Fr0m Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Shari Shattuck
Title: Invisible Ellen
Have you ever wanted to be invisible? Have you ever wanted to slide along a wall and disappear into it or through the floorboards, perhaps, when someone is reading you the riot act? In Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck the principal character, Ellen, makes herself as invisible as possible. She observes the life of her neighbors and as an anthropologist would, records everything, but everything, in her notebooks. Her childhood was troubled and, being or attempting to be invisible, was a coping method. Do not move and the hunter cannot see you. Ellen is a habitual bus rider and her curiosity about the life of a blind rider forces her off the bus and onto her trail. This small act of curiosity, following the blind girl off the bus, somehow compels Ellen to a major act of bravery when she foils an attack on the blind girl. It is this one tiny impulsive action which begins the shredding of her invisibility shield. The blind girl, Temerity, draws Ellen back into the sometimes frustrating but sometimes wonderful world of humankind. It was a little slow to draw me in but overall a good, humorous read.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Edeet Ravel
The Cat by Edeet Ravel is an inside look at the torturous path to recovery from grief. It is a fictitious work but the author so clearly paints a picture that you are drawn into the mother’s agony and suffering. The protagonist is a divorced woman, raising her sole child, a boy, out in the countryside when he is killed by a motorist. Elise, the mom, after the tragic loss of her son, contemplates ending it all. The only thing binding her to this plane and this miserable existence is her son’s beloved feline, Pursie. You feel the wretchedness of Elise’s condition and cheer her as she takes stumbling steps back into the world of the living. She pays a psychiatrist to help her deal with the overwhelming epistolary response to her son’s death. The doctor wades through and selects a few letters, which he feels, do not minimize or negate the trauma Elise has suffered. An inside look at grief, sorrowful but well-written and worth the read.
From Catherine Given
Author: Robert Olen Butler
It’s amazing what the element of suspense adds to most any plot. I picked up A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler expecting to read the sad tale of a couple’s separation after 20 years. Instead, because the book juxtaposes flashbacks of the couple’s first meeting with a dangerous present-day situation spinning out of control, I couldn’t put it down. Butler is highly adept at capturing both male and female voices delivering a strong dose of emotional truth. The setting further heightens the novel’s impact, highlighting the contrast between the hushed luxury of a landmark New Orleans hotel, and the messy, stressful challenges of an American marriage.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Blaize Clement
Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter
Dixie Hemingway, no relation to the famous personage, is a pet sitter in the Keys of Florida. She was a former deputy until a personal tragedy derailed her calm and her career. Her brother and his partner are her support system. Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter and Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund are the first and second books in the series respectively. They are humorous reads and one can almost feel the caress of the ocean breezes and inhale the salty tang. Dixie, due to the murdered bodies she is uncovering in the course of her pet sitting duties, is slowly reawakened to the joys and awkwardness of life. She meets, over the corpses, two intriguing men. One is a detective and the other an attorney. Dixie communes with the animals and these undemanding creatures have allowed her space to heal. I cannot wait to read the continuing saga of Dixie and her pet sitting pitfalls.
From Catherine Given
author: Lupton, Rosamund
Sister : a novel
Authors of mysteries often employ flashbacks, but Rosamund Lupton doesn’t stop there in her debut novel. Two young Londoners, sisters Beatrice and Tess, remained close despite pursuing careers an ocean apart. Upon learning that Tess is missing, Beatrice, the story’s narrator, rushes in from New York. Much of Sister is written in the form of Beatrice’s present-day imagined letters to Tess. But a great deal of the story takes place in the murky past, as Beatrice recounts her investigation to “Mr. Wright,” a CPS Lawyer. Retracing her sister’s steps, the normally retiring and polite Beatrice, badgers the London police and medical community, questioning everyone connected with Tess’s last-known words and actions. She soon realizes that she can trust no one. Beatrice’s guilt and anxiety-ridden “letters” to Tess trap the reader inside her constant torment. Suspense builds powerfully to the story line’s dramatic final twist. Sister shares John LeCarre’s distrust of the MedicoPharma Industrial Complex as expressed in his acclaimed novel, The Constant Gardener. It’s a great summer read.