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Gail Cooke (TX, USA)
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The English Spy
The English Spy
par Daniel Silva
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 26,28

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A TOPNOTCH MODERN ESPIONAGE NOVEL, 2 juillet 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The English Spy (Relié)
Outside of being the most totally engrossing, entertaining book I’ve read in many a calendar turn what more can I say about Daniel Silva who has been called a master of the modern espionage novel, and an author who delivers “consistent excellence and cool brilliance”? For this reader he also has the ability to transport us throughout the world, describing each locale as knowingly as if it were his own backyard. And the characters he creates do more than leap from the page - they own it whether they come to us via a glance, a clenched fist or a whiff of Turkish tobacco.

Not to worry if you have not read the previous novels starring Gabriel Allon, an empathetic, fascinating protagonist, a gifted art restorer and formidable operative, Silva subtly inserts his background into the story and before you’re aware of it you know Allon quite well. Of course, if The English Spy is your first Allon adventure you’ll want to rush out and read the earlier ones.

With this tale Silva grabbed me early on. A not to be forgotten member of the British Royal Family celebrated for her beauty and charitable works who was spurned by her former husband is introduced while boarding a luxury yacht soon to leave Saint Barthelemy for a Caribbean cruise. The world is shocked when a bomb explodes aboard ship and a Princess dies.

British intelligence knows there is but one person who can track down her killer and that man is Gabriel Allon. His quary is Eamon Quinn, a former Real IRA master bomb maker who is now a mercenary selling his services to the highest bidder. However, we soon discover that the assassination of the Princess was what is known as “collateral damage,” her death merely a ruse to bring Allon and his partner, Christopher Keller, out into the open. Quinn has been hired by the Russians to kill Allon, and thus the thrilling adventure begins.

You won’t want to miss The English Spy - it has no peer. I’d lend you my book, but I may just want to read it again.

- Gail Cooke


The Fixer
The Fixer
par Joseph Finder
Edition : CD
Prix : EUR 42,63

5.0 étoiles sur 5 NOT A DULL MOMENT IN THIS TALE, 25 juin 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Fixer (CD)
Caveat first: I’m a huge fan of Joseph Finder’s books, for me his titles are always crisp, fast-paced, timely and totally absorbing. That experience is enhanced by a terrific narration by Steven Kearney (who also read Finder’s Suspicion).

What grabbed me in the beginning was a protagonist, Rick Hoffman, a fellow with whom many of us can identify. He’s not a sharp, muscled private eye but an every day guy who was just laid off from work. Now, it wasn’t work that he particularly enjoyed, but he did need the paycheck. He was writing pieces for a Boston city magazine - articles glorifying the rich and famous. What to do?

His elderly father has been left speechless after a stroke and is now confined to a nursing home. Well, his dad’s house is now empty and Rick needs a roof so he decides to move in. He sees that the house could use a little help, minor renovations. What he finds while improving the space is anything but minor - it’s major, $3 million in cash in a crawl space.

Of course, Rick needs a bit of cash so he spends some of it and begins trying to find out where it came from. His father, of course, is unable to tell him anything. Rick does know that his dad had once been a pretty powerful attorney with some big time clients. But even for a first-rate lawyer 3 million is a bit much in attorney’s fees.

It’s not too long before some pretty shady folks come looking for the cash and Rick.

Never a dull moment in a Finder suspense tale - enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


The Enemy Inside LP: A Paul Madriani Novel
The Enemy Inside LP: A Paul Madriani Novel
par Steve Martini
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 26,43

5.0 étoiles sur 5 HIGH ADVENTURE, MOUNTING SUSPENSE, 13 juin 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Enemy Inside LP: A Paul Madriani Novel (Broché)
Every once in a while an author will create a lead character so real, so likable, so charismatic that readers are prone to forget he or she is a fictional character. Such is the case for Steve Martini’s creation of Paul Madriani. I find myself eagerly awaiting Madriani’s next adventure and then while reading become so immersed in the story that I stay up late pulling for him as though he were a favorite uncle rather than a product of Martini’s abundant imagination. Such was certainly the case with The Enemy Inside in which defense attorney Madriani discovers layers of corruption that lead to the highest levels of power.

A friend, Alex Ives, is implicated in a fatal traffic accident on a remote Southern California highway. To begin with Alex cannot remember any of that evening save for the fact that he is sure he had only one drink and had gone to meet an irresistible young woman at an A-List house party. He has awakened hospitalized in police custody charged with drunk driving and manslaughter.

Madriani believes Alex and determines to defend him unaware of the personal dangers involved. The deceased in the traffic accident was Olinda Serna, one of our country’s most successful lawyers and adept at managing money as well as discovering the secrets of her numerous influential clients. When these powerful folk learn of her death they’re concerned that their closely guarded secrets may be found out.

How far will they go to protect themselves, their position, their careers?

The Enemy Inside is loaded with carefully drawn fascinating characters, high adventure, and mounting suspense.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


The Liar
The Liar
par Nora Roberts
Edition : CD
Prix : EUR 25,08

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A WIDOW LEARNS ALL SHE HAS LOST, 4 juin 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Liar (CD)
Ever popular author Nora Roberts topped bestseller lists with the hardcover edition of The Liar, and she gets our vote for doing it again with the audio edition thanks to voice performer January LaVoy. She is a new reader to me and I’ll be looking for her name on future titles - she nails the Tennessee accent as she skillfully delivers a first rate narration.

Norah Roberts does seem to have a penchant for creating strong women in dire circumstances, which describes Shelby Foxworth who discovers that she’s been deceived in almost every possible way. When her husband, Richard, drowned in the Atlantic Ocean she is heartbroken. He is the man who took her from a Tennessee home to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb, fathered her beautiful child, Callie, and showered every luxury on her.

However, when she gains access to Richard’s safety deposit instead of the wealth that she expected to find she discovers some cash, a gun, and many IDs bearing Richard’s picture and other men’s names. The man she loved and married had been a cheat and a liar. Now, Shelby is left with insurmountable debt and a private investigator knocking on her door.

Hoping to find solace and a modicum of comfort she takes Callie and returns to her hometown in Tennessee. It is there that she gathers strength and the determination to solve her problems. And, she meets good looking carpenter Griffin Lott who is everything Richard was not - honest, straightforward and caring.

However, just as she is beginning to see that there can be a future for her she finds that Richard had secrets yet to be revealed - secrets that endanger Shelby and all that she holds dear.

- Gail Cooke


A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel
A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel
par Anne Tyler
Edition : CD
Prix : EUR 41,84

5.0 étoiles sur 5 TYLER IS ALWAYS TOPS, 28 mai 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel (CD)
A new novel by Anne Tyler is always a happily anticipated event for me. Her stories ring true, warm my heart, and kindly yet accurately describe our shared humanity. Such is the case with her 20th novel, A Spool Of Blue Thread. Frosting on the cake is hearing this saga of four generations read by the accomplished Kimberly Farr. She is a gifted actress with many Broadway appearances to her credit, and she brings her wealth of experiences to this narration.

The four generations mentioned are all members of the Baltimore Whitshank family headed by Red and Abby who have now reached the age when they need some looking after. It does not take long for Tyler to introduce all of the family along with their foibles - Red tends to be critical, Abby offers smother love. Denny, their 19-year-old son, is dubbed unreliable by his siblings. One down to earth offspring offers ways to care for their aging parents. Amanda and Stem who will inherit Whitshank construction have what might be called cameo appearances until an unexpected event has Tyler taking us back in time to explore and reveal oft told Whitshank stories.

As the years unfold laughter and happiness emerges as do disappointments and secrets that have been kept hidden. While all of this might seem to be a script for any family in Tyler’s hands it is a richly rewarding story, fresh and remarkable.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Gaudi Pop-Ups
Gaudi Pop-Ups
par Courtney Watson McCarthy
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 25,53

5.0 étoiles sur 5 PAPER ENGINEERING AT ITS FINEST, 24 mai 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Gaudi Pop-Ups (Relié)
"Absolutely amazing" is the only way to describe this giant pop-up celebrating the vision and work of Catalan architect and designer Antoni Gaudi. His visual influence on Barcelona is immeasurable. Those who have been fortunate enough to see his work there never forget it, especially the astounding Sagrada Familia. Bold, distinctive, dramatic, his designs have brought countless visitors to Barcelona and today his buildings are among the most admired in the world.

Born in 1852 to a humble family there was little in Gaudi's early life to indicate his greatness. In fact, when he graduated from the Barcelona Architure School the director said, "Who knows if we have given this diploma to a fool or to a genius. Time will tell." Time has definitely told and paper engineer Courtney Watson McCarthy has given life to some of Gaudi's most famous designs - words cannot do justice to these remarkable creations.

Included are 7 pop-ups and 16 illustrations, all in color. You'll find in addition to the unbelievable Sagrada Familia interior and exterior Ironwork from the Park Guell as well as the multi-colored Salamander also from the Park and more.

Almost a good as a trip to Barcelona Gaudi Pop-Ups is a joy to behold as well as paper engineering at its finest.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke


The Memory Painter
The Memory Painter
par Gwendolyn Womack
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 24,16

4.0 étoiles sur 5 COMPLEX, IMAGINATIVE, AN ENTERPRISING DEBUT, 19 mai 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Memory Painter (Relié)
Complex, imaginative, intricately plotted author Womack’s debut is a doozey! When a research team develops a drug that does wonders for those suffering from Alzheimer’s one wonders what the same drug might do for a healthy mind. Any guesses?

Bryan Pierce, an artist, is compelled to paint the very lifelike dreams from which he suffers. At a Boston museum he meets Linz Jacobs, a brilliant scientist studying memory. She, too, suffers from a powerful childhood dream. It soon becomes clear to Bryan that somehow their dreams are related, and further that he and Linz have known and loved each other in past lives. From there the reader is catapulted into different time frames that have been inhabited by Bryan - an ancient Roman priest, the painter Jan van Eyck, a Japanese samurai, Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. The rapidity of these movements back and forth in time do tend to be somewhat confusing, albeit fascinating.

