Tag Archives: Books

Booklist 2014

Last year was an eclectic one, as for the writers, but you can tell I like mysteries and thrillers…..I usually read in english if I can get the book I want (and luckily I have friends abroad who send me some) just to keep my english alive…..

  Cold Shoulder by Lynda La Plante  (**/5)Lorraine Page is a down-on-her-luck ex-LAPD cop, recruited against her will to hunt for a serial killer. Cold Shoulder is the story of a young woman who has everything: a devoted husband, two beautiful daughters, and a successful career as a lieutenant with the Pasadena Homicide Squad. But when her partner is shot and dies in her arms, Lorraine’s life starts to unravel. The after-hours drinking that once was social becomes her refuge, and soon she’s not waiting until the end of her shift. From there it all comes undone with frightening speed: drunk, she kills an innocent boy while on duty, is fired from the force, is abandoned by her family, and ends up living on the street as a prostitute. Cold Shoulder is the dramatic, frighteningly explicit account of Lorraine Page’s fall and nightmarish recovery while caught between the danger of a serial killer on the loose and the manipulations of the old-boy police force that had ostracized her not so long before. The book reverberates with realism because it is based on a true story, one that has been meticulously researched and crafted by Lynda La Plante.

  Possession by A.S. Byatt (***/5) – Winner of the Man Booker Prize and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. The novel explores the postmodern concerns of similar novels, which are often categorized as historiographic metafiction, a genre that blends approaches from both historical fiction and metafiction. The novel follows two modern-day academics as they research the paper trail around the previously unknown love life between famous fictional poets, Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte. Possession is set both in the present day and the Victorian era, pointing out the differences between the two time periods, and satirizing such things as modern academia and mating rituals. The structure of the novel incorporates many different styles, including fictional diary entries, letters and poetry, and uses these styles and other devices to explore the postmodern concerns of the authority of textual narratives. The title Possession highlights many of the major themes in the novel: questions of ownership and independence between lovers; the practice of collecting historically significant cultural artifacts; and the possession that biographers feel toward their subjects.

Edge Of Eternity by Ken Follett (*****/5) – #3 of the Century Trilogy. Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all, the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution – and rock and roll.

A Supremely Bad Idea by Luke Dempsey (*/5) –  In this uneven debut, Dempsey details his bird-watching misadventures as he and two friends quest after America’s rarest birds. The hapless trio try to defend osprey in Florida, pacify Texan smugglers, unwittingly set up a spotting scope in the middle of a busy road, lug around (and forget) a cooler of fancy cheeses on a trip through Arizona. Although amusing, the series of pratfalls blunt and obscure Dempsey’s more pointed observations on why birders are so passionate about the pursuit and the urgency bird watching takes on in the face of habitat destruction. When the author writes passionately about pine beetle damage in Colorado or permits readers access to a triumphant glimpse of a cerulean warbler, the episodes cease reading like vacation-slide narrative and approach an affecting honesty about life.

  Traps by Paul Lindsay (**/5)Justice has become a distant ideal for disenchanted FBI agent Jack Kincade. Once a bright light of the Bureau, he lives in a seedy motel with his loyal Border collie, his largely off-duty hours dominated by rotgut vodka spiked with hot sauce and an unusual sideline: robbing banks. Then he gets a call about a cold case that has just come back to haunt the Bureau in the worst time of his life.Justice has become a distant ideal for disenchanted FBI agent Jack Kincade. Once a bright light of the Bureau, he lives in a seedy motel with his loyal Border collie, his largely off-duty hours dominated by rotgut vodka spiked with hot sauce and an unusual sideline: robbing banks. Then he gets a call about a cold case that has just come back to haunt the Bureau in the worst possible way. FBI veteran Paul Lindsay’s fifth FBI thriller, “Traps,” portrays an agency wracked by apathy and infighting.

  Mistress Of Justice by Jeffery Deaver (**/5)Taylor Lockwood spends her days working as a paralegal in one of New York’s preeminent Wall Street law firms and her nights playing jazz piano anyplace she can. But the rhythm of her life is disrupted when attorney Mitchell Reece requests her help in locating a stolen document that could cost him not only the multimillion-dollar case he’s defending but his career as well. Eager to get closer to this handsome, brilliant, and very private man, Taylor signs on…only to find that as she delves deeper and deeper into what goes on behind closed doors at Hubbard, White & Willis, she uncovers more than she wants to know–including a plentitude of secrets damaging enough to smash careers and dangerous enough to push someone to commit murder.

  Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (*/5) – The nameless hero of Andrew David­son’s first novel is a pornographer and cocaine addict who runs his car into a ravine one night while he’s high, thinking a shower of arrows is coming at him. The car catches fire but he survives, suffering horrific burns to most of his body. While recovering in the burn unit of a hospital he is befriended by Marianne Engel, who claims to have been born in 14th-century Germany, but who the hero has reason to believe is ­really just an inmate in the hospital’s psych ward.  Marianne and the hero become close, and during the months of his recovery she reconstructs the story of their long-ago love affair, which the hero has forgotten. She also tells him stories about other lovers. Set in 14th-century Italy, Victorian England, medieval Japan and Viking Scandinavia, these passions always conclude with the death of one or both parties.

