Staff Picks – December 2020

Betty: A Novel by Tiffany McDaniel, recommended by Diana
Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty Carpenter is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty and violence, both from outside the family and within. Betty survives heart-wrenching cruelties and incredibly fragmented relationships with the people close to her. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father’s brilliant stories spark the fire of her own imagination. Betty learns to escape when she begins to write. She relives the horrors of her family’s past and present, first writing them down on paper, then burying them deep in the dirt.

Abandoned Arizona: Mining and Memories by Susan Tatterson, recommended by Megan
Susan Tatterson, a Gold Canyon resident, explores abandoned mines and farms across Arizona in this glossy collection of photographs. In some cases, the history of a given location is well-known; in others, it remains a mystery, allowing you to wonder how a place that was once bustling with life can be lost to memory.

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben, recommended by Dennis
This story has several plot lines.  The main one is about a high school girl that goes missing and a man, who had a very interesting, some say unbelievable, childhood, who tries to find her.  While investigating the girl’s disappearance, he is forced to return to the place where he grew up.  His investigation gets him involved in several other, seemingly connected, events. There are several plot twists that keep you interested.  The book resolves all the plot lines in a tidy package at the end.

The Dirty South by John Connolly, recommended by Vicki
An origin story, book 18 of the Charlie Parker series finds Parker in luckless Burdon County, Arkansas, chasing leads to the killer of his wife and daughter. Though that clue is a dead-end, Parker is drawn into investigating the brutal murders of local young Black women left violated and displayed throughout the county.

Connolly remains on top of his game. Snappy dialogue, compelling characters and short chapters contribute to the fast-paced tempo, and keep you turning pages long into the night.

The Noel Letters by Richard Paul Evans, recommended by Kelley
A very heartfelt story involving misplaced anger, forgiveness and the many layers of love.  A great read for any time of the year!

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr, recommended by Tracie
Carr turns away from her “Virgin River Series” to two sisters different in ages, expectations and careers.  One sister is a sophisticated lawyer with her own family and the other is caretaker to their mother in their hometown in the house they were raised.  Death, divorce, and deceit open the sisters up to each other and lives with new possibilities and futures intertwined.  Good read.