Saturday, February 2, 2013

January Reads

A Good American by Alex George spans more than a century in the story of three generations of the Meisenheimer family in the Midwest. Beginning with an improbable love affair ignited by the power of song, the story follows an unorthodox young couple as they flee to America in search of a new life together. From prohibition to the Kennedy assassination, the family is caught up in the sweep of history as they find their place in America—engaging, but pretty formulaic.

Sutton by   J.R. Moehringer  is a fictionalized biography of Willie Sutton that traces his life, the ill-fated first love, and his surprise pardon on Christmas Eve in 1969. He had stolen more than $2 million from banks, engineered three dazzling prison breaks, and become a folk hero to thousands of cash-strapped Americans. The book imagines the day after his pardon when he agrees to tell his story to a reporter who revisits some of the major places/events in his life.  

*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon is the story of Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, who decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his parents. Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher shows great courage and insight in his quest—reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and “The Big Bang Theory.” 

*Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe takes on most of Miami’s ethnic groups with his trademark acerbic  sociological satire.  He also skewers the pretentions of city politics, ‘society’, the police, journalists and  the art community.  Hard going in some places but Wolfe still delivers insight and humor in an entertaining manner.

Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods is the latest in the Stone Barrington series.  The hero is hired to talk some sense into the wayward son of a hedge fund billionaire.  The hidden sins and temptations of the ultra-wealthy are soon revealed as  Stone and his erstwhile protégé, Herbie Fisher, probe into just how far some people will go to cover up their crimes. Crispy written, but very predictable and formulaic.

Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd is set in 1913 Vienna. Lysander Rief, a young English actor is seeking psychotherapy and gets caught up in a feverish affair with a beautiful, enigmatic woman—until she charges him with rape.  Two British diplomats save him from trial and then recruit him for murder and espionage. The plot moves from Vienna to London's West End and from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva. Billed as “a mesmerizing journey into the human psyche,” I found it engaging but predictable.

No comments:

Post a Comment