A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself by Peter Ho Davies
A novel about fatherhood, a narrative perspective that is unusual in fiction. The voice was very authentic and the parenting challenges presented in a funny, relatable and heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking way. The story also delves into the painful choice of termination after a devastating prenatal diagnosis. I was a bit uncomfortable with what I sometimes felt was a moralistic tone about this issue and a bit presumptuous about how he talked about the mother’s experience. But ultimately, this is a moving and gentle book.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripur
A hilarious and impactful satire about the startup culture, and race and class in the modern economy. The story is written as a sort of manual for sales, a fun and inventive style. The plot is over the top and often absurd but the lessons Buck learns in his transformation from a mild-mannered, smart and sensitive Starbuck barista to a high-powered sales person in a bizarre, ill-defined start up corporation filled with racism are real and important.
Push by Ashley Audrain
A chilling psychological thriller about a troubled mother and daughter relationship. Blythe, the mother, has a troubled past but is committed to being a loving and attentive mother. But from infancy, her daughter is difficult and the relationship is strained. The ensuing story is terrifying. This is one of those books that you almost have to read in one sitting.
The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington
A poignant novel about an elite, wealthy family in Nashville, Tennessee. Starting with the end, the suicide of a prominent politician, the story covers the life and is told from the perspective of Charlie Boykin, the son of a struggling single mother in Nashville. Charlie gets a scholarship to an elite private school and then becomes entwined with the family of a wealthy classmate who becomes his life-long best friend. The story covers the coming age of these boys and their adulthood navigating the consequences of their family’s choices, privilege and secrets, culminating in the loss from the prologue.
The Sentinel (Jack Reacher, #25) by Lee Child and Andrew Child
As always, Reacher books are full of action. This one is co-written by his younger brother, and maybe a little too formulaic but it serves its purpose. Once again Reacher heads into a town (Pleasantville, TN about 75 miles north of Nashville) and Gee Golly gets to break up a fight, actually a would-be kidnapping. Of course, he sides with the nerdy IT guy who's just about to get hauled in. Reacher never loses a fight, so he saves Rusty Rutherford from getting snatched. Rusty is in trouble with the town because he was in charge of the IT equipment and it's all down and the saboteurs are looking for a big pay day to give Pleasantville back its servers. Well of course there are complications ~ Russian hackers are out to wreak havoc with our elections (THAT seems appropriate!) and Reacher finds some allies to try to hunt them down and fix the problem. There's also a Neo-Nazi connection and the usual females throwing themselves at Reacher. Maybe one day Jack will "settle down" but I wouldn't count on it anytime soon anyway. A GOOD read.
Law of Innocence (Mickey Haller, #7; Harry Bosch Universe, #34) by Michael Connelly
Ever been pulled over for no rear license plate and the cops find a corpse in your trunk? Well, I didn't think so, but that's what happens to our Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, (Harry Bosch's brother). And the DA, Dana Berg can't wait to throw the book at him. She at first gets a monster $5 million bail for Haller, that when the Judge reduces it, she re-indicts Haller on Murder with monetary cause, which puts bail out the window. The DA's case is flawed, but Mickey has trouble being his own lawyer while still in jail. Luckily, Bosch helps him out with some fine investigation and his ex-wife (Maggie McPherson, aka Maggie McFierce!) and mother of his law-school daughter, Hayley becomes his second chair. A well-drawn out procedural case ensues, while we share Haller's frustrations with the slowly turning wheels of justice. Throw in the FBI, some major fraud, and questionable prosecutorial methods and you get a great read.
The Guardians by John Grisham
Very similar to the recent Jamie Foxx movie, "Just Mercy," the Guardians is a novel about prejudice against Blacks and indigents caught up in the justice system. Twenty-three years ago, a young black named Quincy Miller was convicted of murdering his lawyer, Keith Russo with a shotgun. In actuality the local sheriff set him up because Russo was an informant for the DEA and Ruiz County Sheriff Pfitzner ran Cartel drugs through his small port town of Seabrook in northwestern Florida. So Pfitzner hired Cartel hitmen to kill Russo and then he planted evidence in Miller's car and also arranged with the prosecutor (also on the take from Pfitzner) to have witnesses point out Miller as the killer. Enter Cullen Post from The Guardians, a group of innocence lawyers out to free innocent men from death row sentences. We get a view of a few of Post's other cases but concentrate on the Quincy Miller case. Post painstakingly gathers evidence against Pfitzner and his connections to undo the lies that put Miller behind bars. But the wheels of justice are slow, especially in the good ole boy South and especially against convicts of color. A fascinating read, and one that frustrates the reader as you can't believe how Miller got put behind bars in the first place. Read it to see if Post can get Miller free.
Enigma (FBI Thriller, #21) by Catherine Coulter
Savich and Sherlock return to solve dueling mysteries. In the first one, a crazy man takes a pregnant woman hostage, but is it to save her from the demons he sees? Then her baby is kidnapped right after delivery and the chase is on to find the baby before it's too late. Meanwhile, an escaped convict tries to hide out in the Kentucky wilderness and Savich teams up Cam and Jack to bring him back. Both tales become very complicated and our team of FBI agents races the clock to solve both mysteries.
Macanudo Linears printed daily in the Times Union