Clue: Was it the Heiress in the Library?
Liz Durkee

LETHAL LEGACY. By Linda Fairstein. Doubleday. February, 2009. 367 pages. $26.

T he magnificent New York Public Library (NYPL) is the number one character in Linda Fairstein’s new Alexandra Cooper novel, Lethal Legacy.

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Civil War Drama Glories in Details Of Battles Too Close to Island Home
Tom Dresser

SEEN THE GLORY: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg. By John Hough, Jr. Simon & Schuster, June, 2009. 420 pages. $25.

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Vineyard Bookshelf
Phyllis Meras

COURAGE: A Novel of the Sea. By Alan Littell, Illustrated. St. Martin’s Press. 148 pages. $16.95.

It surely was not Vineyard Haven harbor waters lapping the beach near the Mary Guerin Inn in Eastville that inspiredthis thrilling sea tale. But its author, Alan Littell, spent childhood summers there. More likely, his later years as a merchant mariner provided the background for this story of the dangers of the enthralling sea.

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Intrigue Every Inning: Thriller Has Curves Beyond Usual Pitch
Geoff Cousins
James Grippando’s Intent to Kill is fixed firmly in the thriller genre, but with more twists than most. The lead character, Ryan James, is a baseball star who has suffered tragic loss with the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident — and not handled it as well as he might.
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Martha’s Vineyard Railroad Had a Very Short Ride
Tom Dunlop
For 21 years — from the late summers of 1874 through 1895 — a passenger train chuffed along a route that looks inconceivably imposing to us today: from what’s now the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf, over the very sands of State Beach, through the fairways and greens of the Edgartown Golf Club, perpendicularly across Upper Main street, along the border of not one but two cemeteries and into what are now the subdivisions and farmlands of Katama before terminating at two dead ends: the dunes of South Beach and a hotel at Mattakessett whose ugliness was rivaled only by its windswept isolation and self-evident vulnerability to fire.
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Local Author Writes on Taliban
By SUSAN STRANE

Witness to the Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, by Barbara Bick, The Feminist Press, $14.99.

History has left us the chronicles of a number of intrepid women of the West who have traversed the Near and Middle East. In this tradition, but surpassing it in many ways, Barbara Bick of Vineyard Haven has written Walking the Precipice: Witness to the Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a testimony for our time. It is a lucid, passionate and at times harrowing political book written on behalf of the women of Afghanistan.

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Action is Between the Lines in Tale of Love, Loss, Politics
Bob Drogin

EXILES IN THE GARDEN. By Ward Just. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. July, 2009. 288 pages. $25.

Anyone who has spent time in London, Paris, Tokyo or any other major capital inevitably is dissatisfied in Washington, D.C.

Chosen by compromise, built atop a swamp, and provincial to its core, it offers some of the nation’s most appalling architecture (e.g., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, or the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building) and weather to match.

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Finding in Science What Slave Trade Had Erased, Stories Grow from Roots
Bettye Foster Baker

IN SEARCH OF OUR ROOTS: How 19 Extraordinary Americans Reclaimed Their Past. By Henry Louis Gates Jr. Crown. January, 2009. 424 pages. $27.50.

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Robots Charm in New Children’s Book
Tom Dresser

Paul Carrick wrote and illustrated Watch Out for Wolfgang. And it’s a keeper.

To have illustrated and written his first children’s book is obviously very exciting for Mr. Carrick. “There’s something magical about seeing it neatly bound together in a complete package,” he said. “It was a special experience to be involved in all aspects of its design: I got to pick the book’s dimensions, the typefaces — everything.”

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Sports Agent Shows You the Money
Gwyn McAllister

NEGOTIATE LIKE THE PROS: A Top Sports Negotiator’s Lessons for Making Deals, Building Relationships, and Getting What You Want. By Kenneth Shropshire. McGraw-Hill. October, 2008. 224 pages. $19.95.

Professor Kenneth Shropshire is a former all-state athlete who grew up in inner city Los Angeles and attended Stanford on a football scholarship. He is a sports fan who can discuss ESPN news with enthusiasm and will knowledgeably forward his opinions on shady college recruitment practices and sports agent scandals.

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