Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 9)

THE ARCHITECT'S APPRENTICE by Elif Shafak
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 31, 2015

"With manufactured intrigues and lukewarm romance, plot is not Shafak's strong point. What she offers is panoramic historical fiction rich with facts, atmosphere and occasional whimsy."
Following the life of an invented apprentice to the actual Ottoman Empire architect Sinan, Turkish novelist Shafak offers a liberal interpretation of Islam that's bound to create controversy, as her previous books have (Honor, 2013, etc.).Read full book review >
NORMAL by Graeme Cameron
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 31, 2015

"A black comedy featuring a bizarre murderer who believes he suffers for his 'art.' Cameron has written a painfully funny story that's littered with corpses, both intentional and unintentional, and proves that sometimes spotting the craziest person on the block isn't quite as easy as it seems."
Cameron's novel inserts readers into the life of a man who is anything but what the title implies—normal. Read full book review >

THERE'S A MAN WITH A GUN OVER THERE by R.M. Ryan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 31, 2015

"A novel that tries to marry the internal conflict of Tim O'Brien to the novelist style of Nelson DeMille but can't quite stick the landing."
A Vietnam-era veteran recalls his childhood, leading up to a defining moment as a military policeman in Germany. Read full book review >
GIRL UNDERWATER by Claire Kells
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 31, 2015

"With its subzero temperatures that will make you reach for a blanket and a wounded but never weakened heroine, Kells' assured debut is a winner."
A plane crash in the Rockies leaves more than physical scars on an up-and-coming competitive college swimmer. Read full book review >
THE STRANGLER VINE by M.J. Carter
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 31, 2015

"Making pleasing use of the developing bromance/adventure formula and a wealth of research, Carter delivers an engaging, skeptical, modern take on empire."
Exotically detailed and sprinkled with derring-do, Carter's historical novel follows an inscrutable old hand and a well-intentioned rookie on a quest that takes them deep into the heart of colonial India. Read full book review >

THE HARDER THEY COME by T.C. Boyle
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 30, 2015

"Boyle's vision and ambition remain compelling, though his characters here seem like plot devices."
Violence corrodes the ideal of freedom in an ambitious novel that aims to illuminate the dark underbelly of the American dream. Read full book review >
THE HOMEPORT JOURNALS by A. C. Burch
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 27, 2015

"An often vivid portrait of Provincetown life and May-December friendships, despite a bland main character."
An elderly woman and her troupe of gay live-ins take in a young man running from a bad romance in Burch's debut novel. Read full book review >
THE CAVENDON WOMEN by Barbara Taylor Bradford
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 24, 2015

"A novel that could have used more melodrama or even drama."
Second installment of Bradford's answer to Downton Abbey.Read full book review >
HAUSFRAU by Jill Alexander Essbaum
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 24, 2015

"A smart book that entertains page by page but doesn't add up to anything larger."
Between caring for three children, visiting a Jungian analyst and taking a German class, Anna wouldn't seem to have much time for extramarital liaisons, but like her namesake, Madame Karenina, she manages. Read full book review >
NARCISA by Jonathan Shaw
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 24, 2015

"A mix-and-match novel with the grunge of Bukowski, the teeth-grinding momentum of the Beats and the acidic self-loathing of addiction novels."
The ugly saga of the relationship between a self-professed outlaw and a psychotic crack whore. Read full book review >
SIGNATURE KILL by David Levien
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 24, 2015

"The combination of peerlessly depressive Behr and the formulaic serial-killer plot produces a thriller at once mordant, grueling and routine."
When a sex killer terrorizes Indianapolis, ex-cop Frank Behr (Thirteen Million Dollar Pop, 2011, etc.) swings into action, with darkly mixed results.Read full book review >
THE WISDOM OF PERVERSITY by Rafael Yglesias
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 24, 2015

"Most important, he shines a Kleig light where it may be most needed, into the parlors and playrooms where many Americans endure or perpetrate these nightmares."
Three New York friends, in their childhood and adult selves, deal with a wily pedophile in an affecting novel that is big-screen lurid without being superficial or too slick. 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 >