BookClique

Here we will post our musings on a wide variety of titles. You can comment on our posts and find the titles in our catalog.

IQ by Joe Ide

IQIsaiah Quintabe and older brother Marcus are African-American youths living in a rough neighborhood in LA. Marcus is the bread winner for the family, and things are going well for the brothers when Marcus is killed in a tragic hit-and-run. The accident happens in front of Isaiah, but in spite of his presence as a witness, he doesn’t see anything of value that helps police track down his brother’s killer. Now, without his brother’s income, Isaiah is desperate for a roommate to help pay his rent. Enter Dodson–an idea man who likes to spend money. Dodson is helpful with paying the bills, at first, and then cash becomes harder to find. While Isaiah and Dodson struggle with their cash flow problem, Isaiah struggles with his inability to find his brother’s killer. He devotes himself to learning to make meaningful observations with the thought that somehow, he still might find out who killed his brother. Isaiah’s observations help solve some of their financial woes, and new type of Sherlock Holmes is born.

When an attempt is made on the life of a big name rapper, Dodson has the right connection to put Isaiah on the case. If Isaiah can figure out who is behind the murder attempt, both Dodson and Isaiah stand to score some big bucks. The case is an odd one, though, and might be difficult to solve. Who attempts to murder someone by using an attack dog as a weapon?

IQ tells two stories at the same time as it alternates between events in Isaiah’s past and events in present day. Isaiah is a fresh, engaging character. He’s smart, and yet makes some interesting life choices due to his circumstances. I also liked Dodson, who always has thoughts on his next big cash score. The way the story unfolds, and the way each character has his or her own quirks really reminded me of an Elmore Leonard. The dialogue in the book is superb, again reminding me of Mr. Leonard’s work. Joe Ide is of Japanese-American descent, and grew up in LA himself. His novel reflects his knowledge of the area, and adds some wonderful depth to the work.

Annette G.


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Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

DarkestNightmareHer Darkest Nightmare is the beginning of a new series by Brenda Novak called The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. I enjoyed this novel because it blends intrigue and romance seamlessly. I also liked that it is the beginning of a series, so we can journey with the main character in healing what she has long ignored about her past. It starts out with a sixteen-year-old Evelyn being kidnapped and tortured by her boyfriend, Jasper. The book then fast-forwards to a thirty-year-old Evelyn who is living in Alaska and and working at Hanover House, a maximum-security facility housing the most criminally insane that America has to offer. Hanover house is Evelyn’s own brain-child so she can work with psychopaths to possibly figure out why Jasper did what he did all of those years ago, and maybe stop a future killer from harming another innocent person. Then, a Hanover House worker turns up brutally murdered and Evelyn must work with the town sheriff to find out who the killer is and face her past in ways she never imagined.

Richelle B.


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Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

rain dogsWhat else can I say about Adrian McKinty’s mysteries that I haven’t said already?  When he comes out with a new one, I almost don’t want to start it because I don’t want it to end!  His latest Rain Dogs is just as top notch as his previous works that feature Northern Ireland Detective Sean Duffy during the time of the Troubles.  Duffy is tasked with solving an unsolvable murder that was made to look like a suicide in a locked space that no-one could enter.  This is the second time in Duffy’s career that this kind of scenario has happened and he realizes that it’s too much of a coincidence that it has happened again.  The murder victim was a journalist working on a tip about a pedophilia ring involving prominent citizens and also met with a member of the police department about opening an investigation before she died.  The police officer is then killed by a car bomb supposedly planted by the IRA.  As usual, McKinty’s descriptions of Northern Ireland life and working as a police officer during the time of the Troubles is fantastic-this isn’t the bright green grass and shamrocks Ireland this is dark gray concrete and mercury tilt bombs planted under cars Ireland.  Awesome read!  I will say a change comes in Detective Duffy’s life at the end of the book that makes me worry for the future of the series but hopefully a tragedy is coming that will keep Duffy as he is now and not make him a softy!

