A nice variety of bad behavior. East, West: Noir’s best.

ADDIS ABABA NOIR

Novelist Mengiste presents 14 stories showcasing Ethiopia’s capital at its darkest.

History has not always been kind to Addis Ababa. From 1974 through '87, when the Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia, known as the Derg, ruled the country, armed militias kept order at gunpoint. Those brutal days are chronicled in Teferi Nigussie Tafa’s “Agony of the Congested Heart” and editor Mengiste’s “Of Dust and Ash.” Nature plays its own part in human misery. In Mikael Awake’s “Father Bread,” a pack of hyenas decimates a young boy’s family. Cultural practices like female circumcision also take their toll, as Sulaiman Addonia shows in “A Night in Bela Sefer” and Linda Yohannes demonstrates in “Kebele ID,” in which a housemaid compensates for the loss of her pleasure by stealing from her employers. Some misery has otherworldly sources, as in Adam Reta’s “Of Buns and Howls.” But some individuals can be cruel even in the absence of external forces. A survivor of the Derg takes revenge on an unlikely target in Meron Hadero’s “Kind Stranger.” And in “A Double-Edged Inheritance,” Hannah Giorgis presents a college student who avenges her mother’s mistreatment by her father’s family. And of course, people can be their own worst enemies, as in Lelissa Girma’s “Insomnia” and Girma T. Fantaye’s “Of the Poet and the Café.”

A nice variety of bad behavior. East, West: Noir’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61775-820-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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