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Saxton Reads! & Reviews

We invite the public to post reviews to our catalog by logging into our online catalog. Reviews will then be posted to this blog. Comments can be added to existing posts or may be added as separate reviews on our catalog
DECEMBER 28, 2008
Killing Circle ~ Andrew Pyper

**bas bleu - Sometimes a thriller can be too psychological...

In the opening scene of The Killing Circle, Toronto native Patrick Rush, a single father, takes his eight-year-old son Sam to a drive-in movie where the unthinkable happens: Sam disappears. To explain how this could have occurred, the author fills in the backstory of Rush's life as a grieving widower, failing journalist, and aspiring author. After Rush joins a writing workshop, a series of murders occur that appear to emulate the story line of one of the members of Rush's writers' circle. What follows is a psychological thriller where the reader is kept in suspense: is there a paranormal serial killer on the loose, or is Rush losing his grip on reality? While this novel would seem to possess all of the elements I enjoy in a psychological thriller, it did not meet my expectations. I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters, or even to like them or to care about what they did or didn't do. Even young Sam, while likable, was way too precocious to be believable. It appeared to me that the author was pushing the psychological element to the exclusion of grounding the novel in reality. As a result, I experienced a sense of disconnection and lack of fulfillment while reading, despite the twists and turns of the plot.

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DECEMBER 28, 2008
Aurelie: A fairie tale ~ Heather Tomlinson


I loved this book. It was simple, yet elegant, an enjoyable fairy tale and truly unique. It reminded me of some of Robin McKinley's earlier fairy tales. I very much enjoyed its straight to the point manner, yet it didn't sacrifice detail or description. Too many fantasy authors recently feel they have to give us hundreds of pages to do their story justice (Rowling, Funke, & Meyers) without allowing us as readers to use our imaginations. I look forward to reading Tomlinson's first book "The Snow Maiden" and to seeing more of her work in the future.

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DECEMBER 28, 2008
Killer's Wife ~ Bill Floyd

 I love reading a debut novel. I'm always hoping to find a new voice that I want to follow or a new author I can recommend to someone. Bill Floyd wrote Killer's Wife with the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader in mind. Floyd, like many others, pondered the question of how a person who appears to be an upright citizen, community member, and family man, turns out to be a serial killer who leaves death, despair and broken lives in his wake. Floyd's story gives us an inside look at what it would be like to be the wife of the killer, the woman sleeping beside him, the father of her child, the woman who only discovers his horrible secret when it's far too late. When Leigh Wren does find out what her husband Randall Roberts Mosley has done, she turns him into police and testifies at his trial. She and her young son flee their home on the west coast, adopting a new identity and new home in North Carolina. She is just beginning to put the past to rest when Charles Pritchett, the father of one of her husband's victims, finds her and blows her new life apart. Pritchett clearly blames Leigh as well as Mosley for his daughter's death and makes her life miserable by outing her in her new community and threatening her son. Add a copy-cat killer on the loose and you have a first rate thriller.

I really like the way Floyd tells the tale. He does this in a series of flashbacks which give insight to the lives of Wren and Mosley, how they met, the early days of their marriage, the beginning of Leigh's doubts about Randall, revealing bits and pieces of each personality until we have a full picture in the end. Floyd nails Leigh's character right too. He does a good job of portraying Leigh's emotions, her sensitivity, and her voice, something not easy for a male author to do well.

I particularly liked this passage:
"Randy's name was all over the national media when the story first broke. Yes, he was that Randall Roberts Mosley. The papers always use the full name for assholes like him, a respect you never see granted to the victims. No, assassins and psychos are worth knowing by their full titles, but not the dead."

Some critics feel the book's potential fell short. They saw the shifting back and forth in Leigh's story confusing and awkward. I do not agree. I found it very easy to flow with the story.

A good read for true crime buffs, it explores the criminal mind almost too well.

An excerpt can be read at

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DECEMBER 28, 2008
Inkdeath ~ Cornelia Caroline Funke


This is the third and final book in the Inkheart series. Whew! I'm glad it's over. The books are large, the story is amazingly complicated, and the characters are terribly annoying (to me anyway. I wouldn't make half the decisions that they do.) Not to mention that the bad guys get away with way too much! Still, it is an amazingly well-thought out world, an exciting premise, and the cliffhangers at the end of books 1 & 2 keep you coming back for more. Any lover of fantasy should read these books (and you probably won't dislike the characters as much as I did). I also think the third book was the best. The whole series reminds me of "The Neverending Story" which was also translated from German

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DECEMBER 8, 2008
Endangered Species ~ Nevada Barr


Reading a Nevada Barr mystery is like coming home for me. It's comforting, you know what to expect and you're not disappointed. Endangered Species is Barr all the way, National Park setting, murder mystery, a bit of romance, and a smart, strong, character in Park Ranger Anna Pigeon. This time round you'll find Anna in Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia. She's on a 21 day fire watch, hot, and bored. The boredom is short-lived when a plane crashes in the palmetto thickets and leaves the two person crew dead. Initial investigation points to murder and Anna's off and running once again to solve the crime.

Since the first Nevada Barr/Anna Pigeon mystery I read, Blind Descent, the series has become one of my favorites. I find no need to read them in order, choosing whichever park I'd like to visit through the eyes of the author. I can usually figure out the mystery but that doesn't make the read any less exciting for me. It's the location and what I learn about nature that make the book for me. When I get to visit Cumberland Island, I'll be on the lookout for alligators, chiggers, feral pigs, but most of all loggerhead turtles.

Fifth in the series this book would appeal to nature lovers, mystery readers, someone looking for a strong, smart female character, and fans of Jessica Speart.

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DECEMBER 3, 2008
Master Butchers Singing Club

***ckubala ~ The Characters are the thing....

I hated to see this one end as I fell in love with the characters. In the first chapters you follow Fidelis Waldvogel from the World War I German battlefields, to his journey to America with only a suitcase of sausages and his master butcher knives. He lands in Argus, North Dakota, works for a time for Pete Kozka, always letting him know his intention to strike out on his own. This he does and the ensuing rivalry between the two is a story in itself. Enter two more well fleshed characters, Delphine Watzka , with the rock hard flat stomach that is used as a table by her friend and odd lover, Cyprian, a balancing expert with a traveling act. Add Ron , Delphine's hard drinking, poor excuse of a father with his own dark secrets, Step-and-a-half, the local rag picker, love, friendship, murder, and small town life as our nation recovers from one war only to lead into another, making this a story that is hard to put down. Erdrich blends her love of history and Ojibwa heritage yet again, in this saga. A bit long, perhaps, maybe too much story for one book, but still, the characters absolutely shine. A good choice for book groups. I haven't read an Erdrich book in a long time and was quite entertained by this one.

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