Books to Read After Running

by Sally Drake and Mark Mindel

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

J. Ryan Stradal writes about food and the Midwest and his novels tell uniquely American stories about big, progressive ideas in small town milieus. This poignant novel is about three generations of women beer brewers in Minnesota. They are ground-breaking, legacy-making women who survive heartbreak and family calamity while navigating the changing and charged beer-making economy. A compelling family drama that beer-lovers will appreciate for its details of the science and art of beer-making and the story of craft-brewing in America.

Chances Are by Richard Russo

Richard Russo’s latest novel is about three college friends who reunite as 60-year old men for a weekend in Martha’s Vineyard. Richard Russo writes about male friendship as well as any American writer and this story delves deeply into their complicated connection while solving a decades long mystery involving another college friend that has shadowed their lives for decades.

Going Dutch by James Gregor

A funny, smart novel about Richard, a gay graduate student navigating life and love in 21st century Manhattan including the trappings of online dating, gentrification, and academic poverty. Richard finds himself in all kinds of mostly self-inflicted trouble stemming from writer’s block, emotional inertia and a crazy love triangle. You can’t help but adore Richard while also wincing at a series of poor decisions that hasten his downward spiral. This is a very modern novel with acerbic insight into urban life.

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

A beautiful, stunning novel that follows two men called to the ministry as they go through college and divinity school and come together as co-ministers of a Presbyterian Church in mid-century Manhattan. The pastors and their wives struggle to find their place and voices during a turbulent social time for the community they serve. A devastating diagnosis for one of their children deeply challenges their faith while ultimately defining their purpose. This is a very emotional and moving story about deeply good people truly devoted to helping others.

The Cornwalls Are Gone (Amy Cornwall #1) by James Patterson, Brendan DuBois 

A nice debut for Brendan DuBois with Jimmy P and a new character is born. Amy Cornwall is kickass for an Army Intel Officer, and she better be as her husband Tom and daughter Denise are kidnapped by the Mexican Cartel. She has a day to do their bidding or lose her family. But hot on her trail as well is Special Agent Rosaria Vasquez of the Army Criminal Investigation Command. Quick read and really you don't want to put this one down. Of course, there are twists and turns and maybe even Rosaria and Amy teaming up! Better check this one out to see if Amy can get her family back.

Redemption Point (Crimson Lake #2) by Candice Fox

Candice Fox is one of my favorite authors and she doesn't disappoint here in the continuing story of Crimson Lake protagonists Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell. The two have hooked up in the uppermost region of Australia's Queensland rainforest as private investigators after questionable pasts - Ted accused of a crime he didn't commit and Amanda, the victim of a crime as a teen over ten years ago for which SHE served time after killing someone mistakenly to get out of her situation. Here, the two help Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney solve two mysterious killings at a sleazy bar. Meanwhile, Ted's case heats up again with another false accusation he must fight. Confused? Read Redemption Point and all will be cleared up.

Alone (Detective D.D. Warren #1) by Lisa Gardner 

I've been jumping around this D.D. Warren series. This is the first one. It seems when she wrote it, she intended to make the series about Massachusetts State Trooper Bobby Dodge, a former lover of D.D.'s who is a sniper for the STOP unit (think SWAT). Bobby's called to a domestic dispute with guns fired. In a tense hostage situation, he does his job and takes out the husband, Jimmy Gagnon, who is threatening his wife Catherine and their son Nathan, pointing a gun at them. Bobby knew not that Catherine had been abducted twenty years earlier by the now-incarcerated Mr. Bosu, who had just gotten out of prison. Jimmy's parents are the rich and influential Judge Gagnon and his wife, and things spiral out of control as one-by-one people in Catherine's life are murdered after Bobby takes out Jimmy. First, it's Catherine's lover and Nathan's doctor, and then it's the nanny. Who's behind all the murder, chaos and mayhem? Could it be the Judge himself? D.D. needs to find out or Bobby may go to prison for "murdering" Jimmy.

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