Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

A young girl goes missing from her English village over the New Year holiday, and the whole town turns out to look for her. Even while they search, though, their own lives have to go on. And so they do, for year after year after year. This is less of a mystery novel than a story of life in the village, and the characters age on their own throughout. Each chapter represents a year after the disappearance, each paragraph seems to fill a page, and most sentences are self-contained, unto themselves. I came to view this more of a series of meditations upon the mundane, and found it incredibly moving.



The Wailing Frail by Richard S. Prather

The California state Senate committee investigating corrupt lobbyists needs a private investigator to follow up some leads in Los Angeles, and who better to call than Shell Scott. If you like your 1950s detectives completely hard-boiled, completely unreconstructed, and completely a product of their times, look no further than Scott. He doesn’t meet a woman who isn’t the embodiment of sex, and they’re as hungry for him as he is for them (except this series is true to its times, so the sex never really is consummated). It hits the four “B”s of the pulp genre – broads, booze, blood, bullets – but the mystery is still tight and surprisingly complex. It’s similar to Ross MacDonald, but with a lot more titillation.




The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

One summer night 15 years ago, three girls attending summer camp disappeared without a trace. There was a fourth girl in the cabin — the protagonist of the book — and while she has some knowledge of the disappearance, she ain’t tellin’, no nobody, not the police, not the camp counselors, and certainly not the reader. Now, the camp has reopened, the protagonist is now a camp counselor, and although weird things start to happen, she *still* ain’t tellin’. While it’s a compelling premise, this 370-page book could have been 100 pages shorter – and better for the cuts – but what really bugged me about the story was that we’re allowed into *parts* of the protagonist’s mind, but not the other parts. In asking a reader to pick up a book, the writer makes a contract; whatever contract Ms. Sager thinks she has struck, this book often violates it.


Fantasy, Historical, Juvenile Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories

The Arabs in the Golden Age by Mokhtar Moktefi and Veronique Ageorges

This book describes the Arab civilization during their golden age during the 600’s-1100’s AD.


Other books:
Improve Your Survival Skills- Usborne (non-fiction)

With Two Hands- Rebecca Davis
Mary Slessor- Janet and Geoff Benge

Donald J. Sobol Encyclopedia Brown series (a favorite):
Finds the Clues
Case of the Two Spies
Case of Pablo’s Nose
Case of the Treasure Hunt
Case of the Secret Pitch
Solves Them All
Cracks the Case
Saves the Day
Tracks them Down
Case of the Disgusting Sneakers
Boy Detective
Case of the Sleeping Dog

John D. Fitzgerald Great Brain series:
The Great Brain
More Adventures of the Great Brain
Me and My Little Brain
The Great Brain at the Academy

Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar series:
Boxcar Children
Mystery of the Spider’s Clue
Surprise Island
Also: The Boxcar Children Beginning by Patricia MacLachlan

Other random fiction books:
Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene d Bois
Stuart Little by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
The Story of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
Animal Inn by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender
Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White
Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum by Ashley Bryan
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
King of the Wind by Marquerite Henry
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy

Literary Fiction, Mystery

The Chief of Rally Tree by Jennifer Boyden

This story follows Roal, a college professor, whose wife recently left him. Roal’s wife, Dina, left him to go into the forest to “embrace the consciousness of trees”. There is an element of danger and mystery as Dina left to go help a man who spent significant time living with wolves and is thought by some to be a bit crazy, perhaps dangerous. Roal is concerned about Dina’s safety and goes in search of her, at turns quite adventurous. Along the way, Roal uncovers and learns about his true self, coming to terms with his life and gaining a sense of focus even amidst his loss. I loved the eco-conscious topics throughout, especially with the main focus on trees. Thought provoking for sure. An enjoyable read by a local SJI author.



The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

Considering that Three Pines, Quebec is way smaller than Friday Harbor, Washington, there sure is a lot of crime going on! But Inspector Armand Gamache, or rather, the former inspector, is there to save the day, along with the new Chief Inspector Isabelle LaCoste and her able assistant, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvior (also Gamache’s son in-law). As usual, there are a complicated mystery, interesting characters, and a beautiful setting. I always enjoy the descriptions of food—fresh brioches, turnip and apple soup, grilled scallops, and so on. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if Ruth and her pet duck Rosa were dispatched one of these days, but they seem to be immortal. A good read, and an excellent travel book, since I read it mainly in the air.



Let Loose the Dogs by Maureen Jennings

The word “dogs “was what drew me to picking up this paperback. Meeting a new sleuth to me, William Murdoch, a policeman in the 1873 was good also. He sets out to find the truth about a crime his incorrigible absentee father is accused of before he hangs.

I really appreciated this Det. Murdoch’s vulnerability. The subject of the “loose hounds” was the practice of a gambling spectacle of raising the best dog who kills the most rats in a a competition. Yuck, but then there was an over population of rodents in this time period in Britain.