“The Widow” arrives from England recommended as “twisty psychological suspense” and “an electrifying debut thriller.” It’s not either of these. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle. From the get-go you know how the final picture looks: in this case, you soon realize that Glen Taylor is the villain who abducted two-year old Bella Elliott.
At the age of 11, Daphne Park was living in a tin-roofed shack with no lights or running water in the British protectorate of Tanganyika when a letter arrived from London that changed her life forever. It was from her aunts, who were offering to provide her with a home and an education and in the end, it would lead to her becoming one of the first women spies.
Lev Grossman, in his Jan. 31, 2008 Time magazine essay, “The Lincoln Compulsion,” made this intriguing observation: “There have been more books about Abraham Lincoln than any other American.”
Since the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, it has been fashionable in some circles to express nostalgia for the good old days of hijacking back in the 1970s. It is certainly true that nothing back then was even remotely comparable to Sept. 11, where the vicious destruction and sheer number of lives lost both in aircraft and on the ground would have seemed inconceivable in what were more innocent times in such matters.
As a scholarly truism holds, “every generation rewrites history to suit itself,” the same might be said for every historian, and every news anchor who wants to be one. Brian Kilmeade of “Fox and Friends” (with ghostwriter Don Yaeger), gave us “George Washington’s Secret Six” and now has penned another look at our Republic’s early years through a lens ground to his own prescription.
By definition you cannot speak about unspeakable things, so writing about them in a novel called “Unspeakable Things” presents significant problems. Author Kathleen Spivack solves these by letting some things get lost in the haze of time, while obscuring others behind the curtains and closed doors that are so common in this novel. Some scenes she merely sketches, but others appear in brilliant color: vivid, entertaining, and often quite frightening.
In “The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious than Ever,” Rodney Stark challenges the popular notion that the world is becoming increasingly secular. Marshalling ample facts and figures, Mr. Stark, who serves as distinguished professor of the social sciences at Baylor University, dismantles what “everyone knows” in the “confines of the faculty lounge.”