While you’re waiting for me to finish the next Adam Lapid novel, here are four books that I read recently and highly recommend.
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Book 1 – Five Decembers by James Kestrel
Five Decembers is one of the best mystery novels that I’ve ever read.
It is the winner of the Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel for 2022, and if you’re a fan of historical mysteries, this is a book that should go to the top of your to-be-read pile.
Five Decembers takes place across five years, beginning in 1941, on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack, continuing throughout the Second World War, and finishing a few months after the surrender of Japan.
The story takes place in Hawaii, various Pacific islands, Hong Kong, and Japan.
I can’t speak highly enough of this novel. It’s a remarkable literary achievement. I firmly believe that Five Decembers will become a classic of the mystery genre. Do yourself a favor and read it.
Book 2. Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann
Rebel Daughter is billed as a young adult novel but I believe its appeal is wider than that specific age group.
Rebel daughter is the story of a young Jewish girl called Esther, and it is set in first century B.C., in Jerusalem, then part of the Roman province of Judea.
As you may know, the Jews rebelled against Rome in the year 66. It’s called the First Jewish Revolt.
It was a ruinous rebellion that led to the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the death of thousands of Jews, and the enslavement of thousands more.
Esther is the daughter of a priest in the Second Temple, and we follow her personal story as the rebellion begins and she is thrust into the historical story while living through personal challenges and tragedies.
Rebel Daughter is meticulously researched and gives you the feeling that you’re actually in Jerusalem in the first century. The story then proceeds to Rome and you get the same sort of vibe.
Rebel Daughter won the National Jewish Book Award in the Young Adult category, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was perfect.
Book 3 – This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
This Tender Land is the first novel I’ve read by William Kent Krueger, who is an accomplished mystery author.
This book is a historical fiction novel set in Minnesota during the Great Depression, and it has just a sprinkling of the supernatural in it. But I believe that even if you’re not a fan of books with supernatural elements, in this book it’s so light that it won’t bother you.
This Tender Land is the story of four orphans who escape from an orphanage mainly for Indian children.
The way Krueger describes this orphanage, it was a terrible place, where there was no respect for Indian culture and heritage. I understand there were several such dismal places in the U.S. at that time.
The four orphans go on a trip down the Mississippi in order to flee from the police after one of them kills a man in self- defense.
During their journey, they go through many trials and tribulations, and it’s a fascinating story with a lot of heart and emotion. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, especially the sort in which a journey takes place, you will love This Tender Land.
Book 4 – A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block
A Walk Among the Tombstones is the tenth novel in the exemplary Matt Scudder series, my favorite private detective series.
In this novel, Matt Scudder is hired by a drug dealer whose wife has been abducted and then brutally murdered. Unable to go to the police, he turns to Scudder to discover who killed her.
The writing is terrific, the mystery fascinating, the characters beautifully drawn. And the city of New York, as in all the Scudder novels, is a character in and of itself.
This was the second time I read this novel, and it was as good as I remembered it.
That’s it for me for today. I hope you’ll find these books to your liking. It’s evening here in Israel, so I’ll be off to bed soon. Tomorrow morning I’m back to writing the eighth novel of the Adam Lapid series.