Book Briefs

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper

Doug Parker is a 29-year old widower. He lost his wife Hayley (who was older) in a plane crash and has spent the last year avoiding life in Jonathan Tropper’s “How to Talk to a Widower.”

And while much of Doug’s world is defined by his depression and anger over losing Hayley, it’s not the only thing going on his life. His twin sister Clair is pregnant and leaving her husband, his father suffered a stroke and has good and bad days and his younger sister met her fiancee at the shiva for Hayley. And that’s before you get to a rebelling step-son and Doug’s decision to try living life again–if by living you mean, sleeping with the wife of a good friend, dating again and falling for the guidance counsellor at his step-son’s school.

Tropper channels a Nick-Hornby-like vibe with first-person narrator Doug. Doug makes choices he admittedly knows are wrong, but continues the path due to his perceived pain and anguish over losing Hayley. Doug is, at times, selfish and the story is about his growing up. It’s about coming to grips with the pain and realizing that Hayley would want him to continue living his life.

Now, it all sounds a bit dark and it is. But Tropper has filled this book with so many memorable characters that there are light moments sprinkled in the story to keep the reader from getting totally depressed. The circus of women around the newly-dating Doug is worth the price of admission alone.

Funny, sarcastic and sardonic all at the same time, “How To Talk to a Widower” is an ideal book for guys and the women who want to understand them. And don’t let the new cover fool you. It looks like a light romance novel, but underneath is a story of a guy dealing with his demons. And while there is some romance, I wouldn’t say it’s a romance in the strictest sense of the word. 

The Devil’s Bones by Jefferson Bass

The writing duo of the University of Tennessee’s Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson is back with a third suspense novel featuring Dr. Bill Brockton.”The Devil’s Bones” follows the events of the previous novel as Brockton continues to come to terms with the murder of his lover by his nemesis, Garland Hamilton. Brockton is asked to look into the cremains of a friend’s loved one and soon uncovers a scam being perpetrated by owners of a cremation company. Add to this that Hamilton escapes custody and is on the run and you’ve got a myriad of threads all running parallel over the course of this suspense/thriller
The story follows three separate threads that, for the most part, only cross paths with Brockton having to deal with them. The authors avoid the tempation to bring everything neatly together in the end and instead concentrate on the specifics of being a foresnic anthropologist. The moments in the novel when Brockton and his team investigate and solve various crimes based on the physical evidence left behind are some of the book’s most compelling.

But without a good story, this would all be meaningless. And there is a good story here that will keep you guessing and keep the pages turning.

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Imagine waking up one day to find you have the “perfect” life–great job, ideal spouse, the right look and money to satisfy your every need and whim.In “Remember Me?” Lexi Smart does just that–wakes up to the perfect life. Lexi wakes up in a hospital following a blow to the head and having amnesia. The last three years of her life are missing and she’s gone from a frumpy girl with the nickname “Snaggletooth” to a high-powered corporate career woman with a complete make-over and a wealthy husband. It sounds a bit too good to be true.
And it turns out to be. In our climb to the top, Lexi alienated her closest friends and has become obsessed. She’s become the corporate bitch in many ways and her perfect looking husband isn’t quite the perfect guy he appears to be.

The story follows Lexi trying to put her life back together and figure out how she got there. The revelation of what drove her to become so ruthless is set up well in the early running and makes perfect sense within the context of the novel. Also, the story doesn’t necessarily have Lexi find a perfect life for her beyond the perfect life she has on paper.

 Told from the first-person perspective, “Remember Me?” is an intriguing commentary disguised as chick-lit fluff


 Atonement by Ian McEwan

 What can I say about this novel that probably already hasn’t been said elsewhere and far more eloquently than I could ever hope to.  




Filed under mystery, review

2 responses to “Book Briefs

  1. Pingback: Book Through Thursday: Author No One Is Reading « Nashville Book Worm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s