Publisher: Celadon Books

#BookReview Bad City: Peril and Power in the City of Angels by Paul Pringle @CeladonBooks #BadCity #PaulPringle #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads

#BookReview Bad City: Peril and Power in the City of Angels by Paul Pringle @CeladonBooks #BadCity #PaulPringle #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads Title: Bad City: Peril and Power in the City of Angels

Author: Paul Pringle

Published by: Celadon Books on Jul. 19, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

For fans of Spotlight and Catch and Kill comes a nonfiction thriller about corruption and betrayal radiating across Los Angeles from one of the region’s most powerful institutions, a riveting tale from a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who investigated the shocking events and helped bring justice in the face of formidable odds.

On a cool, overcast afternoon in April 2016, a salacious tip arrived at the L.A. Times that reporter Paul Pringle thought should have taken, at most, a few weeks to check out: a drug overdose at a fancy hotel involving one of the University of Southern California’s shiniest stars—Dr. Carmen Puliafito, the head of the prestigious medical school. Pringle, who’d long done battle with USC and its almost impenetrable culture of silence, knew reporting the story wouldn’t be a walk in the park. USC is one of the biggest employers in L.A., and it casts a long shadow.

But what he couldn’t have foreseen was that this tip would lead to the unveiling of not one major scandal at USC but two, wrapped in a web of crimes and cover-ups. The rot rooted out by Pringle and his colleagues at The Times would creep closer to home than they could have imagined—spilling into their own newsroom.

Packed with details never before disclosed, Pringle goes behind the scenes to reveal how he and his fellow reporters triumphed over the city’s debased institutions, in a narrative that reads like L.A. noir. This is L.A. at its darkest and investigative journalism at its brightest.


Review:

Fast-paced, insightful, and comprehensive!

Bad City is the explosive, eye-opening investigation of one of the biggest scandals to rock the University of Southern California that started as a tip involving an unconscious woman, a hotel room littered with drug paraphernalia, and the Dean of its distinguished Keck School of Medicine, Carmen A. Puliafito and ended with the unearthing of an unimaginable amount of corruption, abuse of power, and exploitation that eventually led to the removal of several key figures in both the top echelons of the university’s administration as well as The L.A. Times.

The writing is detailed and precise. And the novel is an absorbing, compelling tale of one man’s dogged determination to uncover and expose the dark, dangerous, depraved secret life of one of the esteemed members of the USC faculty.

Overall, Bad City is a fascinating, disturbing, exceptionally descriptive novel by Pringle that is a scary reminder that often a rotten core can easily be masked by a shiny facade, and is without a doubt a prime example of investigative journalism at its best.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Paul Pringle

Paul Pringle is a Los Angeles Times reporter who specializes in investigating corruption. In 2019, he and two colleagues won the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for their work uncovering the widespread sexual abuse by Dr. George Tyndall at the University of Southern California, an inquiry that grew out of their reporting the year before on Dr. Carmen Puliafito, dean of USC’s medical school. Pringle was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 and a member of reporting teams that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2004 and 2011. Pringle won the George Polk Award in 2008, the same year the Society of Professional Journalists of Greater Los Angeles honored him as a distinguished journalist. Along with several colleagues, he shared in Harvard University’s 2011 Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Reporting. Pringle and a Times colleague won the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Award in 2014 and the University of Florida’s Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award in 2015. Pringle lives in Glendale, California.

Photo by Joanna Pringle.

#BookReview The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green @CeladonBooks #KingdomsOfSavannah #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

#BookReview The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green @CeladonBooks #KingdomsOfSavannah #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner Title: The Kingdoms of Savannah

Author: George Dawes Green

Published by: Celadon Books on Jul. 19, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Savannah may appear to be “some town out of a fable,” with its vine flowers, turreted mansions, and ghost tours that romanticize the city’s history. But look deeper and you’ll uncover secrets, past and present, that tell a more sinister tale. It’s the story at the heart of George Dawes Green’s chilling new novel, The Kingdoms of Savannah.

It begins quietly on a balmy Southern night as some locals gather at Bo Peep’s, one of the town’s favorite watering holes. Within an hour, however, a man will be murdered and his companion will be “disappeared.” An unlikely detective, Morgana Musgrove, doyenne of Savannah society, is called upon to unravel the mystery of these crimes. Morgana is an imperious, demanding, and conniving woman, whose four grown children are weary of her schemes. But one by one she inveigles them into helping with her investigation, and soon the family uncovers some terrifying truths—truths that will rock Savannah’s power structure to its core.

Moving from the homeless encampments that ring the city to the stately homes of Savannah’s elite, Green’s novel brilliantly depicts the underbelly of a city with a dark history and the strangely mesmerizing dysfunction of a complex family.


Review:

Haunting, complex, and intense!

