Book Giveaway: The Night Gardener


Thanks to the folks at Hachette, I have one copy of The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos to give away.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Pelecanos (Drama City) delivers a dignified, character-driven epic that succeeds as both literary novel and page-turner. In 1985, the body of a 14-year-old girl turns up in a Washington, D.C., park, the latest in a series of murders by a killer the media dub “The Night Gardener.” T.C. Cook, the aging detective on the case, works with a quiet, almost monomaniacal, focus. Also involved are two young uniformed cops, Gus Ramone, who’s diligent, conscientious and unimpressed by heroics, and Dan “Doc” Holiday, an adrenaline junkie who’s decidedly less straight.

Fast forward 20 years. Detective Ramone, now married with kids of his own, investigates the murder of one of his teenage son’s friends. The homicide closely resembles the earlier unsolved Night Gardener murders. Holiday, now an alcoholic chauffeur and bodyguard, follows the case on his own and tracks down Cook, long retired but still obsessed with the original murders. While the three work together toward a suspenseful ending, Pelecanos emphasizes the fallacy of “solving” a murder and explores the ripple effects of violent crime on society.

Giveaway Rules:  Please enter your name and email address.  I will notify the winner on July 1st.    No PO boxes please.  Contest is open until June 30th.


Testimony by Anita Shreve

images-3Summary:  The book opens with the headmaster of a private school in Vermont viewing  a sex tape.  What is even more disturbing than that previous statement is that the video “stars” three high school male students and one very young (14) female student.  The boys are 17, 18 and 19, statuatory rape in the state of Vermont.  What follows is a look into how this act affects all the members of this one little town in Vermont.

The book alternates points of view, from the students involved in the act to the parents to the reporters to the faculty at Avery Academy. Together all these members of this community tell the story, bit by bit and discuss its aftermath.

Review:  I have said it before and I will say it again, I have a hard time with books that alternate narrators.  Testimony just reinforced this fact.  I found the story really interesting and compelling, but I had hard time losing myself in the book. There seemed to be too many different perspectives for me to fully connect with any character.  However, what I did find really interesting was how depending on the character, Shreve used a different point of view.  The high school students were almost all told in first person, some of the adults involved were third person and one of the parents used the second person, you.

Shreve brings up a lot of issues in this novel, most importantly, why?  What would drive someone to do such an act?  The story is emotional, disturbing and leaves you feeling a little shaken at the end.  It will leave you thinking, that’s for sure.

All in all, I give Testimony a rating of :  3.