Monday, May 7, 2007

Tempting Titles: Fresh Fiction - May


God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

Kyle's novel begins as adolescent narrator Alice Winston recounts the almost simultaneous departure of her sister, Nona, who elopes with a rodeo cowboy, and the drowning of Polly Cain, one of Alice's classmates. These events loom like specters over the rest of the novel, which brims with a confidence and assuredness atypical of a debut. In light of Nona's exodus, Alice becomes her father's primary assistant in tending the family's barn and her bedridden mother's intermediary to the outside world. Alice's penchant for prevarication—she makes a pretense of having been Polly Cain's best friend—helps her repel this harsh reality. In Alice, Kyle has created an adolescent voice that is charming and authentic but that also has its irksome tics: surprising events always inspire such hyperbolic responses as "the air around me sucked to the rims of the earth" and "Everything was coming undone…the entire world breaking into pieces beneath me." In the long run, though, this is a carp, as the voice exerts an irresistible pull. The prospect of other people leaving—Alice's father with a woman he trains—and the revelation of characters' secrets keep the reader glued to the story. Highly recommended for all public libraries. (Library Journal 2006)


Died in the Wool by Rett MacPherson

Torie O'Shea, genealogist and president of the New Kassel, Mo., historical society, unearths long-buried family secrets when she puzzles out the strange 1920s suicides of siblings Glory, Whalen and Rupert Kendall in MacPherson's homespun 10th Torie O'Shea mystery (after 2006's Dead Man Running). The old Kendall house is put up for sale, and Torie hopes to buy and reinvent the home as a textile museum, honoring Glory Kendall, a skilled quilter. But Torie's interest broadens beyond historic fabric and needlework when she begins researching the odd circumstances surrounding the deaths of the Kendalls, who were survived by their father, Sanders. The ominous intrigue touches the present day when a friend of Torie's is poisoned with the same substance found long ago in Glory's body. Torie's determined historical detective work will absorb cozy readers. (Publisher's Weekly Review, March 2007)


For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison

Harrison's (A Fistful of Charms) "Hollows" series moves to hardcover with this fifth volume, which once again finds witch/independent bounty hunter Rachel Morgan in trouble with werewolves, vampires, and demons. A rash of werewolf suicides brings Rachel into another mystery, and when it becomes clear that the obvious suspects aren't behind the murders, Rachel discovers a motive rooted in an ancient curse. Meanwhile, Rachel's relationships with vampires Ivy (her roommate) and Kisten (her boyfriend) continue to evolve in different directions, resulting in a little jealousy and a lot of tension. Other familiar characters, including recovering demon Ceri and perennial villain Trent Kalamack, make appearances that will satisfy and entertain readers of Harrison's earlier books. The well-crafted world of the Hollows continues to grow more complex, and this book relies so much on the setup from the previous book that readers new to the series may find themselves lost. Harrison's following has grown as readers continue to discover her work, and fans of the early books in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series will enjoy Rachel Morgan's supernatural adventures. Recommended for public libraries. (Library Journal 11/15/06)

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