E-book bargains: Vincenzi, Winspear and Lippman

The Best of TimesPenny Vincenzi writes those books that are called door stoppers because of their length.  They can be fun to read though.  About The Best of Times:

On an ordinary London afternoon, a truck swerves across five lanes of traffic and creates a tangle of chaos and confusion. As loved ones wait to hear news and the hospital prepares to receive the injured, a dozen lives hang in the balance. A doctor is torn between helping the injured and hiding his young mistress; a bridegroom hopes to get to the church on time; a widow waiting to reunite with a lost love ponders whether she’ll ever see him again; and the mysterious hitchhiker, the only person who knows what really happened, is nowhere to be found.

Filled with suspense, romance, and more twists than a country highway, The Best of Times proves once again why Penny Vincenzi is the queen of happy endings.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Baltimore Blues is the first in the Tess Monahan mystery series.  She is a Baltimore reporter.

From Publishers Weekly

Downsized ex-reporter Tess Monaghan spends her days working part-time at the bookstore owned by sexy Aunt Kitty and trying not to fall into the disgustingly polluted Patapsco from her city-owned boat. When rowing buddy Rocky pays her what looks like a fortune to follow his fiance, the trail leads to murder with Rocky the prime suspect. “Uneven” is the word for this first novel-hometown and newspaper backgrounds are alive from page one, but characters are cartoons until chapter 15 (out of 30) when Tess investigates the victim. Suddenly the story perks up to a believable pageturner. If Lippman continues the promise of the second half of Baltimore Blues while adhering to advice attributed to Elmore Leonard to cut out the
parts people won’t read, mystery fans can anticipate an engrossing series.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Among the Mad is part of the excellent Maisie Dobbs series.  Best started from the beginning but definitely all worth reading.
The author on the book:
From the time I realized that in Maisie Dobbs I had a series character, I’ve wanted to explore further the phenomenon of the range of war neuroses known to the layperson as “shell shock,” and how we see those whose behavior isn’t always within the bounds of what we consider “normal.” I also wanted to look again, through the lens of story and history, at the manner in which society treats wounded veterans, especially those whose wounds cannot be seen, but are of the mind and spirit. To do this, I drew as much upon personal experience as my research.

As many of my readers know, my grandfather suffered both physical wounds and shell shock in the Great War, and as a child I remember having to be quiet around him, so as not to excite or trouble an elderly man with terrible memories. Later, in my mid-teens, I attended a school where we were required to undertake community service one afternoon each week (and we had to attend school on Saturday mornings to make up for it!). So, on Wednesday afternoons, I joined a small group who visited a psychiatric hospital–to talk to the patients, make the tea, read to them and generally offer kindness and companionship. I can recall many of the patients, some who were obviously not able to live outside an institution, and others who inspired one to wonder why they were there at all–and when you found out, the reason was often shocking. I remember one patient I talked with each week, an astoundingly sharp, intelligent man. He had been a top-ranking surgeon, one who was regarded as almost without peer. He was also a madman, a murderer. I thought of him often while writing Among the Mad.

Last year, during my book tour, a military chaplain came to one of my events and stayed behind afterwards to talk to me. He told me that he recommended my books to the families of those who have suffered loss during the Iraq war, and especially to people who are trying to accommodate the special needs of a soldier suffering from what we today call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). He added that in reading a story where such losses are suffered in a time of war, yet separated by history, it facilitates a deeper understanding of what the returning veteran might be experiencing, and challenges involved in coming home from war.

The recent news that servicemen and woman wounded by PTSD will not be eligible for the Military Order of the Purple Heart–awarded to US military personnel who have been wounded or killed in a war zone–struck a chord. In Britain during and following the Great War there was much controversy about war neuroses, and many soldiers were denied a pension as a result of a clampdown on the diagnosis of shell shock. In my second novel, Birds of a Feather, one of the characters says, “That’s the trouble with war, it’s never over when it’s over, it lives on inside the living.” Such a sentiment is never more true than in the case of the man or woman who has served their country in a time of war, but who has to live with that war reverberating in their mind every single day for the rest of their lives. Maisie Dobbs is such a person, as is the person she is in a race to find in Among the Mad.

3 thoughts on “E-book bargains: Vincenzi, Winspear and Lippman

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