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Snow by John Banville - Book Review

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$27.99
ISBN: 9781335230003
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Published: Hanover Square Press - October 6th, 2020

Things haven't been going well at Ballyglass House for some time. Colonel Osborne puts up a good front, but the estate is badly in need of repairs. His second wife wanders the place at night like a restless ghost. His rebellious daughter is carrying on with the brutish hired man and his son is about to abandon medical school to pursue a life of beachcombing. The last thing the colonel needs is a murdered priest in the library, something that is especially frowned upon in Ireland. John Banville introduces readers to Detective Inspector St. John Strafford in this literate, hugely entertaining mystery set in snow-shrouded County Wexford, where the author manages to travel down some errant theological paths that have been slashed into the brilliant white landscape. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9781982141462
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Published: Simon & Schuster - July 14th, 2020

This book may provide people who harbor guilt feelings about judging Donald Trump too harshly with a great deal of reassurance in their judgment. Mary Trump's unflinching look at her epically dysfunctional family is more focused upon Fred Trump, her grandfather, than on the president himself, who was both the major beneficiary of his father's business acumen and the most consequential victim of his psychological abuse. The surprising aspect of Ms. Trump's book is how little of it is truly surprising. You may want to file it between Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King where it should be right at home. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Jack: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780374279301
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 29th, 2020

If Jack Boughton imagined himself as a pebble, it would be one that caused no ripple when tossed into a pond; if he was a breeze, not a single leaf would stir. His waking moments are spent wondering how his life has gotten so far off track. Harmlessness is his objective and acquiescence is the only way he responds to life's cruelties. Then Jack, a white man, falls in love with Della, a young black woman, in a society still rampant with racial animosity. This is the author's fourth book set in and around the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa. With her masterful prose, she lifts what might have been a fairly conventional narrative into a timeless story about the redemptive power of love. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


The Cold Millions: A Novel by Jess Walter - Book Review

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$28.99
ISBN: 9780062868084
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Published: Harper - October 27th, 2020

Labor unrest, peaceful and deadly, provides the backdrop for this engrossing novel about two brothers, both drifters anchored only to each other, and a feisty young Irish woman on a crusade. Although Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is only 19-years-old, her name strikes fear into the hearts of the millionaires who live in splendor off the bone-grinding labor of the men who work the mines in Washington State at the turn of the 20th century. She faces formidable odds: Hired thugs and killers, corrupt police officers, and betrayals within her own organization. Walter's vivid descriptions of Spokane, a growing city unable to completely shed the trappings of a roughshod frontier town, emerge to the reader like literary photographs. His assorted characters, all toting their own flaws and weaknesses, are powerfully drawn and believable. This is a wonderfully entertaining novel by the author of Beautiful Ruins and the social issues it examines are still relevant in today's world. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


A Summons to Memphis (Vintage International) by Peter Taylor - Book Review

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$16.95
ISBN: 9780375701177
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Published: Vintage - June 29th, 1999

George Carver's family never quite got over his decision to move them from Nashville to the less comfortable environs of Memphis. His wife withdrew into her own world, his two daughters, Betsy and Josephine, resigned themselves to lives of affluent spinsterhood, and his son, Phillip, eventually fled to New York. After their mother's death, Betsy and Jo regard their father's flirtations with various ladies with amusement until he becomes enamored of a school teacher whom he intends to marry. The hundreds of miles that have acted as a buffer between Phillip and the tribulations of his family are breached by a phone line. He receives two calls from his mortified sisters imploring him to come home and help them derail the engagement. This is a beautifully written novel of southern manners and mores by a master of the genre. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Blacktop Wasteland: A Novel by S. A. Cosby - Book Review

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$26.99
ISBN: 9781250252685
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Published: Flatiron Books - July 14th, 2020

Problems were piling up for Bug Montage as fast as the past due bills. His daughter needed money to go to college, his mother was about to be ejected from the nursing home where she unhappily resides, and a new business in town had siphoned customers away from his mechanic's shop. Bug had a checkered past that he did not want to return to, but his legendary experience and skill behind the wheel made him the perfect guy to drive the getaway car after a jewel robbery. He calculated everything beforehand, figuring nothing could go wrong if his three partners-in-crime followed the plan. Everything went wrong. Totally enjoyable escapist fare with a sympathetically damaged protagonist, an intriguingly complex plot, and propulsive action sequences. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


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