Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark
Marcia Clark is best known for her work as head prosecutor during the O.J. Simpson trial. This is her second book involving her character District Attorney Rachel Knight. In her first book Guilt by Association, Knight's colleague is found dead at a crime scene and she must take over a high profile rape case. Instead, she grows more entangled with the circumstances surrounding the death of her colleague. In this follow up, Knight is asked to take on the case of a murdered homeless man. Just as she loses hope in finding any leads, clues are uncovered that link this murder to events in her first book. Marcia Clark certainly knows her way around the courtroom, but this novel gets us out of there and onto the streets of L.A.
Night Watch by Linda Fairstein
All this week, I've been waking up and thinking to myself Live this day like you're Alexandra Cooper. This is the 14th book in Linda Fairstein's popular Alexandra Cooper series. While on vacation in France with her restauranteur boyfriend Luc, Alexandra "Coop" Cooper is called back to New York to assist in a rape case involving an international banker. Meanwhile, back in France, the police in Luc's small village are trying to uncover the facts surrounding the death of a young woman who used to work for Luc. Can Luc be trusted? Is the international banker guilty? We'll have to read to find out.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
A great book about James Garfield, one of our most improbable Presidents. His rise to the Presidency from utter poverty as a child, via Civil War heroics and a spate in Congress, is impressive on its own. But the really crazy thing about the book is that he was shot by a total nutball (whose story is also outlined) just a few months into his term! Then, amazingly, he survived the attack—and then his doctors basically killed him with their horrible medical practices. This was just before, for example, sterilization became a cornerstone of medicine (in fact at the time it was seen as quackery), and his doctors kept opening his wound and poking around in it to try to find the bullet with their non-sterile tools. They also fed him on a diet of rich foods like bacon and lamb chops every day even though he had a history of stomach issues. You can imagine. There’s also a fascinating story of a young Alexander Graham Bell (the very same as you’re thinking, yes) who was trying desperately to invent a machine to help find the bullet so it could be extracted before it was too late. Things got worse and worse and the activity of the entire country came to a complete halt as everyone anxiously awaited multiple updates a day as to Garfield’s progress. Mind-blowing and a real page-turner of a tragedy.
Afterwards by Rosamund Lipton
A great summer read, reminiscent of early Jodi Picoult mixed with Sophie Hannah. The book opens with Grace, mother of two, at her children’s school for an end-of-year celebration. When she sees the main building go up in flames and realizes her daughter is inside, she runs in to save her. Both suffer severe injuries, and in hospital, Grace finds that her consciousness can leave her physical body, which is in a coma, and wander the hospital (and even a bit beyond). As she watches and listens, not only does she learn more about her family, she also begins to suspect the fire was not accidental, but in fact a deliberate strike at her daughter—and to worry that the attacker will try again. Fast-paced and a little heart-wrenching. I wouldn’t recommend reading it on public transportation unless you are okay with crying in front of strangers. But it’s just perfect for the times when you need a book to take over your life for a few hours.