Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

CLOSE QUARTERS by Adrian Magson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Prolific Magson's second round for Portman (The Watchman, 2014, etc.) delivers in the clinch, with gripping, authentic action scenes. The stateside segments are distinctly less memorable."
A rugged CIA contractor encounters enemies from all sides when he tries to rescue a State Department wonk held captive in Ukraine. Read full book review >
MIDNIGHT ON THE MISSISSIPPI by Mary Ellis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Ellis, best known for her Amish series (A Widow's Hope, 2009, etc.), starts her new Secrets of the South mystery series with a pleasant love story but not much mystery."
A newly minted private eye bids to enter the big time in the Big Easy. Read full book review >

THE NORMA GENE by M.E. Roufa
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"A novel with a madcap premise and appealing characters that does not quite fulfill its comedic promise."
Roufa's debut novel follows the misadventures of a clone of Abraham Lincoln and a clone of Marilyn Monroe as they attempt to evade government agents and figure out what it means to claim their own identities. Read full book review >
THE HAIRDRESSER OF HARARE by Tendai Huchu
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Though at times predictable, this touching debut should not be overlooked."
An uncompromising glimpse into contemporary Zimbabwe through the eyes of a young hairdresser. Read full book review >
Cut Paste Gone by Lisa  Safran
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 2, 2015

"A well-written, engaging exploration of the maxim, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"
A young girl with a magic pair of scissors makes a collage out of reality in Safran's debut YA novel. Read full book review >

THE DAUGHTERS by Adrienne Celt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"A haunting novel with real emotional depth, Celt's psychologically nuanced debut continues to resonate long after the last page has been turned."
A family curse haunts four generations of women. Read full book review >
DRAGONFISH by Vu Tran
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"Right off the bat, Tran displays the most admirable and worthwhile gift a serious thriller writer can have: compassion toward even the most disreputable of his characters."
A missing person mystery is delicately entwined with a heartbreaking story of migration and loss. Read full book review >
WINESBURG, INDIANA by Michael Martone
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"The premise of co-opting a classic (Winesburg, Ohio) is suspect from the beginning, and in the end, this anthology is a sophomoric attempt at humor and social commentary."
An anthology of short fiction by multiple authors creates a town through its characters. Read full book review >
HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL by Melanie Sumner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Sweet, clever, and fun."
How a kid can help her broke, widowed, overwhelmed mom: write a novel! Read full book review >
SHETANI'S SISTER by Iceberg Slim
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"The latest posthumous publication from Iceberg Slim (Doom Fox, 1998, etc.) may satisfy readers hungry for the gritty street reality of an undefined historical time, but the storyline ends so abruptly that it feels as unfinished as the author's life."
The street war between a prostitution ring and the cop determined to take it down turns into a man-to-man fight. Read full book review >
FLOOD OF FIRE by Amitav Ghosh
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"At times slow-moving and repetitive, this novel still provides a satisfying sense of closure to the political and personal issues Ghosh opened up more than a thousand pages earlier."
Ghosh completes his epic Ibis trilogy with a book focusing on the First Opium War of 1839 to '41 and culminating in battles between the British navy and Chinese ports. Read full book review >
THE LAST DAYS OF RABBIT HAYES by Anna McPartlin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"By turns laugh-out-loud funny and weep-into-your-hanky heartbreaking, Rabbit's story is a powerful catharsis."
Her cancer is back, and all the love, humor, and stubbornness in the world won't save Rabbit Hayes this time. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >