Recap of our Block Book Club May 2013 meeting
Recap of the titles we shared [synopsis from Goodreads.com].
1) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
by William L. Shirer (1960) [presented by P] – 1264 pages!
With a new afterword by the author, this unabridged edition tells the complete story of Hitler’s empire. Famed foreign correspondent and historian Shirer spent five and a half years sifting through the vast paperwork behind Hitler’s drive to conquer the world to bring this definitive record of one of the most frightening chapters in the history of mankind. “One of the most important works of history of our time”.–The New York Times.
2) The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles #2)
by Jeffrey Archer (2012) [presented by M]
On the heels of the international bestseller Only Time Will Tell, Jeffrey Archer picks up the sweeping story of the Clifton Chronicles….
Only days before Britain declares war on Germany, Harry Clifton, hoping to escape the consequences of long-buried family secrets, and forced to accept that his desire to marry Emma Barrington will never be fulfilled, has joined the Merchant Navy. But his ship is sunk in the Atlantic by a German U-boat, drowning almost the entire crew. An American cruise liner, the SS Kansas Star, rescues a handful of sailors, among them Harry and the third officer, an American named Tom Bradshaw. When Bradshaw dies in the night, Harry seizes on the chance to escape his tangled past and assumes his identity.
But on landing in America, he quickly learns the mistake he has made, when he discovers what is awaiting Bradshaw in New York. Without any way of proving his true identity, Harry Clifton is now chained to a past that could be far worse than the one he had hoped to escape.
3) Detroit: An American Autopsy
by Charlie LeDuff (2013) [presented by J]
An explosive exposé of Detroit, icon of America’s lost prosperity, from Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charlie LeDuff
In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly destroying itself. Detroit, once the richest city in the nation, is now its poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age—mass production, automobiles, and blue-collar jobs—Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropouts. A city the size of San Francisco and Manhattan could neatly fit into Detroit’s vacant lots.
In another life, Charlie LeDuff won the Pulitzer Prize reporting for The New York Times. But all that is behind him now, after returning to find his hometown in total freefall. Detroit is where his mother’s flower shop was firebombed; where his sister lost herself to drugs; where his brother works in a factory cleaning Chinese-manufactured screws so they can be repackaged as “Made in America.”
With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark—and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses—LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city. He embeds with a local fire brigade struggling to defend its neighborhood against systemic arson and bureaucratic corruption. He investigates state senators and career police officials, following the money to discover who benefits from Detroit’s decline. He befriends union organizers, homeless do-gooders, embattled businessmen, and struggling homeowners, all ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination.
Americans have hoped for decades that Detroit was an exception, an outlier. What LeDuff reveals is that Detroit is, once and for all, America’s city: It led us on the way up, and now it is leading us on the way down. Detroit can no longer be ignored because what happened there is happening out here.
Redemption is thin on the ground in this ghost of a city, but Detroit: An American Autopsy is no hopeless parable. Instead, LeDuff shares a deeply human drama of colossal greed, ignorance, endurance, and courage. Detroit is an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer—and a black comic tale of the absurdity of American life in the twenty-first century.
4) Fangs Out
by David Freed (2013) [presented by B]
Moments before he is executed, the killer of famed Vietnam War hero-pilot Hub Walker’s daughter makes a startling allegation: the real murderer is Walker’s close friend, a prominent U.S. defense contractor. Walker wants to hire somebody willing to spend a few days hunting up information that will refute the convicted killer’s groundless but widely reported claims, and help restore his friends good name. that somebody, as fate would have it, is sardonic civilian flight instructor, would-be Buddhist and retired military assassin Cordell Logan. Thus begins one of the years most suspenseful mystery-thrillers.
A Medal of Honor recipient married to a former Playmate of the Year, Walker resides in the swanky San Diego enclave of La Jolla, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Logan is convinced that working for Walker will be little more than a paid vacation – a chance to rub shoulders with a living legend while rekindling Logan’s relationship with his own enticing ex-wife, Savannah. But after flying to San Diego in his beloved aging Cessna, the Ruptured Duck, Logan is quickly drawn into a vexing and deadly jigsaw puzzle. The deeper he digs, the murkier the truth appears, and the more in danger he finds himself. Who really killed the war hero’s daughter, and why? Somebody in “America’s Finest City,” wants to stop Logan from asking questions, and will stop at nothing to silence him
5) Look Again
by Lisa Scottoline (2009) [presented by J]
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves.
Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground in Look Again, a thriller that’s both heart-stopping and heart-breaking, and sure to have new fans and book clubs buzzing.
J. also presented:
6) 15 Seconds
by Andrew Gross (2012)
Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon on his way to deliver a keynote address at a conference when his world falls apart. Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed, and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but after it subsides, and Henry is about to move on, the officer is suddenly killed in his car and there is only one suspect: the very person he was about to arrest not ten minutes before. Henry! When a second friend turns up dead, Henry realizes he’s being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name.
15 Seconds is a story of how even the best of lives can be destroyed in just an instant– and of an innocoent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, and who cannot go the police to clear his name.
7) Seduction (The Reincarnationist #5)
by M.J. Rose (2013) [presented by me]
From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost letters of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries.
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey—where Hugo conducted the séances—hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different—Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.
What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists
HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?