Readers Digest Select Editions Author:The Street Lawyer, The Cobra Event, Sooner or Later and Message in a Bottle The Street Lawyer — John Grisham is back with his latest courtroom conundrum, The Street Lawyer. This time the lord of legal thrillers dives deep into the world of the homeless, particularly their barely audible legal voice in a world dominated by large, all-powerful law firms. Our hero, Michael Brock, is on the fast track to partnership at D.C.'... more »s premier law firm, Sweeny & Drake. His dream of someday raking in a million-plus a year is finally within reach. Nothing can stop him, not even 90-hour workweeks and a failing marriage--until he meets DeVon Hardy, a.k.a. "Mister," a Vietnam vet with a grudge against his landlord--and a few lawyers to fry. Hardy, with no clear motive, takes Brock and eight of his colleagues hostage in a boardroom, demanding their tax returns and interrogating them with a conviction that would have put perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition to shame. Hardy, a man of few words and a lot of ammunition, mumbles cryptically, "Who are the evictors?" as he points a .44 automatic within inches of Brock's face. The violent outcome of the hostage situation triggers an abrupt soul-searching for the young lawyer, and Hardy's mysterious question continues to haunt him. Brock learns that Hardy had been in and out of homeless shelters most of his life, but he had recently begun paying rent in a rundown building; that means he has legal recourse when a big money-making outfit such as Sweeny & Drake boots him with no warning. When Brock realizes that his profession caters to the morally challenged, he sets out on an aimless search through the dicier side of D.C., ending up at the 14th Street Legal Clinic. The clinic's director, a gargantuan man named Mordecai Green, woos Brock to the clinic with a $90,000 cut in pay and the chance to redeem his soul. Brock takes it--and some of the story's credibility along with it; it's hard to believe that a Yale graduate who sacrificed everything--including his marriage--to succeed in the legal profession would quickly jump at the opportunity for low-paying, charitable work. However, Brock's search for corruption in the swanky upper echelons of Sweeny & Drake (via the toughest streets of D.C.) is filled with colorful characters and realistic, gritty descriptions. In the The Street Lawyer, Grisham once again defends the voiceless and powerless. In the words of Mordecai Green, "That's justice, Michael. That's what street law is all about. Dignity." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Message in a Bottle
If you thought The Notebook was a tearjerker, get out the hankies, pull up a chair, and get ready to have your heart monkey-wrenched by Nicholas Sparks's second star-crossed love story, Message in a Bottle. When Theresa Osborne takes a much-needed summer holiday at Cape Cod, she finds a lot more than a break from the hustle and bustle. On an early-morning jog along Cape Cod Bay, she comes across a corked bottle with a scrolled-up message inside that reads, "My Dearest Catherine, I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together..." It bobbles around in the same vein for several more paragraphs and ends with "...am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry. Garret."
Garret may eat quiche, but no bother--before you can say "Look! I found two more letters!" Theresa is hot on his trail and determined to find this mysterious yet sensitive message-in-a-bottle man. She finds him at a sleepy North Carolina port, working on his beloved sailboat, The Happenstance. From there, a romance buds and blossoms into a colorful bouquet of emotional baggage. Theresa has problems with her past--or, more accurately, her past is a problem. She is so scarred from her "I'm a super churchgoing guy now that I've run out on my wife" ex-husband that she hasn't tried to date since her divorce some three or four years before. And who is Catherine? And what's Garret's bag, anyway? When Theresa finds out, she plunges to the depths of her soul and uncorks a whopper of a secret about herself, bringing Garret to terms with who he really is.
Message in a Bottle has the earmarks of sentimental tongue-wagging at its finest and should please romantics and cynics alike--it's sure to bring romantics to their knees, while cynics will be slapping theirs in laughter. --Rebekah Warren --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The Cobra Event
In New York City in the late '90s, a 17-year-old girl heads off to her private school even though she has a cold. By art class her nose is gushing mucus and she's severely disoriented. Within seconds, it seems, she's in convulsions and, most bizarrely, can't stop biting herself. All the reader can do is hope she'll die quickly, but Kate Moran's body still has a few more disgusting turns to undergo, and Richard Preston--a Jacobean master of ceremonies par excellence--takes us through them in bizarre and bloody detail.
Clearly, whatever Kate had was a head cold with a scientific vengeance. Preston's heroine, Alice Austen, a doctor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, realizes--in the first of several gripping autopsy scenes--that the girl's nervous system had been virtually destroyed. So far, only one other person is known to have died in the same way, but he was a homeless man. Austen must connect the two cases, seemingly linked only by the subway, before the media gets hold of them and drums up a paranoia-fest--and before the virus's creator can kill again.
The Cobra Event is itself a paranoia-fest, a provocative thriller that makes you wonder exactly how much bioterrorism is taking place in the real world. Preston, best known for his terrifying chronicle of the Ebola virus, The Hot Zone, and other impeccably researched nonfictions, is not content to create fast-paced nightmarish scenes. His novel is instead a complex morality tale anchored in uncomfortable fact. Preston is keen to convey the "invisible history" of bioweapons engineering and, equally, to show the unsung heroism of his scientific detectives (along with that of the nurses and technicians who literally sacrifice their lives for medicine). Like their creator, these characters are not without a sense of humor. One calls the manmade virus "the ultimate head cold." Readers will never forget literally dozens of scenes and will never again see the subway, rodents, autopsy knives, and--above all--runny noses in the same light. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Sooner or Later
Adler has written a fast-paced, suspenseful romance that is easy but fun reading. Ellie Duveen, with "misty blue-gray eyes and curly red hair worn long and flowing," lets us know that she is too busy for a relationship as she struggles to make her California cafe a success. Dan, an NYPD homicide detective, "dark-haired and blue-eyed, built tall and rangy," starts a new life after taking a medical retirement and moving to California to open a winery. Buck Duveen, with a "fine head of copper-red hair, dark eyes and a lean-jawed, handsome face," is a genius psychopath obsessed with Ellie, whom he last saw more than 20 years ago when she was a child. Guess who gets out of the insane asylum? Guess who is the family secret? Guess who walks into Ellie's cafe? And guess where this all leads? For public libraries.?J. Sara Paulk, Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, Ga.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.« less