Stacy W.


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The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan

poets dogOne day, during a terrible snow storm, a family car gets stuck along the side of the road. Nicholas and Flora’s mother leaves them in the car to go find help, and when she doesn’t come back, Nicholas and Flora leave the car to try and find shelter. Max, an Irish Wolfhound, finds them in the snow, half frozen. He leads them to a cabin, and soon the children are snug as bugs. It is in this cabin that the two children learn a valuable truth–that the words of dogs can be understood by children and poets. And in the cabin with the two children, Max learns that love is not something you lose, but something that you gain and gain.

The Poet’s Dog is a beautiful tale, told in an elegant, simple style. Patricia MacLachlan, best known for Sarah, Plain and Tall, returns with a slim tale with hidden depths, one sprinkled with the best bits of wisdom for spice. This is a book for dog lovers, certainly, but this delightful story will be enjoyed by both young and old alike.

Annette G.


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My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

exorcismMy Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is fantastic!  It takes place during the 1980s so I can relate to a lot of the cultural references.  The main characters are four private school teenagers (three are rich and one is there on scholarship).  It‘s easy to feel like you’re one of them as they eat their lunches together, yak about other kids and teachers, smirk their way through school assemblies meant to scare them away from sex, drugs, and alcohol.  They don’t seem to realize how great their lives are but are so self involved they do not realize it when things start to change or why.  It begins one day when they’re all lounging around on one of the family’s boats, drinking, and having fun.  They decide to try acid for the first time and are disappointed when it doesn’t seem to work.  One of the girls wanders off into the woods and is gone all night.  They find her in the morning and she seems freaked out but not abnormal.  Everything goes downhill from there.   This is not a traditional horror story and might attract those who do not normally read that genre.  There is an animal death towards the end that was sad but I pretty much saw it coming so I was prepared.  The book is styled like a high school yearbook and the author also wrote another unusual read called Horrorstor which is very different.  Both are great reads!

Stacy W.


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Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers

throneHailimi Bristol is a gunrunner on the spaceship Sophie. Hailimi, called Hail, does what gunrunners typically do, and she does it in a daring and clever gunrunner way. She’s smart, sassy, bold, and can fight and shoot with the best of them. Life changes, however, when someone tries to kill her. Before they can finish the job, two Imperial Trackers arrive on the Sophie and snatch Hail away to their own ship. There, they inform her that she is now heir to the throne of Indrana, as her sisters and niece have been murdered and her empress mother is failing. Hail is less than thrilled, as she had never planned to go back to the regimented, claustrophobic life of royal princess. Reluctantly, she returns, and finds her life almost immediately in peril. Clearly, something is rotten in the heart of the Indranan Empire. Hail must use her gunrunner skills as she tries to uncover who is behind the plot against the throne.

Behind the Throne will appeal to Star Wars fans, as well as those who love a good space opera. If the politics and plotting behind the throne are your thing, a better title might be The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. If you like your action fast and furious, then Behind the Throne is for you.

Annette G.


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Revolver by Duane Swierczynski

revolverDuane Swierczynski’s  Revolver follows the Walczak family (especially those who serve as police officers) during 3 distinct time periods: 1965, 1995, and 2015.  The setting is Philadelphia – particularly the working class and poorer areas of the city.  In 1965 there were quite a few race riots and officer Stan Walczak’s partner is hurt on the job during one.   He is then paired with an African American officer who is a real firebrand about wanting to clean up corruption and weed out dirty cops.  Not surprisingly this does not go over well and the two officers become targets.  Eventually they are killed but by who?  In 1995 Stan’s son Jim is working as a homicide detective and thinks he knows the identity of his father’s murderer.  He keeps working the case, plotting revenge and stalking the killer.  In 2015 Jim’s daughter Audrey is failing college and on a lark proposes to look into her grandpa’s murder as a last ditch effort to keep herself from being kicked out of school.  Her professor agrees and as she investigates she realizes her father might have had it all wrong….Very good.

