Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (2011)
This is simply a terrific book. I couldn’t put it down, and basically read it cover-to-cover in one sitting. Steve Hamilton, author of the Edgar award-winning Alex McKnight series, has created a uniquely compelling protagonist in The Lock Artist. Traumatized at the age of eight, Mike hasn’t spoken a word in ten years. As the result of a robbery at his uncle’s liquor store, Mike discovers by chance that he has a talent for lock-picking. Alternating between different time periods, we follow Mike’s trajectory as his talent draws him inexorably into a series of events he feels powerless to escape. Hamilton gradually reveals the details of Mike’s childhood trauma and how they illuminate everything that follows. A gripping suspense story, a psychological thriller, and a love story you won’t soon forget. One of the best books of 2011, a must-read.
Also available as an e-book.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (2011)
In this picaresque Western fable, the notorious Sisters brothers, Eli and Charlie, are sent to hunt down an inventor named Hermann Kermit Warm for allegedly stealing from their boss, the fearsome Commodore. Fans of historical accuracy may proceed with caution, but anyone seeking a ripping yarn that swings between feats of deadpan linguistic poetry and casually savage violence will enjoy this tremendously. Reminiscent in tone of both Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (admittedly my favorite film) and HBO’s Deadwood (admittedly my favorite television series), The Sisters Brothers combines dark comedy, bursts of action, and a sense of melancholy that pursues the brothers across the Old West. Highly recommended.
Also available in large print.
The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston (2010)
Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, or Bess as she’s known by those in her village, suffers the loss of her father, sister and brother only to watch helplessly as her mother is accused of witchcraft. Before she’s hanged, her mother extracts a promise from Bess: if she is ever in danger, she must seek help from the Warlock Gideon Masters and his Book of Shadows. Bess is forced to keep her promise, and though at first seduced by the power Gideon unleashes in her and her growing attraction to him, she is forced to flee when she realizes his true nature. The ritual Gideon performed on Bess has made her immortal, and Gideon pursues her through time to the present, seeking to collect on his investment. Fantasy isn’t always my cup of tea (though I’m following Game of Thrones on HBO and loved the first book in the series); The Witch’s Daughter is so vividly written and features such a charismatic heroine that I found it irresistible. Definitely recommended.
B at the Main