I have two favorite mystery/ crime thriller authors, C.J. Sansom and Caleb Carr.  I had not caught up with Carr since reading  The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness. I just finished his latest, Surrender, New York.  While Sansom, a Brit, sets his novels of the Shardlake Series in England during the period of Henry VIII, Caleb Carr is very much American and very much New York. The setting for Surrender, New York is upstate in, of course, a town named Surrender.

Carr’s ingredients for Surrender, New York are a potpourri : a psychological profiler, a trace evidence expert, throwaway children,  corrupt politicians, a discarded vintage airplane used as high-tech office, horrific crime scenes, Death’s Head Hollow, an 80 pound cheetah named Marciana rescued from a petting zoo, love when there was none thought possible and of course plenty of bad guys and bad girls.

I will not attempt to put together a story line for you. That would be a disservice to Carr. You will quickly be captured by the pages of Surrender, New York and if you have not already done so will rush back to his earlier novels.

Want to know more about Sansom?  Since  you are already on the site, search here at gordonsgood The entire Shardlake Series, plus Winter in Madrid is here.









The cast in Annie Proulx’s new novel, Barkskins, is enormous. It rapidly grows as each chapter follows generations of fur traders, adventurers and would be entrepreneurs  from the old world to the new. The family tree ( no pun intended) expands and the blood line grows to encompasses Native Americans and Native Canadians.  The story landscape ranges from Europe to the Canadian Maritimes, China, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest.

Barkskins  makes a profound environmental statement as the perceived good folks along with lots of bad guys begin their devastation of the American colonial landscape long before mechanization and 19th Century greed. It is the era of wood,  white pine,  New England ship building ,the axe, logging, spring river runs and hard men who live harder lives in the deep woods.

“A thousand men could not cut all this in a thousand years.”  But they did.  ” He hated the American clear-cut despoliation, the insane waste of sound valuable wood, the destruction of the soil, the gullying and erosion, the ruin of the forest world, with no thought for the future.”   A strong woman  inherits a modest lumber enterprise  and converts it into a family fortune by developing a mechanized deforestation machine.

The book is not just about the forests but of the devastation brought upon the native people of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine.  It is the sad saga so often heard of American expansion, this time telling the story of the Mi’Kmaq.

“Now when the forest were gone there had never been so few Mi’Kmaq since the beginning of time, less than fifteen hundred, the remains of a people who had numbered more than one hundred thousand in the time before the white-man came.”

A fortune created by destroying the forests and an entire Indian culture. In the end a desperate search for an heir to the ill-gotten gains, and it comes full circle. Who is the family?

You may work at this read in the beginning but you will quickly be captured. Such  brilliant writing.

Annie Proulx is famous for The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain.