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Staff Picks 2007, Issue 1

Left Corner

Case HistoriesCase Histories by Kate Atkinson (ATK)

In an inventive interpretation of the mystery genre, Jackson Brodie, a British private detective, is working to solve three separate cold cases that took place over a period of more than thirty years. In the process of his investigation, Brodie uncovers connections between the cases and his own painful personal life.

- Mary

Motoring With MohammedMotoring With Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea by Eric Hansen (915.33 HAN)

In 1978 Eric Hansen was shipwrecked on a desert island in the Red Sea when goat smugglers offered him safe passage to Yemen. Before leaving, he buried seven years' worth of travel journals deep in the sand. He returned 10 years later to recover them in this off-beat, true adventure tale.

- Barbe

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kauzo Ishiguro (ISH)

Friends find out the truth about their shared childhood at an isolated private school in this elegant mood piece and social commentary set in present-day England. They discover that they are human clones who were created to serve as organ donors.

- Dawn

The History of LoveThe History of Love by Nicole Krauss (KRA)

A book about a character named Alma is written in Poland and taken to Chile after World War II. The book turns up in New York, where 15-year-old Alma Singer's mother is hired to translate it. Alma sets out to solve the mystery of her namesake while the book's author mourns the loss of his true love, his only son, and the manuscript of his novel in a story that is both mystery and elegy.

- Jan

Purgatory RidgePurgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger (MYS KRU)

This third entry in the Cork O'Connor mystery series is a real page-turner with multiple plot twists. O'Connor is the ex-sheriff of the small town of Aurora in the North Woods of Minnesota. This time around, Cork is involved with kidnappings, murder, arson, extortion, a local right wing militia, eco-warriors, a freighter sunk on Lake Superior under suspicious circumstances, and a Native American who is wracked with guilt over being the sole survivor of a maritime tragedy.

- Mike

Bleach, Volume 1Bleach, Volume 1: Strawberry and the Soul Reapers by Tite Kubo (YA MANGA BLE V1)

Ichigo is a regular high school kid—who happens to be able to see ghosts—until a run-in with a monstrous creature called a hollow puts his family in danger. Suddenly, he's thrown into a world of hollows and shinigami, with a mysterious girl named Rukia right in the middle of it all.

- Jillian

PolarisPolaris by Jack McDevitt (SF MCD)

In the second book of the Alex Benedict series, two antiques dealers discover valuable artifacts that belonged to the vanished crew of a luxury space yacht, Polaris, which disappeared 60 years ago. The two set out to uncover the truth of what happened to Polaris in a tale that combines hard science, mystery, and adventure set in the very distant future.

- Scott

Solstice WoodSolstice Wood by Patricia McKillip (SF MCK)

When her grandfather dies, bookstore owner Sylvia Lynn reluctantly returns to her childhood small town. Brought once more into the radius of her powerful grandmother and the rambling house known as Lynn Hall, Sylvia confronts the ghosts of her past, the possibility that she may not be entirely human, and that her future may involve a group of women who guard the openings between the worlds. McKillip infuses the present-day world with elements of myth and the elusiveness of the supernatural.

- Cathy

Dead Before DyingDead Before Dying: A Novel by Deon Meyer (MEY)

This action-packed, hard-hitting novel features a strong central character, 34-year-old Cape Town, South Africa police captain Mat Joubert. Joubert struggles to overcome the depression he is suffering since his wife's death while trying to prove himself by leading an investigation of a serial killer.

- Vickie

The Greatest Story Ever SoldThe Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina by Frank Rich (973.931 RIC)

This is a fast-paced whodunit, set against a rich tapestry of six years of the Bush administration, with interesting observations about popular culture, publishing, and the selling of perception over reality.

- Ross

Open and ShutOpen and Shut by David Rosenfelt (MYS ROS)

Andy Carpenter is a sports-loving, dog-loving defense attorney from New Jersey with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a lack of respect for those with wealth and power. His father urges him to take on the appeal of a death-row inmate's decade-old murder conviction. When his father, who prosecuted the original case, dies, Andy is left with an unexpected $22 million and an old photograph linking his father and some childhood friends to the original crime. Andy and his private detective girlfriend, Laurie Collins, then find themselves investigating a deadly political conspiracy.

- Ann

FingersmithFingersmith by Sarah Waters (WAT)

Set in 1851 London, this page-turner is the story of a young female fingersmith (pickpocket) who agrees to help a young con insinuate his way into the life of a wealthy young lady in order to defraud her. Each half of the book is told from the perspective of each of the two women. The plot has many twists and turns, and in the style of Dickens, many plot points and characters come together in unexpected, but believable ways.

- Janet