March 25, 2018

Heart of the Trail by Mary Barmeyer O’Brien beautifully captures the triumphs and tribulations of women who crossed the American frontier by wagon in the mid-1800’s. Their widely different stories show these remarkable women as inspiring, courageous, and resourceful, reflecting their adventure and hardship on the trails. The legacy of their letters and diaries is a fascinating addition to understanding the history of the West.

Being a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz reveals the expertise of a scientist as Horowitz, guided by her own Finnegan and Upton, imagines what it is like to be a dog. Her quest through the cutting-edge science behind canine olfactory abilities takes her to cognitive researchers and smell experts, detection-dog trainers and training centers. While meeting researchers working with dogs to detect cancerous cells and anticipate epileptic seizure or diabetic shock, Howowitz even attempts to smell-train her own nose.

The Man From the Train by Bill James uncovers the true identity of a monstrous criminal, one of the deadliest serial killers in American history. Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an ax – valuables left in plain sight, bodies piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases received national attention, but few people believed the crimes were related, and fewer still realized that all the victims lived within walking distance to a train station.

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King centers around eighteen-year-old Kalinda, orphan ward of the Sisterhood in the ancient Tarachand Empire, who is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Following a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek, Kalinda is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

Half in Love With Artful Death by Bill Crider kicks off with small town Clearview, a placid world of donkey roundups and low rent burglaries, losing another of its not very nice citizens. As things get lively, Sheriff Rhodes, in his usual plodding, pondering way, aids a naked damsel in distress, which leads to taking down a meth lab with accompanying gunfire and a heroic charge. It seems as if a Sheriff’s work is never done.

Swan Song by Robert McCammon dives into a shocking vision of a post-apocalyptic US, a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies. Three of earth’s last survivors – a woman who discovers a strange artifact, a pro wrestler taking refuge from nuclear fallout, and a young girl with special powers – are drawn into a final battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of humanity.