Summer for many readers is a time of guilty pleasure, a rare chance to lose themselves in a frothy romance, riveting thriller or even an old western.
Other readers prefer to tackle weightier material, the kind of work they seldom ever have time to read during the year.
Wyatt (2011) by Australian author Garry Disher is an atmospheric crime thriller driven by the character of Wyatt Wareen, an enigmatic master thief caught up in a jewel heist turned ugly. Wyatt usually prefers to tackle low-risk jobs and work alone. But he reluctantly agrees to join an old contact and his ex-wife to stake out an international courier, Alain Le Page, hold up the goods in transit and get away fast.
It all goes terribly wrong, duplicity leads to murder and Wyatt finds himself on the run, the target of several players in the deal, and he must use all his skills to untangle the web of calamity and betrayal before it traps and destroys him.
Wyatt is a brilliantly written, tightly plotted story with unforgettable characters, including the always elusive protagonist. It is the latest volume in a series—the first one in more than a decade—and well worth the read any time of year.
Anna Karenina (1876) by Leo Tolstoy is regarded by many as the greatest novel written in any language. This is certainly open to debate. But it is undeniable that the classic novel is one of the world’s greatest literary works.
If you struggled to read the novel in the past, a dynamic new translation by the award-winning team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky will make a world of difference. This translation of the classic work, published in 2001, supersedes all other English versions—it is beautiful, vigorous and eminently readable. The accurate translation allows Tolstoy to be clearly heard, in contrast to previous translations that muted the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of his voice.
Anna Karenina tells the compelling story of a doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and Count Vronsky, a dashing officer. It is set against a vast, richly textured canvas of 19th-century Russia.
Anna’s tragedy unfolds with inexorable force as she rejects her passionless marriage to aging official Karenin and endures the pitiless hypocrisies of society.
Blood of the Reich (2011) is perhaps the best novel William Dietrich, the author of the Ethan Gage series, ever wrote. It is an ingenious stand-alone thriller that spans two time periods.
In present-day Seattle, a young woman is saved from a car bomb by a mysterious young journalist who claims he knows her true identity. In 1938 Germany, Heinrich Himmler orders explorer Kurt Raeder to find a fabled source of power and immortality in Tibet.
Only one man can stop Raeder and his team of SS officers: American zoologist Benjamin Hood, ordered to find out what the Germans are doing in Tibet and foil them.
The two mysteries—a frenetic race to stop the unleashing of an incredible power—play out in a white-knuckle ride of adventure, authentic historical detail and rich, indelible characters. Blood of the Reich is a relentlessly paced novel that will keep you reading pages as fast as you can turn them.
– Peter Critchley is a reference librarian at the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. These three titles and many more are available at your Okanagan Regional library, www.orl.bc.ca.