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Sentinel: A Spycatcher Novel

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Written by an ex-MI6 field agent, Matthew Dunn, this spy thriller exudes authenticity.  Trained to be the ultimate spy, Will Cochran is sent to Russia on a fool’s errand:  to find a deep cover agent who has betrayed the U. S. and wants to start a war.  Not only does Cochran face geographic and physical odds in Russia, political and economic tensions at home, he is up against the clock, and it is ticking!

The Inferno

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Dan Brown’s latest, The Inferno follows the pattern of Brown’s other thrillers.  There is an intellectual puzzle to be solved while baddies chase and threaten the good guys. The fate of the world is in Langdon’s hands and hands of the brilliant Sienna Brooks, who accompanies him. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, specifically “Inferno”,   is the key to deciphering an obscure message left by an obsessed scientist, Zorbrist, who is intent on saving the world by destroying it. The chase and race is on… through the streets, alleyways, secret underground passages, hidden doors and tombs of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul.

Along the way Langdon delivers a running commentary on the rich history of the Italian Renaissance, Christian, and Islamic art. The abundance of information can distract from the plot versus enrich.  I would recommend reading this book for the excitement of the chase, the clues and the underlying theme, but not the convoluted plotting.

 

Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic

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Mark L. Donald joined the U S Marines straight out of high school as a way to escape his abusive father and avoid trouble with neighborhood gangs.  Given the work ethic installed by his mother and an innate competitive sense, he quickly earned a position on a Reconnaissance Team, the equivalent of a Navy Seal or Army Green Beret.  During the extensive training required for this team, he observed the Navy Hospital Corpsmen HM1 at work, and realized that this was what he was truly meant to do.  The story of his transition to a Navy HM1, during the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan War makes for a gripping read.  This book gives a great inside look at life on the battlefield and the devotion required of a true soldier.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

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This laugh-out-loud memoir takes readers through Kaling’s awkward childhood moments and her rocky start in New York to her success as a writer on the Office.   Her observations about men, body image, and life are both spot-on and humorous.  Those who enjoyed Tina Fey’s Bossypants will find this novel particularly enjoyable.

Rush of Blood

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I like Mark Billingham's Thorne series. This stand-alone murder mystery involves three British couples on holiday in Florida. This vacation takes a criminal twist when a young girl goes missing and is later found dead in a lagoon. The six Britons are suspects and Billingham keeps the suspense going. When another young girl is missing in England, the six who have returned from Florida are even more suspect. Great ending.

 

The Expats

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Kate Moore and her husband decide to accept a job offer in Luxemburg.   While her husband begins his new job and Kate spends more time with her children she must learn how to adjust to the daily life in a new country.  Kate begins to notice her husband’s suspicious behavior and also becomes suspicious of another American couple they have befriended.   As she begins to investigate she becomes nervous they are connected to her past.   Mystery lovers will enjoy this novel which keeps them guessing until the very end.

The Elephant Keepers' Children

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The setting is the imaginary island of Fino off the coast of Denmark, where the world’s religions live together peacefully.  Father is a vicar and Mother is a fine artist. For the second time in the lives of the three siblings, Hans, Tidle and Peter, their very eccentric parents disappear.  The youngest, fourteen year old Peter is the narrator. From his precocious view point he describes the weird circumstances and incredible adventures they have finding their parents, while the rest of Denmark is trying to corral them to keep them out of harm’s way. There is a lot of satire, laugh out loud moments and a satisfying ending.

Patron Saint of Lost Dogs

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Nick Trout, a veterinarian, writes a delightful story for pet-lovers.  Estranged from his father, the vet pathologist Dr. Mills, returns to his hometown after a fourteen year absence.  His father's much beloved veterinary practice, which he has left his son, is now debt-ridden and about to be taken over by the bank.  Dr. Mills had hoped to sell the business and flee back to his southern retreat, ignoring the past and its memories. Now he’s forced to either give up the business or make an effort to see patients in order to keep it at least temporarily afloat.  That might involve getting too close for comfort.

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons

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Mr. Rosenblum is a Jewish refugee who fled to England from Germany before the outbreak of WWII.  He longs to be accepted as a true Englishman.  As a profitable businessman, he buys the correct Savile Row suit, a Jaguar, and shops at Fortnum & Mason.  But his Jewish background prevents his membership into a golf club, for him the ultimate sign of an English gentleman.  In desperation he decides to build his own golf course which proves to be a greater endeavor than anticipated.  The character is exasperating at times, but heartwarming overall, especially when you learn the author is writing about her grandfather.

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