but without a conclusion, so he is forced to postpone her execution. This leads to one thousand and one nights of tales! These tales have been translated in many different languages, and often are published as children’s novels, without the external framework story.  Sir Richard Burton’s translation represents a more accurate, less pleasant version of the stories – kind of like The Brothers Grimm version as opposed to the Disney version which has become more familiar!


Patternmaster book cover

Patternmaster, by Octavia E. Butler

Next up on the list is a series by Octavia E. Butler, alternatively called the Pattermaster series, the Patternist series, or Seed to Harvest. The book pictured is actually the LAST book chronologically in the series, but the first book to be published. This book talks about the far future – where people are bred specifically for their intelligence and psychic abilities. People are strictly divided into three groups – the Patternists (networked telepaths who are the dominant race),  their enemies (The Clayarks) and the enslaved “mutes”. The book tells the story of a young Patternist who is attempting to rise through society, and become the Patternmaster (who leads the Patternists). Butler’s stories explore the divisions between race, class, and gender, in a creatively epic manner. Not to mention, Butler is an African American female Science Fiction author with many Hugo and Nebula awards under her belt, and is one of the best known women in the field.


Split Infinity book cover

Split Infinity, by Piers Anthony

My Dad also listed the Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony as one of his favorites. The book pictured is the first book in the seven book series. In this series, there are two worlds – Proton and Phaze. They are two worlds, occupying the exact same space, in two different dimensions. Pretty cool, right? Proton is a science-based world. It has been mostly mined for a certain ore. Inhabitants of this world play something called The Game, which pits two people together on a variety of skills and levels. The Game is kind of complicated to explain in short summary, but it basically rules Proton. People wager vast amounts of money on it, and the most skilled players are sent to a Tourney to compete. In the next dimension over is the planet Phaze – a very lush and beautiful world where unicorns, vampires, faeries, and magic are common. It almost seems to be the exact opposite of Proton! Magical Adepts of this world are named based on colors. Each person born has a duplicate on the other world – and they can pass between the worlds!


Bolo!, by David Weber

Bolo!, by David Weber 

This next series isn’t just by one author – the Bolo series involves many authors and spans many anthologies. Keith Laumer wrote the original story in 1960, called “Combat Unit”, which introduced the artificially intelligent tanks. As the series grew, the tanks became more advanced – their AI patterns more human-like, their ability to function with minimal crew reduced to a single commander who could interact with the tank via interface, and extremely heavy fire power. These tanks are called “heavy tanks” because of their much bigger size. The book pictured is the 25th anniversary edition of the first anthology featuring these awesome tanks. Pictured is one of the many books in the series, written by another of my Dad’s favorite authors, David Weber. The book has four short novels about the sentient tanks.


The Man-Kzin Wars cover, created by Larry Niven

The Man-Kzin Wars, created by Larry Niven

The final series that my dad REALLY likes is the Man-Kzin War series. Again, this is a series that spans MANY authors writing in short story collections, but it takes place in Larry Niven’s Known Space universe.  The basis of this story is a series of conflicts between the human race and the Kzinti. The Kzinti are technologically superior and intelligent race of cat-like aliens who are VERY bloodthirsty. Larry Niven just referenced the wars – but many authors worked to fill in the details. This is a series of short stories that spans over thirty years – with a lot of talent going into envisioning Larry Niven’s worlds! Pictured is the 25th anniversary edition of the first book of stories that started it all.

Enjoy these random science fiction and fantasy selections this summer, available at the library!

- Sharra


Book Review: Two new reads in Science Fiction and Fantasy

By , May 10, 2015
Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, by Judd Trichter

Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction


Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

By Judd Trichter

In the not-so-distant future, pollution is out of control. The streets are crowded. Drugs, prostitution, and other crime runs rampant. Why? Because Man and Android share the same streets. The tension is palpable. Androids have no real rights, other than the right to work. If one goes missing or is damaged, unless they are property of a person or company, there is no recourse from the authorities. That’s if the owner cares enough to report it, which they often don’t.

The androids are out to emancipate themselves, and humans are out to stop them, by any means possible.

What is the worst possible thing that could happen?

You could fall in love with an android.

