Summer is travel season, and if you can’t actually get away, you can always visit new places in the pages of a book. Here are excerpts from our reviews of some of the novels coming out this month with a particularly strong sense of place:
Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black(June 19): “Aimée Leduc chases across Paris’ low-rent district in search of a World War II–era dossier….Like her earlier entries, Black’s latest is refreshingly free from the focus on French food culture that marks provincial mysteries and gratifyingly full of local Parisian color.”
Florida by Lauren Groff(June 5): “In 11 electric short stories, the gifted Groff unpacks the ‘dread and heat’ of her home state….A literary tour de force of precariousness set in a blistering place, a state shaped like a gun.”
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand(June 19): “A wedding on Nantucket is canceled when the bride finds her maid of honor floating facedown in the Atlantic on the morning of the big day….Readers can open [Hilderbrand’s] latest with complete confidence that it will deliver everything we expect: terrific clothes and food, smart humor, fun plot, Nantucket atmosphere, connections to the characters of preceding novels, and warmth in relationships evoked so beautifully it gets you right there.”
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin(June 12): “A fugitive from a Mexican cartel takes refuge in a forest preserve in the wilds of Virginia. Rice Moore, the troubled protagonist of this hard-edged thriller, can best be described as remote, a characteristic he shares with his hazardous surroundings….It’s a violent, compelling story that uses its milieu to incredible effect.”
Fight No More by Lydia Millet(June 12): “Real estate—and the anxiety and disruption that often come with moving house—drives this linked collection of Los Angeles–set tales….Those stories are especially strong because Millet so readily shifts point of view—by turns she can be a snotty rich kid, a pedophile, and a lower-class cam girl striving to rise above her station.”Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.