Tim

I like to read fiction with plots that drive forward with cinematic pacing. Not sure why. Well, yes I am. I studied filmmaking back in school and worked for Warner Bros. for a few years. That's probably why. However, I've delved into some historic non-fiction and biography a tad. But none of the boring ones! It's got to fit in with my healthy diet of spy thrillers.

 

 

Tim's Staff Picks:


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The Snakes: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062897022
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Harper - June 25th, 2019

Bookseller: Tim
Title: The Snakes

Comments:
This story is a psychological thriller, but only in the same excellent way that "Breaking Bad" was a crime procedural show. The necessary elements are all there, but it's the way that it's told -- pacing, perspective, detail -- that elevates it to a higher lever of superb drama.

Lesser writers confuse mere conflict for drama. Sadie Jones is far better. Here, the conflict is subtle (at first), pulsing just beneath the surface, like unseen snakes in your attic. And yet, the diminutive conflict leaves room for massive drama that is fragrant, rich, and delicious.

I love how these characters are nearly under-described, but so clearly defined by their simple existence: they way they speak or how they order at a restaurant or the way they hold their room keys.

Sadie Jones is a master magician -- a snake charmer. But this illusion isn't with big set pieces, it's close-up gallery magic. Perfect sleight of hand. This is the best kind of un-contrived thriller, and one that rattles around in your head long after you put it down.

*PS: If you loved "Something in the Water" by Catherine Steadman, you must read this one.


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Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101947869
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf - May 7th, 2019

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Comments: Bring your sweet tea out to the porch and settle in for the strange-but-true chronicle of "the Reverend," a series of mysterious deaths in 1970s Alabama, and how Harper Lee tried for decades to turn it into the next true-crime literary phenomenon.

Told in three parts, Casey Cep's book expertly organizes the facts of the legal case, the relevant characters, and - (finally!) in part 3 - Harper Lee's interest in the case. That final third of the book is the capstone of a grand achievement. It's a truly fascinating mini-biography and comprehensive behind-the-scenes journey from To Kill A Mockingbird's success to Lee's next great literary endeavor that never came to be. 

I really can't decide which is more fascinating: the voodoo-rumors and mysterious, unproven murders; or the vexing reasons for decades of writer's block and the pressure, whether real or imagined, after having written one of the best selling books of the century.

BOOK GROUPS: 
Casey Cep has written the perfect "nonfiction novel" (to use the nonsensical term Truman Capote coined while writing In Cold Blood with Harper Lee and thus forever changing the true-crime world) for your group to dive into and discuss. The legal drama is gripping, and the murders full of enough conjecture and rumors to let your group dissect plenty of theories. This book is even more perfect if your group read Go Set A Watchman, 2015's dubious follow-up to Mockingbird. The final third of Furious Hours sheds plenty of light on the murky origins and mysteries surrounding the publication of Watchman, and you'll be pleasantly enlightened by Cep's honest and engaging analysis of Lee's world.


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Machines Like Me: A Novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385545112
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Nan A. Talese - April 23rd, 2019

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Machines Like Me

Comments:
This feels like a beautifully written, less sinister episode of "Black Mirror." What fun to be told a story set in a 1980s that never happened! "The present is the frailest of improbable constructs. It could have been different. Any part of it, or all of it, could be otherwise." Here, Alan Turing is a war hero, and his science has blessed the world with the Internet, cellphones, and A.I. by the 1970s. Now it's 1982, and the first batch of artificial humans - only 25! - are available for purchase.

All this is merely the setup for what follows: a profoundly philosophical story about a directionless man who buys an artificial human. He and the woman who lives in the flat above embark upon the strange journey of "raising" an adult robot. But the novelty is gone almost as soon as it appeared: "There is nothing so amazing that we can't get used to it." Emotions and tempers - whether organic or algorithmic - are put to the (Turing) test. But whose feelings, identities, and morals are the most true? Now that machines have obtained the divine gift of consciousness, our humanity struggles to remain relevant, while our new perfect roommates can (arguably) do it better.

This intricately manufactured story is equal parts artificial and intelligent. But the tale's artifice is so well written it's hard to spot the seams. As a commentary on modern life, its joy lies in that uncanny valley between lofty ideals and baser impulses, machine precision and the heart's messiness.


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Never Tell: A Novel (A D.D. Warren and Flora Dane Novel) Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524742089
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton - February 19th, 2019

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Never Tell

Comments:
Lisa Gardner weaves a compelling psychological thriller with three distinct threads. Three women - three separate characters - whose situations become entangled. A murder suspect, the detective investigating her, and an abduction survivor whose past resurfaces because it just might be connected to this new case.

