George Dawes Green, out of the bestseller limelight for many years, has surfaced again with Ravens, a suspenseful cautionary tale that makes the oft-quoted, rarely heeded biblical admonition that â€śthe love of money is root of all evilâ€ť all too real. When Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko, two prospectless, bored guys from Ohio, on their way Key West to jump-start their lives, stop at a convenience store in Brunswick, Georgia, Shaw overhears a snippet of a cell phone call and sees a way to fortune and fame with a foolproof scam, backed by a chutzpah-laden dose of intimidation. The Boatwrights, an ordinary Brunswick family, have just won the $316 million lottery jackpot, but before the elation, let alone the reality, can set in, Shaw, the alpha male of this less-than-dynamic duo, is in their living room with an offer they canâ€™t refuseâ€”give me half your winnings or my blindly devoted, stop-at-nothing sidekick will start shooting your extended family. True or just a clever ruse? The Boatwrights donâ€™t know, but as the days go by, a strange combo of fear, greed, desire and power, plus Shawâ€™s newfound Messianic aspirations, brings them all to a dangerous place and an unsettling denouement. Narrators Robert Petkoff and Maggi-Meg Reed capture the voices and the roller-coaster emotions perfectly.
That je ne sais quoi
What is it that French women have? What gives them that allure, that easy edge in the savvy, sexy, smart department that we, in the great American melting pot, canâ€™t quite put our finger on? The answer to these conundrums are, at last, to be found in Debra Ollivierâ€™s sassy, clever, clear-eyed, informed new demythifying manual, What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind, which she reads with her own brand of joie de vivre. Ollivier, an American married to a Frenchman who has lived in Paris for over a decade, has the advantage of being a consummate insider with an outsiderâ€™s cool candor. She knows how to look at the oo-la-la stereotypes and tease out the reality, how to look at French women in the context of French cultureâ€”and she makes you think about how you think about the essential matters of the heart and mind. Whether you want to go Gallic all the way, or just add a soupĂ§on of French femininity, this is a good place to start. Have fun!
Audio of the month
Stieg Larssonâ€™s first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was an international blockbuster and his second in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire, narrated by the very talented Simon Vance, is as good, if not better. The oddest of odd couplesâ€”and the most appealing in current thriller-dillerdomâ€”who, somehow, made it through their debut appearance, are back. But Mikael Blomkvist, the middle-aged crusading journalist for Millennium magazine, and Lisbeth Salander, the fierce, fiercely self-reliant, fiercely private, fiercely antisocial, doll-sized, 20-something bundle of contradictions and complexities, and hacker extraordinaire, donâ€™t see each other face to face until the last agonizing scene. Just before an explosive exposĂ©, names and all, of sex trafficking in Sweden, is about to be published by Millennium, the investigative reporter and his research partner are brutally gunned down. The murder weapon has Salanderâ€™s fingerprints on it. Blomkvist, sure that sheâ€™s not the killer, leads his own investigation, as the police, sure she is the killer, mount a massive pursuit. Chief suspect, Salander must become chief sleuth, and as pieces of her harrowing, haunted childhood begin to surface and mesh with her new problems, the former victim must become active avenger. Itâ€™s a wild ride, totally engrossingâ€”a must for smart fans of smart thrillers.Copyright 2009 BookPage Reviews.
Larsson's (www.stieglarsson.net) second installment in his posthumously published "Millennium" trilogy follows The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008), also available from Books on Tape and Random House Audio. (The final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, will publish in May 2010.) Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return in a compelling and tense revenge story in which multiple murders precede the publication of a story exposing a nationwide sex-trafficking operation. Audie Award winner Simon Vance's (see Behind the Mike, LJ 10/15/09) nuanced performance is superlative. Highly recommended. [The Knopf hc, published in August, was a New York Times best seller.--Ed.]--Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo[Page 38]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.