In this Dickensian tale Jaffy, a fearless street urchin, is almost eaten by a Bengal tiger. Saved by the titular Jamrach, a jovial dealer in exotic animals who, impressed by his fearlessnes, hires him as a trainer, Jaffy meets slick talking Tim, another Jamrach protege, and his twin sister Ishbel. Tim and Jaffy become best friends. Which does not mean that their relationship is uncomplicated. The fact that Jaffy's heart is captured by Ishbel makes that a given. This beautifully written tale is populated with a host of curious, well-drawn characters, a vivid late-19th-century background and plenty of mystery. A whaling expedition hosts a quest to acquire a quasi-mythical (Komodo) dragon. And with its capture adventure (and escape) turns to survival. Characters come of age under horrifying circumstances. Love is lost. And found. A remarkable tale. Check Our Catalog 
A rollicking, fast paced, less-than-reverent but scrupulously researched romp through two millenniums of popes. The cast is vast: 265 men (a very entertaining chapter explores the dubious possibility of a ninth century female Pope Joan) not to mention various antipopes. A few popes bring marvelous diplomatic and ecclesiastical skills to the task. Leo I keeps the Huns at bay and saves Rome from destruction. Scholarly Benedict XIV delicately keeps the 18th century peace and reforms the Holy See. But this travelogue really soars when Norwich addresses the vast majority of immoral, debauched, cruel, petty and incompetent occupiers of the throne. In a chapter titled "Nicholas I and the Pornocracy" Norwich wades through a swamp of ninth century ecclesiastical sexual misconduct. It's a truism that sinners are much more entertaining than saints and there are plenty of the former in this tale. Who says history can't be fun! Check Our Catalog 
This is Nesbo’s sixth book to be translated into English starring Inspector Harry Hole. I have been hooked since his first. The Leopard finds Hole hiding out in Asia trying to avoid and forget his most recent dealings with murder and serial killers in Norway. Hole is coerced back to Oslo to face yet another daunting investigative challenge. Nesbo’s rough around the edges hero and bleak Norwegian environs make for excellent reads. Check Our Catalog 
Published in 2010, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death, this autobiography was a major literary event. At times during this first volume, there were a lot of starts and stops; with the editors presents Twain’s many abandoned attempts at writing an autobiography. Once you get to the meat of things however, you can fully appreciate the great storyteller at his best. Twain’s descriptions of events, locations, friends and foes are hilarious and enjoyable. Check Our Catalog 
Local author Andrew Krivak tells the story Jozef Vinich, who begins life in a bleak 19th century Colorado mining town, only to end up fighting for the Kaiser in World War One. Krivak’s debut novel offers the story of a man returning to the roots of his ancestors, finding new family along the way, only to have the horrors of war disrupt all that he had come to take for granted. Krivak packs a lot of emotion into the rather small book. Check Our Catalog 
An exceptional crime novel by this Scottish writer, featuring detective inspector Alex Morrow of the Glasgow police. A disgraced millionaire financier hangs himself in London hours before a young woman is brutally murdered in a suburb of Glasgow. The reader knows the two events are related somehow but Alex must connect the dots while managing a tense work situation and her personal ties to some of the working class Glaswegians implicated in the murder. Check Our Catalog 
Have you read all of our suggestions? Maybe it is time to try one of the 'Best Books of 2011.' The New York Times, always an arbiter of taste, has released it annual list of Best Books . Whether you are looking for some good fiction or nonfiction, this is always an interesting and enticing list. If you don't find anything you like, you can always turn to the Times' 100 Notable Books of the Year .
What is it like growing up the youngest of three brothers of a mixed race family in upstate New York? At times it seems that it can be pretty dangerous. Torres offers a short, quick stories that follow our narrator as he grows up in a family that teaches him to love, to fight and to survive. Check Our Catalog 
In this audiobook read by Johnny Heller, Nikki Heat--an interesting, tough and sexy New York homicide detective--is trying to solve the murder of a parish priest in a bondage club. She is thwarted from investigating leads which leads her to a conspiracy inside the Police Department and a death squad trying to gun her down. She is put on probation and has to turn to a non-policeman to assist her, writer Jameson Rook.
This is the first audiobook I've listened to in a long time that had me anxious to spend more time in my car and continue the story. Based on the TV Series "Castle", the characters are closely based on the series, but the story stands well on its own. It is a fun and intriguing murder mystery with great twists, paranoia, and good comic relief. The reader does a dead-on Nathan Fillion impression, and otherwise has a good acting voice to truly dramatize the text. Check Our Catalog 
Inside the Citadel lies the oldest most important religious relic in the world. It is greater than any relic ever recovered or revered by any religious faith. And it is the world's greatest secret. Toyne's book brings us inside the Citadel and into the secret sect that guards the relic. The book begins with a very public death, which sends characters from different sides searching for answers. This is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller. Check Our Catalog 
I finished with tears in my eyes; this one really got me. What wonderful, evocative writing, and what skill at conveying the tangled webs we weave for ourselves and one another. Check Our Catalog 
Emily, Lady Polbrook is dead, strangled in her bed and her husband, Lord Randal Polbrook left the house in a tearing hurry in the small hours of the morning. No one in the household believes the Marquis to be guilty but with the Bow Street Runners looking for him they need proof of his innocence. Mrs. Ottilia Draycott, newly hired comapnion to the Dowager Lady Polbrook joins forces with his brother, Lord Francis Fanshaw, to solve the puzzle of who would have and, more importantly, could have murdered Lady Polbrook. Very much a locked room mystery almost all of the activity takes place within the Polbrook townhouse. Check Our Catalog 
Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is called on to untangle the puzzle of a badly mangled corpse. Hyenas have partially destroyed the body but there is no doubt it is murder, the victim's teeth have been knocked out, finger tips removed and most telling there is no vehicle near by in a spot where no one would venture on foot. This is the first in a new series featuring an interesting cast of chartacters, a tricky puzzle to solve and wonderful setting. I also enjoyed the second in the series, The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu. Check Our Catalog 
Recently retired Benjamin Chaparro, a longtime deputy clerk in Argentina's judicial system, decides to write about an old case that began with the brutal murder of a young woman in 1968. Against the backdrop of Argentina's "Dirty War"of the 1970s, his story explores the nature of justice, friendship and love. This is a page-turner that was made into an Oscar-winning foreign film with the same title. The movie is good; the book is better. Check Our Catalog 
A high school English teacher is sent back to 1958 via a time travel rabbit hole located in a Maine diner. His objective is to stop Lee Harvey Oswald, but he must first make sure of Oswald’s guilt and that he acted alone. An incredibly entertaining novel, 11/22/63 asks what might have happened had President Kennedy lived. Check Our Catalog 
Nothing is sacred to Barney Panofsky in this rambling, hilarious and ultimately sad fictional "memoir." Barney spares no one, including himself, in his version of events, from his years as a Canadian expat in Paris in the 50s, through his three wives and his career as a trash TV producer, to his involvement in the disappearance--or was it murder?--of his best friend, Boogie. You will laugh out loud from the beginning almost to the end, when the nature of Barney's own end becomes clear. Check Our Catalog 
Set in the Scottish Highlands in the mid-1950s, this mystery features Joanne Ross, a typist at the Highland Gazette newspaper struggling to create a new life for herself and her two young daughters after leaving an abusive husband. Her personal connections to two men who turn up dead on the same day give her a chance to try her hand at reporting that challenges her loyalties. Great local color for those who love Scotland, plus a real sense of what it was like to be a woman in the post-war years before feminism had made much headway. Check Our Catalog 
Another strange case for Paris police chief Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg involving vampires, political skullduggery and a troubled adult son he didn't know he had. The story begins in a meandering, vague sort of way with Adamsberg relying on his famous intuition as seemingly unrelated events come together and the suspense quickens. If you're already a fan of this intriguing and unorthodox French cop, you won't want to miss this latest title in the series. If not, start the fun with The Chalk Circle Man . Check Our Catalog 
It's the end of days!!! In the not too distant future, robots have made our lives a lot easier. Robots can now drive our cars and fight our wars. Fast forward just a little bit more and they gain intelligence and begin to turn against us. Wilson's book is an oral history of the rising of Archos, the leader of the computer/robot revolution, and the human reaction as they fight to stay alive. A great read that will have you questioning just how much we rely on our computers. Check Our Catalog .
An absorbing and thought-provoking read, this novel explores a web of characters whose lives cross paths over the course of four decades, ending about 10 years from now. The two central characters are Bennie, a rock music promoter, and Sasha, his young assistant, but the story is told from multiple points of view and explores the lifelong echoes of chance encounters and the relentless impact of time passing. I'm often disappointed when I finally get around to reading an award-winning, critically acclaimed and popular title, because the work doesn't live up to the hype. Not so in this case. Check Our Catalog