  Missing Julia by Catherine Dunne (**/5)When Julia Seymour goes missing without warning one ordinary october morning, William Harris is catapulted into a life he’s never imagined. As he pieces together Julia’s movements in the week of her disappearance, William begins to learn that the woman he loves has a past and a secret that she has never shared. At first, he feels bewildered, guilty: has he failed her in some way? And so he embarks on a mission to find her and bring her home. He tracks down Julia’s friends and colleagues, deals with her distraught and hostile daughter Melissa, and follows up on every lead, no matter how tenuous. As he begins to search for the missing Julia, William begins a journey of his own: one that will have profound implications for his future. He learns lessons about life, about love and about what drives people to seek for peace and forgiveness.

  The Light In The Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (***/5) – 1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what once was their sanctuary becomes their prison. 1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case – a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood – Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history. Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, the novel unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

  Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark (***/5)In this novel Mary Higgins Clark, the beloved, bestselling “Queen of Suspense,” exposes a dark secret from a family’s past that threatens the lives of two sisters, Kate and Hannah Connelly, when the family-owned furniture firm in Long Island City, founded by their grandfather and famous for its fine reproductions of antiques, explodes into flames in the middle of the night, leveling the buildings to the ground, including the museum where priceless antiques have been on permanent display for years. The ashes reveal a startling and grisly discovery, and provoke a host of suspicions and questions. Was the explosion deliberately set? What was Kate—tall, gorgeous, blond, a CPA for one of the biggest accounting firms in the country, and sister of a rising fashion designer—doing in the museum when it burst into flames? Why was Gus, a retired and disgruntled craftsman, with her at that time of night? What if someone isn’t who he claims to be? Now Gus is dead, and Kate lies in the hospital badly injured and in a coma, so neither can tell what drew them there, or what the tragedy may have to do with the hunt for a young woman missing for many years, nor can they warn that somebody may be covering his tracks, willing to kill to save himself . . .

  The October List by Jeffery Deaver (****/5) – Jeffery Deaver has created the most riveting and original novel of the year: a race-against-the-clock mystery, told in reverse. “Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter. At last, the door opens. But it’s not the negotiators. It’s not the FBI. It’s the kidnapper. And he has a gun.” How did it come to this?  Two days ago, Gabriela’s life was normal. Then, out of the blue,  she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She’s given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the “October List” within 30 hours, or she’ll never see her child again. A mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning, it’s Jeffery Deaver at his masterful, inventive best.

  Bones by Jan Burke (**/5) – Only one person knows where Julia Sayre is: her killer. Four years ago, the young mother of two disappeared, a story that soon became a personal mission for Irene Kelly. But the search for Julia proved fruitless. Now on death row for unimaginable acts of torture and murder, inmate Nick Parrish is plea-bargaining for a life sentence, promising to lead investigators—and Irene—into the dark isolation of the Sierra Nevadas, where they will discover what really happened to Julia Sayre. But Parrish has other terrifying secrets and plans, and now his deadly focus is on a new potential victim—Irene Kelly.

  The Dutch Shoe Mystery by Ellery Queen (***/5)The operating room was ready, the surgeon called for his patient. A door opened and the long, still form was wheeled in – dead! Abby Doorn had been murdered only a few minutes earlier and almost under their very eyes. This is one of the most baffling murder mysteries Ellery Queen ever had to solve.

  The Last pope by Luis Miguel Rocha (***/5) – Pope John Paul I reigned over the Catholic Church for 33 days in 1978. The premise of this book is that he was murdered. By a shadowy group called the P1 who are, for the record, more dastardly and secretive than the dastardly and secretive P2. Thirty years later a journalist receives a list of names. An Italian man tries to kill her. So does the CIA.

   The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster (****/5)Nathan Glass has come to Brooklyn to die. Divorced, retired, estranged from his only daughter, the former life insurance salesman seeks only solitude and anonymity. Then Glass encounters his long-lost nephew, Tom Wood, who is working in a local bookstore–a far cry from the brilliant academic career Tom had begun when Nathan saw him last. Tom’s boss is the colorful and charismatic Harry Brightman–a.k.a. Harry Dunkel–once the owner of a Chicago art gallery, whom fate has also brought to the “ancient kingdom of Brooklyn, New York.” Through Tom and Harry, Nathan’s world gradually broadens to include a new circle of acquaintances. He soon finds himself drawn into a scam involving a forged page of The Scarlet Letter, and begins to undertake his own literary venture, The Book of Human Folly, an account of “every blunder, every pratfall, every embarrassment, every idiocy, every foible, and every inane act I have committed during my long and checkered career as a man.”

  Sacrifice by Sharon Bolton (*/5) -Moving to remote Shetland has been unsettling enough for consultant surgeon Tora Hamilton; even before the gruesome discovery she makes one rain-drenched afternoon . . . Deep in the peat soil of her field she is shocked to find the perfectly preserved body of a young woman, a gaping hole where her heart has been brutally removed and three rune marks etched into her skin. The marks bear an eerie resemblance to carvings Tora has seen all over the islands, and she quickly uncovers disturbing links to an ancient legend. But as Tora investigates she is warned by the local police, her boss, and even her husband, to leave well alone. And even though it chills her to the bone to admit it . . . something tells her their concern isn’t genuine..

  Eva and Claretta. Lovers Of The Devil by Arrigo Petacco (***/5)An identical and cruel destiny has marked the life of the secret lovers of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Claretta Petacci and Eva Braun were born the same month and the same year, at a distance of few days, in February 1912, and in the same month and in the same year, at a distance of few days (28 and on April 30 1945), they chose to die close to their men, at the age of 33 years. But Beyond these suggestive coincidences, to unite their fate has been above all the human stories that has put them close to the two dictators as their privileged, as well as faithful custodians of theirs most intimate secrets.

  The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (****/5)The placid village of Lymstock seems the perfect place for Jerry Burton to recuperate from his accident under the care of his sister, Joanna. But soon a series of vicious poison-pen letters destroys the village’s quiet charm, eventually causing one recipient to commit suicide. The vicar, the doctor, the servants—all are on the verge of accusing one another when help arrives from an unexpected quarter. The vicar’s houseguest happens to be none other than Jane Marple.

 Before The Frost by Henning Mankell (****/5) – In woodland outside Ystad, the police make a horrific discovery: a severed head, and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim’s side, the pages marked with scribbled corrections. A string of macabre incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, have been taking place, and Inspector Wallander fears that these disturbances could be the prelude to attacks on humans on an even more alarming scale. Linda Wallander, in preparation to join the police force, arrives at Ystad. Exhibiting some of the hallmarks of her father – the maverick approach, the flaring temper – she becomes entangled in a case involving a group of religious extremists who are bent on punishing the world’s sinners.

  Lost Perfumes by Charlotte Link (*****/5)Felicia Donnelly, a young lady from the German middle class, is overwhelmed, as her whole generation, by the first world war that changes in dramatic way the perspectives and the destinies of everybody. Felicia, rebellious spirit and nonconformist, adapts her life to the new times and, in the dark years of the postwar period, becomes a very succesfull  business woman, marries and  has two daughters: Belle, who will marry a Berliner actor maintaining however a relationship with a succesfull manager and Susan who becomes the wife of a Nazi captain. Having lived in Berlin for many years, Felicia is yet sentimentally tied up to Lulinn, the beautiful family estate in the oriental Prussia, where she had spent her childhood and adolescence and where she decides to return after divorced from her husband. Here Felicia attends the elderly mother and tries to hold the family unite. But by now the Country is in war again, the operations on the Russian front interrupt the communications with the Prussia, and Felicia is forced, in order to not lose the firm his ex husband founded and that she rules, to come back to Germany and try to built  a new Lulinn on a Bavarian lake. Second book of the “Storm” trilogy.

  Dublin by Edward Rutherfurd (**/5) – Dublin: a city founded as much on folklore and mythology as on stone; a meeting point of pagan tradition and Christian belief; a city which grew from a small Celtic village to a bustling urban settlement under the Vikings and became, even before the Plantagenet kings arrived in the twelfth century, effectively the capital city of the Island. Edward Rutherfurd, the bestselling author who brought the city of London to life, returns with this magnificent novel that spans centuries from the Celtic warlords and pagan gods who were ‘glossed’ into historical persons by the increasingly Christian-orientated Celtic tradition, to the potato famine, and finally to Irish independence in the twentieth century. Told in Rutherfurd’s unique voice, this compelling novel entwines fact and fiction to create a faithful portrait of Dublin’s fascinating past and vibrant present.

  The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark (**/5) – Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchment; a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever. Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in. Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair. Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend? Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing? It is up to their daughter, twenty-eight-year-old Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father’s death.

  Emma’s Baby by Abbie Taylor (**/5) – A young mother’s nightmare comes true…the tube doors close with her baby still on the train.Struggling as a single mother, Emma sometimes wishes that her thirteen-month-old son Ritchie would just disappear. But when, one quiet Sunday evening, Ritchie is abducted by a stranger from the London Underground, Emma is thrown into a situation worse than she could have ever imagined. But why don’t the police seem to fully believe her story? Why would they think that she would want to hurt her own baby? If Emma wants Ritchie back, it looks like she’ll have to find him herself. With the help of a stranger called Rafe, the one person who seems to believe her, she goes in search of her son. And she is determined to get him back…no matter what it takes.

  Foibe by Gianni Oliva (**/5) The foibe killings or foibe massacres refers to the killings that took place mainly in Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia during and after World War II from 1943 to 1949, perpetrated mainly by Yugoslav Partisans against the local Italian population.The name derives from a local geological feature, a type of deep karst sinkhole called a foiba. The term includes by extension killings in other subterranean formations, such as the Basovizza “foiba“, which is not a true foiba but a mine shaft. The author tried to remind what happened in those days and explain the following tense relationships between two people.

  What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George (**/5)The brutal, inexplicable death of Inspector Thomas Lynley’s wife has left Scotland Yard shocked and searching for answers. Even more horrifying is that the trigger was apparently pulled by a twelve-year-old boy. Who is he? Where did he come from? And what were the circumstances that led to his final act of desperation? That story begins on the other side of London, in rough North Kensington, where the three mixed-race, virtually orphaned Campbell children are bounced first from their grandmother then to their aunt. The oldest, fifteen-year-old Ness, is headed for trouble as fast as her high-heeled boots will take her. That leaves the middle child, Joel, to care for the youngest, Toby. No one wants to put it into words, but something clearly isn’t right with Toby. Before long, there are signs that Joel himself has problems. A local gang starts harassing him and threatening his brother. To protect his family, Joel makes a pact with the devil–a move that leads straight to the front doorstep of Thomas Lynley.

  Magic Places in Parma by M. Poltronieri-E. Fazioli (***/5) – A journey through the city, exploring sites and places that hid secret and esoteric messages, from the Baptistery that represents an unique book of stone, to the world of the mysterious alchemy of the Parmigianino and the obscurity of Correggio. From the discovery of the tracks of the Templaris to the mysticism of Hebraic Kabbalah and the  heresy under the vigilant eye of the Inquisition.

  Police by Jo Nesbo (***/5) – A man is lying critically wounded in an Oslo hospital under police protection. Meanwhile, police officers are found dead at scenes of crimes they once investigated but did not solve. Without Harry Hole, the Oslo police is struggling as the number of dead police officers grows higher.

  Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson mandela (****/5) – Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality. This book is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history’s greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life–an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.

  The Murder At The Vicarage by Agatha Christie (****/5) – The tranquil village of St. Mary Mead, which nestles picturesquely in the rolling hills of the English countryside, is not quite as peaceful as it might first appear. Over dinner at the vicarage, the vicar, his glamorous young wife Griselda, the handsome artist Lawrence Redding and Hawes, the nervous curate, discuss how they each would murder the odious Colonel Protheroe. Only Miss Marple has the foresight to warn them not to tempt fate. The next day, Protheroe is found with a bullet in his head, slumped across the writing desk in the vicar’s study. Inspector Slack duly arrives to find that the case is not as simple as it might appear. At first he refuses to believe that a frail and fluffy old maid can help in any way — but appearances can be deceptive and eventually he has to bow to Miss Marple’s intimate knowledge of village life, her superior razor-sharp mind and her surprising knowledge of love and lust…

   Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (****/5) – As its title reveals, the novel is based on the life of one of the most fascinating, extraordinary women in Western history–Pope Joan, a controversial figure of historical record who, disguised as a man, rose to rule Christianity in the 9Th century as the first and only woman to sit on the throne of St. Peter.
Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against the medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn to read and write. When her older brother is killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak and identity, goes to the monastery of Fulda, and is initiated into the brotherhood in his place. As Brother John Anglicus, Joan distinguishes herself as a great Christian scholar. Eventually she is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion, and politics. Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest throne in Christendom.
Pope Joan is a sweeping historical drama set against the turbulent events of the 9Th century — the Saracen sack of St. Peter’s, the famous fire in the Borgo that destroyed over three-quarters of the Vatican, the Battle of Fontenoy, arguably the bloodiest and most terrible of medieval conflicts. The novel is a fascinating vivid record of what life was really like during the so-called Dark Ages, as masterwork of suspense and passion.

  The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith (**/5) – When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a “fallen woman.” Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother. A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.

  The Pope’s Assassin by Luis Miguel Rocha (*/5) – London journalist Sarah Monteiro joins her unrequited love interest, Fr. Rafael Santini, who’s a Vatican secret agent, in a struggle between the Jesuits and the Vatican to control artifacts in the possession of London businessman Ben Isaac. Priests are being murdered for access to the artifacts, in this case the Gospel of Jesus and the bones of Christ. The usual crazy assassin with a serious sexual problem heads up a cast of characters so large that it’s difficult to remember who’s a good guy and who’s evil incarnate.

The Resurrection Maker by Glenn Cooper (*/5) – Arthur Malory, a seemingly ordinary Englishman, has a burning interest in the Grail, a passion inherited from his father. Thrust into a life-or-death quest to find the precious artifact, he will discover not only his own amazing heritage but the power that the Grail possesses, a power that informs the resurrection of Christ and explosively merges spiritual and scientific thought.

  A Heavy Heritage by Charlotte Link (****/5) – Third book of the “Storm” series, the novel tells the lives, loves, secrets and joys of Felicia Donnelly’s heirs from the 60s to the Berlin Wall fall.

