Category Archives: Drama

FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE

Title:  Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Author:  Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogota, but the threats of kidnapping, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.

When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to befriend the aloof teenager.  But Petrona’s mysterious behavior conceals a powerful yearning.  She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the riptide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction.  As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amid the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.

Inspired by the author’s own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree portrays two very different but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories.  In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament fo the impossible choices women and girls are often forced to make in the face of violence and to the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.

WHISTLE IN THE DARK

Title:  Whistle in the Dark

Author:  Emma Healey

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country.

Lana won’t tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed.  But Jen can[t leave it alone.  Lana is distant, hostile, and acting strangely; she stops going to school and always sleeps with the light on.

Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days.  Lana seems equally sure she’ll never speak of it.  Terrified of losing her all over again,  Jen has to do something.  But jhow do you rescue someone who has already been found?

Asking how well you can know even those closest to you, Whistle in the Dark is masterfully drawn, thought-provoking, and psychologically complex tale that affirms Emma Healey’s status as a writer at the top of her game.

 

 

COME SUNDOWN

Title:  Come Sundown

Author:  Nora Roberts

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers who want to ride horses in the apple-crisp air or couples holding weddings under the wide-open sky.  A little more than thirty thousand acres, it is home to four generations–and behind the scenes, Bodine Longbow does all she can to keep things running with the help of her siblings, the staff, and the new hire, Cullen Skinner.

But not far away, an aunt Bodine has never met lives in her own twisted version of a family, one no one knows about, one she never chose.  Years ago, Alice was a rebellious eighteen-year-old who ran off looking for freedom and adventure.  Now she cowers in fear, rarely seeing the sunlight, her mind shattered by a man who views her–and her offspring–as his rightful property.  The Longbows don’t talk about Alice anymore.  Many quietly presume that she is long dead.

Then a young bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow.  It’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them, and it will not be the only murder to unnerve this peaceful town.  But the greatest shock is yet to come when Alice returns–and the threat that follows in her wake will test the bonds that hold Bodine to this place and these people, and thrust her into a darkness she could never have imagined.

THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY

Title: The Kremlin Conspiracy

Author: Joel C. Rosenberg

SEPTEMBER 1999
A series of apartment bombings in Moscow Shock the world. The Russian government immediately blames Chechen terrorist, and Oleg Kraskin–a sharp young lawyer in love with the president’s daughter–has no reason to doubt it. Yet when he joins the First Family of Russia, and the president’s personal staff, he has no idea how radically the bombings will one alter the course of world events. Or what role he himself will play.

SEPTEMBER 2001
Just after the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are attacked, Marcus Ryker enlists in the Marines and is scent to Afghanistan to defend his country. In time, he joins the United States Secret Service and works his way up to the elite Presidential Protection Detail. It’s his dream job, until a tragic accident causes him to rethink his priorities.

Neither Marcus nor Oleg is aware of just how much they themselves will change history when their paths cross.

Russia’s president is rising czar determined to restore his country to her former greatness–and he will stop at nothing to do so. Even risk nuclear war.

Now Marcus has to make the most important decision of his life. Would it ever he right to assassinate a single leader if it could prevent a genocide? If it is, then everything he’s learned to protect our president, he’ll need to take out theirs.

CHICAGO

Title: Chicago

Author: David Mamet

From His perch at the Chicago Tribune, Mike Hodge–scarred veteran of the Great War–had gotten to know the underbelly of the metropolis like few others, Politicians, gangsters, prostitutes, bootleggers, opium addicts, jazz musicians, and con artists–he’d observed them all. So perhaps he should have known better when he fell for Annie Walsh, whose family was on preferred terms with those who preferred the back alley.

Then again, maybe the man who killed Annie Walsh should have known better than to trifle with Mike Hodge.

A big-shouldered, big-trouble thriller set in a mobbed-up 1920s Windy City, Chicago is the first novel in more than two decades from David Mamet, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the Untouchables and Wag the Dog and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross. Across the canvas of a city peopled by the corrupt, the cynical, and the deceived, Mamet crafts a wicked and tough saga of retribution and double=cross. Mixing some of hid most brilliant fictional creations with actual figures of the era (among them Al Capone), he explores–as no other writer can–questions of honor, deceit, devotion, and revenge.

Set in his hometown, Chicago is the book that David Mamet has been building up to for his whole career. From its opening fusillade to its astonishing conclusion, Chicago is that rarest of literary creations: a book that combines spectacular elegance of craft with a kinetic wallop as fierce as the February wind gusting off Lake Michigan.

THE ARMAGEDDON FILE

Title: The Armageddon File

Author: Stephen Coonts

Was the last election stolen?

And if so–who did the stealing–and why?

The answer lies in the Cryptic “Armageddon File.”

But that file is deadly.

National bestselling author Stephen Coonts is a master thriller writer–The flight of the Intruder, Liberty’s Last Stand–at the top of his game in The Armageddon File, a story ripped from the nation’s headlines, CIA Director Jake Grafton and CIA Agent Tommy Carmellin race to discover who might have attempted–or succeeded– to steal the last presidential election.

A string of dead bodies, rigged voting machines, and a conspiracy that seems to lead in divergent directions–from the uppermost reaches of the FBI to foreign powers, from high finance to organized crime–are only part of this gripping story of cross and double-cross that leads to a shattering climax.

A CASUALTY OF WAR

Title: A Casualty of War

Author: Charles Todd

Though the Great War is nearing its end–Armentieres is back in Allied hands, Cambrai has fallen to the Canadians, Turkey is collapsing, and the Germans are on the retreat–the fighting rages on. Like the battered and weary soldiers she tends, Bess Crawford yearns for an end to the bloodshed taking a devastating toll on everyone, including her fellow doctors and nurses.

Waiting for her transport north, Bess meets Captain Alan Travis, and Englishman whose branch of the family made its fortune on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Their brief, pleasant conversation is a respite from the carnage ahead as they return to duty.

Then, at the beginning of November, Bess unexpectedly encounters Captain Travis again. Brought into her forward aid station bloodied and disoriented from a head wound, the Captain insists that the man who shot him was an English officer–a distant cousin named James Travis–and asks for Bess’s help finding him. Bess’s inquires about Lieutenant Travis turn up nothing, forcing her to believe that a concussion must have clouded the wounded man’s mind.

Days later, fate brings her and the Captain together a third time when he is severely wounded. Again Captain Travis accuses James of shooting him, denouncing him as a killer. But Bess learns that James couldn’t possibly have shot his cousin–which brings Alan Travis’s sanity into question. Bess has seen the impact of war on too many exhausted men whose grasp of reality slipped into nightmare. The hospital is dealing with an angry, tormented patient. Yet Bess remembers an able, clearheaded officer.

As the war comes to a bloody end, Bess is given leave, and in an English clinic for brain injuries, she discovers a suicidal Captain Travis strapped to his bed. Horrified by his condition, she and Sergeant Major Simon Brandon travel to James Travis’s home in Suffolk to learn more about the baffling relationship between these two cousins. Her search for the truth about Alan Travis will lead this smart, capable, and compassionate young women into unexpected danger, and bring her face-to-face with the visible and invisible wounds of war that not even the much-longed-for peace can heal.

THE LYING GAME

Title: The lying Game

Author: Ruth Wre

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal millage of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister.

The next morning three women in and around London–Fatima, Thea, and Isa–receive the text they had always hoped would never come from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both follow boarders and faculty. But their little game had consequences, and as the four converge in present-day Salten, they realize their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped.

Armospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill to keep you wrong-footed, The Lying Game is told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, lending itself to becoming another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

ARMISTICE

Title: Armistice – The Hot War

Author: Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove is the master of vivid and visionary alternate history. In this, the final book of the blistering trilogy the Hot War, old hatreds and new chances for revenge are unleashed on an already devastated world-as the cold War becomes a roaring inferno.

In 1952 American cities lid in ruins. President Harry Truman, in office since 1945, presides over a makeshift government in Philadelphia, suffering his own personal loss and fearing for the future of democracy in the sake of Hitler’s reign, Germany and America have become allies, and Stalin’s vise hold on power in the USSR persists. Unwilling to trust the Soviet tyrant, Truman launches a long-planned nuclear strike on the city of Omsk–killing Stalin and plunging the Red Army into leaderless, destructive anarchy. Meanwhile, The Baltic states careen toward rebellion, and Poland is seized by rebels bred on war. In a world awash with victims turned victors, refuges, and killers, has Truman struck a blow for peace or fueled more chaos?

As these staggering events unfold, the lives of men and women across battle lines, ethnicities, and religions play out around the globe. In Los Angeles, an extended Jewish family builds a future, while the foul smell of a refugee camp in Santa Monica blows in on the ocean breeze. In Korea, a U.S. fighter struggles to bring his Korean interpreter stateside as a full American. In Siberia, two German women fight for their survival in a guiag–and begin a strange, harrowing journey home.

From the terrifying global chess match between superpowers to the strength of individual human conscience, Armistice captures a world that’s been split to its core by the violence only mankind can create. Through the thunder of battle, the clashes of armies, and the whispers of lovers, how humanity will be rebuilt, and who will do it, are the questions that resound in this marvelous work of imagination and history.

THE REASON YOU’RE ALIVE

Title: The Reason You’re Alive

Author: Matthew Quick

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard–that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It may be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It may also help him to finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and good-hearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, wildly honest David Granger, Mathew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful vies of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, Davie is a complex, wounded, Honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.