I’ve been bemoaning the spate of lackluster books I’ve been suffering through lately, when I realized on my way to work today that the streak has officially ended. I just recently finished three books, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Let me tell you a little bit about them. And luckily, they’re all available at your local library!
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. This absolutely hilarious book is set in Seattle (near my hometown), so I can completely empathize with the main character’s frustration with the endless gray clouds and perpetual drizzle. Bernadette is a mother who used to be an architect but now spends her time avoiding most social interaction, communicating with her virtual personal assistant in India, and planning her family’s vacation to Antarctica. Already it sounds crazy, right? Well, it is…it’s also charming and quirky and riotously funny. We find out that Bernadette has disappeared, so her precocious daughter tries to piece together the how and why of her mother’s disappearance. The book jumps back and forth between the present and the past, telling the story partly through emails and letters. This book wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but I couldn’t put it down. I found myself reading it in line at the post office.
- A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller. This is sure to be a wonderful new series featuring Bell Elkins, a smart prosecuting attorney in West Virginia. Three elderly men are viciously gunned down one morning at the local diner, and Bell’s teenage daughter is witness to the crime. She knows more than she’s willing to tell her mother, though. This portrayal of West Virginia and the problem the state is having with prescription drugs is heartbreaking. Keller does a stellar job of evoking the feel and landscape of rural life.
- A Wanted Man by Lee Child. I don’t often read the latest thrillers, finding them to be too much alike. But I couldn’t resist Child’s newest book. Jack Reacher is a different kind of hero – manly but still sympathetic, tough but still willing to show mercy. Much of the book takes place inside his head, showing us his terrific memory and faculty with numbers and facts. While hitchhiking, Reacher has the bad luck of being picked up by two men and a woman who were involved in a brutal stabbing. He pieces together the situation and quickly involves himself with an undercover operation involving the FBI, CIA, and State Department. Reacher realizes our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are not perfect, but he has great respect for the men and women who serve in them. And at the end, he goes to great lengths to save one of them, and the explosive ending is not to be missed.