Fiction Can Be Stranger Than Truth…and A Lot Better Reading


Gift idea: give someone a terrific novel, with a note that says “ I will walk the dog, sit with the kids, and do whatever else it takes for you to have a whole afternoon to sit and read this book.” My idea of a heavenly present!

If you haven’t yet discovered Lauren Belfer, there’s no time like the present. A FIERCE RADIANCE is the story of what the discovery of Penicillin meant to the world. When you’ve finished, go back and read her luminescent “City of Light.”

Alexander McCall Smith is an old favorite to many of us. While I didn’t care for his last novel (“Corduroy Mansions”), he’s right back in step with THE CHARMING QUIRKS OF OTHERS. Heroine Isabel Dalhousie begins to question her near idyllic relationship with her much younger boyfriend.

There are other favorite writers with new work out this season. RESCUE is Anita Shreve’s tale of two people who are polar opposites, yet shortly after meeting, they fall in love, marry and have a daughter. All does not go smoothly in this engrossing family drama.

IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS is Jan Karon’s continuation of her beloved Mitford series. To no one’s surprise, workaholic Episcopal priest Tim Kavanagh does not take to retirement with ease.

Cynthia Ozick is an author for those not willing to settle for just easy reading. Her literary brilliance shines through FOREIGN BODIES; sophisticated readers will appreciate this reworking of Henry James’s “The Ambassadors.”

ON MAGGIE’S WATCH is Ann Wertz Garvin’s tale of a woman trying to lead an ordered life. This paperback will strike a chord with many a homemaker who’s trying to keep it all together in the face of the dangers and temptations of modern life.

A DOG’S PURPOSE, by W. Bruce Cameron, is the perfect gift for the canine lovers we all know. Subtitled “A Novel for Humans,” it guides us through the incarnations of a good hearted pooch who wants nothing more than to be of use to his owners.

No fiction roundup would be complete without the ever popular thrillers. Nobody does it better than Stuart Woods, and with SANTE FE EDGE, he’s in top form. His six-foot-seven attorney hero, Ed Eagle, has a murder to solve, and plenty of complications to keep the reader turning pages.

The late Robert B. Parker was also an ace, and PAINTED LADIES may well be his last Spenser novel. But never say never; Louis L’Amour sold piles of books after his death. His many fans will miss Parker; this master from Boston provided countless hours of entertainment.

Margaret Coel is an acknowledged expert on the Arapaho, and puts this knowledge to good use in THE SPIDER’S WEB. Like her other bestselling books, the setting is the Wind River Reservation, and features attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley.

There are several authors whose work is unfamiliar to me, so I get to experience the thrill of discovery. Paul Doiron’s THE POACHER’S SON appeals to my New England heart because of the rural Maine setting. A son must hunt his estranged father, a ne’er do well who is accused of killing a policeman.

HOLY THIEF, by William Ryan, has a far more exotic locale, Moscow in 1936. It’s the beginning of Stalin’s Great Terror, and the atmosphere is fraught with fear and suspicion. When the body of an American is found in a church, Captain Alexei Korolev risks his own life to get at the truth.

The term CRASHERS refers to the team sent out to investigate an airplane crash. Dana Hayes is a respected journalist in Oregon, and uses his skill as a reporter to create a roller coaster ride of a thriller.

Louise Penny is no stranger to the Best Sellers List, and she once again proves herself with her latest book, BURY YOUR DEAD. It’s Winter Carnival time in Quebec, extremely cold and very beautiful. A mystery surrounding founder Samuel de Champlain, dead 400 years, is at the center of this page turner.

What better way to encourage a loved one to get away from it all in the coming winter months? A great book is the perfect promise of escape!

All of the featured books are available on Amazon. To purchase, click on the title in red.

Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle.

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