The Kingdoms of Savannah is a charged, gripping mystery that sweeps you away to Savannah, Georgia, and into the lives of the prominent, dysfunctional Musgrove family as they reluctantly, at the persistence of their matriarch Morgana, band together to solve the callous murder of a young homeless man and the disappearance of a middle-aged woman who seems to have discovered some long-buried secrets that at least one person is willing to kill to keep hidden in the past.

The prose is powerful and polished. The characters are flawed, ruthless, and self-absorbed. And the plot is a captivating, menacing mix of life, loss, secrets, deception, privilege, resentments, greed, corruption, homelessness, familial drama, and harrowing truths.

Overall, I found The Kingdoms of Savannah to be a gritty, provocative, tight novel by Green that’s a must read for anyone who loves a well-written mystery interlaced with a dramatic, family saga all mired in the dark, racially toxic history of the south.

 

This novel is available on July 19, 2022.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About George Dawes Green

George Dawes Green, founder of The Moth, is an internationally celebrated author. His first novel, The Caveman’s Valentine, won the Edgar Award and became a motion picture starring Samuel L. Jackson. The Juror was an international bestseller in more than twenty languages and was the basis for the movie starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin. Ravens was chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Mail of London, and many other publications. George Green grew up in Georgia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo by Syrie Moskowitz.

#BookReview The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz @CeladonBooks #TheLatecomerBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

#BookReview The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz @CeladonBooks #TheLatecomerBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner Title: The Latecomer

Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

Published by: Celadon Books on May 31, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 8/10

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF. As children, the three siblings – Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally – feel no strong familial bond and cannot wait to go their separate ways, even as their father becomes more distanced and their mother more desperate. When the triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being truly alone, makes the decision to have a fourth child. What role will the “latecomer” play in this fractured family?

A complex novel that builds slowly and deliberately, The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Latecomer is a layered and immersive literary novel about three siblings, desperate to escape one another, and the upending of their family by the late arrival of a fourth.


Review:

Sincere, simmering, and dramatic!

The Latecomer is a layered, compelling, multi-generational story that delves into the complex bonds and emotional scars that can exist between family members and immerses you in a tale about discovering one’s true self, confronting the past, accepting the things you cannot change, learning to heal, and moving on.

The prose is nuanced and fluid. The characters are conflicted, self-absorbed, and bitter. And the plot told from multiple POVs is an intriguing tale about life, loss, secrets, resentment, privilege, race, individuality, sexuality, infidelity, fertility, acceptance, forgiveness, friendship, and family drama.

Overall, The Latecomer is a rich, immersive, character-driven tale by Korelitz that reminded me that life is complicated, challenging, messy, short, heartbreaking, as well as all those other special, defining moments that happen in-between.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jean Hanff Korelitz

Jean Hanff Korelitz is the author of the novels You Should Have Known (which aired on HBO in October 2020 as The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and Donald Sutherland), Admission (adapted as a film in 2013 starring Tina Fey), The Devil and Webster, The White Rose, The Sabbathday River and A Jury of Her Peers, as well as Interference Powder, a novel for children. Her company BOOKTHEWRITER hosts Pop-Up Book Groups in which small groups of readers discuss new books with their authors. She lives in New York City with her husband, Irish poet Paul Muldoon.

Photo by Michael Avedon.

#BookReview Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher @PaulHoles @CeladonBooks #UnmaskedBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads

#BookReview Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher @PaulHoles @CeladonBooks #UnmaskedBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads Title: Unmasked: My Life Solving American's Cold Cases

Author: Paul Holes

Published by: Celadon Books on Apr. 26, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

From the detective who found The Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and the rewards–and toll–of a life solving crime.

I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something is happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.

Crime-solving for me is more complex than the challenge of the hunt, or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession.

People always ask how I am able to detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I had always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recently that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.

When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.

But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy—even fatherhood—because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”

It is a promise I know I can keep.


Review:

Candid, eye-opening, and fascinating!

Unmasked is the intriguing, informative story of Paul Holes’ personal and professional experiences, successes, frustrations, and accomplishments as a CSI for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, focusing specifically on cold cases and serial killers with one of his most infamous cases being that of the Golden State Killer.

The writing is detailed and precise. And the novel is an introspective, compelling, absorbing tale of one man’s dedication, passion, and almost obsessive commitment to identifying the most heinous of criminals and making sure there’s enough evidence to put them behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Unmasked is, ultimately, a memoir that I absolutely loved and which gives a valuable, insightful, disturbing look into crime scene investigation, scientific advancements and their effect on the evolution of the crime-solving process, and how pieces, evidence, and clues are collected and reviewed in order to identify and eliminate suspects, and prosecute criminals successfully.

 

This novel is available April 26, 2022.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Paul Holes

In 2018, Paul Holes retired as a cold case investigator after spending more than twenty-seven years working in Contra Costa County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul specialized in cold case and serial predator crimes, lending his expertise to notable cases, including the murder of Laci Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard. Most prominently, Paul’s career culminated with his identification of the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, the most notorious and cunning serial predator in U.S. history.

Since the arrest of DeAngelo, Holes has been very involved on the media side, continuing to assist law enforcement and victims’ families with their unsolved cases through the television shows The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes and America’s Most Wanted and the podcast Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad.

Photo by Steve Babuljak.

#BookReview We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange @CeladonBooks #WeAreTheBrennans #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

#BookReview We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange @CeladonBooks #WeAreTheBrennans #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner Title: We Are the Brennans

Author: Tracey Lange

Published by: Celadon Books on Aug. 3, 2021

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

In the vein of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.

When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they’ve got questions.

Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together.


Review:

Affecting, nuanced, and immersive!

We Are the Brennans is an intense, captivating, multi-generational story that delves into the complex bonds and emotional ties between family members and immerses you in a tale about confronting the past, accepting the things you cannot change, rediscovering one’s self, learning to trust, and moving on.

The prose is polished and smooth. The characters are conflicted, loyal, and scarred. And the plot told from multiple POVs is an exceptionally absorbing tale about life, loss, love, secrets, resentment, regret, acceptance, forgiveness, familial drama, friendship, loneliness, miscommunication, and passion.

Overall, I found We Are the Brennans to be a beautiful mix of hope, healing, and heart that is not only a moving, emotive, stunning debut by Lange but definitely a must-read for anyone who loves a well-written, meaty family saga.

This novel is available on August 3, 2021.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Tracey Lange

Born in the Bronx and raised in Manhattan, Tracey Lange comes from a large Irish family with a few secrets of its own. She headed west and graduated from the University of New Mexico before owning and operating a behavioral healthcare company with her husband for fifteen years. While writing her debut novel, We Are the Brennans, she completed the Stanford University online novel writing program. Tracey currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, two sons and their German Shepherd.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz @CeladonBooks #ThePlotBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

#BookReview The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz @CeladonBooks #ThePlotBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner Title: The Plot

Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

Published by: Celadon Books on May 11, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Hailed as breathtakingly suspenseful, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?


Review:

Devious, simmering, and ominous!

The Plot is a twisty, character-driven thriller featuring the frustrated, disheartened writer Jacob Finch Bonner who, after having a respectable but not highly successful first novel and now unfortunately stuck in the disappointing role as teacher for a subpar MFA program, has no reservations when the opportunity presents itself to borrow a unique storyline from one of his previous, now deceased students, in order to become the world-class, successful writer he’s always known he can be.

The prose is tight and intense. The characters are multilayered, consumed, and vulnerable. And the intricate, intriguing plot builds nicely to create just the right amount of tension and suspense, as it unravels all the manipulative personalities, questionable motivations, duplicitous actions, and complex relationships within it.

Overall, The Plot is a compelling, cunning, tragic novel by Korelitz that started off a little slow for me but by a third of the way through, with its story within a story, the momentum started to ramp up, and it quickly became an addictive, enthralling read I couldn’t get enough of.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jean Hanff Korelitz

Jean Hanff Korelitz is the author of the novels You Should Have Known (which aired on HBO in October 2020 as The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and Donald Sutherland), Admission (adapted as a film in 2013 starring Tina Fey), The Devil and Webster, The White Rose, The Sabbathday River and A Jury of Her Peers, as well as Interference Powder, a novel for children. Her company BOOKTHEWRITER hosts Pop-Up Book Groups in which small groups of readers discuss new books with their authors. She lives in New York City with her husband, Irish poet Paul Muldoon.

Photo by Michael Avedon.

#BookReview Last Call by Elon Green @CeladonBooks #ReadLastCall #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads

#BookReview Last Call by Elon Green @CeladonBooks #ReadLastCall #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads Title: Last Call

Author: Elon Green

Published by: Celadon Books on Mar. 9, 2021

Pages: 272

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.


Review:

Engrossing, graphic, and gritty!

Last Call is the candid, comprehensive true story of the grisly murder and dismemberment of multiple gay men in Manhattan during the late 80s, early 90s, including an in-depth look into the lives of the victims, the investigations and media attention (or lack thereof), the political climate and social atmosphere of the time, and the scientific breakthrough that ultimately led to the killer’s identification and subsequent incarceration.

It is without a doubt an insightful, disturbing, exceptionally descriptive, well-researched tale by Green that left me horrified, satisfied, and intrigued to learn more, and is definitely one of the best true-crime stories I’ve read in quite some time.

This novel is available on March 9, 2021.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elon Green

ELON GREEN has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Columbia Journalism Review, and appears in Sarah Weinman's forthcoming anthology of true crime. He has been an editor at Longform for nearly a decade.

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