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Archive for the ‘Mystery/Spy/Suspense’ Category

ambrose“Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek Bridge.”  Does this quote seem familiar to any of you?  It is a line from Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War era short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” which I read during my GPS days.  Ambrose Bierce was a soldier and author whose disappearance in 1913 has never been solved.  Apparently Bierce’s disappearance was not the only mystery surrounding him.  In Oakley Hall’s novel, Ambrose Bierce and the One-Eyed Jacks, Bierce and his sidekick Tom Redmond solve a couple of mysteries themselves.

Hall’s novel takes place in San Francisco in the spring of 1891.  In this picturesque city, there are sinister goings on- child labor, child slavery, missing women, blackmail, and of course, murder.  Bierce and Redmond are reporters working at William Hearst’s newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, and Hearst ask them to investigate some missing photography plates.  The search for the missing plates leads Bierce and Redmond into the world of Chinese gangs, prostitution, and corrupt British sailors.  One-Eyed Jacks explores the underbelly of San Francisco, which contains all of the seedy elements that make a good mystery.

Fans of both mystery and historical fiction will like this read, and for those who do like One-Eyed Jacks, I would recommend a couple of other sleuthing authors found in Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson and Dan Simmons’ Crook Factory, along with Hall’s other Bierce novels.

Ms. Harvey ’97
Current Practicum Student~University of Tennessee’s School of Information Science working in the Holland Library

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On the eve of World War II the United States Navy introduces its newest, most up-to-date, sophisticated submarine. The crew has been assembled. The majority of  tests have been done and the Squalus has passed with flying colors. Minor problems have been fixed and all is ready for its first ever deep sea dive in the Northern Atlantic. However, when the sub begins its descent to 200 feet, the main intake valve sticks open and the submarine floods and sinks to the ocean floor with all hands on board. One man, one submariner, has prepared all  his Navy career for this exact moment. He is Charles “Swede” Momsen, a man who previously stood by watching as two subs sank and rescue was impossible, watching as their entire crews perished. Now Momsen is ready. The Terrible Hours is the story of his ingenuity, drive and determination to rescue the Squalus’ crew at all cost. Maas describes the harrowing hours of the crew in the sunken sub, their families waiting with prayer and hope, and the rescue team fighting rough seas, broken cables and time. This nail-biter isn’t to be missed.

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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Chip Linton, an airline pilot, ditches his crippled passenger plane into Lake Champlain after a bird strike; 39 passengers and crew are killed. Chip now suffers post traumatic stress disorder and can no longer fly. To help recuperate and restart their lives, Chip, his wife and 10-year old twin daughters move to an old Victorian house in New Hampshire where the basement reveals a door long sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. Thirty-nine passengers, thirty-nine carriage bolts. Chip becomes obsessed with what is behind the door that is so securely sealed. Meanwhile his wife notices that the women in their new town are also obsessed with herbs of all kinds as well as her twin daughters. A great Halloween read!

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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Are you looking for something really good to fill the void left by your last favorite book? If you’re in the mood for a dark page-turner with a plot that twists and turns like the world’s most sinister roller coaster ride, then “Gone Girl” is the book for you. Amy and Nick seemingly have it all. They’re young journalists living the NYC lifestyle and are enjoying their new marriage until they are laid off and family obligations require Nick to move back to his hometown, a small town in Missouri. Living in a rented McMansion with absolutely no character and that Amy absolutely detests, all appears to be going well until the day of their fifth anniversary when Amy goes missing. Through her diary entries, we learn that things are not always as they appear. Do we ever truly know the person we marry? Where is Amy and if Nick did kill her, as all evidence seems to point, then why??? There is SO MUCH to discuss here, I’m recommending this for our next faculty book club read. Most definitely for adult or mature readers.

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

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After watching our school’s production of Les Miserables, I decided to read the classic novel that inspired the broadway musical. It truly is a noteworthy book that should be on your bucket list if you haven’t already read it. Jean Valjean, a peasant who was put in prison for stealing bread to feed his widowed sister’s starving family, has finally been released after 19 years. After resting on a clean bed at the bishop’s house, the only place that would let someone from the galleys spend the night, he steals silver, tries to escape and is caught. Surprisingly, when the police bring him back to the bishop, the bishop lies and says that he actually gave the convict the silver. This episode changes Jean Valjean’s character and he promises to use the silver to do . A decade later he has established himself as Monseiur Madeleine, a wealthy business man and governor of a French town, a goodman who opens hospitals for the poor, and gives alms to the needy. Suddenly, the police inspector Javert recognises Jean Valjean and again the convict is wanted. On the run, he adopts a little girl Cossette, and together they live their lives under a new name, Fauchelvent. Now a pretty young woman, Cossette attracts the attention of young Parisians, especially the eye of Marius, a student active in the “revolution”. Through it all Javert constantly keeps up the watch for the escaped convict, Jean Valjean. Can Jean Valjean live freely, safe from Javert? Will Marius and Cossette live happily ever after? Read this fantastic book to find out!

Reviewed by Ayushi ’16

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This debut novel is a murder mystery set in a vastly different landscape – the High Arctic, home of the Inuit people, bitter cold, and vast expanses of snow and ice. Half Inuit and half qalunaat (outsider), Edie Kiglatuk is the best Arctic guide around. But as a woman, she gets only grudging respect from the elders who rule her isolated community on Ellesmere Island. When a man is shot and killed while out on an Arctic adventure under her watch, the murder attracts the attention of police sergeant Derek Palliser. As Edie sets out to discover what those tourists were really after, she is shocked by the suicide of someone very close to her. Though these events are seemingly unrelated, Edie’s Inuit hunter sensibility tells her otherwise. With or without Derek’s help, she is determined to find the key to this connection-a search that takes her beyond her small village, and into the far reaches of the frozen tundra.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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If you liked The Hunger Games, you will love Divergent by Veronica Roth!

One choice can transform you. Pass initiation. Do not fail! In sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions — Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) — each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a “perfect society.” At the age of sixteen, teens must choose the faction to which they will devote their lives. On her Choosing Day, Beatrice renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s group, and chooses to become Dauntless but does she really have all the Dauntless characteristics and no others? After surviving a brutal initiation, Tris finds romance with a super-hot boy, but also discovers unrest and growing conflict in their seemingly “perfect society.” Is she Dauntless or is she Divergent and doomed to live outside society completely?

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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