  A Parmesan in Paris by Alessandro Freschi (**/5) – A fantasy novel trying to tell the story of our local professional cyclists team that from 1962 to 1972 won pretty almost everything on the streets around the world.  

  Sand Storm by James Rollins (*/5)An inexplicable explosion rocks the antiquities collection of a London museum, setting off alarms in clandestine organizations around the world. And now the search for answers is leading Lady Kara Kensington; her friend Safia al-Maaz, the gallery’s brilliant and beautiful curator; and their guide, the international adventurer Omaha Dunn, into a world they never dreamed existed: a lost city buried beneath the Arabian desert. But others are being drawn there as well, some with dark and sinister purposes. And the many perils of a death-defying trek deep into the savage heart of the Arabian Peninsula pale before the nightmare waiting to be unearthed at journey’s end: an ageless and awesome power that could create a utopia… or destroy everything humankind has built over countless millennia.

  Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George (**/5)Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: the daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can’t really help—Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn’t on Hadiyyah’s, their daughter’s, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold. Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace. The Italian police are investigating, and the Yard won’t get involved, until Barbara takes matters into her own hands — at the risk of her own career. As both Barbara and her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, soon discover, the case is far more complex than a typical kidnapping, revealing secrets that could have far-reaching effects outside of the investigation. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most, and how far she’s willing to go to protect it.

 The Bat by Jo Nesbo (***/5) – Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry.

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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Uncategorized



Booklist 2013

  ***/5 – On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down’s Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century – in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

 *****/5 – 1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century.
1999: Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities; fairly mundane until a report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks his interest. Ellen Gjelten, his partner, makes a startling discovery. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. In a quest that takes him to South Africa and Vienna, Harry finds himself perpetually one step behind the killer. He will be both winner and loser by the novel’s nail-biting conclusion.

 *****/5 – How do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect? A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death? As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…

 *****/5 – A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work.
A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands, and the five-pointed devil’s star is key to solving the riddle.

*****/5 – A 14-year old girl is raped at one of the Salvation Army summer camps. Twelve years later, at a Christmas concert in a square in Oslo, a Salvation Army soldier is executed by a man in the crowd. A press photographer has caught a suspect on one of the photos of the concert. Beate Lønn, the identification expert, is confused by how the face can change from one photo to the next. Inspector Harry Hole’s search for the faceless man takes place on the seamy side of the city, among those who seek eternal – or just momentary – redemption. And the gunman has not yet completed his mission.

 ***/5 –  Kayleigh Towne is gorgeous with a voice that is taking her to the heights of the country pop charts. Her hit single “Your Shadow” puts her happily in the spotlight, until an innocent exchange with one of her fans leads Kayleigh into a dark and terrifying realm.
The fan warns, “I’m coming for you,” and soon accidents happen and people close to Kayleigh die. Special Agent Kathryn Dance must use her considerable skills at investigation and body language analysis to stop the stalker—but before long she learns that, like many celebrities, Kayleigh has more than just one fan with a mission.
A former folksinger, Deaver has written the actual song, “Your Shadow.” Readers will be able to download it from his website,

 *****/5 –  Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised and constantly revised by the killer.
Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

 *****/5 – In this electrifying new addition to Jo Nesbø’s internationally acclaimed series, Harry Hole must confront the darkest demons in his city—and in himself. Inspector Harry Hole has retreated to Hong Kong, escaping the trauma of his last case in squalid opium dens, when two young women are found dead in Oslo, both drowned in their own blood. Media coverage quickly reaches a fever pitch. There are no clues, the police investigation is stalled, and Harry—the one man who might be able to help—can’t be found. After he returns to Oslo, the killer strikes again, Harry’s instincts take over, and nothing can keep him from the investigation, though there is little to go on. Worse, he will soon come to understand that he is dealing with a psychopath who will put him to the test, both professionally and personally, as never before.

 **/5 – General Bottando can’t believe his rotten luck. He has just been promoted–to a position that’s heavy on bureaucratic duties-but disturbingly light on investigative responsibilities. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, he’s received a tip about a planned raid at a nearby monastery. He’s relying on his colleague Flavia di Stefano and her art-expert fiancé, Jonathan Argyll, to thwart the plot-but both are beyond baffled. The only valuable item in the monastery’s art collection is a supposed Caravaggio that’s currently being restored. There are no solid suspects-unless you count the endearing art thief, the flagrantly flamboyant “Rottweiler of Restoration,” and the strangely shady icon expert. And there’s really no reason to cause an unholy uproar-until someone commits an unconscionable crime…

 *****/5 – When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong—fleeing the traumas of life as a cop—he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn’t help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city’s highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself.

 ****/5 – After an early morning machine-gun attack by a madman called the Digger leaves dozens dead in the Washington, D.C., subway, the mayor’s office receives a message demanding twenty million dollars by midnight or more innocents will die. It is New Year’s Eve, and with the ransom note as the only evidence, Special Agent Margaret Lukas calls upon retired FBI agent and the nation’s premier document examiner Parker Kincaid to join the manhunt for the Digger — or for hundreds, the first moments of the new year will be their last on earth.

