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Tag Archives: Maggie Gust

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected]   By Nadia Hashimi William Morrow, May 2014, 464 pages   “You know what they say about the human spirit? It is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.” - Khala Shaima, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel. In her debut novel, Nadia Hashimi has gifted the world with a wonderfully written, mesmerizing look into a fascinating family drama set in Afghanistan. The main protagonists are Rahima, a young 21st century Afghani girl and her great-great-grandmother Shekiba who lived in the early 20th century. The story shifts between the ... Read More »

The Studio Kill

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected]   By Charles Fleming Asahina & Wallace, 2014, 262 pages Genre: Mystery (Novel Noir)   “One difference between film noir and more straightforward crime pictures is that noir is more open to human flaws and likes to embed them in twisty plot lines.” – Roger Ebert   Set in 1947 Los Angeles just after the murder of Bugsy Siegel, “The Studio Kill” tells the story of John McClellan, chief detective for Continental Studios. His responsibilities include looking after and cleaning up after the studio’s movie stars, both major and minor, as well as attending to ... Read More »

Traveling Left of Center

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] I was looking for a good love story to break up the string of thrillers I have been reading. Instead, I found “Traveling Left of Center.” As the title indicates, these 18 short stories have protagonists who are slightly off kilter psychologically. We all know they are “out there.” It is estimated that one in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness. Nancy Christie has given them a voice. Though not as dreary as Edgar Allen Poe by any means, Christie’s protagonists are in various stages of psychic distress. The first story, named ... Read More »

The Target

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected]   By David Baldacci. 432 pages. Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, April 2014. Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Political Thriller   “The reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – Jojen Reed, Game of Thrones   This is great summertime read — light, refreshing and engaging. Slip into the world of clandestine assassination and a female North Korean operative whose martial arts skills make Jason Bourne look like a slow-motion grandpa. Yie Chung-Cha spent most of her youth in a concentration camp, Yodok, imprisoned there with her entire family. There, she learned ... Read More »

Supreme Justice

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BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust [email protected] By Max Allan Collins Thomas & Mercer, 2014 336 pages “I always turn to the sports page first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”Earl Warren, 14th Chief Justice, SCOTUS   Someone is assassinating the justices of the Supreme Court in this nifty little thriller set in the future, circa 2030. “Summertime and the readin’ is easy” to paraphrase that famous Gershwin tune. “Supreme Justice” was quite a delightful surprise. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Joe Reeder, CEO of ABC Security, is a former Secret Service ... Read More »

Summer House With Swimming Pool

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected]   By Herman Koch Hogarth/Random House 2014 (USA) 387 pages   “Patients can’t tell the difference between time and attention.”Dr. Marc Schlosser He is back, folks, and he is even more dark and twisted than in “The Dinner.” Actually, those two couples appear positively lighthearted compared to Dr. Marc Schlosser, a general practitioner in the Netherlands whose patient base is composed of actors, writers, artists, celebrities from the creative sector. Dr. Schlosser also serves as the narrator of this story. The title comes from the fact that Marc’s most famous patient, actor Ralph Meier, has ... Read More »

Field of Prey

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By John Sandford, G.P. Putnam 2014, 392 pages, Genre: Mystery “There’s nothing to match curling up with a good book when there’s a repair job to be done around the house.” – Joe Ryan   The 24th book in John Sandford’s Prey series proves the author is only getting better at his craft. I was engrossed in this story from page one. Although Field of Prey is a mystery, the reader knows from the beginning who the killers are. The mystery involves how the police track them down. The story opens with the kidnapping of ... Read More »

Shotgun Lovesongs

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By Nickolas Butler St. Martin’s, 2014, 307 pages “All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.”– Thomas Wolfe   The small town of Little Wing, Wisconsin is the setting for this debut novel by 30-something Nickolas Butler who actually grew up in Eau Claire, WI. The story revolves around a group of five friends, now middle-aged, who grew up together in Little Wing; most of them ... Read More »

Chestnut Street

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By Maeve Binchy Knopf 2014, 368 pages Genre: Fiction/Short Story Collection Almost two years ago I wrote a Book Remarks about Maeve Binchy’s final novel, A Week In Winter, published shortly after her death in July 2012. All Maeve fans believed that was the end of the anticipation of new offerings from this wonderful storyteller. Rejoice! We were wrong. The woman who did not believe in an afterlife has endowed her readers with such. These stories were written by Maeve over three plus decades, beginning when she was a columnist for The Irish Times. Using ... Read More »

You Should Have Known

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By Jean Hanff Korelitz, 439 pages Grand Central Publishing  2014 Genre:  Domestic/Psychological Fiction “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Grace Reinhart, an almost-40-year-old Manhattan couples therapist, has written a book on the brink of being published. Entitled You Should Have Known, it is based on her 15-year experience with couples in crisis. Her premise is that women negate their initial impressions and intuition about the men in their lives and tell themselves their judgment was wrong, “Now ... Read More »

Missing You

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BOOKREMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By Harlan Coben Penguin Group 2014, 417 Pages Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense “We know that everything in our lives is complex and gray. Yet we somehow expect our relationships to never be anything but simple and pure.” - Stacy in Missing You by Harlan Coben I became a Harlan Coben fan last year after reading Six Years which I was inspired to read after seeing that Hugh Jackman had been cast as the male lead for the movie version. Now, Mr. Coben is back with another superb, stay-in-your-seat-and-keep-turning-those-pages, good-heavens-what-will-happen-next whodunit. This time, the movie rights to Missing You ... Read More »

The Accident

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By Chris Pavone Crown Publishing, 2014 402 pages Genre: Thriller “Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted.”         – William Hazlitt If you love thrillers, grab this book. Once you do, hang on, because it’s a heck of a ride. I have not yet read Mr. Pavone’s Expats, published in 2012, but I will be reading it in the near future. This man has clearly mastered the thriller genre. Where to start? Too many books lately have been weak in character but ... Read More »

The Barkeep

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By William Lashner 468 pages Thomas & Mercer, February 2014 Genre: Mystery (Zenspense) “Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” - Author Unknown If you are familiar with the name William Lashner, you likely have read some of his Victor Carl mysteries. This is not part of that series. Frankly, I started reading the book because after several nonfiction reads I was ready for something lighter and I found the title intriguing. It is not often I encounter the term “barkeep,” but it certainly ... Read More »

The Death of Santini

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] By Pat Conroy 352 pages, Nan A. Talese publisher Sold by Random House “Time passing has a soothing, ameliorative effect, and memory softens as its tides flow out to sea. And to the amazement of all his children, Dad was turning into a man of decency and self-control.” I wanted to read The Death of Santini because it was touted as a journey to forgiveness between a father and son. Every major world religion values forgiveness, and it seemed an appropriate read for the Christmas edition, covering father-son relationships, family, love and forgiveness. Also, Conroy ... Read More »

The Racketeer

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected]   By John Grisham Doubleday 2012 340 pages As a long-time Grisham fan, I didn’t hesitate to read this book when it was recommended by a friend. It is never difficult to get engrossed in a Grisham novel, at least not his legal thrillers. I did not want to put this book down. I have not been this mesmerized by Grisham since The Client, my first Grisham novel. The protagonist is Malcolm Bannister, a small-town Virginia lawyer imprisoned (wrongly) to a 10-year federal prison sentence for money laundering. We find him halfway through that term, ... Read More »

Six Years

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] by Harlan Coben Dutton 2013 Harlan Coben’s most recent novel soared to the number one spot on the NYT Bestseller List immediately after it was published several weeks ago in March. I have to admit I was attracted to it because I read that Hugh Jackman had signed on to play the lead in the movie adaptation of Six Years, assuming that if this intelligent actor was eager to be involved in the project (as the Hollywood types call movies in the works), it must be an engrossing story. I was not disappointed. I am ... Read More »

The Dinner

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by Herman Koch Hogarth Books 2012 The Dinner is a feast for anyone with a taste for dark humor and satire. I found it to be a positively enthralling story. It is the type of book hard to describe without giving away too much. When I read it, I had no prior knowledge about it except the blurb I read in the public library’s newsletter. Two couples, each with a 15-year-old son, meet at a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam to discuss said sons who may be facing grave legal consequences for some recent impulsive behavior that resulted in the death ... Read More »

better than fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected]   Edited by Don George Lonely Planet Publications, 2012 I usually find collections of short stories a bore. If there are ten stories, only four are truly interesting and well-written. I was drawn to this book because I was intrigued by the title, “better than fiction,” which could be my mantra, and because “travel” is in the title (Ready – where are we going? is my other mantra). I had no inkling I would be writing about it in Book Remarks, but it was an unexpected delight and worth sharing. An editor and book reviewer for ... Read More »

Bring Up The Bodies

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust [email protected] Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2012 To begin, I would like to note that I was given credit in the last issue of Coastal Breeze for the article on “Killing Kennedy.” In fact, my partner in crime, Diane Bostick, is the author and deserves your accolades for sharing her excellent reflections on the book as well as her reminiscences of the JFK era. No doubt, many of you are familiar with Hilary Mantel and may have read “Wolf Hall,” her novel published three years ago, which won the prestigious ... Read More »

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

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BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust  [email protected] Author: Bill O’Rielly, Martin Dugard.  Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 2012  In October 1962 I was a fairly new bride, with a four month old baby, living in Perrine, Florida, a suburb of Miami, only 228 miles from Cuba. My nervousness in how to care for a new baby was grossly overshadowed by my fear in hearing the constant roar of military trucks loaded with servicemen rumbling down the highway a few blocks from my home headed to Homestead Air Force Base. Overhead could be heard the nerve-racking drone of military planes headed to the same ... Read More »