Set in the 1970s, and a Russian poet has sought asylum in the U.S. Days before he qualifies for citizenship, he is kidnapped from Grand Central Station. Why was he taken? How can they help him? Where is he?
What I Liked
The story diverges on two tracks — a black-bag CIA operative comes in from the cold just enough to maintain full deniability while he looks for the man and an FBI manager keeps poking and prodding trying to find out why.… Read the rest
The academic analysis of recent Canadian international development assistance is long on political economy and light on “realities on the ground”.
What I Liked
The text had a strong opening for its goals, even if the administrative context didn’t quite match their estimated / presumed political context. When it came to hard statistical analysis (Chapter 6) and mimicry of other donors, the paper was sound.… Read the rest
The author is a book reviewer for the Washington Post; this is the story of his life up until graduation from university.
What I Liked
Dirda was recommended to me by a colleague from work, whose appetites for reading are far more literary than mine. He actually recommended Bound to Please, which is a collection of Dirda’s reviews of more literary prose from throughout history, but I tripped over this book first.… Read the rest
This book is an anthology of women’s experiences in Canada during World War II. The anthology is a collection of first-person narratives from 57 women who served in various branches of the armed forces, auxiliaries, private industry in Canada during World War II. Each of the narratives have similar chronologies and approach – what the women were doing before the war, how they joined the Armed Forces or supporting occupation, their experiences during the war (both personal and professional), their life-in-brief after the war, and, finally, a chance for them to pass some judgement on “what did it all mean” for them or for women in general.… Read the rest
Keziah Dane is a struggling single mother in 1939. Her husband died two years before in a flood, trying to rescue other townspeople, and her son was taken too. This leaves Keziah with no money, and she has to look after four remaining sons and two daughters. In addition, her mother-in-law has gone a little batty with the loss of her son, leaving Keziah to take care of her too.… Read the rest
Frank Castle is ready to move to London. He’s worked undercover for years for the DEA, now he’s ready to take a desk job and spend time with his family. But his last case goes a bit sour and an unknown newbie to crime gets killed along with Castle.… Read the rest
The premise of this book is that there are many people who never feel satisfied, nor take the time to feel satisfied, and are always looking forward to the next obstacle, next project, next item on their to-do list — and whatever they have done, or accomplished, is never enough.… Read the rest
A collection of 20 solve-them-yourself mysteries, perfect for reading on your break. For context, the stories are all short, suitable for reading one or two on a coffee break. If you have seen the 5-minute mysteries in the back of magazines like Reader’s Digest or remember the old Encyclopedia Brown series, then you understand the premise — you read a short-short story (almost flash length) with a mystery of “who did something”, ending with the narrator announcing she or he knows the solution.… Read the rest
Janeway and her crew are in desperate need of shoreleave…and they receive an invitation from an uncharted planet to visit and enjoy the paradise nature of the lands. All is not necessarily as it seems, including the citizens’ treatment of their pets, the Neffaler, which seem surprisingly intelligent, almost sentient.… Read the rest
Peace in the Middle East is almost assured and two concordes fly to New York with delegates for final negotiations. Terrorists try to derail the peace conference by planting bombs on board and taking the passengers hostage. After one plane is destroyed, killing all on board, the second plane is forced to land near Babylon.… Read the rest
Schwarz starts with a commentary by a Chinese scholar that some people are handicapped by reading too much, and not thinking enough about what they read. From there, she looks at the books she has read in her life and the role they have played. It is not a heavy analytical tone throughout, but rather a personal commentary on the books that have been important to her in her life, and the elements of her life that took place in and around books.… Read the rest
Amelia Pearce has a normal enough life, but with a soon-to-be ex-lover, she heads home to her parent’s house to heal her ego and ease the transition. However, she finds her life shattered by the truth about her father — he is not a simple journalist, but an operative for “The Network”, a ultra-secret organization of operatives on loan from the major intelligence agencies of the various countries with one goal: combat terrorism.… Read the rest
A body is found with the letter “P” carved into its forehead. P stands for pawn, and it is dumped in upper Manhattan, using the streets as a chessboard. The Knight and Bishop follow. And the chess-game begins. Inspector Regal has been chosen by the killer to play the game, which he does through moves placed in the New York Times.… Read the rest
In Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep”, the reader was introduced to all the main characters — Sternwood himself, his butler, his two daughters, and a gangster. And of course Marlowe was along for the ride. In this sequel by Robert B. Parker, Philip Marlowe returns to Sternwood Manor to solve the case of a missing daughter, Carmen, who disappeared from her much-deserved stay in a sanitarium.… Read the rest
Two stories stand out. Fatal Accident deals with a cop on vacation who sees a car wreck in front of him where the wife dies. When he tries to follow up with the hospitalized driver, the driver is more worried about people looking at the car than the wife.… Read the rest
The “Continental Op” was described to me initially as a single collection of short stories, but the available versions are actually a collection of eight books of short stories grouped under that title.
What I Liked
Stories include The Tenth Clew, The Golden Horseshoe, The House in Turk Street, The Girl with the Silver Eyes, The Whosis Kid, The Main Death, and the Farewell Murder.… Read the rest