Book – The unthinkable and disturbing has happened, a 14-year-old boy, has been brutally stabbed to death in the woods near a city park in a small, middle-class Massachusetts town. The boy turns out to be 14 year old Ben Rifkin, the classmate of Jacob Barber, son of Andy, who is the Assistant District Attorney. Andy focuses on a neighborhood pedophile as the chief suspect. But soon Andy must face the unthinkable. Internet accusations posted on Facebook by Jacob’s friends and his bloody fingerprint on the victim’s clothes result in his son Jacob becoming the prime suspect. Jacob also admits to showing off a knife to his friends. Andy finds the knife and immediately makes it disappear. But does he do it to protect his son’s innocence or hide his guilt? Jacob’s mother, Laurie, struggles with the haunting suspicion that her son might be capable of such a horrific crime. As soon as Jacob is arrested, Andy Barber is taken off the case and suspended from his office. He devotes himself and puts all of his resources into proving his son’s innocence. This is a must read legal thriller and family saga. The ending will rock your world. The author, Willam Landay, is a former DA turned writer. His other books include Mission Flats and The Strangler. His books should appeal to fans of John Grisham and Scott Turow. Defending Jacob is also a good selection for book clubs.
Book – What would happen if magic came back into the world? That’s the driving question behind James Treadwell’s ongoing trilogy, which starts with Advent. Hundreds of years ago Johann Faust, the greatest magician of his age, locked all the magic of the world away in two precious objects. In the present day, Gavin Stokes is fifteen, and he sees things that other people don’t. Unlike most teen protagonists, he refuses to shut up about it, and when it gets him suspended from school his parents send him his aunt in the country, where he finds that he is far from the only one.
I loved Advent for the feeling it has, a sense that magic is something very old and mysterious and dangerous which, though wonderful, might not actually be something that you want. This is magic by way of horror – too powerful to be simply charming. It reminds me a little of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, a little of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and a little of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. The sequel to Advent, Anarchy, was published in the US in September, and the third book in the trilogy is forthcoming.
TV Series – When I was exploring the library collection for Halloween related material, I came across the comedy series Reaper. Reaper was a funny television series lasting two seasons, and after flying through it on DVD, I was disappointed to reach the end. The show’s main character Sam learned his parents had sold his soul to the Devil (played fabulously by Ray Wise), and Sam was forced to work as the Devil’s bounty hunter. Sam’s friends helped him out, and his sidekick Sock often stole the scene with idiosyncratic humor. Part of the fun of the series were the creative antics of Sam and his friends while they were at their day jobs at a big-box home store. The comedy also had romantic story-lines, and engaging mysteries threaded through the series. The show ended before all of these loose ends were tied up. This was due to the stalling of syndication talks, during which time the show’s stars were recruited to other projects. In a 2010 interview with CliqueClack TV, creators Fazekas and Butters revealed many of the unresolved plots from the series: How Reaper would have ended.