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August 5, 2010 Edition

Naked Moon, by Domenic Stansberry

When Dante Mancuso left the secretive business known as the company several years ago, he took enough incriminating information with him to ensure heíd have a life outside. Heís been working as a private eye ever since, careful to stay away from company business and building a real life for himself. But now thereís that familiar voice on the phone, and the sudden thought that he hadnít walked his girlfriend home, and the memory of his cousinís recent brutal death. A company address book has fallen into the wrong hands and it is worth Danteís life, and that of his girlfriend, to get it back. Part hardboiled detective fiction, part brutal thriller set in San Franciscoís North Beach.

Picara, by Pat MacEnulty

Eli was a year old when she was rescued from her alcoholic mother by her grandmother. For thirteen years, her life with Mattie has been punctuated by occasional visits from her father, but not a word from her mother. And now, at fourteen, Eliís world is changing again, this time for the worse. Mattie is terminally ill with something unspoken. Eliís father is tempting fate by turning into a hippie and demonstrating against the war. Blacks in Eliís hometown of Augusta are marching in the streets and getting shot. And then the worst happens: Mattie dies and Miz Johnny, their housekeeper, retires. Eliís not ready to be one big happy family with her fatherís wife and kids, so when she hears of a friend whoís planning to escape the draft by going to Canada, she decides to go along. This will give readers a taste of life in the 1970s with all its drugs, experimentation, protests, racial integration, and draft worries.

God Ainít Through Yet, by Mary Monroe

Annette Goode Davis is trying to recover her life after a disastrous affair with a con man. Sheís grateful to her husband, Pee Wee, for taking her back, and is doing everything she can to make things up to him, but it seems like his heart isnít in the marriage any more. Annetteís not the only one with problems; her best friend Rhodaís daughter and new husband have moved back home and Jade is, even in her doting motherís eyes, a snake. But nothing can prepare Annette for the moment her husband moves out of their home and in with his new girlfriend Ė a woman Annette had recommended he hire. Annette has survived so much in her life: can she make it through all this and her daughterís teen years, too?

The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi

Set hundreds of years in the future, calories (both food and energy) have become sought-after commodities as a result of a series of devastating bio-engineered plagues and the collapse of petroleum. Anderson Lake is a Westerner working as an undercover calorie scout, looking for safe new foods in Thailand, where languages and cultures swirl around him. Emiko is a New Person, manufactured for a Japanese businessman, then abandoned to a Thai pimp. Hock Seng is Andersonís assistant at the factory and a Chinese survivor of the Malayan Incident. The lives of the three combine in unexpected ways, leading to fractured families and civil war. Bacigalupi has created a thrillingly dark fully fleshed-out world populated with characters whose cultures and personalities are so well-defined that itís hard to believe theyíre not still living and breathing on the other side of the world when the story ends.

Procession of the Dead, by Darren Shan

This dark urban fantasy grips readers from the first page as ambitious young Capac Raimi arrives in the City to become his gangster uncleís heir. He embraces his new life, puzzled only in passing by his inability to remember anything of his past, and throws himself into learning the ins and outs of the City. One thing he learns early: donít cross The Cardinal, who, they say, is joined to the City at the soul. When a dream throws Capac into The Cardinalís path, heís offered a life-changing job, but at a high price. Riddled with mystery, interwoven with the months of the Incan calendar, and steeped in deception and intrigue, this is a wonderful start to The City trilogy.

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