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March 13, 2005 Edition
No one is quite who they seem in this twisted and twisty mystery: not beautiful (and maybe dead) Laura, not her boyfriend Scott (who might be the innocent real estate broker he seems), not even Reggie, the police officer who taught Laura martial arts and whose interest in investigating the woman’s arms that have washed up on the beach goes beyond the scope of his job. Do the arms belong to Laura? Or is she really visiting relatives back East after declining Scott’s marriage proposal? Reggie’s obsessive investigation puts his job and marriage at risk before the mystery is solved.
The town of Ebb, true to its name, is slipping away, visited by sickness and tornados, and abandoned by high school graduates who move away and never look back. As the town dwindles, Wilma Porter, the owner of the only B&B in Ebb, is surprised to find that she has a new guest, a traveling salesman. Who’s going to buy anything in Ebb? But Vernon L. Moore is probably not precisely a salesman, and his wares are more like second chances and hope than the games of chance he claims to sell. And by the time he leaves Ebb, it has changed into a town of good will and optimism in this humorous and spiritual novel.
Returning from an Anonymous Writers’ Convention in Istanbul, ghostwriter Jose Costa makes an unplanned stop in Budapest, where he first hears the Hungarian language and is enchanted. Back home in Brazil, restless and dreaming of Hungary, he abruptly pulls up stakes, leaving his wife and young son for Budapest, where he meets Kriska, who tutors him with sadistic creativity in the language. Black humor abounds: when Jose returns to Brazil, he finds his wife has left him for the author of a book he’s ghostwritten. Metatext meets ghostwriter meets real life – you’ll be left shaking your head over this brisk and enjoyable read.
When Lena gets an unexpected phone call from Ireland, where her adopted daughter Mary was born, she leaps in with both feet to try to track down Mary’s birthparents. An adoptee herself, Lena knows firsthand what it is like to have a hole in her life, but she is unprepared for the revelations that her investigations bring. Her Catholic faith is challenged, as is her sense of morality and family, before she finally learns the truth in this suspenseful and moving debut novel.
At the age of six, Vincent Spinetti is enrolled in a special school, the New Renaissance, which specializes in the creative arts. By seven, he is declared a genius and singled out for special mentoring, and by the time he’s a young adult, he’s a wealthy young man. All thanks to his mentor, Harlan, a man who is under contract to continually mess up Vincent’s life, stirring the pot every time things start looking up, under the theory that the best art comes from pain. But torturing Vincent tortures Harlan, too, and in the end, only the artist ends up happy.
In 1916, a group of men which included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone, took a vacation, wandering through the countryside, camping and having a “men’s outing.” But the actions of one of the group leads to the creation of a trust fund financed by the captains of industry. In 2003, when Alice Saperstone dies, her grieving children are surprised to find that she has left them quite an inheritance: valuable GE stock that was purchased in the early 1900s. As Claire, Joanna, and David come to terms with the money and the means of its arrival in the siblings’ lives, they work to unravel the unknown story that is their legacy.
This complex and brooding novel tells of an aging soldier’s search for peace. Gabriel Guttman is a Korean War veteran haunted by his participation in a My Lai-like massacre, and his years spent battling his memories have left him with large portions of his memory wiped out. After making his way back to the Montana ranch on which he grew up, he meets up with the woman he brought back from Korea. Gradually, as he lives with the woman and her daughter, his flashbacks of the war merge with his current life, and he begins to heal.