Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 4)

THE FAT ARTIST AND OTHER STORIES by Benjamin Hale
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Hale's stories are wry rather than funny, often predictable rather than surprising—but the questions he raises are interesting all the same."
Five years after his debut novel, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (2011), Hale returns with a collection of seven short stories, none earthshaking but all evidence of a steadily growing professional talent. Read full book review >
A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE by Jo Baker
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Baker's virtuoso imagining of war's terrors and privations is not quite matched by her depiction of a unique, consistently elusive artistic identity."
The experiences of a struggling Irish writer in France during World War II—joining the Resistance, fleeing the Gestapo, risking everything again after escaping to the free zone—will help shape his groundbreaking literary future, suggests this novel based on the life of Samuel Beckett. Read full book review >

SWALLOWED BY THE COLD by Jensen Beach
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"The unexpected convergences and dramatic shifts in fortune of Beach's characters make for a measured, quietly powerful experience."
In these linked stories set in Sweden, a host of characters considers their family histories, the flaws of memory, and the looming prospect of their own mortality. Read full book review >
BOAR ISLAND by Nevada Barr
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"After the razor-sharp focus of Destroyer Angel (2014), Barr's latest is a surprisingly hot mess, awash in scattered crimes whose perpetrators' behaviors defy belief. There's not even much about Acadia National Park."
Ranger Anna Pigeon, sent from the Rockies to Maine's Acadia National Park for a three-week stint, finds the brief interval more than long enough for another round of murder and assorted skulduggery. Read full book review >
ZIGZAG by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Proficient but routine work."
Two brand-new novellas and two reprinted short stories test the semiretired Nameless Detective's ability to close cases—and the gentle reader's taste for new wine in old bottles. Read full book review >

COMPANY TOWN by Madeline Ashby
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Begins with vivid characters and solid worldbuilding bones but doesn't entirely hang together."
A teenage genius and his bodyguard uncover unpleasant corporate secrets and face a potentially otherworldly threat in this near-future sci-fi thriller. Read full book review >
DOMINION by John Connolly
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"A yarn that makes little claim to originality but offers appealing characters and an involving narrative to devotees of easy-reading space operas."
An alien-warfare trilogy (Empire, 2015, etc.) culminates with white-hat aliens, black-hat aliens, young human survivors, and evil brain-sucking parasites battling to a gruesome finish. Read full book review >
THE SINGER FROM MEMPHIS by Gary Corby
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Corby's latest is brisk, cheeky, and full of well-researched historical tidbits."
A wry sleuth accompanies a historian on the brink of fame to Egypt, where rebellion, murder, and wisecracks are in full flower in 450 B.C.E. Read full book review >
THE FIREMAN by Joe Hill
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"A satisfying tale overall, just right for the beach. Be sure to wear sunscreen."
Pleasing mayhem from horror/thrillermeister Hill (NOS4A2, 2013, etc.), the chip-off-the-old-block son of Stephen King.Read full book review >
THE AFTER PARTY by Anton DiSclafani
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"A bit of a sophomore slump, but this talented newcomer's gifts for characterization and atmosphere are as sharp as ever."
In her tale of a fraught lifelong friendship, DiSclafani (The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, 2013) again investigates the power and perils of female sexuality.Read full book review >
IN THE CLEARING by Robert Dugoni
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Back in the present, the recent killing is wrapped up equally predictably but a lot more quickly, having led fans of this heartfelt series (Her Final Breath, 2015, etc.) through a long slog alongside the heroine with little to show for the effort."
Seattle PD Detective Tracy Crosswhite's third case takes her back 40 years to a crime everyone concerned keeps telling her isn't a crime at all. Read full book review >
DON'T YOU CRY by Mary Kubica
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"A master of suspense and dense plotting, Kubica still leads the pack when it comes to her genre even though this isn't her best work."
A roommate's mysterious disappearance and the tale of a dead girl form a haunting confluence of circumstances in Kubica's latest psychological thriller told from dual points of view. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Emma Straub
author of MODERN LOVERS
May 30, 2016

In Emma Straub’s new novel Modern Lovers, friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed. “Straub’s characters are a quirky and interesting bunch, well aware of their own good fortune, and it’s a pleasure spending time with them in leafy Ditmas Park,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >