The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Houghton Mifflin, 1939; 234 pages)
When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are hiding in the shadows of Chandler's first Marlowe mystery. Ross Macdonald famously wrote of Chandler: "Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invests the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence." There's never been another crime writer quite as brilliant as Chandler, or another detective quite like Marlowe.
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Recommended by: Greg
MEG: A NOVEL OF DEEP TERROR -- what happens when the most vicious predator the earth has ever known is freed to once again hunt the oceans
Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten (Gere Donovan Press, 2011; 349 pages)
The title is short for Megalodon, an extinct species of prehistoric shark, that was essentially a sperm whale-sized great white -- a scary thought for anyone going into the ocean. The first chapter introduces this monster to the reader in a horrifying manner, when a poor, unsuspecting tyrannosaur learns that it is sometimes best to stay on shore. Not until that scene did I truly appreciate the opening scene of Jaws for you humans, and this first title of a series imagines a world where this Jaws on steroids is rediscovered in the modern day, during exploration of the Marianas Trench. It's far from great literature, but works as a really fun popcorn read full of action, scares, and shark on human violence.
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Recommended by: Booker T. "Bookzilla" Rex
TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE: A STEPHANIE PLUM NOVEL -- death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, Grandma Mazur's bucket list, and a pack of feral Chihuahuas highlight Janet Evanovich's latest
Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich (2014, Bantam; 354 pages)
This is part of a continuing series by the author featuring Stephanie Plum, a reluctant bounty hunter for her cousin Vinnie's Trenton, N.J., bail bonding company. The supporting cast is sometimes more important to the story than Stephanie herself is. She has a crazy Grandma Mazur who is always good for a laugh or two, and Stephanie is also torn between two men, one being her sort-of boyfriend, local vice cop Joe Morelli, and the other being "Ranger," aka Carlos Manoso, who is a loyal friend and sometimes boss who runs a private security firm. Also involved in Stephanie's life are her co-workers, a friend named Connie and a prostitute named Lula who are always trying to help her out.
Top Secret Twenty-One is about Stephanie trying to find used car dealer Jimmy Polletti. The case leads her to Jimmy's bookkeeper, Randy Briggs, who Stephanie doesn't like but reluctantly ends up having to protect so Polletti won't kill him. Amidst all the goings on with her job, "Ranger" has been the victim of an assassination plot, and he needs Stephanie's help to survive the next attempt on his life. At the same time, Stephanie is also dealing with her Grandma Mazur's bucket list and her assorted antics. No one seems to know what is on Grandma Mazur's list at the top because it is top-secret!
The Stephanie Plum novels are hilarious, which is why I highly recommend this series to our patrons. And the good news is that the series will continue in November 2015, when Tricky Twenty-Two comes out.
Find this title in our catalog: Top Secret Twenty-One
Recommended by: Angie