 *****/5 – A story that follows the tracks of a man, grown up playing with cars and planes and motorbikes, and who for a long time, walks in unstable balance between women and motors. And not as a way of saying. The motors are those of the family tradition. The women are his nanny, his mother, his wife, his daughter, his friends. A world of women able to take care of the wounds every time that the game become too much dangerous.

 ***/5 – Once again, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs have been asked to help investigate a crime, yet this is one of their hardest to date. The victim is a United States citizen that had been recently targeted by the U.S. Government and is found to be assassinated in the Bahamas. The biggest problem they face is the complete lack of evidence and the fact that someone appears to be two steps ahead of them and is going back and covering up their tracks by destroying evidence and eliminating witnesses.

 *****/5 – God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed. Having left his son in charge, God treated himself to a well-earned break around the height of the Renaissance. A good time to go fishing. He returns in 2011 to find things on earth haven’t gone quite to plan…
The world has been rendered a human toilet: genocide; starvation; people obsessed with vacuous celebrity culture; ‘and,’ God points out, ‘there are fucking Christians everywhere.’ God hates Christians. There’s only one thing for it. They’re sending the kid back. JC, reborn, is a struggling musician in New York City helping people as best as he can. Gathering disciples along the way – a motley collection of basket cases, stoners and alcoholics – he realises his best chance to win hearts and minds may lie in a TV talent contest. American Pop Star is the number one show in America, the unholy creation of English record executive Steven Stelfox… a man who’s more than a match for the Son of God.

 **/5 – In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

 **/5 – If you thought Mitch McDeere was in trouble in “The Firm,” wait
until you meet Kyle McAvoy, “The Associate”. Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of “The Yale Law Journal,” and his future has limitless potential. But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want–even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about. Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.
An unforgettable cast of characters and villains–from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle’s “cubicle” at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country–and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world.

 ****/5 – New York, spring 2008. The young and successful Marcus Goldman is living a period of crisis because of the so-called writer’s block.” Not succeeding in putting down just one line of the new book, he contacts his old teacher and friend, the famous writer Harry Quebert, looking for comfort and suggestions. The teacher invites him to pass a period in his calm house in Aurora, in the New Hampshire, to find again the concentration and the calm. Marcus accepts with enthusiasm but something unforeseen upsets the life of both: Harry is accused in fact to have killed, in the distant 1975, the young Nola Kellergan, whose dead body is accidentally recovered in the garden of the villa of the writer. Harry admits to have had a love story with Nola, then fifteen-year-old and younger than him of almost twenty years. Convinced of the innocence of his friend, Marcus starts his own investigation looking for, over thirty years later, answers to the question “who has killed Nola Kellergan?” After numerous signs, equivocal and false footsteps, Marcus discovers that the girl has attracted the love and the sexual appetites of other men and it unmasks the guilty ones individualizing one of them in the same agent who have conducted the investigations in the’75. The last sensational discovery is that the bestseller that has made Harry Quebert a famous writer (his love story with Nola) had not been written by him but by another character, Luther Caleb, also secretly in love with Nola….So the real question is “who really was Nola Kellergan?”….

 ***/5 – When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

 ***/5 – In the city of Atlanta, women are dying—at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frenzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread—and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael’s lover before she became his enemy. But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer’s trail in the most coincidental of ways—someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open…

 ***/5 – There’s no police training stronger than a cop’s instinct. Faith Mitchell’s mother isn’t answering her phone. Her front door is open. There’s a bloodstain above the knob. Her infant daughter is hidden in a shed behind the house. All that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations taught Faith Mitchell goes out the window when she charges into her mother’s house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room. She sees a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn’t see is her mother. . . .
When the hostage situation turns deadly, Faith is left with too many questions, not enough answers. To find her mother, she’ll need the help of her partner, Will Trent, and they’ll both need the help of trauma doctor Sara Linton. But Faith isn’t just a cop anymore she’s a witness. She’s also a suspect.
The thin blue line hides police corruption, bribery, even murder. Faith will have to go up against the people she respects the most in order to find her mother and bring the truth to light or bury it forever.

 **/5 – A stormy night of August: a sailboat shipwrecks next to the island of Skye. The owners, the German Livias and Nathan Moor, succeed in being saved and they are welcomed in the vacation house of the Quentins.
Nathan is clearly attracted to Virginia Quentin, a wife and woman in crisis, with frequent attacks of panic, that she succeeds in calming down only with Kim, her seven year-old little child.
And he tries also to approach her after the Quentins are back home, at King’s Lynn, a town devastated by the recovery of the dead bodies of two local little girls, violated and killed. After an initial moment of dismay, Virginia believes to find in Nathan the man who will  give back to her the joy to live, being now distant from a husband with whom she’s not in love anymore, and dogged by a dark past that burdens her present.
But the things are destined to suffer an abrupt turn when little Kim also disappears, insinuating in Victoria a sorrowful doubt…………….

