Every month, staff at our Downtown branch read books in a specific fiction genre or category, to familiarize themselves with titles they might not have discovered otherwise. Recently they read debut novels. Here's what staff members read and what they had to say about it:
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden
The story is about the author’s grandmother and her best friend, who picked up and left the comforts of their affluent East Coast lives and traveled West to "rough it" as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916. 4 stars.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Set in England in a very remote cabin up North, two college chums get together. The main character, Lee, wakes up in a hospital bed 48 hours later, injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. The book is very character driven, a modern Agatha Christie novel. The author is a very visual and polished writer. There is an excellent plot line with an engrossing and very gratifying ending. NPR listed it as a 2015 best book. 4 stars.
Dark Reservations by John Fortunato
Still mourning his wife’s death, Joe Evers is seeing a forced early retirement after he bungles a case. A bullet-torn car turns up on the Navajo Indian Reservation, belonging to a congressman who disappeared 20 years ago. The cold case has you following Joe and really rooting for him. There is hard language and it’s brutal in places, a Tony Hillerman Award Winner, but worth the read. 4 1/2 stars.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Foody fantasy - a quirky, convoluted coming of age novel told in 8 stories. Shifting points of view can be confusing but for the most part come together at the end, recipes included. Some funny parts, some of the language is not great. 3 1/2 stars.
Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto
Written for True Detective, the story follows Roy, who works for a loan shark. Roy’s boss likes his girlfriend so his boss sets it up so Roy will be killed. It doesn’t work, so Roy is on the run. It hops back and forth but it works, and it’s important that you know everything. Very violent, antihero, noir type of literature. 4 stars.
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
Abe Sora is going to die. He’s only 17 and he has ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He no longer can go to school, he’s lost the use of his legs, and while stuck at home he starts to visit teen chat rooms. It’s there he finds that he can be himself and make friends without pity. Very well written - I can’t wait to see what else the author writes in the future. 5 stars.