Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

LIFE EMBITTERS by Josep Pla
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Students of Orwell's journalism and of Kapuscinski will be glad to discover Pla, whose melancholy resembles that of his contemporary Stefan Zweig—and for some of the same reasons."
Pla (The Gray Notebook, 2014, etc.), the late Catalan pessimist, is given another airing in English thanks to the efforts of his dogged translator, Bush.Read full book review >
IMMUNITY by Taylor Antrim
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"If Bret Easton Ellis wrote a biothriller."
A nasty post-pandemic New York, with plenty of Patrón tequila and cocaine. Read full book review >

DEEP BLUE SALOON by Thomas Courtney Click
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"A high-stakes Caribbean thriller, fueled by sex, drugs, and deep-sea dives."
Raised by the Texas Mafia and addicted to the nitrogen high of deep-sea diving, a hired gun struggles to escape his past and start anew. Read full book review >
JACK OF SPADES by Joyce Carol Oates
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"With its homages to Poe, from 'The Black Cat' to 'The Tell-Tale Heart,' and the horror masters Jack of Spades so admires, this latest unsettling and chilling thriller from Oates does not disappoint."
A mystery writer slowly becomes subsumed by his dark alter ego in Oates' tale of literary madness. Read full book review >
THE NEW WORLD by Chris Adrian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"People do a lot of weeping in this book. Maybe that's meant to compensate for its lack of emotional depth."
Imagine a more benign Brave New World yoked with a short love story from a New Yorker back issue.Read full book review >

RE JANE by Patricia Park
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"An enjoyable book offering a portrait of a young woman struggling to come into her own in the increasingly complicated opening years of a new century."
A young Korean-American woman grapples with issues of identity, family, and love in Park's debut novel, a sweet and savvy bildungsroman. Read full book review >
HUGO & ROSE by Bridget Foley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Despite a tendency to dwell on emotional explanations, Foley delivers a compelling tale."
A debut novel that uses the world of dreams to upend the life of an otherwise ordinary housewife. Read full book review >
VALLEY OF THE SHADOW by Ralph Peters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"A superlative novel."
Those who enjoy Bruce Catton's and Shelby Foote's Civil War histories will find a fictional equal in Peters' retelling of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley campaign. Read full book review >
A GOD IN RUINS by Kate Atkinson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"But do we really have just one life, as Ursula insists? It's a point worth pondering. A grown-up, elegant fairy tale, at least of a kind, with a humane vision of people in all their complicated splendor."
Fresh from the excellent Life After Life (2013), Atkinson takes another sidelong look at the natures of time and reality in this imaginative novel, her ninth.Read full book review >
THE CURSE OF ANNE BOLEYN by C.C. Humphreys
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Overly long, too convoluted, and populated by fight scenes that prove tiresomely detailed, this novel progresses in a zigzag pattern that readers will find confusing."
In this sequel to The French Executioner (2014), Humphreys mixes old world with new as the saga of Anne Boleyn's severed hand—and the power that's attributed to it—inspires court intrigue, star-crossed love, and witchcraft.Read full book review >
THE LADIES OF MANAGUA by Eleni N. Gage
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"From the closely chaperoned lives of schoolgirls in 1950s New Orleans, where Isabela was a student, to the explosive insurrection of 1970s and '80s Nicaragua to the sniping artistic world of 2010s New York, Gage carefully and thoughtfully explores the social demands placed on women and the repercussions of submitting to or defying them."
An up-and-coming painter faces the collapse of her romantic life while repairing her neglected relationship with her mother. Read full book review >
THE GHOST NETWORK by Catie Disabato
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Artistic ambition, cultural critique, and a revolutionary philosophy drive the mysteries underlying this complex, charismatic novel."
A probing investigation into the disappearance of a rising pop star and the subsequent death of an obsessive fan goes awry in this thrilling debut novel. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >