Short Takes

Associated PressMarch 20, 2011 

Fiction

Love You More

Lisa Gardner, Bantam, 368pages

One of the best thriller writers in the business has written her best book to date.

In Lisa Gardner's "Love You More," police detective D.D. Warren investigates what appears to be an open-and-shut case of spousal abuse and a woman - a fellow cop - defending herself.

As Warren investigates, holes appear in the story. She and her colleagues must put aside bias and uncover secrets that, once revealed, might result in other deaths.

The Informationist

Taylor Stevens, Crown, 320pages

Vanessa Munroe specializes in extracting valuable information for anyone who can pay for it. When a Texas oil tycoon hires her to find his daughter who disappeared in Africa four years ago, Munroe is at first reluctant to take the case - she doesn't work missing person cases. But the facts in Emily Burbank's disappearance don't add up.

"The Informationist," Taylor Stevens' debut novel, starts out a bit slow, but not sluggish. There's a lot of groundwork to put down and a measured, deliberate buildup to the point at which Munroe is attacked, drugged and led out into the ocean on a boat, where she comes to as she's about to be killed by her abductors.

Then the real adventure starts and the action doesn't let up. Munroe's escape brings her to the man she once loved, who now has cause and means to further betray her to enemy forces.

Associated Press

When the Killing's Done

T.C. Boyle, Viking, 369 pages

T.C. Boyle's 12th novel is arguably his strongest and most deeply felt work.

"When the Killing's Done" is an eco-thriller set in Santa Barbara and in the nearby Channel Islands National Park, an uninhabited archipelago sometimes called America's Galapagos.

As two families fight over the islands' wildlife, humans who monkey in the natural order find themselves put on trial before the harshest judge of all.

A strength of the book is how the competing points of view are rooted in personal experience and irrigated in blood. Boyle's brawny narrative shifts between perspectives, introducing tragic new details from the key characters' histories that recalibrate the balance of our sympathies.

For 30 years, Boyle has been justly praised for his vivid prose, yet here he's at the peak of his powers, emulating the five senses with cinematic clarity, modulating tone for sardonic effect and nominating the perfect word for each particle of creation.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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