Friday, December 13, 2013

Santa’s Bookshelf

Books have always been one of my favorite holiday gifts to both give and receive. Here are a small selection some books on Santa’s bookshelf that could find their way under your Christmas tree.

Silent Night – A Spenser Holiday Novel – Robert B. Parker with Helen Brann (Putnam Publishing)

At the time of his unexpected passing 2010, author Robert B. Parker was hard at work on writing his first Christmas themed book in the form of a Spenser holiday novel, Silent Night.


It’s December in Boston and Parker’s original hero, Spenser is doing what he does second best; carefully crafting the menu for a holiday celebration, when his turducken plans are interrupted by a young visitor that sets the story in motion.

Parker’s long time literary agent, Helen Brann was well equipped after working side by side with the author for 32 years to pick up the reins and finish the tale. Like many holiday themed novels, the story line is light and makes for easy reading; if you’re looking for deep thinking, you’ll have to look elsewhere. This one is all about fun and adventure Spenser style.

White Fire – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing)

I’ve been writing for over 30 years and I have always been intrigued by what the dynamic is between writing teams. One of the most successful duos in fiction writing, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is out with another Pendergast story, White Fire.


Eccentric, intriguing, and intelligent; Pendergast could be one of the most entertaining, quirky characters in fiction. As controlled and meticulous as Pendergast is, the wildcard that is Corrie Swanson seems to be the perfect fictional foil. Their interactions often serve to ratchet up the tension of the story.

Add to this winning mix a legendary tale featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, a historical serial killer and a current psychotic killer and the story is bound to take some interesting twists and turns before reaching it’s exciting conclusion.

King and Maxwell – David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

From the time he took the literary world by storm with his debut novel Absolute Power, author David Baldacci has become one of the most reliably entertaining writers out there. He has literally created a shelf chock full of memorable characters over a span of great book series.

The list includes; John Puller, Will Robie, The Camel Club and of course King and Maxwell. The last duo, is the name sake of Baldacci’s latest book, King and Maxwell. Former Secret Service agents turned private investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are thrust into an investigation involving a teenager who’s Dad was killed in Afghanistan…in true Baldacci style…or was he?


In receipt of a carefully crafted, coded email, sent after his father supposedly died, Tyler Wingo turns to King and Maxwell for a helping hand and from there the story is off to the races.

Adding to the storyline is the built in tension, often between the lines, between King and Maxwell. The whole male, female partner tension thing certainly isn’t new, but Baldacci does a masterful job of balancing it in the mix without overwhelming the story.

Identical – Scott Turow (Grand Central Publishing)

Long before Kindle became the e-reader of choice for millions, it was better known for being the county that was home to attorney/bestselling author Scott Turow’s collection of colorful denizens of an equally colorful community.

With Identical Turow once again posits an intriguing concept and develops a story that will most likely keeping you guessing right to the end. I pride myself on more often than not being able to figure out where the story will wind up, but this one left me scratching my head.


While Turow has often displayed the ability to weave intricate, character laden plot lines, at times in Identical the reader may be left flapping their arms to keep their head above the character waterline. While he tries mightily to pull all of the loose strings together, Turow may have bitten off more than the average reader can chew.

With a bit of patience, this one is still worth the read, it may just take a bit of extra focus to keep things straight.


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