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What We're Reading: July 2016

Scrapper by Matt Bell

For fans of The Dog Stars and Station Eleven , Scrapper traces one man's desperate quest for redemption in a devastated Detroit. "Has the feel of Cormac McCarthy's The Road set in present-day Motor City... powerful." -- Publishers Weekly Detroit has descended into ruin. Kelly scavenges for scrap metal from the hundred thousand abandoned buildings in a part of the city known as "the zone," an increasingly wild landscape where one day he finds something far more valuable than the copper he's come to steal: a kidnapped boy, crying out for rescue. Briefly celebrated as a hero, Kelly secretly avenges the boy's unsolved kidnapping, a task that will take him deeper into the zone and into a confrontation with his own past and long-buried traumas. The second novel from the acclaimed author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods , Scrapper is a devastating reimagining of one of America's greatest cities, its beautiful architecture, its lost houses, shuttered factories, boxing gyms, and storefront churches. With precise, powerful prose, it asks: What do we owe for our crimes, even those we've committed to protect the people we love?

A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.

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In New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance's latest thriller, Ali Reynolds faces her most controversial mystery yet, solving the murder of a man whose Ponzi scheme bankrupted hundreds of people, and left them seeking justice...or revenge. When Ali's parents lose their life savings to a Ponzi scheme, her father goes to confront his long-time friend and financial advisor, only to stumble into the scene of a bloody double homicide. With her father suddenly a prime suspect, Ali and her husband work to clear her father's name, while at the same time seeking justice for her parents as well as the scheme's other suddenly impoverished victims, one of whom is a stone cold killer.

A frustrated housewife sets out to see more bird species than anyone in history--and ends up risking her life again and again in the wildest places on earth. Phoebe Snetsinger had planned to be a scientist, but, like most women who got married in the 1950s, she ended up keeping house, with four kids and a home in the suburbs by her mid-thirties. Numb and isolated, she turned to bird-watching, but she soon tired of the birds near home and yearned to travel the world. Then her life took a crushing turn: At forty-nine, she was diagnosed with cancer and told that she had less than a year to live. Devastated, she began crisscrossing the globe, finding rare and spectacular birds that brought her to the heights of spiritual ecstasy. But as it turned out, she beat the cancer. She eventually went to more than a hundred countries, had frequent brushes with danger, became a hero in the birding world, and set a record for the most species seen. Life List is a powerful portrait of a woman who found refuge from society's expectations in a dangerous and soul-stirring obsession.

Detroit in World War II by Gregory D Sumner

When President Roosevelt called for the country to be the great "Arsenal of Democracy," Detroit helped turn the tide against fascism with its industrial might. Locals were committed to the cause, putting careers and personal ambitions on hold. Factories were retooled from the ground up. Industrialist Henry Ford, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, aviator Charles Lindbergh, legendary boxer Joe Louis, future baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg and the real-life Rosie the Riveters all helped drive the city that was "forging thunderbolts" for the front lines. With a panoramic narrative, author Gregory D. Sumner chronicles the wartime sacrifices, contributions and everyday life of the Motor City.
 

Takeover by Lisa Black

In the tradition of Kathy Reichs and Jeffery Deaver, a talented novelist introduces a gutsy forensic investigator caught in the middle of an explosive crisis Early one Thursday morning, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called to the scene of a gruesome murder. The body of a man has been found on the front lawn of a house in suburban Cleveland, the back of his head bashed in. Although it's not the best start to her day, Theresa has been through worse. What unfolds during the next eight hours, though, is nothing she could ever have imagined. Downtown at the Federal Reserve Bank, her police detective fiancé is taken hostage with six others in a robbery masterminded by two clever criminals. When she arrives at the scene, Theresa discovers that the police have brought in the city's best hostage negotiator: handsome, high-profile Chris Cavanaugh. He hasn't lost a victim yet, but Theresa wonders if he might be too arrogant to save the day this time around. When her fiancé is injured, she seizes the opportunity to trade places with him. Once on the inside, she will use all her wiles, experience, and technical skills to gain control of the situation. But what initially appears to be a bank heist turns into something far more complex and deadly, and Theresa must decide how much more she is willing to sacrifice in order to save the lives of innocent people as well as her own.

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