Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tom Rob Smith

London-born writer Tom Rob Smith just may be the go-to author for people who are ready to move on from Stieg Larsson's Millenium series. Smith's first book, Child 44, bears all the hallmarks of a great crime thriller - enduring suspense, characters who grow with the well-plotted storyline, and a relevant setting of historical authenticity, in this case, post-Stalinist Russia. His subsequent novel, The Secret Speech, and an upcoming publication, Agent 6, carry forward the story of Leo Stepanovich Demidov, former member of the MGB, as he and his family adapt to his new position in the Soviet State security system.

At the heart of Child 44 is the mystery behind a seemingly inexplicable and horrible series of child murders occurring across a wide area of the Soviet Union. A secretive, paranoid regime is unable to acknowledge that such crimes are possible, let alone that they may be connected. Innocent victims face torture, character assassination, gulags and misery, all so that the myth of a perfect political state might be perpetuated. Meanwhile the vicious child slaughters continue unabated.

One man, Leo Demidov, develops the conscience and courage to investigate these murders as crimes of a serial killer. As the author notes on his Web site, "How a crime is investigated is a very useful litmus test for larger forces within a society, the priorities and prejudices of that world. I guess with CHILD 44 I wanted to combine both those elements, the puzzle and the period in which this puzzle is unraveling." Although the novel's child murders are based on the true crimes of Ukrainian serial killer Andre Chikatilo, Tom Rob Smith fits them into his own web of cause and effect, and once again it is Leo Demidov who is at the center of it all.

Smith shares that he was always a reader, loved adventure stories and took them in whatever form they came - mythology, history, science fiction, television, drama or film. Perhaps the author's work as a storyliner for various British television shows following his graduation from Cambridge helped shape Child 44 into a story that would translate well cinematographically. Apparently Ridley Scott, director of "Alien" and "Blade Runner," thinks so too, as he has bought the rights to the book for a future film production.

~Evelyn Fischel~

The library book group Saturday Samplers will discuss Child 44 on April 2nd at 3:30 p.m. in the small meeting room.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Child 44

Bernardsville Library book group, Saturday Samplers, will be discussing Tom Rob Smith's exciting crime thriller Child 44 at its next meeting this Saturday, April 2, at 3:30 p.m.  Look here for a new posting coming shortly about the author and the book.

Saturday Samplers is an open-invitation book group which reads a varied selection of works, including nonfiction, fiction, short fiction and teen novels.  Library staff member Evelyn Fischel leads the group and writes a blog, Saturday Samplers, on which you can access more information about the group and its reading list.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mind Your Brain

Mind your brain. Stop by the new book display "Mind: Your Brain" at Bernardsville Public Library to browse the latest information on the brain, the mind.  Find books on neuroscience, brain disease and disorder, brain health and associated literature.  Read what it's like to have a stroke in My Stroke of Insight, learn about bipolar and depressive conditions in The Unquiet Mind, key into what happens to your brain when you listen to music in the books This is Your Brain on Music and Musicophilia.  There are many other interesting selections, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Left Neglected. This display is located in the center area of the library.