September’s challenge was to read a book with a blue cover. This is a joke in the world of librarianship and/or bookselling. A customer or patron comes in asking for a help in finding a book — only they can’t remember the author, or the title, just that the cover was blue.
Bethany’s Pick: The Inside Ring by Michael Lawson
I heard Mike Lawson back in 2009 at Bouchercon. He writes a series centered on DC fixer Joe DeMarco, bagman for the Speaker of the House. He’s written a bunch of them, but I just hadn’t gotten the series started. It’s gun-sighted White House blue cover seemed like a good pick. DeMarco is asked to investigate a failed assassination attempt on the President. One of the Secret Service members looked hinky in the video and DeMarco and the Speaker are worried that the President’s inside ring of protection has been compromised and that other government departments are deliberately botching the investigation.The constructions feels a little first-book-ish (a lot of telling instead of showing) but it’s a solid plot with some fun twists.
Stacie’s Pick: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
This was a solid recommendation from Bethany that started with a death that was explained through a series of flash forwards and flash backs. Set in a post-apocalyptic North America, the significance of the characters’ lives becomes apparent as the story approaches the ending, and the author skillfully brings the various characters together. It’s rare, in my opinion, for an author to use this technique well, especially while maintaining distinct voices for the characters. It has been added to the short list of titles where it is successful. I’ve already pushed this one to a friend who enjoyed it as well.