This is what happens to Eliot Lazar. He is in love with Iris Matsuo, a C-900 android with a beautiful flaw in her eye, which remains an allegory for his relationship to her, and her relationship to the world in general. Eliot convinces Iris that they should buy or steal a boat, and head for the island of Inverness, where his mother lives. There, they can live together and be married without the social stigma.

But, when Eliot finally goes to get her, he finds her gone. Her apartment is in tatters, and the police are indifferent, at best. Except for one – an old hat named Flaubert who is getting close to the edge of retirement. His hands are tied about finding the android, but he is sympathetic to Eliot (in the same manner that people who know someone is mentally ill are sympathetic and helpful).

The kidnapping and dismemberment for parts of Iris sends Eliot into a frenzy – he WILL find her, and put her back together again. Finding each part comes with its own hazards, and he enlists his brother’s help. He makes some hard moral choices – and the book ends in a descent into madness, with the police on his tail, the world falling into chaos as android and man fight openly in the streets, and no idea whether his plot to put her back together brings back Iris, or someone else.

I’ve got to say – this book had me hooked from the beginning. The way the world is written – you can see the descent happening. Human beings are bound together by their hatred and use of androids, which are slowly destroying the world because the power they use creates waste toxic to humans and the environment.

I had a love/hate relationship with Eliot. He is a drug addict, a simpering fool, and he makes some justifications about his actions that make him seem like a hypocrite. But, he doesn’t stop. He does what he has to, what he feels is necessary to get Iris back together again. Even putting his life on the line, and confronting the leader of the android rebellion (who just so happens to have one of Iris’ parts.)

The book has kind of a bloody noir edge to it, but it doesn’t consume the entire book as it does with some stories. The world that Trichter creates as he goes is dark, dingy, and almost impossible to view without a little bit of disgust.

For an author’s first novel, this is pretty darn impressive. Add to this that Judd Trichter is the child actor who played Adam in “Big” and was in “Stanley’s Dragon”, a little tidbit I found out when I started reading his bio after the book.

Way to grow up, Mr. Trichter!


A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic


A Darker Shade of Magic
By V.E. Schwab

What if you had the ability to walk between parallel universes? How would you use that ability? What kind of trouble (or not) would you get into?

In this book, it takes a certain kind of blood magic to be able to walk between worlds. Only two people are left in the worlds who have the ability. One of them – Kell – is raised alongside the prince, kept as a messenger between the worlds. He describes each London by color – he lives in Red London, where magic is vibrant and plentiful. There is also a White London – where people fight to control magic (which, inevitably, has a mind of its own and doesn’t like this prospect). There is a Grey London, ruled over by an old mad king, which doesn’t have any magic at all (beyond what Kell brings to it).

There is also the mysterious Black London – sacrificed to protect all the other Londons. No one is certain whether it actually exists anymore – all artifacts from the place were destroyed.

Or were they?

Kell travels between the worlds for duty – but he also does a side business as a smuggler, bringing little trinkets through the doors and selling or trading them. He doesn’t have any real need to do this – his needs are completely taken care of by the King and Queen, and he wants for nothing.

I must admit, I REALLY want his jacket! (You’ll have to read to find out what I mean!)

When Kell finds himself in possession of a dangerous artifact and severely injured, he finds himself in the company of Delilah Bard – a thief who wants adventure, particularly to own her own ship and become a pirate.

When things get tricky, Kell takes Delilah through the worlds – and together they go on a dark adventure to stop a dangerous foe from taking over the three Londons.

When I picked up the book Vicious by the same author, I was delightfully surprised by her writing style and by the way she created a whole world with its own rules with just one book. V.E. Schwab has done the same thing here – the three Londons are fully realized, each with their own set of attributes (even when only glimpsed briefly, like Grey London). Not only is the world building wonderful, but the character development is done well. Kell and Delilah are both dynamic characters who are forced to change their perspectives on their respective worlds when they meet each other. Delilah is thrown into a whole new world – and she manages to adapt quickly (and maybe just a little bit gracefully). Kell is forced to face the consequences of his actions, and makes some choices that could be seen as selfless or selfish, depending on how you look at them.

I was very impressed with this book – it read quickly and easily, and the action was just the right pace, with a backdrop of interesting and well developed worlds.

If you haven’t read it yet, I also recommend her book Viscious as well as this one for a summer read!

Book Review: February Salon@615 Edition – Daniel Handler and Samantha Shannon

By , February 7, 2015
The Mime Order

The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon

The Mime Order is the second book in The Bone Season series (which also happens to be the title of the first book). The books cross several genres, because they focus on a dystopian London, which has been invaded by creatures from another plane of existence with technology far greater than ours, and clairvoyants of many different varieties. The main character in both of these books is a dreamwalker named Paige Mahoney.

In this book, Paige has escaped from the penal colony Sheol I, only to find that she is the most wanted person in London. Her image is plastered all over the television, and her only hope is to return to the mime-lord Jax’s gang of clairvoyants. The other fugitives who escaped with her have it rough, and she does what she can to provide for them and see them. Some have gone missing in the flight from Sheol I.

Paige’s struggle to inform people about the Rephiam who control Sheol I and feed on clairvoyants are hindered by Jax, by disbelief from others, and from her lack of evidence. Paige finds her opportunity to speak to all of the underworld of London when the Underlord is killed. But, will Paige survive being the main suspect in his murder? What happened to Warden after the escape? How will she spread the word about the Rephiam without Jax’s help, and be believed?

Samantha Shannon’s ability to build a world from scratch is positively amazing. The details involved in describing the world in which Paige Mahoney lives are really part of what makes the book for me. This book also combines three genres, which isn’t an easy task. The author is also quite interesting. She was born and raised in West London, studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, and her first book, The Mime Order, was published when she was just 23.

Samantha Shannon appeared be at the library on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 for a Salon @615 event. More details on the Salon Website.


We Are Pirates

We Are Pirates, by Daniel Handler

We Are Pirates is a novel for adults written by the same author who wrote the A Series of Unfortunate Events novels for kids, under the name Lemony Snicket. This book was filled with a lot of the same snark that his children’s novels have, but the subject matter is a lot darker. This book is modern fiction, laced with high adventure.

The book is told from the perspective of three characters – one who appears only in the beginning and end without really getting a name, Phil and Gwen. Phil is a radio producer who is struggling to find his next big break. He wants so much more than what his current life offers him, but he fumbles through interactions with other people as if he were off on another planet.

Gwen is Phil’s teenaged daughter. She is incredibly bored with her life, frustrated at the lack of privileges her parents give her, and terribly embarrassed about a burn mark on her leg from a childhood accident. In the beginning of the book, she is caught shoplifting at a local drug store.

Both of these characters seek something more in their lives – adventure, success, true friends, and love. While Phil goes off to present his latest show idea with his young secretary in tow, Gwen gathers together a band of outlaws (including a man from a local senior home who she has been spending time with) to steal a boat and head out on an adventure on the high seas – of San Francisco Bay. If you expect this book to have a happy ending, much like his popular children’s series, you will be horribly disappointed.

Daniel Handler’s book could be considered a commentary on some of the excesses of everyday life. Here we have two characters that have just about everything they need in life, and yet they are bored. They want more. While the book is both humorous and dark, he turns a critical eye on we handle age and how we treat the world around us, and take it for granted.

Daniel Handler appeared at the library on February 14th, 2015 for a Salon @ 615 event.

Book List: The 2015 Reading Challenge

By , January 17, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge


Since New Year’s is all about making resolutions, I think one of the best resolutions a reader can make is to diversify what they read throughout the year.

That being said, POPSUGAR has created a 2015 Reading Challenge, check out their post and see the POPSUGAR list. They even offer a handy printable version, which you can hang up on your desk or near your favorite reading spot to keep track of the books that you have already read.

Here are a few highlights of the list, plus a few suggestions (from my list) about what to read for them:

A book with more than 500 pages -

Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance

The second book in the Stormlight Archives, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, doubles this page count! I’m really hoping to getting around to reading it this year, before the third one comes out.













A book your mom loves -

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl

My mom is a huge fan of historical fiction, so for this one, I’ve picked The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I know this is one of her favorites!














A book that made you cry -

Imajica, by Clive Barker


Clive Barker has always had such beautiful imagery in his works, and Imajica has several moments throughout that usually have me reaching for a tissue or three.













A memoir -

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes

As You Wish

I think this counts, right? It’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and Cary Elwes sits down to tell us behind-the-scenes stories you haven’t heard before in As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.













A book with antonyms in the title -

Memory and Dream, by Charles de Lint

Memory and Dream

Trying to figure out what to read for this one was a bit of a tough choice, but I’ve been putting off reading Charles de Lint for a while. For this one, I’m going with Memory and Dream. Don’t worry! There are a ton of possibilities for this challenge.



Check Out the List

If you want to find a more complete list of my suggestions, check out the list on the library website here: 2015 Reading Challenge

Book Review: Stone Mattress

By , December 21, 2014

Stone Mattress by Margaret AtwoodStone Mattress
by Margaret Atwood

I’ve had a very long and wonderful journey with Margaret Atwood’s works. It started in high school, when a teacher assigned The Handmaid’s Tale as a complementary novel to 1984 and A Brave New World.  Every year since then, I have attempted to read it at least once. After high school, I practically devoured every fiction work she had ever done, including her poetry.

Stone Mattress is compromised of nine tales (tales, not stories) written by Atwood over the years. The themes they explore include aging, loss, and reality (even the reality of others).

I think my favorite story out of all of this was the one about Constance and Alphinland. Constance is a prolific fantasy writer, whose stories have a cult following. Yet, she lives alone after the death of her husband, a doddering old woman who listens to his voice in her head telling her what to do to take care of herself. It isn’t about the fact that she is old and perhaps a little crazy. It is about an old woman who made two things very important in her life – her husband and her writing. She couldn’t share her writing with her husband in this world – so she imagines him waiting for her in her fantasy world, along with former lovers who have hurt her.

These stories are not light and airy. Margaret Atwood explores the darker side of human nature – the grotesque, the murderous, the hatred – from a perspective of some of the more interesting characters experiencing those things.

This was a very fast read for me, because it was a collection of short stories. Highly recommended for your personal wish list!


Book Review – Flight Behavior

By , November 23, 2012

Flight Behavior

by Barbara Kingsolver

Chaos. Beauty. The cycle of life and death, destruction and creation. Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, Flight Behavior, shows us the beauty of every day life, and the tragedy of miracles. The novel takes place in a small Appalachian town in Tennessee, where a woman struggles to find the balance between her needs and the actuality of her life. When we first meet Dellarobia, she seems to be fleeing her home, driven on by her own lust and need, willing to through her entire life away for the simple pleasure of giving in to desire. What she finds instead is a miracle. Monarch butterflies, millions of them, in columns on the trees, floating through the air, and underfoot. Her near act of selfishness is the first step in a series of changes for herself, her family, and the town in which she lives. Dellarobia’s life expands as the butterflies bring scientists, tourists, and activists into her life, and into her front yard.

Kingsolver addresses the issue of the effects of climate change and of harmful acts towards natural environments, such as logging, by exploring the life cycle of butterfly through the eyes of a woman whose personal metamorphosis becomes linked to the survival of the butterflies she accidentally stumbled upon.  Dellarobia’s growth through the novel, the changes seen in her family, her friends, and the life of a small town, as well as the trials of the butterflies who have flown miles from their normal path are a gripping, emotional read.

Barbara Kingsolver will be speaking on Flight Behavior on November 27th at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Salon@615 series. 

Pleasant Reading -

Book Review – Astray

By , November 9, 2012


By Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue, the red-headed Dublin native, re-visits leave-takings, journeys, wanderings and meanderings throughout history in her latest book of short stories Astray. It’s not just about the physical – these are people going astray in many aspects of their lives; they cross boundaries where boundaries have not been crossed before. Fourteen stories track fourteen lives throughout history as they are led astray – by themselves, by others, by race, by sexuality, and many other ideas.

The stories are reminiscent of a previous collection of Donoghue’s The Women Who Gave Birth To Rabbits, which focuses on grotesque and odd historical anecdotes. Just like in her previous collection, Donoghue breathes life into stories that seem like nothing more than footnotes in the grand scheme of history, but in truth are important reminders of all the little things we miss when looking at the “big picture.”

