Book Review: The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans

Did you ever have the assignment of writing your own obituary? It’s the kind of thing that makes you look back on your life and ponder.

James Kier has a similar experience. He reads his own obituary upon waking one morning and, before he can respond, finds the comments under his online obituary less than complimentary. His girlfriend, upon hearing of his untimely death, goes on a huge shopping spree using his credit card.  His company’s chief operating officer, and weekly squash partner, calls him the Grinch, Scrooge and Bergermeister all rolled into one.  His history with his soon-to-be ex-wife and his son is less than ideal.

Richard Paul Evans manages to bring us this story of a man who gets a reality check without being overly emotional. It is a quick read with short chapters for those of us with little time. 

If you have read Nicholas Sparks, you will find his style similar to Evans. A lot of depth and very real characters. Both authors have several titles that make us feel our humanity just a bit more that usual. 

If you don’t find The Christmas List on the new shelf, we will be happy to place a hold on it for you. We would also be happy to share other titles by these authors with you, as well.

Book Review: Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Although I am not a huge crime fiction fan, the subject matter of this book stirred my curiousity enough to while away a few hours engrossed in its pages.

Timothy Blake, used car salesman, is your ordinary, everyday guy. His teenage daughter, Sidney, comes from her mother’s for the summer and normal parent-child frustrations ensue. Then Sidney doesn’t come home. Tim begins a search for her, starting at the Just in Time Hotel, her place of employment. They tell him they have never heard of her as she is not an employee.

He questions how well he knew his daughter as he searches. His ex-wife initially plays the blame game but then cooperates with him in the search for their daughter.

Fear the Worst avoids many of the normal crime fiction cliches. Tim doesn’t turn into a super hero when confronted with gun-toting bad guys.  He doesn’t develop uncanny spy skills. He doesn’t have contacts in high places. He just struggles to cope under extraordinary circumstances.

Linwood Barclay, although a bestselling crime fiction author in Britain, is still a much undiscovered talent in the U.S. This book had me thinking of flipping to the last pages in anticipation of discovering the outcome. I soldiered through and Barclay found a new fan. Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye will be my next reads by this author.

The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky

How far would a mother go to protect her daughter? A rainy evening, a beginning driver, and a fatality set the framework for this beautifully written, well thought out story that examines the strengths and weaknesses that can make or break a family.

 This book, one of Delinsky’s best, delivers a great reading experience. Written for adults, it won’t dissapoint. Young adults might also take a few lessons from its pages.