Richard Baedecker, the aptly named hero of this extraordinary novel, is a man adrift, searching for a lost sense of purpose. A former astronaut, Baedecker once walked on the moon, briefly escaping the tidal pull of gravity itself. Sixteen years later, gravity and other entropic forces have overtaken him. His marriage has ended. His professional life has grown increasingly meaningless. His relationship with his only son has all but disintegrated. At this critical moment, against the unlikely backdrop of Poona, India, Baedecker encounters a remarkable young woman named Maggie Brown, who will point him toward the “places of power” he has left behind and help him rediscover his essential self.
Phases of Gravity is a novel about the power of dreams and the possibility of second chances, about journeys remembered and newly undertaken. It is also, like so much of Dan Simmons’s work, a deeply affecting reflection on “the richness and mystery of the universe.” Moving effortlessly from the surface of the moon to the small towns of the American Midwest to the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, and filled with wisdom, unexpected turnings, and flashes of irreverent wit, Phases of Gravity is, by any definition, a major work, the kind of durable, fully realized creation that only a master novelist could produce.
Michael Cunningham - The Hours
Exiled in Richmond in the 1920s, Virginia Woolf struggles to tame her rebellious mind and make a start on her new novel. In 1990s New York, Clarissa Vaughan goes shopping for flowers for a party for her AIDS-suffering poet-friend. This novel meditates on artistic behaviour, love and madness.
Dan Simmons - Hardcase
Joe Kurtz has been wronged one too many times. So when he takes out the drugdealing thug who killed his girlfriend, the exPI gets to cool his heels for 11 years in Attica. It's there that he meets "Little Skag" Farino, the son of an aging Buffalo, New York, mob boss. In exchange for protecting the kid's manhood against any unwanted jailhouse affection, Kurtz gets an audience with Little Skag's father upon his release from prison. Semiretired Don Byron Farino is still clinging to what dwindling power he holds on the New York organized crime scene. He enlists Kurtz's help to track down the Family's missing accountanta man with too much knowledge of Family business to have on the loose. But someone doesn't want the accountant found. As the story twists and turns and the body count rises, Kurtz no longer knows whom he can trust. Everyone seems to be after something, from the mob boss's sultry yet dangerous daughter, to a hit man named The Dane, an albino killer who is good with a knife, and a dwarf who is armed to the teeth and hellbent on revenge. Bestselling author Dan Simmons expertly builds the tension as he springs one surprise after another, all the while daring the reader to take a ride with Kurtz through the cold, windy streets of Buffalo where one wrong move could mean a bellyfull of lead.
Jodi Picoult - Salem Falls
When Jack St. Bride arrives in the small town of Salem Falls, all he wants is to escape his past. He's spent the last eight months in jail, after being falsely accused of having an affair with an underage student at the school where he taught. In Salem Falls, he gets a job as a dishwasher at a local diner and tentatively begins a romance with the diner's owner, Addie, who is still mourning the death of her young daughter, born after Addie was raped in high school by three drunk boys. As she and Jack fall in love, they both see hope for the future. But their newfound love is threatened when the residents of Salem Falls learn of Jack's conviction and begin harassing him. When, predictably, a teenage girl accuses Jack of raping her, he finds himself back in jail, fighting a serious charge and the town's prejudice. Addie wrestles with her doubts and memories of her own rape, but she believes in Jack and goes on a quest of her own to find out the truth about Jack's initial conviction, even as the Salem Falls trial opens.
