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Staff Picks


Looking for a good book to read? See below for what members of the Adult Reference and Readers Advisory Department have been reading. Click on the link or book cover to be taken to the catalog record for each title. If you have already read and enjoyed one of the books listed below, we have provided a readalike.




Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
When an out-of-work web designer takes a job as the overnight clerk in a San Francisco bookstore, he discovers the bookstore is a front for a secret organization. For, behind the short shelves of books for sale towers the Waybacklist, a collection of obscure books borrowed by an eccentric group of individuals. Sloan’s first novel is an off-beat, imaginative fable. (DS) 
Readalike: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Barry Laverty is the new doctor in Ballybucklebo, Northern Ireland. Under the tutelage of Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, Laverty learns the ropes of being the small village doctor. A kind housekeeper, a love interest, and colorful townsfolk complete the cast. Humorous vignettes and Ulster idioms make this book a charming gentle read. If you enjoyed James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small series then you might enjoy this first book in a series. The most recent, An Irish Country Wedding, was published in October 2012. (NW)

Criminal by Karin Slaughter
A present day Atlanta college student has gone missing and Police Detective Will Trent's pushy boss Amanda is, for unknown reasons, keeping him off the case. Flash back to 1974 in the same police department, a serial killer is kidnapping and torturing prostitutes. Slaughter brilliantly weaves the two mysteries together with historical accuracy, showing an awful 1970's Atlanta police department rampant with racism and sexism. This is the most recent title in the author's Will Trent series but could easily be read as a standalone. This is an excellent crime thriller but extremely intense and graphic. (SW)
Readalike: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli
Terrier Rand comes from a long line of criminals. His grandfather, father and two uncles all live in the same house and are routinely involved in local card games, fencing, pick-pocketing and the occasional burglary. His older brother Collie (all Rand men are named after dog breeds) took things a step further and is currently on death row after a heinous crime spree left eight people dead, causing Terrier to leave town and break free from the family business. Five years later, on the eve of his execution, Collie asks Terrier to return and drops a bombshell—he only killed seven of the eight people that died on that horrible night, which means there is a killer on the loose. (BB)
Readalike: A Wanted Man by Lee Child

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Sarah Piper accepts a position to accompany ghost-hunter Alistar Gellis to a haunted dwelling in rural 1920s England. She becomes a channel for the angry ghost of Maddy Clare, a suicide victim seeking revenge. Combining historical fiction with horror and romantic suspense, St. James’s first novel is an atmospheric read that is hard to put down. (DS)
Readalike: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star by Jacob Slichter
Witty and at times self-deprecating, Jacob Slichter, drummer for the band Semisonic (of Closing Time fame), gives an artist's perspective on the music industry. The book follows Slichter's experiences from playing in small clubs to landing a recording contract, a Grammy nomination and international success. I was surprised at the power the record label had over the band. It is, in part, a cautionary tale to those who are interested in a career in the music industry. (NW)
Readalike: The Savvy Musician by David Cutler