Books

30-SECOND BOOK REVIEWS

Updated Nov. 20, 2018, with these new books: ON TYRANNY: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder (non-fiction) FLY BY NIGHT (Jammer Davis Thriller Book 2), by Ward Larsen (thriller) THE FIFTH RISK, by Michael Lewis (non-fiction) If you’d like to suggest a book for review, use the “Contact Me” link in the …

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Review: The Old Bridge, a thriller by Andrew Turpin

The genocidal Bosnian war of the nineties has faded from Western consciousness. Not many people remember the brutal days when Sarajevo had to hang a curtain so snipers could not target civilian pedestrians, although anyone who was paying attention then remembers the pictures of those who didn’t escape, lying in the streets. The memory has …

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Review: F is for France — making sense of its ways, A to Z

I came late to this amusing and informative book, I’m sorry to say. It’s an amazingly detailed compilation and exploration of what the French would call curiosités or choses insolites but it’s also a broad cultural overview. It’s an example of the best of a certain type of book designed to explain France to English-speakers. …

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Review: A Divided Spy

A novel by Charles Cumming. St. Martin’s Press, Feb. 14, 2017. 356 pages. (Advance hardcover edition reviewed) Just a few months ago we thought the Cold War was long over, but now it seems to threaten us anew. Ever since John le Carré brought the dark world of spy-vs.-spy into modern popular fiction, it’s been a …

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Review: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

A novel by Dominic Smith. Macmillan 2016. 304 pages. (Kindle edition reviewed) Dominic Smith has accomplished one of the most difficult tasks a novelist can take on — He has maintained the continuity of a story that flashes back and forth in time over more than three hundred years, from New York of the 1970s to …

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Review: Joie de Vivre – an American living the Paris life

Forty-plus years of living in Paris, first as a student then as the wife of a well-known banker and historian, have given Harriet Welty Rochefort the ability to look at both sides of the French-American cultural divide with a sharp analysis that’s both trenchant and humorous. She’s published three books that I think of as …

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A Red Ribbon award for Last Stop: Paris

Thanks to the people at the Wishing Shelf Awards for awarding Last Stop: Paris its “Red Ribbon Award” and “highly recommended” rating. Wishing Shelf is a British organization that manages an annual contest for indie-published books. Its judgments are crowd-sourced — that is, the books are distributed to a group of readers whose scores all go into the final …

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Shaping the finale of Last Stop: Paris

TWO YEARS AGO, when I had hardly started the writing of Last Stop: Paris, I was casting about for a good location to set the climactic, resolving scene. I needed a crowded urban site (not hard to find in Paris) where I could set a car chase that ended in the Seine. At the time …

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Review: “Young Once,” by Patrick Modiano, “Marcel Proust for our time”

When Patrick Modiano was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2014 he was virtually unknown outside France. He is a prolific author, with 30 books published in French, but very few had been translated into English. Yale University press promptly picked up several of them for American publication, and now Amazon teems with Modiano …

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[Review] The Capitalist: A Thriller (A Louis Morgon Thriller), by Peter Steiner

Opening Peter Steiner’s new novel The Capitalist was like visiting an old friend in his quaint cottage in the Loire — comfortable, relaxed (with a glass of good wine) and confident you’re about to hear a great story. I came to Peter’s books with The Resistance, when he presented it at the American Library in …

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