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Archive for November, 2013

Author Andrew Gross

Last night’s meeting on The Blue Zone by Andrew Gross held a few surprises, some raucous laughter, and lively commentary from all attendees. Our phone call with Andrew was postponed, but because he is a true gentleman, we are going to have a second chance at getting together with him by phone in July. We’ve scheduled a book discussion on his novel No Way Back for the third Thursday in July: July 17th.  Andrew also let us know that this book is being made into a TV series, possibly premiering in the fall of 214 – so we’ll get an early glimpse of what that has involved as well!

Once we got over Patti’s startling footwear, and the protagonist’s name in Jo Nesbø’s mystery series, discussion turned to The Blue Zone, and everyone had something to say. One of our members is a long-time fan of Andrew’s books, and this one is a particular favorite. Group members overall agreed that they’d enjoyed the book and that it filled the #1 requirement of good thrillers – it was very hard to put down!

There were a few comments made about points that were troublesome for readers. One comment mentioned that it was hard to believe that Kate would chance harm to her family by searching them out once they went into the witness protection program without her. There was some discussion on whether Kate’s decision to stay with, and marry her fiancé, was believable — which the group decided it was. This led to talk about her husband Greg and the twist in the story involving his personal background, the shock it brings to Kate, and if we thought they had a chance at making it as a couple. (We think they do!)  This brought up the topic of the main theme of the story, family – and what defines a family. At its most scary interpretation, Mercado and others offer the belief that fraternidad (where blood washes blood) is the most important aspect of family. It is certainly the driving force behind Ben’s motivation and more than one member found it difficult to relate to such a different concept of family, and family honor,; leading, as it does, to the deaths of two mothers, and the attempted death of two daughters, as well as the agents killed along the way. We also felt that the commitment to the “fraternidad” was intermixed with the desire for power.

One member felt that the most interesting character in the story was Ben, and the transition he makes from unquestioned supportive father, caring husband, and trustworthy businessman, to someone far different. We talked about how it would be possible for him to change his treatment of Kate, and felt that it was part of the process he needed to follow to distance himself from her and fulfill his reason for avoiding the witness protection agents and police.

We also talked about Andrew’s use of the female perspective – both in this book, and in other novels – particularly the two Women’s Murder Club books he co-authored with James Patterson. We felt that overall he had a very good grasp on creating believable, realistic, and strong women. His focus on them is so strong, that it even over shadowed the male child in this book, Justin. You know far less about him and his place in the story is relatively small, while both Em and Kate are strong, feisty young women who are smart and athletic. We liked how the sports they both are good at – sculling and squash – reflect the privileged background Gross created for them. We did question whether some of their reactions (Kate’s in particular) weren’t more “guy” oriented than a female writer would have made them.

Other points were made that entail spoilers, which we do not publish, but we do feel that the ending plot twists, while not always believable for a couple folks, were too much fun not to finish – and that we all very willingly will read more by this author, especially No Way Back this coming July!

In other business, the group has mentioned that they want to make sure we have both Jo Nesbø and Linwood Barkley down for authors we might want to vote for in our planning meeting in August 2014. We also noted that next month’s meeting, on Thursday, Dec. 5th is early in the month so we didn’t conflict with the holidays – but that folks will want to do some speed reading on our book: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz!

As you can see, a lot was said at this meeting – but there’s always more we can add, so if you’d like to leave comments, please do!

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Lisle Library is hosting Lisa Scottoline tonight at Benet Academy’s Daniel Hall at 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30. The first 200 attendees will get a free copy of one of Lisa’s books!  Don’t miss this rare chance to hear a major New York Times best-selling author – both for her suspense novels and her semi-biographical non-fiction.Click on the picture to get details from our calendar about this event.

Author Lisa Scottoline

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