It seems to Bryan who by the way is also fluent in 30 languages that the only thing to do is to wait for Linz’s dreams to catch up with his. Bear in mind that these dreams are not akin to the dreams that we might have but are retellings of entire lifetimes spanning thousands of years. Evidently the pair have lived and loved in ancient Rome and Egypt and lived as poets. How would it be possible for the human mind to contain or process all of this?

Womack raises a multitude of questions, which eventually take us to a surprising and perhaps for some a dubious conclusion. The Memory Painter is an enterprising debut and we wait to see what this author will come up with next.


Fun, Funky & Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes
Fun, Funky & Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes
par Jyl Benson
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 23,88

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A PLEASURE TO BROWSE AND TO USE, 29 avril 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Fun, Funky & Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes (Broché)
What would you title a book that’s unique, a bit outre, fun to browse and full of delicious recipes that make you want to run to your kitchen? (That is if you can’t hop a quick flight to New Orleans!) Fun, Funky and Fabulous is more than apropos for this delightful tour of affordable restaurants in the Crescent City (?) There’s also a bit of history thrown in and F, F and F also serves as a handy guide to various neighborhoods and where to eat in each of them.

Now, the dining is always casual but the dishes are more than delicious - you’ll find MoPho, Purtoo, Toup’s Meatery, Juan’sFlying Burrito and more. Ever tempting, always changing, innovative and exciting these recipes are unlike any others you’re apt to find.

Benson knows her territory well and describes it with affection. She has worked with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both the New York Times and Time Magazine.

Each section is headed by some of the most charming folk art to be found by Simon Hardeveld who is known as Simon of New Orleans. Originally from France his illustrations are unique and memorable.

Originally from London and now resident New Orleans photographer Sam Hanna’s photographs are so luscious that you want to pick up a fork and dig in. There are over 50 color photos - each mouth watering.

Fun, Funky and Fabulous is a pleasure to browse as well as to use given to us by three who quite obviously love their city and its cuisine.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Past Crimes: A Van Shaw Novel
Past Crimes: A Van Shaw Novel
par Glen Erik Hamilton
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 25,62

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A PROMISING DEBUT, 24 avril 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Past Crimes: A Van Shaw Novel (Relié)
With his debut novel the author introduces us to a new hero as tough and savvy as they come - Van Shaw is a combat veteran recovering from random shrapnel injuries when he receives a letter from his grandfather, Dono, simply saying, “Come home if you can.” Van understands the “if you can” coming from his grandfather to mean please, a word not often used by Dono, and why now? The two had been estranged for a number of years and Dono was a thief, albeit a gifted one.

Van had been raised by Dono to follow in the old man’s footsteps and he was an apt pupil. But at the age of 18 he’d left that life behind him by joining the Army. Now, after ten years he returns to find that Dono has been shot and is near death. Outside of the fact that due to the known tension between the two men he might become the primary suspect Van wants to find out who would shoot Dono and why. In order to do this Van must reconnect with Dono’s old cronies and use every bit of skill he had learned as a criminal not only to find the shooter but to survive.

With Seattle and its waters as a backdrop the story develops in two narratives - the current investigation into Dono’s assault and memories of Van’s time as a lawbreaker. In order to solve the mystery Van must discover what Dono has been doing that might lead to this. Along the way we meet some exciting ancillary characters who may be a bit nefarious but still don’t want Dono dead. Now, mix in a bit of romance and a cache of diamonds and you have a stay-up-all-night thriller.

Kudos to Glen Erik Hamilton for a well crafted thriller, and looking forward to more.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Hot Pursuit
Hot Pursuit
par Stuart Woods
Edition : CD
Prix : EUR 33,26

5.0 étoiles sur 5 STONE BARRINGTON - ONE OF MY FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS, 14 avril 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Hot Pursuit (CD)
Stone Barrington, one of this author’s most exciting and enduring series characters returns in a can’t-stop-listening-to mix of thrills, danger and surprises. Acclaimed screen and TV actor Tony Roberts gives topnotch voice to this action filled tale as Stone faces down terrorists and thugs alike.

Hard to believe this is Edgar winner Woods’s 33rd Barrington tale yet it has not lost one drop of its vinegar - nonetheless, ‘tis true. It begins with Stone taking possession of a new Citation M2 jet at a Kansas airfield. No surprise that the jet’s copilot is a really good looking gal, Pat Frank, with whom Stone soon finds much in common. When her ex-boyfriend who happens to be a stalker shows up they skedaddle to London.

Of course, things aren’t quiet in D.C. as Stone’s good friend President Katharine Rule Lee is top of the list for some terrorist assassins. Nor is all well on the international scene. However, once back in New York Stone accept a senatorial invite to join a tony club, and Pat’s former boyfriend seems adept at making big trouble - two tenants in a building just deeded to Pat are murdered.

Does Stone have enough on his plate? Of course, but that’s the pleasure in reading one of his tales and vicariously enjoying his luxe but dangerous life style.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


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