I've read a few books since my last book reviews. Let me give you a few reports.
First, David Baldacci departed from his usual murder mystery and wrote One Summer. It's very much like Nicholas Sparks' books. It's corny, cliched, predictable, mushy, et al - and I really liked it (oh yeah, I really like Sparks too)! It's probably the quintessential "beach read." Baldacci also wrote an against-type book quite a few years ago called Wish You Well. It's about two young children who go to live with their backwoods grandmother in West Virginia. That book is actually one of my top 100. I know people who loved it and others who didn't. Go figure. But as far as One Summer is concerned, it definitely will not go in my Chick Lit for the Macho Man column. Then again, I've never been accused of being a macho man.
I mentioned Paul McEuen in my author email post. I want to make another special mention of his new (and first) book, Spiral. It's a very good read. He's created an excellent story, and it kept me intrigued throughout. I will definitely be reading his next one.
I read Ann Patchett's latest, State of Wonder. I thought it was slow and slightly boring. USA Today reviewed it and gave it a 2.5 (out of 4). They said that the first half was slow, and the second half picked up. I actually thought both halves were slow. I didn't think the second half picked up at all. It's the first of her books (I've read the other 5 novels) that I was disappointed in (yes, Roseann, Jen, and Gail, I know that you can't end a sentence with a preposition!). If you want to read Patchett, then pick any of her other ones - Bel Canto, The Magician's Assistant, Run, The Patron Saint of Liars, or Taft.
I also read a hard-boiled detective novel (with a female protagonist) by Sara Gran. This is her fourth book but the first one with this detective. I was undecided about it for the first half but became a fan in the second half. She's got a 2-book deal (I saw her at "M" a few Sundays ago) with her current publisher, so I'll look forward to reading about this detective again. For those of you who like Raymond Chandler (that's you, Joe), who(m?) I haven't read yet, she considers him her primary influence.
And, finally, the gem of the group - The Turnaround, by George Pelecanos. I was walking through Browser Books one day a couple of months ago. I came to the mystery section, and there was an index card taped to a bookcase. One of the employees had written a fairly detailed description of, and recommendation for, Pelecanos's books. I read a couple of book jackets and decided on The Turnaround. I absolutely loved it. I would put it in the same category as Billie Letts' Coming Soon, Honk And Holler, Tom Rob Smith's Child 44, and David Benioff's City Of Thieves as far as first novels (for me) are concerned. If you need/want a book, get this one. I will be buying another of his books very soon.
That's all folks.