There are Lit Fests taking place all over the country, but the community of readers is dwindling. Still, passionate book lovers would like to know what others like themselves are reading. This Book Nook suggests some books, but would also like to connect with serious readers, or even casual airport book browsers. Do write in about books you have loved or hated and why. The best entries will be shared on this page. Please send your recommendations to [email protected]
John Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Award winning journalist, John Camp. He writes the best-selling ‘Prey’ series featuring law-keepers Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. Some books have them both, some have one or the other, with the missing one making a brief ‘guest’ appearance.
In the latest, Twisted Prey, it’s Davenport at the centre, having moved from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to the elite U.S. Marshals Service; he has friends in high places and when one of them is threatened, he pulls out all stops.
The thriller begins with the car of Minnesota Senator Porter Smalls being pushed off the road down a cliff. He survives but his companion and fundraiser, Cecily Whitehead, is killed. The strange thing is that accident investigators find no mark on the car that indicate it was deliberately rammed, with the intention of murdering Smalls.
The Senator knows he was neither drunk not hallucinating, and summons his friend Davenport to find out what really happened. Smalls is sure that his rival politician Taryn Grant was behind this assassination attempt, but he needs to prove it. Grant had, in an earlier book, tried to discredit Smalls before by planting inappropriate content on his computer and Davenport had come forward to prove his innocence. Grant is not the kind to forget an enemy and Davenport is a formidable adversary.
Taryn Grant is rich and ruthless with the White House in her sights. Lucas arrives with his loyal fellow marshals Rae Givens and Bob Matees and quickly makes a dent in the investigation. Grant gets her hitman John Parrish to attack Davenport, but he escapes being badly hurt, or worse, killed.
Then, suddenly, Davnenport’s wife, Weather, is badly injured in a hit-and-run accident and lands in hospital. He has to rush by her side, and finds that the driver of the car that crashed into her committed suicide. It is quite by chance he discovers that it was another murder attempt to get him off the case. Now Davenport is angry and even more determined to find the culprits.
The thriller takes in political ambition, big-time corruption, shady arms dealers with a villain who is pure evil and devilishly cunning. Several heart-stopping episodes lead to the chilling climax. Twisted Prey is the twenty-eighth book in the series, that shows no signs of running out of steam. And yes, Virgil Flowers has a ‘walk-on’ scene.
By John Sandford
Excerpt of Twisted Prey
Lucas was a tall, tough-looking man, tan with the summer, a white knife-edge scar cutting across his eyebrow and onto his cheek, the product of a fishing misadventure. He had mild blue eyes, dark hair now touched with gray, and a smile that could turn mean. He liked to fight, not too often, but occasionally. The winter before, when he could no longer hold menus far enough away to see the fine print, he'd gotten the first glasses of his life, a pair of hard-edged, gold-rimmed spectacles that he hated, but put up with.
"I look like Yoda or something," he grumbled to his wife, Weather.
"Yoda didn't wear glasses as far as I know," Weather said.
"I don't mean the literal Yoda. I mean that guy from Tibet, you know, the religious guy."
"The Dalai Lama?"
"Yeah, that guy."
Weather looked at him for a moment, then said, "Yeah, you do kinda look like him..." Which he didn't, but Weather refused to encourage whining. "Now, like the Dalai Lama, you can read a menu."
Although Lucas wasn't afraid of the occasional brawl, he feared flying. His rational mind forced his body onto airplanes, but his emotional, French-Canadian side told him that whole metal-tubes-flying-through-the-air was a vicious scam that would end badly.
He tried to distract himself with the Outside, but one of the cabin attendants was really, really, good-looking, which meant that every time she passed, he had to take off the reading glasses. The last time he did it, she patted him on the shoulder. She'd noticed, and was familiar with male insecurities.
The flight ran late, as usual. As soon as the plane touched down, Lucas called Smalls, who answered on the first ring and said, "I saw you were coming in late. I got here five minutes ago, I'm heading over to the Stone Arch."
Lucas had no checked baggage. He grabbed his pack and an overnight bag, and was out on the jetway ten minutes after the wheels touched down.
The bar was a typical airport restaurant, tables too close together, meant for singles or couples on their way to somewhere else, rather than settling in for the evening. Smalls managed to find a table that was three down from the next closest drinker, who paid him no attention. Lucas spotted him, went over, dropped his bag, shook hands, said, "Nice to see you, senator," and sat down. "What's up?"
"Get a sandwich or something," Smalls said. "I've got a burger and beer on the way."
