Booklist 2012

14 Mar

I realized today, reading Kelli post, that I dind’t update my reading list of last year. I was an avid reader (and I still like to read more than anything else) for so many years, my goal was one book a week, at least. In the last couple of years though, I found myself more and more willing to spend time otherwise, like be on line at home, at night, chatting with people around the world. Or watching over and over again my favourite tv show. Don’t, please….. I know, I’m weird…..

Last year I read a bit more than before, and even if I’m so far away from my best record, I found new books, new authors and new interests also thanks to new friends on line. Instead of a plain list of what got my attention in 2012, I decided to put up a “visual” one…. (sorry, long post….)

     ***/5 Two men of words…One seeking only peace.The other, violence. Tate Collier, once one of the country’s finest trial lawyers, is trying to forget his past. Now a divorced gentleman farmer, land developer, and community advocate in rural Virginia, he’s regrouping from some disastrous mistakes in the realms of love and the law. But controversy — and danger — seem to have an unerring hold on Tate. Even as he struggles to rebuild his life, his alter ego is plotting his demise. Aaron Matthews, a brilliant psychologist, has turned his talents away from curing patients to far deadlier goals. He’s targeted Tate, Tate’s ex-wife, Bett, and their estranged daughter, Megan, for unspeakable revenge. Matthews, ruthless and hell-bent, will destroy anything that inhibits his plans. When their daughter disappears, Tate and Bett reunite in a desperate, heart-pounding attempt to find her and to stop Matthews, a psychopath whose gift of a glib tongue and talent for coercion are as dangerous as knives and guns. Featuring an urgent race against the clock, gripping details of psychological manipulation, and the brilliant twists and turns that are trademark Deaver, “Speaking in Tongues” delivers the suspense punch that has made this author a bestseller. It will leave you speechless.

    **/5 Tough, book-loving homicide detective Cliff Janeway believes Jackie Newton is to blame for the recent murder of a down-and-out rare book hunter. And when Janeway treats Newton to a brutal helping of off-duty justice, it costs him his badge. But that doesn’t mean his investigation is over.

  ***/5 (Secrets of the Vatican)  In this new work are picked different stories, from the ancient epoch to our days, related to the Vatican. Starting from the Christians submitted to Nerone in the first century AC , to Costantino and his donation, for Marozia, the papal lover that has perhaps given origin to the legend of the female pope Giovanna, and facts and crimes that had as protagonists a lot of pontiffs.Then the books tells about more recent facts as of the triple homicide on May 4 th 1998 in Vatican of the colonel Alois Esterman, of his wife Gladys Meza Romero and of the vicecaporale Cédric Tornay, of the disappearance of Manuela Orlandi and the scandal of the Ior. Augias tries to give an explanation to the origin of all these events in a passionate and controversial novel and tries to clear  mysteries that never had a solution.

  ****/5  When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers–with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another. The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin’s devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including–perhaps–their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

   */5 (Italy on the front pages) The history of Italy told by journalist and newspapers.

   ***/5  (US Title:  The Dead Lie Down) Ruth Bussey knows what it means to be in the wrong – and to be wronged.  She once did something she regrets, and was punished excessively for it.  Now Ruth is trying to rebuild her life and has found a love she doesn’t believe she deserves.  Aidan Seed is a passionate, intense man who has also been damaged by his past.  Desperate to connect with the woman he loves, he confides his secret: he killed a woman called Mary Trelease. Through her shock, Ruth recognises the name.  And when she’s realised why it’s familiar, her fear and revulsion deepen.  The Mary Trelease that Ruth knows is very much alive…

  **/5  A shocking discovery has been made deep within Rome’s ancient catacombs. One that the Vatican is determined must never be made public – for the sake of all mankind. But there are others who want to keep the truth hidden for far more sinister reasons, others who believe that not only are the church and the faith of a billion at threat, but life as we know it is about to be destroyed – for ever. And only one woman – a young Italian nun – can save us…

  **/5 (Dictionary of lost things) An emotional and touching recollections of childhood memories and things far gone, by one of the most famous italian singer-songwriter.