Dan Simmons - Hard as Nails
Somewhere in Western New York, there's a remote mountaintop in the moonlight, its dark forests and moon-dappled meadows populated only by corpses. If ex-PI Joe Kurtz doesn't unravel the secret of that place in five days, he'll be one of them. Everyone seems to want a piece of Kurtz these days and most succeed in getting one. Unknown assailants gun down Kurtz and his female parole officer, giving Kurtz the headache of a lifetime but putting pretty Peg O'Toole on life support. Working his own case through a haze of concussion migraine, Kurtz has to deal with Toma Gonzaga, the gay don who owes Kurtz a blood debt, and Angelina Farino Ferrara, the female don who is after Kurtz's body-or maybe just his head. And while someone is murdering all the heroin addicts in Buffalo and hauling away the bodies, a serial killer called the Artful Dodger hatches his twisted plan. In Kurtz's corner is police detective Rigby King, a beautiful woman who had been his young lover when they were both rebellious teenagers in Father Baker's Orphanage. Rigby also has designs on Joe Kurtz, but whether they're aimed at bedding or abetting him, helping him stay alive or simply putting him away for life, Kurtz will have to discover the hard way. Lightning fast pace and unrelenting action are the hallmarks of this series, but the epic struggle portrayed in this book sets a new standard for crime fiction. Saturated with the ragged-edged aggression of the Buffalo streets, Dan Simmons's Hard As Nails comes down like a hammer smashing a thumb on a cold day.
Janet Evanovich - High Five
High fives all around! The New York Times bestselling author of FOUR TO SCORE puts Stephanie Plum, America's favorite bounty hunter, back behind the wheel in her fifth high-octane thriller. What's Stephanie up to now? * Her Uncle Fred has disappeared. * A body turns up in a garbage bag. * She's got a nasty bookie following her around town. * Grandma Mazur has her hands on the stun gun. * Stephanie can't keep a car for more than forty-eight hours. * Two men are trying to get her into bed. * She has nothing to wear to the Mafia wedding. * And there's an angry little man (don't call him a dwarf!) who won't leave her apartment. Bail jumping in Trenton is down to small potatoes. Stephanie's only open case is a small bond for a small violation, committed by a small person who raises Stephanie's frustration level in big ways. So short of money and long on bills, Stephanie comes up with a plan --diversify! Signing on as an intern with entrepreneurial Super Bounty Hunter Ranger, Stephanie ventures into Ranger's mostly morally correct and marginally legal operations. None of this makes vice cop Joe Morelli a happy man. The cop in him can't help but wonder as to the source of Stephanie's expensive new cars. And the rest of him, the man who's been friend and lover to Stephanie, can't help but wonder if there's more to the partnership than meets the eye. The internship is downgraded to second priority when Uncle Fred goes missing. Even though Grandma Mazur is sure he was abducted by aliens, Stephanie sets out to look for Fred. He's a perfectly average senior citizen, and he's disappeared without a trace while running errands. He's left his ten-year-old Pontiac station wagon locked up nice and neat in the Grand Union parking lot, the cleaning is carefully arranged on the back seat, and his wife is at home, waiting for him to return with the bread and the milk and the olive loaf bologna. Locked in the top drawer of his desk are photos of a body, dismembered and stuffed into a garbage bag. And locked away in the computer files of a another average citizen are the clues that will lead Stephanie to Fred. Criminally original and stone brilliant, this Intermediate Bounty Hunting Survival Manual is blockbuster entertainment.
Dan Simmons - Flashback
The United States is near total collapse. But 87% of the population doesn't care: they're addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to re-experience the best moments of their lives. After ex-detective Nick Bottom's wife died in a car accident, he went under the flash to be with her; he's lost his job, his teenage son, and his livelihood as a result. Nick may be a lost soul but he's still a good cop, so he is hired to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor's son. This flashback-addict becomes the one man who may be able to change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past. A provocative novel set in a future that seems scarily possible, FLASHBACK proves why Dan Simmons is one of our most exciting and versatile writers.
Dan Simmons - Darwin's Blade
Darwin Minor travels a dangerous road. A Vietnam veteran turned reluctant expert on interpreting the wreckage of fatal accidents, Darwin uses science and instinct to unravel the real causes of unnatural disasters. He is very, very good at his job. His latest case promises to be his most challenging yet. A spate of seemingly random high-speed car accidents has struck the highways of southern California. Each seems to have been staged - yet the participants have all died. Why would anyone commit fraud at the cost of his own life? The deeper Darwin digs, the closer he comes to unmasking an international network specializing in intimidation and murder, whose members will do anything to make sure Darwin soon suffers a deadly accident of his own.
Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
The most anticipated publication of the decade, The Lost Symbol is the stunning new thriller featuring Robert Langdon. Six years in the writing, it is Dan Brown's extraordinary sequel to his internationally bestselling Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nothing is ever what it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. Set over a breathtaking 12 hour time span, the book's narrative takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through a masterful and unexpected landscape as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, is once again called into action.
Robert Ludlum - The Parsifal Mosaic
Michael Havelock's world died on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava. He watched as his partner and lover, Jenna Karats, double agent, was efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There was nothing left for him but to quit the game, get out. Until, in one frantic moment on a crowded railroad platform in Rome, Havelock saw his Jenna alive. From then on, he was marked for death by both U.S. and Russian assassins, racing around the globe after his beautiful betrayer, trapped in a massive mosaic of treachery created by a top-level mole with the world in his fist—Parsifal.
J. A. Huss - Taking Turns
I’ve never been afraid of the dark...but that doesn’t mean I wanted to live in it. And maybe everyone wants what they can’t have, but I should’ve thought it over before I accepted the key and unlocked the door to their forbidden world. Number One is mostly silent. He watches me with them very carefully. His gaze never wanders. His interest never wanes. Number Two is mostly gentle. But it’s the other side of him I like best. The wild side. Number Three is mostly reserved. He refuses to cross the line. Even when I beg. It was carnal, it was sensual, and it was erotic. That’s it. That’s all it was supposed to be. A trip into the dark. A peek into the forbidden. I just didn’t expect to like them. ***** I heard the door open and close and said nothing. And the footsteps coming down the hallway towards the bedroom. I even heard him say, “Hey.” So softly. “You awake?” Like he didn’t want to wake me. I listened as he stepped into the closet. There was that slick sound a man makes when he pulls his tie through his shirt collar. I heard the unclasping of his watch. The jingle of his belt buckle and the shuffle of his pants as they dropped to the floor. I even heard his moan as he stood over me. I could feel his shadow from the streetlamp outside like it was heat. Then the bed creaked, the mattress sank. And his warm, hard body straddled me. Still, I said nothing. I just buried my face in the sweet scent of the pillow and closed my eyes, feigning sleep. “Rochelle,” he whispered, leaning over me. His fingertips gently brushed the hair away from my shoulder. His mouth pressed against my skin. “Did you miss me? God, I’ve missed you. Two weeks is too long. We need to renegotiate.” He nipped my neck. Kissed it. Licked my ear as he positioned himself to begin. And I said… nothing. Even though my name is not Rochelle. That’s why I’m here. Tied up and gagged inside the closet. Sitting in the dark as three men on the other side of the door argue about where Rochelle went, why I was in her bed, and what they should do next. I should be scared but I’m not. I should be screaming, but I won’t. Because this just feels very, very right. And the only thing on my mind is… what will happen next?
Dan Simmons - Children of the Night
I’ve heard it said that it’s impossible for Dan Simmons to write a bad novel; I agree. A man with many talents (his Hyperion is considered one of Science Fictions most beloved novels), Simmons turns his unique skills to the Dracula tale. This books is great because not only does Simmons tell a fantastic thriller tale, he also flips the Vampire mythos upside down. The novel has one of the most convincing scientific explanations for vampires that I’ve yet read about.
Colson Whitehead - The Underground Railroad
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all slaves, but Cora is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is coming into womanhood; even greater pain awaits. Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her of the Underground Railroad and they plot their escape. Like Gulliver, Cora encounters different worlds on each leg of her journey. Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors of black life in pre-Civil War America. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
Dan Simmons - Black Hills
Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, first encounters General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at Little Bighorn. He believes--as do the holy men of his tribe--that the legendary general's ghost entered him at that moment and will remain with him until Sapa convinces him to leave. In BLACK HILLS, Dan Simmons weaves the stories of Paha Sapa and Custer together seamlessly, depicting a violent and tumultuous time in the history of Native Americans and the United States Army. Haunted by the voice of the general his people called "Long Hair," Paha Sapa lives a long life, driven by a dramatic vision he experiences in the Black Hills that are his tribe's homeland. As an explosives worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, he may finally be rid of his ghosts--on the very day FDR comes to South Dakota to dedicate the Jefferson face.