When the waitress had come and gone, Smalls leaned across the table and said, "This is going to sound insane, but that automobile accident? That wasn't an accident. It was an assassination attempt. They were trying to kill me and they wound up murdering Ceecee. I know who must've been behind it. You do, too."
Lucas said nothing for a moment, but when he did, it was, "Oh, Jesus Christ, Porter. Are you sure?"
"Let me tell you about it," Smalls said.
Dr Sheela Nambiar’s Fit After 40 suggests ways for a healthier, happier and stronger life. According to the summary, “An old adage goes that age is all in one's mind. However, the 40s bring on a series of changes - mentally, physically and emotionally - that we scarcely anticipate and usually deny to ourselves. Instead of viewing it as a turning point to a new, enhanced experience of life, many of us are left bewildered and in 'crisis'.
“Applying her wealth of experience as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and a fitness and lifestyle consultant, Dr Sheela Nambiar brings to you this holistic health guide that ensures that the decades ahead of your 40s are the best yet.
“This book contains: - Tests to assess your current fitness levels and help determine the best course of action for you - Tools for understanding the inevitable hormonal changes and how to deal with them- Insights into why we gain weight after 40 and how to control it- Daily exercises that will help restore vitality and maintain your posture, balance and flexibility- Ways to improve your sleep patterns and nutritional intake- Tips to keep yourself and your relationships positive, productive and motivated.
“Fit after 40 will infuse you with a new sense of purpose and propel you towards living the good life you've worked hard to achieve!”
Fit After 40
By Dr Sheela Nambiar
Publisher: Hachette India
The synopsis of Abhinav Singh’s The Last Attractor of Chaos reads, “Shruti Rathore is a retired black opp. agent of the R&AW who chooses to live a domestic life with her husband Ashwin Rathore. She works behind the desk in the Intelligence Bureau at Mumbai, pushing paper and she is six months pregnant.
“There is a dark past behind her, of which Ashwin isn’t aware about. The grand scheme of the cosmos seems strange and extremely painful when Ashwin gets killed by a gun for hire, sent out to kill her. She also gets arrested by the Intelligence Bureau on the charges of stealing a strategic weapon and killing her associate, Mahesh Mehta. But death is only a transition, Ashwin’s consciousness (soul), chooses to protect what he loves.
“The mysteries on Shruti get revealed onto him and her extraordinary intelligence and deviance. His soul is caught between the dilemma of protecting his wife and choosing the right path. In this fight, he gets help from a strange consciousness – Tantunam Anuha, who is a bridge between the realms of physical and metaphysical. It is when he realizes that both he and his wife have been chosen by the all powerful rules of chaos to fulfill a higher and yet a devastating purpose.”
The Last Attractor of Chaos
By Abhinav Singh
Publisher: Notion Press
Danielle Steel’s Accidental Heroes is set on a flight. The synopsis says, “On a beautiful May morning at New York’s JFK Airport, a routine plane departs for San Francisco. Security agent Bernice Adams finds a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge bearing an ambiguous message. Who left the postcard behind, which flight is that person on, and what exactly does the message mean? Her supervisor dismisses her concerns but she is compelled to contact Homeland Security.
“As the flight takes off each of the passengers is looking forward to reaching San Francisco, whether it’s for a family reunion, a wedding, or a new way of life. But as it emerges, there’s someone on the flight planning something terrible and these strangers’ lives entwine as they come together to help to avert a tragedy at the eleventh hour.
“Danielle Steel combines intense action with stories of emotionally rich, intertwined lives. As the plane bears down on its destination of San Francisco, the futures of these strangers will be changed forever by a handful of accidental heroes.
“Accidental Heroes is a heart-stopping thriller about ordinary men and women who embark on a journey they will never forget.”
By Danielle Steel
The latest book by the super-prolific Danielle Steel is also out. The summary of The Cast reads, “Kait Whittier has built her magazine column into a hugely respected read followed by fans across the country. She loves her work and adores her grown children, treasuring the time they spend together. But after two marriages, she prefers to avoid the complications and uncertainties of a new love.
“Then, after a chance meeting with television producer Zack Winter, everything changes. Inspired by the true story of her own grandmother, Kait creates the storyline for a TV series. Within weeks, Kait is plunged into a colourful, star-studded world of actors and industry pros who will bring her vision to life, from the reclusive grand dame to LA’s hottest bad boy actor.
“As secrets are shared and revelations come to light, friendships deepen. But in the midst of this charmed year, Kait is forced to confront the greatest challenge a mother could ever know and this unforgettable cast becomes more important to her than she ever could have imagined.”
By Danielle Steel