Check It Out Category: Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Fiction: Books with Airplane Trouble

Air travel requires a great deal of faith in both the plane and its crew. The odds are in our favor, but sometimes things go wrong. Opening in theaters today is the story of Sully, the heroic pilot who executed an emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in January 2009. Not all crises in the skies have the assurance of a happy ending, and in fiction it is that very tension which keeps those pages turning. If you’re looking for excitement and drama, try one of these stories of airplane trouble — some accidental, some intentional — and find out if a hero emerges.

 

Before the Fall book coverBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley

In one of the standout releases of 2016, the stories of ten wealthy victims of a plane crash intertwine with those of a down-on-his-luck painter and a four-year-old boy, the tragedy’s only survivors, as odd coincidences surrounding the crash point to a possible conspiracy.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy BlumeIn the Unlikely Event book cover

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life — when a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving her community reeling.

Blackout book coverBlackout by John J. Nance 

On a routine flight to Hong Kong, a Boeing jet is rocked by an explosion that leaves one pilot dead and the other blinded. An investigation is called and as it proceeds, FBI agent and terrorism specialist Kat Bronsky is assigned to hunt down the crew of a Global Express business jet spotted nearby just before the explosion.

Seat Beside Me book coverThe Seat Beside Me by Nancy Moser

That strange, snoring, legroom-invading person next to you on the airplane — have you ever imagined owing your life to him? This is the gripping story of five passengers and their seatmates who get casually acquainted — then plunge headlong into an icy river in a sudden plane crash.

Mayday book coverMayday by Thomas Block

When a jumbo jet is struck by a missile twelve miles above the Pacific Ocean, three brave passengers attempt to land the plane.

Skid book coverSkid by Rene Gutteridge

Hank Hazard, a homeschooled mime for his family’s troupe, takes a new job as an airline company spy on Atlantica Flight 1945 and encounters a cast of quirky crew members and passengers, plus some unexpected turbulence.

Human Error book coverHuman Error by Tom Casey

When a plane bound for Paris crashes, killing forty-five of the people on board, the personal and professional life of the pilot, Captain Hugo Price, comes under intense official strutiny, as both the government and Price himself try to determine if he is at fault for the fatal accident.

Ask for more suggestions online or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor!

Staff Pick: Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Jennifer from Community Services suggests Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Relic ChildLet me start by saying, if you saw the movie based on this book from a few years back, the book is very different and well worth a read.

Relic takes place with the fictionalized equivalent to New York City’s American Museum of Natural History, where the museum curators are getting ready for a huge extravaganza, the Superstition exhibition. As the exhibit title implies, it is designed to feature the world’s superstitions. Among the artifacts on display in the exhibit is a small relic clouded in mystery and disaster, bringing with it rumors of a horrible curse that resulted in the death of everyone on the expedition that discovered it.

Now, just a week before the big exhibit opening, people are being brutally attacked and murdered in the nether-regions of the museum. Museum officials just want it all to go away (murder can be such a bother some times), but FBI Special Agent Pendergast, NYPD Police Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta, Ph.D. candidate Margo Green, and intrepid journalist William Smithback, Jr. are determined to get to the bottom of the grizzly killings. Relic, while very different from what has become known as the Pendergast series, is an absolutely fantastic read.

For more detailed thrilling adventures, try…

 

The 6th ExtinctionThe 6th Extinction: A Sigma Force by James Rollins

A madman with an environmental agenda has gotten a hold of the most powerful virus on the planet. A virus no plant of animal has immunity against, and which can be used to bring about the 6th Extinction.

 

 

 

The Great Zoo of China book coverThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

CJ Cameron is on assignment to see The Great Zoo of China ahead of its grand opening. CJ is unaware of what exactly lurks inside the Great Zoo until she arrives at a hidden valley in China under great secrecy and sees it for herself.

 

 

 

Pulse book coverPulse by Jeremy Robinson

A small elite military unit comes into conflict with an evil mega-corporation that it trying to find the secret of eternal life.

 

 

 

in-the-woodsIn the Woods by Tana French
When a girl is found murdered at an archaeological dig, Detectives Ryan and Maddox are assigned to the case. Detective Maddox uncovers an eerily similar case twenty years earlier, a case that saw an adolescent Detective Ryan as the only survivor.

 

 

 

The Supernatural Enhancements book coverThe Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

An inherited haunted house, cryptology, and an undercover society on a quest around the world lead the new master of the house to uncover the secrets of its former owners.

Save

New Audio Spotlight: Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Charcoal Joe audiobook coverSometimes we’re looking to be dropped into a rich, moody world that doesn’t bear much resemblance to our everyday. A favorite escape is to the dark streets of mid-century Los Angeles, in the company of legendary detective Easy Rawlins. In Charcoal Joe, Rawlins is asked to aid a promising Stanford student charged with the race-related murder of a white man in the late 1960s. Author Walter Mosley, winner of the 2016 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, once again creates a door to history with gritty settings, lifelike characters, and velvet words.

Narrator Michael Boatman knows that the language of a Mosley story is its power, and he emphasizes the swagger and silk of the characters’ dialogue. Descriptions are spun with a cadence that makes them reality, and hard-boiled tension is equally earned. It’s a smooth performance, and one Easy himself would approve.

 

Movies and TV: Sound of Noise

Sound of Noise DVD coverCall this the Drums of Anarchy. A group of brilliant percussionists conspire to unleash a masterpiece of performance art on an unsuspecting public. “Music for One City and Six Drummers” is comprised of four movements, each carried out as a comic caper in a different venue. First, they invade a hospital operating theater, then a bank. Taking the space hostage, they create carefully-coordinated rhythms using whatever is at hand, be it a paper shredder, a bulldozer, or a celebrity patient, and then exit in a quick getaway. Their hallmark at each scene is an old-school metronome, and the inspector assigned to bring order to their chaos is taunted over and over again.

A Swedish film entry (and prizewinner) at multiple festivals, Sound of Noise is audacious fun to the beat of a shockingly unique set of drums.

New Book Spotlight: Historical Fiction Thrillers

Looking for a page-turner that will bring you back in time? Check out one of the newer releases below!


City of Secrets book coverCity of Secrets
by Stewart O’Nan

A moral thriller about the Jewish underground resistance in Jerusalem after World War II follows the experiences of Brand, a hunted refugee, who assumes a different identity and commits himself to the revolution while accepting increasingly dangerous missions.

The Letter Writer book coverThe Letter Writer
by Dan Fesperman

Taking a job with the NYPD four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a former small-town cop investigates the discovery of a body in the Hudson with the assistance of a mysterious, well-educated man who has uncanny knowledge of the city and its denizens.

High Dive book coverHigh Dive
by Jonathan Lee

A tale inspired by the 1984 Brighton Hotel bombing assassination attempt on the lives of Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet is told from the perspectives of an IRA bomb maker, a former star athlete-turned-hotel manager and the manager’s teenage daughter.

 

Email us as readers@mppl.org for more suggestions.
Head here for new and forthcoming nonfiction titles.
Summaries from Novelist.

Discussion Questions: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places book coverTitle: Dark Places
Author:  Gillian Flynn
Page Count:  349 pages
Genre: Psychological suspense
Tone: Dark, Disturbing, Brooding

Summary:
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas”. She escaped and survived to later testify that her 15-year-old brother Ben was the killer. Twenty-five years later she is contacted by “The Kill Club” and pumped for information they hope to use to free Ben. Libby hatches a plan to profit from her tragic past but ends up being chased by a killer.

 

SPOILER WARNING:
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. What do you think dark places refers to?

2. Was it the murders that made Libby who she was? How about Ben?

3. Would the novel have worked if Libby was a kinder, gentler or more sympathetic character?

4. What did you think of Ben and Libby’s relationship as children? In the beginning of the book, Ben dies his hair and while they are all upset by this, Libby seems the most upset. She said, “He hates us” (pg. 26). Why? Later, Libby dies her hair. Is there a significance?

5. What did you think of young Ben?

6. Did you think Ben was guilty? Does the author intend for us to doubt him? Would Ben have ended up in jail regardless?

7. While in jail, Ben thought about his 15-year-old self almost as his son and sometimes he wanted to throttle the kid, the kid who just didn’t have it in him (pg 341). What didn’t he have in him?

