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Hot new checkouts from Coffee Co. Manchester Public Library

Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

New Fiction

“Suspect,” F CRA, by Robert Crais, receiving high marks in a recent Manchester Times review, is part of the library’s list of new fiction this week. The New York Times Bestseller author adds another great novel in his prolific career of suspense novels.    

“Suspect” is about a Marine K9 and an LAPD officer who have both lost partners.

Maggie, a black and tan Shepard, is distraught following the death of her handler, until Scott, a patrolman recovering from his own demons, finds her, and the together the pair finds more than justice in the murder of Scott’s partner. They find redemption.

New Nonfiction

“Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife,” 617.48092 ALE, by Eben Alexander, M.D., is the intriguing story of a man of science who awoke from a comma with an insight into the universe contrary to what he had gained in his years of learning.

Before bacterial meningitis-encephalitis of unknown cause put Alexander into a coma, the doctor didn’t put much into accounts of near death experiences.

Upon waking after seven days in a near-death state, Alexander recounted journey into what he calls another realm to meet whom he calls the deity.

Now the neurosurgeon tours secular and religious venues telling about his journey into the afterlife.

According to Alexander in a recorded interview, heart stoppage is a poor gage of death. Moreover, he feels that his comatose state was closer to death.

“Meningitis is unique in its diffuse destruction of the outer surface of the brain, the neocortex (eg. the ‘human’ brain),” Alexander says.  “It thus has the greatest efficiency in mimicking human death, and still allowing for possible recovery to tell the tale (due to relative preservation of deeper ‘housekeeping’ structures common to most higher animals).”

The book combines the recollections his hyper-vivid journey to an encounter with the Deity, and the author’s expert insight in the neurological factors that could have influenced his unconscious perceptions.

New DVDs

“Lawless,” DVD F LAW, directed by John Hillcoat, starring Tom Hardy (of “Warrior” and “This Means War”) and “Transformers’” Shia LaBeouf, is the film adaptation of Matt Bondurant’s novel “The Wettest County in the World.”

During Prohibition in Lynchburg, Va., the three Bondurant boys were the biggest bootleggers around.

The Bondurants, with the help of a myth of the invincibility that surrounds the eldest brother, Forrest (Hardy), have carved for themselves a of back-road clientele of locals.

Things are going well until a corrupt Special Deputy–in an unforgettable performance by Guy Pierce–comes to Lynchburg to claim some of the county’s legendary profits.

Overconfident, Forrest defies the agent, and a tenuous balance of assured destruction keeps the agent and Forrest from all-out war.

The balance between the men tips when the youngest brother, Jack (LaBeouf), approaches ruthless gangster Floyd Banner, played by Gary Oldman, to make and a name for himself by expanding the family’s holdings.

The arrangement proves successful, so successful that it draws the attention of the Special Deputy Rakes to the family’s stills, leading to a showdown between the Bondurants and the law.

One of the movies most moving roles is Forrest’s love interest, former big-city burlesque dancer Maggie Beauford, played by Jessica Chastain (of “Zero Dark Thirty”), who imbues the sullied character with an unlikely blend of strength and vulnerability.

“Killer Joe,” DVD F KIL, directed by William Friedkin, stars Matthew McConaughey in an indie picture, DVD F KIL, directed by William Friedkin, that is not at all for the faint of heart.

McConaughey delivers a lingering (and more that a little creepy) performance as Killer Joe, a police detective that moonlights as a contract killer.

Joe is hired to kill Chris Smith’s mother, by Chris (Emile Hirsch of “The Girl Next Door”), her ex-husband, Ansel (Thomas Haden Church of Television’s “Wings”), and his new wife (Gina Gershon).

It seems Chris is broke and owes the wrong people money, so he hatches a plan to hire Joe to kill the woman for insurance money.

But when the dim-witted Smith men try to hire Joe, they haven’t anticipated that Joe must be paid in advance.

Their plot would have stopped there, but Joe sees the insurance beneficiary,  Dottie (Juno Temple), Chris’s sister.

Joe falls for Dottie’s simplistic innocence and offers to do the hit but asks for the teen as a retainer.

It is here that the ick-factor creeps (with a capital creep) in the role. The middle-aged Joe seduces the young Dottie.

Strangely, Joe becomes a fixture in the Smith home and is a calm figure set amongst the storm of the family’s dysfunction.

All too soon, it becomes clear that some members of the family are a bit more than they appear, and the question becomes who will come out alive.

“Killer Joe” is not for everyone, but it offers a brutal, and sometimes perversely humorous look at the human condition.

New Audiobooks

“Separate from the world: An Amish-country Mystery,” ABD F GAU, by P. L. Gaus, read by George Newbern, unflinchingly delves into the close-knit world of the Amish community.

Amish man Enos Erb doesn’t believe the official inquiry that says his brother, Benny, committed suicide.

To help prove this, Enos turns to local university Professor Michael Branden for help investigating the death.

While Enos, a dwarf – like his late brother, is talking with the professor, a college student falls to her death in another apparent suicide.

The pair team up with fellow investigators – the local sheriff and a pastor and find ties between the deaths and a controversial inbreeding study, involving the brothers, and a rift dividing the Amish community.

“Separate from the World” explores delicately explores the Amish faith and its member’s relationship with the “English.”