Hidden pasts and family secrets come to light as these three women struggle towards the truth. Sometimes as allies, at other moments, adversaries. It starts with a murdered husband, but you quickly get the sense that the real beginning might have been something else, somewhere else, entirely. How did this all start, and - more importantly - how will it all end?


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The Silent Patient Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250301697
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Celadon Books - February 5th, 2019

Bookseller: Tim

Bookseller: Tim
Title: The Silent Patient

Comments:


Comments:
Anyone who loves Hitchcock films will love this book. The suspense slowly piles up like layered brushstrokes on a canvas, until -- all of a sudden -- you take a step back and see the full picture for what it is. Psychologically perplexing clues swirl like drifting smoke from a burning building. But what has been lost in the silence? If only Alicia would share something -- anything -- with her psychotherapist about what she knows...

Listen to the audiobook through Libro.FM!
The dual narrators for the different portions of the audiobook (Alicia's journal entries and then her psychotherapist's first-person narrative) were fantastic, and each voice actor was superb! Written by a screenwriter, this book moves forward like a film, and the narrators Louise Brealey and Jack Hawkins make it so easy to visualize a tense smile, or a subtly clenched fist.

PS. I also really loved the short interview with the author after the book ended; it was profoundly interesting to hear in his own voice what his writing process was like.


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The Gone World Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780425278901
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Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 5th, 2019

Bookseller: Tim
Title: The Gone World

Comments: The Terminus is coming. The end of the world, the end of everything. Not a black hole, but a White Hole, will appear in the sky and spread ice and insanity, first in the year 2666, but then creeping backward through time, occurring in our future earlier and earlier each time it's been observed. No, these futures are not predestined, only probabilities. But all the research and travel forward into "Deep Time" has shown the Terminus to be all but a certainty. We must find a different future.

Wow, the mind-bendy theoretical physics of this layered and robust story was seriously enjoyable. On one level, it's a crime procedural about finding answers to mysterious murders. On another level, it's a trip down a wormhole in a quantum-foam macro-field. The present is 1997, and we've had the ability to time-travel (but only round-trips into the possible futures and back) since the 1980s. While glimpsing a version of the future can help matters of national security a little (or can it?), it doesn't make solving the crimes a whole lot easier, since a lot can go wrong when you're hopping timelines in the multiverse...


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Erasing Memory: A MacNeice Mystery (MacNeice Mysteries #1) Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781487003296
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiderline - June 26th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Erasing Memory

Comments:
Oh, how I love a good crime noir! And this mystery feels a little like that, but maybe even better. It's lighter and brighter, like a black-and-white Bogart film with a dance number. Less "noir" perhaps, and a little more "blanc." The story and characters are full of beauty, sophistication, and even a somber hope that wrongs can be righted. With a perplexing murder and strange but dramatic clues, this first in a series sets the stage for Detective Superintendent MacNeice to join the ranks of classic gumshoe investigators like Adam Dalgliesh and Philip Marlow.


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Something in the Water: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524797188
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - June 5th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Something in the Water

Comments:
Remember when everybody was reading Gone Girl at the same time? I'm not sure why that didn't happen with this book, but it should have. It's far better. I actually liked the people in this story. It's a thriller that relentlessly wades into dark ethical waters, but you enjoy every bit of the chilling descent because it's with people you care about. Catherine Steadman's British-accented narrative voice is perfect on the page - somehow fun, but still very chilling. (Listen to the the audiobook version to get the full experience; the author, who's also an actor you've seen on Downton Abbey, performs her book herself, and it's phenomenal.)


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Past Tense: A Jack Reacher Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780399593512
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - November 5th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Past Tense

Comments:
I discovered Jack Reacher about 10 years ago and very quickly devoured every title that Child had written up to that point. Now, like a strange autumnal ritual, I await the new thriller each year. The beauty of the series is that you can pretty much start anywhere. The first Reacher story that I ever read was "Persuader," which was a perfect introduction to the spartan, narrative style of Lee Child, but not the first one that Child wrote.
In "Past Tense," Reacher's moral code is once again put to the test. Of course, he'll do what he can to set things right. But this time the mystery has surprising connections to his family tree.


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The Ink House Cover Image
By Rory Dobner (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781786270771
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Laurence King Publishing - October 9th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: The Ink House

Comments:
Written and illustrated by a U.K. designer (check out www.RoryDobner.com), this book is a delightful portal into a world where ink is a magical elixir through which creativity, fun, mischief and beauty are unleashed. You are the only human invited to join the gathering of eclectic animal friends as they hold their Annual Ink House Extravaganza while the Artist is away. Hurry inside, the party is about to start...


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The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018 (The Best American Series ®) Cover Image
By Sheila Heti (Editor), 826 National (Editor)
$15.99
ISBN: 9781328465818
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - October 2nd, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: The Best American Nonrequired Reading Series

Comments:
Each year I seem to forget how great the "Nonrequired Reading" series is! 
Inside, you might find some short fiction, poetry, or essays, but there might also be want-ads, Instagram posts, and police blotter updates. I love that virtually nothing is off limits!
The BEST thing about the series, though? How it comes into being every year. It's edited by San Francisco-area high school writing students who attend "826 Valencia," a creative writing and tutoring center. The student committee meets on Monday nights from 6 to 8pm, and each student brings their reading selections up for debate with the whole group, who then votes on what makes it into the anthology that year.
It's knowing about that process that makes this collection such a treasure to enjoy. 


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Star of the North: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525573852
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - February 26th, 2019

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Star of the North

Comments:
A perfectly balanced book for summer! It's both a fun, escapist thriller and an informed look at the secretive regime. With North Korea in the news almost daily, I was a little nervous at first that I'd be able to relax and enjoy this one. But author D.B. John's narrative voice is so well crafted that you have nothing to worry about. It's a well-written, thrilling, & realistic tale of spycraft and subterfuge!


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Skavenger's Hunt Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781942645801
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Inkshares - November 14th, 2017

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Skavenger's Hunt

Comments:
Mysterious clues! A journey with a ragtag team of puzzle-solvers. And TIME-TRAVEL! You'll have a blast with Henry Babbitt as he's led around the world by clues left by eccentric magnate Hunter S. Skavenger. Written by a filmmaker, the novel comes alive with wonderful visuals and cinematic, colorful emotions. 

Great fun! 

If you liked the mysteries in "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin or the streets of old Paris in "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, then you'll love this one.


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Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735224827
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - May 29th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

Comments:This is one funny book! Imagine your high school writing assignments - the ones where you had to work on your inner monologue by creatively describing true events from your life - but then imagine they were written by an expert comedian and NYT bestselling author. (You possibly know John Hodgman from his tenure as a correspondent on The Daily Show, or his current podcast "Judge John Hodgman," but more likely as a PC from the Mac & PC commercials in the late 2000s.) Hodgman's stories are simply about growing up in Massachusetts, being an only child, or going to school in New York, or speaking at events as a nerd-fandom public figure, but they are the literary equivalent of great stand-up. His comedic timing and absurdity are perfect. And yet his experiences have meaning that can resonate universally. I didn't grow up an only child in MA, and I'm not on TV, but I feel like I can completely relate to his weird observations of the world.


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The Informant: A True Story Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780767903271
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - July 3rd, 2001

Bookseller: Tim
Title: The Informant

Comments:
I first heard about this true story on the radio, not as current news, but decades after the case was closed. That's how compelling these true events are!

Reading the details and action as reported by Eichenwald instantly made this book one of my favorites. The FBI's investigation into a massive price-setting scandal in one of America's most influential corporations reads like a fiction thriller. But that's simply the backdrop.

It's really about the person in the middle of it all, the whistleblower working for the company but helping the FBI. His name is Mark, and it's his humanity, and confusion, and courage, and mistakes make the already thrilling plot (secret wiretaps, double-crossings, hidden money, lies & deception) so amazing. As he is pulled deeper into the conspiracy, Mark is at risk of losing sight of his own reality. 

(Did you happen to catch the movie version starring Matt Damon? I happened to like it, but even so, the book is better.)


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I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781439177730
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books - December 2nd, 2014

Bookseller: Tim
Title: I Am Pilgrim

Comments: Now THIS is a spy thriller! From an author who clearly knows how to pace a story--Hayes is a screenwriter dating back to 1981's action film The Road Warrior--this debut novel is more literary than your average popcorn blockbuster beach-read. With a delightful balance of introspection without authorly wordiness, and action that doesn't jump the shark, this story starts out strong and only builds from there. As you read on, the vignettes of flashbacks that both inform the present plot and deepen our protagonist's history slowly fall away until you're left with only the uncertain future, into which you must daringly charge against all odds with Pilgrim to stop something horrible from happening, or die trying. I simply cannot wait for Hayes' next book, The Year of the Locust - it's been nearly 4 years in the making.


