Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two Gems

How pleased I was to hear from one of my faithful readers that she uses my blog to help customers with readers' advisory. Well, Infobabe, have I got two hot titles for you! As different as two novels could be but each outstanding in its own way.
First, Jeffery Deaver's The Broken Window could be one of his best yet in the Lincoln Rhyme series and it's so relevant, which is probably what makes it so frightening. It took me a long time to trust my credit card number to the Internet, not to mention making a FaceBook page and creating this blog. To read this sinister thriller about identity theft, ratcheted up to the nth degree, reinforces all the paranoia that one might ever have regarding privacy in the information age. As a matter of fact, I have it from a good source that Deaver himself was a victim of identity theft.
I shouldn't assume that you're all familiar with this long popular series featuring the very testy quadriplegic homicide detective, injured in the line of duty, and his lover, police officer and CSI specialist Amelia Sacks. I can't read any of these novels now without seeing Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in their roles in The Bone Collector. Confined to his bed, aided by the finest technology money can buy, Lincoln directs Sacks through crime scenes using her as his eyes and ears.
In this case, Lincoln's cousin Arthur, with whom he had an extremely close relationship growing up that was torn asunder by jealousy and conflict as they became adults, has been imprisoned for a murder he claims not to have committed. Lincoln and Sacks come to the conclusion that Arthur has been framed by a diabolically clever criminal mind capable of using the tools of data mining, RFID, (look out librarians!) and the Internet to manipulate information placing people and evidence where they might never have been.
Deaver is famous for throwing in a lot of red herrings to keep readers on their toes. Just when you think you have it all figured out a plot contrivance comes out of nowhere and you're all off track again. I've almost finished this book and three times I thought I had the mystery solved. I can't wait to drive somewhere just to find out "who done it."

America, America by Ethan Canin is a whole different animal. One of those wonderfully sprawling historical novels, kicked up a notch by the gorgeous language of Iowa Writers' Workshop professor Canin, this novel spans the last forty years. Told by now middle aged newspaper editor, Corey Sifter, raised by a loving lower middle class family in upstate New York, the story details the social and political climate of a generation.
While working summers for the wealthy Metarey family, Corey develops a special friendship with the scion of the family, his wife and their two daughters. Recognizing the potential in Corey, the Metareys sponsor his education at an exclusive private school ensuring that he'll get a college education.
The Metareys though, are old-time Democrats involved in the political machine that wants to push liberal Kennedyesque senator Henry Bonwiller into the presidency. Smoke filled, bourbon fueled back room machinations set the stage for Bonwiller's run while Corey is hired to be the "see nothing, hear nothing" gopher who would go to his grave with his secrets because of his loyalty to the Metareys. But Bonwiller's penchant for booze and women - sound familiar? - may override any good that he does for unions, education, ending the Vietnam war and strengthening the homefront.
America, America is a poignant, satisfying read that leaves me wondering, will we ever learn from our mistakes?

1 comment:

Infobabe said...

I already gave my patron America America on audio for the car trip she and her husband will be taking next week. Glad I was on the right track!