8. What do you think would have happened to Diondra and the baby if she and Ben had run off together?

9. What did you think of the Kill Club?

10. What did you think about Lyle Wirth? What was Libby and Lyles relationship?

11. What is the difference between the Free Day Society and the Kill Club? Is one more “palatable than the other?

12. Does Runner have any redeeming characteristics?

13. When Libby got in touch with Runner to ask about the night of the murders Runner wrote her a letter telling her he has cancer and that he doesn’t have long to live (pg 210). He says he was excited to hear from her. What did you think of this letter? Do you think her really knew the real killer

14. What do you think was going on with Diondra and Trey? How about Diondra and Runner?

15. Why is Diondra sleeping with Ben? Why is Ben sleeping with Diondra?

16. Why did Chrissi accuse Ben of molestation? Did you feel sorry for her?

17. Chrissi and Libby seemed to have some common ground, both accused Ben of doing horrific crimes that he didn’t do. In your opinion, which accusation was worse?

18. Chrissi said “No one ever forgives me for anything.” Do you think forgiveness plays a role in in Dark Places? Which characters do you find to be more forgivable? Which characters do you find the least forgivable?

19. Throughout the novel Libby, Patty, and Ben unknowingly echo each other’s dialogue and thoughts. What do you think the author was trying to do with this technique?

20. As you were reading the book did you find yourself finding one theory about the killer more believable? Who did you believe was the real killer?

21. What did you think of Diane’s character? Do you feel you got to know her? Were you curious about her perspective?

22. At the end of the book, Patty starts thinking she’d never have to worry again about commodity prices, operating costs, or interest rates and that she’d never have to see the Cates family again. What did you think she was going to do?

23. In the end it turns out that Patty hired the angel of debt to murder her. What did you think of this? (Was it noble? Or stupid?)

24. What was the Angel of Debts motivation for assisting/murdering 32 people?

25. What did you think of Crystal? Is she a “bad” seed? Is there even such a thing as bad genes?

26. Ben eventually got released from prison. Will Libby ever be able to get out of her prison?

27. Were you happy with the way the ending tied things up?

28. Have you read anything else by Gillian Flynn? How do her books compare? If you have not read anything else by her, would you read her next one?

OTHER RESOURCES:

Discussion questions from author’s website
Gillian Flynn interview article on Dark Places
Discussion questions and answers from the blog Seriously Sarah
USA Today article on the differences between the movie and book

readalikes:
Adobe Photoshop PDF The Accursed book cover In the Woods book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag
The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
In the Woods by Tana French

Save

Winner of Both the Pulitzer Prize and the Edgar Award: The Sympathizer

Sympathizer book cover“So it was that we soaped ourselves in sadness and we rinsed ourselves with hope, and for all that we believed almost every rumor we heard, almost all of us refused to believe that our nation was dead.”

In other media, award winners are often easily predicted.  Not so in literature. More often than not, even insiders are surprised by those given top honors in any given year, and rarely does it reflect sales or popularity. That changes upon announcement, as the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, debut novel The Sympathizerleapt in Amazon overall sales rankings from 27,587 to 88 overnight, even enjoying temporary status as #1 in Spies and Political Thrillers.

Viet Thanh Nguyen has penned a fascinating book of intrigue that examines the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of a double agent, and the author himself has said “my book has something to offend everyone.” It is a meaty, uncompromising story with moments of tenderness and even hilarity, and its new status as a Pulitzer winner may help earn the attention and audience it deserves.

Edited to add:  This week The Sympathizer was announced as winner of Best First Novel from the Edgar Awards, one of the top mystery and suspense honors. Few books can boast this crossover!

New Book Spotlight: False Positive by Andrew Grant

False Positive book coverLike Craig Johnson or James Lee Burke?
Try Andrew Grant.

Returning from a suspension, detective Cooper Devereaux is starting a new case looking for a missing seven-year-old boy in Alabama. In the process, Devereaux unexpectedly begins learning more about his past, which as an orphan has its own set of mysteries. Filled with surprise after surprise, Andrew Grant’s False Positive is an action-packed thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is the first in the Detective Cooper Devereaux series.