In 1942 Enrico Fermi and a team of scientists were working on a top secret project called the Manhattan Project. This was the research on developing the atomic bomb done at Stagg Field, the University of Chicago football stadium. The Accidental Agent by Andrew Rosenheim tells the story of a fictional FBI agent who is asked to determine whether or not a Nazi has managed to infiltrate the research group. Many of the scientists in the group were European immigrants and some of their credentials had been difficult to verify. Is it possible that one of them had been recruited as a spy? Jimmy Nessheim had asked for an extended leave from the FBI to attend law school at the University of Chicago. Since he is in the right place and has the perfect cover story, he is asked by his superiors to resume his Special Agent status to observe the scientists’ work. The novel is filled with shadowy characters, including two ex-girlfriends and thugs from his past. As Jimmy tries to understand just how far the Manhattan Project is progressing and if all the scientists involved are who they say they are, all sorts of complications emerge. The book has interesting and understandable details about the nuclear experiment. It also has the noir feel of 1940’s spycraft.
The central character in King of Fear by Drew Chapman is Garrett Reilly, a bond trader who had worked for the government on a secret project which made use of his unique ability to work with numbers. He is no longer working for the government and is mourning the death of his mentor who gave him his position on Wall Street. When a woman assassinated the president of the New York City Federal Bank, she claimed she had been directed by Reilly to do the shooting. This is the beginning of an effort to destroy the American economy. With every federal agent in the country searching for Reilly, he managed to reassemble his team to find out who is trying to destroy America and why. This is a very exciting novel that describes the ways that determined hackers can destroy a nation’s infrastructure. The people on Reilly’s team all have interesting character defects, several that make them effective at anti-terrorism. All sorts of tricky ways to get information are revealed.
What if you only had a week to understand the secrets of the past that have left your mother with severe depression and yourself prone to panic attacks? A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore is the story of two young women caught up in the glamour and tragedy of Paris. Kitty Travers left England in 1937 to study piano in Paris. In 1961 her daughter, Fay Knox is playing the violin as part of a week-long symphonic tour of Paris. Fay remembered a trip to Paris as a schoolchild when she had experienced what felt like flashbacks even though her mother told her that she had never been to France. Just before Fay left, her mother told her to talk to Mother Superior Marie at St. Cecelia. The novel alternates between Kitty and Fay as they each fall in love in the romantic city. The book portrays the particular attractions of Paris during each era. The dangers of wartime are a part of the story that Fay needs to understand so she can help her mother heal.
Readers are always looking for a thriller as intriguing as Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. A new book that comes close to these with plot twists is The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. Lo Blacklock is employed by a travel magazine in England and has been feeling that she is going nowhere with her career. Her supervisor is pregnant and not feeling that she can tolerate a cruise, so this is Lo’s big break. The cruise will be the maiden voyage of a luxury yacht. There are only ten cabins on the boat and everything is extremely luxurious. The owner, who is a sort of Richard Branson figure, is on board, along with his wife who is recovering from chemotherapy. Lo is a woman who has panic attacks and a bit of a drinking problem. She hopes to excel with a feature article describing the cruise through Scandinavian waters. She is having an experience far beyond an ordinary person’s financial means. Her reputation follows her when she drinks a little too much on the first night and then insists that she thinks she saw a woman fall off the ship. She is also positive that she saw a young woman in Cabin 10, although staff and other passengers insist that no one like that was on the boat. The protagonist deals with her own personal demons as she must cope with very frightening situations. See how soon you can figure out what may have happened and why.
If you read A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin you will never think about the Cinderella story the same way again. The novel could be defined as a fantasy or alternate history. An unspecified war is going on in an undefined country, so a nine year old boy is sent to spend the summer with his grandmother at a small seaside town. At the beginning of the summer an enemy plane is shot down, falling into the ocean. The boy, who is nameless all through the book, is taken by his grandmother into the “Grove of Monsters”, a supposedly haunted wood behind her cottage. The mysterious Mr. Girandole summoned them to help him with something unusual that had happened in the wood. Girandole is the only character who is given a full name. He proves to be a character with unusual talents. The young boy is driven to solve the mystery of the Grove of Monsters. This is a fantasy filled with very real family members with charming relationships. The villains and the nosy neighbors are also very real characters. If you don’t usually read fantasy novels, this might be one to try.
The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini is satisfyingly compiled and creatively pictured. The book demonstrates exactly how to select, cut and use vegetables you may not even have been able to name as you see them freshly arrayed in your local grocery or farmers market.
Why not make this the year to try some new vegetables? I have never tried celery root, tomatillos and wouldn’t know what to do with sunchokes, but the author shows you how to prepare these and many more. Plus she includes recipes that look delicious.
After reading this book you will be able to identify types of lettuce, mushrooms (she names fourteen types), and herbs you find in the grocery store. You may discover a new favorite that you have deprived yourself of for years just because you didn’t know what it was or how to prepare it. An excellent resource, this book works well for anyone, especially for those who don’t have time to watch food shows on television.
If there’s a common complaint about the Dewitt District Library, it’s that bestseller books and in-demand DVDs can be hard to come by. Although this situation isn’t unique to DeWitt, the library has launched a “Lucky Day” collection to help solve the problem.
Our Lucky Day cart has a collection of the most popular, current, in-demand books and DVDs. The Lucky Day collection is filled with titles which currently have a long holds list. The collection was developed in hopes library users would be surprised by their “luck” in finding these titles on the shelf when they walk through the door, no waiting required.
Lucky Day items cannot be renewed or placed on hold, and the checkout period is only one week instead of the standard three. The overdue fines are $0.50 per day for Lucky Day materials. The library staff hopes these rules will help to ensure a quick turn over for the Lucky Day collection. Lucky Day items are displayed on a special green library cart near the check out desk. Come check them out, it might just be your lucky day!