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Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy Cover Image
By Drew Daywalt, Scott Campbell (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781484789698
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - September 11th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy

Comments:
Did you like "The Day the Crayons Quit" and "The Day the Crayons Came Home?"
Then Roderick and Sleepy are your new best friends. Kinda. If only Sleepy would stop staring at you all freaky looking. And what even is Sleepy...some kind of Moose-Bear?
Through pages and pages of sarcastic, exasperated fun, you and Roderick might just find out why Sleepy really is a Goodnight Buddy.

P.S. Who's ready for a sequel? "Wakey the Good Morning Buddy."


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A House That Once Was Cover Image
By Julie Fogliano, Lane Smith (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781626723146
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - May 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: A House That Once Was

Comments: This is such a magical poem about our connection to the physical items and spaces that are woven into our timeless idea of home.

I delight in an unanswered question that makes one think, and wonder, and IMAGINE.

(Ask me about my theory regarding the bluebird that's hiding on virtually every page)


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All the Animals Where I Live Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781626726567
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 20th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: All the Animals Where I Live

Comments:
Wander through these pages.

The meandering snippets of thought, the gorgeous illustrations that were monoprinted by hand, all somehow made me feel like a child again, exploring rooms in my grandparents' farmhouse where the love and memories swirl in the late afternoon sunlight.

I love Wednesday and her patient camaraderie with her fellow creatures. (Coyote may be the one exception.)

The animals depicted here lead the story with just their presence...and the art, so full of movement and activity.


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On a Magical Do-Nothing Day Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062657602
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - September 12th, 2017

Bookseller: Tim
Title: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day

Comments:
I love the magic in the forest, and the rays of light streaking through the trees, and the cozy cabin in the rain.
The illustrations here convey all the rainy, wet, sloppy fun of exploring a forest. I particularly like the squishy mushrooms and snails!
All the beauty of a bored-mood-turned-wonder-wanderer is wrapped up in these pages.


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Hug Machine Cover Image
By Scott Campbell, Scott Campbell (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781534400269
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Simon - December 5th, 2017

Bookseller: Tim
Title: Hug Machine

Comments:
You gotta just love the Hug Machine!

Is there anything the Hug Machine CAN'T hug?

Will the Hug Machine ever run out of Hug-Energy??

Nothing will stop the Hug Machine!
...or, maybe...
...wait.

NOPE! Nothing!


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I Just Ate My Friend Cover Image
By Heidi McKinnon, Heidi McKinnon (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534410329
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 26th, 2018

Bookseller: Tim
Title: I Just Ate My Friend

Comments:
A good friend is hard to find; A tasty friend is hard to NOT EAT.

Brilliantly written and illustrated by first-time author Heidi McKinnon, this simple story is universal, even if you haven't eaten a friend lately. We all struggle for belonging, and for finding where we fit. But do you fit ALL THE WAY INSIDE your friend's mouth?

This hilariously dark story is about friendships that last - and therefore about impulse control. (Well... portion control, at the very least.)


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I Am Not a Chair! Cover Image
By Ross Burach, Ross Burach (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062360168
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - February 14th, 2017

Bookseller: Tim
Title: I Am Not a Chair!

Comments:
Sometimes it's hard to explain exactly why you like something. I picked this up and just started laughing as I merely flipped through it the first time. 

It's the personality in Giraffe's face that gets me! With illustrations like this the characters are really alive, and you feel as happy as Giraffe does to make new friends, as annoyed as Giraffe is to be sat upon (repeatedly!), and determined along with Giraffe to speak up. (My favorite expression might just be Giraffe's nonplussed face of silent suffering as a bird stand.) This book's ironic wit is top-notch. The humor ends up being something beautiful. And as fun as the frustration is, the relief - and the twist ending - are totally worth it.


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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780804190114
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tim Duggan Books - February 28th, 2017

Bookseller: Tim
Title: On Tyranny

Comments:
What can history show us about current affairs? Quite a lot. This focussed look at how tyranny of all types arose in the 1900’s gives us an opportunity to place a context around our own political events in the U.S. today.

Somehow it lowers the blood pressure a little to have a volatile situation discussed in such calm, knowledgeable tones. What I love about Snyder’s conclusions here is his use of historic precedence, like a math formula simply spitting out a known result. 

Snyder is not preachy. He’s not a doomsday screamer, but rather a quiet-talker relaying the confident knowledge of others who have come before us. He reminds us of the many writings of those from the past century who lived through similar, and far worse, times.