Some good reads for the cooler days of fall
Fall has arrived and the days grow shorter. Reading will soon move indoors for the winter. But, there are still some wonderful afternoons to sit outside and catch the last warm, sunny days. …
Some good reads for the cooler days of fall
Fall has arrived and the days grow shorter. Reading will soon move indoors for the winter. But, there are still some wonderful afternoons to sit outside and catch the last warm, sunny days.
“The Curiosity” (2913) by Stephen P. Kiernan. I went looking for more of his books and this one is just as good as “The Hummingbird” (from my last review). It’s a science-themed love story and thriller that raises questions about how modern medicine and science are changing the rules about life and death. And, it looks at how we allow the media to control the narrative of our lives. When Dr. Kate Philo and a team of scientists find a man frozen in the ice on an Arctic expedition, they move far beyond their goal of reanimating frozen tiny organisms. The man was a judge in Massachusetts who fell off a ship in 1906. Once reanimated back in the Boston lab of the newly renamed Lazarus Project, Judge Jeremiah Rice becomes the guinea pig of the arrogant head of the project. But, Kate sees Jeremiah as a human being, one torn from everything he knew who is trying to absorb how much life has changed and how he will play a part in it. Chapters are told in the first person by Kate, Jeremiah, a reporter covering the reanimation and the head of the project, which gives the reader more information than each character has, which adds to the tension. It’s a very well-told tale.
“The Holland Suggestions” (1975) by John Dunning. Dunning is one of my favorite authors. His Cliff Janeway mysteries are great detective stories and “Two O’Clock Eastern Wartime” is a fanatastic period mystery. I discovered this early novel written 21 years before the first Cliff Janeway novel. Online, some people didn’t like it as much as his later books; but, I think it’s a wonderful thriller. And, the paperback version I got had an introduction written by him in 1997 that talks about writing and publishing. In this one, Jim Ryan was once involved in experiments involving hypnosis. When he receives mysterious photos in the mail of a mountain trail that seems familiar, his subsequent dreams and insomnia will send him on an obsessive journey to Colorado to try to discover what’s lurking in his memory.
“Eleanor Rigby” (2004) by Douglas Coupland. Ellie Dunn is overweight, plain, lonely. She refers to herself as drab, crabby and friendless. Feeling that it’s the most she will ever have, she decides to seek peace rather than certainty. Instead of trying to control things, she will go with the flow. Then, she receives a call from the hospital. They have admitted a young man wearing a medical bracelet with her name and number. Jeremy will up-end her quiet existence, sending her on an adventurous path that will change everything. This black comedy is just marvelous.
“Black Rabbit Hall” (2016) by Eve Chase. Lorna Dunaway and her fiancé Jon have driven from London to search out wedding venues in Cornwall in 2000-something. When Lorna sees Black Rabbit Hall, she knows it’s where she wants to get married. But, there’s something else, too? Is it the place her mother used to bring her when she was a child? The chapters alternate between the present and the 1960s, when the Alton family lived at Black Rabbit Hall. The book is so evocative of a big, old, English country house and the children who run wild there each summer under the watchful eye of two loving parents. But, when things go wrong, they go very wrong. How are Amber Alton and Lorna linked? What are the dark secrets Lorna will uncover at the decaying estate?
“Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art” (2009) by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo. This is the true story of con man John Drewe who convinced artist John Myatt to paint in the style of famous artists and then sold the paintings for millions of pounds. Drewe inserted himself into the upper reaches of the British art world with donations of cash and paintings, earning entrance into the archives of some of the most famous museums and galleries, where he tinkered with records, inserting provenances for the faked paintings. The second half of the book reads like a thriller as the law begins to build a case against the duo and their mostly clueless accomplices. It’s also an illuminating look at the inner workings of the art world and a cautionary tale about what makes great art and how it is valued (or should be). Some of Myatt’s fakes are still out there. Some were so accomplished, dealers refused to believe they were fakes.
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