Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Tags:  general-fiction
The unnamed narrator of Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold pieces together a picture of events that unfolded on an infamous day twenty three years prior. In a small town at the mouth of a river on the Caribbean coast of Columbia, in what appears to be the second decade of the nineteen hundreds, a wealthy young man with no apparent enemies was murdered in broad daylight, in front of a crowd that included most of the town’s citizens.

The Stranger

Tags:  crime-fiction general-fiction
Meursault, the main character of Albert Camus' The Stranger, is so passive and indifferent, he simply lets life happen to him, and what happens isn’t good. He tells his story as if he’s an uninterested and slightly befuddled spectator watching things happen to someone else. Meursault lives in Algiers. The year is around 1942, though the events of the war in Europe don’t impinge on the story. Meursault lives in a simple apartment and, working as a clerk in a shipping company, earns just enough to get by.

The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker

Tags:  non-fiction
In The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker examines the central and unique tension of the human creature: we are going to die, and unlike other animals, we know we’re going to die. This is the fundamental source of human anxiety. It’s not culture-specific. It’s universal to the species, affecting all humans everywhere. We’re born into a world we don’t initially understand. We arrive helpless and dependent, and we know that. Bewilderment, helplessness and dependency are terrifying.

The Answers Are There

Tags:  non-fiction
This book came to my attention when the Independent Book Publishers Association named it as a finalist for the 2023 Franklin Award. It describes the grassroots effort to rebuild rural communities in Sierra Leone after its bitter, decade-long civil war ended in 2002. The war left the country wounded and deeply polarized. Neighbors had committed atrocities against neighbors. Communities broken by distrust were barely functioning, and there didn’t seem to be a path forward.

The Reisman Case is free this weekend!

The Kindle edition of The Reisman Case is free April 21-25, 2023. Grab a free copy at We’ll also be featured on Free Kindle Books and Tips this Saturday. Summary A wealthy business owner asks investigator Claire Chastain to solve a simple case. Is his employee stealing or not? From the moment she’s hired, subtle clues tell her something’s wrong: the unbusinesslike business owner, the lingering scent of a woman on the stairs, the rustle in the curtains where someone watches from above.

Ubik, by Philip K. Dick

Tags:  sci-fi
Published in 1969, Philip K. Dick’s Ubik takes place in a fictional future of 1992. The corporate world is plagued by spies from Ray Hollis' psionic agency. The psionics have various psychic powers including telepathy and precognition. They infiltrate organizations to steal their valuable secrets. Joe Chip is a tester for Runciter Associates, the world’s leading prudence organization. Prudence organizations find “inertials,” people whose psychic counter-talents can neutralize the talents of Hollis' psionics.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Tags:  noir crime-fiction detective-fiction favorite-fiction
Sunburn opens with a thrirty-something man, Adam Bosk, observing a thirty-something woman, Polly Costello, in a roadside restaurant in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. She’s come from the beach, forty or so minutes to the east, and her sunburnt shoulders are starting to peel. Her observer wonders if he should make a move, introduce himself, strike up a conversation. She wonders too, as he takes a seat two stools down at the bar.

The Bouncer

Tags:  crime-fiction thrillers
David Gordon’s unique thriller opens with a series of police raids in New York City. Local and federal law enforcement are under pressure from above as worries of an impending terrorist attack escalate. The cops, not knowing who their targets are, or where they may be lurking, have to look like they’re doing something to quell the public angst. So, like the authorities in Casablanca, they round up the usual suspects in a series of high profile raids.

A Nasty Piece of Work

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction
The plot was good enough, but this one fell short on several levels, reading like a journeyman’s immitation of a John D. MacDonald novel. I didn’t like the strained smart-guy dialog, the wisecracks that fell flat or the banter between main character Lemuel Gunn and his girl Friday, aka Ornella Neppi. Much of the humor and wit just wasn’t that funny, though it might appeal to an older generation. Neither Gunn nor Neppi came off as fully-formed characters worth caring about until the very end.

Ordo, by Donald Westlake

Tags:  general-fiction
Ordo, a novella of just 73 pages, is the second work in Hard Case Crime’s Double Feature. Ordo Tupikos, a sailor in the US Navy in the early 1970s, is enjoying some down time with friends during a work break. One of them asks him why he never told them he had been married to movie star Dawn Devayne. Ordo thinks his friend, a practical joker, is kidding, so he brushes him off.
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