Monday, January 17, 2022

Staff Recommendations, Week of January 18, 2022

Both Daniel Goldin and Chris Lee have recommendations for The Runaway, the latest Peter Ash thriller from Shorewood author Nick Petrie. Let's start with Daniel: "There are Nick Petrie thrillers that have complicated plots and lots of players, but The Runaway is pretty straightforward - Peter tries to help a young woman who escaped from an abusive convenience store owner into the arms of the trucker, only to find her savior is a sociopath robbing second homes. The violence is a little more graphic than in some of the other adventures, which could be a plus or minus, depending on the reader. And for those who need to catch their breath, there’ll be no such thing this time out - it’s edge of the seat, all the way through!"

And from Chris: "The latest Peter Ash thriller is Nick Petrie’s take on a Western shoot ‘em up, complete with daring river escapes, chases across the plains, and a big shootout finale. Ash stops to help a stranded woman on a dirt road in Nebraska, a task which quickly becomes absurdly arduous. The novel has long, tense drives interspersed with pit stops for crime and violence that remind me of the long hauls that tied together some of James Crumley’s legendary books. And where Petrie started the series focused on a visceral depiction of Ash’s PTSD, he’s expanded in the recent books to the minds of the baddies, poking around dark corners to discover from whence violence and evil springs. Lucky for us (and the bystanders who get caught up in his adventures), the only thing Peter Ash hates more than the indiscriminate killing that follows him around like a Charlie Brown rain cloud of death is letting bad men get away with abusive, evil acts. The Runaway is a series highlight, a stripped down and lean action movie on the page."

Jason Kennedy has a staff rec for Red Milk, the new novel by Icelandic author Sjón. Jason says: "I never know what I’ll get when reading a Sjón novel, and this was no exception - a perfect book for our political times. Sjón starts at the end, with Gunnar Kampen, founder of the New-Nazi movement, dead on a train. Looking back at Gunnar’s life, we can see how his life opened him up to such horrible and dangerous ideals. The banality of evil lures Gunnar in and completely envelops him. Sjón doesn’t hammer you over the head with his themes, but he quietly demonstrates how insidious fascism can be and how it lures people to its cause. A perfect read."

And one recommendation for a book getting its paperback release this week:

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World
, by Simon Winchester. This one gets the Daniel Goldin treatment: "Inspired by the purchase of his own tract of land in The Oblong, a part of the Berkshires once claimed by Connecticut but now part of New York State, Winchester’s latest is not so much a narrative history as a survey. Land looks at the development of mapping (including the International Map of the World project, whose archives wound up at UWM), and how the fight for land has affected development and cultural change, most notably, what would happen when Europeans collided with Natives in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and elsewhere. Chapters focus on the Partition of India, the creation of Israel, America’s Trail of Tears, and Northern Ireland. He looks at the very different ways countries look at trespassing, how Holland created a province out of the sea, and Scotland’s shift away from landed gentry and towards community ownership. Land is a fascinating story, and as always, Winchester’s telling is both elegant and accessible. If we had a geography section at the bookstore, this would be a core title!"

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