New and popular titles at Juniata County Library


Guest book reviews by Christine May, Circulation Assistant at the Juniata County Library.

“Intensity” by Dean Koontz (Adult Fiction in print and eBook)

Chyna and Laura drive from San Francisco, where they are both studying for their master’s degrees in psychology at the University of California, to the third generation vineyard and homestead owned by Laura’s parents, the loving Paul and Sarah Templeton, in Napa Valley, for a four-day getaway. Because of Chyna’s unsettling upbringing, she finds it difficult to fall asleep in a strange place, on this, the first night of their visit to the family’s Victorian mansion.

She hears the stifled cries and muffled thumps of the others in the household. Ducking under the bed, she escapes the intruder’s attention. She finds Laura clinging to life; the others aren’t as fortunate. The killer returns for Laura in a motor home of all things, and Chyna quickly stows away so as to protect her friend from the unimaginable.

When Chyna overhears a conversation disclosing the imprisonment of a young teenager locked in the killer’s home, she feels compelled to do her best to rescue the girl, and stays on board even though Laura has perished.

Edgler Foreman Vess makes pilgrimage after pilgrimage searching for the most intense sensations, they are his religion. He doesn’t believe that we are born with a soul. Instead he prefers to think that the soul accretes in the same manner as a coral reef grows, through sensations over the course of a lifetime. Trying to gauge the mind of this homicidal adventurer gives Chyna the opportunity to use all of the tools she has developed during her sabotaged childhood.

“Esau” by Philip Kerry (Adult Fiction)

ESAU is the name given to a skull that is found in a cavern on the forbidden summit of the Himalayan mountain, Machhapuchhre, by world renowned climber, Jack Furness. He gifts his find to a special woman in his life, doctor of paleoanthropology Stella Swift, at the Berkley campus of the University of California.

Expecting a carbon date considerably older than the one the fossil registers, Swift now believes the not so ancient skull to be evidence of an alternative line of hominid development. Could this be the fabled Yeti?

While applying for funding for an expedition to Nepal, Swift and Furness are happy to be the recipients of a large grant from the National Geographic Society, the dollars though are being funneled by the U.S. military. It seems a satellite has crashed in the very same region of Nepal and the classified information needs to be recovered. One of the team members, posing as a geologist, will be agent Boyd tasked with its retrieval.

In another turn of events, India and Pakistan are embroiled in a conflict with the potential of escalating to a nuclear war.

The confluence of goals and characters and storytelling lead to an enormously rich and quite sophisticated tale. Philip Kerr’s writing style is absolutely brilliant.

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Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015. Be a library champion and subscribe to our weekly newsletter: Visit https://www.juniatalibrary.org/contact-us/newsletter.


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