Stacy W


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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

pretty girlsMore than twenty years ago, beautiful nineteen year-old Julia Scott disappears into the night, never to be seen again. With no clues and no body, the mystery of what happened to her haunts her family still. Her two remaining sisters, Clare and Lydia, are estranged; Clare is married and rich, and Lydia is poor with a teenage daughter. When Clare’s husband, Paul, is murdered in a robbery, it is as if she has stepped into an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The authorities and their questions are more than creepy, and with a sense of foreboding, Clare starts to look harder at the details of her husband’s life. What she finds begins to terrify her, and without knowing who to turn to, she turns to her sister, Lydia, for help. The two of them must put aside their differences in order to figure out why Clare is becoming the target for some truly frightening attention.
The last Karin Slaughter book I read was the brilliant Cop Town, which is a character driven police procedural set in the 1970s. I loved the fast pacing of that particular book. Pretty Girls has an entirely different pace and structure. Pretty Girls gives you the point of view of the family surrounding Julia Scott as they ponder the mystery of her disappearance, and then, you see the rest of the story unfold through the eyes of Clare and Lydia as they work together to figure out the strangeness of Paul’s life. The tension ratchets up a little more with each chapter, and soon, you literally can’t stop turning pages.

For me, I still prefer a book like Cop Town, for its fast moving story. Pretty Girls started a little slow for me, but it will likely appeal to fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I enjoyed the dynamics between the two sisters; Ms. Slaughter always writes the most compelling female characters.

Annette G.


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Kitchen Hacks by America’s Test Kitchen

kitchen hacksIf any of you are familiar with the Cook’s Illustrated and/or Cook’s Country magazines you will be familiar with the shortcuts and tips in every issue.  America’s Test Kitchen has now put together hundreds of these for their book Kitchen Hacks.  Some tips are things I would never have thought of, some are ones I should have thought of, and some I will never use but it is still interesting to browse all the sections of the book.  One I should’ve thought of:  when pouring liquid from a pan that is to go back on your stove burner it seems like there’s always a drip that goes down the outside of the pan.  Well, instead of turning the pan right side up after pouring out the contents, continue to turn the pan (so one full rotation) until it ends up right side up.  Any drips would then be on the inside of the pan!  I cannot believe I have never thought of that.  This book is divided into sections for cleaning, food storage, reheating, substitutions, and food prep, etc.  My only beef with the book is the word “hack” because I feel like it’s one of those trendy terms right now that everyone’s using (am I the only one who gnashes her teeth when  I hear “at the end of the day” or “hashtag” or various other overused words?).  Anyway, as with just about everything America’s Test Kitchen puts out, this book is golden.

Stacy W.


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False Hearts by Laura Lam

false-heartsTila and Taema are born with one heart–conjoined twins living in a cult which bans technology after 1969. Tila, the bold one. Taema, the meek one. Both are very, very clever. When the twins discover the medical miracles of the outside world, they plot their escape. Once free, they are separated, able to live apart due to their new, mechanical hearts. Ten uneventful years pass as they enjoy life in a peaceful, technically advanced society. Then, Tila arrives at Taema’s apartment covered in blood. Accused of murder, Tila is arrested, and it is up to Taema to clear her name. Pulled into the investigation by the police, Taema poses as her sister to uncover the secrets of the city’s underground. And the secrets she finds lead back to her past, and to the cult she came from. Set in a futuristic city, this is a story of love, obsession, drugs, greed, and murder. Taema must find her courage so she can clear her sister’s name. Past and future converge as the clues Taema discovers lead her closer to the truth.

False Hearts is an unusual book. Part sci-fi, part mystery, the author weaves a complex tale. Not only do you get to know Tila and Taema well, but you also see both of their worlds: the world of the cult from their past, and the modern world in their present. Laura Lam’s novel is gripping and fresh. I look forward to seeing what she writes next.

Annette G.


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