The Whites

whitesThe Whites
by Richard Price / Harry Brandt
2015 / 352 -pages
read by  Ari Flakes 10h 30m
rating:  B+ / literary crime

I really enjoyed Lush Life back in 2008 so I was considering reading this one anyway and then the Modern Fiction  group chose it for discussion – great!   (I have no idea why Price wants to go by Brandt although perhaps he knew it didn’t quite live up to Lush Life.

Same setting,  realistic New York cop shop,  Manhattan,  Billy Graves has been a night shift police detective for several years – he doesn’t like it but he works with a group of men he respects – not for sissies.  Billy has his own problems with an RN wife with her own past and who is scared witless for him and an aging ex-cop father with dementia who lives in their home.  He also has two small sons.  >>>MORE>>>

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The End of Vandalism

vandalThe End of Vandalism
by Tom Drury
1994 / (352 pages)
read by Lloyd James 10h 36m
rating:  9 / contemp fiction

I found it!   A book in which many of the characters are a part of the setting  – think  “characters as setting”  lol

Taking place in and near the very small agricultural  town of  Grafton in Grouse County, Iowa. It’s a fictional town.  The main story concerns the sheriff, Dan Norman and a bit of his job and his love for and marriage to Louise who works as a photographer.   Louise’s  ex-husband,  Tiny,  also figures fairly large in the narrative. >>>>MORE>>>> 

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The Information

informationThe Information
by Martin Amis
1996 / 372 pages
rating:   5 0ut of 10 / contemp lit

This is the third book in what is generally known as TheLondon Trilogy, with the books  Money and London Fields preceding it. They’re not connected by story-line, only by the fact they all take place in contemporary London and the themes,  tone and character “types” are essentially the same.   I’ve not read either of the other two.

In the book – a middle-aged writer named Richard Tull  is very, very jealous of his fabulously successful long-term friend Gwyn Barry.  Gwen Barry of the best-selling novels and drop-dead gorgeous wife.  Richard is so jealous he becomes obsessed with the idea of messing up Gwyn’s life in some way.   And he seeks “information” to either write up himself in one of his articles or reviews,  or to leak to the bottom-feeding press.  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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Encounters at the Heart of the World

encountersEncounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People
by Elizabeth A. Fenn
2014 /  480 pages
rating – 8 / US history (Indian)
(self-select)

Interesting to me because of the North Dakota connection and I’ve also read a fair amount about the Indians of North America since college days (many moons ago).  .

This history begins with the author’s personal travels in central North Dakota in the early 21st century.  Then she gets into the geography and natural progression of their migration to the North Dakota area, their myths, housing, hunting, agriculture and wars.   Then come the effects of the European incursion starting with  a guy named La Vérendrye and his sons and a few other lone traders to trade with other native groups for horses and guns.   >>>>MORE>>>>

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

UnknownWhere’d You Go, Bernadette?
by Maria Semple
2013 / 352 pages
read by Kathleen Wiltholte 9h 39m
rating:  8 / contemp fiction – humorous

This is a very funny, hilarious (?),  and generally good-natured satire of contemporary society with emphasis on mental issues and support groups,  the nouveau riche, the tech industry and tech in general,  more – .  Semple’s  brush is broad.

Bernadette Fox is the brilliant but very strange wife of Elgin Branch, a Microsoft executive, and the mother to Bee , their precocious 14-year old student at a private school.  The very upper-middle class family now lives in Seattle,  but don’t  really “fit” with the attitudes of old Seattle people she meets through Bee’s school. Besides,  Bernadette doesn’t really get along with other people except her husband.  She is also a highly regarded architect who is in hiding from everyone except her husband and daughter.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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Invasion of Privacy

sutherlandInvasion of Privacy
by Ian Sutherland
2014/ 472 pages
read by Matthew Lloyd Davies 16h 59m
rating: A + / cyber-crime

A cellist is the victim of a very violent, premeditated murder. Individual webcams are highjacked to provide  entertainment and information.  Hackers are needed to solve all this madness.

Detective Jenny Price and her partners work on the murder in pretty much traditional ways while Brody Taylor,  a computer whiz, takes on a challenge from an online hacker group and tries to find his way through the security surrounding a new site –  Flex-base? He finds a web-cam site called “Somebody’s Watching You”   (SWY) and a show called  “The Au Pair Affair.”    The challenge has been set up by a hacker called Crooner 42 in order to ruin Brody who is known as Fingle via another hacker named Mad the Hatter.   >>>>MORE>>>> 

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No Show

noshowNo Show
by Simon Wood
2013 / 298 pages
read by Luke Daniels 8h 20m
rating B  /   crime

First,  the narrator is difficult to get used to – he readinf of Terry Sheffield, the protagonist, is fine,  but when other characters enter the picture they sound just this side Warner Brothers  – cartoons.  I got used to it and the whole thing turned out quite nicely but …

Terry Sheffield has given everything in England up for the love of his life,  Sarah Moore.   After they marry months go by before he is finally able to move to California to be with her – only to find she’s missing.  She’s not at the airport,  not at their new house,  not at her job.  As a newcomer to the whole country he has some issues but he does have a job – that’s a start.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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