Joanne’s Mystery Picks

We All Fall DownWe All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

The killer in this novel by Canadian author Daniel Kalla is not a person.  The killer is the bubonic plague. Alana Vaughan is an infectious disease specialist with NATO and is called to Genoa, Italy, to attend a patient suffering from the disease.  Could it be bioterrorism or is there another explanation?

Alternating between the modern story with Alana Vaughan and the story contained in an eight-hundred-year-old medieval journal, Kalla pulls no punches when describing the horrible progression of this usually fatal disease and the suffering of its victims.

The clock is ticking as Vaughan and her team hunt for patient zero.  As the disease spreads, it’s a race to stop it from reaching epidemic proportions.

A great thriller that’s hard to put down once you read the first page.

4 Daggers
Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”

A high mortality dovesA High Mortality of Doves by Kate Ellis

The one word that comes to mind when I describe this book is “bland”.  Everything about it is bland – the characters, the atmosphere (or lack thereof), the language, and the story.  It just doesn’t live up to the intriguing title and I found it to be a real disappointment.

It is 1919, just after WWI, though it could be any time as the author does nothing concrete to make the reader aware of when the events are taking place. In the Derbyshire village of Wenfield, young women are being murdered and found with a dead dove stuffed into their mouths.  When the local constabulary is unable to make any headway in finding the killer, Inspector Albert Lincoln of Scotland Yard is called in to handle the case. However, Lincoln’s personal problems and his general inertia leave the reader with little confidence in his abilities to do his job properly.

The story unfolds sluggishly, and even the surprise ending cannot redeem it. 

One Dagger
Joanne gives this “1 dagger out of 5”

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Sept. 11, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Break K. VermetteThe Break : a novel

By Katherena Vermette

When a Métis woman sees a possible crime she telephones the police. Told from the perspectives of various people connected to this violence in a Metis community, we hear their stories leading up to that fateful night. Join us for our first StarFest event of the season with Katherena Vermette on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall. Tickets at the library or on Eventbrite.

 

All the wrong placesAll the wrong places : a novel

By Joy Fielding

Drive to desperation by divorce, boredom, infidelity, or a beloved husband’s death, a young woman named Paige, her cousin and rival Heather, her best friend Chloe, and her mother, Joan, all decide to try their hand at online dating. One of them unwittingly makes a date with a killer. Experience Joy Fielding in conversation with mystery author Janice MacDonald at the Arden on Oct. 15, 7:30 pm.

Seniors Book Club September Selection

EducatedThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, September 11 in Forsyth Hall to discuss the memoir Educated by Tara Westover.

About the book…

Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.

Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.

Author website

Discussion Questions

Video Interviews

CBC’s The Current interview (audio)

A Book Review by Bill Gates

A New York Times Book Review

A Guardian Book Review

Ruby Ridge siege (an event that radicalized Tara’s father)

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Sept. 4, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

AlbatrossAlbatross : a novel

By Terry Fallis

Adam is your average high-school student–well, except for that obsession with fountain pens–when his life changes forever. Based on a study by a quirky Swedish professor that claims that every human being, regardless of athletic inclination, has a body that is suited to excel in at least one sport, it turns out that Adam is good–very good, in fact–at golf. But here’s the catch: Adam doesn’t really like golf.

 

AriaAria : a novel

By Nazanine Hozar

Nazanine Hozar’s stunning debut takes us inside the Iranian revolution–but seen like never before, through the eyes of an orphan girl. Through Aria, we meet three very different women who are fated to mother the lost child: reckless and self-absorbed Zahra, wealthy and compassionate Fereshteh, and finally, the mysterious, impoverished Mehri, whose connection to Aria is both a blessing and a burden. 

Monday Evening Book Club September Selection

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fineThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, September 9 in Forsyth Hall to discuss the novel Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Scottish author Gail Honeyman.

About the book

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart. (Source: Publisher)

About the author

Publisher’s Readers Guide (includes discussion questions)

Discussion questions & hosting tips (BookBub)

A Guardian interview

A Conversation with Gail Honeyman (Penguin Random House)

Video interviews with Gail Honeyman

A Guardian book review

An Irish Times book review

An Independent article on loneliness in young people

A US News article on youth loneliness in the U.S.