Readers' Services

The Readers’ Services staff can help you find specific materials and can offer reading suggestions. Please phone (847) 448-8620 for assistance. Use Novelist, to find reviews, reading guides, and reading lists for fiction lovers.

Exit Strategy

Armstrong, Kelley. Exit Strategy. 2007. (Fiction, Armstrong.)

All of you Michael Connelly fans out will like this book. In other words, all of the men who like Michael Connelly will enjoy this series. Readers who love the dark imperfection of Harry Bosch, and the complex grittiness that seeps into his stories will connect with Nadia Stafford, the main character in Exit Strategy.

 Nadia is a hit woman. I knew that when I started reading the book. What I didn't expect was that Nadia was quite a reluctant hit woman. Because of this, the pacing feels different than the sexy James Bond-Meets-Charlie's Angels style that I anticipated. For this very reason, however, I think this series will appeal to a variety of different suspense readers.

-Juliette S.  





Vera. 2011 (DVD 791.4572 Vera)

The always wonderful Brenda Blethyn (Secrets and Lies, Saving Grace) stars as the title character in this new British series based on the mystery novels by Ann Cleeves. This stark and gritty series is set in bleak and lonely Northumberland, England where Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope leaves no stone unturned investigating and solving strange and gruesome murders. Not always likeable and sometimes downright mean, she is relentless in her pursuit of justice. Likened to Columbo (although not as annoying) for her disheveled look and seemingly guileless manner, she is also savvy and smart. And with help from her expert team of crime fighters, she is able to pick up on the right clue to solve the case. In each of the intriguing and compelling stories (which include Hidden Depths, Telling Tales, The Crow Trap, and Little Lazarus) you learn a bit more about Vera and her colleagues and find yourself hoping that season two is in the works.

Laura, Reader's Services



This Life is in Your Hands

Coleman, Melissa. This Life is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty  Acres, and a Family Undone. 2011. B Colem.M.

Author Melissa Coleman's parents were pioneers of the local food movement when in the 1960s, inspired by the back to the land lifestyle of Helen and Scott Nearing, they purchased 60 acres of farmland in Maine. With no electricity or indoor plumbing, they set about to create a new life for themselves, one free of commercialism and the trappings of modern life. The life, however, turns out to be not as idyllic as they dreamed it would be. Coleman writes beautifully, and without any bitterness, of the tragic death of her younger sister and her parents' subsequent marital problems. This Life is in your Hands is a very readable memoir on a non-traditional family as well as interesting background of the origins of organic farming.

Rika G.


The Year of Magicial Thinking

nullDidion, Joan. The Year of Magicial Thinking. 2005. B Didio.J.

In 2003 author Joan Didion suddenly lost her husband, John Gregory Dunne, to a massive heart attack. The Year of Magical Thinking is a an incredibly personal memoir of the year after her husband’s death, the year she kept expecting him to come home, and a portrait of their marriage; the good times and bad, the ups and downs. Didion also writes of her daughter, Quintana, who at the time of her father's death was in a coma and spent the next year fighting for her life. Didion writes very matter of factly, without a lot of emotion, about this difficult year, but it is her story and she tells it with dignity and grace. Her daughter Quintana did eventually pass which, along with the aging process, is the focus of Didion's most recent book Blue Nights to be released in November.

Rika G.


A Sudden, Fearful Death

Perry, Anne. A Sudden, Fearful Death. 1993. (Mystery Perry, A.)

I have enjoyed Anne Perry's recent books, so I wanted to try one of her earlier ones. She has developed a large following for her Victorian series starring William Monk, an introspective private investigator and former policeman.This book unfolds very slowly. (Not a problem with her later novels.) Even so, Perry has a wonderful ear, especially for British dialects. Monk investigates the murder of a respected nurse in the hospital where the staff is under suspicion.

Perry's skill is in creating sensitive interactions between characters. Each one anticipates the other, reads the other person's thoughts, and draws conclusions from subtle cues. I found these charged, delicate exchanges quite mesmerizing.

Shira S. (Reader's Services)


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