Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Not Too Late (Yet)! - Curious Holiday Gift-Giving Newsletter

Don't Fret!
Let Curious help. 
We have countless unique, inexpensive gift ideas 
for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list.

"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!" - Neil Gaiman

The holidays are upon us, and the bookshop is hoppin' with holiday shoppers in search of a good read. (And a good deal!)

In addition to our selection gently-used books for all ages, and the latest bestsellers (which are 20% OFF!)...

We've recently acquired:
Vintage Maps ranging in age and price (1920s - 1960s; $2 - $12 each); Fabulousliterary classics published by Library of America, in slipcase (which are 25% OFF); a heap of books for all ages, perfect to stuff into stockings; Beautifullyillustrated books for Children; A mountain of YA Science Fiction and Fantasyhardcovers (currently 25% OFF); paperback and hardcover Mystery and Suspensenovels to keep you up all night; High-quality Art Books of all types (many are 25% OFF!), including the Masters, Gallery Collections, How-To guides, and pretty coffee table books sure to please.

Still need to get some gifts? We have books, magazines, posters, vintage comics, pulps, weird little pamphlets, pins and who knows what (even us, sometimes) for all gift purposes and porpoises!

Browse our selection of amazing, high-end First Editions and Rare books, Signed books, Limited Editions, hard-to-find Comics, beautiful Science Fiction Pulps from long, long ago, when robots and bug-eyed monsters constantly kidnapped women in metal bikinis, for some reason.

Our Children's Section is brimming with beautiful, inexpensive, gently-used books for all ages and interests.

We have Nostalgic gifts, Sentimental gifts, Funny gifts, Gag gifts, Unexpected gifts, and even some Secret gifts (Shh!). Content generated as little as a few weeks ago to thousands of years ago, across what you'd call a wide range of subjects. We've got what you're looking for, and what you don't even know exists.

If none of these things tickle your fancy, GIFT CERTIFICATES are 20% OFF. They make a great gift in case you have to buy for someone difficult (or if you like free money).

Current Sales: 25% OFF all Used Hardcover books! Even the rare stuff behind the counter! And, 20% OFF all NEW books! Every single one. Even the cool Zelda book, the latest Stephen King novel, and the new Lovecraft omnibus.

Holiday Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10 - 8
Sundays: 12 - 5
Dec. 24th (Xmas Eve): 10 - 4
Dec. 25th: CLOSED

Save some cash, and your pockets will jingle all the way home --  We'll gladly validate parking if you park in a City of East Lansing lot or ramp. With a purchase, we'll cover a half-hour of your parking total. (If you're here for a while and buy a bunch, we'll help you out even more!) Oh, and PARKING IS FREE in Downtown East Lansing on December 24th.

Best Wishes in the Coming Year,
Ray, Audrey and the Curious Gang

PS - The staff enjoyed this NPR piece on gift-giving in Iceland. Can you guess what one of the most popular gifts to give is, among Icelanders? Go on, try and guess! 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Joseph Heywood's Mountains of the Misbegotten

“Mountains of the Misbegotten” (Lyons Press, $26.95) by Portage author Joseph Heywood is the second in his new series set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The entertaining sequel to Heywood’s excellent “Red Jacket” again showcases Lute Bapcat, a former Rough Rider with Teddy Roosevelt, who’s been appointed as a Deputy Game Warden in the area.

Ontonagon County Game Warden Farrell Mackley has been missing for a few months; Bapcat is assigned to search for him.  Bapcat goes into the rugged territory and barely gets started when he’s shot from a distance
while on his mule.

Bapcat’s rescued by an English dwarf, a priest and Jone Gleann, a strong-willed, fiercely independent schoolteacher/nun. 

As he recovers in their care, he learns that Mackley may have been involved in a scheme to trap bears and sell them to zoos around the country.

Bapcat soon gets another assignment from Lansing – he’s to find and capture Heinrich Junger, also known as Henry Young or “Hank the Shank”, who’s wanted for crimes in Minnesota and other states.

The game warden is familiar with Young – he grew up with him at an orphanage – and mostly remembers him as a tough, red-haired bully.

Bapcat is assisted by secretive Gleann, her associates and his sidekick Pinkhus Sergeyevich Zarkov (among others) in a most unusual hunt in the Porcupine Mountains. Rinka Isohultamaki, who wants to be a deputy game
warden, also provides invaluable information.

Gleann is familiar with the area and is guiding the group; later, she and her students participate in an exceptionally memorable fund-raising effort.

While Bapcat doesn’t have much luck finding more information on Mackley, he’s got better results tracking down Young and his gang, leading to an unexpected confrontation.

