LaserWriter II by Tamara Shopsin (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). A very smart and funny and (what’s somewhat surprising) endearing first novel by a previously well published nonfiction writer, …
LaserWriter II by Tamara Shopsin (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). A very smart and funny and (what’s somewhat surprising) endearing first novel by a previously well published nonfiction writer, mostly on tech matters and tech people. I can only just operate a keyboard and a mouse and it didn’t take long for me to get on its wavelength and have a great time in it and among its (slightly) oddball but real, warm-blooded people. It’s set in what I gather was a real (and really legendary) shop in Manhattan called TekServe, an Apple sales and (mostly) service place. Some early reviewers happily report having had computers serviced there years ago. (The book is set in the ’90s.) So, highly recommended in general, but (in this season) also a great gift idea for certain people you might know.
The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell Eriksson (Minotaur). Could be a gift book if you know just the right reader, I guess, but this is dark Swedish noir, featuring Eriksson’s great police detective Ann Lindell, now retired to what she’d counted on being a peaceful later life. As intricate and smart as ever—both intelligent and clever, as is Ann Lindell.
The Midnight Lock: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffrey Deaver (Putnam). A column favorite who remains at the height of his powers. This is a police procedural/forensic detection thriller (what the name Lincoln Rhyme tells us), and I can’t find a thing to add to what the column has already said more than once, and that readers of all kinds know perfectly well. (Well, here’s a teaser: Rhyme gets fired from his consultancy with the NYPD.) The book is lurking at the edge of the Times bestseller list already.
Autopsy: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Morrow). And more big news, as long as we’re talking bestseller lists: For the first time in five or six years, Patricia Cornwell has returned to, and is returning to her readers, her great crime and forensics series centered on Kay Scarpetta. She’s back, now, in Virginia—but now the state’s chief medical examiner, and in a Washington suburb (her husband works in the U. S. Secret Service). It’s big, full-length, as always; her sidekicks, her techie niece Lucy and the hard-boiled investigator Pete Marino, are with her still. Narrated in first person by Scarpetta (not for the first time), mostly in present tense; she slips easily and naturally into past tense when filling us in on background details—all of which seems to give her slightly sharper edges; her doubts and also her impatience are especially vivid and warm in that mode.
The Twelve Jays of Christmas: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews (Minotaur). A books column could scarcely get through a holiday season without recommending the newest Meg Langslow mystery. They’re full-length but light, even slightly comic, real mysteries, with happy—well, yeah, even merry—solutions.
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