is a highly satisfying addition to the long list of Agent Pendergast thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and sees the unusual hero and his ward dealing with the locals, including monsters, in Massachusets. Read John Orr's review
The Bay Area Books Festival
kicked off its inaugural event June 6, 7, 2015 in Berkeley, and Cy Ashley Webb was there. Read her report
Arcady, who's never had his own bed, contemplates a baby blanket made by Ivan Ivanych's late wife, in "Arcady's Goal," by Eugene Yelchin.
is another brilliantly told story about the sad lives of children and families in Stalinist Russia, but has a glimmering light of hope about it. Eugene Yelchin wrote and illustrated the beautiful, meaningful book. John Orr
"The Book of Life"
is the highly satisfying end of Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy, and makes John Orr hope that she is planning to write more stories about the witch Diana Bishop and the vampire Matthew Clairmont. The entire trilogy is fascinating it is a thinking person's magical vampire romance. Read the review
of "The Book of Life."
"The Spirit and the Skull"
is another in a long line of books from J.M. Hayes that we very much enjoyed, and something of a departure from his modern mysteries. It is the story of Raven, the spirit man of a band of paleolithic indians, and how he goes about solving a murder case, 15,000 years ago. And his travel in spirit, in his skull, to modern times. Fascinating book. Read John Orr's review
"A Better World"
is Marcus Sakey's brilliant sequel to his fabulous science-fiction thriller "Brilliance," and we like them both a great deal. Completely enjoyable reads with something important to say. Read John Orr's review
John Orr photo
Lookin' for clues:
Kepler's Books in Menlo Park held a Mystery/Thriller Day, and John Orr was there, and allowed to sell a few copies of his novel. And he got to meet some other wonderful authors! What fun. Check out Orr's column
about the experience.
From the cover of "The Martian." Design by Eric White. Original astronaut photo by NASA. Digital manipulation by Regarding Arts.
by Andy Weir, is the most fun we've had between hardcovers for a while, an excellent thriller about an astronaut stranded on Mars and his onegoing struggle to stay alive and hope for rescue. It's a fascinating read, filled with palatable science, charm and humor. Read John Orr's review
"Changing the Way We Die"
is an excellent book about the hospice movement, covering it from its beginnings centuries ago on the trail to the Holy Land to the United States today, where it has begun big business and has big bureaucracy hanging around its neck. It's a better way to shuffle off this mortal coil, and writers Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel have produced an excellent book about it. Read John Orr's review
is a return to high form for Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child in their
mostly excellent series about FBI very
Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. In this one, his protegee, Corrie Swanson, gets in trouble when she visits a Colorado town for rich people to do forensics on some very old bones. A fun read, with plenty of thrills. Read the review
by John Orr.
A surprising turn in a Jack Reacher story
"Never Go Back
" is another fun read from novelist Lee Child, but it's kind of a departure from Reacher's usual kick-ass ways. In this one, he meets a woman who is his match. Read the review.
Creating a fantasy world
in Palo Alto
"Someone Dark Has Found Me"
has witches, wizards, geniuses, homeless people and a lot of kissing. Mark Johnson, former Page-Turners columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, reviews. Read his review
Lots of twists and turns to get to Deaver's 'Kill Room'
"The Kill Room"
is another superlative thriller from Jeffery Deaver, the unmatchable master of intelligent plot twists. This one has the brilliant quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme, and his life and professional partner, Amelia Sachs, investigating a crime that could reach all the way to the president. Read John Orr's review
The trip from Jamaican cane fields to San Francisco
"From Rum to Roots"
is an excellent first novel by photo journalist Lloyd Francis. It touches on the history of Jamaica and its people, but mostly is a well-told tale of people born on the island who want more for their families, in Jamaica and in the United States. Read John Orr's review
Walter Mosley brings Easy Rawlins back from the dead
is a great story that finds our hero back from a two-month deep sleep to find hippies, peace and free love on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. And, some very nasty drug dealers. Read John Orr's review
Another Harlan Coben hero finds a lost love
is another in Harlan Coben's recurrent plot of guys who lose the loves of their lives (how careless!), then find them again,
then get severely punished. Some of the books are great. This one, not so much. Read John Orr's review
Adrift in the mountain states
by Craig Lancaster is a fine and entertaining novel
that shows Lancaster's continuing growth as a novelist. See John Orr's review
Anastasia and the Spanish flu resurface in thriller
"The Romananov Cross"
by Robert Masello is a fun read that brings together some historical and modern what-ifs in a consistently entertaining page-turner. Read John Orr's review
Exploring guilt and redemption with Walter Mosley
"All I Did Was Shoot My Man,"
by Walter Mosley, is another brilliant and entertaining read by one of the greatest writers working today. Read John Orr's review
of the Leonid McGill mystery.
Pendergast digs up trouble in 'Two Graves'
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
conclude their "Helen" trilogy by sending their strange hero on an adventure to Brazil to fight the Fourth Reich in a Brazilian volcano. Read John Orr's review
of the new thriller.
Spooky thriller puts some chills in rainy Seattle nights
Blake and Jordan Crouch team up
for "Eerie," a creepy good read about a cop's reunion with his hooker sister that goes very badly, in some very weird ways. Read John Orr's review.
Michael Connelly keeps Harry Bosch busy in L.A.
One of the most solid crime writers
working today brings back one of our favorite cops in "The Black Box." Read Oline Gogdill's review
of the new thriller.
A meaningful story from Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman writes deeply and well
about women finding their way in a sometimes cruel and difficult world. In "And When She Was Good," whe writes of a woman who crosses legal lines to do what she must to raise her child. Read Oline Cogdill's review of the novel
A cautionary tale from Elizabeth Haynes
Oline H. Cogdill says "'Into the Darkest Corner'"
is a terrifying cautionary tale of modern relationships. Read Cogdill's review of the novel