Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's in a Name Challenge - Quickie Reviews

I've been a bit lazy (ok a lot lazy) and have a stack of books sitting next to my computer patiently waiting for me to compose review posts.  Several of them are for reading challenges so to kill two birds with one stone I am going to do quickie reviews for my remaining books of the What's in a Name Challenge 4:

The Monster of Florence  by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi.  This is a bizarre true crime story about a serial killer in Florence.  Preston, a fiction writer, moved his family to Florence to research a book when he discovered that his home was near the scene of one of the murders.  With Spezi, a prominent journalist who had followed the case since its beginning, he describes the crimes and the bizarre, seemingly inept search for the killer/killers.  I normally don't read true crime but I did find this story quite interesting and would recommend it to those who enjoy thrillers.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea.  This is a wonderful novel about a young Mexican girl, Nayeli, who with three friends makes an expedition from their small village to the United States to convince the village's men - and specifically for Nayeli, her father -  to return and help protect them from the drug-dealing gangs that are harassing the residents.  The issue of immigration - legal and illegal - is the underlying theme of this novel and as a result there are some not-pleasant moments, but unlike such books as  The Tortilla Curtain, to me the tone of this book was uplifting.  If you enjoyed The Tortilla Curtain, then I would definitely recommend this novel as well.

Woo hoo!  I've completed a challenge!


  1. I have heard a lot about The Monster of Florence, and though it's not my normal fare, it sounds like something that I would really be able to sink my teeth into. I love stories that are bristly and gristly, and it sounds like that is one of those!

  2. I absolutely loved The Monster of Florence! So well written and completely engaging - I've heard that George Clooney is interested in turning this into a film as well. Glad you enjoyed it!


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