Check It Out

Courier Articles by Sandy Schultheis
Sunday, June 22, 1999


Books for Guys on Father's Day

What do fathers like to read? My own dad was a fan of paperback detective novels by Mickey Spillane; not great literature but it was his way of relaxing. For this Father's Day I asked lots of guys what they were reading and came up with a diverse list of thrillers, mysteries and humor. A book makes an excellent Father's Day gift, so much better than a necktie, but all these books are available at no charge through your public library and many will appeal to women readers as well.

Some Deaths Before Dying by Peter Dickinson (Mysterious, 1999).

Master of the British mystery does it again in this tale of a dying woman who is determined to solve the mystery of an antique pistol she gave her husband decades earlier. A page-turner that is stylish as well as spellbinding. My personal pick for great summer reading.

Havana Bay by Martin Cruz Smith (Random House, 1999).

For fans of Russian Detective Arkady Renko (Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square), Smith has come up with another winner. Our hero arrives in Havana to hunt for a missing friend and ends up investigating three murders.

Battle creek by Scott Lasser (Weisbach, 1999).

A first novel that has been receiving rave reviews. It's about a minor league baseball team and three generations of men The coach of an amateur baseball team strives for a national championship in spite of overwhelming family problems. A strong plot and interesting characters make it a good bet for guys.

The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker (Hyperion, 1999).

Lots of unexpected twists and turns characterize this thriller. The tale of a serial killer who only leaves his victim's purses lying in blood as clues to their terrible fate. Set in Southern California with a detective hero who is trying to recover from lung cancer. Not for the faint-hearted, or those prone to nightmares.

The Return of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (Little, Brown, 1999).

Thirty years ago I loved Little Big Man and also enjoyed the movie with Dustin Hoffman. Now comes the long-awaited sequel which is garnering favorable reviews and even leaves room for a final wrap-up.

Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark.

Winner of the Edgar (as in Allen Poe) Prize for best mystery for 1999. Heading a police investigation into the brutal murder of a showgirl, Lt. Wesley Horner zeroes in on Herbert White, an eccentric recluse whose spends his days writing fan letters to Hollywood starlets.

A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton (St. Martin's, 1998).

An Edgar-winning best first novel in which an ex-cop is stalked by the psychopath who shot him fourteen years earlier. The author, an IBM employee says: "I just tried to tell a good story, with a main character you can really care about, some suspense, some dark humor, and a sense of what it's like to live next to the coldest, deepest lake in the world."

The Emperor's General (Broadway, 1999).

An epic novel of Douglas MacArthur's ruthless ambition in the tumultuous final days of World War II, of the Japanese Imperial government's ingenious conspiracy to maintain power, and of a young captain faced with the conflicting demands of duty, honor, and love. The book was recommended highly by a library board member who is also a voracious reader.

Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley (Random House, 1999).

"A country convinced that little green men were hovering over the rooftops was inclined to vote yea for big weapons and space programs," is the basic premise of a book which had my husband chuckling. It even kept him awake longer than most books, which keep his interest about ten minutes once he is in a horizontal position. Political lampooning at its best.

Men's Guide to Bread Machine Baking by Jeffrey Gerlach (Prima, 1997).

Several Christmases ago my husband gave me a bread machine, which I promptly exchanged for a camera. Now I realize that he is the one who wanted the bread machine. You can make pizza, bagels, beer bread, pretzels, and over 100 other great breads with your bread machine using this handy book.

Sandy Schultheis is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.