Books & Fiction

New Thriller Examines Mystery Surrounding a Death in Maine

Chris Crowley

One imagines the intimate business of getting Gus down the steps. Harry stands at the bottom of the companionway, and gets his arms around him (a face full of fur, legs every which way; Gus’s great face is interested but relaxed: they’ve done this a hundred times). Then he picks him up, all hundred pounds of him, and gently sets him down on the cabin sole. Sets out some water. Harry put him below because he didn’t want him to see. Or more likely, he was afraid the dog would jump in and try to save him, as Newfies are bred to do.

‘Souvenir Museum’ Delves Into the Tragicomic Lives of Its Characters

Lee Polevoi

Elizabeth McCracken is one of these writers, and it’s a rare pleasure to immerse yourself in her new story collection, The Souvenir Museum. As with Thunderstruck, her previous (and equally brilliant) book of short stories, it’s immediately clear she knows what she’s doing—not surprising, given her distinguished career as both a novelist and short story writer.

International Political Intrigue Spans Continents in ‘Treasure Seekers’

Roberta Seret

She wondered who could have helped Rafsanjani with his gold from Ceausescu’s corrupt deals and terrorist partnerships with Gaddafi, Arafat, Ali Bhutto, and North Korea’s Kim Jung Il. A billion dollars of gold from Romania, such a poor country, while the people lived for twenty-four years under a ruthless dictatorship with little food, little heat, little light, no rights, no freedom, no life. Marina wished she knew what had happened to that gold, deposited in Tehran.

Land and the Sweep of History in Simon Winchester’s New Book

Lee Polevoi

His ownership serves as a springboard for what emerges as a thorough examination of how land ownership has influenced the sweep of history. In the course of his far-reaching study, Winchester looks at demarcation of property lines in the Bronze Age, the cruel land grab from Native Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries, mass starvation in Stalinist Russia, and the age-old conflict over territory between Israel and Palestine.

New Novel Recounts Families Facing Crises During the Cuban Missile Crisis

Brenda Sparks Prescott

A picture painted by Lucy Saunders, another NCO’s wife, hung above the hi-fi set Ray had bought secondhand. Betty Ann flicked the duster over the frame of the oil painting, which captured the romanticism of a real Parisian atelier. Warm light refracted across half-sewn dresses and played in a spill of royal blue velvet. Betty Ann liked to think that her studio was as genteel as this imaginary room, but she might have a real cat fight in it if the general’s wife turned nasty. Mrs. H. could call her out in front of everyone and threaten Ray’s livelihood, or even force her to do the dress for free!

 

Celebrating the Theater of the Streets in Ben Wilson’s ‘Metropolis’

Lee Polevoi

Inevitably, perhaps, readers may wonder what other cities and timeframes Wilson might have chosen for exploration. Why not Berlin in the 1920s? Or New York City in the 1970s? It’s a measure of the author’s success that we want to learn more about how other cities functioned, particularly when under the stress of, say, the tumultuous Weimar Republic, or the reaction among New Yorkers when then-President Gerald Ford famously told the city to (as summarized by popular media), “Drop dead.”

New Book Highlights Personal Struggles Against Backdrop of 1960s Britain

John Cammidge

To take our minds away from the tragedy, we visited Windsor Castle and detoured past the Langley truck plant to have a look at the factory that was unwilling to place me.  Jean-Louise told me that her mother’s condition remained serious, and how thankful she was to have decided to teach.  She was still worried about my job security because of the latest developments in Britain’s motor industry. 

A Brutal Crime and the Unraveling of Truth From Fiction

Sandra Bertrand

In this case, Betty was found face down in the garage with garbage cans filled with an unlikely collection of the so-called burglar’s loot and a couple of TVs nearby. Sendle, the lead cop in the original investigation, told Kane that he knew the killer was no burglar from the beginning.  Frye’s coverup was sloppy.  Such items as an open bottle of shampoo, a pair of clip-on RayBans, an electric shaver and three electric clocks were found in the cans. 

Before Fire, There Was Wood in Roland Ennos’s ‘Age of Wood’

Lee Polevoi

At the same time, wood—in its “original” state as trees—has been adversely affected by global climate change and other environmental factors. This has led to wildfires of unprecedented fury and reach, including the megagires in Australia in 2009 that generated an inferno of hellish proportions, eventually covering more than 100 million acres. What comes across most vividly in this panoramic study of wood is Roland Ennos’s love of the subject.

A Manuscript Containing Disturbing Content Is the Focus of New Sci-Fi Thriller

Christopher Laine

It’s better this way. Put the manuscript down, walk away. You’ll stay happy and stupid, a well-fed moron who doesn’t want to know. The only way you’re going to get to stay safe is if you just don’t know. Don’t dawdle. Go on. Walk away. Go back. Get back on the grid. There’s a good little Chumley. Trust me. You don’t want to know. The batshit accountant told me that, that I didn’t want to know, and you know he was right. I didn’t want to know. I wish I’d listened to him when I had the chance. But no, I had to know for myself, to find out, and that didn’t work out so swell for me. So, learn from my mistake. Take it on the lam.

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