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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized



Addio signor Alberto

Goodbye Mr Alberto………….through your eyes and words, written in a book or said in a movie, I fell in love with our hometown over and over again….

Alberto Bevilacqua as a director (here shooting a movie in our town) was a visionary man…..

and as a writer he liked to walk throught the city to “breath” his fellow citizens feelings and moods…………

and he liked to be back here (he lived in Rome) from time to time (more often when he was younger) to officially open the “Parma Poetry Festival” (here in 2010 and 2011)

It was always a pleasure listening to his stories when he was on tv (here, the last time in 2012, before his illness took over)

Some of you might have seen this old movie, if not and you have the chance, watch it, it’s worth your time (even better, read the book)

or maybe this one…..

This is what an italian newspaper has to say about him….

Parma’s Gift to Cinema and Literature

During his life, Alberto Bevilacqua collected some of Italian literary society’s top recognitions: the Campiello Prize for “That Kind of Love” (in 1966), the Strega Prize for “The Eye of the Cat” (in 1968), the anointment as Knight of the Grand Cross in 2010. But most of all he was an author who the public loved very much. Actually, it would be safe to say that readers and viewers have been a constant compass for the writer from Parma, as if whoever engages in fiction (written or cinematic) should most of all imagine himself in a relationship with his future recipient and as if literary success could not exist without a substantial popular approval. The other most evident feature of Bevilacqua’s activity was his curiosity and his desire to put himself to the test with the most diverse writing genres: from classic fiction novels to cultural journalism, from screenwriting to poetry. A quick review at the titles of his nearly 40 novels gives us an idea of his narrative, where great feelings are never approached by the caution of periphrasis: “love/lover” and “Parma/Parmigiano (from Parma) dominate on all other words, confirming a precise short circuit between passions and places that Bevilaqcua never ceased to cultivate. (Other recurrent words of his are “mother,” “soul,” “mysterious.”) Possibly, his best novel is also his first: “A City in Love,” published by Sugarco in 1962; the choice—of which he was extremely aware—in favor of popular narrative was already clear two years later with “La Califfa (The Female Caliph),” which granted him a huge-selling success and which, although far from being his best book, has remained most vividly than others in the readers’ memories. It is a sort of allegory of the relationship between capital and labor that, thanks to the love of an ex-blue-collar worker who became a powerful entrepreneur for the widow of an employee of his killed in a strike, seems to find, even if for only a moment, some kind of reconciliation. Unlike many other writers, Bevilacqua loved to personally follow his work to screen adaptation. Out of the seven feature films based on his novels, two required a big production commitment and obtained a similarly big success. First, “La Califfa,” from 1970, with Ugo Tognazzi and a splendid Romy Schneider as protagonists, which was also presented at the Cannes festival in 1971: plotwise it turned out to be very different from the novel, as Bevilacqua himself explained, simply for budget reasons. (It should be noted that the ending was changed, with the industrialist no longer dying of natural causes and instead getting killed in a sort of conspiracy due to his projects of social harmony.) Then, “This Kind of Love,” from 1972, also with Ugo Tognazzi, this time sided by Jean Seberg. (The movie ended up winning the Davide di Donatello Award.) For one of those curious, unpredictable twists of fame, possibly the work by Bevilacqua to leave the most indelible mark on international culture was a screenplay. In 1962 Italian horror maestro Mario Bava asked for his help putting together a three-part movie based on three horror (novel) maestros from the 1800s: Guy De Maupassant, Aleksej Tolstoj and Anton Cecov. The Parma writer, not yet blessed with success, accepted the challenge and helped give birth to one of Italy’s horror masterpieces: “Black Sabbath,” from which the English heavy metal band took its name (“The Three Faces of Fear” was the Italian title). Quentin Tarantino and Roman Polanski are among the biggest fans of that movie and many have detected analogies between the Bava film and both Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and Polanski’s “The Tenant.” Bava and Bevilacqua tried again the following year with a science fiction film based on a novel by Renato Pesstrinero, “A 21-Hour Night,” entitled for cinema “Terror in Space” in Italy and “Planet of the Vampires” internationally (1965). Though production limitations are, in this case, much more evident than in Black Sabbath, the writer and the filmmaker managed to create one of the few successful movies of Italian science fiction distributed all over the world. According to many critics, it inspired “Alien,” by Ridley Scott. (In fact some similarities between the two movies are striking.) One might just think that emotions like desire and fear were equivalent for Bevilacqua—as long as the relationship with his audience remained strong.

So, again, goodbye Signor Alberto, it’s a honor for me to share the same roots…..

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Little things, here and there….

While I was busy at work (working 10/11 hours a day – I’m so relieved it’s over!) and at home trying to fix things before our summer bike trip, and planning the trip itself with all the details, and then downloading and post photos about it……… well, while busy with all this, a lot of things happened around here. Now it’s time to show you.

Last weekend of june and first one of july. Reaching the 17th edition this year, a multi-cultural gathering was held in a little town about 10 kms from where I live. Basically it’s a series of cultural events – from ethnic dances to concerts, from workshops to photographic exhibitions, from poetry readings to habits and customs lectures – organized by the many associations of foreigners living on the territory. And don’t forget about the food……stands from all over the world providing the best food experience you can dream about, a feast of colors, flavors and smells…..from late afternoon to deep into the night, it was really a time to remember

We choose that particular day so to have the chance to listen to what our Minister of Integration, Cécile Kyenge Kashetu, had to say. She’s is an Italo-Congolese politician and ophthalmologist. This Ministry is a new thing for our country and her election caused a stir, some people not really accepted her being black. After moving to Italy in 1983, she became a qualified ophthalmologist in Modena, and she founded an intercultural Association (DAWA) to promote mutual awareness, integration and cooperation between Italy and Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is also the spokesperson of the association “March First”, which works to promote the rights of migrants in Italy. In February 2013 she was elected member of the Chamber of Deputies for the Democratic Party in Emilia-Romagna. Two months later she was appointed Minister for Integration becoming Italy’s first black cabinet minister. She supports the introduction of a Jus soli law to grant citizenship to children of immigrants born on Italian soil. It was a very interesting speech, but that set more questions than answers on how to learn to live side by side in a global world….

The same week my husband had a very good news, along with all the local football team fans. Antonio Cassano (if you are football lovers you know who he is, if not look here) signed a five years agreement with Parma AC. He’s well known for his stormy nature (being a father now he toned down) but he’s also very talented and all the fans here are thrilled. So it was a very intense time following him during his time here, undergoing medical examinations, holding press conferences (at the team head office) and the official presentation to the fans (at the stadium) followed by a dinner open to all the championship subscribers. My husband is obviously one of them, and he took me along (photos from our local newspaper – better than mine, I was too far – but the last one, taken at the restaurant with the team manager)

He choose to live in the city center, in a penthouse overlooking the main square, as you can see in the pic below, taken last week during the official team presentation to the city, a very crowded, noisy and fun night! (the sign says “Hi dad”)

It was nice to see new and old faces…..and it was worth the swollen ankle I got trying to gain positions among the crowd to take pics of the players and staff members while going on the stage………..(damn, it still hurts!). This year will mark the centenary of the football team, being born the 27th july 1913……….

Mid-july was also the time for two big opening here, the Nespresso shop and another big bookshop for used books, just around the corner of the same building…..and no, Geroge Clooney wasn’t there! I had the chance to see the work in progress of both, because the coffee shop is run by a former collegue and a friend of my daugher is employed at the bookshop (and yes, I bought books every time I was there!)

see the spectacled guy? he’s A, my daughter’s friend….

More later………..















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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Easter weekend

Let’s talk about food………..again………because that was a big part of my Easter 3-days-weekend, along with some cultural outing and friends’ gathering, really the best part.

On saturday me and my daughter decided to visit an exhibition, and her friend L and her mom E – one of my best friend – came along. We left in the late morning, and the first stop was a pastry shop where I bought a gluten-free, lactose-free dove as the Easter lunch dessert.

Then we moved on to a cozy place for lunch, an old farmhouse renovated to become a restaurant and organic food shop

We just had some pasta and some cakes, but it was so delicious….

Then we were ready to visit the exhibition, dedicated to Paul Delvaux

It was forbidden (for the first time in this museum) to take photos of the works there, these ones are from the catalogue of the exhibition my daughter bought

On Easter we didn’t do anything beside hanging out at my mom for lunch and  watching tv afterward…….my daughter took a pic while I was helping do the table

and this is what we bought at a local market as a centrepiece, made by kids with Down syndrome…..

My family has an Easter tradition for lunch, so this is what we had (and we knew we were having…..) boiled eggs with tuna and Easter pie as starters

pumpkin filled ravioli as first course

and rabbit roast as main dish, so good….

and obviously, our dove as dessert!

So, after a while I left the company and this is what I did, laying on my bed trying to read (thanks Stacey for introducing me to Jo Nesbo) and to put up with all that food, walking wasn’t an option, it was raining like hell!

On Easter Monday we met with our friends E&L and with the ones from Modena, who made a reservation to a new place, in the hill mid-way between our hometowns….

the restaurant is very bright, very swedish style don’t you think?

and my friends know that they have to pose for some photos, always….

hubby and our “american” friend S (she lived in Chicago for 15 years)

the food was really wonderful….

We are all bikers, so can you guess what we did after lunch? Drove to a nearby circuit, of course……….

eventually it started to rain (again!) so we made it to the circuit bar to have some coffee – and more talk….

They were three busy day (and now I REALLY need to diet!) but I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my family and my dearest friends. Actually this is the best way to spend our days, right?

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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Booklist 2012

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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