Every year, my children make their father breakfast in bed for Father’s Day. Many years, we try to add a present of allowing Dad to eat and read in peace. What could be more enjoyable than a yummy breakfast, some quiet time and a delicious book? Following are two titles that will provide your favorite dad with hours of diversion and one that should be good for at least a chuckle or two.
By Scott Turow
$27.99, Hachette Book Group
Scott Turow’s sequel to the bestselling Presumed Innocent finds Rusty Sabich 20 years after he was tried for the murder of Carolyn Polemus, his fellow deputy prosecuting attorney and former mistress. At the beginning of Innocent, Rusty, now 60 years old and the chief judge of an appellate court, wakes up to find his wife of 36 years dead in bed beside him. Inexplicably, he remains at her side for almost an entire day before notifying anyone of her death. This suspicious behavior catches the attention of Rusty’s former nemesis and current prosecuting attorney Tommy Molto. Judge Sabich soon finds himself accused of murder — again. The ensuing trial is vintage Turow: fast paced, gripping and — as any good thriller should be — surprising.
Innocent is told from the perspective of four different characters and alternates between two time periods: before Barbara’s death and after. Rusty is investigated and eventually charged with murder. Tommy Molto’s story is told in third person, while Rusty, Nat (Rusty’s son) and another person, whose identity I cannot reveal without spoiling some of the fun, tell their stories themselves.
Turow develops each character thoroughly and believably, which is what separates his work from boilerplate thrillers. Rusty is a true tragic hero — yet again bringing about his own downfall through his actions. Aspiring law professor Nat has trouble making lasting connections after his tumultuous childhood with an extremely overprotective mother. Tommy Molto continues to struggle between his desire to do what is right in the eyes of the law and his conviction that Rusty is indeed a killer. The voice of each character is real, individual and compelling.
Turow’s plot is tightly woven. Developments in the story are often startling, but consistent with both storyline and characterization. Innocent will keep you guessing, but at the same time have you nodding your head and murmuring to yourself, “yes, that makes sense.”
While fans of Presumed Innocent will undoubtedly enjoy reconnecting with the characters in this much anticipated sequel, Turow has crafted Innocent in such a way that you don’t have to read the prequel to thoroughly enjoy it. In addition, Turow never gives away the more shocking plot twists of Presumed Innocent in its sequel; so you can experience the intrigue of the first book even after reading the second.
By Boyd Morrison
$24.99, Simon and Schuster
The Ark, the debut novel of Boyd Morrison, is my engineer husband’s pick for this month. A fan of James Rollins, Michael Crichton and Steve Berry, he found this fast paced, technically savvy story of the modern-day, science-based search for Noah’s ark thoroughly compelling.
The story begins with the death of Hasad Arvadi, an archaeologist dedicated to finding Noah’s ark. The action immediately fast-forwards to three years later as Hasad’s daughter, Dilara, is meeting her father’s friend Sam at Los Angeles International Airport. Sam is killed at the airport while explaining to Dilara that her father has indeed found the ark and that somehow it is linked to the possible extinction of millions of people. As Sam is dying, he instructs Dilara to find the one person who can help her find the ark and save humanity — combat engineer Tyler Locke. Dilara tracks Locke down while he is on the job on an oil rig 200 miles off of the coast of Newfoundland. After a helicopter explosion and a daring rescue at sea, Dilara and Tyler (together with Tyler’s partner, fellow engineer and former army buddy Grant Westfield) embark on a search to find Sam’s murderer — a search which ultimately leads them to try to save mankind from the evil machinations of religious fanatic Sebastian Ulrich.
According to my husband, what sets this suspense thriller apart is the attention to technical detail and unrelentingly suspenseful, action packed plot. Author Boyd Morrison’s career as an engineer for NASA and Microsoft is evident in the well conceived technical aspects of the story, as is his experience as a professional actor in the epic quality of the action. The Ark would make a great gift for fans of Clive Cussler and Dan Brown, as well as for anyone who likes to see the engineer save the day.
By Steve Mockus
$14.95, Chronicle Books
This delightfully inane foray into the world of zombies would make a wonderful gift for the person who, like me, has a very silly sense of humor. How to Speak Zombie is an all purpose guide to navigating the world of the undead — from ordering a skinny double soy latte from your favorite “zombarista,” to dancing the night away at the zombie night club. This 24 page board book is fully illustrated and chock full of advice for avoiding being eaten; however, the aspect of the book that has me laughing until I cry — despite multiple exposures — is the electronic sound module which provides you with the correct pronunciation of several useful zombie phrases.