Readers Guide


By Julie Forkner

September 4, 2017
August 28, 2017
August 21, 2017
August 14, 2017

September 4, 2017 

The internet definitely has a dark side where the lowest crimes of humanity play out in virtual space. Now, an ancient evil is also gathering in the dark side of the web. In near-future Portland, Oregon, a motley group of unlikely heroes are grouping together to fight back the evil lurking in The Dark Net (F) by Benjamin Percy.

After forty years in the Hell’s Angels, a good many of them leading the Ventura Chapter of the motorcycle club, George Christie wanted to retire. However, retiring from the Hell’s Angels isn’t easy, and soon the club had blackballed Christie. In Exile on Front Street (364.109), Christie recounts his time with the outlaw biker gang, much of it in opposition to the founder and much-admired leader of the gang, Sonny Barger.

Mark Hendrix was the lead detective on a serial murder case that was never solved. Trying to track down the Prophet, who terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990’s, drove Hendrix to the edge of a nervous breakdown and devastated his family’s mental and physical well being. Twenty years later, his daughter, Caitlin, a narcotics detective for only six months, attends the crime scene of a brutal double murder that has all the characteristics of the Prophet. Caitlin is determined to win this time and find the identity of the unknown subject in Unsub (F) by Meg Gardiner.

Harry J. Anslinger was the nation’s first drug czar starting with the creation of Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930. He was a rabid propagandist who frequently demonized racial and immigrant groups and had a special zealousness for marijuana users. In Assassin of Youth (363.450), Alexandra Chasin explores the social history that created Anslinger’s mindset and the culture his mindset created after his tenure at the Bureau of Narcotics. From there, Chasin uses historical documents to track the evolution of drug laws including a look at the 1820’s Pharmacopeia to the death of Sandra Bland to the lives of gangsters and CIA operatives. 

Author Sean McFate is not only a foreign policy and national security strategist, but also a U. S. Army officer and paratrooper who served under Stanley McChrystal and David Patreus. He brings his intimate knowledge of international security intrigue to his latest book, Deep Black (F). Masked men have attacked a Saudi prince and stolen the briefcase locked to his wrist. Escaping deep into ISIS held territory, the masked thieves lead military undercover agent Tom Locke straight into a deep state war. 

Residential hotels are often home for the most vulnerable families – those struggling with mental illness or addiction, newly released prisoners, and the working poor, to name a few. Sociologist Christopher Dum spent a year living in The Boardwalk Hotel chronicling the lives of its residents and the challenges they faced. As the neighborhood around the hotel tried to have it closed down, residents at the Boardwalk continued to persevere. Dum writes of his experience at the Boardwalk in Exiled in America: Life on the Margins in a Residential Motel (363.500).

Also at the Library:
     The Store (F) by James Patterson
     Crime Scene (F) by Jonathan Kellerman
     Barely Legal (F) by Stuart Woods
     Scotland: A Whiskey Lover’s Guide (914.110) by Ted Bruning
     Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man who Wrote Dracula (921.000) by David J.
     Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans (359.030) by James Stavridis

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August 28, 2017 

1967 had Mrs. Robinson; 2017 has Mrs. Fletcher. When her befuddled only son leaves for college, single-mom Eve Fletcher has to learn to live again as a middle-aged, single woman. Her son, Brendon, moves away to a campus where his frat-boy charm is less than welcome. As Eve and her son each learn to find their way in their respective new worlds of love, they each end up in a moral dilemma that comes to a head one November evening. Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher (F) is the newest novel from an insightful and hilarious author. 

Don’t confuse graphic novels with comic books. The world of graphic novels has evolved in the past few decades to a story telling medium rich in both detail and nuance. Amy Kurtzweil’s The Flying Couch (741.500) is an excellent example of how a graphic novel can portray difficult subject matter in a sensitive, sophisticated, and intricate way. The Flying Couch is the story of three generations of women – a young artist, a psychiatrist, and a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto. It is a beautifully told story of what it means to be a family and how one generation imprints the next.

Sue Grafton’s long running Kinsey Milhone series is close to the end. Y is for Yesterday (M) is the darkest of Kinsey’s cases. In 1979, at an elite private school, a freshman is sexually assaulted on film. When the tape of the crime goes missing, the suspected thief is murdered. Ten years later, Fritz McCabe, one of the alleged perpetrators, is released from prison just as the missing tape resurfaces.  As Kinsey tries to make sense of what happened decades ago, her nemesis from X (M) comes back with a vengeance. 

Some writers are adept storytellers. Other writers don’t only tell a story, but they leave us with a vision for a new way of living. Ursula K. Le Guin is a writer whose long career proves her gift as a public literary intellectual. In Words Are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books 2000-2016 (818.000), Le Guin collects talks, essays, and other writings into one work that contemplates contemporary fiction, and, through those works, provides a way to explore the world we now live in and the possibilities for the future.

New college students need the stability of their family. Unfortunately, for Agnes, both her mother and her brother have disappeared. As she stumbles her way through the wilderness of college life, she writes letters to her mother to conjure a closeness where there never was one. When she gets pregnant, Agnes has to become a mother both to her child and to herself in Motherest (F), a novel full of dark humor by Kristen Iskandrian.

Tracy Kidder has repeatedly distinguished himself as a master of narrative non-fiction. A Truck Full of Money (338.700) is an intense drama of one man’s eclectic intelligence and success. The founder of, Paul English discovered his talent when computers first made it into the public sphere. With a knack for entrepreneurship and technology both, that talent that could not have come to light at any other time in history. English’s innovative enterprises earned him a fortune, and the first thing he did was figure out how to give it away. The second thing he did was ask, “what’s next?”

Also at the Library
     Exposed (F) by Lisa Scottoline
     Seeing Red (F) by Sandra Brown
     The Chalk Pit (M) by Elly Griffiths
     Secrets of My Life (306.768) by Caitlin Jenner
     Trainwreck: The Women We love to Hate, Mock, and Fear and Why (305.400) by Sandy Doyle
     Keeping Love Alive As Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey (616.831)  by
        Deborah Barr, Edward Shaw, and Gary Chapman

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August 21, 2017 

Sam Eastland’s Inspector Pekkala series comes to an explosive conclusion in Berlin Red (F). In April of 1945 in Eastland’s version of events, the Red Army is preparing to lay siege to Hitler’s capital, while German scientists are perfecting Diamond Stream, a classified rocket guidance system that has already destroyed much of London. When British Intelligence intercepts a radio message sent to Hitler’s headquarters, the game is on for Insector Pekkala. 

Former Editor-in-Chief of the only independent TV news station in Russia, Mikhail Zygar does not believe that Putin came to power in Russia with a master plan of control. Instead, he argues, Putin is a master of tactics, responding to real time situations with a disturbing eye for opportunity but with no real ultimate objective. Zygar’s book All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin (947.048),  takes an inside look at the power structure of Russia, its regional governors and bureaucratic leaders, and illuminates what truly happens in this scene of control and deceit. To the Western reader, this portrait of Putin runs against the mainstream conception, but it is no more comforting. 

Prague in 1599 was also full of political intrigue. Luckily, in Benjamin Black’s new novel Wolf on a String (F), the political intrigue is fictional. When scholar Christian Stern stumbles into Prague during the bitter winter at the end of the 14th century, poor, lost, and drunk, he immediately stumbles over the body of a young woman whose throat has been slashed. Soon, the Emperor himself has discovered Christian to be an honest and reliable sole and Christian leaves fearing for his life.

In another analysis of Russian politics, historian Walter Laqueur, who has spent most of his life studying Eurasian history and politics, examines the complex and overlapping social, historical, and cultural factors that make up today’s Russian political agenda. In Putinism: Russia and its Future with the West (947.086), Laqueur explores the entrenched, conservative Russian culture that is strongly embedded in the Orthodox Church, a sense of Russian entitlement to territory now outside its borders, and an exaggerated fear of foreign enemies. Firmly grounded in study and history, Laqueur paints an illuminating picture of this country that takes so much of the spotlight.

First an Augustinian monk, William Brodrick left the order to practice law and write novels. In his Father Anselm series, Anselm was a lawyer who is now a monk. His induction into the order of monks has not, however, prevented him from being drawn into the world of criminal investigation. In The Day of the Lie (F), Anselm is drawn into the case of a Polish resistance fighter, Roza Mojeska, who was betrayed, arrested, and tortured. Now, many decades later, Father Anselm is discovering a half-century of lies and Soviet occupation so brutal that an entire generation was murdered to cover it up.

Some claim that George Washington’s expertise in espionage is what made the American Revolution successful. Using Washington’s diary, historian John A. Nagy tells the story of how Washington’s skill as a spymaster turned an undisciplined, rag tag army into a force that defeated the most disciplined and well-equipped army of the time. George Washington’s Secret Spy War: The Making of America’s First Spymaster (973.385) is a fast-paced journey through early American espionage.             

Also at the Library:
     The Fallen (F) by Ace Atkins
     Paradise Valley (M) by C. J. Box
     Somme: Into the Breach (940.427)  by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

New Fiction on CD:
     Hallelujah Anyway (Audio 241.400 Lamott) by Anne Lamott
     Murder Games (V PATTJ MG B 23) by James Patterson
     The Duchess (V Steed Duc E 73) by Danielle Steele

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 August 14, 2017

When an old house is demolished to make way for shiny new flats in an up-and-coming area of London, workers discover the skeleton of a tiny baby. Reporter Kate Waters feels the story is worthy of national news. As she works to discover who the Building Site Baby is, Kate unearths two more mysteries in The Child (F) by award winning author Fiona Barton.

Children are smarter, more resilient and more independent than we credit them for being. That is the underlying assertion in Do Parents Matter? Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings don’t Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax (649.100) by Robert and Sarah Levine. The LeVines have spent fifty years studying how families work and how children develop, and their new book is an antidote to the anxiety-ridden, exhaustive parenting style that seems to be pushing American parents over the edge. 

Jimmy Perez’s life in the Shetland Islands has never been easy, and it doesn’t get any easier in the newest installment of the Shetland series Cold Earth (M). At the burial of his longtime friend Magnus Tait, Perez witnesses a mudslide carry away a house that everyone assumed was abandoned. Perez, however, finds the body of a woman in a red silk dress and a box of photographs. Determined to find out the woman’s identity, Perez stumbles onto a whole new mystery in Ann Cleeves’ latest.

Three cheers for the nerds! Bill Nye is back celebrating knowledge for its own sake and showing how a love of critical thinking can create a better world. In Nye’s world there is no problem that can’t be solved with a blend of curiosity, patience, and creativity, and he wants to share his secrets with you in Everything All At Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem (153.400).

A new evil is terrorizing New Orleans. Veteran Detective Micki Dee Dare is not one for partners, but now she has been saddled with the task of keeping a newbie FBI agent alive as the two try to discover why women keep disappearing. Dare soon finds that FBI agent Zach “Hollywood” Harris has more talents than he lets on, which is all the better, because the case keeps getting more bizarre in the first of a new supernatural thriller series from Erica Spindler, The Final Seven (F.)

In a time when politics are inflammatory and divisive, historian David McCullough reminds us of our core, common values in The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For (973.300.) The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, McCullough has a talent for bringing to light the values that connect us as whole, despite where we might live, how much money we make, or on which side of the aisle we prefer our politicians to be. In this brief collection of speeches, McCullough has presented us with a unique gift – common ground. 

Also at the library:
     The Late Show (M) by Michael Connelly
     Two Nights (M) by Kathy Reichs
     A Distant View of Everything (F) by Alexander McCall Smith
     Temple Grandin: Voice for the Voiceless (616.858)  by Annette Wood
     Cast Away: True Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis (305.906) by Charlotte
     Supremely Partisan: How Raw Politics Tips the Scales in the US Supreme Court (347.732) by
        James D. Zirin

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