Archive for October, 2010

Man Booker Prize

Friday, October 29th, 2010

  Howard Jacobson won this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Finkler Question (Find this book in our catalog)

From the summary in our catalog:  “‘He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one…’ Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they’ve never quite lost touch with each other – or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results. Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor’s grand, central London apartment. It’s a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you had less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends’ losses. And it’s that very evening, at exactly 11:30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change. The Finkler Questionis a scorching story of exclusion and belonging, justice and love, ageing, wisdom and humanity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.”

This year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist also included:

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

Room by Emma Donoghue

The Long Song by Andrea Levy

C by Tom McCarthy

Book to Movie

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

  The movie The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, based on the book by Stieg Larsson (Find this book in our catalog), opens this Friday, October 29. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist star in this final part of the Millennium trilogy.

This is what it says about the book in our catalog: “Lisbeth Salander – the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels – lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.”

National Book Awards Finalists

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Finalists in the fiction and nonfiction categories for the National Book Awards are listed below. The winners will be announced November 19th.

Fiction:
  Peter Carey, Parrot and Oliver in America (Find this book in our catalog)

  Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule (Find this book in our catalog)

  Nicole Krauss, Great House (Find this book in our catalog)

  Lionel Shriver, So Much for That (Find this book in our catalog)

  Karen Tei Yamashita, I, Hotel (Find this book in our catalog)

Nonfiction:
  Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Find this book in our catalog)

  John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq (Find this book in our catalog)

  Patti Smith, Just Kids (Find this book in our catalog)

Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward

  Megan K. Stack, Every Man in this village is a Liar: An Education in War (Find this book in our catalog)

Books for World Series

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Baseball!: as the World Series approaches, here is a rundown of some great titles available in Harford County Public Library.  Click on a title to go straight to our catalog. 

  Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Women to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League by Martha Ackmann

  The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer’s Inside View by Doug Glanville 

The Entitled: A Tale of Modern Baseball by Frank Deford
A novel by sports journalist Deford featuring the Baltimore Orioles.

  Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan’s Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks by Zack Hample

  The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant

  The Complete Game: Reflections on Pitching an the Art of Baseball by Ron Darling 

  Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

  The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy

Books Like “The Tiger”

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

  The Tiger: a True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant (Find this book in our catalog)

Summary:  “It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again. As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region. This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how earlyHomo sapiensmay have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain. Beautifully written and deeply informative,The Tigercircles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.”

  The Spell of the Tiger: The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans by Cy Montgomery (Find this book in our catalog)

Summary:  “Filled with beauty and suspense, this book is a deep quest by a superb nature writer to plumb the reality of the Sundarbans, one of the world’s great tidal deltas, and one of the last hunting grounds of the Bengal tiger. The people of the Sundarbans see the huge, silent killer not only as prey sees its predator, but as a holy man sees his god.”

Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators by William Stolzenberg (Find this book in our catalog)

Summary:  “A provocative look at how the disappearance of the world’s great predators has upset the delicate balance of the environment, and what their disappearance portends for the future, by an acclaimed science journalist. It wasn’t so long ago that wolves and great cats, monstrous fish and flying raptors ruled the peak of nature’s food pyramid. Not so anymore. All but exterminated, these predators of the not-too-distant past have been reduced to minor players of the modern era. And what of it? Wildlife journalist William Stolzenburg follows in the wake of nature’s topmost carnivores, and finds chaos in their absence. From the brazen mobs of deer and marauding raccoons of backyard America to streamsides of Yellowstone National Park crushed by massive herds of elk; from urchin-scoured reefs in the North Pacific to ant-devoured islands in Venezuela, Stolzenburg leads a startling tour through bizarre, impoverished landscapes of pest and plague. For anyone who has seldom given thought to the meat-eating beasts so recently missing from the web of life, here is a world of reason to think again.”

The Last Lie by Stephen White

Monday, October 18th, 2010

  The Last Lie by Stephen White (Find this book in our catalog)

Here is an enjoyable read for thriller fans!  This is the latest in a very successful series by Stephen White featuring the Boulder, CO clinical psychologist, Alan Gregory.  Followers of the series will be interested to find out how the current marital problems of Gregory and his Assistant District attorney wife, Lauren are panning out.  How will his current involvement in yet another mysterious situation affect not only Gregory’s relationship with his wife and family, but also with his society neighbors, his business partner, and his friend, detective Sam Purdy?

Gregory takes an instant dislike to his new neighbor, a TV personality who has made a name championing women’s issues.  When Gregory is almost run over in his lane by a caterer’s van on the night of the housewarming to which he was not invited, he is drawn willy nilly into an investigation into an alleged rape of a guest after the party.  He is concerned for his family and the implications of having an alleged sex offender next door.  His alarm escalates when he finds that a complete lid has been put on the official investigation – not even a wisp of news of the allegations appeared in the press and his wife in the DA’s office tells Gregory that she can say nothing.  Gregory scents a conspiracy.  Coincidentally, Gregory learns some details through a patient of a psychologist whose final training he is supervising.  Professional ethics pose obstacles to Gregory finding out the whole truth, which he is driven to, first to protect his family, later to prove his conviction that a local murder is related in some way.  However, gradually layer upon layer of truths emerge.  Finally crisis point is reached and Gregory’s foster son, Jonas is indeed in imminent danger.  Will Gregory be able to rescue Jonas as he is stalked through his old childhood home by a mysterious stranger in a ski cap?

This book has everything for lovers of thrillers and suspense.  There’s no blood and gore, but a heinous crime is committed which needs to be brought to justice.  Gregory’s motives for getting involved in the first place perhaps strain credulity, but then Gregory becomes involved with helping the rape victim and the story takes off.  Fans of the series will like the details of a consulting psychologist’s practice.  Details of the social scene in Boulder will please many readers too, as will the pursuit of Gregory and his son through the nooks and crannies of a spooky old ranch house  by a menacing and unknown assailant.

Jen’s Jewels with Leigh Brill

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Living with a chronic disease presents daily challenges. Whether it is learning to navigate life’s obstacles with a physical disability or simply coming to terms emotionally with the harsh realities of an unremitting disease, it’s never easy. The best plan of action that I have found is to try to make peace with your situation and put your best foot forward each and every day.

This month’s Jen’s Jewels Leigh Brill discusses this very topic in her heartfelt new release, A DOG NAMED SLUGGER. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she tackles everyday activities with the help of an adorably smart guide dog aptly named Slugger. Through anecdotal tales of encouragement, she offers keen insight into the life of a person struggling with a debilitating chronic disease. Beautifully written from start to finish, her story is a true testament of courage, love, and hope.

As part of this interview, Bell Bridge Books has generously donated five copies for you, my favorite readers, to try to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your fall reading list.

Jen: The challenges that life presents often turn out to be blessings in disguise. A DOG NAMED SLUGGER is the story of your personal journey of self-discovery. So that my readers may have a better understanding of the woman behind the words, please share with us your educational and professional background.

Leigh: After earning my Bachelors degree in psychology, I went on to obtain my Masters and Educational Specialist degrees in Community Agency Counseling. I worked for many years in the mental health/human services field. With my service dog Slugger by my side, I assisted clients who dealt with a wide variety of psychological and physical challenges.

Jen: During your time as a graduate student, your health became a major factor affecting your educational goals. Eventually, you were faced with the decision to explore other options in terms of coping with your disease. First of all, please give us a brief description of cerebral palsy and how it affects your mobility.

