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Book Remarks

Defending Jacob

BOOK REMARKS  Diane Bostick  dianebostick@comcast.net   Author: William Landay.  Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2012.  I feel badly writing yet another review of a mystery/courtroom drama, as I try to write about a variety of types of books, but I couldn’t resist this one. Besides, in reading the list of the New York Times Book Review’s top 16 fiction books I see that 11 of them are mysteries, thrillers or courtroom dramas so it is pretty obvious that this kind of book is very popular. Defending Jacob is a book of which the late, master of suspense, director Alfred Hitchcock, would have been ... Read More »

One Perfect Shot

Diane Bostick dianebostick@comcast.net   Author: Steven F. Havill. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press 2011. I am preparing myself mentally to start reading Ken Follett’s Fall of the Giants which is a whopping 1,000 pages long. I am sure I will enjoy it as I have many others written by Mr. Follett, but, in the meantime, I need to read something reasonably short that doesn’t require a lot of thinking or sorting of dozens of characters and One Perfect Shot fills the bill perfectly. It has likable characters, which is always a plus, the main two being Undersheriff Bill Gastner and a ... Read More »

Dead in Small Doses

By Holly Benedict  Author John Dandola debuts Dead in Small Doses, his newest mystery novel set during 1943.  Each year, author-screenwriter-playwright John Dandola makes several trips to Marco Island, spending in total at least two months here. He not only relaxes but he finds the quiet, easy atmosphere conducive to writing. His newest mystery novel, Dead in Small Doses, is one of his 1940’s Hollywood series which will surely generate reminiscences among readers. The author’s Dead series got its start due to the late Orson Welles. Just out of college, Dandola was asked to tag along with a friend who ... Read More »

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

BOOK REMARKS Diane Bostick dianebostick@comcast.net Author: Albert Brooks. Publisher: St. Martins Press 2011. Quite frankly, I would probably not have given this book a glance if I had just looked at the cover. It would seem that a book cover should draw a potential reader to want to pick the book up and feel compelled to at least glance at the inside blurb that tells what the book is about. This cover failed miserably. It is boring to look at, and the title leaves the impression that it is a non-fiction book. Had it not been suggested to me at my ... Read More »

Turn of Mind

BOOK REMARKS  Diane Bostick  dianebostick@comcast.net Author: Alice LaPlante.  Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press 2011.  If you are a regular reader of Book Remarks you probably have noticed that you often don’t know what the book I am reviewing is about until close to the end of the column. I tend to chat a bit about various other things first. In this case I will tell you right up front this book is told through the eyes of Dr. Jennifer White, an orthopedic surgeon, who, at the age of 64, has dementia, the intermediate stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Her best friend has been ... Read More »

EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN

BOOK REMARKS  Diane Bostick  dianebostick@comcast.net Author: Janet Evanovich.  Publisher: Bantam Books 2011. If you haven’t read a Janet Evanovich book you have missed a reading experience like no other. However, I must warn you, don’t even pick up the book if you aren’t prepared for some funky, quirky humor. If you are at the library you will find them in the mystery section, but I wouldn’t exactly call them mysteries. The author started out writing One for the Money and is now up to Explosive Eighteen with a book for each number in between. Her heroine, if you want to call ... Read More »

Killing Lincoln: The shocking assassination that changed America forever

BOOK REMARKS Diane Bostick dianebostick@comcast.net Author: Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 2011. While reading this book I was entranced and when I finished, all I could say was, “Wow.” Back in the ‘50s when I was taking American History in Fort Myers High School, it was all I could do to stay awake. For one thing, there was no air-conditioning then and the class was right after I had eaten lunch. But to make things much worse I had the kind of teacher who felt she had covered all her bases if she had us learn ... Read More »

THE LONG SONG

Diane Bostick  dianebostick@comcast.net Author: Andrea Levy  Publisher: Picador (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 2010. Available in Hard cover, soft cover, audio and Kindle.  I know that some of you would rather be shot in the foot than read anything considered a “Historical Novel.” (Yes, I know, some of you think I should say ‘an’ rather than ‘a’ before the word historical. I took the time to look it up and both are correct depending on where you live, but the ‘a’ seems to be preferred in America today.) Now to get back to the subject at hand. “Historical Novel” brings on ... Read More »

THE LITIGATORS

By Diane Bostick dianebostick@comcast.net Author: John Grisham Publisher: Doubleday 2011. When we think of John Grisham, our minds go automatically to courtroom drama. However, this man is no one note wonder. Although the majority of his twenty-five books have indeed been about lawyers, law firms and the courtroom, he has also branched off into other subject matter, though not with as much success. I, personally, think that his very first book, A Time to Kill, is his finest by far. It was written in a fine literary style. Since then, although I have enjoyed almost all of his books, I ... Read More »

Robert B. Parkers’s – Killing the Blues

Diane Bostick    A Jesse Stone Novel  Author: Michael Brandman  Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011.  What do V.C. Andrew and Robert B. Parker have in common? The obvious answer is that both are well loved authors who have written for years and still have new books being published as recently as this year. The less obvious answer is that both are dead! V.C Andrews died in 1986 with over 24 million books in print in many languages and has had over 29 books written by others, but published in her name, since her death. Another author suffering somewhat the same ... Read More »

The Widower’s Tale

Diane Bostick Author: Julia Glass.  Publisher: Pantheon 2010. Available in paperback by Anchor Books.  I think of myself as a reader of mysteries more than any other type of book. When I go to the library that is the section I gravitate to first. (I have yet to figure out yet why what I would call a “mystery” is sometimes to be found in the “Mystery” section and sometimes in the “Fiction” section. Who decides which it is?) However, since beginning these reviews I have read a good bit of fiction in trying to review books for everyone’s taste. And, ... Read More »

WINGSHOOTERS

Diane Bostick  Author: Nina Revoyr.  Publisher: Akashic Books. Available in hardcover and paperback 2011.  Why we select the books we read is somewhat of a mystery. Sometimes we read something because it is on the best seller list or a friend has said, “You just have to read this.” Often it is a new book just published by an author we have come to love over the years. We would hope it is frequently because you read a review such as this that led you to feel the need to read the book being reviewed. Occasionally we are just caught ... Read More »

All That Is Bitter & Sweet: A Memoir

Diane Bostick Author: Ashley Judd Publisher: Ballentine Books 2011 It may seem harsh to say in this day and age that I have little sympathy for those who have made no effort to improve themselves and expect others who have studied and worked hard to pay their way. I understand that the economics of today have changed a lot of the rules and there are many who are suffering because of it who have truly tried to do all the right things. But, I also realize there are millions of people in the third world countries who, through no fault ... Read More »

Buried Secrets

Diane Bostick Author: Joseph Finder Publisher: St. Martins Press, 2011. I have given quite a bit of thought since I started writing these reviews as to what makes a book something I want to continue reading. Sometimes it is beautifully detailed descriptions of people and places. Sometimes it is the thrill of the chase. Sometimes it is learning about something I know nothing about, told in an interesting way. But one of the most important things for me in a book of fiction or biography is that I care about the people in the book; that I want to know ... Read More »

Beaten, Seared and Sauced On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

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BOOK REMARKS Diane Bostick Author: Jonathan Dixon Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Publishers 2011. I doubt that I am the only one, man or woman, who loves to cook but is seldom able to produce anything to equal the gourmet delights I have been served in first class restaurants. You would think that with enough practice cooking meals for a family day after day you would eventually reach some level of acclaim, at least from that very family eating those lovingly prepared meals, but ‘taint necessarily so! You can spend all the time you want perusing cookbooks of all types and practicing what you read ... Read More »

Rules of Civility

Diane Bostick Author: Armor Towles Publisher: Viking July 2011  I’ve got to be honest and tell you that I first read a review of this book in one of the other local newspapers. I don’t remember which one. I have now read it and loved it and figuring that not everybody reads all of the local papers decided to review it myself. Even if you have already read the other review, you might not have realized this is a real keeper. Always the gentleman, even at the age of sixteen, George Washington himself wrote one hundred and ten “Rules of ... Read More »

The Lock Artist

By Diane Bostick Author: Steve Hamilton Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur Books January 2010. Winner of the 2010 Edgar Award for Best Novel, the Alex Award and a New York Times Notable Crime Book of the Year. When I was first asked to take over as book reviewer for the Coastal Breeze for the summer I figured it would be a simple enough thing to do. I was wrong. It is a lot harder than it looks. I first asked what the parameters for the books I was to review might be and was told they should be something written either this ... Read More »

Summer Rental

By Diane Bostick Author: Mary Kay Andrews Published by St. Martins Press New York, 2011 O.K. It’s summer and every part of your body, including your brain, is fried beyond recognition and the only thing you want to do is sit somewhere shady and cool, drink in hand, and read something that requires no actual thought what-so-ever. This is the perfect book, a “chick flick” on paper. If you want to stir your mind at all you might have the fun of imagining which movie stars could best play the three long time friends living for a month together in ... Read More »

The Sixth Man

By Diane Bostick Author: David Baldacci Published by Grand Central Publishing 2011. When each of us goes to the polls in the fall of the year we imagine that we have done due diligence in selecting the perfect candidate for the job of overseeing our lives from the pedestal of the Capital. But in David Baldacci’s world there are no guarantees that we have come even close to being successful. Nobody is safe in the world of Baldacci. Anyone from the President of the United States down to the janitor sweeping out the store room at 3 o’clock in the morning ... Read More »

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

By Diane Bostick Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America Author: Maureen Stanton Published by The Penguin Press, New York 2011. You might think this a strange book that I have chosen to review but with the popularity of the television shows, Antiques Road show (in its fifteenth season), Pawn Queens, Pawn Star and the thousands of flea markets and garage sales all around the United States, it is obvious there is a fascination by the public for finding unlikely treasures in unlikely places. The Brimfield Antiques Show, held 3 times a year in a sleepy little town in ... Read More »