  *****/5  This is an epic of love, hatred, war and revolution. This is a huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women. It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, “Fall Of Gaints” moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.

   */5  The tombs have always been there beneath the city of Jerusalem.  At first obscure, then hidden, then lost entirely, it was a place where death went about its business unseen.  Where the living had become the dead and their mourners had in turn been mourned.  And then, in 1968, a discovery is made that is so shattering that the reverberations echo through time.  For the tombs also guard a secret: a 2,000-year-old prize that men would kill- and die- for. In the same year, in Dublin, young Patrick Canavan experiences the intense passion of first love for Francesca Contarini.  But Francesca shares the secret of the tomb and her knowledge is deadly with repercussions that stretch far into the future.  More than twenty years later, Canavan finds himself prisoner of a KGB agent, being questioned about an ancient brotherhood: The Brotherhood of the Tomb.

  ****/5  In the seaside town of Scarborough, a student is found murdered.  No progress is made in solving the crime. When a second death ocurrs, despite the similar MO the police struggle to find a connection between the two victims. Ambitious detective Valerie Almond is convinced that the truth lies within the family of the second victim, but is in essence stabling in the dark, unaware of the dark secret that has been hidden for more than half a century. Although the story is set in 2008, the roots of the murder relate back to the evacuation of children from London to Scarborough in 1940, a time when there were no computers to keep track of the movement of these children, just people trying to do there best to keep the children safe from being killed by German bombs.  The description of the children arriving in Yorkshire which to children brought up in London must have seemed like another planet was heart-rending, particularly that awful selection process by the families who were taking the children in – selecting the strongest and best looking children, which eventually left a number of children no one wanted, must have scarred many of them for life.  That with hind-sight we now know that much harm was done in separating children from their parents, it was done with the best of intentions, but as the saying goes’ The way to hell is paved with good intentions’.

