Posts Tagged ‘Police’

Best New Books of 2014: Sarah K’s Picks

December 5, 2014

Identity and struggle are the themes of five of my favorite books from 2014. How does adversity shape who we are? How much do we control our identities and how much are we shaped by external forces? I invite you to check out these following titles

An Untamed StateAn Untamed State by Roxane Gay
Kidnapped by an armed street gang in Haiti, Mireille trusts her wealthy father to pay ransom to return her to her fairy tale existence with her husband and baby. When Mireille’s father refuses to capitulate to her captors, she must find the strength to endure days of torment while trying to maintain a connection to the woman she was. Gay’s frank treatment of rape and its aftermath with clean understated writing adds to the intensity of this book.

On the RunOn the Run by Alice Goffman
As an undergraduate, Alice Goffman moved into a neighborhood in Philadelphia and began taking field notes as she fully immersed herself in the lives of the families living there. The War on Drugs had created a culture of constant police surveillance of the lives of the residents there, especially among the young men, many of whom were in some sort of entanglement with the legal system. Goffman witnessed arrests, escapes from the police and how police use employment and familial relationships as leverage against suspects. Goffman has written an insightful and sobering critique of the policing of poor neighborhoods and the human toll that it takes on the individuals living there.

The Empathy ExamsThe Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
From the confinement of illness to the traps of poverty and prison, Leslie Jamison’s clear-eyed and far-ranging essays explore the intersection between empathy and pain. If you only have time for one essay, read “Fog Count,” which begins with a prison visit, but then expands to include the larger picture of the prison-industrial complex, strip mining and the economy of West Virginia.  Her curiosity about the human condition brings into sharp focus the capacity and limitations of compassion. She deftly weaves personal experience with the universal to create a collection that rivals early Joan Didion.

The Other LanguageThe Other Language by Francesca Marciano
A woman writes about the ideal Italy while homesick in New York. Another seeks out an old companion on an isolated island in the Indian Ocean; while a third buys a Chanel gown on a frivolous whim. In this collection of nine stories, Marciano travels across countries and cultures with a knack for capturing settings and tone. She vividly captures the lives of her characters at moments of transformation with lovely and fluid storytelling that keeps the pages turning.

How to Build a GirlHow to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
Eager to escape her lackluster existence as a working-class teenager in the Midlands of England, and her unfortunate Scooby-Doo impersonation on local television, Johanna Morrigan decides to reinvent herself as Dolly Wilde, music journalist. After gaining the attention of a London-based music magazine, Johanna/Dolly embarks on a series of professional and sexual misadventures as she tries to figure out how to build her new life. If you were a teenager in the early 1990s, or enjoy bold raucous humor, chances are you will love this book as much as I did.

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2013: Stephen B’s Picks

December 18, 2013

My name is Stephen Bank and I have been working in Wake County Public Libraries for over 12 years. My favorite genre is mysteries, but I also like Historical Nonfiction and sometimes human interest stories as you will see from the following 5 short blogs.

Snow in August by Pete Hamill
Having been raised in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in New York City, I have found no one who captures the essence of the Big City like Hamill. This touching story takes place in Brooklyn just after WWII, where an extraordinary relationship develops between 11 year old Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch, a Polish refugee. Michael’s Dad was killed in the war and he and his Mom are just surviving. The relationship between Michael and the Rabbi teaches us how all people can live together in all types of circumstances.   Read my full-length post here.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
It’s 1890 and Chicago politicians will do anything to bring the next World’s Fair to their city. As various factions battle against other sections of the United States for the Fair, something very diabolical is going on. Chicago wins the rights to the World’s Fair and now there will be the infighting from those factions who want to profit from producing the Fair. There is also a serial killer loose, but at first no one realizes that the dead women have not died of natural causes! We are really dealing with the two stories, the Fair and the murders.  Larson’s unbelievable research makes you feel like you are there, living in Chicago. And this is a true story!  Read my full-length post here.

The  Informationist  by Taylor Stevens
In this book you will meet one of fiction’s most interesting leading protagonists, Vanessa “Michael” Munroe.  Abandoned in darkest Africa by her missionary parents as a teenager, Vanessa has to learn every possible survival skill…which she does. As an adult, she is self-sufficient and capable of anything, including killing to save herself and her clients. She is not evil and she hires herself out to secure information for clients.  She is fascinating and if you become “hooked” as I did you will seek out Stevens’ two successive novels with ‘Michael’ as the main heroine. If you do some research on author Stevens and her background, it may become clearer to you how she arrived at this talent and the development of ‘ Michael ‘ as a leading character!  Read another review here.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
This was a new discovery for me. This book is the first in a series of books where our main protagonist is Kate Burkholder, the chief of police of Painters Mill, Ohio. I always thought that the main Amish community was in Pennsylvania but there is a strong Amish community in Ohio. The Amish and English residents have lived besides each other for years but not entirely peacefully! Although they were peaceful, there always was some resentment of the Amish.  Kate was brought up in the Amish community but a series of brutal murders convinced her that she didn’t belong there.  Despite that, she returned to Painter’s Mill after some big city training to be the new Police Chief. A new murder and Kate is convinced she must find the culprit before there is another murder. Castillo has followed this initial story with several other books with Burkholder as her leading protagonist. Not only is this a solid read but you will learn some things about the Amish communities.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
This is the different selection, one I would not ordinarily select but it was suggested by a fellow librarian I trust. Samuel Lake is preacher, a good one but one who has alienated his parish enough that they don’t renew his contract. Now it is time for Samuel and his wife, Willadee and their three children to return to her family’s farm in south Arkansas and the annual reunion of the Moses’ family. And that is the catch…..family!  You will fall in love with Samuel and Willadee’s precocious eleven year old daughter, Swan. And as you get to meet and know the rest of the Moses clan, you will see the good and the bad. If you have an extended family as I do, you will understand their trials and tribulations.  Samuel has to face his own demons … why can’t he hold on to a congregation? Plus there certainly are members of the Moses’ clan that will present their own challenges. This book will touch your heart, I promise.

Storm Prey by John Sandford

June 20, 2013

Storm PreyWeather Karkinnen, Lucas Davenport’s wife and  a surgeon is headed for her hospital to assist in the tricky operation of separating twins attached at the base of the skull. At the same time a gang of thieves, with inside help, is about to break into the pharmacy of Weather’s hospital. As she goes in, she notices a couple of men running away from the hospital. Little does she realize that she has had a glimpse of the robbers. And little does she know that one of the pharmacists was so badly injured that he dies later that morning. And so starts John Sandford’s  Storm Prey.

The robbers (with inside help) realize that they may have had a witness to their robbery and that the witness has to be eliminated. Because Weather has been so engrossed with the surgery it takes her some time to realize that she could be in danger. Two things occur almost at the same time: she alerts Lucas who realizes she is in grave danger, and an attempt is made on her life by a killer on a motorcycle. Weather spots the motorcycle and even aggressively goes after the man, but he eludes her. Now it is up to Lucas and his pals at the BCA to get the robbers and the killer before another attack is made on his wife.

The bodies are piling up but Weather is still in danger. I don’t think there is anyone better at getting your heart racing and your mind engaged than John Sandford.

[Editor’s Note: this is #20 in John Sandford’s ‘Prey’ series, the first is Rules of Prey.]

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

The Intercept by Dick Wolf

June 12, 2013

Jeremy Fisk is a detective in the NYPD, on special assignment with the Joint Terrorism Task Force or JTTF. JTTF is a joint operation consisting of most of the government agencies involved in foiling plots against the United States. It has been live since 09/11 and is concentrated in NYC because everyone thinks NYC is Al-Queda’s main target. And this is how we are introduced to Jeremy Fisk in Dick Wolf’s literary debut, The Intercept. Many of you are familiar with Wolf as the creator of all the ‘Law & Order‘ programs on TV.

Initially, Jeremy and the task force stop a plot by one terrorist to set off a bomb in a NY subway. On his team is Krina Gersten, also a NYC police officer with some special skills that Fisk feels will aid his team. It is now several years later and events are breaking fast because of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Bin Laden has been killed and the various agencies are trying to examine all the data that may have been hidden in his residence. Some of the computer experts discover what may be messages hidden in innocent looking pictures. The science of finding these messages is called Steganography. Now it becomes a race to decipher the hidden messages and perhaps prevent a new and larger attack.

An event aboard a SAS jet bound for NYC sets the team in motion. A single terrorist is foiled in his attempt to bring down the jet. The passengers and stewardess who helped stop the terrorist are being treated as celebrities in NYC, as well they should be. However, something doesn’t sit right with Fisk. The foiled incident was too easy and Fisk is sure that another passenger on the plane has bigger plans for NYC. He convinces the team that they must locate another passenger who has disappeared off the ‘grid.’

This fast paced novel created out of today’s headlines will keep your attention. Please enjoy The Intercept by Dick Wolf.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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