Friday, April 22, 2011

What We're Reading: New Books

I was so delighted to discover last Friday afternoon that two of my favorite authors had books on the "new" shelf. One is Robert Crais's latest, The Sentry, and the other is the new Maeve Binchy, Minding Frankie. I had a weekend read-fest!

Crais continues his trend to make Joe Pike, rather than Elvis Cole, the leading man of his books. In an interview with T. Jefferson Parker (, he mentions that his intention was to do an Elvis-centric book this time around, but Joe popped up as the main character in the story line and wouldn't go away. This one is a page-turner, with the possibility of true love for Pike, a couple of cases of mistaken identity, involvement by drug lords and gang-bangers and a truly creepy New Orleans hit man looking for lost millions, not to mention the police, the FBI, and some rogue agents thrown in for good measure. The star is definitely the contradictory Joe Pike, though--former Special Forces, former police officer, a fearless, ruthless vegetarian yogi with more cool points than any character in crime fiction.

Maeve Binchy always welcomes the reader into the intimate details of life in "small-town" Dublin, in her romantic Irish dramas. This book revisits characters from previous books, in roles major and minor (twins Simon and Maude, Muttie and Lizzie, Aidan and Signora, the magnificent Brenda Brennan), and introduces a few new ones, including the title character, Frankie. She's a baby born to a mother dying of cancer, who bequeaths the infant to the natural father, Noel, a directionless, alcoholic young man who didn't know about the baby until a month before the birth and is seriously doubtful he will be able to cope. His doubts are shared by a minatory social worker, who is highly suspicious of the cobbled-together group of neighbors, friends and relatives in St. Jarlath's Crescent who have been assembled to "mind" Frankie.

Two very different books, but equally enjoyable.

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