Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Some Favorite Reads of 2014

As usual, I’ve read a lot of books this year. Some good, some not so good, but all valuable in their own way. Emulating many others who post their favorite reads of the year, I’m going to give you here my own list of 10 you might want to add to your to-be-read shelf. They are, in no particular order:

Brass In Pocket by Stephen Puleston, the first in his Detective Inspector Drake series. Puleston has created a complex, yet very human character. Afflicted with Obsession-Compulsive Disorder, Drake is driven to find answers despite pressures of job and family. He solves Sodoku puzzles to help him focus and gain control. The recounting of his rituals may annoy some readers but it also illustrates the difficulty under which he functions.

Nothing Save The Bones Inside Her by Clayton Lindemuth. Set in western Pennsylvania in the 1950s, Emeline Margulies proves to be a brave woman, capable of enduring more than expected in this gritty novel with characters reminiscent of Faulkner. This is not a work for those offended by violence and harsh language. But if you’re willing to look beyond those obstacles you’ll find it an engrossing and memorable story.

In Search of Hemingway’s Meadow by Jeff Day. Okay, it’s about fishing. But it’s much more than that. Day discusses fishing and, particularly, the art of fly fishing. He also offers much more in this series of essays connected by his thoughts and adventures while following in Hemingway’s footsteps along the Fox River.

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. A Jesuit priest is caught up in the conflict between the Huron and the Iroquois in the 17th century. Highly recommended.

Voyage of Strangers by Liz Zelvin. An admirable work of historical fiction about a young Jew who accompanies Columbus on his voyage to the New World.

Trail Justice by Wayne D. Dundee. This is one of a number of Western novelettes Dundee produced this year—all of them worth your time. Elwood Blake, a former mountain man, and Basil St. Iron, a young scout, team up to protect pioneers on an Oregon-bound wagon train.

Desperate Deeds by Patricia Gligor. This is the third in Gligor’s Malone mystery series. While working one job and trying to start a decorating business, Ann Kern worries about her husband, an alcoholic who recently lost his job and his mother; frets about her children and is concerned about a depressed neighbor. Then things get worse as her six-year-old son goes missing.

Samuel The Pioneer by Douglas Quinn. This is the second in Quinn’s historical adventure series based on figures in his line of descent. While building his own life and seeking to learn the fate of his sister taken captive by the Indians years earlier, Samuel must also cope with the legacy of an embittered drunkard father.

Guns Of The Texas Ranger by Dac Crossley. Texas Ranger Ignacio “Nacho” Ybarra crosses the border into Mexico in search of a straying son-in-law and finds a heap of trouble.

The Clever Mill Horse by Jodi Lew-Smith. The first of a projected series about Ella Kenyon, a strong-willed young woman, struggling against harsh odds and devious men to fulfill a promise to her grandfather.