Two recent crime novels will whisk you away to sunny California – a literary land of crime and deceit. Each book features convoluted plotting and exceptionally quirky characters.
"Magician’s Daughter” by Judith Janeway (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95 hardback, $14.95 paperback) is the first in a highly entertaining new series. It stars Valentine Hill, who's working in Las Vegas, mostly as a street magician.
Valentine is trying to track down her mother, Elizabeth, a skilled con artist, so she can find out more information about herself.
The trail leads to the San Francisco area, where Valentine gets involved in the first of many challenging situations; she’s beaten by a thug and wakes up next to a corpse. And that’s just in the first 20 pages!
There are many interesting characters and unexpected plot twists; Valentine discovers that her mother is involved in another scheme, this time with one of the city’s richest men.
Valentine and her mother are under a lot of scrutiny – when an FBI agent is killed, the action intensifies.
While it would be nice if there were more scenes involving magic, Janeway’s fast-paced tale is compelling reading and is quite enjoyable.
Two more books are scheduled in the series; smart mystery fans will certainly be looking for more. Janeway is also the author of “Odds of Dying” and two romance novels.
“Motive” by best-selling author Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $28) is the 30th book in his popular series starring Los Angeles psychologist Alex Delaware.
As usual, he’s called in on a murder case by his friend, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis.
This time they’re investigating the violent death of Katherine Hennepin, a young woman who was strangled and stabbed in her home. While there’s a viable suspect, he’s got a solid alibi and the case turns cold.
Delaware gets involved in another murder investigation, the killing of a wealthy businesswoman in a parking garage. Sturgis and the psychologist ask many questions and are trying to link the cases.
Sleazy lawyers abound; there are hidden reasons for the deaths as violence flares and potential victims flee for their lives.
This dark twisted tale offers too many characters and too few likable ones. It’s a slower-paced, gritty, grim novel with a devious killer and an unpredictable ending.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Here's what's new (and used) at Curious...
Spring is coming. Eventually.
Until the ice recedes, stop by Curious and find the perfect book to take your mind off the chill.
Think Spring! and save some Green with big discounts in the following sections...
We have far too many books, this we know.
With new arrivals each day, it's hard to keep track of all the new items. Some of our recent favorite "gets" include mid-century books on electronics, electrical engineering, radios and "radio astronomy." They're pretty out of this world.
Other recent acquisitions include...
Beautifully bound novels by Louis L'Amour; Young Adult Fantasy; Groovy old issues of High Times; Cook Books; Children's Books; Hardcover Science Fiction classics in marvelous condition; Ellis Peters paperback mysterys; and an assortment of moderately priced Movie Poster Compendiums, featuring terribly good B Movie posters, westerns, horror, and more!
A few collections of Irish Ballads and Pub Songs can be found in the Music Section. First come, first serve! May the luck of the Book Hunter be with you.
"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" - John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley
We're making the most of quiet winter days by reorganizing, relocating, and expanding some sections of the bookshop.
The Counter-Culture section has a new home! It includes the writings of Ginsberg, Bukowski, Burroughs, Kerouac, Kesey, Plath, Miller, Nin, Vonnegut, and many more edgy 20th century favorites. Now, this beatific assortment of books is located directly across from the front counter.
This move freed up space for a (slightly) bigger and (much) better New Books section. We specialize in weird and wonderful, hard-to-find books, so please browse our unread oddities on your next visit. Treasures await you.
Snuggling up somewhere warm with a truly great book is so simple and pleasing, this time of year. Whether it be a creepy thriller, a heart-warming romance, a wild adventure novel, or gardening book to get you through the gloomy months... we've got it! Your next winter read is waiting for you.
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." - Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet
Mark Your Calendar!
Woo-hoo! The Big Book and Paper Show is just around the corner, and we simply cannot wait!
Join us at the Lansing Center on for the Midwest's LARGEST show of its kind. It's a literary wonderland, right in our own backyard.
THANK YOU for supporting this local, independent book shop! It has been a long, quiet winter resulting in a hard-scrabble existence. We simply wouldn't exist without those who brave the cold for a chance to wander among the stacks, here at Curious.
It's cosy-warm at the bookshop, and we'll validate your parking for City of EL parking lots... so what are you waiting for?! Come find your new favorite book, before someone else snaps it up.
Ray, Mark, Audrey and the Curious Gang
Sunday, February 15, 2015
If you’re really ready to lose some sleep – here’s a quick look at a pair
of recent thrillers that offer tense suspense.
One marks the first American debut by a relatively unknown author while
the other is the latest novel by a worldwide bestselling writer.
“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead, $26.95) is a
gripping, compelling thriller that starts out slowly but builds to a
frantic and frenetic pace.
Mostly set during the summer of 2013, there are scenes that take place
earlier and flashbacks from different perspectives.
The highly entertaining novel is told from three female viewpoints,
frequently focusing on Rachel, a divorced, depressed alcoholic who takes
a commuter train every day, even though she has no job.
The train slows down in front of a group of houses at the same time daily
– Rachel sees an idyllic couple breakfasting on a porch and fantasizes,
remembering what it was like to be in a loving relationship.
One day she views something different – and it changes her attitude
Megan, the woman of the idyllic couple, has her own insights and secrets,
as does Anna, a young mother who lives nearby, married to Rachel’s
It gets a lot more complicated from there as Rachel struggles with
alcoholism and has blackouts; after she goes to the police with her
suspicions, the pacing speeds up.
The reader doesn’t know who to trust – all of the narrators have their
own dark secrets.
Already optioned for a film, this dark and moody thriller has many
carefully coordinated, surprising plot twists. Hawkins is off to a great
“Hope to Die” by James Patterson (Little Brown, $29) is the latest
action-packed thriller starring Washington D.C.’s top detective Alex
This is the long-awaited sequel to “Cross My Heart’ which ended with a
Cross’ family has been kidnapped by Thierry Mulch - a madman who
threatens to kill them one-by-one unless his twisted demands are met.
Mulch is obsessed with the study of the psychology of a perfect criminal
and wants to turn Cross into one. The determined detective faces many
challenges as the body count rises.
Patterson is in his usual fine form with another suspenseful, exciting tale.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
Friday, February 13, 2015
“Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from a Little Golden Book” by Diane Muldrow (Golden Books, $9.99) is the third book in this delightful series.
Focusing on love and romance, it uses many great graphics that originally appeared in the exceptionally popular series of children’s books.
There are vibrant, relevant images from numerous classics, including “Tootle”, “The Kitten Who Thought He was a Mouse”, “Nurse Nancy” and “The Saggy, Baggy Elephant”.
Colorful artwork abounds, with bright, clear illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren, Eloise Wilkin, Tibor Gergely, Richard Scarry, Garth Williams and others.
This is a wonderful book for anyone who grew up with these classics; it’s almost guaranteed to bring back pleasant memories.
“Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney (Candlewick Press, $9.99) is available in a nifty, padded edition that marks the 20th anniversary of its initial publication.
The deluxe volume features large illustrations by Anita Jeram, showcasing Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare as they try to outdo each other by describing the extent of their affection.
This edition is designed for younger readers; the thicker pages allow for easier handling without having the book quickly fall apart.
It’s ideal for reading out loud (add your own special effects!) and has become a classic in its own right.
“Art & Sole” by Jane Gershon Weitzman (Harper Collins, $30) is a lush, gilt-edged, glitzy volume with amazing photographs by Lucas Zarebinski.
The entire book consists of images of spectacular non-functional shoe sculptures that were commissioned in the mid-1990’s for display in the windows of the Stuart Weitzman retail shop on New York’s Madison Ave.
The bright, colorful photographs capture a wide range of innovative designs and materials that were used to create these fantasy footwear items.
Memorable images abound, showing shoes made of corrugated cardboard, steel, stained glass, raku-fired clay, wire, acrylic film and much more. Some illustrate characters from “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in
There’s a brief biographical section about the 33 artists and their vivid designs.
This would be a great gift idea for a special creative person who loves shoes or original artwork.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books
regularly since 1987.