One of my favorite stories in this book is actually the first one, called “Man and Boy”, which reads like a monologue. At first, you can’t tell that the person speaking is an animal trainer, addressing his ward: an elephant named Jumbo. The story tells of the elephant’s sale to P.T. Barnum, and the trainer’s preparation for the ocean voyage from London. There is so much tenderness in the speaker that it is easy to believe why Matthew Scott, the trainer, refers to Jumbo as “his boy”.

If you like historical fiction with a twist, this is definitely a book for you!

Meet Emma Donoghue on November 13th, as she joins the Nashville Public Library as part of their Salon@615 series. Please check the calendar for details.

Pleasant Reading –


Book Review: Handmaid’s Tale

By , October 26, 2012

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

This novel was selected by the Mayor for Nashville Reads, for the entire city to read and discuss.

First, let me say that I have previously summarized this book as part of my blog on dystopian novels.

Here is that original entry:

“This novel was originally published in 1986, and it will bring a chill to anyone who reads it. The United States has become a theocracy – women are subservient, forced into specified roles – Handmaiden, Wife, and Servant – according to Biblical law. Women who are capable of breeding are treated like animals. There is a reason – government has been suspended due to a “terrorist attack” where most of the important leaders are killed. Another group, dubbing themselves “Sons of Jacob” take over, freezing the assets of all women (and other people they don’t like), and creating a society based on their believes. The story is told from the perspective of one handmaiden ‘Offred’ who started life as a free woman, who had a husband and a child, and who is forced into servitude by the change in laws.  The end of the story leaves you with a question mark, but it definitely makes you think.”

Interested yet? If not, let me implore you to do so. This novel was a timely selection for Nashville Reads, considering the current news articles about women’s rights. Margaret Atwood stated in an article she wrote for the Guardian, “I made a rule for myself. I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist.” If that doesn’t make you want to take a long look at society, nothing else will.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been one of my favorite novels since high school. I’m not ashamed that I’ve read it at least once a year since I first read it. Each year, I find something new that I missed before, something that keeps me coming back to it time and again. As I grew older, the ideas from the novel that affected the most began to change. That is one reason this book is so wonderful; returning to it at an older age changes the way you interpret what is written.

Since then, I’ve read everything that Atwood has ever written (no joke).  Most writers, when they become as prolific as she is, begin to lose a little steam in their writing. But with Margaret Atwood, I’m never disappointed. The Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent starting point for this wonderful writer.

Also – don’t miss Margaret Atwood’s public lecture and book signing on October 27th at 10 a.m. Check the library calendar for more details!

Pleasant reading -


Book Review – Live by Night

By , October 19, 2012

Live by Night

By Dennis Lehane

With the renewed interest in Prohibition-era living (think Nucky Thomas and Boardwalk Empire), Dennis Lehane opens up the literary road for those of us who don’t have cable television (or if you’d rather just read a book!)

Joe Coughlin is a man who lives outside the law. He lives in a time where a whole new criminal lifestyle which revolves around the making, shipping, and distributing of alcohol. He starts the story at the bottom level – a hired tough who spends the first part of the novel under the thumb of one crime lord or another. When we first meet Joe, he’s about to be sent to the briny deep with a pair of concrete shoes. He’s reflecting on what brought him to that point – namely, a woman. This novel is a tale of revenge, but not just the main character’s search for it.

The story is rich with details about the time – clothing, cars, buildings. I’ve read some reviews that say that there was too much detail, but I disagree. We are seeing the world through Joe’s eyes.  It’s difficult to tell whether the main character is just very lucky, or very smart. It is obvious that he has the guts to take what he want and survive with it – but his lifestyle comes with a heavy price.

The characters in this story aren’t necessarily meant to be loved. There are times when Joe’s behavior is deplorable. However, even though he lives outside of the law, he has a sense of honor that seems to help as much as hinder him.

If you love this book, or any of Dennis Lehane’s other works, please join the library in welcoming him as part of the Salon@615 series on October 23rd. Check the library calendar for details!

Pleasant Reading -



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