**A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is the best book I’ve read this year. It “immerses us in an elegantly drawn era” and the life of Count Alexander Rostov. In 1922, he is sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. With an indomitable spirit, erudition, wisdom and wit, he ‘witnesses’ some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history while living in an attic room withutlosing any of his aristocratic civility.
The Guests on South Market Street by Karen White is apparently part of a series about Charleston houses and a psychic realtor. When her maternity leave ends, Melanie Trenholm dreads leaving her new husband and twins but quickly gets a great listing, a super nanny and a few scary ghosts. The psychic angle (her mother and nanny are also have ‘the gift’) is a flexible writing gimmick that doesn’t require logic or any hint of inevitability.
A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy, edited and introduced by his widow, is a 'new' nonfiction collection of letters, interviews, blogs, testimonials and magazine articles spanning Conroy’s career. Like Conroy, some of it is brilliant and touching while some is not.
*The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak is a late 1980's story of fourteen-year-old New Jersey nerd who aspires to build a successful company in the emerging computer gaming industry. Billy Marvin also wants to get a copy of the Vanna White issue of Playboy. Billy pretends to seduce a girl as part of an elaborate plan steal a copy of the magazine before discovering that she is his computer-loving soulmate. . While not sophisticated or great literature, it is an engaging, fun book about the angst of adolescence, young love and the evolution of computer simulation.
*The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly is another well-done police procedural featuring Harry Bosch who is now working as a volunteer suburban cop and as a PI. A terminally ill mogul may have sired a child who may or not still be alive. Harry's job is to determine if there is an heir and then to report only to the mogul. Juggling this investigation with his volunteer gig focused on trying to catch a serial rapist, Harry manages to solve both mysteries, find both the good and bad guys while helping the victims. After almost 30 novels, Connelly manages to maintain his crisp plotting, dialogue and pacing to produce another enjoyable best seller.