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The police and the district attorney are certain they have got their man after a local teacher's fingerprints and DNA connect him to the vicious killing of an 11-year-old boy. The problem is that the suspect has irrefutable proof he was somewhere else at the time of the murder. What begins as a dark mystery drifts into territory that Mr. King has expertly traversed for a long time. Compulsively readable and as unnerving as an extended stay at the Overlook. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
After her father's death, 17-year-old Jessilyn Harney sets off to find her older brother, a notorious outlaw, in the hope of convincing him to return home and help tend the family farm. She disguises herself as a man and parlays her skill with a firearm into a job with the territory's rich and ruthless Governor, a man obsessed with bringing her brother to justice -- dead or alive. This is a robust, brawling, and exciting story of frontier life, reminiscent of "True Grit," set in a sweeping and unspoiled landscape where the powerful inherit the earth and the meek return to dust. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The evolution of my third all-time favorite movie, from the publication of Edna Ferber's bestseller about Texas to the tragic death of one of its major stars shortly before filming was completed. This was a troubled endeavor almost from its inception. Director George Stevens' penchant for meticulousness ran directly counter to Jack Warner's concern for schedule and budget overruns and Texans in particular were not fond of Ferber's book. "Giant" was quite possibly the only film that Elizabeth Taylor ever made in which neither of the leading actors had the remotest romantic interest in her. A great book for film lovers. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
Willa Drake, uneasily drifting on the placid stream of advancing age with her second husband, impulsively leaves her comfortable home in Arizona for the mean streets of Baltimore. While caring for the child of her son's former girlfriend, who has been left alone after her mother was hospitalized for a gunshot wound, Willa rediscovers the purpose that had evaporated out of her own life. The author's gift for making gentle, beautifully understated observations about the tenacity and the frailties of human connections is evident throughout. I always feel a little wiser when I finish one of Anne Tyler's books. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
Andrei Kaplan, an academic in Russian studies living in New York, reluctantly agrees to care for his aging grandmother in Moscow for a short time. The lonely old woman drifts in and out of reality, recalling to her grandson the turbulent history of his family and the country where he was born. Andrei finds Moscow to be as stark and cold as the bitter winds that swirl down its streets and he is gradually drawn into a political movement dedicated to change, a risky endeavor in contemporary Russia. This is a warmly moving story of family bonds played out against a dark and dangerous backdrop. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves