Sunday, December 13, 2015

Does dark weather demand dark reads?

I have some slightly darker book reviews for today - appropriately I guess, since the weather is dark and gray.I'm hoping for brighter days, so I can travel around with Mum. But for now, just being home or damply driving out for everyday shopping is really quite a treat, since we get so little time to spend together.

Anyway, as I take a few minutes off from sharing news with family from England, here are some book reviews (and coffee recommendations) to share with readers everywhere.

Repercussions by Anthony Schneider tells the parallel stories of a white Jewish South-African caught up in the violence of apartheid, and his white Jewish American grandson caught up in the violence of that world's repercussions. Echoing through both stories are questions of what we do, what we can do, and why we do what we do. Enjoy with some seriously rich, elegant and complex four-star coffee.

Target of Opportunity by Max Byrd is filled with a similar sense of history's repercussions dripping through to the present day. It's a novel that blends genres perfectly, combining police procedural with WWII espionage, and offering powerfully convincing portrayals of both. More rich and complex four-star coffee will be needed with this one.

Maribeth Shanley's Crack in the World looks at the more immediate repercussions of child sexual abuse, as the protagonist grows from child to woman, bearing the weight of everyone else's problems without acknowledging her own. Truth will out, in the end, and perhaps truth will heal. But good relationships with a neighbor and friend are the glue that keeps her together. Read this dark but hopeful tale, filled with insights into human motivations good and bad, with a good cup of dark five-star coffee.

Real-world darkness takes the stage in To Live Out Loud by Paulette Mahurin, a retelling of the story of Emil Zola and Richard Dreyfus' politically savage trials in France. Having grown up in England, I was vaguely familiar with the history. Reading it told from a new point of view gives it a haunting immediacy, and brings out its relevance to today. More dark five-star coffee might be needed with this well-researched novella.

Next is Stranger at Sunset by Eden Baylee, a darkly sensuous psychological murder mystery that blends new adult noir with an Agatha Christie-type cast of characters at a beautiful Jamaican retreat. The protagonist's dark morality matches her darkly hidden past and sets the stage for a series to come, while the novel stands alone as an intriguingly modern Christie-style mystery. Enjoy with some bold, dark intense five-star coffee.

And finally a truly dark tale, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book One: Southbound Nightmares, by Scott Scherr. In the vein of Stephen King's the Stand, it follows a group of disconnected characters at the end of the world. Hints of Assault on Precinct 13, shadows of the Living Dead, and some very convincingly flawed characters combine to make for a novel that's hard to put down, gruesomely scary, and genuinely fascinating. Enjoy, yes of course, with some more dark five-star coffee, perfect for these days of cold dark winter.






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