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the bookshelf:
hriller me this
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 

Mysteries and thrills and adventures, oh my! Whether you're looking for something to while away a rainy April weekend or pass the time on a long plane ride to some sunny spring break paradise, check out one of these well-crafted historical mystery thrillers for a good smart read…

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón buy it

Ten-year-old Daniel Sempere has always been surrounded by books. After all, he's lived his whole life above the rare and secondhand bookstore run by his father, a shop handed down from his grandfather, a business that will one day be passed on to Daniel himself. Books, he's always known, are his family legacy … but still, he never imagined how much one particular book could turn out to change his life. On a summer morning in 1945, Daniel's father takes him to a secret library tucked deep in the heart of their home city of Barcelona, a place called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It's a sort of final resting place and safe-house for long-forgotten and obscure books, and Daniel's father tells him that as part of the tradition of the library, Daniel must choose a book -- one single book -- that he will take with him and promise to look after from that day forward. Daniel finds himself inexplicably drawn to a book he's never heard of: The Shadow of the Wind, by someone named Julian Carax. This, he knows, is the one.

Back home, Daniel dives into reading his precious new gift, and immediately falls under the story's spell. It's so good that Daniel's sure it must be famous, but when he asks his father to tell him more about this amazing find, he's surprised to discover that his father has never heard of either the book, or its author. Intrigued, Daniel sets out to unearth more; as the young boy moves from childhood, to adolescence, to young adulthood, he digs up more and more clues about the author, who turns out to have had a dark and tragic history, complete with doomed love affair and untimely, mysterious death. At the same time, Daniel begins to hear rumor of a sinister disfigured stranger who has been burning up every existing copy of The Shadow of the Wind -- a man who calls himself Laín Coubert, which just happens to be the name used by the devil in Carax's book itself. As this dark and sinister presence infiltrates Daniel's own world, things grow increasingly dangerous for Daniel, his father, and his friends. Daniel finds Carax's enemies are now his enemies as well -- and life and fiction, Carax's past and Daniel's present, become increasingly intertwined.

Any kid who's ever fallen in love with a great book has entertained the fantasy of what it would be like if you could find yourself in that book's world yourself. Books can seduce; they can suck you in. Which is why any bookworm is likely to the find the The Shadow of the Wind's main premise alone so irresistible. But the characters and the mystery and, above all, the sense of 1940s and 50s Barcelona in Ruiz Zafón's novel are just as seductive; there's a darkly lush, lyrical, gothic romance feel to the writing (originally in Spanish, though the translation seems good) that works perfectly with this old-fashioned tale of brave, bold heroes and vengeful villains, star-crossed lovers and plucky loyal friends. This is just a darn good yarn, the kind you lose entire afternoons and evenings to because you're so caught up from one page to the next. Find a nice lazy weekend and a comfy spot to curl up in, and enjoy.

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