Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Read-alike Guides - Florida Roadkill

If you liked Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey, you might enjoy one of these books:

Bahamarama by Bob Morris
Having served two years in prison for a crime he did not commit, ex-Miami Dolphin Zack Chasteen hopes to reunite with his girlfriend in the Bahamas. When murder and kidnapping interrupt his trip, he turns to a police superintendent and a Taino mystic. Colorful locals and the narrator’s comic cynicism will appeal to Dorsey fans, and juicy plotlines make this a real page-turner.

Buck Fever by Ben Rehder
With deer season just around the corner, game warden John Marlin is busy answering poaching complaints, but the situation takes a deadly turn when a man in a deer suit is found shot at the Circle S Ranch. A corrupt sheriff, Colombian gangsters, and a pair of poachers propel the action with increasingly ridiculous schemes in this fast-paced comic thriller.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Hiding a secret life as a serial killer while working as a murder analyst for the Miami police, Dexter Morgan is intrigued by the work of a new serial killer. His foster sister is a Miami Vice Squad cop working on the killings, so Dexter decides to help her solve the case. This is a gripping and offbeat novel, and Dexter is an appealingly articulate and ghoulish narrator.

Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White
In the most recent novel featuring Doc Ford—retired marine biologist and black-ops agent—Doc’s U.S. senator girlfriend is kidnapped during an assassination attempt outside the Explorers Club in New York City, and he sets out on a rescue mission in the Florida Keys. His frantic chase takes him to some very dark and desperate places.

Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife by Diane Roberts
The title says it all—a humorous history about life in the Sunshine State, told in memoir form. (Find it in the nonfiction section, 975.9 Rob.)

Money Wanders by Eric Dezenhall
An Atlantic City mobster is having trouble getting a casino license, so he hires a prominent Washington pollster (who turns out to be the enemy’s grandson) to beef up his public image. Sharply drawn characters, delightful dialogue, a compelling plot, and a nostalgic look at the Jersey shore make for a unique novel of crime and comedy.

The Naked Detective by Laurence Shames
Pete Amsterdam pretends to be a P.I. to get a tax deduction, and somehow he ends up with a cross-dressing client on the run from the mob. His reluctant adventures take Pete out of a midlife funk and into the arms of a blonde yoga teacher. The constant laughs and laid-back Key West tone are sure to impress.

Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen
Narrowly escaping an attempt on his life, former Florida state investigator Mick Stranahan wonders who wants him dead and finds suspects in a shaky plastic surgeon, a shady lawyer, and a sensational television host. Hiaasen’s cynical satire, wacky characters, and Florida settings make Skin Tight—and his other novels—must-reads for Serge Storms fanatics.

Stuff To Die For by Don Bruns
On their first job as self-employed movers, twenty-something James Lessor and Skip Moore discover a bloody finger wearing a class ring. Throw in the CIA, murderous thugs, Cubans with agendas, and Miami will never be the same. This engaging mystery with its goofy, loveable characters is a buddy novel reminiscent of the movie Dumb and Dumber.

Walking Money by James O. Born
State police officer Bill Tasker faces the toughest case of his career when he is framed for a crime involving more than a million dollars of stolen money, a corrupt FBI agent, and a murdered key witness. Born’s own law enforcement background lends authority not only to the plot but also to the dialogue, the edgy cop humor, and the glitzy-grotesque South Florida setting.

Also by Tim Dorsey:

Triggerfish Twist
In the fourth book of the series (but the first chronologically), Serge Storms moves to the suburbs—and likes it. His favorite neighbor is recent Tampa resident Jim Davenport, whose dreams of tropical paradise are shattered when he kills one of two recently released convicts and must contend with the other. Countless zany subplots and colorful characters populate this fun addition to the Serge Storms series.

Orange Crush
Dorsey tackles Florida politics in this tale filled with black humor and absurdity. Incumbent Republican governor Marlon Conrad campaigns in an Orange Crush bus, ending his tour of Florida tourist attractions with a WWF tag-team match against his opponent. Serge Storms plays a more minor role here.

Nuclear Jellyfish
As professional thieves begin targeting trade show exhibitors who may not be what they seem, Serge Storms launches an Internet travel site to lure unsuspecting tourists to Florida, only to catch the attention of his nemesis, Agent Mahoney. Serge's instruments of vengeance include garden hoses, pigs, aerosol sprays, and lots of duct tape in this most recent adventure.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Da Vinci Code

If you liked The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Confessor by Daniel Silva
This book is part of a series featuring art restorer and Israeli agent Gabriel Allon. After the assassination of a Munich writer, Allon and Vatican priest Pietro embark on dangerous journeys, revealing long-buried secrets affecting the fates of millions. Meanwhile, the pope vows to uncover the truth about the church's response to the Holocaust in this multilayered-plot.

The Eight by Katherine Neville
During the French Revolution, a young novice risks her life to keep a jeweled chess set that Moors gave Charlemagne; in the 20th century, a computer expert and a chess master try to solve its mystery. The suspenseful narrative contains many puzzles, crosswords, and cryptograms, which should appeal to fans of Robert Langdon’s adventures.

The Eighth Day by John Case
P.I. Danny Cray is hired to discover who is behind a scheme to destroy the reputation of a notorious billionaire—an assignment that hurls him into a sinister world where nothing is what it seems. Dan Brown enthusiasts will love the settings of this riveting thriller—from the streets of D.C. to the Vatican Library to an entire city buried deep under eastern Turkey.

The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan
Maureen Pascal gets mixed up in a quest to gain control of a priceless series of scrolls, written in the first century by Mary Magdalene and hidden in France. Like Langdon, Pascal is an engagingly-drawn university lecturer and author. This book is notable for its hauntingly real depiction of biblical characters and detailed description of biblical history.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, becomes a target after discovering a pair of crumbling skeletons in the Pyrenees, while 800 years in the past, Alais, the daughter of a crusader, must safeguard the location of the Holy Grail. Epic adventure weaves together the present and the past in this page-turner.

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
Trying to decipher an ancient text that weaves a mathematical labyrinth within a love story, two students at Princeton obtain a diary that may contain the key to the code. When a fellow researcher is killed, they realize that the book contains a dangerous secret. Riddles, romance, and Renaissance mysteries—oh my!

The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
It is 1497. Sent to oversee the completion of Da Vinci's "The Last Supper," Dominican inquisitor Fray Agustin Leyre investigates the artist’s omission of key elements and use of symbolic imagery, which suggests that there is a coded message in the painting. This is an interesting historical twist on the mysterious work of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Sign by Raymond Khoury
When a scientific expedition is swallowed up by a shimmering sphere of light during a live CNN report, a viewer in a dusty Egyptian bar recognizes the phenomenon, which is declared by some as proof of God's existence. Unrelenting action and a suitably twisted ending combined with a powerful message make for a compelling read.

The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
By 1311, the last Templar master had been burnt at the stake—or so it has been assumed. Now former secret agent Cotton Malone must solve a mystery of the lost 14th century Templar riches, before the evil latter-day Templar Raymond de Roquefort, who will do anything to keep their secrets, prevails. This is a complex but extremely readable thriller.

The Testament by Eric Van Lustbader
After his father's death in a mysterious explosion, "Bravo" Shaw discovers that his dad had been a member of a secret sect tasked with preserving an ancient cache of documents, allegedly written by Christ himself, that could reshape all of Christianity. More Jason Bourne than Robert Langdon, this story will appeal more to the action fan than the puzzle fan.

Also by Dan Brown:

Angels & Demons
In the first novel to feature Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon, a famous physicist is found murdered. This seems to be the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly 400 years. With beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, Langdon embarks on a dangerous mission against an invisible enemy to save the Vatican. This novel features all the heart-stopping suspense and well-drawn characters that Brown fans expect.

The Lost Symbol
In the newest Robert Langdon novel, the discovery of a mysterious object in the U.S. Capitol building and a subsequent kidnapping lead Langdon into a web of mysterious codes, secret locations, and hidden knowledge. With the fastest moving plot of the series, all of the action takes place over a 12-hour period.

Deception Point
On the eve of a presidential race in which NASA's budget is a pivotal issue, the space agency announces the discovery of an ancient meteorite filled with fossils deep in the Arctic ice. This is a very different Dan Brown, but with convincing settings, likeable and hateful characters, sophisticated scientific and military details, and a breakneck pace, it’s still a must-read.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Time Traveler's Wife

If you liked The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, you might enjoy one of these books:

Atonement by Ian McEwan
In the summer of 1935, 13-year-old Briony, an aspiring writer, misinterprets something she sees, tearing apart the lives of her family and those close to them. This is a good choice for readers who like Niffenegger’s literary style and themes of memory, tragedy, and family. Like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Atonement has been adapted into a popular film.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
In 1913, an abandoned girl arrives in Australia and is taken in by strangers. The only clue to her identity is a book of fairy tales. As an adult, she tries to piece together her story; her granddaughter also takes up the challenge. Intersecting narratives that move back and forth in time and a touch of mystery make this a compelling novel.

The Heroines by Eileen Favorite
Anne Marie and her daughter Penny run a bed and breakfast where literary heroines come to life and come to visit. The heroines quickly and comically disrupt their lives. Audrey Niffenegger recommends The Heroines, which she calls "Funny and tender...a chance to see Scarlett O'Hara and Emma Bovary off duty."

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold
Susie Salmon is 14 when she’s raped and murdered in 1973. She narrates from heaven, where she watches her grieving family and friends try to cope. This is a moving story about remembering the beauty of life even with faced with an ugly reality. The Lovely Bones will be released as a major motion picture in 2010.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
In a tale spanning 25 years, a doctor delivers his newborn twins and, rashly deciding to protect his wife from their daughter's affliction with Down Syndrome, turns her over to a nurse, who secretly raises the child. Edwards’ work alternates between light and dark tones in its depiction of a broken family.

The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue
Razi Nolan, who is having a great love affair, dies in a tragic accident in 1920s New Orleans. She stays behind as a ghost, eventually haunting a young couple and revealing the story of her life while trying to discover her lover’s fate. Dominigue’s well-drawn characters and multiple plotlines will appeal to Niffenegger fans.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Forced to leave Shanghai when their father sells them to California suitors, sisters May and Pearl struggle to adapt to life in 1930s Los Angeles while still bound to old customs. Together they face discrimination and confront a life-altering secret. The richly drawn characters and lyrical writing are reminiscent of Niffenegger’s work.

Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson
Like Henry De Tamble, Richard Collier is a modern man who travels through time, drawn to his soulmate. She is a Elise McKenna, a famous actress living in San Diego in 1896. Somewhere in Time won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and in 1980 it was made into a film, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Margaret, a bookseller and biographer, travels to the eerie home of Vida Winter, a dying writer famed for never telling the story of her life the same way twice. Margaret attempts to illuminate the truth of Vida’s life, discovering dark and sometimes dangerous family secrets. The dark, gothic plot is full of twists that will surprise and intrigue.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression, including his love for Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, and their friendship with Rosie, the elephant, who gave them hope. Water for Elephants is a poetically written page turner, populated with vividly-drawn characters and a fascinating historical setting.

Also by Audrey Niffenegger:

Her Fearful Symmetry
Niffenegger’s newest novel is about twin American teenagers who inherit their aunt’s flat in London near Highgate Cemetery. The sisters are surprised to discover that their aunt still resides in the flat—in ghostly form. Populated with quirky, troubled characters (both alive and dead) and written with Niffenegger’s familiar, poetic style, this supernatural tale of death, selfhood, love, and family is sure to impress.

The Three Incestuous Sisters
The three sisters of this “novel in pictures” are very different—one is smart, one is talented, and one is pretty. They live together near a lighthouse, far from the city. When one falls in love and becomes pregnant, it has a dramatic emotional effect on all three. This is a grim tale, told with minimal, spooky text and dark, evocative images.

The Adventuress
The dreamlike journey of an alchemist’s daughter unfolds in this “novel in pictures.” After she is kidnapped, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. Niffenegger’s common themes of love and tragedy find new life in this haunting story that is part gothic romance, part fairy tale.