J. A. Huss - Anarchy Missing
Everyone wants justice. That’s what Assistant DA, Lulu Lightly, tells me. “Cathedral City needs you to set things right,” she says. “To rid this place of corruption, once and for all.” I’d like to rid Lulu Lightly of her clothes. And maybe her moral superiority. But mostly her clothes. “I want you to fight the good fight with me,” she says. Hell, yeah. I’m always up for a fight. “We should stand up and be the voice of the people,” she says. Sure, I hear voices. Sometimes I even listen to them. “Figure out what’s good for the City and put it first,” she says. Oh, honey… what’s good for the City is bad for the people. Trust me, I know. I’m Case Reider—insane Alpha, nefarious inventor, and I understand this town better than anyone. Cathedral City needs me all right. Just not the way you think. I’m not the justice you’re looking for, Lulu Lightly. I’m still the same villain you left behind. Only now… there’s something very, very wrong with me.
John Grisham - The Partner
For four years, Patrick had often wondered how it would feel if they caught him. Now he was terror-stricken. Practicallly naked and strapped down like an animal, he knew the next few hours would be insufferable... Once he was a well-liked, well-paid young partner in a thriving Mississippi law firm. Then Patrick Lanigan stole ninety million dollars from his own firm - and ran for his life. For four years, he evaded men who were rich, powerful, and would stop at nothing to find him. Then, inevitably, on the edge of the Brazilian jungle, they finally tracked him down. Now Patrick is coming home. And in the Mississippi city where it all began, an extraordinary trial is about to begin. As prosecutors circle like sharks, as Patrick's lawyer prepares his defense, as Patrick's lover prays for his deliverance and his former partners wait for their revenge, another story is about to emerge. Because Patrick Lanigan, the most reviled white-collar criminal of his time, knows something that no one else in the world knows. He knows the truth...
Chuck Palahniuk - Survivor
Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult, has commandeered a Boeing 747, emptied of passengers, in order to tell his story to the plane's black box before it crashes. Brought up by the repressive cult and, like all Creedish younger sons, hired out as a domestic servant, Tender finds himself suddenly famous when his fellow cult members all commit suicide. As media messiah he ascends to the very top of the freak-show heap before finally and apocaliptically spiralling out of control.
Charlie N. Holmberg - Veins of Gold
A new historical fantasy novel from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg: VEINS OF GOLD Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it. Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger. Winn not only sees the magic, but controls its hunger by feeding it gold—the very thing Gentry’s father left to acquire. But the earth’s unrest only grows worse, and Gentry’s fear leads her to a terrible choice: marry a wealthy man she does not love, or trust in Winn’s unpredictable power to save her family.
Catherine Ryan Hyde - Pay It Forward
The internationally bestselling book that inspired the Pay It Forward movement is now available in a middle grade edition. Pay It Forward is a moving, uplifting novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. Trevor’s idea is simple: do a good deed for three people, and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to “pay it forward” to three others who need help. He envisions a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading across the world, and in this “quiet, steady masterpiece with an incandescent ending” (Kirkus Reviews), Trevor’s actions change his community forever. This middle grade edition of Pay It Forward is extensively revised, making it an appropriate and invaluable complement to lesson plans and an ideal pick for book clubs, classroom use, and summer reading. Includes an author'snote and curriculum guide.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter
America’s first psychological novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent and fierce woman whobears the punishment of her sin in humble silence; the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband—a man who seethes with an Ahab-like lust for vengeance. The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are universal—the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.