My to-read list is massive and I’m sure yours is too. Since deciding what to read next can be hard, here are my three recommendations for what to read this spring.
KEEP QUIET by Lisa Scottoline
This past Saturday my girlfriend, Stephanie, and I attended Lisa Scottoline’s book signing for her new novel, Keep Quiet, at the Barnes & Noble in Cherry Hill, NJ. Lisa’s mother just passed away last week, so I wasn’t sure if she was going to have the book signing. But after cancelling a few dates on her book tour, Lisa persevered and decided to do her last two book signings. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Lisa, using her infectious humor, found a way to leave everyone smiling by the end of the event. Yes, she spoke about “Mother Mary” passing away, but she also made sure to inject several funny stories about her mother that had the crowd in stitches. And Lisa remembered many fans, including myself, by name and embraced us with hugs and well wishes. For my money, no author is as warm and loving to her fans as Lisa Scottoline.
But let’s get to the book. Keep Quiet is next on my to-read list and as you can see from the synopsis below, it sounds like it should be an intriguing and compelling read. I can’t wait to crack it open and based on the early reviews, it’s one of Scottoline’s best books in recent years. Keep an open eye out for my review of the book in the coming weeks.
And, if you haven’t already read it, you can check out my interview with Lisa Scottoline here.
Keep Quiet Synopsis
New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author Lisa Scottoline is loved by millions of readers for her suspenseful novels about family and justice. Scottoline delivers once again with Keep Quiet, an emotionally gripping and complex story about one man’s split-second decision to protect his son – and the devastating consequences that follow.Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.
EVERYTHING TO LOSE by Andrew Gross
Another one of my favorite authors is Andrew Gross, who I also interviewed last year. You can check it out here. He has a new novel coming out tomorrow entitled Everything to Lose. I’m reading it right now and will be reviewing it soon. I’m happy to report that it’s very entertaining and, in my opinion, better than his previous book, No Way Back. I highly recommend you order a copy of Everything to Lose and give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You can buy the book here.
Everything to Lose Synopsis
A determined, (down on her luck,) mother caring for her handicapped son becomes entangled in a murderous conspiracy to keep a twenty year old secret buried in this blistering thriller, set during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, from Andrew Gross, the New York Times bestselling author of 15 Seconds and No Way Back.
While driving along a suburban back road, Hilary Blum, who’s just lost her job and whose deadbeat husband has left her alone to care for her son with Asperger’s, witnesses a freakish accident. A car ahead of her careens down a hill and slams into a tree. Stopping to help, she discovers the driver dead—and a satchel stuffed with a half a million dollars.
That money could prevent her family’s ruin and keep her special needs son in school. In an instant, this honest, achieving woman who has always done the responsible thing makes a decision that puts her in the center of maelstrom of dark consequences and life-threatening recriminations—a terrifying scheme involving a twenty-year-old murder, an old woman who’s life has been washed out to sea, and a powerful figure bent to keep the secret that can destroy him hidden.
With everything to lose, everything she loves, Hilary connects to a determined cop from Staten Island, reeling from the disaster of Sandy, to bring down an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep what that money was meant to silence, still buried.
CARNAL CURIOSITY by Stuart Woods
My first interview of the year was with the legendary thriller writer Stuart Woods, famous for his Stone Barrington series that has been going strong for decades. The newest installment in the series, Carnal Curiosity, just debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Once I’m done Lisa Scottoline’s Keep Quiet, this one’s next, so stay tuned for my review. Based on how enjoyable Woods’ recent novels have been, I also recommend you pick up a copy of Carnal Curiosity.
Carnal Curiosity Synopsis
Stone Barrington seems to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Manhattan’s elite are beset by a series of clever crimes—and Stone is a material witness—he and his former partner Dino Bacchetti find themselves drawn into the world of high-end security and fraud, where insider knowledge and access are limited to a privileged few, and the wealthy are made vulnerable by the very systems meant to keep them safe. As Stone and Dino delve deeper into their investigation, they learn that the mastermind behind the incidents may have some intimate ties to Stone . . . and that the biggest heist is still to come.
I just returned from Mexico and during my trip I finished reading Stuart Woods’ latest Stone Barrington novel, Standup Guy. As expected, it’s a terrific read that goes down as smoothly as a glass of Knob Creek. In addition to having a wonderfully unpredictable plot, the book references and builds on previous storylines and there’s an interesting political element as well. The Stone Barrington series has been around for 23 years and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. For those looking to read a high-quality mystery filled with action and intrigue, look no further: Standup Guy delivers.
Stone Barrington’s newest client does not seem the type to bring mayhem in his wake. A polite, well-deported gentleman, he comes to Stone seeking legal expertise on an unusual—and potentially lucrative—dilemma. Stone points him in the right direction and sends him on his way, but it’s soon clear Stone hasn’t seen the end of the case. Several people are keenly interested in this gentleman’s activities and how they may relate to a long-ago crime . . . and some of them will stop at nothing to find the information they desire.
On a hunt that leads from Florida’s tropical beaches to the posh vacation homes of the Northeast, Stone finds himself walking a tightrope between ambitious authorities and seedy lowlifes who all have the same prize in their sights. In this cutthroat contest of wills, it’s winner-takes-all . . . and Stone will need every bit of his cunning and resourcefulness to be the last man standing.
2013 was my first full year of blogging, and it was a great one. I wrote 174 posts and exceeded 20,000 views, reaching people in 118 countries. I also had the honor and privilege of interviewing some of my favorite authors, actors and musicians, including:
And 2014 is shaping up to be an even bigger year with interviews already scheduled with 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee John Oates and bestselling author Stuart Woods.
Thanks to all of you who regularly read my posts, as well as those who take the time to comment. Speaking of which, below are my top commenters’ great blogs. Make sure to check them out:
2013 was my best year yet, both personally and professionally, and I plan on making 2014 even more special.
Happy New Year!
I just finished Stuart Woods’ latest Stone Barrington novel, Doing Hard Time, and I have to say it was a great read. Similar to previous books in the series, it moved at a brisk pace, featured edge-of-your-seat action and had compelling characters. Speaking of which, my favorite character in the book was Teddy Fay, a mysterious and formidable figure who has made guest appearances in previous Barrington novels, as well as other series penned by Woods. While Stone takes a back seat this time out, his supporting role made for a refreshing change of pace. Also worth noting is the wonderfully descriptive romantic scenes Woods has become known for are nowhere to be found. While some may prefer the abridged intimate encounters present in this book, I sincerely hope the full-length descriptions return the next time around. Doing Hard Time is a fun, fast-paced novel that Stone Barrington and thriller fans will enjoy. If you’re looking for a good read, I highly recommend you check it out. You can buy it here: http://tinyurl.com/k2ta223.
When Stone Barrington embarks on a trip to Bel-Air to check in on some business and personal concerns, he expects a relaxing break from the fast pace and mean streets of New York. But trouble never takes a vacation, and it has a way of finding Stone. A case that had seemingly been resolved has returned in full force—with lethal results. And this deadly situation makes for strange bedfellows when Stone finds himself teamed with the least likely ally . . . a gentleman of unique abilities, who can fly below the radar and above the law.
From the high-stakes poker tables of Las Vegas to California’s lush beachside resorts, the trail of disguise, subterfuge, and murder leads to a shocking conclusion.
Stuart Woods is one of my favorite authors for a variety of reasons. He comes up with terrific characters names. For example, Felicity Devonshire, Arrington Calder, and, of course, the best belongs to the star of his ever-popular book series: Stone Barrington. Woods is also a gifted writer; his sentence structure is varied and infused with inspired word usage, and Woods’ ability to vividly describe a romantic scene is unrivaled.
Like many writers who’ve achieved great success, Woods has been accused of becoming lazy, churning out book after book, focusing on quantity instead of quality. While I’ve noticed a distinct dip in his ability to create a novel that keeps me guessing from start to finish, I still find myself enamored by his characters and impressed with the fluidity of his prose. Yes, he may not be writing at the level of Harlan Coben anymore, but spending time with Stone Barrington, Dino Bacchetti and Holly Barker feels like coming home and catching up with old friends. Which brings us to my thoughts on Woods’ latest novel, Unintended Consequences.
Unintended Consequences kept me entertained from cover to cover. Speaking of which, this book’s cover is beautiful – easily the best I’ve seen this year. A good portion of the novel is set in one of my favorite cities, Paris, where Stone Barrington finds himself ensnared by mysterious circumstances. Unlike Dan Brown’s Inferno, where the lead character also had amnesia, Woods deftly handled Barrington’s challenging situation without leaving the reader feeling betrayed. Unintended Consequences moved along at an incredibly brisk pace without resorting to the pedestrian vernacular that is commonly found in similar books. As a writer, I appreciated this, as well as the palpable new characters – my favorite being the sophisticated Marcel duBois.
I blew through Unintended Consequences in less than a week because it was an easy, captivating read. While it wasn’t a convoluted mystery, it didn’t need to be. It told an easy-to-follow story from start to finish and whet my appetite for the next Stone Barrington adventure. Not only did I get to spend time with some of my favorite characters in fiction, I learned a few new words along the way. What more could I ask for? It didn’t blow me away, but after reading the last page, I felt satisfied. And, for me, that’s what’s most important – feeling that my time was well spent. If you like thrillers, give this one a shot. It may not be Stuart Woods’ greatest novel, but it’s a worthy addition to a formidable series.
Stone Barrington is no stranger to schemes and deceptions of all stripes—as an attorney for the premier white-shoe law firm Woodman & Weld, he’s seen more than his share. But when he travels to Europe under highly unusual circumstances, Stone finds himself at the center of a mystery that is, even by his standards, most peculiar. Two unexpected invitations may be the first clues in an intricate puzzle Stone must unravel to learn the truth . . . a puzzle that will lead him deep into the rarefied world of European ultrawealth and privilege, where billionaires rub elbows with spooks, insider knowledge is traded at a high premium, and murder is never too high a price to pay for a desired end. It soon becomes clear that beneath the bright lights of Europe lurks a shadowy underworld . . . and its only rule is deadly ambition.
Stuart Woods is one of my favorite fiction writers. I’ve read many of his Stone Barrington and Holly Barker books, as well as a handful of his standalone novels. Most recently I read Lucid Intervals, a Stone Barrington novel, and it was very good. Unlike other thriller writers, Woods’ books don’t move at a break-neck pace. The chapters are longer and the convolution is kept to a minimum. This book highlights an area in which Woods excels: character development. His ability to craft memorable characters throughout this series of books is marvelous. Whether it’s Stone’s many – and I mean many – sexual encounters or Herbie Fisher’s moronically endearing personality, I found myself looking forward to all the encounters between the key and tertiary characters in the novel. The plot was fascinating and the conclusion was satisfying. While it didn’t feature all the twists and turns of Harlan Coben novel, that’s not the way Stuart Woods writes. If you’re a fan of the series or looking to try a different author in the mystery and thriller genre, you can’t go wrong with Lucid Intervals. It’s a compelling story that is well worth your time.
It seems like just another quiet night at Elaine’s. Stone Barrington and his former cop partner Dino are enjoying their drinks when in walks former client and all-around sad sack Herbie Fisher… with a briefcase full of cash and in need of a lawyer.
But while he’s trying to fend off Herbie, Stone is propositioned by another potential client, this one a bit more welcome. A beautiful MI6 agent, Felicity Devonshire has a missing persons case she needs solved—and she knows from experience how very useful Stone can be.
Stone’s investigation takes him into the posh world of embassy soirees and titled privilege, where high society meets government intrigue. And when trouble follows him from his luxurious Manhattan brownstone to his tranquil summer home in Maine, Stone has to decide what to do with the explosive information he’s uncovered.