Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

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 >
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 >

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 >
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 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 >

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 >
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 >
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 >
A Long Way Back by J. Everett  Prewitt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 30, 2015

"A fresh re-examination of race in the military."
Prewitt's (Snake Walkers, 2005) mystery confronts the wages of both war and racial conflict. Read full book review >
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME by Beth Harbison
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"The fun of Harbison's (Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger, 2013, etc.) conceit is overshadowed by its clichéd ending."
A wealthy financier, unhappy with her loveless state, hits her head and wakes up back in high school, with a chance to rewrite her future. Read full book review >
CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Ernest Hemingway, who met Markham on safari two years before her Atlantic crossing, tagged her as 'a high-grade bitch' but proclaimed her 1942 memoir West with the Night 'bloody wonderful.' Readers might even say the same of McLain's sparkling prose and sympathetic reimagining."
A full-throttle dive into the psyche and romantic attachments of Beryl Markham—whose 1936 solo flight across the Atlantic in a two-seater prop plane (carrying emergency fuel in the extra seat) transfixed the world. Read full book review >
THE DYING GRASS by William T. Vollmann
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 28, 2015

"Telegraphic and episodic—so much so that it recalls the later work of Eduardo Galeano—Vollmann's saga is a note-perfect incantation. Stunning."
The indefatigable, seemingly inexhaustible Vollmann (Last Stories and Other Stories, 2014, etc.) returns with another impossibly long—and peerless—book, this one an epic study of the Nez Percé War of 1877.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >