Book picks for 2006

by - 12/06/2005

Here are some of the books I’m looking forward to reading in 2006. More to be added as and when.

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer - March 2006, St. Martin’s Press
When an aristocratic old lady is brutally murdered the night before September 11, 2001, it will take all the resources of the FBI and Interpol to work out the connection between her death and a priceless Van Gogh, stolen that night. It takes a courageous young woman who escapes from NorthTower of the WTC after the first plane crashes into the building, who has the foresight and determination to take on both sides of the law and avenge the old lady’s death. Anna Petrescu takes advantage of being missing and presumed dead in the days after 9/11 to escape from New York City, only to be pursued by both the FBI and a ruthless assassin across the globe, from Toronto to Bucharest. But it is only when she finally returns to New York that the mystery unravels.

Sounds like something right out of a Ludlum thriller, right? While Ludlum developed it into an art form, it seems a startling departure for this veteran UK author whose books are mostly based in and around Britian and mostly cerebral thrillers; "Not a penny less, not a penny more" comes to mind. Let's hope it doesn't turn out to be like some other books written by authors who were established in one territory but tried to venture into new arenas and failed dismally. Archer has been out of circulation for quite some time, except for that one book about his incarceration experience, and sounds like his editor wanted him to write for today's times. We'll see.

A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison - June 27, '06, HarperTorch
No book cover or blurb available anywhere. But there's no doubt this one will rank among my top reads. Harrison's books have so far defied convention and boggled the imagination, even that of a jaded reader/reviewer like myself. Simply put, Kim Harrison is to adults what J.K.Rowling is to young adults.

This series is about a paranormal detective agency headed by Rachel Morgan, a witch with a reluctance to use dark magic, set in a future where humans and supernatural beings live in an uneasy truce and in two distinct societies after a genetically altered tomato destroys half the world's population of the weaker human beings, leaving those with supernatural abilities to boldly reveal their powers as they never could before when Humans were dominant and held sway. Rachel's office/abode is an abandoned church where she lives with a vampire-partner who barely controls herself from biting Rachel. They're alternately aided and hampered by Jenks the chatty pixie and his retinue of countless kids. And of course, there are the demons, elves, werewolves and other such creatures who intensely dislike this fiesty charm-toting witch and would like nothing better to subjugage/enslave/bed her. Now if this doesn't whet your appetite then I don't know what will.

The book's already available on Amazon for pre-ordering - this info comes straight from the author's own site.

Broken by Kelley Armstrong - April '06, Spectra
(Found a pic!)

Kelley Armstrong is another writer who excels in this modern-day paranormal stuff that's thankfully *not* set in New Orleans like most other such books seem to be these days. This Canadian author of the Women of the Otherworld series mostly sets her stories in and around Canada and USA, and it also features a vast variety of supernatural beings. But there's no detective agency nor is there one protagonist as such. Each book has a woman in the lead and she can anybody from a witch, to a werewolf to a demonic ghost. The stories are inter-connected but need not be read in order, although it is advisedly better to do so in order to understand the complicated inter-personal dynamics. The villains too range from other supernatural beings to humans intent on exploiting/hunting these powerful beings. Simply wonderful and engrossing and out and out winner.

Your Big Break by Johanna Edwards - March '06, Berkley Trade
Dani Myers has become an expert at romantic breakups ever since she was hired to "facilitate" them for clients of Your Big Break, Inc. In other words, she dumps people for money. But company rule #5 (do not get personally involved) is getting harder to obey. One of her dumpees is turning out to be the kind of guy she might just want to pick up on the rebound. and a new client has just walked in, begging for Dani's help breaking up with The Big Jackass, who's been leading her on all this time-and now turns out to be married. It would be a routine job except for one problem: the so-called Big Jackass is married to none other than Dani's mother.

I don't know about others, but I generally need an antidote or anti-genre to whatever intense novel I've just finished reading. And if I read the books in the order above, then no doubt I'll be wanting an antidote. This book seems just the right carefree, light-hearted comic-suspense kind of book that can classified as an entertaining break between other more serious and pulse-pounding books. This is an author I hadn't heard of or read before, but who knows, I may end up becoming a fan if the story keeps up the promise of the blurb.

Devil's Corner by Lisa Scottoline - April '06, HarperTorch (paperback release)
When prosecutor Vicki Allegretti arrives at a rowhouse to meet a confidential informant, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and is almost shot to death. She barely escapes with her life, but cannot save the two others gunned down before her disbelieving eyes. Stunned and heartbroken, Vicki tries to figure out how a routine meeting on a minor case became a double homicide. Vicki's suspicions ta
ke her to Devil's Corner, a city neighborhood teetering on the brink of ruin -- thick with broken souls, innocent youth, and a scourge that preys on both. But the deeper Vicki probes, the more she becomes convinced that the murders weren't random and the killers were more ruthless than she thought. When another murder thrusts Vicki together with an unlikely ally, she buckles up for a wild ride down a dangerous street and into the cross-hairs of a conspiracy as powerful as it is relentless.

Wonder who writes these blurbs, they're getting cheesier by the second!
Ok, yes, I admit it, I did the cardinal sin. I didn't read it when this book came out earlier in 2005. (don't throw rocks at me, please!) That said, I haven't missed any of her books before and I've greatly enjoyed reading the antics of all-female Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & Associates. This one, I believe, is a stand-alone thriller and not part of the above-mentioned series. Looking forward to reading it. Scottoline's books never seem to be as much of a legal thriller as Grisham's but they're still pretty engrossing. (btw, this is the hardcover's pic I've got up as the pbk pic isn't available yet)

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich - April '06, Harper Collins
Those Metro maniacs Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby and NASCAR driver Sam Hooker are back! Miami is still freakin' humid. The nights are even hotter. And there's a body on ice. A woman with a taste for speed and a talent for breaking the rules, Barney also knows a little too much about cheating. First there was Hooker and that salesclerk. Now she's convinced one of the competitors is up to no good on the track. Snooping to find evidence, Hooker and Barney "borrow" a NASCAR hauler. Turns out, the hauler is carrying two race car
s and a dead guy. Now Barney and Hooker are facing multiple counts of
grand theft auto and homicide.

Ok, now be honest, did u really REALLY like the first book in this series? I thought it was only mildly enjoyable myself, but I soon found myself in the minority. First of all Barney is no Stephanie Plum and neither is Hooker even barely comparable to Morelli let alone Ranger. Having been spoiled by these characters and books, I was frankly disappointed to read this mediocre comic-suspense from the very same brilliant author. Seemed to me like Evanovich needed a break from the Plum books and this is how she got her cake and ate it too. Having been a fan through 11 of her Plum books, I feel compelled to include this book in my picks even though I don't hold out high hopes for it, as the blurb above proves.

Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin - July '06, Penguin (paperback)
Mark Helprin's picaresque romp, Freddy and Fredericka, begins with a secret rite on a Scottish hillside: the Prince of Wales, poised in his crisp field uniform, urges a falcon named Craig-Vyvyan to fly from his arm. The latest in a line of royal falcons with the ability to discern true kings and queens, Craig-Vyvyan sniffs the air, sizes up the bewildered heir to the throne, and refuses to budge. The falcon knows he isn't king-material, and so does the falconer, and so, in his heart of heart's, does the Prince of Wales. From this promi
sing opening, Helprin spins a tale that ricochets in tone between the silliness of The Naked Gun movies and the gravity of a Wesleyan sermon. To prove their worth and prepare them to rule, the Prince and Princess of Wales--loose caricatures of Charles and Diana--are parachuted naked into New Jersey by night and ordered to reconquer America for Britain.

Once again, I'm guilty...of having missed reading this little gem of a read the first time around when it was released earlier this year in hardcover, the image of which I've included alongside. I adore English satire. That's largely because I feel their humor is so much more cerebral and clever than in general. Hopefully this book will help maintain the positive experience I've had so far. Really looking forward to reading the paperback.

The Mangler of Malibu Canyon by Jennifer Colt - June '06, Broadway
Identical right down to the last freckle, twenty-something redheads Kerry and Terry McAfee are perhaps L.A.'s most unusual P.I.s. But one mystery they just can't solve is how twin sisters could be so different. In The Mangler of Malibu Canyon, the girls are back for their second case. As their rich aunt Reba moves into her new Malibu beach house, she unrolls a rug and finds a surprise: a decapitated body. Kerry insists that they call the police--partly because she hopes to catch a glimpse of her former flame, the sexy Detective John Boatwright. But no sooner do the cops begin investigating than Reba and the girls are shocked by the arrival of their cousin Robert—carrying a human head in a mesh bag, with no memory of where he's been. Now it's up to the twins to find the real killer, as Reba and Robert face the prospect of life behind bars.

Ok, now that's the sort of zany plot that I utterly adore. Once again, the blurb seems promising and even a couple of my friends promised on the pain of death that they found her first book to be hilarious. I personally haven't read Colt before, but I'm willing to give this book a try. It promises to be one of those entertaining gap-fillers that I need from time to time.

Coming up :
Life Swap by Jane Green - June 2006
The First Assistant by Clare Naylor - June 2006
Quite Honestly by John Mortimer - March 2006
Gucci Gucci Coo by Sue Margolis - May 2006
Lord Vishnu's Love Handles by Will Clarke - May 2006
Learning Curves by Gemma Townley - Feb 2006
The Reluctant Miss Van Helsing by Minda Webber - Feb 2006
Fangs but No Fangs by Kathy Love - Feb 2006
Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie - January '06, HQN
Dates from Hell Anthology - April 2006
Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund - June '06, Delacorte Press

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  1. Hello fellow book-lover. Wow you got many picks for this year. Ill try to get one of those. Hope we can be friends. Talk about books. Hahaha.

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