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AMONG THE SHADOWS by Bruce Robert Coffin

After seeing Bruce at the Cold River Radio Show, we decided to jump into his Detective Byron series starting with the first book!

Fall in Portland, Maine, usually arrives as a welcome respite from summer’s sweltering temperatures and, with the tourists gone, a return to normal life–usually. But when a retired cop is murdered, things heat up quickly, setting the city on edge.

Detective Sergeant John Byron, a second-generation cop, is tasked with investigating the case–at the very moment his life is unraveling. On the outs with his department’s upper echelon, separated from his wife, and feeling the strong pull of the bottle, Byron remains all business as he tries to solve the murder of one of their own. And when another ex-Portland PD officer dies under suspicious circumstances, he quickly realizes there’s much more to these cases than meets the eye. The closer Byron gets to the truth, the greater the danger for him and his fellow detectives.

 

Event Date & Time
August 11, 2022 at 6:30 pm
Event Venue
White Birch Books

Book Details:

Author
Bruce Robert Coffin
Condition
New
Type
Paperback

COLD RIVER RADIO SHOW with author Bruce Robert Coffin

White Birch Books is once again happy to be a part of the upcoming Cold River Radio Show which will feature Maine author Bruce Robert Coffin, along with great live music hosted by Jonathan Sarty. New for this show with be very special guest host Laura Knoy, formerly of NHPR’s The Exchange. She’ll be taking over the book interviewing duties of the show – very exciting! If you have ever been to one of these shows, you know how much fun they are with the energy and excitement of seeing live music. There’s always the going for an old favorite but coming away having found a new gem. Add in the authors and the humor and the local spotlight and this becomes a true night to remember!

A little more about Bruce Robert Coffin – he is the award-winning author of the bestselling Detective Byron mystery series. A former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Bruce spent four years investigating counter-terrorism cases for the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest award a non-agent can receive. He currently has four books in his series, which will all be available for sale at the show!

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased in advance at White Birch Books!

 

A little more about the show…

This Cold River Radio Show Headlines “True Grit and Rock and Roll Band,” The Silks from Providence, Rhode Island, Comedian Jim Collition, Award-winning Author Bruce Robert Coffin, and Local Spotlight Singer/Songwriter, and Future Berklee College of Music Student, Willow Carter. We also welcome very special guest Host Laura Knoy of NHPR’s The Exchange.

For over a decade now the Cold River Radio Show has introduced listeners to New England’s most talented artists and interesting characters. From the Green Mountains of Vermont to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, from the Lakes Region and the Great North Woods to the rugged seacoast, the Cold River Radio Show promotes the rich arts and culture of New England and has become the most popular show of its kind in its special corner of the country. Please join us for this exciting event, the Cold River Radio Show, hosted by Jonathan Sarty and the Cold River Radio Band, and recorded live before a studio audience.

Host Jonathan Sarty and His Fabulous Cold River Radio Band: David Mattacks on Drums (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention), Todd Baker on Double Bass, Mike Sakash on Soprano Sax, and Joseph (Sonny) Barbato on Piano.

DAMNATION SPRING by Ash Davidson

This book was a Barb favorite from last year and now it is out in paperback so we HAD to pick it!

Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It’s 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn’t what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now that way of life is threatened.

Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It’s a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall–a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son–and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient redwoods. But when Colleen, grieving the loss of a recent pregnancy and desperate to have a second child, challenges the logging company’s use of the herbicides she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community, Colleen and Rich find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict. As tensions in the town rise, they threaten the very thing the Gundersens are trying to protect: their family.

Told in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, Damnation Spring is an intimate, compassionate portrait of a family whose bonds are tested and a community clinging to a vanishing way of life. An extraordinary story of the transcendent, enduring power of love–between husband and wife, mother and child, and longtime neighbors. An essential novel for our times.

THE COLD MILLIONS by Jess Walter

Unions are in the news – everywhere from Starbucks to Jorts the Cat – so we thought this book would be very timely. I can’t wait for the discussion!

An intimate story of brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and betrayal set against the panoramic backdrop of an early twentieth-century America that eerily echoes our own time, The Cold Millions offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation grappling with the chasm between rich and poor, between harsh realities and simple dreams.

The Dolans live by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for day work at crooked job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his older brother, Gig, dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment. Enter Ursula the Great, a vaudeville singer who performs with a live cougar and introduces the brothers to a far more dangerous creature: a mining magnate determined to keep his wealth and his hold on Ursula.