Leigh: Cerebral palsy is a broad term that actually encompasses a group of posture and movement disorders. It is related to the brain’s ability to control the body, and there are several different classifications of CP (spastic, ataxic, dyskinetic, or mixed). Therefore, one person with CP may deal with very different symptoms compared to another person who has received the same diagnosis. For me, CP means I cannot depend on my own body to do what I want it to do. I have difficulties with my balance, my depth perception and vision, my muscles, and my ability to move and function physically. Walking requires a lot of concentration and energy (and a bit of good luck). Even with all of these, I fall easily. I sometimes need to use my wheelchair. My CP also makes my hands shake and I often drop things. In addition to these functional challenges, I have to deal with a lot of physical pain.

Jen: The use of seeing-eye dogs by the blind is widely well-known; however, companion dogs are not. Please describe for us how their roles differ. And, which breeds work best for each?

Leigh: Like guide dogs, mobility service dogs are trained to assist individuals who deal with disabilities. They can learn more than fifty different tasks that increase the independence and quality of life for their human partners. For example, service dogs are often trained to pick up dropped items, carry small things in their mouths, open heavy doors, and retrieve specific things (like the telephone) for their partners. All working dogs need to be healthy, smart, calm, and eager to please. Various breeds and mixed breed dogs can fill that important role; and I personally know lots of Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers who are service dogs.

Jen: How did the decision to apply for a companion dog affect your perception of your disease? In your mind, how did you make peace with it?

Leigh: When I as a little girl, my grandfather used to tell me that every part of life holds the promise of something good. As a child with CP, I’d thought he was wrong; I could not find anything good about growing up with my disability. But when I met Slugger, I realized something good had found me. My life was shaped by my congenital disability and ultimately re-shaped by my partnership with my service dog. It was Slugger’s unconditional love that enabled me to gradually make peace with my CP. My service dog was the single good thing to come out of my disability.

Jen: Briefly describe for us the application process required for obtaining a service dog. What was the most challenging part and why? And, did you select Slugger, or did he select you?

Leigh: The application process I experienced began with a phone call; I called Caring Canine Companions of Virginia and talked to the folks who worked there about my disability and how I hoped a service dog might help me. During this first conversation, I also began to understand some of the assistance tasks service dogs can perform. I was then sent a written application. Once completed, my application was reviewed and approved by the organization’s trainers and professionals. A thorough home visit followed. Once my home was approved for a working dog, I settled in to wait until the folks at CCC contacted me to let me know they had found a dog they believed might be suitable for me, my environment, and my physical needs. For me, this wait lasted nine months -and the waiting was the hardest part! Every partnership is a matter of give and take, but in order for the whole service dog bond to work, Slugger had to make it clear he was willing to work with me; that was our vital first step toward becoming a successful working team.

Jen: In terms of Slugger’s training, how active were you in his overall instruction? How long did it take? And, please share with us one of your favorite memories.

Leigh: Slugger’s training actually began years before I met him. It took nearly two years for him to gain the skills and confidence he would need to work by my side. After he had been trained for that time, he was matched with me and our team training took several months. One of my favorite memories of our training period was when, during our final team test, the instructor with CCC told me that Slugger and I were so well matched that our gaits were identical and our butts wiggled the same way when we walked together.

Jen: With Slugger by your side, your struggle with CP was no longer an individual plight. Rather, it became a team effort. What were his particular strengths? And, in what ways did his constant companionship impact your self-esteem?

Leigh: Slugger was incredibly loyal and steady, and obedient when we worked together. My sweet Labrador also had a sense of humor that helped me keep a balanced perspective about life. Slugger believed in me before I knew how to believe in myself. His unconditional love and assistance gave me a sense of confidence, completeness, and self-worth.

Jen: Your relationship with your future husband, Pranav, also came with its challenges due to your culturally diverse backgrounds. How did your willingness to embrace the diversity directly correlate to having grown up with a chronic disease?

Leigh: My personal experiences growing up with my disability helped me understand the importance of ‘seeing beyond the surface’ of individuals. This may have helped me be more open-minded in developing relationships as I matured-including my relationship with Pranav. I also think my CP forced me to adapt and be creative in how I handled challenges. That creativity has served me well in all my significant relationships.

Jen: In his later years, Slugger began to suffer from old age. How difficult was it to accept his need to retire? And, how did having a second service dog named Kenda help with the transition?

Leigh: If such things had been up to me, I would have seen to it that Slugger stayed young forever. I didn’t want him to get older; I did not want him to retire. Yet when he reached the point where working could have potentially been hard or painful for him due to his age, I absolutely knew it was time for Slugger to retire. I was fortunate to have caring guidance from our veterinarian. His input made it easier for me to do the right thing at the right time.

Kenda’s entrance into my life helped me feel a sense of continuity and security once it was time for Slugger to retire. I liked knowing that my first service dog and my second working partner would be a part of each other’s lives. My two dogs also made it clear they liked sharing their journeys with each other-and me-as well.

Jen: Throughout your life, you have experienced blatant acts of discrimination. Is it simply due to ignorance? Or, do you believe our society’s quest for perfection is to blame?

Leigh: Even with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (www.ada.gov), I believe that discrimination can arise out of either ignorance or choice. I feel that the discrimination I have faced over the years has in fact been a combination of both of these factors. Some people may not be familiar with service dogs. Some people may be uncomfortable with other individuals whom they perceive as being ‘different’. Still, neither discomfort nor ignorance should excuse discrimination.

Jen: Looking back, what was the most valuable life lesson you learned from Slugger?
Leigh: Slugger shared so much wisdom with me in the years that we had together! He taught me that every partnership is a matter of give and take. He taught me that white fur on a dark skirt makes a wonderful fashion statement. And the most profound lesson Slugger shared with me was that even life’s biggest challenges can hold the promise of something good.

Jen: For those readers who want to know more about service dogs and the programs available, can you recommend some organizations?

Leigh: Having been involved with Saint Francis Service Dogs in Virginia for years, I would highly recommend the organization to those interested in learning more about service dogs in the state (www.saintfrancisdogs.org). Assistance Dogs International (www.AssistanceDogsInternational.org) also offers helpful information about service dogs in addition to a listing of service dog organizations throughout the United States and abroad. Delta Society (www.deltasociety.org) can also provide valuable information about many different types of working dogs and those who are partnered with them.

Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your website. Please take us on a brief tour highlighting your favorite parts.

Leigh: My website, www.leighbrill.com, is pretty basic, yet it seems to suit the fundamental style and message of my work. I’m especially happy with the video that is featured on my welcome page. I love knowing that folks can watch it and see a service dog in action (my girl, Kenda). I’ve also included information about the book so that people can uncover details about the story, my publisher, and where and how they can get A DOG NAMED SLUGGER! My website features lots of links that relate to my story. I think it’s a great way to share resources as well as inspiration. Readers can get to know me a bit more on my site, too, and contact me if they want to share their thoughts. It’s exciting to be able to let everyone know what my dog and I are up to on our news and reviews page. I’ll be updating that very soon…

Jen: What’s next for you? Are you currently at work on another project? And if so, what can you share with us?

Leigh: Lately I have been very focused on letting readers know about A Dog Named Slugger. I am also hard at work on my next book; Miranda and Charlie and the Great Cupcake Caper is the first in a series of fictional juvenile stories featuring an energetic kid-detective and her service dog.

Jen: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with my readers. Your story is such an inspiration for all of us living with a chronic disease. I wish you only the best.

Leigh: I’m honored by the opportunity, thank you Jen! I’m pleased and humbled to know my book is making a positive difference. Sharing some of the goodness that Slugger first shared with me is rewarding on many levels. Best to you and wags from sweet Kenda!

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Leigh. Truly, she is such an inspiration to us all. Please stop by your favorite bookstore or local library branch and pick up a copy of A DOG NAMED SLUGGER today.

Better yet, how would you like to win one instead? Okay, be one of the first five readers to e-mail me at jensjewels@gmail.com with the correct answer to the following trivia question and you’ll win. Good luck!

What is the name of Leigh’s next book?

Next time, I will be bringing to you my interview with Cynthia Keller, author of AN AMISH CHRISTMAS. You won’t want to miss it.

Until next time…

Jen

Business Books – FT/Goldman Sachs Award Shortlist

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The shortlist for this year’s Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award Read more… includes these titles, all available at Harford County Public Library.  Click on a title to go straight to our catalog and place a hold.

  The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

  The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick

  The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

  More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

  Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan

  Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System–and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin

Top 10 Food Books

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The October 1, 2010 issue of Booklist listed the review journal’s choice of the current Top 10 Food Books.  Harford County Public Library owns all ten of the Top 10.  Click on a highlighted title you like to go to our catalog and place a reserve.

  52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander

  American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of our Woods, Waters, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen

  Animal Factory: the Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment by David Kirby

  Diet for a Hot Planet: the Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It  by Anna Lappe

  The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living by Mark Bittman

  Four Fish: the Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg

  Now Eat This!: 150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories by Rocco DiSpirito

  The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark

 The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food by Ben Hewitt

  Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs

Did You Like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

  The Laughing Policeman: a Martin Beck Police Mystery by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo  (Find this book in our catalog)

If you liked Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, chances are you will like The Laughing Policeman, part of a series featuring Stockholm Inspector Martin Beck.  Friends have told me they liked The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo mainly because they just couldn’t put the book down!  Despite this readability, the book is actually quite slow-paced, delving as it does with meticulous detail into the social and political life of Sweden and into the circumstances of a cold case involving the disappearance of a young girl from a well-connected family.  No detail, however, is unimportant each one contributes to the complexity of the plot, which is convoluted, takes endless twists, and involves murder, family mysteries, and corruption and viciousness at the highest levels. 

Just so with The Laughing Policeman.  Husband and wife writing team Sjwall and Wahloo were masters of the police procedural.  The mystery is solved by meticulous police work and every detail fits into the final solution.  It is a pleasure to the reader to see if he or she can follow all the clues.  Martin Beck’s detective team are a colorful bunch of characters with individual quirks.  They work together rather like Inspector Maigret’s team in the mysteries by Georges Simenon.

Just like Maigret in Paris, Beck deals with the seamier side of life in Stockholm.  With The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Larsson started a trilogy meant to expose neo-Nazism, which he believed still flourishes in Sweden, and to protest abuses of women.  The husband and wife team of Wahloo and Sjowall wrote the  Martin Beck series to create a ten-volume portrait of a corrupt postwar society.  In both cases the writers are saved from didacticism by the quirkness of the main characters.  Larsson has superhacker, multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander. Wahloo and Sjowall have Inspector Martin Beck – irritable and gloomy and always suffering from a cold.

Many other characters in both The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo and The Laughing Policeman are gloomy, conflicted, lonely and bad at relationships.  The much-vaunted sexual revolution in Sweden does not seem to have done anyone any favors!  We are introduced to a sordid underworld where people have taken to crime having no other way out: they are down and out, living on the edge, outside of society.  We are also treated to a view of a world where the privileged appear to think they are above the law.

In The Laughing Policeman we are also introduced to the geography and the weather of Sweden.  The book begins, “On the evening of the thirteenth of November it was pouring in Stockholm.”  It seems to be pouring throughout the book.  Everything is dirty, muddy, clammy and gloomy.  This exaggeration of gloominess and the way things keep going wrong for Beck introduces an almost comic air into the book.

Despite the fact that technically this investigation is a complete mess, Beck is especially invested in solving this crime.  Late at night a double-decker bus was found abandonned near the end of its route.  Inside nine people including the driver were found gunned down.  None of the people were apparently connected in any way, but among them was one of Beck’s detective team with his police revolver drawn.  What was he doing on the bus?  It looks as though Beck will never find out, but there may may be a connection to an unsolved murder from years ago.  Beck’s attempts to crack the case reveal lots of interesting twists and turns and an ending not without gloomy irony.