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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Paperbacks from Hell with Grady Hendrix

Thursday March 29, 2018: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
LIVE 102 S First St.
Adults 21+

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #644

Sun, 07/02/2017 - 8:38pm by muffy

Michigan author Karen Dionne's hardcover debut The Marsh King's Daughter * transports her readers to the wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula where a woman must risk everything she has and use every skill she learned to hunt down the dangerous criminal who taught her everything she knew - her father.

When Helena Pelletier heard on the news that the notorious murderer/kidnapper known as "The Marsh King" has killed two guards and escaped from Marquette maximum security prison, she knew she could no longer outrun her past.

Born in a primitive cabin to a 14 year-old kidnapped victim, Helena grew up without modern conveniences or human contact except for her aloof mother and Jacob, who held them captive. Despite his brutal behavior, Helene loved him, loved their life together, governed only by the seasons - farming, fishing, tracking, and hunting. But it was also a 13 year-old Helena who facilitated their rescue and put Jacob behind bars.

Twenty years later, married with two young daughters and a thriving business, Helena faces the daunting task of explaining to her husband why their family is at risk; why the police considers her a person of interest; and even more incredulous, why she is the only one with survivalist skills to track her father in the wild.

"Echoing Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of the same title, Dionne's latest is a well-crafted, eerie, and unnerving psychological thriller." (Library Journal)

For fans of Still Missing by Chevy Stevens; Room by Emma Donoghue; and Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller.

* = starred review

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Public Event

Discuss "The Girl on the Train" Before Author Paula Hawkins Visits Ann Arbor!

Monday May 8, 2017: 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room

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2017 Michigan Notable Books

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 12:21pm by Sara W

The Library of Michigan has announced with 2017 winners of the Michigan Notable Book Award - an honor highlighting books celebrating Michigan people, places, and events.

This year's 20 award winners include Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss by Frances Stroh, a recollection of a city, an industry and a dynasty in decline, and finding a way out, Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back by Nathan Bomey, which tells the story of Detroit's financial ruin, backroom intrigue and political rebirth, and Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit by Tom Stanton, a thrilling true crime story.

The list features fiction too, such as The Charm Bracelet, Viola Shipman's story of love, family and the importance of connectivity, it covers generations of Michigan history and will resonate with anyone who has enjoyed the beauty of summers in northern Michigan, Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser, about a fearless teen facing the wasteland of addiction amid the isolation of the Upper Peninsula, and The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta, the thrilling latest entry in her legal suspense series.

There's something for everyone on this list - whether you're interested in travel, classic cars, biology, poetry, or architecture.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #624 “I've always wanted to play a spy, because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem.” ~ Benedict Cumberbatch

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 9:06pm by muffy

Ascension, the first book in a new series by Gregory Dowling is set in 18th century Venice in the weeks leading up to the Feast of the Ascension.

Alvise Marango, having grown up in London, is back in Venice, the city of his birth, alone, barely making a living as a cicerone, if not for his command of the English language. Rescuing an unsuspecting Mr. Boscombe and his tutor Shackleford from some shady characters at the gondola landing, he is hired as guide as they continue their Grand Tour.

After a series of gruesome murders, with the latest being that of Shackleford, Mr. Boscombe is arrested, along with Marango as his accomplice. With a solid alibi and his intimate knowledge of Venetian history and politics, Marango impresses the authority enough to be recruited as a spy.

From the grandest palaces to its darkest alleys, he follows the trail of a missing book that might lead him to a secret society and its sinister plan to destroy the city on its most important and spectacular holiday. That is, if he manages to stay alive.

British author Gregory Dowling moved to Venice in 1981, where he teaches American Literature at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.

Readers partial to the setting and time period might also enjoy Beverle Graves Myers' Tito Amato series (many of them available for download), featuring an opera singer who is also a spy; and Jason Goodwin's The Bellini Card that takes Investigator Yashim of the Edgar Award-winning series to Venice.

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Must-reads for Stephen King fans or newcomers

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 6:27pm by eapearce

End of Watch, Stephen King’s spectacular conclusion to the mystery trilogy that began with the Edgar Award Winning Mr. Mercedes, was released earlier this year, shooting to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. King has revealed that he’s hard at work on his next book, titled Sleeping Beauties, which will be released sometime in 2017, but for King fans who don’t want to wait that long, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of his best earlier works.

Stephen King is one of the most versatile and prolific authors alive today. Although he is best known for his horror writing—stories like Carrie, Christine, Cujo, The Shining and It—are familiar to almost everyone, even if they haven’t read the books, he’s also written general fiction, science fiction and mysteries, including some under pen names. If you’re a long-time King fan looking to reread, or a first timer delving into the often twisted world of King’s work, the following titles will have you turning pages faster than you ever thought you could!:

The idea for 11/22/63 first came to King in the 1970s, but the book wasn’t published until 2011. It tells the riveting story of Jake Epping, a Maine schoolteacher who discovers a “time bubble” that transports him back to 1958. Convinced by his friend that he must attempt to stop the JFK assassination and thus alter the history of the world for the better, Jake embarks on a five-year quest to do just that. But, time is obdurate—as King emphasizes frequently in the book—and stopping the assassination is no easy feat. Part time travel adventure, part love story, part historical fiction, part thriller, 11/22/63 is the ultimate definition of a page turner.

Needful Things, one of King’s slightly lesser-known books, is set in Castle Rock, Maine, where several of his stories take place (The poor residents of Castle Rock have been through a lot). A new shop opens up in town, selling a wide variety of curiosities. In fact, anyone can go into the store and find whatever it is that their heart desires most. But buyer beware—although nothing in the store costs money, there’s a high price to pay for “purchasing” your deepest wants.

The Stand is one of King’s most epic works—the full version clocks in at 1153 pages. The riveting story opens with a patient who escapes from a biological testing facility unknowingly carrying a strain of super-flu that ultimately wipes out 99% of the world’s population in just a few weeks. The few that remain are terrified and in need of someone to lead them. The two leaders that do emerge are polar opposites: one an elderly woman who urges the survivors to create a peaceful community in the American West and the other the mysterious “Dark Man” who has evil intentions and delights in chaos. As both leaders begin to gather power, everyone left on earth will have to choose who follow—and that decision in turn will determine the fate of all of humanity. Although reading The Stand is no easy feat, if for nothing else than the sheer length of it, as the New York Times Book Review says, it has everything: “Adventure. Romance. Prophecy. Allegory. Satire. Fantasy. Realism. Apocalypse. Great!”

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #611 Spotlight on Psychological Thrillers

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 7:07pm by muffy

An August pick on Indie Next and LibraryReads lists, and a runaway UK debut bestseller, Behind Closed Doors * by B.A. Paris is one of the most terrifying psychological thriller you are likely to come across.

London attorney Jack Angel - movie-star-handsome and successful, sweeps Grace Harrington off her feet when he offers to dance with Millie, Grace's Down-syndrome younger sister under her care. The first sign that things are not what they seem to be is when Millie tumbles down a flight of stairs on their wedding day. On their honeymoon, Jack made clear his psychopathic plans, using Millie as leverage to ensure Grace's cooperation.

"Debut-novelist Paris adroitly toggles between the recent past and the present in building the suspense of Grace’s increasingly unbearable situation, as time becomes critical and her possible solutions narrow. This is one readers won’t be able to put down." (Booklist)

All the Missing Girls * , the first adult title by YA author Megan Miranda, is about the disappearances of two young women a decade apart. It has been 10 years since Nic(olette) Farrell left Cooley Ridge after her best friend, Corinne Prescott, disappeared without a trace. Now a cryptic note from her dementia-ravaged father brings her home. Within days of her arrival, her young neighbor Annaleise Carter disappears, reawakening the decade-old investigation that focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne's boyfriend Jackson.

Told backwards from Day 15 to Day 1 since Annaleise's disappearance, Nic works to unravel the shocking truth about her friends, her family, and ultimately, herself. "Miranda convincingly conjures a haunted setting that serves as a character in its own right, but what really makes this roller-coaster so memorable is her inspired use of reverse chronology, so that each chapter steps further back in time, dramatically shifting the reader’s perspective." (Publishers Weekly)

The Trap by East German debut novelist Melanie Raabe is a fast, twisty read.

Reclusive novelist Linda Conrads hasn't left her home since she discovered her sister's body 11 years earlier. When she sees the face of the murderer on television, the same face that she saw leaving the crime scene, she goes about setting a trap by crafting her next thriller utilizing all the details of her sister's murder. But her careful plan goes horribly awry.

Film rights sold to TriStar Pictures.

* = starred review

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If you liked Stranger Things…

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 9:22am by manz

The most talked about television show of the summer has been Stranger Things, a Netflix original that premiered on July 15. If you have not watched it yet, stop reading this and go watch it immediately.

Okay, you’re back. The 8-episode sci-fi horror series hit children of the 80s in the face like a bag of nostalgia that they didn’t know they needed so badly in 2016. Created by the Duffer brothers, it’s filled with enough suspenseful fright to keep you up at night (grab a buddy to watch with), but also adorned with well intended, adorable, adventurous kids to keep you smiling.

Set in 1983 the story follows four 12 year old boys who geek out over Dungeons and Dragons and the AV club. One of them goes missing and the others try to find him once his disappearance turns suspicious. Enter a small town police chief, a frantic mother of the boy gone missing (played effortlessly by Winona Ryder), a government lab, a mysterious alien creature, and a psychokinetic 12 year old girl… and well, you’ve got quite a story.