Heywood’s latest effort is a highly atmospheric tale that captures the starkness and beauty of the wilderness. In an era and locale where eccentrics abound, Heywood deftly showcases a wide range of characters, including trappers, miners, greedy businessmen, women of ill repute and immigrant workers.

Set in 1914, the well-researched novel may not always be politically correct by today’s standards, but it is historically correct, with a few exceptions that the author notes at the end.

Heywood is a MSU graduate who’s also written nine books in the highly acclaimed contemporary Grady Service mysteries, also set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on December 14, 2014.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ray's Reviews: You Know Who Killed Me by Loren Estleman

"You Know Who Killed Me" by award-winning Whitmore Lake author Loren Estleman (Forge books, $24.95) offers another challenging case in the career of tough Detroit private investigator Amos Walker.

In his 24th book, due out Tuesday, Walker is in rehabilitation after overdosing on alcohol and pain pills. He wants to get back to work, but doesn't have a backlog of cases. He's up in his seedy office when an old friend calls him with a job offer.

Lt. Ray Henty, now in charge of the suburban Iroquois Heights Police Department, is trying to solve the murder of Donald Gates, a computer specialist who monitored the city's traffic light system.

Gates was discovered on New Year's Day, shot to death in his basement. Billboards have gone up around town, with Gates' picture and the message "You Know Who Killed Me."

An anonymous member of the victim's church is offering a $10,000 reward on
the sheriff's tip line for the arrest and conviction of the murderer.

Henty, who's taken over the corruption-riddled Iroquois Heights Police Department, needs help in going through the calls but doesn't have extra staff available.

He hires and deputizes Walker, who has bad memories of working in the city. The diligent private eye eventually eliminates many of the crank calls and starts checking out possible leads.

His investigation leads to a disgruntled former city employee, a Ukrainian mobster who may have had reasons to kill Gates.

Other informants turn out to be useful, including the minister at Gates' church, who offers intriguing insights.

When Walker discovers that he's being followed by a government agent, he devises a clever and memorable confrontation.

Soon the case gets more complicated; deceit runs rampant and related deaths occur. The sardonic private investigator notes "I can't afford to sleepwalk my way through a job with a corpse in the equation. Murder's contagious."

Later, Walker darkly comments "I was getting too old for subterfuge." but that really doesn't slow down his lifestyle.

Estleman is in fine form with his latest Amos Walker entry; strong characterization abounds, the dialogue crackles and the conclusion is unexpected but realistic.

If you haven't read a good old-fashioned, fast-paced, hard-boiled crime novel lately, you're in for a real treat!

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on December 7, 2014.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins and Blind Spot by Reed Farrel Coleman

       If you’re trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season,
maybe it’s time to grab a couple of mysteries showcasing characters
created by the late Robert B. Parker.

        Although Parker died in 2010, many of his best known characters have
appeared in new adventures officially licensed by the family’s estate.

        Two books came out earlier this year in hardback, one featuring Spenser,
the iconic Boston private detective and the other starring Paradise MA
Police Chief Jesse Stone.

        “Cheap Shot” by Ace Atkins (Putnam, $26.95) is the third in the Spenser
series written by Atkins, there’s over 40 books altogether.

        Spenser is hired by the agent of New England Patriots linebacker Kinjo
Heywood to find out who’s been stalking and harassing the superstar.

        Heywood has been a controversial figure since he was involved in a fatal
nightclub shooting a few years earlier in New York.

        Spenser’s joined by Z, his new sidekick; soon the situation worsens as
Akira, Heywood’s nine-year old son is kidnapped.

        Violence escalates as Spenser searches for clues, even going to New York
to check out facts and witnesses.

        Hawk, Spenser’s old sidekick, plays a pivotal role, adding his laconic
insights and adept fighting skills as the search intensifies.

        There are many angles to the case; suspects include associates of
Heywood’s new trophy wife, who has a checkered past. As Spenser and his
crew get more involved, other authorities, including the FBI, are called

     The hard-working private eye gets help from old cop contacts as well
as Mob and gang members; tension mounts as others are killed.

        Atkins is in fine form as he continues the Parker tradition of Spenser
novels; long-time fans will recognize many familiar characters and Boston

        “Blind Spot” by award-winning author Reed Farrel Coleman is the fourth in
the continuation of the Jesse Stone series, after Parker’s nine books.
         It also involves sports, exploring Stone’s past as a L.A. Dodger
minor league baseball player whose rising career was cut short by
an injury. There’s a nasty killer, a former sweetheart, a devious
schemer and problems galore.

        Coleman’s new book has a fast-paced plot, brisk dialogue, strong, vivid
characterization and short chapters, just like Parker.  Coleman does a
great job, dedicated readers are likely to eagerly await his next
intriguing effort.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on November 30, 2014.