Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

razorhurst1932 is shaping up to be a bloody year in Sydney’s Razorhurst neighborhood.  So-named for its ruthless criminals that carry razors instead of the guns banned on the streets, Razorhurst is ruled by crime bosses Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson – and their razor men.  The two have reached a fragile peace, but their men wear their razor scars like badges of honor.

Dymphna Campbell is Glory’s best girl, the most beautiful, well-dressed, well-spoken, and every gangster’s most desired companion – especially Mr. Davidson, the only one who can’t have her.  The lovely Dymphna is also known as the Angel of Death, since no man she’s been with has ever stayed alive more than a few months.  She doesn’t kill them, but they end up dead anyway.  Which doesn’t stop them from wanting Dymphna on their arms and at their parties.

Kelpie is a nobody, just a skinny, underfed orphan who scrounges what she can find on the streets to survive.  Alone since Old Ma died, Kelpie has no idea how old she is, where her next meal is coming from, or if she’ll even live out the year.  So it comes as quite a shock to Kelpie when she stumbles onto a gruesome murder scene when she’s hunting down a lead on some apples and Dymphna is standing over the body of Jimmy Palmer, Glory’s right-hand man, and the latest in Dymphna’s string of dead boyfriends.

Over the next 24 hours, Kelpie and Dymphna evade the coppers, hide from the razor men, and try to manage Glory’s unpredictable temper.  The last person Kelpie expected to be hiding in abandoned houses with was The Angel of Death, especially when Kelpie discovers that she and Dymphna share a dark secret – they can both see ghosts, and the ghost of murdered Jimmy Palmer isn’t going anywhere.

This reads like a macabre mashup of Boardwalk Empire and Libba Bray’s The Diviners.  Sharp and glittering with an edge of deepest dark, this novel will keep you up late finishing it, and then later still hoping there aren’t any ghosts lurking in the corners.  The best part?  Author Justine Larbalestier wrote this book after realizing that her gentrified neighborhood used to be Razohurst, one of the bloodiest slums in Sydney, ruled by crime and corruption.  Although the events in her novel are fictional, many of the characters are based on real people.  If you love reading about the dark glitz, glamor, and gore of bootleggers, mafia lords, and dealings in dark alleys, don’t miss Razorhurst!

Erin Hart & Paddy O’Brien to visit!

Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien

Award winning author Erin Hart and her husband, Irish musician Paddy O’Brien, are coming to the library for a meet and greet and book discussion this Saturday, April 25th at 11 am.  Ms. Hart authors a murder mystery series starring Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire that is set in Ireland. The latest in the series is The Book of Killowen (personal note: I’ve read her books and they are fabulous!).  She’ll be discussing her latest book and her husband will talk about his recent memoir, The Road from Castlebarnagh, about growing up in rural Ireland in the 1950s and 60s. To top it off, Paddy will play amazing Irish traditional music on two-row button accordion at times during the program!   Come and meet them this Saturday morning!  This event is free to the public courtesy of the library.

FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY PRESENT…EMILY DICKINSON

The beauty of spring sets a perfect backdrop for the poetry of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most famous poets.  A prolific writer, Dickinson’s cannon contains over 1800 poems.  Susan Richardson will be coming to the library this Saturday, May 18th, to give a reading of Dickinson’s verses.  She will share her knowledge of the writer and her works at 10 am in the Foot Room.  The Friends of the Library share this presentation with the public to celebrate National Poetry Month.  See you there!

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

conspiracyAvery West is used to being the new girl.  Her mom works for the military and every time she gets new orders, they move across the country.   Sometimes they stay somewhere for a few months, sometimes it’s a few weeks before they’re on the move again.  Which means Avery isn’t really a fan of getting close, letting people in, or making much more than surface friendships.  People to talk to in class and sit with at lunch?  Cool.  Best friends and boyfriends?  No way.

Which is why she has to tell herself that it doesn’t matter if new guy Jack is hanging on to a photo of her, she absolutely can’t let herself get close enough to a guy to be his girlfriend.

Because what other reason would a normal high school guy have for carrying around a girl’s picture other than liking her?

When Jack asks Avery to prom, she decides to live life wild for a night and say yes.  It’s just a date… and Jack is super gorgeous.  And nice.  And has a crazy awesome compass tattoo.

But when Jack reveals that Avery (and her mother) are not who she always thought they were, her world is blown wide open.  Turns out prom was just a ploy – Jack works for a  secret society that runs the world, and they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy that could give them unlimited power.  When another boy, Stellan, turns up at prom and promises to take Avery to meet her father for the first time in her life, how could she refuse?  But it’s not as easy as it sounds… and before long, Avery is caught up in an international chase across the Atlantic as she follows clues, flees assassins, frantically tries to untangle a centuries-old web of lies and figure out who is on her side.

If you’re a fan of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series of books, love a good international man of mystery (or two), or have been looking for a Da Vinci Code meets James Bond sort of a read, look no further!  From the Louvre to the Eiffel tower and all the way to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, The Conspiracy of Us glitters with high fashion, stilettos (both sorts), high speed chases, celebrities, exclusive clubs, ball gowns, a little murder in Prada, and, of course, two mysterious boys with tattoos and gorgeous eyes.  Don’t miss it!