  **/5  On compassionate leave after the murder of his wife, Thomas Lynley is called back to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery. His former team doesn’t trust the leadership of their new department chief, Isabelle Ardery, whose management style seems to rub everyone the wrong way. In fact, Lynley may be the sole person who can see beneath his superior officer’s hard-as-nails exterior to a hidden–and possibly attractive–vulnerability. While Lynley works in London, his former colleagues Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata follow the murder trail south to the New Forest. There they discover a beautiful and strange place where animals roam free, the long-lost art of thatching is very much alive, and outsiders are not entirely welcome. What they don’t know is that more than one dark secret lurks among the trees, and that their investigation will lead them to an outcome that is both tragic and shocking.
   */5  Do I really have to say something about these?……
    */5  Jack Howard is about to discover a secret. Perhaps the greatest secret ever kept What if one of the Ancient World’s greatest libraries was buried in volcanic ash and then re-discovered two thousand years later? What if what was found there was a document that could shatter the very foundations of the Western World? What if you were the one who discovered this secret? And were then forced to confront terrifying enemies determined to destroy you to ensure it goes no further? This is the story of one last Gospel, left behind in the age
of the New Testament, in the greatest days of the Roman Empire, and of its extraordinary secret, one that has lain concealed for years. Follow Jack Howard as he discovers the secret and must prevent others from doing the same…
  */5 (The Segonzac secret) France.  Friday March 13th 1758. A young man is gallopping through the forest along the river. The house of his father his final destination, one of the most famous teachers of arme that France has ever had, and despite a woman, experienced in divinatory arts, has dissuaded him to embark on the trip in that gloomy day, the man proceeds calm. Suddensly a gun shot grazes him on the temple, the leap of the horse dashes him beyond the bridge and into the water. He hardly succeeds to rise, when the stain he sees two armed men coming out the stain. He knows he has no enemies, so who want him dead? In a up and down of traps and duels, fantastic escapes and overwhelming love stories, the young Segonzac has to deal with the perfidious Fabienne, powerful and cruel, for his life and happiness.
   **/5 The Unexpected Guest opens with a stranger, Michael Starkwedder, driving his car into a ditch and heading to a nearby house for assistance.  Entering the house when there is no answer to his repeated knocking, he discovers a beautiful woman, Laura Warwick, clutching a gun near the lifeless body of a man in a wheelchair, Richard Warwick, who has been shot through the head.  Although she quickly confesses to having murdered her husband, Michael Starkwedder, for reasons unknown, convinces her to allow him to manipulate the crime scene to make it seem as though someone else has killed Mr. Warwick.  Throughout the course of the investigation, at various points it seems as though multiple different characters could have been guilty of the murder, with the various characters attempting to take the blame in order to shield the person who they believe to have committed the crime.
  **/5  (My soul is wherever you are) The event starting it all, is a homicide of the wine producer Domenico Moresco, found dead on a date with depth religious and partisan symbolism, the Sunday of Easter of April 25 th 2011, and according to the best thriller tradition, a backtracking that will dig in the hidden and darkest secrets of the second postwar period. A plot of intrigues and corruptions in which will also participate clergymen and politicians, centered around a treasure,a beautiful unlucky girl and shades of betrayal.
  **/5  Isabel has been asked for her help in a rather tricky situation: A successor is being sought for the headmaster at a local boys’ school. The board has three final candidates but has received an anonymous letter alleging that one of them has a very serious skeleton in the closet. Could Isabel discreetly look into it? And so she does. What she discovers about all the candidates is surprising, but what she discovers about herself and about Jamie, the father of her young son, turns out to be equally revealing. Isabel’s investigation will have her exploring issues of ambition, as well as of charity, forgiveness, and humility, as she moves nearer and nearer to some of the most hidden precincts of the heart.
   *****/5  Rutherfurd celebrates America’s greatest city in a rich, engrossing saga that showcases his extraordinary ability to combine impeccable historical research and storytelling flair. As in his earlier, bestselling novels, he illuminates cultural, social, and political upheavals through the lives of a remarkably diverse set of families.  As he recounts the intertwining fates of characters rich and poor, black and white, native born and immigrant, Rutherfurd brings to life the momentous events that shaped New York and America: the Revolutionary War, the emergence of the city as a great trading and financial center, the excesses of the Gilded Age, the explosion of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the trials of World War II, the near-demise of New York in the 1970s and its roaring rebirth in the ’90s, and the attacks on the World Trade Center. Sprinkled throughout are captivating cameo appearances by historical figures ranging from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Babe Ruth.
   *****/5  Revealing and intimate, based on more than 100 interviews with key figures in his life, this is the definitive biography of Queen front man Freddie Mercury, one of pop music’s best-loved and most complex figures. In her journey to understand Mercury, Jones traveled to London, Zanzibar, and India—talking with everyone from Freddie’s closest friends, to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen louder than the other bands), to second cousins halfway around the world, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges. Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, Mercury offers an unvarnished, revealing look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane.
  *****/5  Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.
   */5  Behind the well-known U.S. security organizations– the FBI and CIA among them–lies a heavily guarded, anonymous government agency dedicated to intelligence surveillance and to a highly specialized brand of citizen protection. Shock waves of alarm ripple through the clandestine agency when Washington, D.C., police detective Ryan Kessler inexplicably becomes the target of Henry Loving, a seasoned, ruthless “lifter” hired to obtain information using whatever means necessary. While Loving is deft at torture, his expertise lies in getting an “edge” on his victim–leverage–usually by kidnapping or threatening family until the “primary” caves under pressure.
   ***/5  (Secrets of New York) So much has been told, seen and wrote about New York. But, behind the sparkling of the skyscrapers, a lot of stories still has to be told. It’s in the still intact corners , in the “accursed places, lost places”, that Augias finds the threads of the hidden story of the city and delineates a fascinating and unconventional itinerary through it.
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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


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