Dubious of Gig’s idealism, Rye finds himself drawn to a fearless nineteen-year-old activist and feminist named Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. But a storm is coming, threatening to overwhelm them all, and Rye will be forced to decide where he stands. Is it enough to win the occasional battle, even if you cannot win the war?

Featuring an unforgettable cast of cops and tramps, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers, The Cold Millions is a tour de force.

MURDER IN OLD BOMBAY by Nev March

And we are off to India! This book was nominated for an Edgar Award for a Best First Novel – and we love starting at the beginning of a series, so we are very excited.

In 1892, Bombay is the center of British India. Nearby, Captain Jim Agnihotri lies in Poona military hospital recovering from a skirmish on the wild northern frontier, with little to do but re-read the tales of his idol, Sherlock Holmes, and browse the daily papers. The case that catches Captain Jim’s attention is being called the crime of the century: Two women fell from the busy university’s clock tower in broad daylight. Moved by Adi, the widower of one of the victims — his certainty that his wife and sister did not commit suicide — Captain Jim approaches the Parsee family and is hired to investigate what happened that terrible afternoon.

But in a land of divided loyalties, asking questions is dangerous. Captain Jim’s investigation disturbs the shadows that seem to follow the Framji family and triggers an ominous chain of events. And when lively Lady Diana Framji joins the hunt for her sisters’ attackers, Captain Jim’s heart isn’t safe, either.

Based on a true story, and set against the vibrant backdrop of colonial India, Nev March’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning lyrical debut, Murder in Old Bombay, brings this tumultuous historical age to life.

THE WINDSOR KNOT by SJ Bennett

In honor of the Queen’s Jubilee, we thought the best way to celebrate would be to read a mystery featuring her as the prime sleuth and The Windsor Knot was the perfect candidate!

It is the early spring of 2016 and Queen Elizabeth is at Windsor Castle in advance of her 90th birthday celebrations. But the preparations are interrupted by the shocking and untimely death of a guest in one of the Castle bedrooms. The scene leads some to think the young Russian pianist strangled himself, yet a badly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect foul play. When they begin to question the Household’s most loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they’re looking in the wrong place.

For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her teenage years as “Lilibet.” Away from the public eye and unbeknownst to her closest friends and advisers, she has the most brilliant skill for solving crimes. With help from her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian officer recently appointed to the Royal Horse Artillery, the Queen discreetly begins making inquiries. As she carries out her royal duties with her usual aplomb, no one in the Royal Household, the government, or the public knows that the resolute Elizabeth won’t hesitate to use her keen eye, quick mind, and steady nerve to bring a murderer to justice.

SJ Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen: kind yet worldly, decisive, shrewd, and, most important, a superb judge of character.

THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by Christi Lefteri

Nuri is a beekeeper and Afra, his wife, is an artist. Mornings, Nuri rises early to hear the call to prayer before driving to his hives in the countryside. On weekends, Afra sells her colorful landscape paintings at the open-air market. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the hills of the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they love is destroyed by war, Nuri knows they have no choice except to leave their home. But escaping Syria will be no easy task: Afra has lost her sight, leaving Nuri to navigate her grief as well as a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece toward an uncertain future in Britain.

Nuri is sustained only by the knowledge that waiting for them is his cousin Mustafa, who has started an apiary in Yorkshire and is teaching fellow refugees beekeeping. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss but dangers that would overwhelm even the bravest souls. Above all, they must make the difficult journey back to each other, a path once so familiar yet rendered foreign by the heartache of displacement.

Moving, intimate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book for our times: a novel that at once reminds us that the most peaceful and ordinary lives can be utterly upended in unimaginable ways and brings a journey in faraway lands close to home, never to be forgotten.

MARY JANE by Jessica Anya Blau

Yay! We are reading one of my favorites from last year, just fresh into paperback. I hope you all like it!!

Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones & The Six in this delightful novel about a fourteen-year-old girl’s coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for—who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer.

In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.

The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.

Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.

RANDOM ROAD by Thomas Kies

Some vices are deadlier than others…

Veteran reporter Geneva Chase is at the end of her professional rope. Battling alcoholism and bad choices, she’s lost every major news job she’s had; working at her hometown newspaper is her last chance to redeem herself—and now the paper’s future is in doubt.

And then she lands the story of a lifetime: Six nude bodies are found hacked to pieces in a Queen Anne mansion on the coast of Long Island Sound. The sensational headline is picked up by the metro papers, and Geneva is back in the game, using her reporter’s nose to sniff out the secrets of Sheffield’s rich and entitled citizens. As her investigation leads her deeper into dangerous waters, her toxic affair with a married man and her inability to get sober threaten to undo everything she has worked so hard to achieve—and not everyone is thrilled to have a reporter digging up secrets that might be better left buried.

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by TJ Klune

The call was for something a little lighthearted and fun after some deep and heavy books – and this one fit the bill perfectly!

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place–and realizing that family is yours.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT by Elle Cosimano

Contract killing is fun! Right? Well, in this book it is! Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single mom of two and struggling novelist. Her life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet. Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moment, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series.

THE EXILES by Christina Baker Kline

Based on Barbara’s recommendation, we’re headed to Australia with the same author who brought is Orphan Train and A Piece of the World.

Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to “the land beyond the seas,” Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land.

During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel–a skilled midwife and herbalist–is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors.

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom. Told in exquisite detail and incisive prose, The Exiles is a story of grace born from hardship, the unbreakable bonds of female friendships, and the unfettering of legacy.

BETTY by Tiffany McDaniel

From the Arctic to Ohio, the book group is on the move!

“A girl comes of age against the knife.”

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and violence–both from outside the family and, devastatingly, from within. But despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father’s brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all to which she bears witness, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write.

Inspired by generations of her family, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by delivering this heartbreaking yet magical story–a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the most important voices in American fiction.

NORTHERNMOST by Peter Geye

Because of the weather, the world and whatever – we are going to try to do this book group as a hybrid in-person and zoom event. Please choose your preferred attendance method!
We’re beginning the New Year with a book that begins in the Arctic. Why not begin at the top of the world?
In 1897, Odd Einar Eide returns home from a near-death experience in the Arctic only to discover his own funeral underway. His wife, Inger, stunned to see him alive, is slow to warm back up to him, having spent many sleepless nights convinced she had lost both him and their daughter, Thea, who traveled to America two years earlier but has yet to send even a single letter back to them in Hammerfest, their small Norwegian town at the top of the earth.
More than a century later, Greta Nansen has finally begun to admit to herself that her marriage is over. Desperately unhappy and unfulfilled, she makes the decision to follow her husband from their home in Minnesota to Oslo, where he has traveled for work, to end it once and for all. But on impulse, she diverts her travels to Hammerfest: the town of her ancestors, the town where her great-great-grandmother Thea was born–and for some reason never returned to. Braiding together two remarkable stories of love and survival, Northernmost wades into the darkest recesses of the human heart and celebrates the remarkable ability of humans to endure nearly unimaginable trials.

 

THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE 2021 Edited by Alafair Burke

We’re trying something new with this one, thinking that we could read all these short stories and find some great new authors!

Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new The Best American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor.

“Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively,” writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. “It was difficult—painful even—to narrow this year’s Best American Mystery and Suspense to only twenty stories.” Spanning from a mediocre spa in Florida, to New York’s gritty East Village, to death row in Alabama, this collection reveals boundless suspense in small, quiet moments, offering startling twists in the least likely of places. From a powerful response to hateful bullying, to a fight for health care, to a gripping desperation to vote, these stories are equal parts shocking, devastating, and enthralling, revealing the tension pulsing through our everyday lives and affirming that mystery and suspense writing is better than ever before.

ONE BOOK ONE VALLEY 2021 with PAUL DOIRON

It’s back!

The One Book One Valley community read program is underway. Sixteen public libraries throughout the region and White Birch Books are pleased to announce that this year the featured author is Paul Doiron, who writes the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels.

All are invited to an evening with Doiron, when he will talk about his books and writing, Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the newly renovated Majestic Theatre in Conway Village.* This event will also be live-streamed. To register for the livestream link, go to https://rentals.anywhereseat.com/

Doiron is the former editor of Down East magazine and a registered Maine Guide. He now writes full time, and recently published the twelfth book in his crime novel series featuring the character Mike Bowditch, a Maine Game Warden.

*For those planning to attend the live event, wear a mask while inside, and please read and follow the recently adopted Vaccination Policy for the Majestic Theatre.