The show references so many 70s and 80s films it almost seems unreal. It’s an homage to Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. It’s Stand By Me meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s Cujo meets The Goonies. It’s Firestarter meets E.T. It’s IT meets Cloak and Dagger. It goes so far. And the music? Yes. An 80s soundtrack paired with eerie electronic music and John Carpenter-ish synth twangs, which fills another void you didn’t know existed. The first volume of a soundtrack will be released digitally this Friday, with a CD to follow.

As a fan of what I call “little boy adventure stories,” I was hooked immediately, and the nostalgia and soundtrack sealed the deal and created many late nights of watching the show.

Here is a list of books and movies that might be of interest to you if you finished season 1 and are jonesing for season 2 to begin, and yes, the Duffer brothers have claimed there are more seasons to follow.

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New TV Shows @ AADL, Pt. 1

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 1:25pm by manz

We're thinking television because Emmy Nominations were announced today!! With SO many good TV shows out there how can we possible keep up?

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new-to-AADL series:

The Magicians, Season 1
Based on Lev Grossman's New York Times best seller, this centers on Quentin, a brilliant grad student chosen to attend Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his twenty something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real, and poses a grave danger to humanity.

The Shannara Chronicles, Season 1
The epic story of an Elvin princess, a bandit and a half-Elf tasked with stopping the end of the world. Based on the book series by Terry Brooks.

Underground, Season 1
The show follows a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation to cross 600 miles to freedom.

Moone Boy, The Complete Series
The hilarious, semi-autobiographical tale of Martin Moone, the youngest boy in a loud, large Irish family, and his imaginary friend Sean Murphy. Between Martin's unique view on life and Sean's not always helpful advice, the pair find themselves thrown into one ridiculous scheme after another.

On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was killed in Dallas and the world changed forever. But what if it could be changed back? James Franco stars as Jake Epping, an English teacher who accepts the monumental mission of trying to prevent the assassination of JFK. Based upon the bestselling novel by Stephen King.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Season 1
When heroes alone are not enough, the world needs legends. Having seen the future, traveling rogue Rip Hunter assembles a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront the unstoppable threat of the immortal Vandal Savage, a threat which not only puts the planet at stake, but all of time itself.

The Tunnel, Season 1
When a prominent French politician is found dead on the border between the UK and France, detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wassermann are sent to investigate on behalf of their respective countries. The case takes a surreal turn when a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, forcing the French and British police into an uneasy partnership.

Ash vs. Evil Dead, Season 1
Ash is the stock boy, who is an aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons; personal and literal.

Lucifer, Season 1
Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer has resigned his throne and retired to the City of Angels, where he is indulging in wine, women, and song. When a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered before his eyes, he feels something awaken deep within him, for the first time in ten billion years. Is he actually capable of feelings for a human being?

For more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #606, Capitol Crimes

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 9:15am by muffy

The Second Girl * * by former D.C. police detective David Swinson is "an auspicious, and gleefully amoral, series debut" (Kirkus Reviews), featuring retired DC cop Frank Marr - damaged, damned, and an unrepentant drug addict who works sporadically as a private investigator for defense attorney (and occasional bed-mate) Leslie Costello.

When Frank breaks into a drug den to replenish his personal stash, he discovers a teenage girl doped up and chained to the bathroom. Rather than calling the authority and trying to explain his involvement, he hands her off to Leslie, but not before he manages to draw out all the details of her kidnapping. As the news of Amanda Meyer's return to her family, another suburban family with a missing girl hires him to find her, and Frank is not above administering his own brand of justice to get the job done.

"Swinson delivers an excellent addition to the noir genre as he unveils layer after layer of his gritty protagonist. Readers of Dennis Lehane and Richard Price as well as fans of The Wire will appreciate the bleak description of inner-city Washington, DC." (Library Journal)

The Dead Don't Bleed * by David Krugler is a mystery/police procedural/spy thriller set in Washington, D.C at the waning days of WWII.

With victory in sight, the suspicion of communist spies in the capitol is palpable, spies who seem to stop at nothing to get their hands on the atomic bomb project. When Naval Intelligence officer Logan Skerrill is found dead in a back alley of the Navy Yard, Lt. Ellis Voigt is called in to investigate.

With clues of the murder pointing to Skerrill's connection to a news-clipping service suspected of Communist affiliations, Voigt goes undercover. Pursuing crosses and double-crosses, he discovers a defecting German physicist, a top secret lab in Los Alamos, and Uranium-235 which suggest something far larger than the usual spy v. spy shenanigans.

"Voigt is an engaging character.... (History professor) Krugler’s portrait of wartime Washington, particularly the rivalries within ONI and the enmity between the FBI and ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence), is thoroughly absorbing." (Booklist) For fans of David Downing and Philip Kerr

* * = 2 starred reviews
* = starred review