Smile
by Roddy Doyle
Adult Fiction, 2017
Ann Doubleday, Adult Services

Smile is far more than it at first seems to be. It seems to be about a middle-aged Irish man trying to establish a new life for himself after a divorce. At one time, Victor, the narrator, appeared to be on the cusp of success in every way. Now he spends most evenings at the local pub trying to cheer himself up and stave off loneliness. One night at the pub a crude man, Fitzpatrick, intrudes upon Victor insisting they were friends in high school. Victor has no memory of the man, and is simultaneously repelled by and drawn to Fitzpatrick. As the two men continue to meet, memories from those school days gradually emerge. Painful memories – of brutality and abuse. It becomes clear that this novel is really a deeply psychological exploration of the trauma of childhood abuse – as well as an exploration into illusion, regret, identity, and the role of memory. Doyle’s genius is that he finds a most surprising and shocking way to make the reader truly feel the devastating effects of abuse. And nothing is as it seems.

The Gate Keeper
by Charles Todd
Adult Fiction, 2018
Susan Gamberg, Youth Services

Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is driving late at night, when he comes upon a car in the middle of the deserted road.  A woman is standing next to the car with bloody hands and when he stops to help, he discovers a dead man at her feet.  She swears she didn’t kill him and that a man stepped in front of the car and fired at her friend killing him. He convinces the Scotland Yard to let him investigate the case and finds the victim had been well liked but his family is convinced he was a murderer.    He soon finds conflicting evidence about the victim and then another person is murdered which leads him to believe there may be killer lurking in the village.