Sunday, April 6, 2014

Some New Fiction Titles On Our Shelves
Based on traditional Vietnamese ghost stories told to the author by her Vietnamese grandmother but updated to reflect the contemporary ghost of the Vietnam War, here is a mesmerizing collection of thematically linked stories, united by the first and last story of the collection.

Violet wrote these unusually accomplished stories as an undergraduate at Mt. Holyoke College in an attempt to update the traditional Vietnamese ghost stories her grandmother had told her to incorporate the more relevant ghosts of the aftermath of the Vietnam War on a generation of displaced Vietnamese immigrants as well as those who remained in Vietnam. From the story about a beautiful young woman who shows up thirsty in the bathtub of the Frangipani Hotel in Saigon many years after her first sighting there to a young woman in Houston who befriends an old Vietnamese man she discovers naked behind a dumpster to a truck driver asked to drive a young man with an unnamed ailment home to die, to the story of two American sisters sent to Vietnam to visit their elderly grandmother who is not what she appears to be, these stories blend the old world with the new while providing a new angle of insight into the after-effects of the war.
When a good church girl starts singing in a jazz club and falls for the music--as well as a handsome, African-American man--she struggles to reconcile her childhood faith with her newfound passions.

Raised in the Danish-Baptist Church, Rose Sorensen believes it's wrong to sing anything but hymns. Singing worldly songs is a sin. But Rose still yearns for the songs she hears on the radio--"Cheek to Cheek", "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"--and sings them when no one is around.

One day, Rose's cousin takes her to Calliope's, a jazz club, where she discovers an exciting world she never knew existed. Here, blacks and whites mingle, brought together by their shared love of music. And though Rose worries it's wrong--given that her parents already have a hard-working, stable husband in mind for her--she can't stop thinking about the handsome African-American pianist of The Chess Men, Theo Chastain, who seems to have noticed her as well. When Rose returns to the jazz club, she is offered a role of singer for The Chess Men. The job would provide money to care for her sister Sophy, who has cerebral palsy--but at what cost?

As Rose gets to know Theo, their fledgling relationship faces prejudices she never imagined. And as she struggles to balance the dream world of Calliope's with her cold, hard reality, she also wrestles with God's call for her life. Can she be a jazz singer? Or will her faith--like the dream world of her nights--evaporate?

Set in Depression-era Chicago and rich in historical detail, Sing for Me is a beautiful, evocative story about finding real, unflinching love, and embracing--at all costs--your calling.
On the heels of winning Best Hardcover Novel for Spilled Blood at the International Thriller Awards, master of the psychological thriller and best-selling author Brian Freeman returns this spring with the sixth installment in the popular Jonathan Stride series.  The Cold Nowhere marks the much-anticipated return of Duluth PD Lieutenant Jonathan Stride, one of Brian Freeman’s signature characters.

Lieutenant Stride goes home to his cottage on the shore of Lake Superior, where he is confronted with a crime he cannot ignore. He discovers a young woman, Cat Mateo, hiding in his bedroom, scared and dripping wet from a desperate plunge into the icy lake.

The girl isn’t a stranger to Stride; she is the daughter of a woman he tried and failed to protect from a violent husband years ago. When Cat asks Stride for protection from a mysterious person she claims is trying to kill her, Stride is driven by guilt and duty to help her.

Stride’s police partner Maggie Bei doubts the homeless orphan, who has been supporting herself as a prostitute and living rough on the streets of Duluth. She marvels at how easily the hard-bitten young girl, who sleeps with a knife under her pillow, has won Stride’s trust.

As Stride investigates Cat’s case off the record, Maggie’s suspicions solidify and a single question haunts the void between them: should Stride be afraid for—or of—this damaged girl?

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